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Topic: VST Performance Questions

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  1. #1

    VST Performance Questions

    Hi all, I poked around the forum a bit and most of the information here is way over my head. I'm a pianist by default - I've done ZERO work with any kind of DAW, MIDI, recording, or rack utilities in the past.

    What I do is play for live shows - usually musical theater. I enjoy having 2 keyboards, stacked - one with generic Piano sounds, and the other with presets available for different instruments, so I can layer them (one in each hand) or solo a specific instrument when it's called for, while still playing the piano with my other hand.

    I've bought countless hardware synths in the last few years, ending with a Korg X50, which had AMAZING sounds and combinations. However, it was just too impractical for live use; changing patches on that thing took a good 20 seconds, which is time I don't have in the middle of a live-performed song!

    I finally decided to get just a dumb MIDI controller keyboard (M-Audio SP88) and to find some VST libraries and a player to go along with it.

    I demo'd a version of Forte2.0, which seems PERFECT for live performance using VST's. However, it doesn't come with any, and the ones I've been able to find for free are awful. I need some good orchestral VSTs!

    So, I demo'd the Miroslav Philharmonik sounds, and they're perfect.
    But, am I going to be able to use this software with Forte2.0?
    Or do I have to run MP as a standalone player?

    I am running all this off an AsusEEE 10" laptop with a touchscreen display so I can hopefully quickly change the active patch on the fly- fairly simple using Forte2.0. Not sure how easy it would be using the Miroslav software.

    Can anyone provide any insight to my situation, or make any recommendations on how to best use VST for live performance in this way?

    Thanks in advance!
    ~Adam

  2. #2
    Senior Member playz123's Avatar
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    Re: VST Performance Questions

    Keep in mind that with most VSTi(s) of the type you mentioned, you often can't change patches instantly like in a synth because it takes time to load some of the patch into RAM even if you have streaming in place. The better sounding orchestral libraries like EWQL Symphonic Orchestra take even longer...and 2 GB RAM is a minimum.
    Philharmonik is a decent product for the money, but is a bit dated now, and IMHO it simply doesn't sound as good as EWQLSO, Vienna etc.........playz
    Cubase 7.0.3, Wavelab 7.1, Omnisphere, Trilian, Stylus RMX, Symphobia 1 & 2 , all Spitfire libraries, LASS 2, Requiem Pro, Voxos, Superior Drummer 2, Komplete 8, Cinematic Guitars, most EW libraries, Chris Hein Horns, Guitar & Bass, 2.8 GHz Mac Pro, 18 GB RAM, OS 10.6.8, RME Multiface II + HDSP PCIe

  3. #3

    Re: VST Performance Questions

    It has to sound better than the free patches I downloaded though, right?

    I do have 2GB of ram.

    Forte2.0 lets me load up a virtual "rack" of different sounds, from which I can click "solo" and run just one of them - switching to a solo patch seems instant.

    Is there a better way to do this? or doesn't ANYONE use VST for live performance...?

  4. #4

    Re: VST Performance Questions

    <<But, am I going to be able to use this software with Forte2.0?
    Or do I have to run MP as a standalone player?>>

    I don't use Forte2.0, but I do use Miroslav Philharmonik. It works well in any VST host (which I'm assuming is the function of Forte2.0) and is light enough that you could load many instruments into RAM for quick access.

    Other orchestra samples that I'm familar with that would fit this use are Kirk Hunter and Garritan Personal Orchestra.

  5. #5

    Re: VST Performance Questions

    How do the GPO sounds compare, quality-wise, to the Miroslav?
    I've read things on this forum that seem to indicate people don't really have a preference either-which-way.
    I can get the "classic" (slim-down) version of Miroslav for $89 + shipping... which is VERY much in the price range that I would enjoy.

    How do both of them compare to KirkHunter in quality and price?

    Thanks so far.
    ~A

  6. #6

    Re: VST Performance Questions

    <<How do the GPO sounds compare, quality-wise, to the Miroslav?>>

    Too close to call. However, if you were to buy Garritan now, there are upgrade possibilities in the future when he releases a new higher quality library. Miroslav is a dead end.


    <<How do both of them compare to KirkHunter in quality and price?>>
    I would rate Kirk Hunter above both. For prices you can ckeck out the web site. There are many purchase options.

