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Last post Mon, Aug 24 2015 by Juan Stiza, 9 replies.
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Posted on Mon, Aug 10 2015 17:32
by Juan Stiza
Joined on Sun, Aug 12 2012, Posts 18

Hi all!

I'm a composer that stopped composing and wants to return to the stuff. I mainly composed film music but not necessarily for film, just because I like it. I've had formal music educaition and Orchestration is a serious thing for me.

I've been using libraries such as EWQLSO, Cinematic strings, etc... and was thinking of making the big step into VSL. My budget is quite tight as I am no pro in the business (I work as a developer!). So my idea would be to buy, in steps, the different instrument families.

For example: first getting Woodwinds, standard ed., then perhaps Brass, etc...

As I said before, I'm no pro, I won't be doing this for work, rather for pleasure. Is it worth it?

Tags: newbie
Posted on Mon, Aug 10 2015 17:58
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5497

Definitely worth it especially for serious composition whether pro or not!   What I like about VSL is how it is all organized around the basics of orchestration and musical principles, rather than instant trailer music like many other libraries (though it is used on trailer music all the time).  The thrust of the company has been to develope an all-embracing system for doing everything that an orchestra does.  This includes a very consistent method of sampling all the instruments - to the extent that one instrument can be substituted for another with very little tweaking - as well as the means to instantly select articulations (Vienna Instruments) and place instruments in a natural sounding setting (MIR).  

Ultimately though it is the quality of musical performance combined with recording on the samples that make them so good that they retain their value permanently.  An example of that is the trombone ensemble a3 which was in the original Gigastudio VSL a decade ago but is still a perfect trombone ensemble sound.  Or any of the very first intruments they recorded.   They are still just as valuable now as ever.  I don't find that with other libraries which become "obsolete" after a while.  The orchestra will never be obsolete, and VSL, by being faithful to it and the art of orchestration, has acquired that lasting value. 

One other thing I would mention is that people often talk here about 96 port setups,  ethernet streaming of samples, ultracomplicated setups that must be tweaked to perfection or else they crash - none of that is needed!  I am trying to do the exact opposite in fact - use the simplest setups to do the most.  You can use for example 5 channels on one port, an old fashioned MIDI interface and a sequencer from the 1990s to create the most complex string music ever imagined if you have the composing ability.  This is all because of Vienna Ensemble and Instruments which allow the huge advantage of putting everything the instrument does on one channel - just as a player does everything he is capable of with that one perfected instrument. 

Posted on Mon, Aug 10 2015 18:18
by Juan Stiza
Joined on Sun, Aug 12 2012, Posts 18

Great! Thanks for your reply! (I'm actually listening some of your work on your web, good stuff!)

I shall ask though, what can be the first thing I can get my hands on?

Working with EWQLSO, I found out that the worst thing to work on are the strings and woodwinds, percussion and brass (up to cerain degree) can sound good, yet eventually you'll get limited by that sound.

Can woodwinds be a good choice?

Other issue I have is my credit card limit, has anyone used Paypal for that matter?


Posted on Wed, Aug 12 2015 01:03
by Juan Stiza
Joined on Sun, Aug 12 2012, Posts 18

I was looking at the product prices and clearly, Special Edition Core Bundle is tempting... is it possible to upgrade from this bundle to the Symphonic Cube Standard Bundle?

What is the main difference between Special Edition Core, and Special Edition Complete Bundle?

Thanks in advance!

Posted on Thu, Aug 13 2015 02:06
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1564

Here's an opportunity to learn form my mistakes when I started with VSL.


Like you, I had a tight budget and the temptation for me was to get as much of an orchestra as I could with my limited funds.  I gave into this temptation and purchased all standard libraries except one.  In retrospect, this was a mistake.  I should have bolught as much as I could in one family.  In other words I should have purchased as many string libraries, standard and extended, as I could and just work with those until I cold afford to buy the others.  Keep in mind that for as long as I've been logging into the VSL site they have had some kind of deal or promotional offer every month that you could take advantage of.


However, not all offers and deals will interest you or be within your budget but at least you know that next month something else will come along.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."
- W.C. Fields
Posted on Thu, Aug 13 2015 02:22
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1564

One other thing I forgot to mention and that is that I agree whole heartedly with what William said about keeping it simple.  You don't need 15 machines all daisy-chained to a Rigamatic Plux Capacitor 6,000 pumping out 1.5 Gigawatts of sizzle juice in order to create a downbow on a violin.  You'll find that some folks on this site really geek out on their set-ups but if it works for what they want to do then who the hell am I to criticize.


So two other bits of advice in addition to what I wrote above...

1. Keep it simple

2. and if it ain't broke, don't fix it. 

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."
- W.C. Fields
Posted on Thu, Aug 13 2015 11:28
by Juan Stiza
Joined on Sun, Aug 12 2012, Posts 18

Well, I always try to have a keep-it-simple kind of approach... the best results I had were when I used this idea. The main problem arises when you are composing not from the sound of the virtual instruments, but from the score, there we have a challenge!

Yesterday I placed my order on Sweetwater and went for Special Edition Core Bundle. I know it is the basic stuff but while I get my hands on to it, practice a bit, do some tests, I'll really know if I need to spend some extra dollars.

My idea so far is to start here, test Vienna Instruments Pro and it it suits me, buy it, then I can go for the PLUS packages... and then, should any project arise (or a bunch of money) I can go for the full packages, one by one.

Regarding the rig, I'll use an I5 with 8GBs, lots of disks and a 128GB SSD... I'll upgrade the RAM or a new SSD, don't what comes first 

Posted on Mon, Aug 24 2015 13:27
by Ege
Joined on Sat, Jan 22 2005, Washington, DC, Posts 104


 Good luck on your new adventure with VSL instruments.

 One point worth emphasizing is the really outstanding customer service that I have experienced over the years with this company.  Often you will find an answer to your question by searching the forum, or like here, you can post your question or problem in the forum, and members will usually respond with some help.  Staff at VSL also monitors the forum, and do not be surprised when Paul chimes in with a suggestion.  If you are really stuck, you can send your problem directly to customer support, and in short order a reply will be forthcoming. I try to find a solution here, first, however, rather than over-burden VSL staff with a question that is answered with a little research or (God forbid!) in the instruction manuals that come with the software and instrument libraries.

 I use Sibelius for composition and find that it integrates well with VSL libraries and the VSL software VI Pro and VE Pro.


IMac, 2.9 GHz Intel 4 Core i5, 32 GB, OSX 10.10.1
Posted on Mon, Aug 24 2015 17:01
by Juan Stiza
Joined on Sun, Aug 12 2012, Posts 18

Hi Steve,


I've started playing with the samples and I must say that if the SE version sounds like this, I don't want to imagine what the full libs. are!

And yes, the customer service was great, including Sweetwater's!

I'm a bit surprised of the performance of the library. I've done some tests, loading 3 instances of VEP on Logic X, each holding like 10 VIP instances. Without using MIRx, the template can survive a simple Tutti without clicks.

I also use Sibelius, but in a parallel fashion on a separate machine. It helps keeping things apart, and I believe this can help the creative flow by letting you concentrate on the score when needed.



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