Anyone have experience with the Vienna libraries?

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…).

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? :wink:

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!

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.

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? :wink:

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.


Like I said, I’m sorry to hear that you had such a horrible experience with PLAY. It’s not cool when a piece of software doesn’t work as intended. But I can assure you that your case is not the rule. I use PLAY inside of Cubase every single day without a crash, and have been doing so for years. I’m also running several heavy libraries like Hollywood Brass, Hollywood Strings, Symphonic Orchestra, QL Pianos, Storm Drum 2, Symphonic Choirs, etc. I don’t even have an awesome system either (just look at my signature), and I can manage 30+ instances just fine. Actually, that’s a lie. I do have to freeze often to free up some RAM since I only have 8GB on this machine. That will hopefully change soon by the end of this year though, when I get my new system, yay!

Take care!

Hmm… I’ll definitely look into EWQL as well I guess, especially if it’s cheaper…

But since I am planning on making music as a career (hopefully…), I figure I might as well get the VSL. The faster I learn that system and get good at producing realistic sounding orchestrations the better off I’ll be I think. Studios definitely want to hear quality when you’re pitching your work to them.

One more question, on the VSL page it says I need to buy their Vienna key OR use any eLicenser… Does this mean I can use the eLicenser that came with Cubase or do I still need to purchase theirs?

And thanks for all the tips and feedback folks, means a lot. :slight_smile:


Professional composers use several products from different companies, including those from EWQL (which you have heard in blockbuster movies and video games). Don’t be fooled into believing that one is more professional than another based on price alone, cause they are all good in their own right. The biggest difference in realism is based on the skill of the orchestrator/programer.

Anyway, I’ve said what I had to say. The rest is up to you. Best of luck in all your endeavors! :slight_smile:

You can use any eLicenser. You can use the same, you are using for Cubase.

Since you mentioned it, be aware that EW products require an iLok.

For control purposes, the play engine requires you assign each articulation to a separate midi channel. If you have five string sections, winds, brass, and percussion, you can quickly get to 80+ tracks. Layer everything with divisi, sordinos, different dynamics, etc., and you could easily be at double that number. It becomes more difficult to deal with administratively; a consideration if that sort of thing is totally unappealing to you.

The EW libraries were recorded on a sound stage with an extensive history and an identifiable ambience that comes through even the close mics. If you try to blend the EW sound with samples from another library, it can get complicated. But when you’re done, it is incredibly Hollywood. They just use different technique. You can compare EW with VSL, or with the demos at Spitfire here - or with AI here - .

You should plan on setting up in a 64 bit Windows OS, either pro or ultimate, not a home edition. I think you can squeak along in 32 bit, but your ram limit is so low there you’ll be freezing tracks constantly. The high track counts will also hit your cpu hard, but if you use any current generation processor, you should be fine. You can look around the forum for your intended product to see what people are using successfully. If you ask, I’m sure you’ll get plenty of sage advice. Just make sure you’re beating the minimum system requirements.

I had to comment on this because it all depends on which method you use, and I’m pretty sure this doesn’t just apply to EWQL. If you use the VST Rack in Cubase then, yes, you will end up with a bunch of tracks in your projects because you’ll need to route each articulation to a separate MIDI track. However, you can manage these projects with Cubase’s folder tracks, which allow you to nest them if needed and thus reduce the amount of clutter significantly. Personally, I don’t like this method because I still find it too much to handle even when using folder tracks. But this is certainly a way a lot of people like to work.

Another other method, which is what I prefer to use, employs a combination of Instrument Tracks and Expression Maps. Without going into much detail, I basically end up with around 30 tracks in my projects. These include a full Woodwind, Brass, Percussion and String section, plus a Choir. Each project averages to around 80 articulations or more based on the complexity of it. i employ folder tracks for these, which makes it even more manageable and thus easier to navigate. Here’s a screenshot of one of my projects (which you can listen to here:

BTW, I’m not a professional composer/orchestrator yet I was able to achieve these results using EWQL SO Gold, which I think it’s pretty decent if I may say so myself :slight_smile:.

As far as blending libraries goes, pretty much every professional composer I know does this without much effort (and this includes, you know it, EWQL libraries). What you are describing was an old issue people had with the stage mics of the Gold and Silver versions of Symphonic Orchestra. But EWQL released close and surround mic options for the Gold version (Silver is still only stage mic), that you can purchase separately if you want to. With the close mic option available, that problem became a non-issue. And FYI, the Platinum version of Symphonic Orchestra, as well as the Hollywood library series from EWQL, all come with the close mic option.

