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VSL solo strings vs individual strings in Dimensional Strings
Last post Fri, Apr 10 2015 by Talino, 15 replies.
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Posted on Mon, Sep 24 2012 13:43
by ondine
Joined on Thu, Jan 26 2012, Posts 45
I have VSL solo strings, and I was wondering if the individual part of the Dimensional Strings sounds better than the original VSL solo strings. Could anyone share your points of view after using both libraries ?

Thanks.
Posted on Tue, Sep 25 2012 04:08
by plowman
Joined on Sat, Dec 13 2003, Posts 1051

The Solo violin is a laser beam. 

The Dimension violins are eight flashlights (or four desk lamps).  

The Chamber violins are a table lamp. 

The Orchestral violins are a chandelier. 

The Appassionata violins are a floodlight. 

It is remarkable how the Dimension violins come together to make a homogenous, convincing ensemble. In my opinion, they do not fare well in solo-featured concerto work, nor have they been recorded to do so. It is tempting to do the obvious math. I have one violinist; why do I want to buy eight more? But the Dimension Violins have clearly been recorded to add texture, depth and detail to ensembles. 

If someone had very limited funds and no previous VSL purchases, I'd say start with the Dimension Strings. The DS solo would be passable, small chambers good, and ensembles very good. But I would not let ownership of the Solo Strings dissuade you from the DS. It's just a whole different approach and timbre. 

I own all standard string VSL libraries and most of the extendeds too. My preferred sound is a large, detailed string section, and DS on top of chambers and solos play into the heart of that. I think a lot of us on the forum have wheedled our smaller chamber and solos to behave this way, and for the reasons expressed in Herb's interview, it just never worked as the theory suggested it would. DS works. 

Posted on Wed, Sep 26 2012 02:04
by cgernaey
Joined on Mon, Apr 04 2005, Detroit-Michigan, Posts 1026

I own Dimension Strings and Solo and I do not find Dimension a replacement for Solo at all.  All night I have been comparing solo violin versus 1 chair of Dimension Violins and they are quite different to me.  The solo strings library has more appeal to me for a solo performance.  The vibrato and dynamics match better for solo performance.  I suppose if you want to do a small chamber piece that is slow and soft you could get away with this.  I can just hear that this llibrary wasn't made to perform extreme solo works.  Herb said he wouldn't try to obsolete anything but build additional tools and I think that's what this does.  I had high hopes it would be a game changer for my solo performances but it's not.  In fact it just showed me how good the solo library was.  It could also be that I am much more experienced with my trusty solo library.

The solo strings violin seems to pierce right through much better.  Dimension sounds a little softer and wider imaged (but if you drive the mod-wheel you get ALL the details of the bow and violin).  They definitely do sound different to me.  Also, not having viola, cello and bass Solo library is no way ready to leave me.

Maestro2be

Windows 7 Enterprise SP1 64-bit, 24GB RAM, i7 980x
Vienna MIR PRO, Vienna Instruments, Vienna Imperial, Vienna Suite Pro, Cubase 7.5.5, Presonus Studio One 4.5
Lavry DA10 DAC, RME Multiface 2, Arturia Analog Experience 61-key
Lemur Control Surface
Posted on Wed, Sep 26 2012 04:55
by ondine
Joined on Thu, Jan 26 2012, Posts 45
Thanks for the replies.

How about the crossfade between no vibrato and expressivo in Dimension strings ?
Is it better than then VSL solo strings regarding vibrato control ?

Some reviews say that cello in VSL solo strings does not sound right. I am expecting the new cello in dimension strings could sound better.
Posted on Wed, Sep 26 2012 13:23
by cgernaey
Joined on Mon, Apr 04 2005, Detroit-Michigan, Posts 1026

The crossfade between layers is substantially better in this release.  Last night I was playing with Vibrato to Non-vibrato patch crossfading and was extremely impressed how good it sounded.  That was performance legato patches.  I didn't try to go from performance legato non-vibrato to performance legato - expressive patch.  I could try that tonight.

I was also thinking after I responded.  Just like any new library, it will take much time to master.  The more I think about it, the more I question how much I can really replace with the new strings.  Because over all, the sound is much better.  You can hear more clarity, I can't explain it.  It just has a more modern perfected recorded sound to it.  I believe that after I master how to get the vibrato I want the more I will replace Solo Strings Violin.

Last night while playing with this stuff my wife sat beside me and I asked her to pick which one she liked better.  The old solo violin or the new.  she picked the new everytime for staccato and short performances.  However, on the legato's it wasn't as easy.  Because when I was playing faster, the older solo strings violin had a faster vibrato that kept up with the music as the dimension strings seemed to lag behind the pace.  It played fast, I am specifically speaking of the dynamics of the vibrato.  This obviously could be manipulated in many ways with many different patches.  You have to keep in mind I was playing them both with the skills of Solo Strings 1.  So until I learn to perfect Dimension Strings live playing and understnad them better, It isn't quite a fair comparison.

