Synchron Elite Strings

Introduction

Welcome to the Vienna Symphonic Library's series of Synchron Instruments! The instruments were recorded at Stage A, the main hall of Vienna's revitalized Synchron Stage Vienna. The recordings were executed using an expansive, phase-controlled multi-microphone set-up, capturing string effects played in a scoring stage with exceptional acoustics, now ready to be used in your studio. This document will provide you with the information you need to use the Library with our Vienna Synchron Player.

Standard and Extended Library

All the instruments were recorded using 15 microphones, subdivided into 9 sections. The Standard Library includes 4 of these sections (as well as a RAM-friendly Room Mix section composed of merged samples from the individual positions). Adding the Extended Library and thus getting the Full Library expands your possibilities to 5.1 surround and Auro 3D 9.1, with the additional option of a microphone in the rear of the hall to expand your sound possibilities.

Microphone positions

Standard Library

  1. Solo Mic 1 – Mono
  2. Mid Layer Mic – Stereo (L/R)
  3. Main/Room Mic – Decca Tree Stereo (L/R)
  4. Main/Room Mic – Decca Tree Mono (Center)

Extended Library

  1. Solo Mic 2 – Mono
  2. Ribbon Mic - Stereo (L/R)
  3. Main Surround – Stereo (L/R)
  4. High Stereo (3D) – Stereo (L/R)
  5. High Surround (3D) – Stereo (L/R)

Mixer Presets

The instrument presets also include different mixer presets. By default the Ambience room mixes are loaded, which feature the Standard Library microphone position "Room-Mix", for best performance out of the box.
All mixer presets are balanced in the stereo field to represent the respective instrument's position in the Synchron Stage set-up and are created by Bernd Mazagg, Technical Director & Chief Recording Engineer at Synchron Stage Vienna.

  1. Room-Mix Presets

    • Come with the Standard Library and are based on a mix of all available room microphones, blended with Solo and Mid Mics.
  2. Decca Tree Multi Mic Presets

    • Are also part of the Standard Library and are designed around the classic sound of the Decca Tree microphones.
  3. Surround to Stereo Downmix Presets

    • Come with the Full Library and take advantage of the full array of microphones.
  4. Surround Presets (only available in a surround setup)

    • Are also available with the Full Library and let you adjust the settings for any surround mixing situation, from 5.1 to immersive surround.
  5. Divisi Presets

    • Are included with the Full Library and feature each of the solo microphone channels available with each section.

You will also find more mixer presets (Close, Classic, Wide, Narrow, Ambience, Lush, Lush Long, Sparkling, Catchy) in each category.

Additionally, we have added new "Signature" presets, created by Johannes Kirsch and Benjamin Belikov:

11. Signature Presets - Standard Library

  1. Cloudburst

    • Vivid and intense sound, with ample processing, for a hyper-realistic sound.
  2. Fragmental

    • Elegantly damped, urgent sound.
  3. Innuendo

    • Distant and reflective, well reverberated.
  4. Subcutan

    • Under your skin has never sounded so nice before.
  5. Tender

    • A dark and carefully balanced sound.

12. Signature Presets - Full Library

  1. Conciliant

    • With both solo players in the foreground, a very direct sound.
  2. Heartbeat

    • Feel the body of Synchron Stage Vienna, with an epmphasis on the bow noise.
    • For extra effect enable the "Auto Gain" effect plugins in the mixers FX section.
  3. Intimate

    • A careful, warm sound with a polite distance.
  4. Magnified

    • Bigger than life.
  5. Unspoken

    • A light and fragile string sound.
  6. Sentimental

    • Direct, moving and emotional. Clear and direct, without getting too bright. With eyes closed it feels like the ensemble is sitting right in front of you.
  7. Gentle Breeze

    • The excitement of discovering something new at the beginning of an adventure. The wind tightens the sails; a new beginning.
  8. Amber

    • Compressed, slightly muffled and saturated sound. In combination with Molto Vibrato, you can feel how the light reflects and explodes into golden sparkles.
  9. Golden Times

    • Why just hear about the good old days if you can enjoy it yourself?!? Turn up vibrato and velocity, and use way too often portamentos.
  10. Glacier

    • An impressive view: The majestic white of the mountains gives you the chills. Soft attacks, Espressivo and different vibrato variations will complement this breathtaking view.
  11. Lost in Arctic

    • You can hear your own echo in the cold, endless white of the Arctic. Combine it with a playing range of p-mf + Espressivo.
    • For extra effect enable the "Delay" effect plugin(s) in the mixers FX section.

