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  • Mega-string ensemble

    Hey guys!

    I'm sure many here must have experimented with combining Apassionata, Orchestra, Dimension, Chamber, etc into mega ensembles of 100+ virtual musicians etc.

    I haven't yet tried it, but thinking about it for an upcoming project, so I was wondering if anyone here has any tips to share, something that works especially well, pitfalls to avoid, etc?

  • My favourite combination (sound-wise as well as in terms of flexibility and "realism"): Appassionata plus Dimensions Strings, with an additional Solo String voice mixed in for even more drama. :-)

    Another very vivid and flexible combination is Chamber Strings backed-up by Appassinata for "size".

    The only possible pitfall is that they all should get programmed seperately to avoid that typical "MIDI-ness" of 100 percent synchronized voices.

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Nice! I've always liked to add in a solo string for a bit more realism. Sounds like a nice mix!!

    Have you tried this with any other instrument groups? Horns or something?

    (just need to to resolve a High Sierra issue I have open in another thread/support issue so I can get started hehe)

  • The question is: What exactly is the reason that makes you looking for something "Mega"?

    Since imho for music there is no "the bigger the better" as it might be a sellingpoint for popcorn, pizza or SUV's.

    If Japanese enthousiats for instance perform every year Beethoven IX with thousands of participants it might be an extraordinairy expierience being part of such a large choir, but I fear the musical quality does not necessarily benefit from the amount of participants.

    In general things become more and more 'blurred' and languid the larger the sectionsize is. So if you think about the overall tendency of Dietz suggestions they all tend to give the larger Setionsizes more presence and detail by adding smaller sections or soloists.

    However I am sure you know if you would take 100 soloists samplesets you will definitly not become anything "Mega" in any way at all. since however adding different samplesets does not necessarily make the impression of something in anyway larger.

    So my suggestion will be nearly the same just formulated as if it would be the opposite:

    Do the music you intend with medium or smaller section sizes (Dimensionstrings or Chamberstrings) and ask your self if, and in which occasions you realy want and need more blur, more languid gravity and less clearness and precision to get what you want, add than as much larger kind of section size like Orchestral Strings, or Appasionata. as you need.

    Thinking about Synchron-Strings I would also think that the way you mix the ambience might also help to strengthen the impression of a more or less large section.

  • I have tried a number of combinations. I own Appassionata, Orchestral Strings, Synchron Strings,  Spitfire Symphonic Strings,  and Cinematic Studio Strings. I agree with the comment that each should be programmed separately to get the maximum benefit from using different libraries. It is just my opinion, but I find that mixing two libraries from two different companies creates a sound complex and subtle enough to sound very real. Every combination I have tried that consists of two different libraries have always sounded better to me than one library alone. 

    A caveat is that I like the large orchestra, late romantic, classic Hollywood sound. If one wanted chamber strings I am not sure what would work best.

  • I agree with you Paul about what one might call a musically syncretistic approach and its efficacy. I've found that dimension strings in particular add the right amount of clarity and attack in most musical settings and are often the saving grace for me when detail is required. My approach these days seems to be like yours, I have many libraries and as you get to know them, you can then start manipulating them as one, a bit like technique in music - once you know it, it becomes available as a creative resource. I mean as if the possibilities weren't enough with just VSL!

    Having said all of that, VSL is still imo the best serious composer orientated software out there and long may they continue - they would be my desert island software above all others if it came to it.


    Don't forget that a 'mega' sound can also be achieved with appropriate orchestration and without the need for too much overlaying. As Steffan and Dietz have suggested, a larger section and a smaller one separately programmed and mixed sensitively will do the job. What really matters is your music and the scoring, do that well, choose  appropriate samples and it all becomes a lot easier.
  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on