2 Questions: VSL Kontakt 5 Expression Map and request for chamber VST recommendations

Greetings, Friends,

I have two questions:

1 - Is there an expression map for Vienna Symphonic Orchestra KONTAKT Edition (5)? I see one on the Steinberg’s website for Kontakt 4 (Native Instruments Kontakt 4 VSL). I’m curious if it translates to Kontakt 5. Same question regarding the VSL Super Package and Vienna Symphonic Library VSL Synchron-ized Special Edition expression maps. Would these translate to Kontakt 5?

2 - I’d very much like to hear people’s thoughts on samplers / libraries for solo and chamber orchestra that includes traditional playing and particularly functionality for avant-garde / extended techniques. IRCAM Solo Instruments 2 looks extraordinary, but from what I’ve read on the forum thus far, the verdict still seems to be out on whether or not you can control all of what it has to offer from within Dorico. Any suggestions would be very appreciated.

All best,

Joshua Stamper

the Expression Map for Kontakt VSL is designed for Cubase and to use it in Dorico would require some adjustments so I suspect that the question of Kontakt 4 v 5 is largely irrelevant (though I could be wrong).

I don’t really understand the question about the Synchron-ized Special Edition and the Super Package as they both run under their own player – nothing to do with Kontakt. The Kontakt version is a greatly cut down version of the original VI Special Edition. I used it briefly a long time ago and you’ll probably want the full version for serious work.

IRCAM sounds quite interesting if you do a lot of experimental techniques. On the other hand, It sounds pretty primitive for normal classical/romantic-style playing so you’d probably need something else for that. VSL is long established and has among the most articulations of any library to say nothing of the range of instruments. The programming is fairly traditional so you can do pretty well everything from within Dorico.

Thanks so much for the very helpful reply.

I didn’t realize that Synchron-ized and Super Package had their own player. Makes sense. Do you have a preference between the two? I’m assuming it also has options for solo players? Can it accommodate extended techniques at all?

VSL ran for many years under the Vienna Instruments (VI) player and a couple of years ago started to switch to the new Synchron player. Most of the old VI libraries are now available in Synchron-ized versions and gradually, Synchron-specific new libraries are being released. My preference is for the newer Synchron versions though opinion is far from unanimous. For the VI libraries, Symphonic Riot have released impressive templates covering most of the full libraries – do a search on this forum – and I and others have done Expression Maps for some of the Synchron ones. VSL themselves have also made EM’s available for the Special Edition and a couple of others on their website. There are libraries for solo players, sections and full orchestra – take a look at the VSL website for full details. You can also see there exactly which articulations which I assume is what you mean with “extended techniques” are available for each library?

Of course VSL is not the only choice but other libraries which have excellent sampling and programming may not have enough articulations. The more specific you are in telling us what you’re looking for, the easier it would be to guide you in the direction of getting a library (ies) which suit your requirements.

UVI IRCAM 2 is probably the worst virtual instrument I ever bought. Xsample has two interesting solo string packages with extended techniques. They are not very user friendly and hard to manage in Dorico, but do sound quite good.

David / Queb,

Thank you so much. Extremely helpful.

I’ll take a look at the documentation for the VI libraries to see what all is available with regard to options and articulations. As to your question about desired techniques: I’m thinking about things like playing on the wrong side of the bridge, playing the wood of the instrument, knocking on the instrument, wide vibratos, etc. Of course, harmonics (natural and artificial) / harmonic glisses and the full range of standard bowing techniques: sul tasto, ponticello, col legno tratto, col legno battuto, snap pizzicato, left hand pizzicato, mutes for strings, scordatura, etc.

For brass - different mute options. For brass / winds - multiphonics. Etc.

Queb - curious to hear why your experience with the IRCAM library was so frustrating.

Thanks again to both of you.

Extremely slow and heavy to load sounds (and my sounds are stocked on a very, very powerful pc), a limited player that needs 500 steps to change any settings, notes missing or badly assigned in the patches, sounds described in the documentation that are not included, publicity based on IRCAM and Paris while there’s no French documentation available ( and it’s a French company and their English documentation is clearly translated from French), terrible customer service (on this point they do manage to give you a sense of Paris…), and so on…
Regular sounds are not terrible, but certainly not good, not comparable with any decent library. I bought it knowing that and I intended to use only the extended techniques, which I still didn’t do after a year and it’s not because I don’t use these techniques in my music. It’s just not worth the trouble. I do have the impression I’ve thrown 200 euros in the bin.

Thank you for your honest and thorough evaluation, Queb. It’s a valuable perspective; and will no doubt save me both time and frustration.

if you look here https://www.vsl.co.at/en/SYzd_Strings/Synchron_Solo_Strings#!Sample_Content you’ll see that the majority of these are covered plus some others

Fantastic. Thanks!!