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  • Vienna Instruments or Performance Set?

    I am currently using a lot of VSL samples: Pro Brass and Winds, Horizon Chamber Strings, Solo Strings, Mallets, etc. I work on one computer running Gigastudio 3.0 and Sonar Pro 4.0. I like working in midi at least for beginnings of projects and then I expand to Pro Tools and other audio processing software and hardware.

    I need to get some Brass and Woodwinds that have good performance abilities, but I am not sure wether to buy the Pro Edition Performance Set, or the Vienna Instruments (brass I and Winds I, std. and ext. versions). I really do not work often with virtual instruments via Sonar, though I know you can.

    I need some suggestions from people familiar with both sets. I'd like to keep working as I am, can I use Vienna Instruments on Sonar along with standard sample files? Do the VIs use a lot more resources than the Performance set? Is there a big difference in sound quality between the two? I really need convincing legato and repetitions. IS one set better then the other?

    I know I am asking a lot here, but I don't want to end up spending a lot of money on the wrong thing. Any unbiased suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  • I would get the VI Winds I and Brass I. It wil get you up and running on VI and all it's abilities and give you what you are asking for with great reptition samples and legato etc. Also more articulations like portato.

    VI is incredible.

  • Just to add to the above I notice that you ask about resources. I have no way of knowing whether or not the CPU is taxed more than using the Pro Edition, but I can load many more samples than I ever could in Giga. Couple that with the fact that memory usage is 100% more efficient, I would say that getting VI is a no brainer.

    DG

  • Is there any VSL documentation explaining exactly how VIs work with sequencers. I have been using samples with Giga and a sequencing program for years and am not very familiar with the technology that VIs use.

    Can you use VIs in addition to regular VSL samples in your sequncer at the same time? Would I experiemce problems running Giga 3.0 with my sequencing software (Sonar 4.0) along with VIs?

    Thanks,
    Mike

  • Dear Astro,

    I don't use Sonar, so wouldn't presume to comment on this. However, I do drive both Giga 3 and VI from a VST host (in my case Brainspawn Forte), connecting to Giga via Rewire (which is what I would expect that you would also do in Sonar), and have found it to work pretty flawlessly.

    As somebody that has moved from Gigastudio to VIs with Logic as the sequencer (so not all on the same box like you), I can thoroughly recommend the VIs. There is almost no mucking around to configure keyswitches against a differing range of articulations - not like the mess with putting together stacked instruments in Giga for the same facility; indeed, if you just load the standard patches, you get a good range of keyswitches/modwheel patches etc. out of the box.

    Hope this helps.

    Kind Regards,

    Nick.

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    Nick,

    This does help, thank you. Why do you run on two machines? Is it required when using Giga and Logic? The only reason I'd rather not have to run from more then one machine is that I just bought a new computer and with the looming purchase of VIs, I still need to be able to eat!

    I actually do have a second computer that I use for storage, but it is only a Pentium 3 1GHz machine with 1 GB of RAM. The newer one is a Pentium 4 3Ghz, with 1 GB of RAM and 4 Glyth hard drives. It works very well. Do you think I could actually run VIs and/or sample from that older machine if networked to the newer one for processing? Does that even come close to the minimum requirements?

    Thanks,
    Mike
    PS - I am going to PM you on this as well in case you don't check this thread amymore - feel free to reply via the forum or PM.


    @nicks@aubergine.co.uk said:

    Dear Astro,

    I don't use Sonar, so wouldn't presume to comment on this. However, I do drive both Giga 3 and VI from a VST host (in my case Brainspawn Forte), connecting to Giga via Rewire (which is what I would expect that you would also do in Sonar), and have found it to work pretty flawlessly.

    As somebody that has moved from Gigastudio to VIs with Logic as the sequencer (so not all on the same box like you), I can thoroughly recommend the VIs. There is almost no mucking around to configure keyswitches against a differing range of articulations - not like the mess with putting together stacked instruments in Giga for the same facility; indeed, if you just load the standard patches, you get a good range of keyswitches/modwheel patches etc. out of the box.

    Hope this helps.

    Kind Regards,

    Nick.

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    @Astro said:

    Nick,

    This does help, thank you. Why do you run on two machines? Is it required when using Giga and Logic? The only reason I'd rather not have to run from more then one machine is that I just bought a new computer and with the looming purchase of VIs, I still need to be able to eat!

