Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
Forum Statistics

184,848 users have contributed to 42,370 threads and 255,389 posts.

In the past 24 hours, we have 0 new thread(s), 6 new post(s) and 66 new user(s).

  • Updated: Side by side comparison using 2 different violins

    Please go to the bottom of the thread (post dated February 23rd, 2018) to hear both versions of "Can I Dream?" for violin, clarinet, and piano.



    I received this comment from someone on another forum:

    "...The single thing I don't like is the violin sound, it is very fake..."

    This is not the first time the quality of the VSL string sound has been questioned by individuals on this other forum. Indeed, while I use VSL exclusively, I'm finding myself agreeing with these thoughts the more I write in this molto espressivo style. Becky and I spend an inordinate amount of time tweaking midi, adjusting cc's, playing parts in, etc. to present as lifelike a performance as possible. It seems that the "synthy" sound I often hear associated with the VSL strings comes when in the higher velocity layers and/or with the use of velocity crossfade, along with the placement in Mir. It's like the violin is more an "electric violin" sound to my ears. Recognizing the infinite adjustments possible, I'm not assuming it's VSL's "fault", but when you keep working with instruments and seemingly can make no progress in convincing people of their authentic sound, perhaps I need to (gasp) consider other VI's that are easier to work with and/or possess a more convincing timbral quality. I feel my compositional skills/quality of my music exceeds my production skills and it can be frustrating showcasing my music when it seems people care far more about the production quality than the substance of the music itself.

    I don't want to talk about competitor's products here, but I am intrigued by a few other solo violins. I love my VSL instruments, so if those experts among you could offer suggestions on how to get a better sound out of the violin, I'm all ears!

    Thanks,
    Dave


  • Hi Dave

    I thought your piece was contemplative, while also being playful. Well...I am really poor at describing music in words (lack of formal music education I guess) but anyways I thought the composition was well balanced thematically rhythmically and texturally. To maintain that for 5:48 minutes without getting boring is not easy, so, well done!

    With a (good) live performance you will surely get a lot more expression but the rendering is quite well done.

    One rendering comment is that when the clarinets come in the voume is a tad high. You may want to lower the clarinat volume a bit.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers

    Anand


  • Thanks, Anand, for listening and sharing your thoughtful comments; they're very much appreciated! I agree re. The clarinet, even after it was already lowered a few times. Getting that perfect balance is always a challenge. Dave

  • I updated the first post to avoid confusion.

  • last edited
    last edited

    The person who said that violin is "very fake" is biased and wrong. 

    The violin sounds very good in this and I think you are losing your objectivity somewhat, probably working too hard on it.  You mention how you have to spend an "inordinate" amount of time tweaking - that is musical performance.  In other words, a live player does all that from years of practice and skill, and you are trying to reproduce it with samples so it is going to take some time and labor. 

    Anyway it is a really nice composition and don't believe fools on other Forums - they are obviously messed up  if they don't use VSL.  

    (edited version 😇)


  • Hi Dave,

    First of all, don't lose your self-confidence because of some individuals that always speak negetive about other people's work. I know the forum you mean and I have the same experience there. In most cases these 'individuals' are into pop or electronic music and have different expectations or no idea about classical music and its sound. Moreover that forum has some sort of anti-attitude towards everything coming from Vienna Libraries. I wonder which alternatives they can offer with the same flexibility and sound. But of course it's a fact that it is hard to build a live-like realistic performance and unless you're a good violin player, it will always be difficult. It's ways easier to play percussive short staccati/spiccati on every string instrument, that doesn't require any tweaking at all. But in our case, the tough issues are the inner-note expression, dynamic movement, note transitions, attacks and releases. When you master these things, the instrument will automatically sound real. The rest is EQ'ing and room placement to obtain a good performance. Maybe we all want to bring the solo instruments to close in our face so that we lose the global sound... I'm just helping to think with you, because I suffer from the very same disease.

    The composition is brilliant and well performed. I see no reason whatsoever to criticise it. He who is without sinn throw the first stone (or who could do better, should prove it!).

    Jos


  • Thank you, WIlliam and Jos, for your comments.  Since the intial comment, two others have chimed in with similar sentiment, one suggesting the "Joshua Bell" violin (is Joshua available for hire? lol j/k)

    Anyway, it's all very subjective, and I get how one can appreciate a certain timbral quality in an instrument and/or a certain level of reverb/eq, etc. that can make or break the perception of the piece to a listener.  At least they're all very complimentary of the music, which at the end of the day is what matters most.  

    I will continue to work with the instruments I have and exploit their potential as best as I can going forward.

    Take care,
    Dave


  • last edited
    last edited

    'I will continue to work with the instruments I have and exploit their potential as best as I can going forward."

