Setting up Vienna Ensemble Pro 5 with Sibelius 7


VE Pro 5

Vienna Ensemble Pro 5 is a versatile cross-platform mixing host that works with a wide variety of music software, including Sibelius 7. For the benefit of Sibelius users and VE Pro users everywhere, Mark Sealey has painstakingly assembled a checklist of steps, that, when followed correctly, can have you humming along with VE Pro running directly in Sibelius. Mark’s tutorial follows, with some additional tips for using MIR Pro.

  1. Launch Vienna Ensemble Pro Server (64-bit)
  2. In the Vienna Ensemble Pro Server floating window:
  3. Add a Vienna Ensemble Pro Instance. Note that this can also be added later from the VEP Server Interface window from Sibelius by using an analogous sequence: start Vienna Ensemble Pro Server > start Sibelius; create new Playback Configuration; activate Vienna Ensemble Pro; connect to the new Vienna Ensemble Pro Instance
  4. Name this Instance – e.g. ‘String4tet’; a Vienna Ensemble Pro Instance is represented by one ‘plug’ icon (connected or disconnected)
  5. Click Preserve
  6. The main Vienna Ensemble Pro window opens
  7. If you are using MIR Pro, ensure that Auto Add MIR Pro is activated (top red icon)
  8. Add as many new instrument channels using the VI Pro icon (bottom left hexagon) in the main Vienna Ensemble Pro window as are needed for the composition. Then load the VI presets that came with the sound sets. Special Edition (Plus) users load the matrices that are included with the preinstalled content
  9. If you are using MIR Pro, right-click in the Channels section (left hand side) of Vienna Ensemble Pro to add MIR Pro Room Tone if desired
  10. If you are using MIR Pro, in MIR Pro load a venue, instrument definitions and place the instruments in the venue
  11. Toggle between Mixer and VI Pro tabs (bottom); the Instrument window has the option to unsnap individual instruments. The big ‘unsnap’ button in that window lifts that particular instrument’s user interface out of the shared area and makes it a free floating window. Color key:
    • Bus channels are green
    • Vienna Instruments channels are blue
    • VSTi/AU plug-in channels are brown
    • Audio Input Channels are purple
  12. Assign each instrument to a different MIDI channel. All instruments are routed to the same Vienna Ensemble Pro instance now. MIDI ports have to be set up in Vienna Ensemble Pro for every instrument (not necessary for Sibelius previously because there simply was only one available port). Sound sets and the settings in Sibelius 7 > Play > Setup > Manual Sound Sets have to be configured in the same way as previously. With only one Vienna Ensemble Pro device activated in Sibelius, use Omni for the MIDI Port; otherwise specify the MIDI ports: 1-1, 1-2, 1-3 because defining the MIDI port is only necessary when additionally routing Vienna Ensemble Pro Event Inputs to the same Vienna Ensemble Pro instance.
  13. Launch Sibelius
  14. Create a New Playback configuration in Sibelius > Play > Setup > Active Devices; name it, e.g. ‘VEProString4tet’; load the corresponding sound set
  15. For Special Edition users: the VE Special Edition sound set is the one downloaded from VSL, and recommended; the VSL Ensemble Special Edition sound set is the one that comes with Sibelius
  16. Deactivate (usually) Sibelius Player <<
  17. Activate Vienna Ensemble Pro AU or VST >>
  18. Click once on Show
  19. The Vienna Ensemble Pro Server Interface floating window appears
  20. Initially the Status line may read “Not Connected”
  21. Click once on Connect (bottom) of the Vienna Ensemble Pro Server Interface itself
  22. Lower down but still within the Vienna Ensemble Pro Server Interface window all available Vienna Ensemble Pro Instances will be displayed
  23. Single click on the (name of the) Instance which you added in steps 3 and 4
  24. Click the Connect button at the bottom of the Vienna Ensemble Pro Server Interface
  25. The Vienna Ensemble Pro Server Interface Status line will change to Connected
  26. The Vienna Ensemble Pro Server floating window will show just the name of the Instance created in steps 3 and 4 + ‘(64-bit) (connected localhost)’
  27. Now build the Channels in Sibelius > Play > Setup > Manual Sound Sets
  28. The sound set will be one of those located in ~/Library/Application Support/Avid/Sibelius 7/Sounds
  29. Check Use manual sound set
  30. Number of channels should equal the number of instruments required for your composition, which in turn should equal the number of channels defined in the Vienna Ensemble Pro Instance (Step 10)
  31. Set Channel n to the instrument defined for Channel n in the Vienna Ensemble Pro Instance (Step 10); Program name is the instrument from the dropdown menu. Single click Apply; the instrument appears on the right panel, e.g. ‘strings.violin’
  32. Activate >> one Vienna Ensemble Pro device for the first sound set
  33. Double-click on its name in right hand side of Active Devices to give it a meaningful name… e.g. ‘VE Strings’
  34. Activate >> a Vienna Ensemble Pro Event Input for the second sound set. This allows aggregation of all channels inside one Vienna Ensemble Pro instance
  35. Click on Show (in Sibelius) for that Vienna Ensemble Pro Event Input if you are using more than 16 instruments or two (or more) different sound sets
  36. In the floating Event Input window, assign the (newly-created) Sibelius Device to the existing Vienna Ensemble Pro Instance. Make sure to set the Port dropdown in that floating Event Input window to the same (new) MIDI Port to which you will assign Channels in Vienna Ensemble Pro
  37. Assign channels to all instruments sequentially; use channels sequentially (starting from ‘1’) for each MIDI port and VE Pro Event Input
  38. Leave everything below Program name at/as default, blank, unaltered, e.g. ‘Send program change’ unchecked; ‘Program number’: always ‘0’
  39. Save the Sibelius Playback Configuration
  40. It’s necessary to always save the Playback Configuration after making changes in Vienna Ensemble Pro. Settings in Vienna Ensemble Pro are not saved in the Sibelius file
  41. If you want to additionally backup the VE Pro setup or exchange it with another host or Sibelius Playback Configuration, also save the VIFrame with Vienna Ensemble Pro: File > Save Project (as) saves a ‘.viframe’ file

