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A "Vienna Composer Environment" on the horizon?
Last post Fri, Sep 07 2012 by iamnemo, 16 replies.
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Posted on Mon, Sep 03 2012 06:11
by iamnemo
Joined on Tue, Mar 13 2012, Posts 23

The recent discussion about new VSL libraries got me thinking...

Vienna already has:

  • the most complete v.i. symphonic sample libraries
  • an advanced sample player (VI Pro)
  • a hosting and networking app (VE Pro)
  • a sophisticated IR reverb (MIR Pro)
  • an effect suite (Vienna Suite)
To create a complete "Vienna Composer Environment" they would "only" need to create:
  • a notation program (they could buy & improve Sibelius which is almost an orphan now)
  • an advanced sequencer that takes full control of articulations, etc.
  • a link between the two that would preserve articulations & expression and load the appropriate matrices automatically.

What do you think? Could it be what they're working on right now?
All computers (Intel i7 / 16GB) run Win7 x64 Ultimate, VSL instruments, VEPRO5 & MIR24, VIPRO2, Pianoteq V4, EWSO Platinum Plus (16/24bit), & Choirs, Soundiron Venus & Mars, Garritan libs (GPO4, JABB, organs, World, IO), Miroslav, NI Komplete 8 & others, SONAR X1 Producer, other VST/VSTi's, PNOscan
Posted on Mon, Sep 03 2012 06:35
by muziksculp
Joined on Fri, Oct 03 2003, U.S.A., Posts 442

I would rather see VSL focus on developing NEW Orchestral Sample Libraries that complement, improve, and take their Orch. Sample libraries to the next level of excellence, and flexibility.  

Hopefully that's what they will be releasing next. 

There are so many DAWs, and notation programs that deal with the other aspects of composing. I feel VSL has done a great job by offering non-sample library products so far. They need to go back to where they started, and take their sample based products to the next generation. 



Posted on Mon, Sep 03 2012 07:01
by Banquo
Joined on Sat, Apr 09 2005, Dublin, Ireland, Posts 395

I've been convinved for at least a year that this is where they're headed. It's an almost impossible task, but no better team in fairness. So many of the key parts have already been developed by them, as you rightly pointed out. 

SOMEONE is going to attempt this at some stage - you know, properly - and it'd be very interesting to see VSL's take on the implementation.

Posted on Mon, Sep 03 2012 18:53
by Casiquire
Joined on Sat, May 01 2010, Posts 325
There's a thread already about this. Unfortunately the general idea seemed to be that they wouldn't do it, even though I disagree and don't think VSL would miss that potential. http://community.vsl.co.at/forums/t/28179.aspx is the old thread. I've made a few posts there and I pretty clearly share your opinion and can see a little further out in the potential future and think VSL would be crazy not to at least try to go down this road.
Posted on Mon, Sep 03 2012 21:12
by iamnemo
Joined on Tue, Mar 13 2012, Posts 23
Casiquire wrote:
There's a thread already about this.

Oh my, I just went through it.  Sorry I didn't know.  But it just proves that birds of a feather flock together Smile and that there's a need for such a product. I agree with your posts and that of Errikos which also parallel my thinking.  Objections raised to this idea are mainly that 1) VSL would "reinvent the wheel" that Cubase and others have been inventing for 25 years, 2) the resulting product would be too narrowly focused to the needs of "symphonic composers". My (possibly naive) answers to these are: 

  1. VSL could incorporate the best features of these sequencers in a new more modern product
  2. 25 years in software development? IMO only the last 5 are really pertinent... And you can learn a lot from the mistakes of others.
  3. VSL could remove the extra features found in other sequencers (video editing, beat-slicing, extra synths and effects, etc.) 

Better still: VSL could make use of their own "vst hosting vst" (VE PRO) to only add "symphonic" features to any existing sequencer eliminating the need to reinvent the wheel and enabling the use of VSL instruments with full articulation control from inside any sequencer in parallel to vocal tracks, audio tracks and other extra features. Since the match would be perfect (articulations & expression) between notation and VSL instruments one could switch bidrectionally between notation and sequencing instantly instead of the now imposed unidirectional (and difficult) approach.

IMHO Notion3 (soon 4) is the closest I have seen to this ideal with its scripting language to associate notation to sample selection.

This appears to me as a more feasible project, both technically and financially/market-wise, tailoring to the needs of VSL "symphonic" users (notation, articulation, expression) while still not leaving out any capabilities of even the best current and future sequencers.