Immersive Sound and Auro 3D

Auro 3D is an immersive audio technology that allows for three-dimensional sound perception. The Belgian company Auro Technologies developed this technology based on a special speaker configuration, adding four additional speakers to a 5.1 surround configuration. These speakers (so-called "Heights") are situated above the front and surround speakers and generate acoustic reflections that are perceived naturally due to the fact that sounds originate from around as well as from above the listener. Thanks to the comprehensive selection of discrete audio channels with the Full Library of Synchron Elite Strings you may mix your instruments in Auro 3D as well as in Dolby Atmos.

Walkthrough Videos

Sound categories

The Presets of each instrument group are subdivided into 11 different Articulation categories (plus a twelfth named "Custom", ready for your own creations):

  • Short Notes
  • Long Notes
  • Legato
  • Legato agile
  • Portamento
  • Dynamics
  • Tremolo
  • Trills
  • Pizzicato
  • Harmonics
  • Performance détaché
  • Performance détaché agile

Within these Articulation categories, you can select a Type, e.g., short or regular staccato, and for some of the types there are additional options available, such as attack or release variants.

Preset types

Synchron Elite Strings (6, 5, 4, 4, 3) offers three basic Preset types for every section in separate folders named "VelXF sus - MOD", "VelXF - MOD", and "Velocity". In the first, velocity crossfading is only activated for long notes, while the dynamics of short notes are controlled by keystroke velocity, thus facilitating phrasing. In the second, all articulations have velocity crossfading activated so that you can control dynamics with MIDI controller CC1, the modwheel. Velocity crossfading can be enabled or disabled by clicking its on/off symbol in the Synchron Player's Perform tab, or you can use the 'Velocity' Preset where the dynamics are generally controlled by keystroke velocity.

Apart from the individual string ensembles, there are also Presets containing all ensembles with 22 players as shown in the screenshot below. These 'Tutti' are available in full range and compressed range versions. You will find them especially useful for quick layouts and for playing an entire string orchestra live! There are different types of stacking:

Tutti full range

  • Mapping range: B0–D7
    • Basses: B0–B2
    • Cellos: C2–B3
    • Violas: C3–F#4
    • 2nd violins: C4–D7
    • 1st violins: G3–D7
  • Articulation keyswitches: C~–B~
  • Type keyswitches: C0–F0

Tutti compressed range

  • Mapping range: C2–D6
    • Basses: C2–B2
    • Cellos: C2–B3
    • Violas: C3–B3
    • 1st and 2nd violins: C4–D6
  • Articulation keyswitches: C1–B1
  • Type keyswitches: F6–A#6

Octaves

The Octaves Preset features ensemble combinations of 1st and 2nd violins, 2nd violins and violas, violas and cellos, and cellos and basses playing in octaves. Accordingly, the play range of these combinations is limited to where playing octaves is possible. The violin and viola combinations will sound the key played and an octave higher, whereas combinations with cellos and basses will sound the key played and an octave lower.

  • Play ranges

    • 1st + 2nd violins: G3–D6
    • 2nd violins + violas: C3–D6
    • violas + cellos: C3–E6
    • cellos + basses: C3–C6
  • Instrument keyswitches

    • C0–F0 (white keys only)

About Pitch

For designating pitch, the Vienna Symphonic Library uses International Pitch Notation (IPN), which was agreed upon internationally under the auspices of the Acoustical Society of America. In this system the international standard of A=440 Hz is called A4 and middle C is C4. All pitches are written as capital letters, their respective octave being indicated by a number next to it. The lowest C on the piano is C1 (the A below that is A0), etc.

The Synchron Player software allows you to set middle C to C3, C4, or C5 according to your preference. Selecting another setting than C4 will of course also change the play ranges and keyswitches accordingly.

Included Presets

The Presets for Synchron Elite Strings comprise all recorded Patches of an instrument in Articulation groups, which again contain Types of the respective Articulation, with further options if available. If you happen to be short of RAM, you can deactivate Articulations you do not need, and if necessary activate them again.

By default the keyswitches for Articulations are mapped from C1 to B1 (for Middle C = C4) for violins, violas, and cellos, and C5 to B5 for the double basses. The Type keyswitches start from C2 for violins and violas, and from C6 for cellos and basses. The keyswitches for further options such as release and attack variants are mapped to the keyboard's 7th octave.

Dimension Controllers offer additional options within some Articulations or Types, most notably that of crossfading between different Patches. The controller function is indicated by the respective caption, as of course it may take on different tasks as needed.

The presets are designed with compatibility to the Synchron Strings Pro in mind. This way it is possible to easily swap out the libraries, layer these or create divisi sections.

Short notes

Short and regular staccato, spiccato, and détaché. The first three offer "bold" and "agile" attack variants, détaché has normal and soft attack.

  • Type keyswitches (White keys only!)
    • violins, violas: C2–F2
    • cellos, basses: C6–F6
  • Attack keyswitches
    • violins, violas: A0/A#0
    • cellos, basses: A7/A#7

Long Notes, Legato, Portamento

The dimension trees for Long notes, Legato, and Portamento have the same structure. Each offers regular vibrato, molto vibrato (except basses), and senza vibrato with various attack and release options, espressivo, and crossfading combinations.

