Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
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  • Buying advice

    Hello !

    I'm looking forward to buy VSL but i need some information / advice before i make a decision :-)

    I've been using EastWest Symphonic Orchestra Gold edition as VST for some months now... and i discovered some issue with the lengh of the notes with single instruments such as Violins and Violas, and some lack of articulations.

    Now that I've experienced that library, i'd like to try VSL.

    Considering the fact i'm not professionnal neither i know much about this library^^, i've heard it's better to try VSL special edition V1 (bundle). Seeing which instruments have been recorded in that one and the articulations, maybe i would buy the V2 too for the chamber strings.

    Also, I already have an Ilok key, do i need to buy the Vienna Key to make the VST work ?

    Do i need to buy the Hard drive to install the library or is it just optional ? (i guess no but better be sure)

    As i'm using Sibelius 7, i've seen that VSL has already a soundset for, but i don't see a download package except the .pdf file

    If you have any advice, i'll be thankful :-)


  • Welcome...

    Issues with EW do not translate to issues with VSL - two different companies, and two very different ways of doing things.

    You will need to get a Vienna Key (eLicenser) as VSL uses a differernt protection system from EW - an iLok will not work.

    As for what libraries to start with, it really depends on the type of music you prefer to write.  That being said, it probably is most common to start with an SE combination.  If possible, start with both the standard and plus portions of SE 1, as the Plus portion adds key additional articulations.  Getting 1, 1 Plus, 2, and 2 Plus will go a long way.

    That being said, the SE libaries are the introduction level, and the full libraries - standard, plus extended, have a wealth of articulations that SE does not (SE provides the articulations that are most "essential").  The full libraries are sampled at every half-step while SE is sampled at every whole step (SE works quite well enough).  I also started with SE, but have gradually been migrating over to the full libraries.

    FWIW, IMO, the software player in VSL is far superior to EW.  Especially with the SE libraries, getting VI Pro will be important, as you can create all kinds of modified articulations using the "stretch" function.  In general, it is suggested to start with the basic VI, learn how to use that, and then get VI Pro once you are comfortable using the basic VI.  One of the great things above VSL's system is that you can create any sort of instrument matrix, use and map a given instrument's articulations however you want, including as much or as little as you want, and choose whatever method to trigger switching between articulations that you want.

    You don't need the hard drive to install the library.  All of VSL's libraries can now be installed via download.  The hard drive is a convenience especially if one intends to buy/have lots of full libraries.

  • last edited
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    Ok thank's for the reply, i think i'd prefer the SE 1 bundle version before getting the full. I've listened to the audio demos, the instruments sound more "natural" than my actual library, so i'm really interested in getting VSL. Ok for the key and the hard drive.

    One more question, what do you mean by

    @noldar12 said:

    The full libraries are sampled at every half-step while SE is sampled at every whole step

    Does that make a real sample quality difference ?


  • I'm sure sampling at whole step vs. half step makes a difference.  It certainly makes a difference in the size of the library.  But in my opinion probably a bigger difference in the sound of the libraries is that SE has fewer velocity layers.  This affects the ability to make more subtle timbre changes in a given sound. 

    Having said that however SE sounds really really good.  I'm an SE user myself.  One more difference worth pointing out betwee the EW approach and VSL is that VSL is very dry.  So you'll need to supply your own reverb or think about MIR or MIR24.  I have MIR24 and it's a dream.  I use it with Finale and it's gives me a good workflow.

    Let me correct something I said.  There is a basic reverb inside of VI basic and VI Pro you can add to each instrument.

  • As Winknotes said, SE really does sound very good.  The full libraries sound "better", but you really will do fine with SE, and especially as you learn to use x-fade in your ensemble instruments (particularly strings), you will be able to achieve subtle dynamic variations (x-fade works less well on some solo instruments).

    As for your choice of where to start, again, what matters will be what you intend to write.  Especially if your interests are in the traditional classical/early Romantic period size orchestra, SE 1 and SE 1+ will give you the core orchestra.  SE 2 and SE 2+ add a number of important instruments to enable a later Romantic period orchestra. 

  • I think that my subtle experiences with VSL can be useful to you – maybe.

    I´m not professional composer or musician. During the last year I was using EWQLSO (Platinum) with somehow contradictive results (because of my poor knowledge – now I understand it!), I liked this library in general and sometimes continue using it - with more pleasure now because understand it better.

