Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

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. :smiley:

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 (


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.

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. :smiley:

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?

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.

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).


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.

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…

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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 :wink:. 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.

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!

Mr. Z - if you’re interested in orchestral scores, you can pick up what you need here -

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.

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… :open_mouth:

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.


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… > :open_mouth:

If you’re going for a Mahler-ish orchestra, that’s what you end up with! :slight_smile:

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.


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!