VSL Solo Strings & VI Pro articles at SCOREcastOnline.com


Since joining the team of SCOREcastOnline a few months back, I have had the joy to work with some incredibly talented composers and developers.

With our technology team, we have begun a series of Solo String library reviews - with good reason, because quite a number of such libraries have materialized in the last months.
After a detailed look at Spitfire Solo Strings as well as LASS First Chair, I am pleased to announce the second review in this series. VSL Solo Strings is a heavyweight in the work of solo string libraries. The „oldest“ of the libraries reviewed, it has time and again proven to be a versatile tool for composers. The review tells you why and also gives you some nice audio examples.

On a related note, if you sometimes feel a bit daunted by the sheer power of the Vienna Instruments Pro sampler, SCOREcast also has an article for you that explains the interface and general concept.


Sibelius Control now Windows compatible!

Thanks again for all the great feedback!
Sibelius users on Windows rejoice! Sibelius Control R3 now works with Windows. Included in the download are keymaps for both OSX and Windows. Other than Windows compatibility there ar no new features in this release, but tons of stuff are planned for future releases.
Head over to the Sibelius Control site and download your copy! If you like Sibelius Control, please consider to donate! Your donations keep me motivated to develop the layout further.

Sibelius Control Release 2

The Feedback for Sibelius Control was absolutely overwhelming! I am happy to do my part in making the best notation software in the world even easier to use :)
Today I have released a new version of the keypad layout with some added features, all based on user feedback. Visit the Sibelius Control website and give it a go. The new version installs as a separate layout, so version 1 will not be overwritten.

And if you like the layout, please consider donating on the website. Your support gurartees further development - there are tons of things in the pipeline already!

Sibelius Control layout for iPad

From the first day of using the iPad, I was fascinated by its capabilities and usefulness as a control surface. When I discovered the brilliant Custom Keypad app, I felt a burning desire to free the world of all evil... sorry, wrong film - to make a nice control layout for Sibelius.

This is what it looks like (click on the image for a larger version):

Sibelius Control for iPad

So without further ado, here is Sibelius Control for iPad. If you have an iPad, get Custom Keypad, download the layout and tell me what you think! Currently the layout is Mac-only, but a Windows-compatible version is in the works. I am open to any feedback and looking for Windows testers :)


Avid Scorch for iPad review

With great pleasure my sore eyes this morning saw the arrival of Avid Scorch for iPad on the App Store.
Avid Scorch (formerly Sibelius Scorch) originated as a web browser plugin for watching and listening to Sibelius scores and has now extended to iOS devices.
This app is a great addition to the market and a must-have for any musician and music educator.

Read on after the jump what the app can do for you.


Quantum Leap Spaces review

When the folks at East West first announced they were working on a Reverb Plugin, I was intrigued. You can never have too many great reverbs and from what one could gather from the announcement, this one was to be a biggie.

It indeed is. A few weeks ago I finally got my copy on Quantum Leap Spaces and have since then put it through its paces. Read after the jump what I think of it.


Orchestral String Runs Review

The world of orchestral sample libraries has seen lots of nice additions over the last year. One of my highlights, besides NI’s very own Session Strings, is a new library produced by OrchestralTools: Their first release, Orchestral String Runs promises exactly that. String Runs. Lots of them.

One could say that String Runs indeed are one of the most underrepresented areas of orchestral sampling, so such an addition is most welcome. But how does the newest kid on the block perform?

Join me on my journey through the library in this review.


Deep Percussion Beds Quick Review

Creating percussion tracks is one of the most interesting tasks in media music. Unfortunately it also is one of the most time consuming ones. Especially when on a tight deadline, sometimes there is no other choice than to use premade loops. I try to stay clear of these whenever possible, but it isn’t always.

Most of the loop libraries on the market focus on high-energy action percussion. Up to now what was missing was a library with fairly unobtrusive background tracks that nevertheless sit well in the mix and provide a good foundation for all the different things the composer wants to throw on top.

