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Topic: Ultimate realism in Strings!

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  1. #1

    Ultimate realism in Strings!

    I wonder if the way to achieve an ultra-realistic string section would be to literally play each individual violin, viola, cello and bass separately. Ok, that sounds incredibly time consuming and resource tasking, but maybe what we should ask of the manufacturers is to provide us with smaller string groups. For example the 1st violins could be divided in 3-4 instruments each encompassing about 5 players. Same for the 2nd violins, then smaller instruments for violas, and maybe individual cellos and double basses? It would be more time-consuming to have to sequence literally 5 times the same amount of music, but it might yeld more realism through slightly different performances and real-time controls. It seems to me that the one fatal flaw of current libraries is that they group 10-20 players onto 1 note. Granted in theory this would seem to make sense, but in practice it seems like you always miss the sense that this is a large ensemble of individuals performing together.

    I was just wondering what you guys would think about such a \"split\" library?

  2. #2

    Re: Ultimate realism in Strings!

    Oh, I´d love to have that kind of realism, but as you mentioned, it would be quite a slow thing to process. However, I think about three or four individual sections of violins would be nice and fairly easy to make.
    As for brass, that could work nicely... you definitely have a point. Perhaps in the future samples will do this by themselves? [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] .

  3. #3

    Re: Ultimate realism in Strings!

    Originally posted by Paulh:
    Oh, I´d love to have that kind of realism, but as you mentioned, it would be quite a slow thing to process. However, I think about three or four individual sections of violins would be nice and fairly easy to make.
    As for brass, that could work nicely... you definitely have a point. Perhaps in the future samples will do this by themselves? [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] .
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Overdubbing a small section many times is not the same sound as one large section playing at once. It just sounds like a louder small section

  4. #4

    Re: Ultimate realism in Strings!

    Yes, that wouldn\'t be very realistic. I\'ve tried doing this with recording trumpet samples, but there\'s a certain sound that is present when you have an actual ensemble playing together as opposed to many seperate instruments playing an ensemble in a sampled orchestra. Make sense?

  5. #5

    Re: Ultimate realism in Strings!

    [/QUOTE]Overdubbing a small section many times is not the same sound as one large section playing at once. It just sounds like a louder small section[/QUOTE]

    Well, I guess you´re right. It´s like if I have an instrument with 32 players on each note, playing 3 notes at the same time doesn´t sound like 96 players [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] . I still think that experimenting different things might pay off, but it´ll never replace a \"live\" sound.

  6. #6

    Re: Ultimate realism in Strings!

    Well, I guess you´re right. It´s like if I have an instrument with 32 players on each note, playing 3 notes at the same time doesn´t sound like 96 players
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Odd.. it should, providing that you are using different samples for each sounding note. If one already has 32 players in a sample I think the cross resonance with the added 32 can be ignored. There might be some added damping due the extra bodies in the room, but this is probably not an issue. However it might be that if one is only using a single stereo mic pair that a large group has a greater distance spread from the mic.. some performers are close while others are more distant. Thus the net affect of adding more players at the back would be to make the sound more reverberant, as the added voices would be softer relative to the recorded room reverb, as they are more distant.

    So perhaps it would be good to have half size ensembles, as mentioned, but with one close and one far from the mic. If one pictures an ensemble spreading out from a mic it would form a sort of pyramid, with a few close up players and many more distant. Thus one might want a single close up instrument, a small medium distance ensemble and a large very distant ensemble to blend. This also might explain a bit why people find it helps to blend in solo strings when making an orchestral sound. However the more important effect, I think, is the tonal variation that one gets within a passage when the attacks of different unison sounds happen out of sync, thus making each note sound somewhat different.

    Duncan

  7. #7

    Re: Ultimate realism in Strings!

    I have to disagree on the statement made about smaller groups played together sounding different than a 30 string ensemble sample.
    They would sound different....better and more realistic in my opinion.

    Keep in mind that this would not be the same 5 guys playing the same 5 violins in the same 5 seats. Different players, different violins, different seats in the orchestra, but same mic placement and mix. I think it would give you an incredible amount of depth and realism.

    If I had access to players I would love to experiment with the idea, even for just the 1st and 2nd violins.

    This might be worth a trip to the local college to see if maybe I could record some of the players!

  8. #8

    Re: Ultimate realism in Strings!

    Originally posted by midphase:

    Keep in mind that this would not be the same 5 guys playing the same 5 violins in the same 5 seats. Different players, different violins, different seats in the orchestra, but same mic placement and mix.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I agree. That´s what I´m talking about when i said experimenting. I see no reason why it would sound fake, if all of the above conditions would be present.

    Duncan, I thought so too for a long time, but 96 players or more would sound insane [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] . Yes, in theory there are 96 players, but as midphase said, they are the same violins and the same players etc.
    I remember back when I wasn´t registered yet, Thomas_J tried to emulate a choir with a single singer, wich... err, didn´t quite sound realistic (no offense [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] )

    This is an interesting topic [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] .

  9. #9

    Re: Ultimate realism in Strings!

    Yes, in theory there are 96 players, but as midphase said, they are the same violins and the same players etc.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I would think that by the time one had 33 musicians that the variations due to different playing styles and instruments would be pretty much exhasted, and that doubling up two takes( from different seats ) would be impossible to distinguish, perhaps save for a slight added hiss. The choir example mentioned is rather extreme as the human voice has much more tonal variation than a string or brass instrument and there was only a single performer( as opposed to 33 ).

    One also has to ask how important individual tonal variation is for a good ensemble sound(as opposed to natural performance variation). I know that brass sections often go after a particular sound and hire players based on how similar they are to the desired tone, as opposed to how different. It would be interesting to hear a test with say 10 string players doubled vs 20 players recorded in 2 groups of 10. I bet the difference would be vanishingly small.

    Duncan

  10. #10

    Re: Ultimate realism in Strings!

    I don\'t know....I think even just having the 1st and 2nd violin sections separate in GOS makes a huge difference in realism! Just like early sample libraries just had the \"string\" section patch, then they evolved into the 4 main groups, then they added the 1st and 2nd violins, it would seem that the logical next step would be to sub-divide those groups even more.

    I think next to the human voice, the violin is probably the instrument with the highest amount of individual expression and character so it\'s not terribly incorrect to compare the two.

    The key here is in the amount of veriation possible, in current libraries this variation is limited by the sample itself, when a note is triggered, the same velocity, volume, expression, panning etc is applied to that note. By sequencing the string section multiple times with multiple samples you are increasing the variables and hence avoiding a repetitive sounding melody.

    I would propose the 1st violins divided into A,B,C,and D. same with the 2nd violins. Then Violas, Cellos and Basses Divided into A and B.

    It doesn\'t seem like it would add that much more time to recording the parts, but I bet the realism would increase substantially.

    Perhaps those guys that are planning that $100k library should consider doing something of this sort!

    Also, you have to think of this in terms of GS 3 and faster processors. What could be considered a resource hog this year would be quite feaseable a year from now!

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