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Thoughts on Dimensions Strings
Last post Mon, Sep 22 2014 by garylionelli, 19 replies.
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Posted on Wed, Sep 17 2014 00:13
by garylionelli
Joined on Wed, Jul 09 2003, Los Angeles, Posts 387

I’ve been using all the VSL string collections (and their entire library) since the company's inception with great success. However, for over a year now I’ve been trying very hard to like Dimensions Strings, and in particular, the legato-perf presets. They are very responsive, immediate, and a joy to play, but they just don’t sit in the track as well as the older VSL string collections, which always seem to fit just perfectly. MIR helps, or using a good reverb, but I still feel like something is missing.

For example, if you build something as simple as 3-part open-voiced slow moving legato chords using DS Violins, Violas, and Celli, they sound okay, but I’m afraid the basic sound and expression just isn’t making it for me. On the other hand, with the regular first release Vienna Orchestral Strings, or Appassionata, there are no issues. I can always get good results with these libraries.
To be more specific, DS vibrato sounds a little mechanical, or maybe too surgically precise, and the overall sound is thin. I also hear a very slight grainy quality that builds up quickly. They sound a little sterile and don’t have as much of the life I hear in any of the other VSL collections, including Chamber Strings. 
I’ve tried building all sorts of custom presets to alleviate these issues -- trying individual tuning variations, custom EQ settings, and on and on. In the end, I do find the library useful for strengthening string melodies from other VSL string libraries, and strings from other manufacturers. 
I had high expectations for these strings, so I’m writing in hopes that Herb and co. aren’t through with the development of Dimension Strings. 
Thanks for your time.
Pro Tools Ultimate, Avid MTRX, Mac Pro 3.5 Ghz 6-Core (2014) 128 GB RAM, Mac OS Big Sur, Samsung SSDs
Posted on Wed, Sep 17 2014 07:38
by Vlzmusic
Joined on Wed, Jul 11 2012, Posts 31

Greetings Garry!

 If I may, I would like to share my user experience related to the issues you have sounded.

 -  You mention a slow movement, with several section involved. I tend to think that perf-leg is not reflecting that particular situation, if you apply its underlying principle to the desired effect. In real strings, you are not suppose to "hear" the finger movement, neither it happens as fast as perf-leg suggests it should be.  Sus vib patch sounds natural with the slow, mostly bowed action, hence the vibrato diferrence - its a new, less stressed bow  versus transitioned, "inside the phrase" note of a perf-leg.  I mostly use combination of the two,  and perf-leg reserved only to those moments which cry for "one bow direction,  finger movement".

 - When I get to mixing DS, I cannot but notice the difference between its initiall sound and Chamber (only other VSL section I own).  And in my mind, I try to portray a strategy, which would close the gap between mixed mics recording, and 24 personal mics, which is DS is about, in real life engineering terms.  I always sence than Mir is not enough to fill that gap, and try to act as a real mixer would do with personal mic tracks, be it in EQ department, additional effects or whatever.

  In large, I relate to your concerns,  but eventually I find them rather natural for this technology, and a minor trade-off for some invaluable benefits it brings along. 

Posted on Wed, Sep 17 2014 13:13
by HSM1
Joined on Thu, Oct 25 2012, Frankfurt, Germany, Posts 33


Has anyone tried any other Chamber library such as Berlin Strings or 48/60-piece string such as CineStrings or Mural Strings?

there i have been trying to use other vst library, even cine strings core library has too much better Sus patches with natural bowed legato that is awesome feature..! I think so that we have not any chance to get better Chamber section and therefore we need an update package for DS.

http://softwarearchitectblogs.wordpress.com/

Dimension Strings, Orchestral Tools Berlin Strings, Spitfire Audio Chamber Strings, Spitfire Audio Symphonic Strings,
Hollywood Strings, LA Scoring Strings, Hollywood Brass, Symphonic Choirs, Symphonic Orchestra
Posted on Wed, Sep 17 2014 14:02
by Vlzmusic
Joined on Wed, Jul 11 2012, Posts 31

Hesam,

 Other developers libraries you mention are irrelevant, both in the scope of the VSL forum,  and both in the technical aspect of legato, which is done differently in VSL.  I hope no one is forcing you to use DS,  and you are free to choose otherwise.

