Sometimes I use products for quite a while, yet still only skim the surface of what they can do. There are several reasons for this, but usually it’s because there’s only so much time to devote to each product. Regardless, I’ve found that when I do really learn a piece of gear or software, it pays dividends for years.
One such product that I (shamefully) just dug deeper into was my Vienna Symphonic Library. Sure, I’ve produced plenty of tracks with its Appassionata orchestral strings, brass and woodwinds, but only on a fairly basic level—though they still sounded great. With the release of Vienna Solo Voices and Vienna Whistler, I finally took the time to really learn what’s inside that software window.
With the help of Vienna marketing manager Martin Tichy and excellent online tutorial videos, I came to understand that there are multiple levels of Vienna products that comprise the entire scope of its catalog. To begin with, I needed to approach all of Vienna’s products like I’m picking up a new instrument and learning how to play it—not just the instruments or voices inside, but the various tangible features such as velocity crossfade, instrument stacking, adjustable tuning scales, articulations and others that allow humanized performances. Taking that approach made my parts much more interesting sonically.
On a basic level, Vienna Instruments Player, the company’s proprietary sample player, comes free with any of its libraries. The Vienna Instruments Pro version is a paid product and, as expected, it has more features. Details such as built-in reverb, extended instrument ranges, Human Performance Control and an internal sequencer give it more power.
Left: MIR Pro Venue is a multi-impulse convolution application with purchasable RoomPacks featuring world-class concert halls, scoring stages, churches and more. Right: Comprehensive parameter displays are shown in the Advanced View window. Included is Vienna MIR Pro, a multi-impulse convolution application with purchasable RoomPacks featuring world-class concert halls, scoring stages, churches, etc. MIR Pro is not just for the Vienna software; it can be used as a DAW plugin (for all channels routed into the selected MIR Pro Hall) or accessed within Vienna Ensemble Pro.
Uniquely, MIR Pro features movable instruments—change their direction, stereo width and more—which all contribute to the sound of the instruments playing together in one acoustic space. MIR Pro 24 is the same product as MIR Pro, but with a limitation of 24 instruments—still plenty. Also available is the simpler, lower-cost MIRx; turn it on inside the sample player’s window and instant reverb is available in the Vienna Konzerthaus (my personal favorite), plus a few other choice locations.
Vienna Ensemble Pro (currently at Version 5) is both mix (up to 7.1 surround) and host software with LAN and MIDI capability. Ensemble Pro operates as 32/64-bit standalone programs or inside of a host DAW. VSTi/AU plug-ins as well as MIR Pro can run together over a network of multiple Macs and PCs. Features include full plug-in latency compensation and mixer automation, plus it will slave to my host tempo. Ensemble Pro includes a 9 GB library called Epic Orchestra; its software elements can be freely arranged inside their main window or outside simply by undocking them. Like the other products, there is a free version—Vienna Ensemble—with fewer features.
Vienna Suite is a bundle of 11 VST, AU, AAX/RTAS mixing and mastering plug-ins specifically tailored to assist orchestral mixing featuring EQ, Exciter, Panner, Limiter, Analyzer, Reverbs and so on. I currently don’t own it so I can’t speak of its quality firsthand.
INTRODUCING SOLO VOICES AND WHISTLER
Most recently, I downloaded the new Vienna Solo Voices and Whistler releases. Solo Voices ($430, $325 and $205 list, for full, standard and extended packages, respectively) include four female and three male solo voices with Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, Coloratura Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone and Bass. There are staccato, sustains and legato performances of “aahs” and “oohs,” plus staccato repetitions of syllables like “ta,” “pa,” “su,” etc., and dynamic nuances like sforzando, crescendo, diminuendo, trill and glissando: plenty of options to work with, all quite beautiful. Take these and place them in a MIRx reverb to make “a film score in a box.”
Whistler (a $61 download) is the recording of many articulations of a single whistler (Marcus Schmidinger) on Vienna’s own silent stage. I first thought to myself, “When would I use a whistler?” Sure enough, a few days later, I got a TV assignment for a “Dark Western Country” show and to my surprise—Whistler was perfect! I studied the classic The Good, The Bad and The Ugly soundtrack from the great Ennio Morricone, then dialed in Whistler. I created several tracks just based upon how great the whistling sounded, especially when placed way back in a good old EMT 140 plate and ambient hall.
Though the Vienna Instruments software package is deep and quite comprehensive, it’s nice to know that I can use it simply and still get great results. As I go deeper with it, my compositions keep getting better. Vienna Instruments makes great-sounding, highly inspirational products and I’m very appreciative. And who knew I would use a whistler so much?
Vienna Symphonic Library
Rich Tozzoli is a producer, mixer, engineer and musician/composer for programming such as A&E’s Duck Dynasty, History Channel’s Pawn Stars, Harpo Studios’ 21-Day Meditation Challenge and more.