The vi-c blinded violins shootout - stage 1 completed.

Garry

Senior Member
Hi All,

With thanks to everyone who contributed to this effort, the blinded results can now be downloaded.

As explained in the other thread, we decided to forego the 'competition' part, so whilst you will be able to review these, blinded as promised, there is no voting planned. If someone chooses to organise voting, you are of course welcome to do so, but the output that will likely be most useful to everyone, is that we now have a resource that allows anyone to compare almost all of the major violin libraries across 7 distinct melodic lines. I hope you find this useful in evaluating the libraries for your own individual purposes.

MEMBERS' CONTRIBUTIONS
Some of the libraries are represented more than once. You may feel that a particular entry didn't fully represent the library's capabilities. Please consider 3 things regarding this:
- someone took the effort to contribute this, so please be respectful: indicate constructively how you think it could be improved
- please consider sharing a new version with the forum on this thread. This will make the resource even more valuable, as over time, we will get the best out of every library, and it could grow to be the most definitive benchmark; future libraries could be added, enabling comparison of new offerings with existing libraries.
- the volume has NOT been normalised across the tracks: for our purposes, this isn't necessary, since you all have volume faders; please adjust to taste!

AUDIO FILE FORMAT
The zip file contains a Logic file, with 78 audio tracks. For those who don't use Logic, there is also a folder containing 78 blinded wav files.

FILES AND NEXT STEPS.
I will shortly release an unblinded version, once people have had an opportunity to download and review the blinded files. The blinded versions are available here (this is now the wetransfer link - see below).

Enjoy!
 
Last edited:

Mucusman

Enthusiastic hobbyist
Thank you so much for doing this, to Garry, and to all those who took the time to submit an entry (or entries). Loading the WAVs into Studio One was quick and easy.

I'm about a third of the way listening through all of the entries. My first impression is that the majority are excellent. [Edit: the further down I made it through the list, the more lackluster submissions I encountered.] The amount of work put in my so many developers really shines. It's fun to notice the subtleties and differences in tone and the lyrical nature (or lack thereof) of each library.

There are some really lovely renditions of this MIDI file. Some seem to just have that special sauce!

I think there indeed is incredible value in this as a tool for folks wanting to invest in a new string library (orchestra, ensemble, or solo strings). I wish this existed several years ago when I began researching and buying packages. Kudos! This is, truly, musicians helping musicians.

Looking forward to finishing my listening session and then, eventually, seeing which library is which.
 
Last edited:
OP
Garry

Garry

Senior Member
Houston, we have a problem!

Dropbox just suspended downloading due to excessive activity!!

Anywhere else (free) that I can host it?
 
OP
Garry

Garry

Senior Member
Ok, I’ll try wetransfer, and will update once it’s available.

I’m assuming wetransfer doesn’t restrict bandwidth for free accounts?
 
Last edited:
OP
Garry

Garry

Senior Member
Ok, here is the wetransfer link. Please let me know if this works.

This no longer contains the Logic file - only the wav files, since these can be easily imported to any DAW, and cuts down the file size.
 

One Dove

New Member
WOW. After a VERY quick listenthrough, it's abundantly clear to me that apart from obvious coloring by eq and reverb, the differences aren't that extreme. Most of these (apart from the smaller ensembles and solos) share a lot of the same qualities, although there are some obvious differences in how legato and retriggering of samples are handled. This is SUPER interesting - thank you very much again! Now back to the monitors:)
 
  • Like
Reactions: TGV

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
Very interesting, thanks Garry. Whilst it's not a definitive example of the capabilities of each library (number 60..whoah!) it's a great exercise in seeing how much midi mangling each library needs out of the box.
A
 

erikradbo

Active Member
Thanks a lot Garry and all contributors, this is great. Huge differences, would be interesting to know how much time is put into each of the tracks to see how much that could explain it rather than the library itself.

I know that you didn't want to clog this with your judgement Garry, but do you have easily available a list of what tracks are from the same library, and even better - which one from each library you prefer. Some are very obvious, but I'm betting I'm getting tricked a lot, and although that is a lesson in itself, 72 tracks are a lot to go through in detail...if you could send this over PM, without revealing what libraries they actually are, that would be a huge help.
 

fiestared

Vintage -but- not obsolete
Thanks a lot Garry and all contributors, this is great. Huge differences, would be interesting to know how much time is put into each of the tracks to see how much that could explain it rather than the library itself.