    I bought VSL SE Complete Bundle. This is a huge and really good sounding library. I didn´t like it first - for very dry sound, VI has its own reverb but if you add MIRx with VI Pro (or MIR pro - I don´t have it) the sound is more correct (realistic) – so adding those finally I obtained the sound I needed.

    I don´t know why, but it works better with VE Pro 5 than directly in DAW, as well as Kontakt libraries (Ultimate 8) and Play 3 work better with it (I use mainly Pro Tools 10 on Mac Book Pro retina 2.7, RAM 16 G –probably because of 32-bit architecture of this DAW and VE Pro offers access to 64-bit and all of the RAM)

    After buying and downloading VSL Dimension Strings - 2 days ago - and playing with it I can say that its sounds are yet more pleasant and realistic, but it requires more and more learning of possibilities of these libraries (that are endless, I think). So really wonderful sound! Now I can´t sleep at all - because of trying these sounds that are endless.

    By the other hand VSL SE templates in VI Pro (all strings and others) are really extraordinary well made (I miss these templates for DS and hope that very soon we´ll have them for all DS – the work for very high estimated maestro Dietz and his team). And you can do everything with these templates and somehow modify them at your manner - and really don´t need other libraries - for weeks, months (or years).

    So learning the software, making your own orchestra templates and listening to every sound of orchestra is the way to go – initially too slow (comparing to the other orchestra libraries) - but finally the sound is much better.

    Because of having some experience with other libraries and VSL tutorials, using of VSL SE was relatively easy, but Great Tutorials (!) of Beat Kaufmann helped me to use better VSL SE, VI and VI Pro (first steps obviously – I´m a beginner yet), locate correctly the instruments and apply reverb - and learn the “constructive” listening to all the details of each sound and finally the music piece. The ancienty of achieving the good sound now is changed to constructive approach – what steps I must do to have that particular sound. And to use Cubase that I didn´t like at first but now use it more and more. (Changing the DAW helps to understand better the main principles of overall making digital sound I think).

    But the way is really slow (for me) - mainly because of untrained ears (I´m a amateur so can´t dedicate too much time to music), so you have to be more patient to achieve the best results - and listen, listen, listen (“constructively” - what I´d do with this sound, what articulation should be better for that one etc)...

    And buying the other new library or software after studying well that you just possess - because the possibilities of these packages are great.

    So my experience is this:

    VSL SE is great (complete bundle is very recommended), VSL VE Pro 5 is very useful, VSL VI Pro 2 (and MIRx) is highly recommended, VSL DS is wonderful.

    I hope that was helpful.

  • Ok, thank's for the tips. I didn't expect so much detailed answers. Looks like the player is a bit technical to use, but it's a matter of time before i can get my hands on it and understand how it works... so i'm not worry about. As i use a score notation software, i don't spend much time on the player settings (just for checking the reverb style or the instruments channel affectations).

    Now I have more questions, what's DAW ? And Also, you speak about "VI Pro" : is that the name of the VSL player like "Play" is for EWQL libraries ?

  • DAW - Digital Audio Workstation (Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic, Sonar etc), VI Pro 2 - Vienna Instruments Pro 2.0 (como Play in EWQL)

  • Ok thank's !

  • I have EWQLSO Gold and Spaces for all of my writing. I compose mainly concert band literature and have little use for the strings. I originally liked EWQLSO for their big sounds. However for saxophones I was using Garitan libraries and hiding them in my mix because I wasn't satisfied with their sound. So I finally tried VSL saxophones. After using VSL saxophones in my mix I found that they didn't fit either only because they had such a fantastic symphonic sound. I realized that my EW sounds were just to big for what I was trying to do. So I finally switched to VSL. After switching I was till not completely satisfied. I was still using EW Spaces for my reverb. I was spending lots of time trying to Pan and EQ in an effort to place and hear individual instruments within my mix. I was getting frustrated until I tried the MIR demo. What a difference! Placing instruments on stage by drag and drop was so easy. I've since purchased a MIR 24 license. Long story short, for my type of work I find that the VSL sound are more symphonic than EWQLSO. Just my two cents. Aric

  • Actually, i don't complain about the sound quality of EWQL (which is good) : the brass section and woodwinds are interesting. Though the reason why i'm heading for VSL is about the the strings performance.

    I've heard also that the player of VSL ("VI pro" if i'm right) needs less memory than Play... in my view, that's a good point because even if i have 8GB ram, i'm still running low when i use Play.

    But what you told me is rather interesting. In fact, if i don't misunderstand, VSL VI pro seems less dependant on the reverb than the samples library of EWQL.