Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

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Ghaleon64
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Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by Ghaleon64 »

I've been really looking into the Vienna symphonic sound libraries and was wondering if any of you folks have used these? How do they rate? Pretty easy to familiarize with? Sound great? The samples on the Vienna page sound amazing but they were created by Vienna professionals. How hard is it to jump in and create equally amazing sounds?

And heck, if anyone knows any better sound libraries I'd like to know that as well. Vienna was an early one I found and really fell in love with. But lord, are they pricey. :D

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by gkruse »

Many VSL users use Cubase so there must be several users looking at this forum.
I use VSL samples for the main instruments, adding Kontakt default library samples if really necessary for those instruments I do not have and an occasional synthesizer, but for several years all my "investments" are in VSL (chamber orchestra, and downloaded winds). Other libraries I found either limited or too much Hollywood (good if you like Williams or Disney).
In the composition forum you can find user supplied compositions and orchestration (http://community.vsl.co.at/forums/9.aspx).

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by peregrine »

You can't go wrong with VSL. Also look at Audio Impressions DVZ strings (great performance instrument), LASS, and East West Hollywood Strings and Symphonic Orchestra. There are a lot of other one box solutions. Because of the differences in playing styles between California, the rest of the USA, and Europe, they will all sound different. They all have different recommended machine configurations. The "pricey" you talk about will include more than just the cost of the sample library. They all use different methods to select articulations, but there's nothing really complicated there, and all of them have good support if you have problems starting out. You should have no trouble producing very convincing orchestrations with any of them.

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by Ghaleon64 »

Excellent, that's what I wanted to hear! Thanks for the tips fellas! Glad to know Vienna also has forums! Time to start saving up. :D

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by Ghaleon64 »

Actually, one last question. What's the difference between VSL's standard, extended and full libraries? Besides the price. If I'm just getting started is it worth to get the full library or the standard/extended? What's the diff between standard and extended?

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by peregrine »

They have different articulation samples. You can look them up on the VSL site and decide what you need. If you go with VSL, you'll end up needing a current generation cpu, lots of ram, and lots of HD or SSD space. VSL is good for composition and recording, but not so good for performance. Herb is a dedicated capitalist, so this is not for the faint of heart. It is by far the most expensive set of orchestral libraries out there. They rarely have sales, and when they do its usually not for something you need. I think he does sell a complete orchestra bundle that at least has legato and sustains for all instruments that is priced at less than 2000 euro.

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by gkruse »

Ghaleon64 wrote:Actually, one last question. What's the difference between VSL's standard, extended and full libraries? Besides the price. If I'm just getting started is it worth to get the full library or the standard/extended? What's the diff between standard and extended?
Well I was happy with the standard downloaded winds, but extended does add a lot in "expression" possibilities, and I have acquired extended for some instruments (flute, oboe, trombone), and not for others that do not play a main role in my efforts (tuba, horn). (NB I write music only for myself to explore structure).

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by andyjh »

peregrine wrote:If you go with VSL, you'll end up needing a current generation cpu, lots of ram, and lots of HD or SSD space.
Well, you will need a fast computer to run any top end sample librray, but the VI Pro player is far more efficient than Kontakt or EW Play for example, so it is probably the most efficient sample player engine out there.

peregrine wrote: VSL is good for composition and recording, but not so good for performance.
What are you talking about? The VI Pro player allows total programmability to switch and build custom libraries using MIDI notes, Controllers or anything else - You can even have articulations change by playing speed, adjust round robin detection speeds etc...

peregrine wrote: They rarely have sales, and when they do its usually not for something you need.
You should try living on planet earth sometime, VSL have some sort of sale on virtually every month. There was one last month and there is one this month. Just because the one library you would like is not 90% of this month, does not mean they don't have sales.


The VSL librray is undisputably the best orchestral library available to users that understand how to construct an orchestral sound. There are libraries (like Project Sam) that allow big stacks to be created quickly without having any control over the layers or room acoustics, and the VSL is far from being the most expensive (Spitfire Audio probably get that one). It is the best value for money, but that does not mean it is cheap though.
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peregrine
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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by peregrine »

Hi Andy - you're a very confrontational person, aren't you? If you really feel you need to disagree with someone in such a confrontational way, you should try hanging out in the SONAR forum. I think you'd feel right at home there.

1. The OP will need a current gen machine to run any of the libraries I mentioned. It doesn't matter how efficient the player is; you're just splitting hairs there anyway. If his machine is more than 4 years old, that will be the weak link.

2. Since the OP is just beginning to investigate options, it would be advantageous to consider the relative ease with which each library can be realistically implemented. This might surprise you, but some people think VSL is an incredibly complicated setup. That is not a plus in a performance environment. There are other libraries that load all of their samples on startup and give you keyswitch options to control instruments, number of players, where you play on a string, where you play on a bow. Its a different approach that some people find more suitable to live work. It becomes easier for them to produce something that actually sounds the way a musician plays. That might not work for you, of course, but it's my opinion and I'm absolutely entitled to it.