All computers (Intel i7 / 16GB) run Win7 x64 Ultimate, VSL instruments, VEPRO5 & MIR24, VIPRO2, Pianoteq V4, EWSO Platinum Plus (16/24bit), & Choirs, Soundiron Venus & Mars, Garritan libs (GPO4, JABB, organs, World, IO), Miroslav, NI Komplete 8 & others, SONAR X1 Producer, other VST/VSTi's, PNOscan
Posted on Mon, Sep 03 2012 21:50
by Banquo
Joined on Sat, Apr 09 2005, Dublin, Ireland, Posts 395

There is clearly a demand for such a product, but nobody to date has pulled it off in any truly complete way. It's a tricky one, to be sure.

VSL have most of the seperate 'areas' of the product completed better than anyone on the market, but a cohesive program is nonetheless a mammoth task. Still, if anyone can...

Posted on Mon, Sep 03 2012 22:56
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1076

I personally spoke with Dietz a few months ago since I was the one who created the original thread about this. He told me that the development needed for something like this was huge, and currently outside the scope of VSL's interests. Perhaps if more and more of us declare our enthusiasm for this integration to happen, the company might consider it worthwhile to investigate possibilities? Especially now with what's happening with Sibelius... I mean, how many symphonic composers in the world today would prefer having their score playback with VSL sounds rather than Sibelius 7 or Garritan ones, without needing to 'set up' the whole thing up themselves?

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Tue, Sep 04 2012 01:25
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5640

I am enthusiastic about this idea, because I have personally tried to do a "Pure VSL Environment" on my own computer system to avoid all the unnecessary junk that the generic DAWs and MIDI Sequencers force you to accept. 

After all, what is the long-term goal of all this technology?    It is to allow a composer to simply IMAGINE music and then HEAR IT.   

For VSL to allow other companies - many of them very lame - to take care of a major part of this process, is negating what they seem to be doing in general - a total musical environment.  Notation and sequencing that is tweaked for VSL orchestral useage and which integrates the total acoustic environment of MIR would be the logical next step. 

Posted on Tue, Sep 04 2012 04:31
by noldar12
Joined on Thu, Dec 04 2008, Posts 582

However nice the idea is, the odds of it are coming to fruition are extremely slim.

The problem remains what might be called "core competencies".  Often, when a business moves away from its core competencies, it starts heading down the path of negative cash flow and bankruptcy.  Does VSL even begin to have the resources to develop such a product and at the same time keep developing their sample libraries and related software?

How much would it cost to create such a product?  How many more additional staff members would have to be hired?  What would the estimated cost be to create the product?  What would it sales price be?  How many units would have to be sold to break even, let alone make a resonable return on investment?  More important, what would the real market demand be?  That market demand would likely have to go far beyond the VSL core community.

Granted, given the talent level at VSL, if anyone could pull it off, they could.  Yet, perhaps Cubase already is in the general ballpark (don't use it, so can't really say)? 

It is a lot of fun to talk about our various "wish lists".  But, what have we wished for of late: new strings; better yet, all new orchestral samples for everything; a new sequencer/notation program, etc.  Combined, that far outstrips VSL's current resources.  Even the existing full libraries appeared spread out over a number of years.  If the choice is between continuing to develp existing core products, and doing less with those core products in order to develop the new Super Sequencer/Notator, better to stay with continuing to improve the core products.

Again, it is fun to "wish" (and it really is fun).  Unfortunately, the actual situation tends to put a damper on that fun.

Posted on Tue, Sep 04 2012 06:22
by gerard kruse
Joined on Sat, Apr 25 2009, Leiden, The Netherlands, Posts 102

Indeed, core bussiness issues dominate. But could a closer cooperation with "nearby", say, Steinberg not result in a, say, CubaseScore ?

(a version stripped of most of the recording things, equipped with Sibelius responding to expression maps)


Posted on Tue, Sep 04 2012 09:34
by Casiquire
Joined on Sat, May 01 2010, Posts 325
iamnemo wrote:
Sorry I didn't know.  But it just proves that birds of a feather flock together

I don't think it's redundant to have another thread about this. I'd love to get more opinions on the subject and I think it gives VSL a good gauge of the level of demand. Unfortunately it seems as though again the general idea is "no" but after a few more threads like this and after the current round of new and shiny competing sample libraries plateau in sales and become a bit stale, companies might start to think "well now what do we do?" and VSL might be a step ahead of that curve.

Noldar does make a good point too. It absolutely would be a dangerous move to invest too much time and energy into something that may not take off and that is straying so far from the original core of the company. Perhaps there are some ways they can take baby-steps and see how it all pans out. For instance Vienna Ensemble Pro and the Vienna Suite are baby-steps in the direction toward a Vienna DAW (actually VEPro is quite a large step, but you get the idea.) VEPro is incredibly widely-used and is held in very high regard even by people who don't use VSL samples, so that's a very good sign already that their software is good and there may be a large customer base for a new DAW.
Posted on Thu, Sep 06 2012 07:10
by Suntower
Joined on Wed, Mar 16 2011, Seattle, Dublin, Posts 276

ankly, I just wish VSL would integrate better with existing DAWs. They have already done -so- much heavy lifting with audio/midi/mixing and even notation.

