Professional Orchestration Review: Vienna Dimension Violins

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Producing it, however, was a different matter. The score calls for a fast rhythmic figure being performed with spiccato and the opening theme performed with a second violin section using detache bowing. Thus, stage left is the ostinato figure and stage right is the theme. Previously, I could only ask students to “imagine” what the sound would be like for sul G.

Not now. Now I can produce Opus Red #1 as I wrote it utilizing all the other instruments, woodwinds and brass, within the red tone color range!

Consequently, down to the individual string level, nearly all the combinations shown possible with the Spectrotone Chart can be executed with Dimension Strings and the balance of the Vienna libraries.

In fairness, woods, brass. keyboards, timpani, harp and selected mallets from other libraries can also be matched to the Dimension Strings Forced Strings to recreate these Spectrotone Chart combinations.

Simply put, adding Dimension Strings to your existing palette opens a whole new world of virtual orchestration for you.

The first lib I tested was LASS full edition because of its divisi. I took the whole 8 player DS Violin legato ensemble and paired it with LASS’s Violin 1 C section (also 8 players) as is, no EQ’ing. I also turned EQ off on LASS.

The sound was very compatible for blending. DS is a bit brighter and closer to the mics then LASS. So in blending the two, you’ll need to push DS slightly back to get then into the same space.

Next I built a 16-player First Violins section combining the two (using the transposition trick I could also create a 16-player Second Violins section).

The two paired were a beautiful full sound and for divisi, very easy to execute. Since both sections are 8 players each, the two in unison created Violins 1, then for div a 2, I can select which library would play the top and bottom harmony parts, then back to unison.

When both Dimension Strings and LASS are combined together, you have the unprecedented scoring opportunity of virtually orchestrating div a 4 with a 16-person Violins 1 and equally, with a 16-person Violins 2 section.

I then put them into a “room” using two instances of the Vienna Suite’s Convo Reverb with FORTI/SERTI. The first instance was an early reflection and the second was a reverb tail based on a 1.65s reverb tail found in Prague’s Smecky Studios.

Once spatially positioned, you’ll have to decide whether to slightly darken DS or slightly brighten LASS to create your desired string sound.

Vienna Appassionata Strings – I next tested DS with Vienna’s own Appassionata Strings. Similar to LASS, there’s good compatibility, but you also need to push Dimension Strings back and to decide which to brighten/darken, as DS is definitely brighter than the Appassionatas.

Vienna Orchestra Strings 1 – Violins – Again, there’s good compatibility, but you also need to push Dimension Strings back. When comparing these two, you can hear the more natural sound of Dimension Strings compared to the more recorded sound of Orchestra Strings 1.

General Observations
When you compare Dimension Strings to all other libraries, they are all radically different sounding string sections. To get them to blend, you do have to push DS back, and depending upon how you spatially place, pull the others forward.

Additionally, the 8 violinists that you build into a single section don’t really sound smaller than the other libs, even within the Vienna family.

But what sets Dimension Strings apart, even and particularly within Vienna’s own string family, is the sheer depth of bowings that have been recorded down to Forced Strings (the “suls”), Open Strings, and individual players. In my reviews over the years, I’ve identified four Workhorse String Libraries: the Appassionatas, String Essentials 2, LASS and Hollywood Strings. When the complete Dimension Strings library is finally released, this will be the next workhorse string library.

The learning curve is as fast as you know the Vienna Instrument player. The more you understand about how the player works, the faster you get going with Dimension Strings. I had no “wait time” in opening, loading and working with Dimension Strings.


  • Juan A. Matos
    March 13, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

    Very informative review. Well done!

  • Jennifer May
    July 2, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

    Peter Alexander is a great teacher and entrepeneur, but when it comes to Sample Libraries, the guy is a VSL fanboy, I don´t buy the disclaimer, I don´t buy the review…

    The Dimension Strings are good? Yes they are, and of course much much better that the old VSL Strings products, that without all the MIR parafernalia sounds like crap nowadays…

    VDS are good, it was about time VSL released new samples!!! but has weak points in Divisi against LASS(the audiobro Divisi is the best of the market by far), has weak points against 8Dio in terms of sensibility/emotion and realism, and weak points against Berlin Strings in playability.

    VDS are the best strings product of VSL, the only good in my opinion, we are in 2014, not in 2006 anymore for God´s sake, but it´s the 5th on the list behind the other Major Stars.

    Best – Jennifer

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