Vienna Dimension Strings
By Vienna Symphonic Library
AU/VST/AAX Native/RTAS compatible host (also works stand-alone)
Now Available: You may download the Double Bass Section right away from Vienna's User Area.
Requires the ViennaKey.
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INTERVIEW WITH HERB
Vienna Dimension Strings opens a new chapter in the history of sampling technology. The recordings in Vienna’s famed Silent Stage started as early as the fall of 2008. With a total of more than 300,000 violin samples alone, and an estimated one million for the full library, it is by far the most ambitious and intensive production in the history of the Vienna Symphonic Library. To put these numbers in perspective: Since the foundation of the company, 12 years ago, the Austrian company has published more than 1.5 million samples, covering nearly every instrument of the symphonic orchestra and more.
The 24 string players of
Vienna Dimension Strings were recorded in homogenous groups (8 violins, 6 violas, 6 cellos and 4 double basses), capturing all of the human interactions and slight imperfections of a live performance, but this time the Vienna team has used individual microphones for each player, which allows you to access each voice individually.
Creating your personal string sound
They have even recorded each string of each instrument in its full range (approximately one octave plus a fifth), and with the included presets you may easily decide whether to have the musicians play on all strings (with a change to the next string in fifth intervals), or forced playing on a certain string. You can also choose to play with no open strings. Getting a darker or brighter string sound has never been easier and more flexible. What’s more, the technique of individual miking is perfectly suited for divisi writing as well! For the violins, preset setups for two groups of four players and four desks of two players are provided.
Stunning realism through imperfection
Over the last decade, sample libraries have become more and more “perfect”, sometimes at the expense of human feel. In reality, even the best musicians never play in perfect unison; one makes a change a little slower, another faster, but maybe with more dynamics, and so on. When playing as a group, musicians continually adapt, matching timbre, intensity, vibrato, intonation, bow speed and more. All these interactions happen automatically in a good ensemble, led by a good conductor, and reveal the “magic” of a live performance. With
Vienna Dimension Strings, individual changes in dynamic levels of the players within a group can be achieved easily with velocity crossfades. You may even designate one or two “weak” musicians to play sloppy notes, with hesitant or delayed starts, for instance. With the Vienna Instruments PRO player and its Auto Humanization feature, all kinds of nuances and variations are possible while simply playing on the keyboard, making the final result sound absolutely striking.
Four string sections of 8 violins, 6 violas, 6 cellos, and 4 double basses.
Recorded in groups, but with individual microphones for each player, for unlimited individual performance flexibility.
The full play range of each string was captured (one octave plus a fifth).
Over 300,000 violin samples – up to one million samples for all four sections!
Unprecedented variety of articulations
Three different sustains: Vibrato, non-vibrato (fully controllable via crossfades!) and espressivo/progressive vibrato (increasing the vibrato to maximum intensity).
Legato Performances, Portamento Performances, Trill Performances (legato, marcato), Repetition Performances (legato, portato, staccato, spiccato, various crescendos).
Various tremolo variations: Normal, with fast attack, and "slow-motion tremolos".
Pizzicato, snap pizzicato and col legno.
"Harsh” articulations: Brutally forced fortissimo sounds with short articulations, included as the loudest velocity layer with Repetition Performances of staccato, portato and spiccato playing techniques.
Finger noises as separately recorded sounds from shifting positions on the fingerboard make for a more realistic sonic impression in combination with single note samples.
Various ambient noises, recorded for each individual player, such as breathing, positioning/depositioning of the instrument, chair noises when leaning back and forth, browsing sheet music (in three dynamic levels!).
Individual Timbre and Ultimate Realism
Sculpt your ensemble sound by adjusting level and position in the mix for each player, or desk, in order to create your personal string sound.
Assign individual controllers such as velocity crossfade and/or expression for each player for realistic dynamic changes and customized balance within the ensemble.
