Mixing VSL classic libraries with the new Synchron ones

When composing or making a prototype of existing compositions, I’m using a mix of everything. The core of my soundscape is made of VSL instruments. Of the many variants of their libraries, I usually rely on the old VI series – but in some cases I prefer to go Synchronized, because it makes sense. For example, if using Dimension Strings mostly as a compact ensemble instead of separate players, SYzd is much easier to deal with. They are more compact, and accessing the individual players is more immediate from the Synchron Player’s mixer page. With Special Keyboards and Plucked Instruments I like the better labelling of the SYzd versions.

When needing Dimension Strings in more complex setups, with highly variable setups of individual players, I prefer the old VI version, because I don't have to deactivate all the added impulses and effects before using them. There shouldn't be any difference in the available articulations. The same with Dimension Brass, that I only have in the VI version. The recently added Synchron Stage presets for the MIR room simulator makes very easy integrating VI instruments with any other Syzd or Synchron library.

At the moment, VI collections are easier for me, because I've create all the presets by following the same schema. So, I have a unique map for everything. If I want to layer strings from different libraries, the same map will drive them all from a single MIDI channel. Layering is more a matter of expanding an instrument with other perspectives on the same instrument.

Several of the VSL instruments are still only available as VI collections, so there is no choice. Woodwinds, for example, or the more exoteric brass, are not available as SYzd or Synchron instruments. And many of the most advanced articulations, like the ones in the Vienna Horn or the Appassionata Strings, are only in the VI collections.

I'm still not fully in love with the Synchron world, but I've been forced by the BBO series into it. I wouldn't probably have got Synchron Strings Pro (SSP) without needing a matching strings library for their Big Bang Orchestra (BBO). It's a fantastic library, but I still feel it is not the best choice for what I do mostly (that is classical music). Yet, I know that we are in a courtship affair, in particular when thinking to move to a larger simulated space, more in line with what film orchestras have accustomed us to love.

BBO contains some incredible instruments. And Synchron FX Strings 1 is probably one of the most precious tools I have in my arsenal. I'm therefore switching my VI collections to the *Synchron Stage Wide* room in MIR, so that I can match them to the new collections. They all integrate really well, like good sisters. And the Synchron Stage A hall can be really impressive, even if not the sound I would have chosen before some others if following my istinct.

So, I'm now living in a hybrid setup, with a core made of VI, extensions from the Synchron/BBO series, and some Synchronized instruments. All blended (very well) inside MIR PRO.

Preview: VSL Synchron Bösendorfer Imperial

I collect sampled pianos. And I put them on a fight, when a new one arrives in my collection. As soon as I've purchased the Standard version of the Bösendorfer Imperial, I have therefore immediately compared it to their old Vienna Imperial (released in 2009).

They are really different instruments. The way to approach them is different. Bösendorfer Imperial seems to be smoother than Vienna Imperial, whose dynamics I've always found to lean toward the forte. The position of the piano relative to the player is different, with the Bösendorfer Imperial being farther, more into the space than under your fingers.

Vienna Imperial is a stronger piano. A studio piano, with a marked desire to be first, forward, in your face. Bösendorfer Imperial is more laid back. It has a larger dynamic range, but it dominates it better.

The room mics in the Standard version are fine for me. To be true, I immediately switched from the Room Mix (including the surround mics) to the Decca tree, containing all the room information I need. Others will want to enjoy the 3D feeling of the additional room mics, that can even be used for the new Auro 3D spatialization system.

As for me, I would instead like to have the Tube mic, only included in the Extended version, for that slightly far-from-the-hammers sound; but the included Condenser mic seems to have the right balance between brightness and smoothness, never being harsh. And, mixed with the Mid 1 pair it gives a perfect blend, incisive and full.

As much as I would like to focus on a single piano, I understand that the Bösendorfer Imperial is a much more "classical music" piano, whereas the Vienna Imperial is still a more "jazz club" piano. So, both seem to be useful tools in production. And both are incredible fun!