It seems like all these companies are focusing more on optimizing proprietary stuff rather than -standards-. MIDI hasn't improved for almost 30 years.

I wish Sibelius or Finale worked as plug-ins for Cubase or Logic or PT instead of as stand-alone programs

I wish VSL fully supported Cubase's VST Expression

I wish MIR could be used as a VST3 plug-in instead of being locked into VEP.

I think the market for strictly orchestral people is
pretty small and VEP, as -wonderful- as it truly is, feels like a walled-garden.

For me, as a guy who has spent the last 2 years working on projects that are a mix of audio and MIDI orchestration (like movie and video composers I suppose) it seems to me that a truly integrated environment -is- the way to go. Which is what DAWs were designed to do! Soif VSL can't re-invent a better wheel (and why -should- they even try?) I wish they would support the standards that are out there.. even at the cost of some features. Heresy I know, but all this import/export and routing between programs is STUPID.

One ring to rule them all, I say: Bring all that stuff into the DAW.



DAW: Cubase 8.5/64
Controllers: CME UF8, Roland VDrums, Exp. Pedal, Sus Pedal.
Main: Sandybridge Win10/64 16gb Boot Dr: SSD, Samples: SAT-600
Slave: Intel Q8400, 16gb RAM Win10/64
VEP5, VIPro, Chamber Strings, Tenor Sax, Epic Orch, EWQLO
Posted on Thu, Sep 06 2012 11:22
by fritzflotow
Joined on Mon, Apr 23 2007, Posts 322

That Composer Enviroment is already tere and it is called Vienna Ensemble ...

I would like them to make the following possible in VE:

- VE "Docking" Plugin: A VST/AU that represents an object (instrument, output or aux channel) in the VE instance and reflects all automation and midi controls of that channel and makes the gui avalable in that channel. This way you wouldn't have to switch to VE to tweak your tracks, but rather do anything from your DAW.

- The option to switch off the audio transfer via lan and use dedicated sound cards instead. With madi becoming cheaper I think this is an important feature and most professionals out there with one or more dedicated slave PCs would still prefer to use a more reliable and less latency system, even if it comes with a price. I purchased madi cards for all slaves and with the upcoming madi FX I get way more channels than ever needed, having ZERO problems - diffrent story with VE pro in network mode which almost drove me crazy ... with mir and Vienna Suite I don't even see the necessity of that many channels, so cheaper ADAT cards would still be the better budget sollutions.

- work tightly together with an DAW developer (steinberg possibly) to make midi programming a breeze. I still miss automation feedback and touch response for CC-Data. This would be so much easier to work with ...

Posted on Thu, Sep 06 2012 11:27
by fritzflotow
Joined on Mon, Apr 23 2007, Posts 322

Another thought: Why not make a special edition of cubase for film composers ... I would gladly pay the price of nuendo to have a cubase VSL/Kontakt edition that offers a tighter integration possible ...? These are the two most used plugins I use and I think they would deserve a much tighter integration than others.

Or maybe a diffrent plugin format: Celemony ARA comes to my mind ...

Posted on Fri, Sep 07 2012 05:27
by Casiquire
Joined on Sat, May 01 2010, Posts 325
VEP is far from a complete Vienna composer environment! It's a good step in the right direction, though. And yes, DAWs are an attempt at a complete environment, but that limits everybody involved. The DAW creators have to chase around sample libraries and effects to stay up-to-date and to provide what users want, and sample libraries have to chase DAW developers to keep their libraries stable in all programs and situations. Plus DAWs tend to have pretty terrible notation capabilities.
Posted on Fri, Sep 07 2012 20:25
by iamnemo
Joined on Tue, Mar 13 2012, Posts 23

A little off-topic but...

A nice little (but powerful) application I found that can help with articulation/patch selection, misc transforms, etc.


Still in development (but working!); it seems to hold great potential. Check video...

All computers (Intel i7 / 16GB) run Win7 x64 Ultimate, VSL instruments, VEPRO5 & MIR24, VIPRO2, Pianoteq V4, EWSO Platinum Plus (16/24bit), & Choirs, Soundiron Venus & Mars, Garritan libs (GPO4, JABB, organs, World, IO), Miroslav, NI Komplete 8 & others, SONAR X1 Producer, other VST/VSTi's, PNOscan
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