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VSL vs Spitfire Audio
Last post Fri, Apr 01 2016 by Dietz, 58 replies.
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Posted on Wed, Nov 30 2011 22:30
by w21994
Joined on Fri, May 14 2004, Posts 19

 dsilvercoin,

Spitfire has some great stuffs, but the low budget line they offer to the general audience comes not even close to what VSL offers. Spitfire's top line is probably the best out there but 18k for a bundle of strings... too pricey... add the ridiculous restriction rules on top of that.

People are fed up with EastWest company for many different reasons but I advise you to check out their latest products, Hollywood Strings and Hollywood Brass. They are of a different level, nothing like the old EastWest products.

VSL still offers the widest range of instruments

regards

Posted on Wed, Nov 30 2011 22:43
by SJSF
Joined on Sat, Sep 18 2010, Posts 499
Dietz wrote:
More cowbell, anybody ...?

lol, what's sad is that if VSL produced an alpen horn, you bet I'd buy it!

1) Because I've actually played one in Switzerland (not that this really justifies anything)

2) Because I'm fairly sure the original William Tell Overature actually have an Alpen horn in it. If Rossini can do it, so can I!!

Now I better scedaddle also before VSL deletes my account for getting even more dull on here Sleep 

Posted on Wed, Nov 30 2011 23:44
by Lee Blaske
Joined on Tue, Nov 05 2002, Excelsior, MN, Posts 220

I own all the Spitfire "Commercial Line" (low priced) libraries. They're very nice, and I expect to get a lot of use out of them. They have a unique sound. That said, they do not approach my VSL libraries in terms of number of articulations, number of dynamic ranges, or fit and finish (not to say that looser performances don't sometimes have a certain charm, but you really want a perfect performance in your toolk kit first). VSL is far ahead in this department.

I see things like Spitfire's Albion, Solo Strings, Harp and Percussion as things that one would add for more variety after you already had the VSL libraries (and in fact, they say that themselves). Otherwise, you're going to come up short when you need articulations that the Spitfire commercial line libraries just don't have.

I'd be interested to see what those really expensive Spitfire libraries are like, but I can't justify the price tag. I'd be pretty sure, though, that more care and effort has gone into VSL (and EW) products, just because of the economy of scale.

Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 01:19
by dsilvercoin
Joined on Wed, Nov 30 2011, United States, Posts 85
Thank you all for your excellent replies. Yes, I will use this for film and TV scoring.

Forgive the two, somewhat off topic follow up questions, but:

1) Is it safe to assume there a VSL bias in the VSL forum, or is it as good as everyone is saying. I stumbled upon another post in another post where a user recommended

Strings - LASS, Cinematic String, EWQL Hollywood Strings
Brass - Cinebrass/Cinebrass Pro, Hollywood Brass
Woodwinds - VSL, Westgate , WIVI


2) How do people recommend buying into VSL. I own a lot of earlier enervation libraries and a knowledgable SL person thought that while the Vienna Special Edition (the recommended usual introduction to VSL) would be better than what I have, it wouldn't be THAT much better to justify the purchase. He felt I'd have better luck buying the DVDs or some DVD package.

The thought of buying one DVD at a time over a few years and getting burned on the price disadvantage is not too appealing. I've seen the cube (standard) for $3199 and wonder if it makes sense toy buy that and then to buy the extended library licenses as I need them. Perhaps others have better ideas?

Again thank you all and any further advice would be greatly appreciated.
Early 2009 Mac Pro 2 X Quad Core 2.93 Ghz Xeon, 32 GB RAM
4 Internal 1 TB SATA HD (boot, audio, samples, back up)
Logic Pro 9.1.7, OS X 10.7.2,
Several Gylph FW800 HD
MIO 2D expanded +dsp
Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 02:43
by SJSF
Joined on Sat, Sep 18 2010, Posts 499
dsilvercoin wrote:
Is it safe to assume there a VSL bias in the VSL forum, or is it as good as everyone is saying

lol, by all means a valid question. I like spitfire a lot. I've never said that of any other library. DVZ, Garritan, Cinematic, WIVI, EWQL, LASS, Miroslav, and so on... all have commendable traits and weakpoints. I generally find that the pro's are never enough and ultimately the quality is seriously lacking. I wouldn't have invested my money into VSL had I not seriously given it heavy consideration. So yes, I love VSL's product. But I also love Spitfire's stuff. I think it sounds phenominal and is the only real competitor to VSL, imo. So by all means I don't just favor VSL. I really like both oferrings. But every last word from every last user on this thread, regarding the flexability of VSL, is absolutely spot on accurate. That is the primary difference you would find between both library's.