    I actually do have a second computer that I use for storage, but it is only a Pentium 3 1GHz machine with 1 GB of RAM. The newer one is a Pentium 4 3Ghz, with 1 GB of RAM and 4 Glyth hard drives. It works very well. Do you think I could actually run VIs and/or sample from that older machine if networked to the newer one for processing? Does that even come close to the minimum requirements?

    Thanks,
    Mike

    Mike, the three problems with Giga are:

    1) You can only access about 1.1GB of your memory.
    2) If you tweak Windows in order to get this much it can cause problems for other applications.
    3) It can be very touchy about sharing a computer with anything else.

    As to whether or not it will all work together with VST instruments all on 1 PC, I'm afraid that the answer is that it should, but no guarantees.

    My best advice would be:

    1) Crossgrade from Giga, to the VST version (GVI) which works within your host in the same way as Vienna VI (and will allow you to use much more memory), and run any non VSL instruments in this.
    2) Buy VI so that you don't have to worry about the Performance Tool
    3) Upgrade your RAM to at least 2GB (preferably 4GB).

    The reason Nick runs Logic and Giga on two machines is that Giga is PC only and Logic is Mac only. The reason I use 4 machines is that my working template is around 8GB.

    DG

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    @DG said:

    Mike, the three problems with Giga are:

    1) You can only access about 1.1GB of your memory.
    2) If you tweak Windows in order to get this much it can cause problems for other applications.
    3) It can be very touchy about sharing a computer with anything else.

    As to whether or not it will all work together with VST instruments all on 1 PC, I'm afraid that the answer is that it should, but no guarantees.

    My best advice would be:

    1) Crossgrade from Giga, to the VST version (GVI) which works within your host in the same way as Vienna VI (and will allow you to use much more memory), and run any non VSL instruments in this.
    2) Buy VI so that you don't have to worry about the Performance Tool
    3) Upgrade your RAM to at least 2GB (preferably 4GB).

    The reason Nick runs Logic and Giga on two machines is that Giga is PC only and Logic is Mac only. The reason I use 4 machines is that my working template is around 8GB.

    DG


    Regarding my setup, I have Giga installed on 1 PC, which also runs VIs - this is for legacy samples and I use the same PC for Percussion VIs. Aside from this I have a further 3 PCs which run the various other collections of VIs. Ultimately, I use multiple PCs in the same manner as DG, because of RAM and CPU limitations.

    Regarding RAM, Gigastudio can access more than 1.1GB with the /3GB switch - the exact amount depends on configuration (and added to that I can't remember, but I know that I've been using 1.5GB and upwards).

    I would agree with DG on his advice regarding VIs; remember that with GS you get a sampling playback engine, which you will need if you ever want to play samples other than VSL! VIs are the most efficient way of playing back Vienna samples, so for most efficient workflow you will want both (unless you chose Kontakt, which I believe is a viable option on the PC).

    Regarding your older machine, I'm not sure whether or not it meets the minimum requirements - I'd suggest you send an email to support@vsl.co.at to check this for sure. If you were to use it, you would probably want to upgrade the RAM, and you'd want to make sure the hard drive has acceptable performance (since sample streaming is a reasonably demanding application). Networking the machines together would be fine - you'd probably want something like MIDI Over LAN, produced by Music Lab, which does what it says on the tin - send MIDI Over a LAN. It's a pretty good product, and I've happily been using it without issue for a while now.

    Kind Regards,

    Nick.

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    @nicks@aubergine.co.uk said:


    Regarding RAM, Gigastudio can access more than 1.1GB with the /3GB switch - the exact amount depends on configuration (and added to that I can't remember, but I know that I've been using 1.5GB and upwards).

    Nick.

    Nick, not to disagree with you, but if this was so you would be the first person in history to be able to get 1.5Gb out of Giga. [[:|]] With the /3Gig switch installed on all three of my PCs, Giga could only manage about 250MB before it crashed. [8o|]

    DG

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    @nicks@aubergine.co.uk said:


    Regarding RAM, Gigastudio can access more than 1.1GB with the /3GB switch - the exact amount depends on configuration (and added to that I can't remember, but I know that I've been using 1.5GB and upwards).

    Nick.

    Nick, not to disagree with you, but if this was so you would be the first person in history to be able to get 1.5Gb out of Giga. [[:|]] With the /3Gig switch installed on all three of my PCs, Giga could only manage about 250MB before it crashed. [8o|]

    DG

    My mistake. My memory is crap (on many levels).

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    @nicks@aubergine.co.uk said:


    Regarding RAM, Gigastudio can access more than 1.1GB with the /3GB switch - the exact amount depends on configuration (and added to that I can't remember, but I know that I've been using 1.5GB and upwards).