3. I've been living here for quite some time. Longer than you I'd bet. So here's something you don't know. Almost all software makers, if you contact them directly, will negotiate price arrangements with you. In other words, you can get it cheaper. Herb will absolutely not do this (nor will Waves btw). He's really convinced he lost millions when his former libraries got cracked, and he's making up for the lost revenue. The VSL cube is over $7000, and the complete bundle is over $12,000. Outside of Andyland, the rest of planet Earth recognizes this situation as "not a sale".

There. I feel better. How about you? Have a great day!

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by andyjh »

I will point out that I have nothing to do with VSL (I just respect their products as being the best),

but anyone that takes a personal attack on the owner of a company because he can't afford their products or is retaliating some previous grievance deserves to get a stiff reply, and a balanced correction to prejudicial rermarks.

The OP was asking for people with experiences with VSL, and my repsonse is that as a user of VSL, I believe it to be the best (and I own various other libraries as well - bought before I discovered VSL). The OP will be aware of the cost of the library, it is not the cheapest around, but you only get what you pay for.

And if someone can learn and understand Cubase, then learning VSL's VI Pro will be easy.

Learning how to orchestrate is another matter, I have been writng and arranging orchestral music for over 30 years, and I'm still learning new things now.
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jose7822
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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by jose7822 »

peregrine wrote:If you really feel you need to disagree with someone in such a confrontational way, you should try hanging out in the SONAR forum. I think you'd feel right at home there.
Being a former Sonar user, I found the above comment very amusing, lol.

Anyway guys, let's get along here. There's no need to get confrontational and argue about which sample library is better. I think it's been proven that people can get incredible results with ANY of the top libraries out there, including VSL, EWQL, CineSamples, LASS, etc. ANY of them can produce awesome results.

Having said that, I have to agree with Peregrine about the pricing of the VSL libraries. To me, VSL is the point of diminishing return. You definitely don't get the amount of quality in relation to the money spent towards their top libraries when compared to the pricing of the rest. But if you have the money, then sure go ahead and get it. Their products are really great.

I also, personally, don't like the way they implemented the sample manipulation. Yes, it is very powerful, but it also seems very complicated. A word of advice to the OP is to watch the tutorial videos of each company's library so that you at least have an idea of what you're getting yourself into before buying. IMO, pretty much of all them are easier to use than VSL. But, to each its own.

My 2 cents!
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peregrine
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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by peregrine »

Well, hello again Andy. You didn't get it the first time or the second time, so here's the deal. I do own the cube. I also own all of the other libraries I mentioned, or I wouldn't recommend them. I don't have any current or past grievance against VSL or Herb. The truth is he just does not negotiate. You assume that is some kind of attack. Its not personal, its just business. So don't think I'll let you put words in my mouth. You're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. You are the only one attacking here.

You are a big fan of VSL, that is clear, and if you are using it exclusively and are happy with it that's wonderful for you. There is, however; a large community of users here in the western USA that work with hybrid libraries. We use things singly and in combination to overcome various issues we invariably have with any one particular product. Unless you have deep pockets, a big investment in VSL can make it difficult to acquire this kind of flexibility. For some people, assembling a variety of lower cost products can be a better way to start out. If all you use is VSL, then any pro out here that listens to it will know exactly what it is. Hopefully this isn't a big surprise to you, but a lot of California people really prefer a California sound. I've had to explain a number of times that something will sound much better when we get the real orchestra in here.

I am glad you mentioned Spitfire. That one is on my list once the update is available. Not sure what the OP is looking for, but it would be good for film/game trailers.

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by garbagetruckdriver »

I'd like to offer an opinion in response to the question on how easy it is to get a good result - In my opinion, you need to invest quite a bit of time reading the manuals, watching the tutorials and lurking in the forums in order to get familiar with all of the articulations and ways of setting up VI or better VIPro. There are many products that offer lush pad sounding strings right out of the box for $400<$1000-ish. If that's all you need, you might want to stop there.

What you find with VSL however, is that you probably know less about orchestrating than you need to, which leads to spending more money on orchestration books/courses ;-). Also VI and VIPro are very feature rich, therefore, you tweak one thing wrong, and you may spend a bit of time figuring out why your lush strings are suddenly so harsh sounding. Personally, I enjoy the geek part of it - except when I'm inspired and want fast results...

I started with VSL back in January. Several months and several thousand Euros later, I have the complete Standard Edition Vols 1-4, some extra solo instruments (bought on sale!), and VIPro, VEPro and Vienna Suite.

To the point of some of our friendly forumites this stuff ain't cheap. Beyond the cost of the software, I also added a second mac to host VSL, invested in SSDs and maxed out the RAM in both machines.