Posted on Wed, Sep 17 2014 15:10
by Viktor
Joined on Tue, Nov 05 2013, Posts 24

I think that the question is not in forcing anyone to use DS, I can't reach the "sound of my dream" with this library in the mix too ("solo" it sounds good - with MIRx - but something happens in the mix with the other instruments, that the sound converts in something "artificial", not so natural). I was sure that that issue was caused by my amateur knowledge, but now can see that I'm not the only one. So I tried the template of one of the users (Saxer- thank you!) - that unfortunately didn't work for me. So had to use Orchestral strings (and Chamber strings) with Solo strings (I have SE complete) - that sound was more "vivid". So what can I do to integrate DS? I like its sound which magically disappears when I'm making the mix. What tutorial can you recommend? Thank you! 

Posted on Wed, Sep 17 2014 19:15
by Vlzmusic
Joined on Wed, Jul 11 2012, Posts 31

Hello Viktor,

 I am sorry for hijacking the thread too many times, but just in case your last question was directed to me, I would rather write a short note than leave it hanging.

 I feel like you overcomplicate things.  If you do think you lack some experience, its always good to hold on to something plain and solid - which  in your case is a full Mirx mock-up with the internal pre-eq and natural volumes intact. Once you dial it in for all VSL stuff - its a basement,  and just by playing with the dry/wet ratios, some filter to tame highest annoying sounds a bit, and of course  - right dynamics (!) and good arrangement,  you should not experience any "mixing" problems.  Dietz has given us some fine presets in the form of Mirx, I am not sure why would you choose otherwise.

Posted on Wed, Sep 17 2014 23:12
by garylionelli
Joined on Wed, Jul 09 2003, Los Angeles, Posts 387

With all the resources and individual control available in Dimension Strings, I felt like there just had to be a way to get what I wanted, so I had an idea today that I hadn’t tried before. Maybe some of you have already tried something similar, but I hadn’t until now.

I was interested in creating a violins preset that just a slight amount of vibrato, and also that had a legato time of more than the standard perf-leg patches, but with a lot less than the portamento patches.

Starting with a blank VI Pro, and into a single cell I did the following steps with the DS Violins:

1. Loaded 6 single perf-leg_Vib patches in slots 1-6,  row A
2. Loaded 2 perf-porta_noVib patches in slots 7 & 8, row A
3. Loaded 6 single perf-leg_noVib patches in slots 1-6,  row B
4. Loaded 2 perf-porta_Vib patches in slots 7 & 8, row B
5. Time-stretched all port patches to quicken the portamento (created a negative curve using a max negative value from 0.00s to 0.30s)
6. Panned everything L & R about 35 ticks from center
8. Increased Global Release time to 73
9. Set Humaniza at 79, Tun at 63, and Delay at 28 (delay not necessary). Used DS in-tune random preset
10. Reassigned Expression to MOD wheel
11. In mixer, adjusted volume of sliders 7 & 8 of porto patches (0 to -5 db).
12. Instantiated the Vienna Equalizer after the VI Pro instrument channel in Pro Tools. Used EQ Factory Preset Dim Violins Ensemble - elegant.  (There’s an EQ in VI Pro, but it’s too basic.)

This setup works really well for unison violin melodies, or for parts of the open-voiced chords I mentioned before (created with probably with a lesser number of players). It does not sound thin. The addition of a few of the time-stretched porta patches enhances the legato and makes for a very smooth connection between notes. Everything just blends and does not sound mechanical or sterile.

I also created similar setups for the Violas, Celli, and Basses, and the results are pretty spectacular. This was just a test setup; I’ll probably make something with cell-crossfading to bring in the porta patches, and assign it to a controller.

So, after what I’d written here yesterday, I feel a lot better about Dimension Strings today. There’s a lot of untapped potential with a degree of control no other libraries have.

Pro Tools Ultimate, Avid MTRX, Mac Pro 3.5 Ghz 6-Core (2014) 128 GB RAM, Mac OS Big Sur, Samsung SSDs
Posted on Thu, Sep 18 2014 05:19
by BachRules
Joined on Sun, Mar 30 2014, Posts 360
garylionelli wrote:

With all the resources and individual control available in Dimension Strings, I felt like there just had to be a way to get what I wanted, so I had an idea today that I hadn’t tried before. Maybe some of you have already tried something similar, but I hadn’t until now.

