Professional Orchestration Review: Vienna Dimension Violins

Film Music Institute > Film Music Magazine (Archives) > Tech Review (Archive) > Professional Orchestration Review: Vienna Dimension Violins

If you have any Vienna library, the order of articulations is very similar. You’re just using what you already know how to do, which is refreshing because you’re not trying to learn both a new interface and a new library. You’re just focusing on the Dimension Strings library and its sound. For a change, learning Vienna’s new library is enjoyable and fun as you marvel at the detail

Let’s look at the graphic first, then I’ll explain.

Now. There are libraries on the market that when you load a program, it’s near a gig, is a gig or bigger than a gig in size. Some of these patches that are a gig or better are only for one (1) bowing while others are similar to VSL in that you can load all your core bowings per section in a single instance. These programs are often recommended to be used on an SSD drive. VSL recommends in their specs to run DS on its own drive with 7200RPM speed or better (read SSDs). I think this is a good recommendation.

For now, I have Dimension Strings running on a 7200RPM Caviar Black drive. I’ve tested them inside Logic and inside VE Pro 4 routed into Logic. This may be my system: on first loading into Logic I hear a few pops initially, but none later. When loaded into VE Pro and routed into Logic, no pops at all.

Keep in mind that because of the Vienna Instruments player, Dimension Strings are radically different to these other libraries, including Vienna’s, because of the sheer number of bowings available to you. For example, the screen shot above demonstrates 12 different Violins 1 bowings in one matrix the total of which are 1.3GB. What’s obvious and what needs to be stated are that the more bowings you load in a single instance the larger the total patch will be.

Below, I created my first matrix, V1-Basic-DS with four bowings that will easily blend with the other libraries: legato, staccato, spiccato, and pizzicato. All four bowings came in combined at 755MB for a single instance using keyswitches to change between bowings.

Some have critiqued the Violins on the legato not feeling it was connected enough. I don’t know that I can agree with this. Under the Advanced tab in the Vienna Instruments Pro player, you’ll find a setting labeled Interval Threshold. As you bring the setting down, the connectivity increases especially for broader legato melodies. Bring the setting up for faster rhythms.

I’m also on the written record for stating that I never met a virtual string detache that I ever liked. With Dimension Strings Violins, that has changed. The Detache shorts are almost staccato like and to me, function a bit like punta d’arco as used by Berlioz in Symphony Fantastique. But the Detache longs I like a lot as they sound to me more like a Detache Moyen. With the Detache Longs you have more the normal back and forth bowing you find in a string section, and it’s also the second way to create a legato feel in the Quartet vs. the primary method of legato being all the pitches played under a single bow stroke.

Even within the Vienna family, I think the long detaches in the Dimension Strings are the best and the most lively.

I’ve used Vienna libraries for the decade they’ve been in business. I coordinated two L.A. beta test teams for the First Edition then the Pro Edition. When the Vienna Instruments Cube came out, my Dad had recently passed away, and I took some of my inheritance to get this library to honor my Father by pursuing what I was called to do.

This library and its approach is a bold move on VSL’s part. Risk is part of being both a composer and an entrepreneur, and doing this library was an entrepreneurial risk, especially in a very shaky global economy, regardless of how well the Dow is doing today.


  • 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *