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Topic: Which VSL package?

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  1. #1

    Which VSL package?

    Hello,

    I have been a long time lurker who found a lot of worth in the opinions found within this forum. I am at the point where I am ready to take the leap and purchase a major string sample set, but need a little guidance before doing so. From reading many insightful opinions on this forum and using my ears I am gunning for something by VSL. The question is...which VSL package should I go for? I have a few thousand set aside for this, so money shouldn't be a huge barrier. I plan to use the sample set to record arrangements for my own tracks.

    I aspire to do string arrangements similar to those found on the following examples:
    Scott Walker's "Rosemary" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-Fx-Dq73Hs
    Nick Drake's "River Man" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6zCmCIsoAE
    Belle & Sebastian's "Waking Up To Us" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcRQ9adqG5A
    Serge Gainsbourg's "Melody Nelson" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZDDDFNHApI
    Echo & Bunnymen's "Silver" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mJ6B7QStYw&feature=fvst
    Bowie's "Life on Mars" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v--IqqusnNQ

    Is there one particular VSL product that would be an obvious choice?

    Many thanks,
    CBVB

  2. #2

    Re: Which VSL package?

    Here's my two cents and believe me, I always feel out of place on this forum as I'm a bazillion miles away from classical/trained music as you can get. Well except for liking a couple of little sections in a few Stravinsky things.

    But, I am interested in the way strings are arranged, love the sound of great arranging, and have been studying that for a few years now to see what makes things tick, even for use of these libraries with pure pop music, which is my biz.

    With that said, is there one vsl that works for all your links? IMO ...No. Several? ... yeah probably.

    I own Chamber Strings II and some Kirk Hunter stuff and am probably going to get LASS soon as well as VSL Solo Strings. I also plan to buy the NI string sessions as it, unlike its disco label, will also work well for me on soul style dry strings of the 1973 or so era Al Green days etc.

    Between those libraries I mentiioned, they could cover a lot of territory on your links. A lot of the stuff on your links are buried pads, so the library doesn't matter much imo.

    I've been taking River Man apart for three years or so along with some similiar stuff Simon Hale has arranged and for that sound, it's definitely the arrangement more than which library to choose. VSL appasionata may be okay to mix in on that song, but you'd need to be bringing solo strings in and out of the mix too ... with a top notch, fluid arrangement where the parts don't get in the way ... which gets into everything from bowstrokes, dynamic volume, which patch to select ... and how the arrangement is moving . .. which gets into knowing how to create a great mockup arrangement ... which involves training .. usually in classical arranging ... which leaves you to square one with what to choose.

    You'll pretty much need several libraries and the drier and more solo to start with, probably the more you can manipulate them at mix time for pop. You can't crack open any of those to load up and start bangin "Louie Louie" on the keyboard. They'll all sound equally bad with that approach.

    I rented a cello and violin a few years ago for two or three months so that I could see what they are really like to play. Rude awakening. But very useful. I actually managed to overdub a vew parts on studio recordings and at least got some added effect. Bought the whatchamacallit Principles of Orchestration books and videos too, I also watch a lot (a lot) of videos with small string sections on pop sessions in studios. Doing any or all of the above can be immensely benefit your frame of reference when approaching any of these libraries for use on recordings.

  3. #3

    Re: Which VSL package?

    Excellent response...I think you and I have much in common regarding the self-schooling approach to arranging. I, too, have borrowed a viola and a cello to see what they are made of---and felt miserable at my ineptitude. I also have friends who play and have utilized them throughout the years and have learned much from them. That said, when working on music especially the intricacies of arrangement it is very much a solo venture for me that I'd never want to put anyone else through. In order for me to be truly inspired things need to sound right as I move along---I could easily get road block by not being able to have the leap of faith using mediocre sounds knowing that they will be replaced at a later date. So, I am looking for realism (I know this is subjective with samples) paramount...and articulations that will help inspire me along the way.

    Thanks again for your comments...
    C.

    Quote Originally Posted by samthsham View Post
    Here's my two cents and believe me, I always feel out of place on this forum as I'm a bazillion miles away from classical/trained music as you can get. Well except for liking a couple of little sections in a few Stravinsky things.

    But, I am interested in the way strings are arranged, love the sound of great arranging, and have been studying that for a few years now to see what makes things tick, even for use of these libraries with pure pop music, which is my biz.

    With that said, is there one vsl that works for all your links? IMO ...No. Several? ... yeah probably.

    I own Chamber Strings II and some Kirk Hunter stuff and am probably going to get LASS soon as well as VSL Solo Strings. I also plan to buy the NI string sessions as it, unlike its disco label, will also work well for me on soul style dry strings of the 1973 or so era Al Green days etc.

    Between those libraries I mentiioned, they could cover a lot of territory on your links. A lot of the stuff on your links are buried pads, so the library doesn't matter much imo.

    I've been taking River Man apart for three years or so along with some similiar stuff Simon Hale has arranged and for that sound, it's definitely the arrangement more than which library to choose. VSL appasionata may be okay to mix in on that song, but you'd need to be bringing solo strings in and out of the mix too ... with a top notch, fluid arrangement where the parts don't get in the way ... which gets into everything from bowstrokes, dynamic volume, which patch to select ... and how the arrangement is moving . .. which gets into knowing how to create a great mockup arrangement ... which involves training .. usually in classical arranging ... which leaves you to square one with what to choose.

    You'll pretty much need several libraries and the drier and more solo to start with, probably the more you can manipulate them at mix time for pop. You can't crack open any of those to load up and start bangin "Louie Louie" on the keyboard. They'll all sound equally bad with that approach.

    I rented a cello and violin a few years ago for two or three months so that I could see what they are really like to play. Rude awakening. But very useful. I actually managed to overdub a vew parts on studio recordings and at least got some added effect. Bought the whatchamacallit Principles of Orchestration books and videos too, I also watch a lot (a lot) of videos with small string sections on pop sessions in studios. Doing any or all of the above can be immensely benefit your frame of reference when approaching any of these libraries for use on recordings.

  4. #4

    Re: Which VSL package?

    Great links, thank You!

    If VSL is Your starting point, go for the chamber strings (i+II) - the muted ones (II) have some of that smoothness and silkyness You are looking for, and package (I) the edge and realism...
    Actually, the realism and expression grows with the number of well-placed articulations in Your track, thats why I recommend these and not eg. their smaller SE editions.
    With chamber, as opposed to the solo and appassionata strings, You can cover a lot of ground with a lot of details.

    Besides that, LASS are to be considered - and Cinematic Strings have some of the warmth and "lushness" You are looking for to mix in underneath it all. (I have most of the string libs, not Hollywood Strings from EastWest though.)

    Best and good luck!

  5. #5

    Re: Which VSL package?

    IMO, LASS would do an arrangement like RIVER MAN very handily. A small section sound, intimate, and that is what LASS excels at.

    Mr. A.
    Nuendo 3/ Cubase 4.5 on XP sp2 QuadCore 2.66 Ghz VisionDaw Built DAW RME HDSP 96/52 into ProTools HD3 (digi192x6) on MacPro 3 Ghz... Farm PCs x (6) VisionDaw Machines PC Dual 2.66 Ghz w- Kontakt 3.5 w/ UAD Cards Midi Over Lan

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