I was interested in creating a violins preset that just a slight amount of vibrato, and also that had a legato time of more than the standard perf-leg patches, but with a lot less than the portamento patches.

Starting with a blank VI Pro, and into a single cell I did the following steps with the DS Violins:

1. Loaded 6 single perf-leg_Vib patches in slots 1-6,  row A
2. Loaded 2 perf-porta_noVib patches in slots 7 & 8, row A
3. Loaded 6 single perf-leg_noVib patches in slots 1-6,  row B
4. Loaded 2 perf-porta_Vib patches in slots 7 & 8, row B
5. Time-stretched all port patches to quicken the portamento (created a negative curve using a max negative value from 0.00s to 0.30s)
6. Panned everything L & R about 35 ticks from center
8. Increased Global Release time to 73
9. Set Humaniza at 79, Tun at 63, and Delay at 28 (delay not necessary). Used DS in-tune random preset
10. Reassigned Expression to MOD wheel
11. In mixer, adjusted volume of sliders 7 & 8 of porto patches (0 to -5 db).
12. Instantiated the Vienna Equalizer after the VI Pro instrument channel in Pro Tools. Used EQ Factory Preset Dim Violins Ensemble - elegant.  (There’s an EQ in VI Pro, but it’s too basic.)

This setup works really well for unison violin melodies, or for parts of the open-voiced chords I mentioned before (created with probably with a lesser number of players). It does not sound thin. The addition of a few of the time-stretched porta patches enhances the legato and makes for a very smooth connection between notes. Everything just blends and does not sound mechanical or sterile.

I also created similar setups for the Violas, Celli, and Basses, and the results are pretty spectacular. This was just a test setup; I’ll probably make something with cell-crossfading to bring in the porta patches, and assign it to a controller.

So, after what I’d written here yesterday, I feel a lot better about Dimension Strings today. There’s a lot of untapped potential with a degree of control no other libraries have.

I'd be interested to hear audio samples of your results, if you're willing, please? I have Dim strings, and while I surely like the basses and cellos, I'm unconvinced about the violas and violins.

Vlzmusic wrote:
Dietz has given us some fine presets in the form of Mirx, I am not sure why would you choose otherwise.

These alone have not been enough to make the violins / violas tone useful for me; I find the tone to have a "grainy quality" like OP mentioned. Possibly the Dim violins / violas are good raw materials, but without knowing how to turn them into a good finished sound, at the end of the day I have to choose alternatives which work for me, for the sake of results. More practical tips -- whether from VSL or from 3rd parties -- for how to process Dim violins / violias would make this library a more valuable option for me and probably for other people too.
Posted on Thu, Sep 18 2014 05:24
by icecubeman
Joined on Fri, Nov 09 2012, Nitra, Posts 201
Hesam Seyed Mousavi wrote:
library such as Berlin Strings

Are you talking about those library that is not fixed since release, with hanging notes and bad scripting? Good luck then Big Smile

Posted on Thu, Sep 18 2014 05:38
by garylionelli
Joined on Wed, Jul 09 2003, Los Angeles, Posts 387

If this thread continues at all, let's try to keep on track...

Pro Tools Ultimate, Avid MTRX, Mac Pro 3.5 Ghz 6-Core (2014) 128 GB RAM, Mac OS Big Sur, Samsung SSDs
Posted on Thu, Sep 18 2014 16:14
by garylionelli
Joined on Wed, Jul 09 2003, Los Angeles, Posts 387

Re the request for a sample, not at the moment, but I'd say try the 12 steps, and you can see first hand. Should only take about 10 minutes to set up.

Pro Tools Ultimate, Avid MTRX, Mac Pro 3.5 Ghz 6-Core (2014) 128 GB RAM, Mac OS Big Sur, Samsung SSDs
Posted on Thu, Sep 18 2014 16:32
by BachRules
Joined on Sun, Mar 30 2014, Posts 360
garylionelli wrote:

Re the request for a sample, not at the moment, but I'd say try the 12 steps, and you can see first hand. Should only take about 10 minutes to set up.

