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  • more pressure


    Is there any trick or some good hints to use VSL for Pop-/Rock-productions.

    I don't want to buy an additional library like EastWest only for that.

    The only problem I have is that the VSL sounds too "classical". You hear a typical american pop-production where you need a string or trumpet part. but it sounds terrible. Why??? How can it be???

    The string or trumpet should be as authenitc as a real person is playing the instrument with VSL. And it is.

    But what is the secret of a library like EastWest where I can take strings and trumpets and it sound better: more pressure, more non-classical-like.

    How can I add those effects to VSL?

    Thanks for any help, tricks, hints, examples...etc.


  • I can certainly help with the strings. I find that if I layer a solo violin (and or chamber strings violin) with the full section violins, it sounds smaller and more closely miked. I would disagree that EW is more suitable for pop as it has a built in hall reverb, due to their recording process.


  • Heimi,

    an interesting topic, no doubt. May I suggest that you pose this question in our Mixing and PostPro forum? Over there, the danger that your thread gets lost due to all the Vienna Instruments euphoria is not that evident.

    All the best,

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Thanks Dietz.

    How can I remove the topic from the old forum-section?


  • No need to do so - it's not disturbing anybody over there. I just thought this context would fit your questions better.

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Heimi,

    here's a tip: if you're using the strings in a -chord-harmony-in-background-to-chorus type situation, use the 0sus samples. It can sound great.

    Cheers, Rob.

  • Banquo, thanks for the tip.

    Any idea how I can create a powerfull fat trumpet background?

    Like you can hear in some older phil collins songs?


  • I'm by no means a Phil Collins specialist, but AFAIR, this sound is a lot about arrangement and phrasing. Not only trumpets involved here, bit also trombones and saxes (mainly alto, maybe tenor, too). The aesthetics of these funky horn-sections differ quite a bit from what a classically trained trumpet-player would try to achieve. The bluesey slides and falls are not so common in orchestral music, for example.

    This does not necessarily mean that you won't achieve a good result with our samples. Once you have analyzed the arrangements and got the style right, it's a lot about compression and saturation to get this fat and powerfull sound. Most of these older Collins-songs were recorded analogue, so you will have to mimic the typical effects of the signal chain, too.

    When you go back in time even further and listen to earlier Earth, Wind & Fire-arrangements, for example, you will hear that their brass-section had a pretty dry sound - something very uncommon in purely orchestral music. But this is no problem for you, as our samples are recorded without reverb, on an acoustically controlled sound-stage.

    I hope this gives you some first ideas to develop your own ... [:)]

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • To be fair though Dietz I don't think VSL is ever going to really sound like Earth, Wind & Fire or Tower of Power. Compression or not, it's mostly about the 'attitude' in the playing. I work with one trumpet player a lot who grew up in brass bands, then orchestra and more recently pop and jazz. Having not done 'classical' playing for some time his embouchure has changed significantly and he struggles to get the pure tone required for classical playing - still a great jazz sound though.

    Some can do it - witness Wynton Marsalis to name one - but on the whole it's an entirely different discipline.

    Just my 2p!


  • I think phil collins "saturday night and sunday morning" (from "but seriously") is the best example to explain it.
    I'm not 100% sure, but when I listen very carefully to it I hear that there are several instruments at the same time.

    colin, for me it's clear, that I cannot expect good results, when I try to play jazzy stuff with a classical library. The only thing I want is to make it sounds fat and powerfull. So here I have a very dry and real trumpet sound from VSL.

    Is there any producer in the pop-/funk-area who's using VSL with good results?

    I can give you another example: "boogie wonderland" from Earth, Wind & Fire.
    That's what I need, this brass-sound in the background.

  • You can't beat the EWF brass sound, but I still think you're asking a lot of what is essentially a classical library. You won't get the high trumpet screams, shakes and falls that are essential to the genre. They are also just played so loud in that sort of music and that's where all the energy is, you can't recreate that with all the EQ and compression in the world.

    If VSL ever take up this challenge I will be first on the list of buyers but I'm sure they've got plenty on their plates for now.

    Incidentally, I was listening to the Horizon Saxophones 1 last night as I'm currently working on a kitsch, 60's big band track. I'm going to go for those at the current price as I think they are probably the best I've heard, though still maybe not aggressive enough for many styles. Baritone & Alto will also be appearing in the VI format I hear.

    Have a listen for yourself, there are a few jazz styles in the demo section.


  • You mean the songs of Patrick Wilson and Craig Sharmat?

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    @cwillsher said:

    To be fair though Dietz I don't think VSL is ever going to really sound like Earth, Wind & Fire or Tower of Power. Compression or not, it's mostly about the 'attitude' in the playing. [...] Colin

    That's about what I wrote, yes.

