Well, not exactly, since I'm home now, but anyway . . .
First, please don't take anything I say over to the VSL site. I'd like to keep whatever errors I might make just between us. I think everything below is accurate, but I'm no reporter, just a guy you'd have beers with. So . . .
The VSL demo was all about the VI. They pretty much assumed we already knew what the performance tools (which are now automatic and no longer need to be loaded separately) are about, which was nice, because it meant they got right down to business.
1. The new content is all different articulations and dynamics. New harder timpani hits, or an additional faster legato for example. None of the new recordings replace current ones. If you didn't like the tone of the old clarinet, you're out of luck (personally I liked it just fine, but you know what I'm sayin'.)
2. The content is compressed by 2/3. So the new 24 bit files take the same space (both in the hard drve and in RAM after loading) as 16 bit files. The decompressing (expansion?) occurs during playback. Even with the compression, the VI will be very RAM intensive because we'll want so many articulations (many of which we didn't have available before) loaded per instrument. With legato, for instance, with two speeds (three, if you also include the new trill) instead of one, we've doubled the necessary RAM. I won't name names, but one VSL guy mentioned VI was designed with the new 64-bit machines (which can access more RAM) in mind. Don't quote me on that!
3. There is a new faster legato articulation, as well as a new trill articulation for all (well, maybe just most) melodic instruments. We still keep the original legato as well, so the way it was demonstrated, depending on how fast you play, the instrument can automatically pick the right articulation and go between them as a line is played. It sounded very good in the demos, though a few times, the trills seemed glitchy. Could have been keyboard technique or just my ears.
4. The VI is setup so that you can have one track for each section (Iuse that term very loosely) of the orchestra. I think they call them "instruments." One track/instrument for Violins, one for Violas, and so on. You don't have to do it that way (you could have ten tracks for Violins,) but the thinking is that we all want smaller arrangement windows without so darn many tracks! Each one of these instruments will have all the articulations for Violins that we may want for a particular song.
Note that it's not necessary that the Violins track (or instrument) only have violins in it, either. At the demo, a single instrument was loaded with loads of articulations of violins as well as oboe. Obviously, that was just for NAMM purposes, but we could put Solo Violin in the Violins instrument if we wanted, or make Solo Violin it's own track (instrument.) Personally, I plan to keep oboes out of my Violins instrument, but I will have only ONE Violins instrument. I guess I'll give Solo Violin it's own instrument as well.
5. Speaking of oboe, I'm gettin' me one of them there breath controllers! It sure sounded great when one of the guys was demoing the oboe and was using one.
6. The Matrix - Each instrument uses a matrix, up to 12 by 12 by 12 to go between the various articulations. That sounds complicated, but really it's not. Here's a way to set up violins (it's pretty close to how I remember the demo):
We can use keyswiches to go between main categories. For instance C1 will be legato, C#1 will be regular sustains, D1 will be Tremolos and so on.
Within the C1 keyswitch, we'll probably want 3 different articulations: Legato (the one we had with Pro Edition), the new Fast Legato, and the new Trill. We can switch between these 3 using the "Speed" control, which automatically decides, based on how fast notes are being played, which articulation to play.
Though this example only had 3 articulations at the C1 keyswitch, we could have had up to 12 (or really 12x12) articulations we can go between.
We can get from one articulation to any other articulation in an instrument by some combination of Keyswitches, Sliders, Pedals, Speed (what I just described), or note Velocity (different from Speed.) We didn't have to use the Speed control in the above example, we could have used whatever we wanted when we set up the instrument. And the fact that keyswitches were used to go between categories was also just a choice. It's all flexible.
The Speed control was child's play to set up, by the way. He just selected it, and there it was. You can easily adjust the crossover points, of course.
The demos only used Violins and Oboe. As Mirage stated, the listening conditions were far from optimal, but I though it sounded great, but that was always the case before, as well. The VI did crash a couple times over the course of several demos I watched.
The bottom line for me was that the VI seems very intuitive and easy to set up. And the appeal of a single track for each instrument is just too cool. Six grand is a lot of money, but I think I'm gonna do it. I missed the early bird sale, so I will wait, though, and hear how it works out for you guys, just in case.
Hi Mike - What kind of breath controller were the VSL guys using? Can you still buy these things and if so where from?
He said it was a 10 year old Yamaha model which Yamaha has newer versions of now. It was only one guy who used a breath controller. I wish I knew his name so I could stop saying "he." The other guy, Paul Steinbauerr(sp?) did not use one and stuck with the mod wheel.