Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
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  • VI or Horizon for hobby use?

    What would you buy if you were a hobby user like me with a modest PC and a limited budget - Vienna Instruments or stuff from the Horizon series?

    Around February I should be able to afford either 1) or 2) below:

    1) Vienna Instruments (App. strings std. + Woodwinds I std. + Brass I std.)
    2) Horizon series (Opus bundle, Solo Strings, Woodwind Ensembles)

    I have a P4 2,8 with 1,5 GB ram.


  • VI every time. It is so much easier to use and you will get quicker results with far less need to tweak. However, the tweaking possibilities (with a few exceptions) are also easier with VI, so it should be a win win situation.


  • Thanks, but will 1,5 GB ram really be enough to work properly with VIs?

  • It's unlikely you'll be able to run anything live with decent reverb beyond say a string quartet or solo instrument and piano. But if your using a sequencer to record parts a few at a time then the sky's almost the limit (assuming you have the time and patience).

  • Dave, do you mean with VIs, the Horizon stuff, or both?

    I'm thinking the Horizon stuff for Kontakt might be the better option for me, given my very small PC system. But ack, Vienna Instruments seem so attractive!

  • I meant VIs

    There is no doubt the VIs are far more user friendly than the Horizon/Symphonic cube - but they are very expensive. It's up to your budget (or your consience).

    Of course people were making beautiful music with the horizon stuff before the VIs came along. It's just very complicated and time consuming.

    With your PC specs you will be able to create music a few parts at a time with the VIs - of course like me - if your gonna invest in VIs then you might as well invest in upgrading your PC - it's a lot cheaper to create a monster PC than it is to purchase several VIs.

    Just don't tell the family!

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    @hbuus said:

    I'm thinking the Horizon stuff for Kontakt might be the better option for me, given my very small PC system. But ack, Vienna Instruments seem so attractive!

    With VI you will be able to load many more instruments than with Kontakt, so if you are not prepared to increase the memory in your PC then VI is better for you. However, if you have samples from other companies that you with to run, then the VI player won't deal with these.


  • I will upgrade my PC and go for Vienna Instruments.


  • I'd very strongly recommend going with the VIs: they are incredibly flexible so you can set them up in exactly the way that suits you, but, most importantly, they sound really fantastic.

    Using the VI solo string library (extended) I am currently redoing a realization of a string quartet that I made with the Horizon solo strings. Making a MIDI performance of a string quartet is a difficult task because the instruments are exposed in a way that makes it impossible to gloss over electronic gaucheries as one might be able to do with an orchestral realization and a lot of high quality reverb.

    While the version I made with the Horizon library was, in my judgement and that of other musicians, quite good, it has nowhere near the level or realism, musical subtlety and emotional impact that I am able to achieve with the Vienna Library. My composer colleagues say that it sounds like an entirely different piece.....

  • I do most of my work on a single (aging) PC with 1.5 GB of RAM, and while I occasionally have to make creative use of Sonar's ability to flatten a track (it's a mixdown-to-wave), VI has worked great for me. The only new equipment my system has gotten in the last FOUR YEARS is a larger harddrive (the better to hold VI with).

    Ignoring the fact that it's badly, badly mixed and very, very untouched up (I'm still new to the whole VI thing, and haven't had much time to experiment), I've been able to achieve things like this:">

    which is far and above better than anything I've been able to accomplish with any other library. That whole piece was essentially improvised part by part. From the first conceived note to what you here there, it was about an hour and a half of work. Obviously, not the world's greatest composition (it doesn't even have an ending), I was just doing some mixing tests.

    The only tune that I've really had time to "perfect" (in quotes because it's really not perfect) is this upbeat tune I did for the end credits for a friend's film project:

    I think it's pretty good (if you don't have an intense hatred for synth drums), and I didn't even have to flatten any of the tracks. Not even close. That one hits about 30% CPU on my old 1.6 Ghz Athlon. Written and mixed, start to finish, in about 3 hours (which speaks volumes as to the ease of use of VI).

    Anyway, I hope that helps put system performance into perspective a bit.

  • I think it's also a matter of investing your money. Putting money in other VSL libraries than VI at this point is - to me - a waste of money. VSL is going the Vienna Instruments route, which means that the sooner you get accustomed to the interface, its possibilities and limitations, the better. All their upcoming products are VIs anyway [[:)]]

    And... you will eventually upgrade your computer (it always happen sooner than later [[:)]]))


  • Drilian, don't be so modest - the track HAS an ending, it's just very, very abrupt! [:D]

    More seriously, which VIs do you have and is it standard or extended? I wonder if it's only certain things that one will have trouble using properly with only 1,5 GB RAM, for example some of the stuff in the extended libraries.

    I think I might get a VI to check out how it works on my current machine. I can always upgrade afterwards.

  • I only have the Standard editions (which is what those were made with)...however, I had no trouble USING the extended editions (when I had the trial stuff). The most memory-hungry set of samples are the Performance trills, and even those are manageable.

    While I hope to upgrade/replace my system soon, using VI even on my old system has not been unfriendly. I'm sure that the more RAM/CPU/HD speed, the better, but I have had good results using what I have.

    Heh...and I suppose it DOES have an ending at that, just not one that I would have liked. I pretty much just wrote a few measures of music and then stopped, since it was only a mixing test. Oh well [:)]

    EDIT: If you REALLY want to test your system's ability to handle the VIs, I suggest getting one of the strings libraries. They seem to have much larger patch sizes than any of the other instruments. Handling the brass, woodwinds, harps, or percussion is no problem at all after working with the strings.

  • Drilian, that's great! As soon as I can afford it, I'm gonna get Woodwinds I std. (or Appassionata Strings std., if that one is out by then) and then start fiddling with it using my current PC. If it works out well, I might postpone upgrading for another year and then spend the money on more VI stuff instead.

    Ack if only I had the money right now!
    On the other's always nice to have something to look forward to.

  • I edited my reply, but it was too late. If you want to do a true all-out test of your system, the string libraries are the way to go. They're the most RAM-hungry of the bunch.

  • Thanks, Drilian, you've been very helpful.