Wow, a sampled orchestra that actually sounds real. 08/10/02
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The Vienna Symphonic Library is distributed by Ilio, and according to their reps the 1st edition of the Giga Sampler version will be available by the end of November. An EXS24 version will follow shortly after the Giga release, although no exact timetable was given for that. According to the Ilio reps there will eventually be other software versions as well, but there's no information at this time as to which formats will be supported. One thing they were sure about though was that no hardware samplers will be supported. Not surprising considering the size of this orchestral library.
The first edition is 16 bit 44.1, and the "Pro" edition that follows in the second quarter of 2003 will be 24 bit/44.1k. The 16 bit version will be discontinued upon release of the Pro version. Incidentally, the 16 bit orchestral version weighs in a 35 gigabytes of samples! The Symphonic Cube 1 hard disk edition, to be released in the fourth quarter of 2003, is a huge 250 gigs of samples.
Obviously, something radically different is happening here. First, all instruments are chromatically sampled with up to 5 dynamic layers and up to 3 articulations. They are sampled without vibrato, with vibrato and with progressive vibrato. Short notes are sampled in three different lengths: .1, .3, and .5 seconds, and there are two sampled variations of the same note for each short note. Long notes are sampled from 1 to 20 seconds and have a release trigger.
Each single note also has multiple samples for dynamics. Three dynamic intensities, slight (up to 4 dynamic layers), medium (2 dynamic layers), and strong (1 dynamic layer). there are also samples for crescendos, diminuendos, fp, sfz, and sffz (sic?). The dynamic sample variations have lengths from 1 to 6 seconds and additional smaples with and without legato.
Trills, tremolos, and appoggiaturas are also sampled per instrument. Once completely finished, the library will consist of 1.5 million individual samples.
Musicians from "Vienna's renowned orchestras" are featured in the samples. The samples were initially recorded at 24/96 in stereo at the Silent Stage near Vienna. The average noise floor is below 90dB signal to noise, and over 30 editing engineers have worked on the library. The Vienna Symphonic Library will be released on DVD-ROM, and later on hard disk.
I was able to listen to the demo of the library, and it was certainly impressive. Based on my experience with orchestral sample libraries, I can say that the Vienna library brings a new level of realism to sampled orchestrations. It sounded very much like the real thing, and coming from my classical background I really hate saying that.
Of course, all this power doesn't come exactly cheaply, as the Orchestral Cube lists at $1890 for 16bit, and $3190 for 24bit. It appears from their pricing that you can purchase the various sections of the orchestral separately, with the strings costing $940(16bit) and $1390(24bit), winds costing $850(16bit) and $1290(24bit), and the percussion library costing $390(16bit) and $795(24bit). In addition, Ilio has a program where if you buy the original 16bit 1st edition, you can upgrade to the 24 bit version for less than the full price of the 24 bit edition. Finally, the 24 bit versions also include more instruments and articulations than the 16 bit library, adding 36,000 samples to the existing collection. Nice to see Ilio rewarding their initial 16 bit customers in this manner.
The proof is in the pudding, and this library delivered an impressive demo. Worth a listen if you are into film scoring or any kind of work where you need to create realistic orchestral simulations.
For more info: Vienna String Library