Newbie needs a little help

I'm a little bit confused by reading about VDL2 on their site.

Is VDL2 also a sequencer, or is just a sampler with the Kontakt player that comes installed?

I need a solution that allows me to write cadences with VDL2, then record them, and then be able to burn them onto digital media, like CD's.

I would appreciate some suggestions on what software I would need, and what you think the best solutions would be.
I've done alot of reading up on Cubase, Sibelius, Finale and other programs that do many different things, but frankly my head is swimming.

Right now, I'm thinking I need VDL2, along with a sequencer, and a multi-track recording program. I'm new at this, so be gentle.
Okay, let me see if i've got this right.

VDL2 is a library of sound samples that comes with it's own sample player included(Kontakt). If I want to incorporate third-party samples, I have to also have the Kontakt 2 standalone player.

I also have to have separate programs to do the sequencing(composing), and multi-track recording. Is this right?

Can anyone give a review or recommendation on their favorite sequencing and recording programs?
";VDL2 is a library of sound samples that comes with it's own sample player included(Kontakt)."; -To be precise, it comes with Kontakt Player; it's a shell to play back the samples from. It has the engine from Kontakt, but very few features beyond playback.

For your composing and notation, yes, that's something else. Check out Sibelius ( or that geriatric program Finale. They do sheet music that has matching midi output. Midi output is what sequencers use to play their samples.

Third party samples are really dependent upon what it is... many sample libraries have some sort of sequencer-shell that comes with. For example, EastWest SO Silver ( is an excellent entry level library. It uses a Kontakt shell similar to VDL:2

Multi-track recording is a bit tricky too -- programs are best suited based on what you're trying to do. If you want to know what my normal workflow is, you'll see how the programs I use make sense...

First, I write whatever drum stuff and band stuff in Sibelius. I use a few things when I write:

Sibelius 3
Sequencer shells (East West Libraries/Sibelius KGold instrumentes/VDL)
MidiYoke or MapleMidi virtual cables

The virtual cables sound scary, but they're not -- it's just free software that provides a midi conduit between Sibelius and my shell sequencers. It allows for super-cool playback from Sibelius.

Sibelius playback --> (through midi vcable) --> sequencers --> soundcard

The audio in Sibelius just helps me as a composer/arranger. It's not really what I depend on for output; it's more like a sketch pad for me. It really has become a crutch for something you used to have to just imagine in your mind.

After I have my sheet music nice & pretty, it's time to make a good audio track to share with my drumline. That's when I add Sonar to the mix. First, only after I'm really happy with my sheet music, I save as midi from Sibelius. I think it's a save as, and you change the file type. Then after I do that, I shut everything down from before to conserve RAM.

Did I mention the more RAM the better? =)

I open Sonar up, and then open the midi file I created in Sibelius. All the tracks appear, and are probably played back with piano sounds first, since they need instruments assigned. I go to Insert an instrument plug-in, and something like VDL:2 pops up in a box in Sonar. I then take the individual instrument tracks and set their midi channels, and set the sequencer channels to match. Click play, and life is good. I hear the playback in hyperaccurate sense, as the timing is spot-on.

Then, if there are any midi edits I need to make to create a more real sounding product, I do that -- like making sure it doesn't end abruptly or maybe add a hall reverb for depth. When I'm happy with the audio, it's time to ";bounce"; it. Export the audio, and Sonar (or any good midi program) will drop all of the audio into a wav file. It'll do this in a faster-than-real-time method, compiling all of the sounds into a file. This process eliminates skips or audio playback problems involved with heavy-duty midi sequencing, leaving you with a crisp, clean rendering of your audio that matches your sheet music.

That said, there are lots of ways to use things, and different methods of doing things. You'll need to see what works best for your situation, but if you do what I do, this works pretty darn well.

After that, I pdf the music ( for a free creator) and then make a cd of the audio for the kids, and post the pdf's and audio as wma. At this point, kids no longer have excuses - they know what it sounds like and clear, readable music.

I hope this helps. If you have further questions, fire away. I'm sure there are 50 other newbies that haven't posted the same questions, so if you have them, surely others want to or will want to know the same things.

Thanks Drumcat for all your advice!

It sounds like VDL2 and Sibelius 3, with either Cubase SX or Sonar 4 as my multitrack recording software is the way to go.

Do you have any experience with Cubase? I noticed that you mentioned Sonar in your earlier post. From what I've been able to gather in research, Cubase will do a few more things, but also has a steeper learning curve.
Yes, exactly. I'd suggest you look at what your needs are - Sonar vs Cubase. Buy the cheaper if both do all you need. I'm not a fan of Cubase because I had a lot of problems with Nuendo crashing on me. I got tired of it. When Sonar4 came out with the same synth freezing process, that made my decision.

Try out the demos. It may also come down to feel. The ";steeper curve"; in Cubase is the case if you don't have any background, but it's not terribly hard. I will say that Sonar is generally simpler and has nearly all the same functions. Cubase has a few minor advantages, like mac compatibility. Sonar has a few other advantages - working with video, etc. In the end, you probably won't care about any of the differnces.

There are deals to be had, as well. Try to pay below list - it shouldn't be hard. But don't pay full price for Sonar - you will find that buying an old one and upgrading is often cheaper. Academic versions are good, too, but be careful on the audio stuff what they leave out of those. It makes Sibelius half price on academic, and it's the same cd and box.



I am rather new to Virtual Drumline. I have never used the first one so I am still trying to figure it out.. I am having a problem hearing playback.. I am using the oxygen 8 keyboard and Sibelius. I can enter notes correctly and hear them being added but when I go for playback I cannot hear anything? I am sure there is something completely obvious that I am missing. Can anyone help me out?

Randy Metz
Can you put this in a new discussion?
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