It is true what Lee Blaske said on here. Spitfire does even state on their own site that they do not offer a full library in their commercial products. But that their baseline offerings are primarily best used as add-ons to your existing library.

As far as how to approach buying VSL if you think VSL will serve your needs best...

I bought the Special Edition cause it's all I could afford. However, after using it for a while- I was surprized to find that I want more of things I wouldn't have thought previously. I want more strings all around, I only want the brass sections completely right now, and woodwinds I want sections first, then solo instruments. This is all based on my owning the Special Edition though. If I started without that, I'd go an entirely different route. I prefer the SE route first though. It's a good way to get to know the library and it gives you a good starting point to add from and still have a wide ranging base.

Although every one of us is different and would likely do approach the library in our own way. The most important thing I personally would recommend is Vi Pro 2.0 - As much as I love this library's sound, this piece of software has made my life MUCH easier.

Hopefully that helps you. It's certainly MY experience, so one might call that bias. But my experience doesn't neglect anyone. If anyone ever came out with a library I actually thought was better, I'd buy it. I don't love samples. I love real performers. When I have them, I'll almost exclusively use them, unless when it is better not to, or when additional work is useful. So I'm not glue'd to VSL in that very real sense. But by the current offerings, I see no other choice.

Regarding whether SE would be worth it or not... What can be done with SE dwarfs other companies full library's imo. (With the exception of the full private Spitfire range anyway).

-Sean

P.S. On the bias point. This forum sees people ask what you have from time to time. And each time, several people reply. By all means, VSL owners are happy with VSL. Big Smile

-Sean

Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 15:00
by dsilvercoin
Joined on Wed, Nov 30 2011, United States, Posts 85
Thanks so much, Sean. That's a huge help!
Early 2009 Mac Pro 2 X Quad Core 2.93 Ghz Xeon, 32 GB RAM
4 Internal 1 TB SATA HD (boot, audio, samples, back up)
Logic Pro 9.1.7, OS X 10.7.2,
Several Gylph FW800 HD
MIO 2D expanded +dsp
Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 16:31
by Animus
Joined on Fri, Sep 25 2009, Posts 146

People always say you can get pretty much any sound of of VSL Ochestral Strings but I have never heard a demo that comes anywhere close to the sound and style of Albion out of the box.  They are just very different.  Granted, Albion is far more limited but if you need and like that sound it's really awesome imo.  Appassionata was real cool too but I found the playability kind of off, very jumpy in the dynamics.

My favorite VSL samples are the Solo Strings.

Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 19:42
by w21994
Joined on Fri, May 14 2004, Posts 19

 dsilvercoin,

First, it's true the comment replies you read will sound VSL biased. I will try to be as non biased I can be trying to match what you are looking for. You mentioned that you have a limited budget. So based on that information, your best choice as for now is the VSL Special Edition. You will need to get the "extended" articulation to get something real going. Now, as far as demos goes, VSL frankly post as many demos as possible and not necesarily coming from top pro midi sequencers. So you will listen a lot of crappy demos. Secondly, websites like Spitfire and Eastwest (I'm only talking about the Hollywood Strings and Hollywood Brass demos) have limited demo songs and done by top notch guys. These guys they are experts on MIDI sequencing, audio engineers and composers at the same time. So good luck if you want your demos sound like the ones on their website. It will require you countless hours, and most importantly, ur knowledge of how an orchestral instrument sound and blend as an ensemble in real life

Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 19:55
by w21994
Joined on Fri, May 14 2004, Posts 19

 dsilvercoin, (continued)

now, if you compare general demo sound between Spitfire and VSL, it's like night and day IMO. Spitfire accomplished the "analog" sound that lots of people love. Most classical engineers call that the "Herbert Von Karajan" sound of the late 1960's and early 1970's. VSL tried to pioneer that sound years earlier but they did it with a different formula that didn't work that well IMO. The closest to Spitfire sound is the new Hollywood Strings and Hollywood Brass from East West. Check them out, it's nothing like the old EW products. Spitfire is really cool but it's too limited for my taste. Just notice that all it comes down to your budget

Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 19:59
by w21994
Joined on Fri, May 14 2004, Posts 19

dsilvercoin,

Just to give you another insite. Check VSL Demo's from the Classical section "Barber: Adagio for Strings" and "Holst: Jupiter." They are the best demos from VSL. If you know these works, you would say it comes very close to a real orchestra. I honestly don't like any other demos from VSL website

Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 20:29
by dsilvercoin
Joined on Wed, Nov 30 2011, United States, Posts 85
yes, it is all very impressive. It seems as though VSL is the default library one should own before they fill out their collection with other libraries as needed. Sound about right?