More details about configuring Vienna Instruments with Sibelius can be found in the “Optimizing Sibelius Playback” manual.

Note from Mark: Derek Bourgeois and Andreas Olszewski (Andi) at VSL encouraged and corrected, suggested and reviewed this tutorial.

Mark’s bio, as provided to the blog:

Mark Sealey has been a lover of all periods and styles of ‘classical’ (‘art’) music since the late 1950s… plainchant to electronic. His special interests are ‘Early’ music and Contemporary European and North American. He’s a British expatriate with a background in education and technology.

A published poet, he never thought that he could actually write music. Starting first with Logic, he moved to Sibelius less than five years ago, and won’t look back—or anywhere else for that matter. It’s a great community he’s proud to be part of.


  1. Kmac

    Hey this is great and I just got Vienna. But, I am confused about a few things. 1. I am using east west symphonic gold and Kontakt ( I have both soundsets from sound set online) I cant seem to understand how I can use an instance of Kontakt and EW together inside of Vienna Ensemble. I can route one or the other but Sibelius doesnt seem able to hit both separately
    2. Articulations. Say I have EW loaded in Ensemble. Do I have to load a different file for every articulation or just the KS Master. I tried that and it doesnt seem to work.
    3. Maybe yall can do a tutorial on those specific subjects. I cant seem to find that anywhere.

    1. itzhak yaron

      I struggled wit hthis for month ! Further I did put the VEPro5 on a PC and connected to my MacPro 2009 with a fixed IP to allocate CPU hungry virtual instruments to my good old mac that handles Sibelius 7 just fine !
      Your best source IS thesoundset project (Jonathan) he is fantastic . jsut write out of his web site a support request and be really clear . I ma confident he will help.
      He sent me an XML file that works for my configuration like charm.
      this article is ok but when they start cluttering the process to 40+ stages it gets confusing.
      I also saw one doign 7 PC hooked to one Mac and each instrument Kontact or East West that I also use are on a dedicated PC .
      I wish oen will make a CLEAR uTube for what you describe.
      also to mention out of McPro Video Peter Schwartz teaching midi dimistigfied. Again lengthy but there are a few advanced segments that describe allot of what you try to do.
      I saw another uTube that actually dedicates a stave line to each Master EW instruments and in that line he communicates key switches. He further hides those staves when it is time to print but they still operate when playing back.
      Again I am confident MacPro mid demystified will shed light on what you do.

  2. Kmac

    you guys dont reply much do you? : (

    1. Philip Rothman

      I run the blog as a free service to users like myself – I’ll do my best if I know the answer and can send a quick reply, but I’m not affiliated with Avid – I have my own business. If other readers can’t help, your best bet is tech support or the forums, sorry!

  3. kmac

    Oh.. my bad sorry..

  4. Greger Hatt

    Many thanks! After trying all sorts of manuals and tutorials in vain, your post is what made them connect.

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