    This is where VSL scores highly, even with instruments that are years old now. There are seemingly endless ways to interpret a line given the generosity of their articulations. I was drawn first and foremost to VSL all those years back because of their attention to musical details and I too am still finding out new ways. I am also coming around to Synchron too, mainly because of the dynamic range and a fondness for the VSL workflow, especially with an iPad.

    Another good piece Dave BTW (though I prefer 'New Meaning'....😉 😉. I know you are joking about Joshua Bell, but that really is a terrific set of samples too.


    www.mikehewer.com
  • last edited
    last edited

    @mh-7635 said:

    Another good piece Dave BTW (though I prefer 'New Meaning'....😉 😉. I know you are joking about Joshua Bell, but that really is a terrific set of samples too.

    Very different styles, obviously, but I'd guess you're one of the few that feels that way based on how few people ever comment on pieces like "New Meaning."  Definitely not music for mass consumption, unfortunately.

    Dave


  • last edited
    last edited

    Hi Dave,

    I like your piece overall, everything has already been said with regard to the rendition. 😃

    I do use 99.99% of Vienna stuff (including mixing plug-ins). Negative comments about VSL surprise me whenever I hear them, please don't be discouraged by negative comments of who simply doesn't like VSL.

    Nevertheles if you wish to experiment with something that has been sampled with a different technique/philosophy, that can only help in my opinion.......you'll end up with a more complete palette, you might have a different picture of pros and cons within each library or you will have just one more option for future renditions to the very least.

    Best regards

    Francesco


    Francesco
  • There are no sample libraries that are seriously competing with VSL "sampled with a different technique/philosophy"  because every sample library out there is an IMITATION OF VSL - at best.  If they want to do something really good. 

    People do not understand what this company created - to them all sample libraries are the same, just different approaches, etc.   It is all the same, just how do you do this, that, etc. etc,. etc.

    What you don't know is that there was nothing remotely resembling VSL prior to it.  They originated everything that current sample librairies imitate.  No CEO of other libraries will admit that, but it is the reality.  


  • last edited
    last edited

    @William said:

    What you don't know is that there was nothing remotely resembling VSL prior to it.  They originated everything that current sample librairies imitate.  No CEO of other libraries will admit that, but it is the reality.  



    Yes, I am well aware of it. 😊

    I am young but I was born (and I started MIDI-strating) in a sad world without legato and Velocity X-fade.

    Maybe I picked the wrong word and it's not a matter of technique/philosophy behind the samples, but if one likes the sound of a certain sample library I can't see anything wrong with giving it a try (assuming that budget is not a problem).

    The other forum doesn't like VSL, I don't know why but I wouldn't speculate on that, it doesn't make any difference to me. If I have VSL related queries I ask the VSL community, if I want to hear opinions on EW Stormdrum 2 VS NI Damage I might ask over the other forum or just go on YouTube and listen to some users overview.


    Francesco
  • last edited
    last edited

    I have had a second listen to your track, Dave: there is nothing wrong with it.

    Please note that this is only my opinion:

    Clarinet and Piano are performed perfectly, only from time to time the Violin sounds a bit less credible, only here and there, it is definitely well performed overall.

    1) I normally stay away from solo strings, they are the most difficult thing to render.

    2) Particularly if your compositional skills exceed your production skills please be patient with solo string renditions.

    3) Please listen to this: Guy Bacos - Solo Violin, with this sample library (which you already own) you can do anything that you might do with Joshua Bell, or with David Oistrakh. 😇

    4) Reverb always contributes to realism, I would personally bring the clarinet and the violin a bit more towards the center and just a bit closer to the listener.......I would also try to experiment with different IRs comparing your track to other recordings of similar music. Again this is just a matter of personal preference but I would try a smaller and/or brighter stage.

    Please don't be discouraged and keep up the good work! 😊


    Francesco
  • last edited
    last edited

    @Francesco Pirrone said:

    I have had a second listen to your track, Dave: there is nothing wrong with it.

    Please note that this is only my opinion:

    Clarinet and Piano are performed perfectly, only from time to time the Violin sounds a bit less credible, only here and there, it is definitely well performed overall.

    1) I normally stay away from solo strings, they are the most difficult thing to render.

    2) Particularly if your compositional skills exceed your production skills please be patient with solo string renditions.

    3) Please listen to this: Guy Bacos - Solo Violin, with this sample library (which you already own) you can do anything that you might do with Joshua Bell, or with David Oistrakh. 😇

    4) Reverb always contributes to realism, I would personally bring the clarinet and the violin a bit more towards the center and just a bit closer to the listener.......I would also try to experiment with different IRs comparing your track to other recordings of similar music. Again this is just a matter of personal preference but I would try a smaller and/or brighter stage.