    One more point that favors Kirk Hunter and Garritan over Miroslav. You can communicate directly with Kirk or Gary on this forum.

  7. #7

    Re: VST Performance Questions

    Hmm, direct communication is a good selling point.

    I think it's funny how one user can say "Miroslav is way outdated, get the Gary-PO" and another can say it's "too close to call" !

    I guess what I really want to know is, without any tweaking (JUST loading PRESETS) which one will give me the most bang for my buck?
    I have NO desire to learn how to play with either one's VST interface - I really just want to be able to click on "oboe" and get "an oboe". Modulations and attack/release times and all that other nonsense doesn't do anything for me

  8. #8

    Re: VST Performance Questions

    <<I think it's funny how one user can say "Miroslav is way outdated, get the Gary-PO" and another can say it's "too close to call" !Z>>

    Judgement call.

    <<I guess what I really want to know is, without any tweaking (JUST loading PRESETS) which one will give me the most bang for my buck?
    I have NO desire to learn how to play with either one's VST interface - I really just want to be able to click on "oboe" and get "an oboe". Modulations and attack/release times and all that other nonsense doesn't do anything for me >>

    You will be very disappointed if you try this. It takes a while to set up a system. You might want to take a second look at the Yamaha MO, XS or Tyros series or self contained ROMPLERs.

  9. #9
    Senior Member playz123's Avatar
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    Re: VST Performance Questions

    Re. "It takes a while to set up a system. You might want to take a second look at the......etc."

    I agree, and that is basically the point I was trying to get across in my first post. Based on Adam's requirements, it really isn't relevant which VSTi is better.....it's loading and setup times that seem to be an issue. And sorry to be the bearer of more bad news re "the I just want to" response. We all just want to do something with no fuss, but if you want something that sounds authentic you are more than likely going to have to rethink your approach. Either take the time to load decent sample libraries (and note I use the word "minimum" when I mentioned 2 GB RAM...I didn't sugest that's more than enough ) or stick with synths and patches. One solution for fast loading VSTi(s) are those that model sounds... like the excellent "Pianoteq 3" or Arturia "Brass". Since they don't use samples, they will load more quickly. But if one wants instant loading times then synths, modules and workstations are, in general, probably still your best bet. One last suggestion though: if you have the computer power, one could set up and load a few instances of a library's sound engine, and then switch between those instances fairly quickly if required....but not with 2 GB RAM and a laptop.............playz
    Cubase 7.0.3, Wavelab 7.1, Omnisphere, Trilian, Stylus RMX, Symphobia 1 & 2 , all Spitfire libraries, LASS 2, Requiem Pro, Voxos, Superior Drummer 2, Komplete 8, Cinematic Guitars, most EW libraries, Chris Hein Horns, Guitar & Bass, 2.8 GHz Mac Pro, 18 GB RAM, OS 10.6.8, RME Multiface II + HDSP PCIe

  10. #10

    Re: VST Performance Questions

    Thanks for everyone's advice so far.
    I got my setup working yesterday, but like you said, there are definite downsides.
    1) the miroslav sounds, by default, sounded (to me) worse than the casio I had as a kid in 1984. Such a disappointment.
    2) In order to quickly switch between patches I would have to load up multiple instances of miroslav in my vst player, which quickly eats cpu power. It also degrades the overall sound quality of each patch by around 20%, and loading >3 instances causes an awful sound-ripple to effect through any sustained notes.
    3) price-to-time-to-quality ratio.
    example:
    The korgX50 was $700. Out of the box, it had the thickest richest most realistic sounds I (personally) have ever heard from an electronic device. Physical set-up time was nonexistent, but use time was slow, as changing patches was a pain.
    however,
    The usb midi keyboard controller: $200.
    The VST controller software: $200
    The VSTi pack: $500
    The cost of a computer to run it on: $400 (for starters)
    So that's $1300 total, or $600 more than a decen synth... and yet, out of the box, it sounds like I purchased a toy!

    It would have been nice... I run other audio software while live on the laptop as well, so it isn't a total wash. But I took the other stuff back and bought a Roland Juno... slightly easier to navigate than the Korg, reasonably good patch quality, and all for only $500 after the rebates.

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