Also, if anyone knows where online the original video demos for VSL are located I'd be much appreciated. I can only find the videos for Vienna Instruments Pro which, while great, are a little hard to get into without prior experience.

Thanks!!!
Early 2009 Mac Pro 2 X Quad Core 2.93 Ghz Xeon, 32 GB RAM
4 Internal 1 TB SATA HD (boot, audio, samples, back up)
Logic Pro 9.1.7, OS X 10.7.2,
Several Gylph FW800 HD
MIO 2D expanded +dsp
Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 20:53
by w21994
Joined on Fri, May 14 2004, Posts 19

dsilvercoin,

I was just giving you a thought... you mentioned that this site sounded bias... well, people on this site express their opinion freely. If VSL is not worth the money, then they would tell you. And people like me remind you that just because you get an "Air Jordan" shoes, doens't mean you will fly and play like Michael Jordan. A good basketball player will play better bare footed than a mediocre player with "Air Jordan" on. Now, I have to tell you again that I'm very impressed with Hollywood Strings, and Hollywood Brass's demos

Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 21:00
by w21994
Joined on Fri, May 14 2004, Posts 19

 dsilvercoin,

One last insite, I'm very sure that the VSL board member are having a meeting right now, trying to figure how to raise the VSL to the next level. VSL has been standard up until last year or so. Many people are thankful to VSL for what they have done with their products and keep most users very happy. But the new stuffs from East West and Spitire gave them a wake up call. They have to admit that these other companies products are good and better soundwise. Spitfire if correctly campaigned and amplify their products can be a lethal threat to VSL. But IMO, if VSL matches the sound and the spacial sound that EW or Spit provides, I definetly stay with VSL. As a beginner just focus on experiment your orchestral sound or u can start by imitating an orchestral work recorded by let say... the Berlin Philharmonic

peace 

Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 21:39
by SJSF
Joined on Sat, Sep 18 2010, Posts 499
w21994 wrote:
VSL has been standard up until last year or so. Many people are thankful to VSL for what they have done with their products and keep most users very happy. But the new stuffs from East West and Spitire gave them a wake up call. They have to admit that these other companies products are good and better soundwise.

A user provided comparisons of several different companies on here (via soundcloud) playing the same piece. This included all of VSL's best different offerings and the new Hollywood String library. By all means, HS did not raise any bars. What most users did find was that HS performed a couple things better, and VSL performed a couple things better... and so on. Every library has strong suits. Even more so, every library has strong suits for an exact and specific song or phrase. Real performers can be that flexible and more. VSL most certainly will come out with some amazing new string library. I am sure of this. Most of us have already talked at length about it and we've gotten a little back from VSL, enough to know that things are developing. Plus, we know that VSL records every day. 

I have had a decent level of exposure in playing Hollywood Strings live and in editing and it isn't a bad library. I'm not trying to attack other libraries as being bad. I simply don't see a higher bar in them. Dimension Brass however, did the bar in recording the ensemble while isolating each player and the only other competior product didn't do anything in recording methods to match that level of sophistication. It simply stuck to 'the old methods'.

And as for the comment regarding Albion sounding better than VSL... uh... not quite. It has an amazing sound. I like it a lot. But I wouldn't call it better. VSL can sound just as great if one knows how to mix well. Albion might already have things done to it, but that just makes it a less flexible sound out of the box... not to mention the less flexible instrumentation restrictions.

If anyone else is wondering how to approach which library...

The best thing you can do is really look at what each library offers and decide how flexible it will be for your needs and what you want out of it. Then listen and think about what sounds most real and most flexible to accomplish any style, etc. After that buy a basic offering and go from there. I've used nearly every library I talk about. The only other flexible library I have no personal experience is with DVZ. I don't really buy into the effects libraries where one can't really compose so I'll neglect those. But in the end, I made MY decision and that's the way it should really be for everyone.