This has changed with Cinesamples’ Deep Percussion Beds. The 9GB library features 50 different looped beds in various meters. Every bed has three variations gradually building tension as well as a code. There are two incredibly great things about the library: The different parts of a loop are mapped as stems on different keys. That means you can only have, say, the toms, but not the metal stem. This makes the library far more flexible than most of the competition. The three variations per bed add to the individual touch. The second great thing is the time stretching engine: All loops can be used with almost any tempo, fast or slow. The library automatically adjusts the loops. Even with extreme tempos, the audio quality remains stunning.
A preview patch which has the full mix versions of all 50 loops ready for auditioning makes finding the right bed very easy and convenient.

All in all, Deep Percussion Beds is the first percussion loop library I have used that I feel does not hinder creativity. It provides a firm base and saves countless hours of programming when in a hurry, but still is flexible enough as to not make us all sound the same. I can only recommend this library and hope there will be a sequel.

Symphobia 2 review

When ProjectSAM announced their Symphobia library a few years back, everyone rubbed their eyes at two things: The insanely great concept of the library and the price tag attached to it. Both still stand true today - Symphobia arguably is one of the best tools out there and it still is pricey. But the price is actually very much worth it.

Now our friends in the Netherlands (sorry, inside joke) have released the successor to Symphobia, aptly titled Symphobia 2. I got it the other day and want to give you a brief review on what I think about Symphobia in general and especially the new Symphobia 2.


VE Pro and Logic Tutorial

Today we are starting off our tutorial series. The plan is to give you detailed instruction on specific topics.

As you might have read, our orchestral template runs with Vienna Ensemble Pro. In this tutorial you will learn how to plan your template, what you need to put it into reality and how you do it in Logic Pro 9. If you are using another sequencer, this tutorial will be beneficial to you, too, as most things also apply to other applications.

Please give us feedback on this! The tutorial is intended to be extended according to your feedback, so keep it coming!

Now, without further ado: Setting up an Orchestral Template in Logic Pro 9.


Independence Pro

There is a large number of great software titles out there which seemingly noone has ever heard of.
One of these is Independence Pro by a small German company called YellowTools.

We found this sampler pretty versatile and easy to use with a great factory library, so we’ll give you a short introduction to it.
Maybe it could become the next secret weapon in your arsenal.

Independence Pro is largely unknown among musicians. The sample player with integrated library has a similar scope as Kontakt or Halion, but with a few nice touches.

The sampler itself is both fairly powerful and fairly standard. You can create zones to map your samples, edit instruments and many more things.

The great thing about Independence is it’s factory library, which weighs in at a hefty 70 GB. You get a selection of the Kirk Hunter Symphonic Orchestra (just like Kontakt uses a cut-down version of the VSL) and tons of other instruments. Particularly enjoyable are the guitars and drum kits. The keyboards leave quite a bit to desire, but the rest makes up for it.

Yellowtools have three special products using the Independence Engine: Culture, Majestic and Candy, featuring World Percussion, Basses and Saxophones, respectively. All these three special libraries are contained in Independence Pro! The Saxes are simply outstanding, as are the other libraries.

There is a free version available of the sampler, aptly titled Independence Free, so you can check it out without risk. Just head to Yellowtools and have a look! We really like Independence and can recommend it very much.


For all of you who are into World Music.
The Sibelius Academy has sponsored a wonderful free sample library of a Kantele.
It comes with three mic positions and just sounds terrific - far better than many a commercial library I’ve heard.
You should definitively check this out at AJATAR Kantele.


Harrison Mixbus

Just a very quick software tip for those of you that are interested in mixing.
Harrison Consoles, makers of those large postpro-consoles have recently teamed up with the open source DAW Ardour to make a version of the application with their proprietary mixing engine built in. The application feels really god and allows you to do very organic mixes. So if you are looking for a nice DAW to mix your tracks in, this might be for you.
Check it out on their website.