Ready-made presets for selecting the individual strings of each player of a group –“force strings” (all notes will be performed on the preferred string, e.g., for the violins: G, D, A, E), “avoid open strings” and “use open strings”.
Perfectly adjusted vibrato/non-vibrato articulations with unlimited crossfade possibilities (available for sustains, Legato and Portamento Performances) – for an ideal sonic impression, especially in quiet passages.
Mix articulations within the ensemble (e.g., desk 1 with vibrato, desk 2 without vibrato).
Free positioning of individual players or desks on a virtual stage (e.g., when using
Vienna MIR PRO or Vienna MIR PRO 24).
Advanced features with Vienna Instruments PRO (Sold Separately)
Human Performance Control within the ensemble – timing and intonation of each player can be adjusted individually. Divisi sections with flexible groupings, e.g., 4 desks with 2 players each or 2 groups with 4 players each for the violin section.
Phrase Archive (host-tempo-sync'ed) for Vienna Instruments PRO’s internal APP (Auto Playback and Pattern) Sequencer: Runs, trills, arpeggios, phrases in all scales and modes, with optimized phrasing randomization of each player.
Vienna Dimension Strings
ARTICULATION GROUP STANDARD LIBRARY EXTENDED LIBRARY
01 SHORT + LONG NOTES Staccato
Sustained with vibrato
Tremolo normal Long détaché
Sustained with progressive and without vibrato
02 DYNAMICS Fortepiano
Sforzato Medium dynamics, 2/3/4 sec.
Crescendo-diminuendo, 2/4/6 sec.
05 HARMONICS Artifical harmonics
Tremolo normal and slow
10 PERF INTERVAL Legato with vibrato
Portamento with vibrato Legato espressivo and without vibrato
Portamento espressivo and without vibrato
11 PERF TRILL Legato
12 PERF REPETITION Legato
Crescendo for all articulations
12 PERF TRILL Trills, minor 2nd to major 3rd
13 FAST REPETITION
16ths at 140 to 180, and 200 BPM
21 FX Finger noises
Various effect sounds
Every Vienna Instruments collection comes with both the Vienna Instruments player and Vienna Ensemble.
Get Vienna Instruments PRO and Vienna Ensemble Pro 5 to add another layer of expression to Vienna Instruments and improve your workflow.
VIENNA DIMENSION STRINGS An interview with Herb Tucmandl, Founder and CEO of the Vienna Symphonic Library
What was the main reason for creating another string sample library?
The main goal was to provide a string library that, for the first time, allowed for individual access to each single player within an ensemble. Especially with ensembles of four or more musicians, many little mistakes occur during a real recording, such as sloppy and even wrong notes, hesitant or delayed starts, and so on. Not with all musicians, but very likely with one or two players. As a useful “side-effect” this approach is perfectly suited for divisi writing as well. The more sophisticated and technically demanding a piece is, the more likely these mistakes occur. Composer Richard Strauss well described this phenomenon in his “al-fresco” technique of orchestration, where he imposed very high technical demands on the instrumentalists, being fully aware that the final result wouldn’t be accurate, and that was his intention.
Are these “mistakes” not possible to capture when sampling a group as one?
Basically they are, but they would sound unnatural, since it’s not an easy task to ask musicians to play with mistakes. They either happen or they don’t. Also, it’s extremely annoying to hear the same mistakes over and over again. You’d need to record so many variations that the efforts would exceed any practical limits. With
Vienna Dimension Strings it is possible, for example, to designate one or two “weak” players in the group and then play the piece freely, without having to worry about sounding authentic. With the automatic Humanize feature, all kinds of nuances and variations are possible while simply playing, which makes the final result sound very lively.
So does this mean that imperfection was the main concept behind Vienna Dimension Strings?
If you’d like to exaggerate, yes. But primarily it was all about singling out the musicians. For example, we addressed the changes in dynamic levels that can be achieved with velocity crossfades or expression. In reality, musicians never react in perfect unison; one makes a change a little slower, another faster, but maybe with a bigger change in dynamics, and so on. The same with vibrato. All this wouldn’t be possible if the group had been recorded as one. But it is very easy if you have access to each individual player; the timbral difference in the final result is absolutely striking.
