Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
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  • Recording VSTs to Stems

    I am wondering what most users of VSL do...

    Do you track your VST instruments to analog channels in your DAW for mixing, or do you mix the midi instrument audio outputs without recording them to analog tracks?


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    Hi Synetos

    I am doing music with synthesizers and samples now for a a very long time (started at 1975 with a Roland SH7) Then I was a Logic user later on till Logic went away from the windows user... Unfortunately I didn't read out all my projects at that time as audio files...they are lost for ever...

    • Keep in mind that quit a lot of licences are needed for playing all your samples, instruments and effects even if you want to mix it again 10 years later.
    • Keep in mind that we probably will have even better effects in 2025.
    • Who can guaranty that all the companies still are here (some effects are phoning home from time to time
    • ...

    Also: The building up my system new twice or more showed me, that it isn't easy to load old projects without any issue... Since my Logic-Disaster I always read out every instrument as an audiotrack without any effect. So I am mixing with pure audio tracks after having all together.

    Beside a more time I use, more used HD-space I get the advantage which I am looking for: I am always able to remix my projects at any time with new and even better effects and removed from any company, licence DAW, etc.

    This is not the easiest way but more than once I did a mix again - years later unter new and more modern conditions...

    Beat


    - Tips & Tricks while using Samples of VSL.. see at: https://www.beat-kaufmann.com/vitutorials/ - Tutorial "Mixing an Orchestra": https://www.beat-kaufmann.com/mixing-an-orchestra/
  • Thanks Beat. I appreciate your experience and wisdom.

    Yes! Losing data is miserable. I have lost data because of hard drive failures with no backups, and forgetting where I had stuff before wiping a drive, etc. I now run scripts to copy my data drives to secondary hard drives every night, and then copy that to external hard disks. I always have 3 copies of everything I want to keep. I have lost data that I can never get back. It is painful.

    I too worry about all the resources and dependence I have sunk into VST's. There is nothing tangible there. I have several highend Martin guitars, and most of them are worth more than I paid for them. I suspect I could play them for another 20 years and still get every dime I paid for them back. VST's and plugins...not so much.

    Part of my initial inquiry is based on my own template building and trying to have minimum number of VEP instances. If I set up giant VEP instances for strings, but I can only return 16 stereo channels of audio back to my daw. I have way more articulations than I will ever use with VSL Strings Complete Full library. In a way, it is massive overkill and the learning curve is daunting.

    A real challenge for me is choosing which way I want to work going forward with my VST libraries...especially larger ones like VSL. Do i want one midi track per articulation? Matrix or many instances of VI Pro? I am finding I don't really like keyswitches. I have been experimenting with VST expression maps in Cubase and setting the articulations up as "attributes" and not "directions". Then, I can set my default to be performance legato(which is what I am usually after anyway) and  change it as needed. But, I have to then set the articulation for each note played. I kind of have to do that with keyswitches or one track per articulation anyway.

    Do I want each articulation on its own return bus so I can then record it to a track? I am thinking along those lines. Maybe it is just that I have each instrument category on it's own return audio bus. Like violin always comes back on Bus1/2 and Cello on Bus3/4, etc. But then there is solo, chamber, dimensions, appassianta, etc. Gigantic...when all I really usually want is a solo cello or an orchestral string pad.

     

    I still need much more experience working with VSL/VST's/VEP to figure out what works best for me. I like hearing how others do stuff because it gives me ideas that i likely wouldn't have thought of on my own. There is just so much to learn...like any instrument.


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    @Synetos said:

    ... A real challenge for me is choosing which way I want to work going forward with my VST libraries...especially larger ones like VSL. Do i want one midi track per articulation? Matrix or many instances of VI Pro? I am finding I don't really like keyswitches. I have been experimenting with VST expression maps in Cubase and setting the articulations up as "attributes" and not "directions". Then, I can set my default to be performance legato(which is what I am usually after anyway) and  change it as needed. But, I have to then set the articulation for each note played. I kind of have to do that with keyswitches or one track per articulation anyway.

    Do I want each articulation on its own return bus so I can then record it to a track? I am thinking along those lines. Maybe it is just that I have each instrument category on it's own return audio bus. Like violin always comes back on Bus1/2 and Cello on Bus3/4, etc. But then there is solo, chamber, dimensions, appassianta, etc. Gigantic...when all I really usually want is a solo cello or an orchestral string pad.

    Yes that's a challenge. Here is my approach:

    Normally I use for a "common orchestra instrument" 5 - 10 different articulations. When it comes to play a solo I often do need not really more but I use probably more different legatos instead of only one...