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
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    I know Dietz, and I'm not looking for an argument, but you also said

    @Dietz said:

    This does not necessarily mean that you won't achieve a good result with our samples.

    which I feel is a little misleading in that the articulations aren't really there (yet?!) to achieve a good result with VSL in the context Heimi is referring to. Though of course it's subjective to some degree - it will be better than many a synth module of course.

    Heimi: Here's the page you need...">
    Scroll down to Saxophones 1.


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    @Heimi said:

    Is there any producer in the pop-/funk-area who's using VSL with good results?

    I'm working alot with pop/funk/soul/R&B, and I use VSL parts here and there, brass as well as strings and percussion. This is how my VSL pop/jazz life looks like today:


    To get a truly great pop brass sound today (not using sampled phrases) you almost certainly want to bring in real players... Unfortunately that's not always possible and there are some tricks that can and will work for bread-and-butter situations when you need to get something that just sounds good enough.

    1. First of all I'm a huge addict of live brass sections and since I'm playing in a band with a great 6-piece (3 trumpets, alto, tenor and bari) section since many years doing lots of TOP, EWF and Stevie songs I guess I'm fortunate enough to have close friends to call who will be able to play almost anything in the genre.

    2. There is no library in existence today that will do everything when it comes to brass parts... I do have VSL Pro, VSL Saxes 1, Quantum Leap Brass, Phantom Horns, Brass Supersection and more. The one that is closest today (judging by demos only) is the new Kick-Ass Brass virtual instrument. Unfortunately I don't have it yet.

    3. Sampled saxes almost have to be buried in an arrangement to sound ok. The VSL saxes sounds good for some things, but myself and sampled saxes don't go well together so...

    4. The VSL Trombones actually work quite ok in a pop arrangement. There are patches in there with some bite that can be really effective. Some legato playing will add to the realism. You need to edit them to enable pitch bends though... You probably still need to layer them with a more pop-oriented library.

    5. Layering a VSL legato trumpet with trumpets from other "thinner sounding" pop libs adds interesting things to the lines. The VSL trumpet adds to the body and the legato slurs and the other libraries take care of the bite and fx. Almost any sound with attitude works. Some shake sounds (sometimes I only use the attack from a shake sound just to get some intonation variety), falls or other fx fool many people. [:)]


    The VSL strings can be used quite effectively in a pop context. I'm not lucky enough to have the chamber strings which I believe is almost perfect for the job, but the pro edition strings works ok most of the time. Adding a solo violin on top actually makes the section sound smaller and more intimate. If you need a warmer sound just layer the string section with a pad and you will have a warm sound that still have the character of real strings.

    It would be extremely interesting to try out the new VI's and see what they can add with the automatic articulation-switching and everything. Also send a big Thank You to the VSL people for using their silent stage and not a concert hall for their recording sessions or the library would be almost useless for pop apart from that huge country ballad string section... [:D]

    Once we get away from the most extreme EWF pop brass style the VSL brass sounds also become much more usable on their own. I have done more jazz and broadway style pieces from time to time using almost exclusively VSL sounds (strings, woodwinds and brass) with good enough results.


  • Hi Mattias,

    I remember the original Kick Ass Brass demos which were by far the best around at the time - I didn't know they had a new VSTi coming [H]

    Melodyne can also help you out in any number of instances and I've had some success turning Trumpets into Trombones etc. to fill out the section.

    Like you say, try everything - a great attack from here, a realistic sustain from there, fill it out with other nuances etc. - Good advice.


  • Any other products I could use?

    I've on my shopping-list:

    - Peter Siedlaczek´s String Essentials
    - Kick-Ass Brass
    - Gary Garritan “Jazz & Big Band”

  • Of course you cannot create new playing styles/attitudes by means of compression and EQ, but you can make it stick out in your mix

    Some basic comments:
    One important aspect is that for many instruments, there seems to be less pressure in the higher pitch ranges, so theese higher parts tend to get lost in the mix.
    2 possible ways to handle this:
    a) compression
    b) volume automation for the track of this instrument (a lot of work!!!)

    Then there's the whole area of EQing. Sometimes it may be necessary to cut freqency ranges of other instruments to get your brass section to shine. A common instrument to gut about 3dB in the mid frequency range is the guitar, which often collides with vocals.


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    @Mattias Henningson said:

    The VSL strings can be used quite effectively in a pop context. I'm not lucky enough to have the chamber strings which I believe is almost perfect for the job,

    That's what I got the Chamber Strings for and I found them to great in my pop tunes.
    But mind you, I am not a top producer, just a hobby song writer, who was willing to buy what he thought would be the best strings for his pop tunes.
    IMHO, in a pop tune, especially very contemporary styles, often strings don't need to be veeeery much like a real player would play them.
    You can intentionally let them play in a way that a real chamber string section would never play, it might still be veeeery cool in a pop context, sometimes even a desirable style element.

    so, 2 thumbs up for Chamber Strings