So, it's not cheap. It becomes addictive and time consuming to learn. It's not as easy as loading up Symphobia/Addagio Strings/Cinematic Strings/etc. in Kontact... but Holy Mother of God - when you set it up right, what a heavenly racket you can make with this stuff! Suddenly, a point-n-shoot string library will appear very limited through its lack of articulations or parameter control.

Another note - VSL sounds DRY. Intentionally. That's so you can use a good reverb to put instruments in their place. You really have to try out VSL's reverbs too. Cubase's REVerence is ok, but Vienna Suite is awesome. (I'll try MIR pro when I get a third Mac).

And by the way, VEPro has been bulletproof with Cubase 6.5 for me and has really helped to unload my main MacPro DAW. I even run Kontakt and Omnisphere on the second machine sometimes.
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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by wwzeitler »

There's the old adage "Anything you CAN control you MUST control." That is true of VSL in spades.

(For each VSL instrument track I have 7 automation tracks plus the 'notes track'. And since there are 'solo' vs. 'chamber' vs. 'orchestra' vs. 'appassionata' strings, plus the rest of the orchestra, I'm looking at 80 instrument tracks. Folders--and data management in general--are your friends!)

VSL has a depth of complexity that must be reasonably mastered to get good and consistent results. But when you do--wow! VSL is now the core of what I do (with additional EastWest, etc. libraries with non-standard-orchestra sounds I want). Plan on investing the time to learn how to use it. Lurk in the forums. Do their tutorials--more than once!

And you will need to beef up your orchestration skills. Personally, I think there is a lot of value in spending time with scores for orchestral music you already have in your head: Beethoven symphonies, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun--how did they do it? (Dover sells full-sized orchestral scores for very reasonable prices.)

Learning what you need to learn to really use VSL will do nothing but make you a much better musician--who produces much better music!
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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by peregrine »

Mr. Z - if you're interested in orchestral scores, you can pick up what you need here - http://imslp.org/wiki/Main_Page

I believe everything they have in their library is in the public domain in both Canada and the USA. If you're in another country, you'd have to check your copyright laws for compliance.

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by Ghaleon64 »

So does Vienna Suite come with every library or is that also a separate purchase?

And wow, 80 instrument tracks? That's kind of scary... :shock:

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by gkruse »

Ghaleon64 wrote:So does Vienna Suite come with every library or is that also a separate purchase?

And wow, 80 instrument tracks? That's kind of scary... :shock:
I make my music with VSL using only tracks for the instruments I use in the piece, mostly less then 12 instruments, and use Cubase 6.5 expression maps a lot. I do not embark on making sounds that approximate "better than live" though.

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by wwzeitler »

So does Vienna Suite come with every library or is that also a separate purchase?
It's a separate purchase.
So does Vienna Suite come with every library or is that also a separate purchase?

And wow, 80 instrument tracks? That's kind of scary... :shock:
If you're going for a Mahler-ish orchestra, that's what you end up with! :-)
William Zeitler
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Ghaleon64
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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by Ghaleon64 »

Lol, good to know, thanks folks! I think I've decided to save up for the Cube. Standard of course for now... Only $3200. O_O

I figure it will be well worth it.

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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by jose7822 »

Dayum!

You can get the Complete Composers Collection from EWQL (includes 7 different instrument libraries, one of them is a FULL orchestra similar to the Cube) for a 3rd of that price and still have plenty for other libraries. The sound quality difference is not $2,000 USD worth either. Actually, the EWQL demos sound just as good, if not better than what I heard on the VSL Cube page (IMO).

Anyway, good luck!
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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by andyjh »

jose7822 wrote:Dayum!

You can get the Complete Composers Collection from EWQL (includes 7 different instrument libraries, one of them is a FULL orchestra similar to the Cube) for a 3rd of that price and still have plenty for other libraries. The sound quality difference is not $2,000 USD worth either. Actually, the EWQL demos sound just as good, if not better than what I heard on the VSL Cube page (IMO).

Anyway, good luck!
The EW libraries have fixed articulation grouping that you cannot change, so if you want to load one particular string articulation, you have to load the whole master patch, your RAM and loading times will be overloaded before you start. The EW orchestra has reverb as part of the sample, so you cannot change or get rid of the room type.