Thanks for the reply, but I can't, since I don't have Vienna Equalizer. I'm just generally looking out for audio samples of good-sounding Dim violins, so I have some model in mind as I work with the EQ's available to me.

Posted on Thu, Sep 18 2014 18:25
by garylionelli
Joined on Wed, Jul 09 2003, Los Angeles, Posts 387

Looks like this forum doesn't allow pics to be attached, or I'd send you a pic of the EQ settings...

Pro Tools Ultimate, Avid MTRX, Mac Pro 3.5 Ghz 6-Core (2014) 128 GB RAM, Mac OS Big Sur, Samsung SSDs
Posted on Thu, Sep 18 2014 18:51
by Paul
Joined on Sat, Aug 03 2002, Vienna, Posts 13527

Hi, 

Demo Licenses for all our software products can be ordered on the product pages when you are logged in as a user, e.g., Vienna Suite (click "try"). 

These demo licenses work for 30 days/30 starts. 

Once the 30 starts are used up, you can recharge them as often as you like by clicking "Maintenance" in the eLicenser Control Center (within 30 days). 

Best, 

Paul

Paul Kopf
Product Manager - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Thu, Sep 18 2014 20:36
by BachRules
Joined on Sun, Mar 30 2014, Posts 360
Paul wrote:

Hi, 

Demo Licenses for all our software products can be ordered on the product pages when you are logged in as a user, e.g., Vienna Suite (click "try"). 

These demo licenses work for 30 days/30 starts. 

Once the 30 starts are used up, you can recharge them as often as you like by clicking "Maintenance" in the eLicenser Control Center (within 30 days). 

Best, 

Paul

I can't even figure out how to operate a simple filter in the last software I bought from VSL:

http://community.vsl.co.at/foru...34960/230985.aspx#230985

garylionelli wrote:

Looks like this forum doesn't allow pics to be attached, or I'd send you a pic of the EQ settings...

Thanks. I've had success hosting images on http://imgur.com/ and embedding them in posts here using the "img" tag; but if you need your time for other things, I understand.
Posted on Thu, Sep 18 2014 22:40
by Viktor
Joined on Tue, Nov 05 2013, Posts 24

Thanks for reply Vizmusic. I´ll try again DS with MIRx, I like it for its sound - solo DS is great, the problem is when I have other instruments - brass, woodwinds, piano, harp, dthe sound changes and the orchestra is not integrate, maybe because I don´t have dimension brass or others full libraries (I have SE), but with Orchestral strings (SE) it sounds better. But I can tell you that Appassionata strings (SE) don´t sound great for me too in the mix! Maybe those are my ears that don´t accept! I´ll try again other templates, maybe the one of garylionelli or Saxer´s once again. Why not? Thanks again!

Posted on Thu, Sep 18 2014 23:13
by garylionelli
Joined on Wed, Jul 09 2003, Los Angeles, Posts 387

Bach -- I'll PM a pic to you...

Pro Tools Ultimate, Avid MTRX, Mac Pro 3.5 Ghz 6-Core (2014) 128 GB RAM, Mac OS Big Sur, Samsung SSDs
Posted on Sun, Sep 21 2014 15:21
by Dominique
Joined on Fri, Aug 08 2008, Posts 179

It's an interesting topic I can relate to. I found the Dimension Strings to be extremely flexible and playable. They respond so well to cc changes (I use a breath controller) that it's a joy to play. But the raw sound is a bit laid back and slightly veiled to my ears. Maybe it's because of the close micing, I don't know.

I spent quite some time testing different eq-settings and other plugins. Finally I found something I'm currently happy with. It sounds a bit more open with these settings, without becoming overly harsh.

Here's a snippet, first out of the box, then with my settings:

https://soundcloud.com/linos-music/vienna-dimension-ltrings

Posted on Mon, Sep 22 2014 17:29
by garylionelli
Joined on Wed, Jul 09 2003, Los Angeles, Posts 387

Nice...

Pro Tools Ultimate, Avid MTRX, Mac Pro 3.5 Ghz 6-Core (2014) 128 GB RAM, Mac OS Big Sur, Samsung SSDs
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