As a composer I really enjoy using the Vienna Symphonic Library (VSL), it’s a little more expensive than some other sample libraries, but in my opinion it’s well worth it. What makes VSL a very important part of my composing process is the sound quality, instrument selection, performance options, and the incredible sample player.
The sound quality of VSL samples is impressive, that’s not to say it’s the best library on the market. The choice of instruments available in the collection is extremely large including some of the more rare orchestral instruments. The standard library covers the basic articulations needed to bring your compositions to life, and the full libraries make more advanced techniques possible.
The performance options in the sample player make this collection extremely impressive to me. The VSL sampler has many humanize features and the key-switching can be used extensively with 144 slots available for different articulations. If key switching isn’t your thing, slots can be changed in a variety of different ways from program changes to velocity and speed controls.
The number one reason I enjoy using VSL is when composing in my DAW the entire orchestra fits within less than forty instrumental tracks. This means a simplified template when scoring in my Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Traditionally when composing in a DAW you placed each articulation of each instrument on a different instrument track, meaning hundreds of instrument tracks to export. What makes VSL a great program to use when composing, is one instrument per instrument track. This means all of the instruments articulations can be placed on a single instrument track, meaning a much more simplified export to a music notation program. VSL may not be for everyone, but I’ve found it to be the perfect solution when composing in my DAW.