These options are only available when each instrument is loaded into an individual instance of the player. Are you providing Presets and Matrices of desks and groups to combine them in a single instance?
As always, it’s a question of how much time you’d like to put into shaping a piece, as well as of the available computer resources. When you’re using the “All Violins Presets”, for instance, individual crossfades are not possible, but you will finish your work faster. But of course we’ve made sure that the software-based automatic
Humanizing – providing different timing and intonation of the individual players – is fully available at all times. An ideal setup for my personal work is to load each instrument separately into their own instance of the Vienna Instruments PRO player. In the sequencer, I can play and record all violins together and edit controller data individually afterwards, if required. With passages that I want to record individually, I just activate the respective players for the recording.
Is Auto Divisi in a Vienna Instruments PRO instance possible if a faster workflow is required?
In principle, yes, but we didn’t prepare any presets for this. In orchestral arrangements, the violins often differ substantially from the winds when playing divisi. With winds, simple chordal progressions might be sufficient. Strings are often more complex in their individual voice-leading and the limits of automation such as Auto Divisi would be quickly exceeded. The best results are achieved when every voice is treated and recorded separately. This way, crossings of voices or wrong legato connections can be avoided, e.g., when the line of the principal desk is accidentally continued by the third desk. With no Auto Divisi Patches there is a certain pedagogical aspect as well – composers less experienced with string arrangements will not fall into the trap of writing string arrangements that sound like they’re coming from a “keyboardist’s point of view”.
Why did you record the players together and not individually, one at a time? To achieve isolated signals with individual miking in an ensemble setting must have been difficult.
True, the challenge of miking is higher, but the essential point is that it is simply impossible to achieve a homogenous ensemble sound when mixing a couple of soloists after the fact. When playing as a group, musicians continually adapt, matching timbre, intensity, vibrato, intonation, bow speed and more. All these interactions happen automatically in a good ensemble with a good conductor. This is what you call the “magic” of a live performance. If you recorded eight soloists independently, that interplay is missing and the result will not be a realistic ensemble sound.
Do you plan to release a package with second violins?
Vienna Dimension Strings, recording a second violin ensemble would definitely be a wasted effort. Creating different timbres with one ensemble is so easy to achieve, and there are even more than just two possible variations. The determining factor is the balance within the group. Depending on which instruments are emphasized, the overall sound and also the playing characteristics will change. When used in combination with Vienna MIR PRO or MIR PRO 24, this effect can be quickly achieved by changing the players’ positions. Usually, all players are placed in depth and the first desk is situated much closer to the main microphone than the last desk in the back. Moving the first desk to the back and all other players one position forward will do the job and you get another timbre, for example.
The size of the library, with more than 300,000 violin samples alone, and an estimated one million for the full Dimension Strings library, is enormous. Does this amount result solely from the number of individually recorded players?
The amount of players multiplies the number of samples, of course. But another reason for the huge data size is that we’ve recorded each individual string of each player in its full range, approximately one octave plus a fifth. This increases the data size by yet another multiple.
Can you explain how addressing the individual strings works?
All of our Presets/Matrices/Patches follow the same principles. There’s the division into different players, and – in another dimension – the division into individual strings. Of course we provide an optimized setup that offers playing on all strings equally, changing to the next string in fifth intervals and avoiding open strings. Another setup forces playing with open strings, and another one forces playing on preferred strings, on the violin that would be SUL G, SUL D, SUL A, SUL E. We didn’t label the setups, e.g., SUL G, but FORCE G, because if the range of a string is exceeded, the notes will be played on the next higher string automatically without having to switch to another Patch manually. These Presets include Matrices with several variants so the user may change from SUL G to SUL D by using a key switch.
Did you sample all strings in the full play range because of the different characters and timbres of the individual strings?