As for why I recommend VSL so strongly- it is only because ever since I installed this library, I've never looked back. I've never been anywhere near as satisfied with other companies, the quality and consistency within their libaries, or the software.

Consistency is another great point. Sampling is an entire philosophy of decisions. I love the VSL software philosophy. I've found more stability in VSL than any other program I use. I love the recordings, because dry is flexible and I achieve amazing results. But the consistency point is often neglected on here. That is, that with every other library I find inconsistent problems out the wazzoo, with playback problems on certain notes, with things not working quite right, with numerous other problems. Most of that is workable, but it takes more time and effort to adjust your performance to compensate for such inconsistency. With VSL, the library is far more solid than others. That's something I've seen a lot of on here from others who've commented.

-Sean

Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 22:13
by w21994
Joined on Fri, May 14 2004, Posts 19

 iscorefilm,

I agree with you mostly. There is no doubt, if compared AB style between HS vs VSL section, like strings for instance... there would be not noticeable difference. Now, what first time users find in the demos provided by each company, there is a great deal of difference. And the question is simple, when all the sections get together for a song, HS demos stand out and so does Spitfire. And we are talking about only the DEMOS. And I have a hard time convincing myself that it's just the software. I think it has more to do the samples itself. I would like to hear your opinion of why HS sounds more real. They got plenty of demos on their web which I'm sure you heard them

Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 22:49
by dsilvercoin
Joined on Wed, Nov 30 2011, United States, Posts 85
The HS demos sound fantastic and the videos are very impressive. And HS & HB prices are hard to ignore (especially with the 30% discount now).

They are, however, a very specific sound. Is it possible to make them more intimate and less reverby (ie. less "hollywood") I am especially wondering about the solo instruments.

Also, I've read that they really tax your machine. IS VSL less taxing?

Thanks all! You are what make the internet so great,
Early 2009 Mac Pro 2 X Quad Core 2.93 Ghz Xeon, 32 GB RAM
4 Internal 1 TB SATA HD (boot, audio, samples, back up)
Logic Pro 9.1.7, OS X 10.7.2,
Several Gylph FW800 HD
MIO 2D expanded +dsp
Posted on Thu, Dec 01 2011 23:26
by SJSF
Joined on Sat, Sep 18 2010, Posts 499

w21994,

Actually to me there was a notable difference. However, such differences didn't suggest that one library was supreme or 'raising the bar'. That was my primary concern and why I replied. In every other sense, there is good in every library. Although personally, I find that VSL's libraries are the only consistent all around choice for realism. But then again, all that is personal preference, no?

Anyway, the differences mainly showed that each library had strong points. Very few articulations from other libraries have impressed me completely more than VSL, and only in very limited circumstances. That's my take. But I would absolutely agree that the demo's VSL provides have not been the greatest examples of the VSL library's capability. It's uses in actual production scenarios have been. My own personal experience with Hollywood Strings was not that it sounds more real at all. I  absolutely did not mean that and if it came across, perhaps I errored in my writing. Hollywood Strings impressed me in the lower strings and primarily in the longer articulations. My impression was not that they were better... but a difference that was good. The upper strings almost never sounded good to me. In fact, every time I hear them I generally complain. I also thought Spitfire's lower strings sound good as well. I later learned that I was making some major errors in judgement for my own library and how I was mixing it. After correcting some issues, I find VSL's string library's absolutely satisfactory. So to each his own, I guess.

Regarding Brass comparisons. I feel I have neglected this a bit too much on here. Strings really aren't everything. While I love VSL strings, I am not as ademate about my love for VSL with strings as I am Brass. I prefer the Solo Strings and Chamber above any competitor. Orchestral and Appassionata I think are great, but could improve (I still prefer them to others). I do like Spitfire, but the limitations are too much to bare. Thus why it is an ideal add-on and only such. But with Brass. Oh wow, I could not even express my love for VSL Brass. I am a multiple brass player myself.

Well, I might as well just give my take on VSL vs Spitfire and EW (things I like and dislike about each) as I think it's come to that. Hopefully VSL won't mind this too much- I'll at least be fair to each company... lol Whisper

HB Trumpet = Were they joking?

HB Horn = A few really GREAT things, a bunch of so-so (some good some meh)

HB Trombone = Almost as bad as trumpet, but a few good parts.

