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developing a workflow with VSL libraries
Last post Mon, Nov 21 2022 by Jason Archibald, 8 replies.
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Posted on Tue, Oct 04 2022 15:16
by Jason Archibald
Joined on Wed, Apr 27 2011, Posts 10

Ever since my first experience with VSL samples contained within Kontakt years ago, I’ve always loved the sound of VSL compared to other brands.  Recently I upgraded to the super package and since have been trying to wrap my head around the sheer scope of everything contained ... 

My question is related to trying to develop a workflow.  There are so many articulations, and loading up everything is obviously very demanding... so what is recommended... pulling articulations into empty cells?  

Are there any in-depth tutorials for developing a mastery of using these libraries beyond the several great but short ones put out by VSL?


Posted on Wed, Oct 05 2022 19:54
by Jason Archibald
Joined on Wed, Apr 27 2011, Posts 10

I found this site:


This is exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for.  So thanks to Beat Kaufmann for this awesome resource.  

BUT, maybe there is more!  So I contribute this finding but hope maybe others have more! Thanks :)


Posted on Wed, Oct 05 2022 20:54
by Bill
Joined on Fri, Sep 23 2005, Berkshires, MA, Posts 1286

Your workflow would very much depend on the host you're using; let us know...

Also, both the VI player and the Synchron player can be set to "load on demand" so that only the articulations used in your piece get loaded.

Dorico, Finale, Sibelius, Notion, Overture, Cubase, StaffPad
Win11 x64, 64GB RAM; Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
Kontakt, Bunch of VSL, VIP, VEP, EWQL Orch, Choir and Pianos
August Forster 190
Posted on Wed, Oct 05 2022 21:12
by Jason Archibald
Joined on Wed, Apr 27 2011, Posts 10

Hey... thanks for the reply

For Notation, I use Finale a lot, and am learning Dorico.  I got the articulate presets for Dorico... and that definitely feels a little complicated... 

For DAW, I use Ableton and Cubase/Nuendo

I’m comfortable with soft synths in general, but there is just so much to this package that I’m having difficulty figuring out how to be effective with it, and without my computer getting overwhelmed.  I find the patch names a little confusing, trying to figure out what is what...  and whether I need to place every instrument in a different instance, compared to kontakt or sine factory where I often will have multiple instruments in one instance, with different instrument midi channels referring to the same instance.  I’m also unsure of how VE fits into this, whether it’s better to use that... 

So far I’ve just been spending time playing patches, trying the different articulations, and listening to how they sound dry compared to the various reverb options(algo, MIRx, and Mir3D)  

I almost think I like the sound of things in VI Pro player better than in synchron player sometimes, but synchron player seems a little easier

Posted on Mon, Oct 10 2022 09:49
by EmBee1972
Joined on Sat, Jan 17 2015, Posts 28

I know what you're talking about; the huge amount of articulations can be overwhelming at first. But as mentioned above: it does depend on your workflow a lot.

Recently I dug deeper into the SlotXF options in VI Pro and this brings a whole new dimension to the whole thing. I I use Dorico for the most part and with the extra options SlotXF gives, the possibilities are not ebdless, but at least huge and really add a lot to get very good playback.

Posted on Sun, Oct 30 2022 20:28
by Beat Kaufmann
Joined on Fri, Jan 03 2003, Switzerland/Brugg, Posts 1804

Originally Posted by: Jason Archibald Go to Quoted Post

... Are there any in-depth tutorials for developing a mastery of using these libraries beyond the several great but short ones put out by VSL?


Hello Jason
You may have already found my site, but there is so much there.
One of the important things when dealing with samples is dialing in the articulations. If you can't develop a routine here ^ it's not fun in the long run.

A) One possibility is to use notation software that selects the articulations depending on the notation. If you write a sfz over the note, a sfz is played, if you write 16th notes or a dot over a 4th note, a staccato is played (or as you define it yourself). Here are two facts that speak against the method (via notation):

1. the notation does not always correspond to the way the written note is actually played (see 39).

2. with the exception of Dorico, the other notation software products are not able to include enough controller curves and other functions besides the notes to simultaneously also control the VI player (SYNCHRON player) so that the result sounds musical. People who own notation programs and want to improve their sound result create a midi file, import it into a DAW and operate the VIs there.


B) Another possibility is to use the expression maps that VSL has provided. Simply put, you assign notes in the DAW the desired articulation with which they should be played, without having to worry about how many individual notes (keyswitches) it would take to trigger a corresponding articulation. It is important to know that these keyswitches are not standardized. The note C0, for example, is not generally available for all libraries in order to select a staccato.


C) While A) and B) are official offers to solve the problem of articulation selection, there are still individual ones. For me, the following has proven itself:
Fact is that you can usually define 10-15 articulations, which you need most often:

  • C0 1 Spiccato
  • C#0 2 Staccato
  • D0 3 Détaché
  • D#0 4 Sustain w Vib
  • E0 5 Sustain wo Vib
  • F0 6 Legato
  • G0 7 Portamento
  • G#0 8 sfz
  • A...    9 dim short
  • ...

If you create a matrix for each instrument so that the same note always triggers the staccato in all libraries, for example, you will soon be able to set these articulations very quickly. I call this creating your own "basic presets". Here is an example (Basic Presets) for the new SYNCHRON-Player...


Once the music has been played, you have to decide whether you want to make the orchestra mix by processing the individual audio signals from the VIs or SYNCHRON players, or whether you want to create an audio file of all instruments (without effects) first and then use it to make an audio mix.

I prefer the second method here because I could still do a new mix in 20 years. This is not possible with the first method, because in 20 years the computer will no longer be set up the same way, licenses and effects will be missing, so a project may no longer open at all... (my experience during the last 20 years).


Unfortunately, one thing has to be said despite everything: Professional and great music examples with samples always require (still) a lot of time, in addition to a lot of routine and experience. It's hard to produce something quickly if you want it to sound good. "Still" because perhaps one day artificial intelligence will be able to take over a few processes. e.g. setting keyswitches depending on the style of music or an entire audio mix...


www.musik-produktion-createc.ch (Konzertaufnahmen, Musik mit Samples)
at www.beat-kaufmann.com : MIXING an ORCHESTRA - TUTORIAL
Posted on Fri, Nov 11 2022 23:26
by Raymonde
Joined on Tue, May 26 2009, Posts 148

Hey Beat:

Thanks for all of the great help you've given to VSL users over the years. 

Cubase 12, Windows 10 Installed on ‎4/‎11/‎2022
OS build 19044.1645, VE Pro (build 7.2.1481) Vienna Instruments Pro 2.0 (v 2.6.110) Universal Audio Apollo Twin, M-Audio Oxygen 88 keyboard controller, USB connection, NVIDA GeForce GTX 1600 Ti Display adapter, Intel i7-8700K CPU @3.70 GHz, 32 GB RAM Total Physical Memory
Posted on Mon, Nov 21 2022 21:03
by Jason Archibald
Joined on Wed, Apr 27 2011, Posts 10

Thanks so much for this info!  I found your site very informative.  

I’m definitely getting the impression that creating my own presets is part of the equation here.  I think initially I wasn’t sure about that but nothing seemed prebuilt in a way that seemed ready to work.  Creating presets from the various articulations looks to be an important step.  I will spend time on this.  

You mentioned articulation maps and that is something I’m trying to figure out right now.


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