Exactly. Apart from being able to define the character of the sound it can be irritating when the lowest or highest note of a melody is played on another string. This is usually accounted for by real musicians, even when there’s no “SUL” indication in the score. Also, the sound of playing large intervals in legato on one string is very different. In legato, all notes should be seamlessly connected, but with larger intervals, position shifts in the left hand are unavoidable, resulting in a slight unintended portamento. This specific technique often lends expressive passages the right emotional context. By optionally selecting and mixing the strings of the individual players, e.g., player 1 to 4 are playing SUL G while the other four players change to the D string, you may adjust the character and timbre in many wonderful ways.
Are there any other special features of Dimension Strings, apart from recording the individual players within a group and sampling the full play range of each string?
Yes, we attached great importance to the expressive possibilities of vibrato playing. In general, there are three variations: Without vibrato, with vibrato, and expressive vibrato for all sustain, legato, and portamento articulations. Especially the smooth transitions from vibrato to non-vibrato (and vice versa) are an outstanding feature of
Vienna Dimension Strings. All Interval Performance articulations, i.e., all Patches with interval samples, are available in four velocity layers, and switching seamlessly between them with velocity crossfades works great. In addition to our Trill Performances there are Marcato Trills – strongly accentuated multiple interval steps ranging up to an octave.
Another innovation are the so-called finger sounds that are available as Interval Performances as well. We have recorded the noises that occur when shifting positions on the finger board without playing a tone using the bow, i.e., the sounds of dropping fingers on the string, and with larger intervals, the corresponding sliding noises. When this Patch is combined with single note samples, e.g., staccatos or pizzicatos, it will breathe even more life into your performance, especially when played in pianissimo.
With the release of Vienna Dimension Strings, do the other Vienna Symphonic Library string products become redundant?
Our motto, in the 12 years of Vienna Symphonic Library’s history, has always been to develop products that expand the existing product range rather than making former products obsolete. This applies to
Vienna Dimension Strings as well. Of course they may be used by themselves, but the timbre of a huge string section, such as our Appassionata Strings with 20 violins, cannot be replaced by 8 violins. On the other hand, adding some or all of the new Vienna Dimension Strings violins to the Chamber Strings, Orchestral Strings or Appassionata Strings expands their spectrum, and their possibilities, in a tremendous way. If you look at it that way, Vienna Dimension Strings will provide a huge increase in value for the existing string ensembles.
You’re releasing the Dimension Strings in different sections. So the violin section of Vienna Dimension Strings is the first part of the product you’re releasing?
Vienna Dimension Strings is by far the most ambitious and intensive production in the history of the Vienna Symphonic Library. Starting as early as the fall of 2008, even before the recordings of Vienna Dimension Brass were started, we realized that the strings would need a much longer production time than the brass instruments. In the meantime, the release of Vienna Dimension Brass dates back more than one and a half years, and many clients have asked us about the lack of new Dimension products. Our answer has always been, “We are working even harder than ever before”, but no new libraries have been published since then. So finally we have just completed the violins, and their possibilities are simply breathtaking, so we really wanted to share this new library with our users. What’s more, with our attractive Early Bird Offer customers may purchase a full Vienna Dimension Strings license now and benefit from a major discount.
Does that mean that it’s going to be a long time until the next groups of instruments will be released?
Currently we are not able to make a reliable forecast since we don’t yet know how much faster we’ll be able to work on the other string sections. All of the samples have been recorded, and our recording team has already been working on other projects for quite a while now. However, the editing process is considerably more time-consuming than the recordings themselves. While editing the violin samples we were able to optimize many operations and procedures, and our team of software developers has created more than a dozen applications that reduce the editing time dramatically, and by the same token increase the quality of the samples.
Our pledge today is: As soon as the next string section is ready for release – most likely the cellos – we’ll immediately make it accessible to our customers.