HB Tuba = Suprizingly my favorite part of the library. I actually think it sounds great. I'd even buy HB for that alone if I had the budget for a $1k Tuba, lol

Spitfire vs VSL = I only have the general brass demo's and the trumpet demo. The overall sound of my solo VSL trumpet, section, and fanfare sections impress me more than Spitfire's demo's. A LOT more. BUT, the spitfire release samples sound great. I love hearing the valve movement in the release. I wish for the life of me that I could have this with VSL (not exclusively, ideally a 'release sample volume or style' option would be just great! I own Epic Horns and Fanfare Trumpets. While even the solo and smaller sections sound better than other offerings, with the addition of those and soon the trombone section, my brass will just be pure power in sound.

Woodwinds with VSL to me have always been paramount. I LOVE the VSL woodwind library. However, this is the one time I would give VSL's title up. Spitfire just amazed me. I only play the Tenor Saxaophone and the Clarinet, but everything woodwind they have made has just sounded so beautiful. Georgous. Could I go on? They blend! ACTUALLY BLEND! lol VSL's does blend as well with some mixing work, as I've recently discovered. But I still think Spitfire is champion on this one.

So again, I ultimately think VSL is my prefered library almost entirely. I'd love to get as much Spitfire to fill in with VSL, then EW I'd have as a seldom filler... for the times that you just need a different sound. Again, all this humbly imo.

Dimension Woodwinds... eh? (Maybe I'm wrong and Dietz is right... I mean seriously, who wants more winds and strings in favor of the almighty cowbell? lol) Music Bonk! Music

-Sean

Posted on Fri, Dec 02 2011 02:00
by w21994
Joined on Fri, May 14 2004, Posts 19

 dsilvercoin,

"iscorefilm" has provided some info about his experience with different samples. But don't take it to heart. He sounds too BIAS towards VSL. I don't want to start a word fight but he states that the VSL demos are not good but the individual VSL's instrument sections are very good, probably the best. What's the point of having tons of instrument sections that are really good if in the end, the overall sound doesn't sound as good. He wrote 4 pages about why is VSL much better but never issued the SIMPLE question, DEMO wise VSL can't match HS or Spit as of today 

Posted on Fri, Dec 02 2011 02:48
by SJSF
Joined on Sat, Sep 18 2010, Posts 499

There is no need to be hostile. I in every way included that it was my personal experience and that it should only be taken as such. Having made more than one effort to make that known in my comment, any claim of bias is simply unwarranted. Bias and having an opinion aren't the same thing. I have my preference, but I have rational explanations for why I made my choice. I also stated that the best thing would be to listen and decide for youself. Being that I was asked what I thought of a sample library, I thought I would elaborate and provide a more detailed picture of how I came to my conclusion. If I can draw my conclusion out on paper, it only helps someone else to examine whether or not they agree with it or not.

If you want bias, it's telling someone how to think about something. When asked for an opinion, giving it with cautionary and with the ultimate conclusion to decide for yourself- then I believe I have adequately and fairly addressed the question presented to me.

I stated what I personally see as strong points and weakpoints within each library. I even stated something I don't like about VSL's offerings. Either way, I believe in taking the time to defend myself so this is it. Otherwise, we should probably try to stay on topic. Wink

-Sean

Posted on Fri, Dec 02 2011 14:14
by dsilvercoin
Joined on Wed, Nov 30 2011, United States, Posts 85
Well, I for one really appreciate all of the advice and opinions. It makes it much easier (or perhaps much harder!) to discover whats out there and what is working. That being said, I'm not sure that I'm much closer to knowing what I should get.

I'm still wondering how possible it is to get a more intimate (less hollywood) sound from HW strings/brass. I am especially wondering about the solo instruments as I don't do a ton of full orchestra writing (mostly smaller ensembles/ sections/ solo instruments) for TV work.

I also wonder whether my system will be enough for HW strings/brass or even VSl for that matter. My system:
2 X 2.93 GHz Quad-core intel Xeon
6 GB RAM
7200 RPM hard drives (separate internals for audio and samples) and multiple external FW,
FW audio interface (Metric Halo 2282+ Dual Card)

Thanks all!
Early 2009 Mac Pro 2 X Quad Core 2.93 Ghz Xeon, 32 GB RAM
4 Internal 1 TB SATA HD (boot, audio, samples, back up)
Logic Pro 9.1.7, OS X 10.7.2,
Several Gylph FW800 HD
MIO 2D expanded +dsp
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