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3 questions relating to VSL's strings in general
Last post Sun, Mar 13 2016 by jasensmith, 6 replies.
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Posted on Wed, Mar 09 2016 04:31
by soundsreal
Joined on Sat, Oct 25 2014, Posts 13

I have read many mentions of people layering string from other libraries - is this due to some deficiency in the larger ensembles or is this just people playing around? 

If anyone can tell about their home setup of combining VSL and other strings and what it acheives from them that VSL could not on its own it would be extremely helpful. I currently have the full solo strings and the next step I am looking to take is to buy 2 "large string ensemble" librarys, one from VSL and one from elsewhere to combine/ add depth. 

It would be wonderful to know what the difference in use is between the appassionata strings and the orchestral strings. It seems like there are many who own both - why? Did you have one and when the next came out it was better? Is there a real advantage to having both or is it more of an either/or situation?

Posted on Thu, Mar 10 2016 16:26
by Beat Kaufmann
Joined on Fri, Jan 03 2003, Switzerland/Brugg, Posts 1763

Hi Soundsreal

This method can create new timbres.
For showing a possible result I combined the Appassionata Strings with the Chamber Strings. As an exception:
The 1st Appassionata Violins got the Soloviolin as additional articulations. The nice vibrato of them shine through the compact sound of the Appassionatas from time to time - specially in the high end...

Read, see more and listen here...

In the early days of VSL we only hat the orchestra strings and the solo strings. At that time I combined the two libraries for having a sound between of them - chamberstrings so to say.

Here as an example an accompaniment: BK_Bach_Matthew_Passion_Gebt_mir_VSL_03_wet.mp3

All the best


www.musik-produktion-createc.ch (Konzertaufnahmen, Musik mit Samples)
at www.beat-kaufmann.com : MIXING an ORCHESTRA - TUTORIAL
Posted on Thu, Mar 10 2016 20:49
by JimmyHellfire
Joined on Tue, Dec 24 2013, Posts 335

I'm sure people have different reasons for layering libraries. I like to do it a lot, and while there isn't anything "wrong" with a single library, to me layering is still is a more deliberate practice than just "playing around".

My personal take on layering - in addition to what Beat Kaufmann already explained:

What I like about it is the variety of performance. No matter how advanced and high quality our libraries are, we're still dealing with samples, and that means that even if we go great lengths to adjust velocity curves, volume, tuning and performance aspects, we are still hearing lots of same short recordings out of a limited pool being shuffled around.

We could say that layering expands this pool. By having the same part being played by two libraries simultaneously, one introduces more randomness, a higher number of permutations and different pairings of recurring samples, which results in a somewhat more lively, less predictable and hopefully a musically more attractive performance. Factor in VI Pro and its humanization features working their magic on both libraries as well.

Passages of short notes benefit from this by gaining more subtle variations in timing and tightness, resulting in a less rigidly quantized, more human sounding performance and less artificial "machine gun" effect. Sustained notes can sound more animated due to the subtle differences in tuning (no two musicians can ever play anything truly 100% in tune to each other), envelope and vibrato.

Another reason to layer libraries is in order to combine their unique aspects for a special kind of sound they couldn't quite produce on their own. For example, I like to layer the Appassionata Strings staccato with the one from Orchestral Strings. The Appassionatas sound very huge and warm, wide, almost chorus-y, and somewhat more distant than the Orchestrals - which in turn have a much more snappier, crisp, tight attack to them, a lot less "flubby" than Appassionata, most probably due to the smaller section size. I also like their firm, pronounced "body" sound.

So, if I want the size, warmth and grandeur of the Appassionatas, but also the aggressive, tight snap of the Orchestrals at the same time, what do I do? I simply use both and find a delicate volume balance between the two patches that gives me the sound I have in mind. It's a kind of a "cheat nature" approach to create something more unique and pleasing sounding.

Posted on Fri, Mar 11 2016 10:41
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1582

I've started layering the mutes with my strings and have been very impressed with the results.  I got the idea from somebody on this forum so a big than you and my hat's off to whoever that was

"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 Sat, Mar 12 2016 18:03
by Pyre
Joined on Thu, Jun 28 2012, Posts 151

I too like layering different VSL libraries; if you send all the different virtual instruments from one library to one bus, and all the differnt VIs from another to a different bus, you can easily adjust between them on the fly. Or even do it directly with automation mapping, using the same parameter to control the levels of every instrument within a library. Solo strings add expressiveness to ensembles, but risk making them sound smaller if too loud. Appassionata adds size, as you might expect, but at the slight cost of detail. So you can use a central library for your main section sound, like Dimension, Orchestral or Chamber Strings, and then add in as much of the extremes at either end of the size spectrum depending on what the passage calls for.

The only warning I would offer is that your articulation, volume, expression, velocity and timing settings for one library may sound weird on another, so you would probably need a different MIDI track for each library. And since each one will need finetuning to sound its best, this can take up to three times as long as with just one single library. In practice, layers two and three rarely take anything like as long as layer one, but it's certainly not quick. So the main downside to this method is the additional time it takes to produce useable results. And, of course, the additional CPU overhead, or track count if you're bouncing down audio for mixing.

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core Processor, 3.59 Ghz
1 TB hard drive for audio, 4 TB hard drive for libraries, 1x 256 GB SSD for OS
Audient iD14 4-in 2-out USB interface
Korg Triton Extreme-76 master keyboard, M-Audio MidAir-25 lap keyboard.

Windows 10 Pro, Cubase 10.5 Pro
VSL Symphonic Cube (Full library), Vienna Choir (standard library), Vienna Solo Voices (standard library), Vienna Imperial, Konzerthaus Organ, and download instruments Recorders, Harpsichord, Basset Horn and Contrabass Clarinet.
Vienna Instruments Pro 2.5.18635 and Vienna Ensemble Pro 5.4.16181
Vienna Suite, Vienna MIR and room packs 1-5
Sibelius 7 and Komplete 8
All 64-bit.
Posted on Sun, Mar 13 2016 01:51
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1582


The following goes without saying for the seasoned grizzled veterans out there but for the newbies:

At the end of a legato line, lengthen the Solo strings line a little more because there's always that one player who really gets into the moment and just can't stop when everybody else stops.  The trick is to make it subtle not obvious because then it sounds too fake.

I think Jimmy touched on this a little in his post but to expand, change up the articulations between the layers.  For example, the OS might play a legato line consisting of 8th notes in 120 BPM or faster.  Have the corresponding CS library play detaches instead.  Be sure to "unattach" the MIDI notes (or leave them attached to see what that does to the sound)  Where the OS plays a slow legato have the Solo strings play overlaping sustains.  Where the AS plays stacs have CS or SS play spics etc.  This also works for 1st violins and 2nd voilin situations where they are playing the same notes whether or not they are seperated by an octave it doesn't matter.  

As Jimmy pointed out the trick is volume control between the layers.

Remember, you're not trying to fool the educated ear. That would be futile.  But if you can make the educated ear second guess him or herself then you're on to something.  If you can get the educated ear to say, "well, I'm pretty sure this is sampled but...."  If they are saying "...but..." then you've done your job.  

"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
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