Minimum System Requirements
PC Windows 7 (latest Service Pack, 32/64-bit), Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2
Mac OS X 10.8 (latest update), Intel Core 2 Duo
2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
ViennaKey (Vienna Symphonic Library USB protection device) or other USB eLicenser (e.g., from Steinberg or Arturia)
eLicenser Control Center software (get the latest version from www.eLicenser.net) 179 GB available hard drive space
Other configurations might work but are not actively supported.
PC Windows 7 (latest Service Pack, 64-bit), Intel i5/i7/Xeon
Mac OS X 10.8 (latest update), i5/i7/Xeon
Fast separate hard drive (7200 rpm or faster)
AU/VST/AAX Native/RTAS compatible host (also works stand-alone)
RTAS version requires Pro Tools 7.3 or higher
88 key master keyboard
Vienna Dimension Strings Trailer
Watch and listen as we take you on a short musical journey that will give you a small taste of the power of Vienna Dimension Strings.
Vienna Dimension Strings Introduction
This overview will give you insight into Vienna Symphonic Library's newest product: Vienna Dimension Strings.
Vienna Dimension Strings Patch Overview
Vienna Symphonic Library Product Manager, Paul Steinbaur takes you through an overview of the patches found in Vienna Dimension Strings.
Vienna has received dozens of awards and critical acclaim for its complete line of products.
mipa Award 2010
At the 11th mipa ceremony at Musikmesse Frankfurt 2010 the Vienna Symphonic Library picked up its 6th mipa trophy. 117 magazines from all over the world voted for the best products of 2009/2010 in more than 40 categories, among them the Vienna Symphonic Library in the category of Sound Libraries.
Future Music Platinum Award for Vienna Imperial
In the January 2010 issue of Future Music Magazine, Editor Jono Buchanan states: “(…) Vienna Imperial is the best-sounding sampled piano I've ever played and heard”, rewarding it with a Future Music Platinum Award. In the past, Vienna Symphonic Library's products have been awarded twice by the British Magazine.
mipa Award 2009
At the 10th mipa ceremony at Musikmesse Frankfurt 2009 the Vienna Symphonic Library picked up its 5th mipa trophy. 112 magazines from all over the world voted for the best products of 2008/2009 in about 40 categories, among them the Vienna Special Edition in the category of Sound Libraries.
Electronic Musician's 2008 Editors’ Choice Award for the Vienna Special Edition
We’re especially honored having received the 3rd Editors’ Choice Award from the editors of Electronic Musician magazine. Our all-in-one orchestral Vienna Instruments Collection won this prestigious award in the category of Best Virtual Orchestra.
Remix Technology Award 2008 for Appassionata Strings
The Remix Technology Awards (RTA) honor the top professional audio and DJ products of the year. Award winners are selected by writers and editors of Remix and Electronic Musician magazines. The Vienna Instruments Collection Appassionata Strings has been voted for as the winner 2008 in the Sample Playback Instrument category.
Keyboard Key Buy Award for Vienna Special Edition
In the August 07 issue of Keyboard Magazine, Editor at Large John Krogh concludes, “Detailed, up-front sound. Wide range of dynamics and articulations. Clever, musically intuitive software interface. World-class orchestral samples at an affordable price.”
Future Music Platinum Awards for Vienna Special Edition and Elements
In the August 07 issue of Future Music Magazine, Jono Buchanan “can’t find enough superlatives to describe the Special Edition”.
Already in the May 07 issue, Jono was equally excited about the Vienna Instruments Collection Elements: “The boffins at VSL have really let their hair down with a percussion library to die for!”
4th m.i.p.a. Award for Vienna Symphonic Library
For the fourth time, the Vienna Symphonic Library has been presented with the prestigious “m.i.p.a. Award” (Musikmesse International Press Award). This year the m.i.p.a. community included more than 100 magazines whose editors voted for the Symphonic Cube in the category of “Sound Libraries”.
