Promotional offer on Vienna 'Smart Orchestra'

I don’t know whether it’s any use/good, but VSL are offering a discount on their VSO Smart Orchestra plug-in. €145, down from €175. There’s an 'expansion pack with Solo instruments for €65.

You have to use a dongle though: but you can use the same one as for Dorico.

https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Smart_Orchestra

The Smart Orchestra is (as I understand it) primarily for sketching with ensembles and pads, with as you point out the expansion of some solo instruments.

However, for not too much more I found the better path to be the Special Edition Volume 1 (link below is to Synchronized version)

https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Synchronized_Special_Edition_Bundle/Synchronized_Special_Edition_Vol1

You get a great core of primary instruments in the big four categories (woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings) with the most common articulations.

Additional benefits are:

  1. There are additional volumes available as you will likely want to gradually broaden your library of instruments and articulations. And there is a complete bundle that at any point along the way will save you money compared to buying the volumes separately.

https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Starter_Editions/Synchronized_Special_Edition_Bundle

  1. You get an upgrade path to the “regular” Standard version of each instrument that saves you some money (I don’t believe Smart Orchestra gives you this).

I know myself over the years after my initial purchase of Volume 1 in the prior “VI” version, I added volumes from year to year, then at one point I sprang for the entire bundle of volumes. Eventually over the period of 2018-19 I was able to move up to the Standard version for all core instruments (except Strings, which I hope to do later this year). By taking advantage of upgrade prices my natural evolution of products didn’t cost as much as it otherwise would have, and there was an already mapped out path to do this.

Which is right for you is of course up to you, but I recommend at least considering the alternatives before jumping on a sale price. If there’s one thing for sure, Vienna will have pretty much every product on sale at some point during any given year, and sometimes multiple sales that package the presentation differently.

This is in no way intended to discount your “heads up” post, benwiggy. Smart Orchestra is definitely useful and the least expensive. You know how it goes. We all want to pass along our experiences in case they make sense to somebody.

Cheers!

I had a quick look at the Smart Orchestra and indeed I’m sure it’s useful for playing live and sketching but I suspect the use in notation software may be more limited. But they’ve just announced a trial version which is not so common with VSL so you’ll have a week or so to give it your full attention before the initial offer expires and see how useful the expansion pack is.

I second the recommendation for Synchronized SE over Smart Orchestra for notation. It simply sounds better, and is more versatile. And is the first step toward the full libraries.

For raw strokes, SO is however really handy. But if you feel adventurous, you can find ensemble instruments in other VSL libraries:

  • Orchestral Strings are already in SynSE
  • Woodwinds are in Epic Orchestra (that you own if you have VEPRO)

There is no Brass ensemble, even if you can do nice things with the available solo or a4/a8 Horns, Wagner Tubas and Trumpets in the various libraries.

Big Bang Orchestra Andromeda is another ensemble library. Choosing the separate groups is not as immediate as with Smart Orchestra, since you have to play with the mics in the mixer (and there will always be bleed from the other groups). It is not immediate as SO, and not as ‘clean’, but it sounds incredible.

I have them all, but had I to choose again, I would have gone for Andromeda + SynSE. Possibly, Vol.1 and the Plus expansion.

Paolo