    Nick.

    Nick, not to disagree with you, but if this was so you would be the first person in history to be able to get 1.5Gb out of Giga. [[:|]] With the /3Gig switch installed on all three of my PCs, Giga could only manage about 250MB before it crashed. [8o|]

    DG

    My mistake. My memory is crap (on many levels).
    [:D]

    DG

  • Nick and DG,

    I have to say, I am almost at the point of giving up on getting any VI stuff as the options are getting out of hand. Going to VIs sounds like you have to invest in tons of new computer equipment and software. Not to mention the fact that the technology learning curve sounds rather daunting!

    If anything I think I'd go for the old Performance Set at this point. At least I know it would work with the equipment I have now and it is technology I understand. And, the quality of those samples is still pretty good. I'm also assuming that the technology behind performance legato and repetition using the perf tool is pretty much the same as in the new VIs - it's just easier with the VIs, right?

    All this VSTi, RTAS, AU, GVI stuff is making my head spin and I feel like I'd have to re-enter graduate school before having a clue as to how it works! [:D]

    Of course, that's always one of the huge problems with new technology. You have to jump in, spend the money, waste tons of money buying the wrong things, spend more money buying the right things and then curling up in front of the fireplace with 17 5-inch thick manuals, all before getting close to making music which is all I want to do.

    It would be great if VSL would make a few VI sample files available for free that people could experiment with prior to buying to see if it is what they really want to invest in. There was another company I used to buy samples from a few years back that was gracious enough to do that and it helped a lot in making decisions about what to invest in.

    Remember the good old days when you put pen to paper to create your latest masterwork and then just gave it to a bunch of other human beings to interpret? Actually, come to think of it, those days weren't all that good either. [:D]

    Seriously, what is your feeling about the sound quality difference between the old perf set and the new VIs?

    Thanks again for all your input, I really appreciate it.

    Mike

  • Hi Mike, I know exactly how you feel about all this tiresome jargon and the apparent over-emphasis on technical issues. Most of us just want to get on with making some music, and this stuff can really get in the way!

    However, before you give up on the VI's altogether, maybe you should consider buying the standard version of just one of them to get the feel? I'd suggest 'Woodwinds 1' or 'Solo Strings' - they can be used standalone or as a plug-in on Windows XP or Mac OSX.

    For what it's worth, here are I what I consider to be the advantages of the VI's over the Performance Set:

    1. The Performance Tool doesn't have to be set up - it works in the background, seamlessly and beautifully, and now supports multi-dynamics. (In the new 'Saxophones' VI, one instrument's performance legatos incorporate three built-in dynamics - it sounds incredible.)

    2. The new styles and samples ('fast interval' and 'performance trill' legatos, arpeggios, mordents, slides, etc.) are great and well worth the investment if you need a lot of instrumental detail.

    3. The ability to set up all the articulations you need within one VI and switch between them using a choice of velocity, playing speed, controllers, keyswitches or pitch bend makes it easier (once you've learned the ropes) and quicker to set up large arrangements.

    4. Once you've completed an arrangement, the 'Learn' function (which scans your MIDI arrangement, notes the samples used and discards the rest) enables you to fit quite large set-ups into a small amount of RAM.

    And the disadvantages:

    1. The VI's are set to MIDI omni mode, so you will need multiple instances for different parts.

    2. You can't alter playing ranges or edit the patches (although you can set up and recall certain useful performance parameters).

    3. Pitch bend maximum is two semitones.

    4. There's quite a lot of arsing about downloading licenses from Syncrosoft and the 'Directory Manager' (which the VI's rely on to know which libraries and patches are installed) can be a bit temperamental.

    5. As you pointed out, there is a learning curve. Personally I ceased to enjoy learning new technology a while ago, but I found the effort to be worth it in this case!

    On the sound quality front, the VI's are of course 24-bit, but I don't think that makes a significant difference. People are much more likely to notice whether you've used a nice-sounding reverb or not!

    >It would be great if VSL would make a few VI sample files available for free that people could experiment with prior to buying to see if it is what they really want to invest in.

    The on-line demos are a pretty good guide to the VI's individual sounds.

    >Remember the good old days when you put pen to paper to create your latest masterwork and then just gave it to a bunch of other human beings to interpret?

    Yes, I did it two days ago with a 22-piece string section and they sounded fabulous. But I also used the VI 'Chamber Strings' to demo the arrangement beforehand, and I have to say it was very helpful!

    Best wishes and good luck with your music-making.