I also noticed that the pfp2 and pfp4 etc patches sounds more clear.  Their is much more grit and raw sound in that sample.  However, the pfp4 seemed more like 3 seconds at most to me.  The pfp4 of the original one held longer through the sample.  The newer samples also have a nice rebowing when you turn it up some.  So it's so hard to say.  The fact is, there will still be occasions where Solo Strings 1 is still going to be required.  Another example is when layering, the new dimension strings have a larger stereo width, so to get that tiny lazer beam sound of a solo violin ripping through the orchestra seems much harder to achieve.  But again, this could go back to my earlier statement of not knowing how to use the samples yet.  Because I am sure with 5 minutes of tweaking in MIR PRO and I could make them do it too.

They are worth their money, especially right now where you will get all of them.  The library I see for me getting the most rest because of these is Chamber Strings.  This new sound is just luscious and pretty.  But it isn't to big.  Last night I layered them with Appassionata and it was godly.  My wife said, that's the most real your strings ever sounded to date.

***One more note about Vibrato.  You have to keep in mind Herb didn't record these to replace solo strings 1.  So they weren't designed to be the new supreme solo performance patches.  They are meant to blend together to give a natural sound of multiple players combining to make an chamber sized ensemble.  You wouldn't have 8-16 violin players, playing vibrato as if they were playing the most dynamic solo expressive piece of their careers.  The more I keep this in perspective, the less it will likely cause me disappointment.***

Maestro2be

Windows 7 Enterprise SP1 64-bit, 24GB RAM, i7 980x
Vienna MIR PRO, Vienna Instruments, Vienna Imperial, Vienna Suite Pro, Cubase 7.5.5, Presonus Studio One 4.5
Lavry DA10 DAC, RME Multiface 2, Arturia Analog Experience 61-key
Lemur Control Surface
Posted on Wed, Sep 26 2012 14:16
by Vincent M
Joined on Sat, Jul 02 2011, Posts 205

 Thank you cgerneay for all the information you give to us.  Can you tell me if the performance trill marcato can replace a traditionnal marcato performance patch?

For classical music,  am I right to say that Solo Strings 1 are better?  For fast passages and more complicated figures,  it would be very interresting to see what the DS can do...

From my point of view,  I see Solo strings 1,  Appassionata,  Orchestral,  and Chamber like pure instruments.  Dimension Strings,  for my needs,  would serve most as a mixing tool,  to improve the sound of Appassionata and Orchestral Strings 1 and 2.

Posted on Sun, Sep 30 2012 14:53
by mbrylka
Joined on Sun, Jan 20 2008, Dortmund, Germany, Posts 28

I posted the beginning of my new piece for the eight Dimension Violins and Solo Violin on another thread, so i do here too.

You can hear that the Solo Violin and the Dimension work very fine together

http://www.markus-brylka.de/2012-09-30_Dimension_Violins.html

Posted on Thu, Oct 04 2012 06:39
by ondine
Joined on Thu, Jan 26 2012, Posts 45
I just tried dimension strings, and found that the individual solo string in Dimension Strings is not good enough to be played alone. I don't think they record the real portamento of each interval. Besides, the sound quality of solo is not smooth when a long note is played. It also contains some weird noises that makes the solo not bright enough to be real. The solo part sounds just like that in LA strings. LA strings use Kontakt script to creates fake portamento for 1st violin so there are artifacts in it. It is a pity that the portamento of solo violin in Dimension strings sounds very similar to it.
Posted on Thu, Oct 04 2012 07:51
by herb
Joined on Mon, Aug 05 2002, Posts 4613

ondine wrote:
I don't think they record the real portamento of each interval.
 

That's defenitely a wrong presumption. All intervalls are dedicated recordings for each interval!

For a "lighter" portamento effect especially for larger intervals the sul (force) G, D, A, E mappings are a good alternative.

The slide effect is shorter and faster, because it's a combination of position and fingering change.

best

Herb

Posted on Thu, Oct 04 2012 14:32
by ondine
Joined on Thu, Jan 26 2012, Posts 45
Currently I am too busy to post sound examples for comparison. But maybe someone can do it by comparing the portamento patch between VSL solo strings and the solo part of dimension strings. The former is very expressive for me while the latter sounds artificial. The differences regarding portamento and legato are very obvious.

Besides, somehow when I play solo part of DS, sometimes it sounds like two violins playing instead of one (especially when portamento or legato is used). This is one of the reason I think it artificial just like solo part of LA strings. But this does not happen in VSL solo strings. The best part of VSL solo strings is its portamento and legato.