The difference between EW and VSL is that EW sounds like a good software package where as VSL just sounds like an orchestra, and that annoying PLAY engine will drive you mad. (words of experience here...).
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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by jose7822 »

andyjh wrote:
The EW libraries have fixed articulation grouping that you cannot change, so if you want to load one particular string articulation, you have to load the whole master patch, your RAM and loading times will be overloaded before you start. The EW orchestra has reverb as part of the sample, so you cannot change or get rid of the room type.
I'm not sure exactly what you mean about having to "load the whole master patch". Are you talking about Master Keyswitches? If so, you don't have to work with the factory keyswitches if you don't want to. I assume most Cubase users use the individual articulations in combination with Expression Maps, where you can build your own keyswitches (as big or as small as you need them to be). As far as RAM goes. Yes, you do need a lot of RAM in your system, but how is this different from any other orchestral sample library? All of them need a computer with significant amounts of RAM in order to perform optimally (VSL definitely not being the exception). What do you think they created VEPro for? Wasn't it so that people could coupe with the high demands of big, RAM heavy, orchestral libraries like the ones they also sell? ;-)

You're right about EWQL libraries including reverb in their samples. BUT, most of their libraries, especially the more recent ones (i.e. the Platinum and Hollywood series), also come with a close mic option so you can mix the dry samples with the wet mics. IMO, this gives you a more realistic sound because you're getting the sound of the room as it was naturally recorded when the musicians performed as opposed to having an Instrument + Reverb. Optionally, you could simply choose to ignore the extra mic positions and work with the dry samples + reverb, if that's what you prefer. In any case, I think that gives you more options than being stuck working with a dry sample. YMMV.
The difference between EW and VSL is that EW sounds like a good software package where as VSL just sounds like an orchestra, and that annoying PLAY engine will drive you mad. (words of experience here...).
Have you listened to the demos in the Symphonic Orchestra page? I honestly didn't hear a $2,000 USD difference between the two. In my opinion, they are both comparable sound-wise. The + $2,000 USD difference I originally spoke of includes 6 other libraries from EWQL that VSL doesn't include in the Cube. And the OP doesn't even have to go with EWQL. He can choose other libraries that are just as good, offer more content, more variety AND still save money. That to me is a no brainer, but I digress.

OK, a VSL vs PLAY engine discussion, now you have a point. The VSL engine and sample manipulation capabilities are above and beyond what PLAY offers. Unfortunately, this will keep being the case until EWQL releases PLAY Pro, which no one has any clue of when that'll happen. But that still doesn't justify spending over 2K for it when you could get a Kontakt based library and do the same thing for waaaay less.

Anyway, you, the OP and anyone else can do whatever they want with their money. I have no right to say how you manage your income. I'm simply stating why I wouldn't go with an over-priced library like VSL, because that's exactly what it is. A way over-priced sample library (similar to how Pro Tools was).

Take care!
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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by wwzeitler »

that annoying PLAY engine will drive you mad. (words of experience here...).
The PLAY user interface looks pretty enough, but when I actually try to use it, it DOES drive me mad! (Admittedly a short trip.)

And in my experience it is unusably buggy.

Finally, in my experience, the only thing worse than the design and implementation of their PLAY engine is their tech support! ARG! (In my experience: two weeks to respond to a crashing bug. Only to say "try reinstalling". Duh, already tried that. I endured this happy scenario more than once. Then I uninstalled their @#$%^)

EW does have nice sounding demos, however.

On the other hand, on the rare occasion when I have had a problem with VSL, it has been very minor (nowhere near work-stopping), and their solution has been within 24 hours.

Sometimes "you get what you pay for." I have to deliver film scores on time or not get paid at all and lose future work. Thus EW may be fine for hobbyists (and there's nothing wrong with that!), but not when paying my bills depends on it.
Last edited by wwzeitler on Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
William Zeitler
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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by jose7822 »

I'm sorry to hear that Wwzeitler. However, saying that PLAY is "unusably buggy" is taking it a bit to the extreme, considering how many professional composers use it successfully every day (including myself, though I'm not a professional composer - I only do it on the side).

As far as their tech support goes, I've had a completely different experience than yours. The few times I've had problems with PLAY, they were quickly solved via email. Then again, we hear similar stories about Cubase in here, and in other forums, once in a while. Doesn't mean Cubase sucks for you and me (and countless others), does it? ;-)
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Re: Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

Post by wwzeitler »

However, saying that PLAY is "unusably buggy" is taking it a bit to the extreme
My complete quote is "In my experience it is unusably buggy." It was. And I'm talking about crashing bugs, not little nitpicks. After way too many hours fighting with it, and weeks waiting for a tech support reply that was perfunctory and useless, I gave up. (Who likes to admit they just flushed hundreds of dollars down the toilet?)

If others have had better experiences, I am truly glad to hear it! But if I can't get it to work, and tech support is unresponsive, your good experience doesn't help me deliver my score at all.

I am no VSL 'zealot'. Like any other product made by Humanity, it has its problems. But it rarely crashes (or maybe it was Cubase or Windows crashing under it!), the user interface is well thought out, and the tech support is very good. It is a product I can depend on to deliver scores to my clients on time.

I regret the money I spent on EW, I don't the (considerably more) money I've spent on VSL.

:-)
Last edited by wwzeitler on Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
William Zeitler
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