From what I can tell, it seems that a lot of people here have misconceptions about EWQL libraries. Makes me wonder if you guys have actually used them recently, if at all.

Good advice, jose, very good…

I’ll keep EW on my wishlist for sure, that sounded really nice in that trailer.

And your Cubase screen looks like mine when I was using Reason so don’t feel so bad. :smiley: To get a half decent orchestral sound out of Reason you had to have about 40 minimum instrument tracks there as well…

Thanks a lot Ghaleon64!

I appreciate your comments. I’m just trying to be as honest and balanced as I possibly can in helping you with your decision. Hopefully you can sense that in my comments. Again, good luck and keep us updated (even if you end up buying VSL :stuck_out_tongue:).

Take care!

Not gonna lie Jose, you may have sold me. :slight_smile:

That complete composers collection for $1,000 is kind of calling my name…

Haha, well it is a great deal, and you get a lot of high quality samples for your buck. Do make sure to get the Platinum version of Symphonic Orchestra though, as that has the close mic option. Also the Platinum version of Pianos, if you decide to get that too. Another really good library, that you can choose as one of your instruments in the package, is Silk. I don’t own this library, but I’ve heard really good things about it. One last suggestion would be to switch Voices of Passion for RA (Rare Instruments), since that’ll expand your instrument palette even more. Voices of Passion is nice, but you only get per-recorded lines and that seems a little limited, IMO.

Anyway, that should put you around $1,200 USD, which is still not bad at all. With that package you’ll be able to compose pretty much anything and still have left over for other sample libraries (from EWQL or other companies) that may have caught your interest. Let me know if you have any questions about PLAY and how to set things up in Cubase. I’ll gladly help out.

Take care!

I’m afraid it is not possible to sell EWQL libraries as second hand. If I remember, it is in EULA. I’m 100% sure, it was in the old ewQL libraries, which used NI Kompakt engine.

Ya, after picking and choosing what I wanted the total came to around $1,200. Definitely got the Platinum Plus Symphony Orchestra and the Silk package sounds VERY nice. :slight_smile:

That, RA, Symphonic Choirs Bundle and Stormdrums are all on the wish list. Man, what a great package deal, almost 70% off? Very nice.

No to rack up $1,200… >_>

I know! It’s just a no brainier deal. The good news is that EWQL has had it going on for a while now, so I don’t think you have to worry about it going away any time soon (at least I hope not).

BTW, in case you didn’t know, the Symphonic Orchestra Platinum Plus package comes with both 16 and 24 bit samples. This is useful if, for example, you are running out of resources on your system and need to run a lite version of the project by switching your 24 bit samples to the 16 bit ones. However, I find it unnecessary to do this on a Core i7 system with plenty of RAM (at least 8GB). Then there’s the Symphonic Orchestra Platinum package, which is exactly the same as the Plus version but without the 16 bit samples.

Just wanted to point out the difference in case you weren’t aware of it. I would go to the SoundsOnline forums and ask people that own the Plus version if they use the 16 bit files or not, and what system are they using it with. That will give you a better idea if of which version to get.

Take Care!

Yeah, my PC is getting up there in age… Only 4GB RAM max…

But I’m springing for the Plus version for that very reason.

Also posted on their forums about the deal and if anyone knew if it was going away and someone confirmed that it’s been around for years now and when asked about it, the developers said it was a permanent deal. So freak yes on that front.

I’m so excited to buy this… Sadly it will be months down the road until I can afford it. :stuck_out_tongue:

Really cool!

Then that also gives you time to save up for a new system (which I highly recommend if yours is not a Core i7). I’m planning on buying a new one by the end of this year, since mine (signature below) is not keeping up with my demands. You can get them for pretty cheap now a days, though I’m springing for a 6 core, maybe even a dual 6 core (we’ll see), and 24GB of RAM. That’s not gonna be cheap, lol. But hopefully, that will get me to the point where I don’t have to even worry about my system preventing me from achieving what I need anymore.

I’m going a little bit overboard with the system, but that’s because I really push mine to its limits. YMMV.

Take care and good luck!