I hope Vienna company can be very careful regarding portamento and legato when recording and programming double bass, cello, and viola.
Posted on Thu, Oct 04 2012 14:58
by herb
Joined on Mon, Aug 05 2002, Posts 4613

 As you know, the Dimension Violins are not recorded as individual solo violins, they are recorded as a section, performing all violins together, but each instrument microphoned individually. Therefor there is a kind of bleeding between the instruments, which is most obvious with samples which are not static on one pitch like the portamenti. If you compare the individual players you will recognize that the portamento speed is slightly different for each player, a simply matter of personality and how the the players are used to perform their portamento.

Performing at least two players at the same time this kind of bleeding effect will dissapear even if the two players perform a portamento on different keys.

That's the most important difference to our dedicated solo string library, and therefor Dimension Strings are simply not promoted or recommended as a replacement of our solo string product.

As usual everything is also a matter of taste and depends on a lot of factors. To make a simple example: I wouldn't try to perform a Bach solo partita with a Dimension Violin, on the other hand I guess that the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy String Octett Opus 20 would work quite well.

best

Herb

Posted on Thu, Oct 04 2012 19:55
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5390

ondine wrote:
when I play solo part of DS, sometimes it sounds like two violins playing instead of one (especially when portamento or legato is used). This is one of the reason I think it artificial just like solo part of LA strings. But this does not happen in VSL solo strings.
 

This is a result of a misconception of the Dimension strings vs. Solo.  They are not 8 separate solo violins.  They were all recorded simultaneously playing, but individually miked.  And so you get a "resonance" between the players.  It is both solo and ensemble at one time.  This was a huge innovation by VSL that solves two big problems in sampling - the too-uniform sound of a sampled ensemble , and the fact that you cannot create an ensemble with 8 separately sampled solo violins.  It sounds artificial, and this is why the Dimension strings approach was used.  It gives you individual control over each player, but the resonance and ensemble playing enriches the sound greatly over the solo strings.    Also - you are going to hear the other players a little especially with varying articulations like portamento.  That is essential to get the "Dimension" effect. 

However one thing you can do with both is to layer solo strings (or other strings) with Dimension - that creates some fantastic complexity (on top of the great complexity of the Dimension strings themselves). 

Posted on Tue, Apr 07 2015 16:24
by Talino
Joined on Sat, Jul 17 2010, Posts 260

So if I understand all of the above correctly, for non-solo work such as a string quartet, Dimension would be the way to go? i.e. you'd only recommend going Solo for "real" solo work (as in a single string instrument up front)?

Thanks.

MASTER: Cubase Pro 10.0.20, iMac 27 2015 i7 4.0 (17,1) 24gb RAM, OS X 10.14.4, RME Fireface UC. SLAVE: Mac Pro 2009 Quad 2.66 (4,1), 28gb RAM, OS X 10.11.6, Vienna Ensemble Pro 7, samples on OWC Accelsior SSD.
Posted on Fri, Apr 10 2015 05:40
by GoranTch
Joined on Tue, Mar 14 2006, Berlin, Posts 524

Originally Posted by: Talino Go to Quoted Post

So if I understand all of the above correctly, for non-solo work such as a string quartet, Dimension would be the way to go? i.e. you'd only recommend going Solo for "real" solo work (as in a single string instrument up front)?

Thanks.

For  string quartet I would recommend solo strings, as all parts are parts for a single instrument. Notice that Herb mentioned Mendelssohn's String Octett as a good example for what you could do well with Dimension Strings. That makes much more sense to me then a string quartet, as it is scored for 4 violins, 2 violas and 2 celli and the individual parts often aren't "solistic" but "ensemble" parts in character. (Even though changing from DS to Solo patches for prominently solistic passages in single instruments could be a way to go as well, things like that have to be tested in practice before you know how they really work).

And that's exactly what DS were designed for - ensemble writing (including very advanced and intricate divisi possibilities - for this aspect of DS, you can take a listen to the Wagner Lohengrin Prelude example here). 

Posted on Fri, Apr 10 2015 16:27
by Talino
Joined on Sat, Jul 17 2010, Posts 260

Thank you. The Lohengrin Prelude sounds amazing, I had already listened to that a few weeks back...

If someone has a string quartet done with DS please chime in. I'd like to invest in the most forward-looking library for me, and I *do* make more large-ensemble music than quartets – the quartet I need to do is an unusual occurrence for me... However I don't have the budget for both. I'd love to hear something if anyone has an example handy.

Thanks a lot.

MASTER: Cubase Pro 10.0.20, iMac 27 2015 i7 4.0 (17,1) 24gb RAM, OS X 10.14.4, RME Fireface UC. SLAVE: Mac Pro 2009 Quad 2.66 (4,1), 28gb RAM, OS X 10.11.6, Vienna Ensemble Pro 7, samples on OWC Accelsior SSD.
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