    Please don't be discouraged and keep up the good work! 😊

    Hi Francesco,

    Thanks so much for taking the time both to listen and to offer such helpful and constructive feedback.  Yes, it seems that with reference to #3 above, Guy Bacos has the Midas touch with regard to his use of VSL.  I noticed articulations though that I don't even have (only have the standard library, not the extended) nor do I use Vienna Suite.  That said, obviously, his expertise is light years beyond my own, and quite frankly, listening to his music only discourages me as I feel I won't get to that level of production finesse in this lifetime.

    As for #4, thank you for these suggestions.  We'll definitely play around with things and see if we can't "heighten the realism."  That said, I am also inclined to (gasp!) consider adding other non-VSL libraries to my instrument list, for the reasons you cited above.

    Cheers!

    Dave


  • last edited
    last edited

    You are very welcome, Dave. I genuinely think that having a go at other libraries can only increase you love for VSL and you'll probably end up using VSL most of the time anyway. 😊


    @Acclarion said:

    That said, obviously, his expertise is light years beyond my own, and quite frankly, listening to his music only discourages me as I feel I won't get to that level of production finesse in this lifetime.



    Don't worry, I feel exactly the same way. 😉


    Francesco
  • Francesco sorry if I sounded obnoxious - I agree with what you said actually!  You are right about solo strings and in general an insane amount of tweaking is needed to match what a good player does almost without thinking - especially dynamics and lack of droning tones which one always has with samples because they have to be recorded that way. However  I did think the violin sounded very good in this!   


  • last edited
    last edited

    @William said:

    Francesco sorry if I sounded obnoxious - I agree with what you said actually!  You are right about solo strings and in general an insane amount of tweaking is needed to match what a good player does almost without thinking - especially dynamics and lack of droning tones which one always has with samples because they have to be recorded that way. However  I did think the violin sounded very good in this!   



    You didn't at all, William. But thanks! 😊


    Francesco
  • Just heard this and read the concern of the sound and wanted to add my two cents worth. 

    Many people have an opinion of variouos types of music and also have preferences. I thought the violin sounded perfect for the piece. it sounds very balanced in the style it was rendered. I love VSL instruments and try to use them even in non-classical music because they are so realistic. 

    Perhaps the critic tends to like more "gypsy style" violin, or something with a LOT of expression. I have 8-10 different violin libraries and the producers can't make all libraries, everything for everybody.  They have a goal in mind, and sample towards that goal. 

    One of my libraries has a weepy sound and would be good for that kind of music. Another is more expressive, and would produce a sound more like a Hungarian Rhapsodie, Another is perfect for Gypsy violin. And another, and another, and...

    I'm guessing the critics have their favorite genre, their favorite "violin sound" and don't appreciate other types of music and performances. 

    VSL's goal was to come up with the biggest, the best, the most complete, and  the most natural sounding "entire orchetra library".  Had they done "one offs" of each peice in an orchestra, it wouldn't sound natural when combined.  

    I wouldn't worry about it. Did they offer a piece of their music in the same style, with what they believe to be a more realistic rendition??? 


  • last edited
    last edited

    Hi Arbian33,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts; they're spot on. It's funny, because since this thread started, I did decide to try a different violin library that I just purchased, simply for my own interest. I'm going to share the new version of this piece below, alongside the original VSL version. I would welcome thoughts on which version people prefer, especially with regard to the sonic characteristics of the violin (but of course, comments on the actual music are always welcome!)

    Can I Dream? (new version)

    Can I Dream? (original version)

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts!

    Dave


  • I like both pieces equally well.

    Because the piece starts with the piano, and the piano is present throughout the song, It appears to me to be a piano piece with violin and clarinet accompaniment. Yet this piece gives room for the accompanists to add lots of character to the song. In a "live" situation, performance of this, accross several venues, might require hiring local chamber orchestra musicians.  As such, it will be performed a little differently, every time. 

    That doesn't mean performance no. X is better than performance no. Z because a few people like performer X and his/her favorite violin more than performer Z and their favorite instrument. It's all subjective.  Now, had this been a violin solo piece, with piano and clarinet accompaniment, the rules (or lack thereof) would be different. I'd expect the violin to play more expressively, as the soloist. 

    Interpretation of the sheet music will be different between the performing musicians also. So, who's to say what should be changed.

    I love the sound of the violin and the music, that's often played on media when portraying a romantic dinner at a quaint resaraunt, and a violinist wandering from table to table setting the mood. But it would change this song, to another genre, or possibly ruin it. 

    Imagine if Itzhak Perlman, Benny Goodman, and Little Richard competed for the limelight on a song.  Utter cacophony on a grand scale for many reasons. Yet they are all great musicians in their own right.  This might actually become someone's all time favorite, but not everybody's..

    There's a time and place for everything, This is your song, your place, and your time, and therefore deserves merit. I'd take the criticisms of you library choices as motivation to seek choices and as inspiration to continue to improve , 

    But had you added a violin and clarinet to a HipHop/Rap song, I'd have a problem with that...  :)