VSL Horizon Series Opus 2 Orchestra
The Vienna Symphonic Library Horizon Series Opus 1 Orchestra is the relatively affordable version of the unbelievably expensive Vienna Symphonic Library that is the leading orchestral sample library.
Opus 2 is an expansion library that can be used with Opus 1 to provide a more comprehensive library.
It has additional articulations and more instruments, along with bonus files that include basic articulations from other Horizon Series titles, such as Solo Strings, Epic Horns, French Oboes, and Woodwind Ensembles.
The Opus 2 Violin, Viola, Cello and Double-bass ensembles have articulations for major and harmonic minor, upward and downward runs for every note on the chromatic scale, as well as chromatic and whole-tone runs. Violin, Viola and Cello ensembles also have Staccato articulations with nine repetitions. Viola, Cello and Double-bass Ensembles have ‘Flautando Strings’ and ‘Fast Repetitions’ articulations. The set of solo string articulations feature the most important playing techniques for strings: staccato, dÈtachÈ, sustained, sforzato, crescendo-diminuendo, tremolo, and pizzicato.
The Woodwind section has been beefed up with a complete set of legato articulations for bass clarinet and contrabassoon, along with looped sustains for all the woodwind instruments.
The Brass section now features sordino and stopped-playing techniques and the solo trumpet and trumpet ensembles feature legato articulations.
In the Percussion section, additional timpani articulations include tremolo and single-note glissandos. New instruments include vibraphone, marimba, plate bells and a waterphone.
As with other popular sample libraries, key switching lets you switch to a different group of samples of the same instrument, such as going from sustained to staccato samples, or from non-vibrato to vibrato samples.
I was disappointed that most of the useful articulations and essential instruments, such as solo strings, were missing from Opus 1. Opus 2 sets things right. Like the EastWest Gold Edition, Opus 2 uses 16-bit/44.1kHz samples. However, these are ‘dry’ with no reverb so you have to work harder to make them sound good. It offers more articulations than the competition, but this makes it more complicated to use.