Must–Have for Composer's Toolkit
A worthwhile investment, even for VSL Special Edition customers. While I was happy with most of the SE samples, I found the percussion to be just so-so. I recommend VSL basic and extended percussion libraries. The Timpani L2 B was not only impressive sounding, it had many useful articulations including hard, soft and wooden mallets. For Sibelius users, VSL custom data includes presets that you can activate with staff text instructions. For example, "hard" will switch to the hard mallet timpani articulation. Fewer articulations respond to staff text than are available with the entire collection but you should still have all you need except for highly specialized effects. And for those you can always apply keyswitches in Sibelius to play back the desired articulation, a tedious process but not at all difficult.
I also liked the sound of the tam-tam better in the collection, as well as the cymbals. Using the staff text "soft" gave a very pleasing cymbal roll and you can always switch back to "stick" when needed. It's also easy to switch from snares on to snares off when writing for snare drum.
The only thought I had is what else am I missing by not investing in other VSL collections--are the samples that much better than what you get when you buy Special Edition and Special Edition Plus?