Regular, molto, senza vibrato

  • Release normal/soft: F7/G7
  • Attack normal/fast/soft/marcato: A7-C8

Vibrato XFades

Crossfading combinations between different vibrato types. Use Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20) to adjust crossfading.

  • Vibrato XFade: Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20)

Espressivo

Espressivo with regular vibrato, molto vibrato (except basses), and senza vibrato.

  • Vibrato keyswitches: (regular/senza vibrato)
    • violins, violas: G2–A2
    • cellos: G6–A6
    • basses G6/A6

Vibrato XFade Espressivo

Crossfading combinations between different amounts of vibrato. Use Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20) to adjust crossfading.

  • Vibrato XFade: Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20)

Legato agile

Agile legato with release and attack variants, as well as an auto-speed option.

  • Auto-speed off/on
    • violins, violas: G2/G#2
    • cellos, basses: G6/G#6
  • Release normal/soft: F7/G7
  • Attack keyswitches: A7-C8

Auto-speed

This option implements a controller on Dim.Ctrl/B to switch automatically between regular and agile articulations according to playing speed.

  • Speed controller: Dim.Ctrl/B (playing speed)

Vibrato XFades

Crossfading combinations between different vibrato types. Use Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20) to adjust crossfading.

  • XFade keyswitches
    • violins, violas: G2–A2
    • cellos: G6–A6
    • basses: none
  • Vibrato XFade: Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20)

Dynamics

Sforzato, soft swell, short and long crescendo and diminuendo.

Soft swell

Soft swells, regular vibrato, molto vibrato (except basses), and senza vibrato.

  • Vibrato keyswitches: (regular/senza vibrato)
    • violins, violas: G2–A2
    • cellos: G6–A6
    • basses: G6/A6
  • Release normal/soft: F7/G7

Tremolo

Tremolo regular and with marcato attack, sustain-tremolo crossfade, and measured tremolos.

  • Regular tremolo transition keyswitch:
    • violins, violas, cellos: A0/B0
    • basses: A4/B4

Marcato

Use Dim.Ctrl/C (CC1, modwheel) to adjust the strength of the marcato attack.

  • Marcato: Dim.Ctrl/C (CC1)

Long X tremolo

Use Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20) to crossfade between sustained notes with regular vibrato, and tremolo.

  • Sustained/tremolo XFade: Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20)

Measured tremolo

Tremolo played with 120/130/140/160 BPM, with transition options: normal and cut release, and legato.

  • Tempo
    • violins, violas: F2–G#2
    • cellos, basses: F6–G#6
  • Release resp. transition normal/cut/legato:
    • violins, violas, cellos: A0–B0
    • basses: A4–B4

Trills

Half tone, whole tone, minor and major third trills, normal and legato transition.

  • Transition normal/legato:
    • violins, violas, cellos: A0/B0
    • basses: A4/B4

Pizzicato

Pizzicato, snap pizzicato, and col legno. Violins and violas also feature battuto, where the strings are struck with the hairs of the bow.

Harmonics

Harmonics short notes, sustained and tremolo, as well as crossfading options.

Long X trem., Regular X Harm.

Use Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20) to crossfade between sustained harmonics and tremolo resp. regular sustains and harmonics.

  • XFade: Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20)

Performance detache

Détaché performance articulations with regular vibrato, molto vibrato (except basses), and senza vibrato with normal and fast attack, and crossfading combinations.

The transitions will be triggered without a gap between notes, or with gaps up to 300ms.

  • Attack normal/fast: A7/A#7

Vibrato XFades

Crossfading combinations between different vibrato types. Use Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20) to adjust crossfading.

  • XFade keyswitches:
    • violins, violas: G2–A2
    • cellos: G6–A6
    • basses: none
  • Vibrato XFade: Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20)

Performance detache agile

Agile détaché with release and attack variants, as well as an auto-speed option.

The transitions will be triggered without a gap between notes, or with gaps up to 300ms.

  • Auto-speed off/on:
    • violins, violas: G2/G#2
    • cellos, basses: G6/G#6
  • Release normal/soft: F7/G7
  • Attack keyswitches: A7–B7

Auto-speed

This option implements a controller on Dim.Ctrl/B to switch automatically between regular and agile articulations according to playing speed.

  • Speed controller: Dim.Ctrl/B (playing speed)

Vibrato XFades

Crossfading combinations between different vibrato types. Use Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20) to adjust crossfading.

  • XFade keyswitches:
    • violins, violas: G2–A2
    • cellos: G6–A6
    • basses: none
  • Vibrato XFade: Dim.Ctrl/A (CC20)