Electronic Musician's 2007 Editor's Choice Award for the Symphonic Cube
The Symphonic Cube has won a 2007 Electronic Musician Editors' Choice Award for Best Virtual Orchestra. This prestigious award will be formally announced in the January 2007 issue of Electronic Musician magazine.
Future Music Platinum Award
British Future Music magazine compared several virtual string instruments in their September 2006 issue. The test concluded with a Platinum Award for the winner: Vienna Instruments!
Symphonic Cube wins TEC Award 2006!
One of the 2006 Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards for Outstanding Technical Achievement has been bestowed upon the Vienna Symphonic Library. The readers of Mix Magazine chose the Symphonic Cube as the leading product in the broad category of Musical Instruments Technology.
The ceremony was held on October 7 at the San Francisco Hilton, on the second night of the 2006 AES Convention.
“We are extremely honored, proud, and happy having received the most prestigious award of the industry,” says Herb Tucmandl, creator and founder of the Vienna Symphonic Library. “I want to thank the whole team for their continuing efforts to create revolutionary products. Heartfelt thanks go to Christian Teuscher, the mastermind and software guru behind Vienna Instruments’ advanced technology. He managed to tame our unimaginable number of samples by creating these easy-to-use software instruments that are really fun to play.
MIX Certified Hit
Vienna Instruments were listed as among the Top-10 technology hits of the Winter NAMM Show reported in Mix Magazine, March 2006 issue, by the editors of the magazine.
m.i.p.a. Award 2006
Vienna Symphonic Library received the prestiguous “m.i.p.a. 2006“ (Musikmesse International Press Award). The mipa-community encompasses about 80 music magazines from all over the world to vote for the best products in more than 40 categories. This is already the third “m.i.p.a. award“ for the Vienna Symphonic Library.
m.i.p.a. Award 2004
At the Musikmesse 2004 in Frankfurt the Vienna Symphonic Library was announced as the winner of the mipa Award 2004 in the category of “Sound Library”. We are pleased to be chosen by 56 International Music Magazines for the 2nd year in a row. More than 300 international representatives of manufacturers and distributors have joined the 5th mipa Awards Show.
EQ Magazine's Exceptional Quality Award
The Vienna Symphonic Library Team expresses its thanks to EQ Magazine for being among the first-time-ever winners of EQ´s "Exceptional Quality Award". After receiving our very first award, EQ´s Blue Ribbon Award in January 2003, we are very honored and proud to be the winner of the second accolade from this renowned trade magazine.
Electronic Musician's Editor's Choice Award
The Vienna Symphonic Library received the Editor´s Choice Award 2004 of Electronic Musician in the category of Sample Libraries for "having generated the most enthusiasm for its attention to detail and its ambitious scope […] Several of the editors were especially pleased by this library's sound quality, and everyone agreed that it was an impressive undertaking. [...] Vienna Symphonic Library's sheer size, great sound quality, thoughtful organization, future expandability, and high-end features make it a sample collection that's hard to beat.
m.i.p.a. Award 2003
In 2003 the Vienna Symphonic Library was announced for the first time as the winner of the mipa Award in the category of “Sound Library”.
EQ Blue Ribbon Winner
In 2003 the Vienna Symphonic Library won the EQ Blue Ribbon Award, the predecessor of the Exceptional Quality Award.
Game Audio Network Award
The First Edition of the Vienna Symphonic Library won the award for Best Sound Library of the Game Audio Network Guild, a non-profit organization established to promote excellence in interactive music and sound.
TEC Award 2003 Nominee
In May 2003 the renowned American trade magazine “Mix Magazine” nominated the Vienna Symphonic Library for the “TEC Award 2003” in the category of “Outstanding Technical Achievement.
The Vienna Business Agency (WWFF – Wiener Wirtschaftsförderungsfonds) awarded first place to the company Vienna Symphonic Library in its Call “Creative Industries”. This award was bestowed upon the Vienna Symphonic Library for the research project of a spatial audio mixing-engine for virtual symphonic orchestration based on the concept of multi-impulse convolution (MIR).