I know that you didn't want to clog this with your judgement Garry, but do you have easily available a list of what tracks are from the same library, and even better - which one from each library you prefer. Some are very obvious, but I'm betting I'm getting tricked a lot, and although that is a lesson in itself, 72 tracks are a lot to go through in detail...if you could send this over PM, without revealing what libraries they actually are, that would be a huge help.
Even more, 78 tracks !
 

puremusic

Active Member
I have to say thanks for all the hard work to everyone who participated in this.

I am enjoying listening to the tracks tonight, I have my little notepad open to take down brief impressions. At first I put them in my daw, but now I just am listening to the wave files in my media player. I believe I'll go through all 78.
 

markleake

Recovering sale addict
Like puremusic, I'm just listening to the files in VLC media player in the background. That seems the easiest approach.

To make things easier, I've leveled the volume as best I can for each file (it's far from perfect, but better than the raw WAV files' levels) and converted them to High Quality MP3. This makes for a much smaller download, plus an easier listening/comparison experience.

>> Volume-Leveled MP3 Versions Here <<

Hopefully the dropbox doesn't exceed it's download too quickly. This file is around 224 MB in size.
 

Casiquire

Senior Member
Amazing. Clearly there's enormous interest in this! I'd almost suggest letting it stew a bit longer than Monday as far as which library is which. In any event I think that even eliminating the contest we wind up with a fantastic cooperative effort here with some illuminating results
 

NoamL

Winter <3
Gonna group them into three cohorts:

Group A - actually impressive & feels like music
Group B - passable for a VI
Group C - mediocre or bad programming/sampling. Although it could always be that the library is poorly demo'd by the user.

I skimmed each of the examples, usually listening to more than 10-15 seconds only if I needed more information to make up my mind. I generally didn't listen much past the first example if the legatos didn't sound very good...

Group A
#20 - low A / high B, quite solid execution, tone needs some EQ
#26 - Solo vln. Tone needs hella work, but the sampling is clearly good
#27 - solid throughout all the sub examples
#29 - low A. Sounds like CSS? ;)
#30 - same as 29. These sound like 1st/2nd vln sections.
#43 - definitely one of the top tier solo vln libraries (at least until those runs at the end, ouch!).
#47 - I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the accent-on-every-note issue here is from the user. This seems very solidly sampled.
#57 - low A / High B. can't decide.
#67 - this is the Bohemian right? This actually feels like music! I don't like the double bows though and there are a few passages that it really flubs. Low A.
#70 - technically proficient and agile. As violins should be! The musicality is very "neutral," maybe too much so.
#71 - a bit better than 70
#74 - low A / high B



Group B
#3 - half-decent
#6
#14 - could be better but I see promise in this one
#16
#17 - low B
#19 - low B
#22 - decent
#23 - quality varies a lot between the sub examples
#25 - low B
#31 - good. High B.
#32 - Seems paired with 31.
#33
#34
#38 - low B... nice recording but transition issues
#39 - it's "musical" but not actually fooling me into thinking it's real
#41 - low B... a bit grating in tone?
#45 - low B
#46 - same, very low B
#58 - decent
#63 - kinda thin and wheedly sounding, but solid sampling
#72
#73
#75


Group C
#1 - sample cutoff
#2
#4
#5
#7
#8 - some legato transitions are very realistic, others feel totally cut off
#9 - transitions are quite bad
#10 - transitions
#11 - unmusical
#12 - mushy
#13 - wow, these samples are really quite bad. It sounds like a section of unconfident (and inaccurate) amateur players and the recording engineer has brought out the worst, scratchiest frequencies of the violin! Imagine paying $300 for this... this is the only library in the bunch that really stood out to me as unusable. I doubt this library is from one of the major developers, although I'll laugh if it's 8Dio or NOVO or something like that.
#15 - unconnected
#18 -
#21 - inconsistent stereo?
#24 - not great tone (not as bad as 13!)
#28 - pretty meh
#35
#36
#37
#40 - stereo image issues?
#42
#44 - same as 40?
#48
#49
#50
#51-54 difficult to say much about these
#55+56 - okay. High C? unmusical.
#59
#60 - completely unrealistic
#61
#62 notes don't connect at all
#64 major issues at the end? B up to that point
#65+66 - reverb issues
#68
#69
#76
#77
#78



Listened through 45 examples in 50 minutes, will edit as I listen to more.

EDIT: in the end I graded them all in 80 minutes. It's impossible really to grade all 78 of them fairly, and no doubt I've made some blunders or oversights here, but I hope I was able to pick out at least most of the highest quality libraries & demos.
 
Last edited: