Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
Forum Statistics

174,322 users have contributed to 41,832 threads and 252,978 posts.

In the past 24 hours, we have 3 new thread(s), 17 new post(s) and 66 new user(s).

  • EQ'ing VSL instruments

    Hello community.

    I have a very deep problem.

    Of course, I adore all VSL instruments for their professional shape and playability.

    In most situations, I can mix them the way I want and be very happy with it.

    The problem is the few cases when I am not that happy, and helas, it is so with dimension violins together with MIR.  Too harsh, not mellow enough, not that real.

    I find myself EQing the instruments (mainly violins) just to observe that I don't improve on anything, I just destroy the original sound.  And yes, I have 50 EQs at least, some quite expensive.

    Curiously (and happily), voices or percussion sound absolutely gorgeous in MIR for me, and MIR gives that unique 3D feeling that you can't get anywhere else on the planet.  But strings, particularily dimension violins, get me nervous.

    Even more when I hear the splendid demos of Guy Bacos and Carles Piles.  Not a chance that I buy the fact that they use only dimension strings and MIR.  I would be happy to get a clue to how they achieve such a lush and realistic sound.



  • It is all about right usage of EQ and rather remove frequencies than gain. You can try also distortion, tape emulation. It makes wonders.

    P.S.: I mentioned several times that real recorded strings are in most cases harsh sounding, the best real orchestral recordings out there sounds harsh, the natural sound of string instruments in real world is harsh. I dont understand why anybody complain about harsh sound of violins. If you hear real strings performances it sounds HARSH. If you want to create nonrealistic sounding strings like those trailer/epic, you really want non harsh sound. 

    These days the 99% of virtual orchestral productions is overproduced, squeezed and it doesnt sound realistic. If you want to know what is realistic, go for live concert with great orchestra. You will be thrilled what the real orchestra sounds like!!!

  • Well, what icecubeman said - one shouldn't neccessarily confuse "lush" with "realistic". I think the Dimension Strings library is in a lot of ways the opposite of the general "lush strings" characteristics. It's a quite intimately sized ensemble, and it's extremely detailed in sampling and workflow. Very pronounced, very close-up. It's really like looking at string instruments with a magnifying glass. As if you could touch the sound, I feel.

    The "lush" thing on the other hand is mostly achieved by having very huge ensembles, in big rooms, wide stereo image, significant EQ cuts in the high mid range (look at the areas around 1.4 - 1.7 kHz, 2 - 2.5 kHz, 3 - 3.7 kHz, 4- 4.7 kHz for starters). It's all kind of distant and cloudy and blurred. Kind of less detail, more marshmallow creme.

    So perhaps DS isn't the most obvious choice if you're going for that soft, mellow, creamy kind of thing. Appassionata is far more tailored for that. But anyways, "lush" for strings has a lot to do with wide stereo, cut the nasal and biting high mids, perhaps hype the top end a bit, place it far back. Perhaps add some warm saturation. That's always a start.

  • Thanks a lot for the input.

    I will definately give a try to tape saturation.

    I must apologize for my poor english.  Using the term "lush", I didn't mean the sound of the more than real large epic ensembles.  I'm not really in that thing.  And I adore the detail of phrasing that you can get with Dimension Strings.  I just wanted to point out that very pragmatic thing, when hearing a sound, you immediately react epidermically and go fetch your EQs.

    I agree that strings can sound harsh in real.  That being said, having had a few opportunities to conduct real ensembles (from 4 to 30 pieces), I do believe that if you have good musicians with fine instruments playing in a nice venue, they can sound like you ask them to.

    I admire the job done on the character EQs in MIR, as they do give character while maintaining all of the truth of the original sound.  Something I don't seem to be capable of.  When I subtract anything (again, especially with DS violins) I feel that the sound is lost.  Same with the MIR room EQ : ok, the ennoying frequencies can go away, but then, the magic of MIR goes away too.  I exagerate a little bit, but then...  And one of my point was : those frequencies that I want to tame when the DS violins are playing don't bother me at all when other instruments are playing.  I don't even have that much problems with the violas when played low, and same with the cellos and the basses.

    My best take for the violins so far was to chose the "warm" character preset, the Blumlein microphone setup, and force the low strings on the violin.  But I can't achieve the nice sound and space I hear in some of the best demos.  I saw a video of the guy at Fabfilters explaining mid-side compression with unbalanced left and right settings, claiming it gives more space, and such things...  But this seems a bit esoteric to me.

    My second best take was, in a project that I tweaked for weeks, still unsatisfied, removing every EQ and other treatments, and voila, it sounds much better like that (back to step one).

    Just thoughts.

    Thanks again for the good input.

  • Update :

    After two more weeks searching and tweeking, I might have found something that gets me closer to where I want to be :

    The SERTI/FORTI tilt filters (Numerical Sound for VSL Suite).

    When used properly, they do wonders no other Eq has done in my life.

    I used the C5 treble tilt darker 5 on the violins, and voila.  Much less harsh, more guts, and still violins.  Combined with reduced reverberation time in MIR and Miracle enhancement, I get closer to happiness.

    The fun is : I had them in my toolbox for years, but never used them.

  • Hello,

    I also like to use these filter.

    I recently bought the 'universal sordino' from numerical sound and tried it with Dimension strings.

    It looks really promising but there is so many different filters to choose from that it takes a lot of testing.

    I'm already having pretty good result with it.

    It saves memory too!

    Jean Roy

  • Hello Jean.

    It is your previous comment on these filters from Numerical Sound that made me remember that I had those somewhere in my bag.


  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on