    So that's why I organized my Vienna Instruments and Articulations for all instruments the same way. Here is a Link, which explains it more detailled:

    http://www.beat-kaufmann.com/vitutorials/vibasicpresets/index.php

    In short: Because we normally use 5-10 articulations I used  the lowest Octave of the VI for (C-1...C0) for selecting Articulations

    • C-1  stac
    • C#-1 det
    • D-1  det long
    • D#-1 sus vib, sus expr, sus nov
    • E-1 leg, perf-spic, perf-marc
    • F-1 dimcresc 2s
    • F#-1  dimcresc 3s
    • G-1 sfz, fp, sffz
    • G#-1 pizz
    • A-1 perf rep

    This organisation I've done for every! instrument (pizz only for strings of course) So I am able to select each important articulation with just one key switch note. Because C-1 always is staccato (for every isntrument) I am very fast in setting those key switches. In case of expanding an instrument with articulations I use the next octave (red above). for moving with X from A1 to A2, A3...

    I am still happy with this system until now (using it for 15years). Different Midi-Tracks for each articulation may have advantages but first of all you will have a lot of Tracks for only one Instrument. And also: It probably depends on the possibilities of your DAW whether you would have a good overview or not with such a lot tracks and a big arrangement. Also keep in mind when you need to switch the articulation between nearly every note  it will probably much more clear to have all those swichtes and notes in one track instead every next note in another track.

    Hope you will get some other possibilities here, so that you can make your final decission.


    - Tips & Tricks while using Samples of VSL.. see at: https://www.beat-kaufmann.com/vitutorials/ - Tutorial "Mixing an Orchestra": https://www.beat-kaufmann.com/mixing-an-orchestra/
  • Thanks again Beat. When I first bought VSL, I purchased your tutorial. I worked through the beginning, but it was all so new to me that I set it aside. Perhaps I will sit back down and work though them again completely, since it would probably make sense to me now.

    I do like that concept of consistantly mapping your articulations across all instruments as it would certainly make it easier to remember. Do you not have issues with double bass using the C0-C1 keyswitches? I am guessing that is the only exception? Or...maybe I need to look more closely at the delta between Cubase and VSL. It could be the offset of middle C that makes this not work right for me. Strings are not native to me, so once again...I am learning.

    Honestly, I mostly bought VSL because I wanted to use solo cello on a tune I was writing and wanted something that was as real as possible. I got carried away and bought the whole string library and now I am slowly trying to learn how to use it. I want to have the beauty of strings in my music, but not some cheesy VST string pad. I wanted something as close to real as I could find. VSL seemed to be the "best". Perhaps I bit off more than I can chew, but I am still chewing.

    Right away I fell in love with the Legato patches and it is really nice to just create melodic lines when I am trying to develop new ideas. When wearing my Sennheiser HD800s headphones, I just get lost in the beauty of the sounds. The tones I am lookng for are in there, I just have a way to go to learning how to best work with them.


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    @Another User said:

    Honestly, I mostly bought VSL because I wanted to use solo cello on a tune I was writing and wanted something that was as real as possible. I got carried away and bought the whole string library and now I am slowly trying to learn how to use it. I want to have the beauty of strings in my music, but not some cheesy VST string pad. I wanted something as close to real as I could find. VSL seemed to be the "best". Perhaps I bit off more than I can chew, but I am still chewing.

    No problem to reach your string sound with VSL. 3 Tipps for getting even better results. I often combine ensemble strings with the solo strings. This adds some more intimacy. As a second tipp - it is more a "must" - use always X-Velocity with slow music and strings. The sound never should stay static. Have a look here (Nr. 24.C) and here (Nr 41.). And a last tipp for using strings: Try not to use too much EQ. because the strings are very well recorded by VSL. Cut lows and reduce a bit the high frequencies but do not more in a first round.

    Have fun with your VSL Libraries

    Beat


    - Tips & Tricks while using Samples of VSL.. see at: https://www.beat-kaufmann.com/vitutorials/ - Tutorial "Mixing an Orchestra": https://www.beat-kaufmann.com/mixing-an-orchestra/
  • Beat: It is certainly time for me to return to your tutorials!

    The combination of string instrument grouping in Nr24.C is exactly the idea of what I am trying to get for a string pad. Large sound, but still full of real string character, without sounding all synthy. "The sound never should stay static" is what I don't like about string pads from other VST instruments sets I own. Nr41, great example of solo string with emotion and the larger strings adding support to that. 

    I want the parts to breath and feel like they are being played live along side all my acoustic guitars, etc. It would be easy to just skip that and have one midi channel to get my string sounds from omnisphere for example, but then they are not going to sound unique or what i want. I don't want to write to my Vst library, I want to extract/create the sounds I want. That will take way more work, but ultimately be more original and aligned to what I hear in my head. 

    Most of my music is singer/songwriter with acoustic guitar. I am trying to blend an acoustic folk rock sort of sound with the intimacy of solo strings & winds for counter melodies and harmony to vocal lines. Not trying to go for a large rock opera kind of thing. Hard to explain what I am trying to do, but when I get there I will know it. 

    Thanks again for your thoughts and tips, and I am going to pull out your VSL tutorial material and have a go at it again.