Vienna Symphonic Library Synchron Prime Edition: what is it?
The prospect of spending a lot of money on an orchestral library is often a tricky decision to justify and conclude. It can be a little tricky trying out the sounds you want to buy, and as any orchestrator or producer working with such sounds will tell you, it’s not necessarily because it says “orchestral library” on the box. means you will get all the content you need.
The Vienna Symphony Library, better known to all of us as VSL, was one of the first companies to grab the nettle of orchestral sample libraries, and do it in such a way that it stands out from the land with its vast and extensive collection of orchestral instruments. Fast forward several years and VSL is no longer the only kid on the block, but he’s still most certainly stoking the fire.
The admirable VSL Synchron Player hosts the Synchron Prime Edition, an entry-level sample volume, with a very wide orchestral construction. Moreover, it has an attractive price, especially considering the amount of content. Once installed, the Prime Edition takes up a very respectable 69GB of disk space. It should be noted that RAM allocation and CPU loading are quite economical, making them perfect partners for older computers, as well as newer models.
The samples themselves are beautifully organized from within Synchron Player, using a simple menu hierarchy. There’s a full representation of strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion, with extensive instrumentation like harps, English horn and bass clarinet. Even better, you can audition this library for 30 days before committing to an outright purchase.
Vienna Symphonic Library Synchron Prime Edition: Interpretation and Verdict
The Synchron Player itself provides a large bank of assignable faders, designed to control all aspects of expression and timbre, as well as things like humanization. Having a hardware bank of MIDI faders will be useful here, but there are also a considerable number of switch keys available, with some instruments providing an option for key switch elements such as vibrato, on and off.
• Spitfire Audio Albion One
A great collection, specially designed to put you on the first rung of the orchestral ladder.
• Audio Imperia Nucleus (opens in a new tab)
A massive 28.5GB collection of orchestral sounds, perfect for contemporary projects.
An example might be trumpet patches, which provide a healthy contingent of articulation: short notes, long notes, legato and more, with the ability to toggle vibrato on and off on the longer articulations. In this setting, the vibrato is not too convincing. However, pulling it out suddenly provides a very cinematic, Copland-esque timbre, which is very commendable.
Not to be overshadowed, the string samples are quite substantial in mass, with all the usual articulation suspects alongside tremolo, pizzicato and portamento. Legato is incredibly compelling, especially when coupled with real-time dynamic control, especially in the mid and lower section strings. First violins can sometimes suffer from a slight jolt of attack when played in legato mode, but VSL has equipped this library with the ability to employ a soft attack in this setting, which tempers the articulation beautifully. legato.
The percussion section is just as complete and very well equipped. There are no drums, but there are all the other elements of orchestral instruments, from wooden blocks to tubular bells, and triangles to Taiko.
If you’re new to the concept of orchestral libraries, there’s no doubt that there’s a small learning curve in knowing how to get the most out of a package or set of samples. First, there is the musical element; orchestration takes some getting used to and is a little different from just playing chords on a keyboard or strumming notes on a guitar. The voicings, as we call them, have everything to do with where you place the notes within a chord on an instrument section. Getting used to this working style will yield better results, as will real-time sample control.
Having some form of keyboard or bank of faders, which will allow real-time adjustments to parameters as you play, will also result in a much fuller and more believable performance. You can duplicate that on screen using your DAW, but we often play things in a different way than how we might represent them on screen.
The technology behind many orchestral libraries continues to push the boundaries and it’s great to see many of these things available in a more modestly priced package. It’s not what you might call a bargain price, but it shouldn’t be either, as the vast majority of this library is very believable, while offering huge amounts of user control, offering enormous potential for many forms of orchestration and production. As an entry-level orchestral library, it’s an exceptionally strong contender.
MusicRadar Verdict: Synchron Prime Edition represents the best of entry-level libraries with a full list of instruments and excellent user control.
Vienna Symphonic Library Synchron Prime Edition: the web says
“Synchron Prime Edition is my new starting point for building the foundations of great compositions and is often all I need to complete them. A fantastic product from a fantastic developer.”
Sample Library Review (opens in a new tab)
Vienna Symphonic Library Synchron Prime Edition: hands-on demos
Vienna Symphony Library
Sample Library Review
Vienna Symphony Library Synchron Prime Edition: Specifications
- Minimum: Windows 8.1/10 (latest update, 64-bit), Intel Core i5 or AMD Athlon Pro. macOS 10.13 (latest update), Intel Core i5. SSD (M2, SATA 6 or USB3/3.1, UASP support – HFS+, APFS or NTFS format) for sample content. 8 GB of RAM. iLok Account software and iLok License Manager for activation in the cloud or on an iLok 2/iLok 3 physical key. Free storage space: 64.9 GB.
- Recommended: Windows 10/11 (latest updates, 64 bit), Intel Core i5/i7/i9/Xeon. macOS 11 (or higher), Intel Core i5/i7/i9/Xeon. 16 GB of RAM. SSD (M2, SATA 6 or USB3/3.1, UASP support – HFS+, APFS or NTFS format) for sample content. AU/VST/VST3/AAX Compatible host native compatible host. 88-key master keyboard.
- CONTACT: Vienna Symphony Library (opens in a new tab)