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Topic: Unpleased of GPO string sounds, how can I improve?

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  1. #1

    Unpleased of GPO string sounds, how can I improve?

    Hey all,

    Recently purchased GPO, I am using the studio with a notation program (not a \'brand\' one such as Finale or Sibelius, but one I like, am used to work with and that has proven itself as the most convenient and easy to edit notation program I\'ve had tried).

    The woodwinds sound well, and so most of the brass. However, with the strings, which are the part that is most important for me I am very disappointed. I knew GPO strings sounds weren\'t perfect when purchased it, but I must say I am very disappointed of the big difference I still can notice from the demos - some of them are very well - to what the patches actually sound like.

    In particular, I need very soft solo sounds of cellos and violins, and soft ensembles of violins, violas and cellos. When using them with dramatical pieces this sounds actually pretty satisfactory, but I find the sound very lacking and unrealistic when playing back something more expressive.

    How can I improve the sounds, using MIDI controls, GPO studio configuration or any effects? Are there specific patches you would recommend to use in slow, expressive solo tracks?

    And the most important thing: I am bothered by the tremendous amount of vibrato in solo violins and cellos. I think that things could sound significantly better if I could control the amount and velocity of vibrato and drastically reduce it. Now this is something I am sure that can be done because some of the strings demos I\'ve heard sound completely different, not to mention immensely better.

    Please help - undoubtly there can produced from the library much more than I managed.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Re: Unpleased of GPO string sounds, how can I improve?

    Evergreen,

    When you mention \'tremendous amount of vibrato\' in solo strings, you are complaining about what many people have actually asked for. Solo strings in some other libraries in the past have been made with only a little vibrato and people say it is not enough.

    If you use a solo sound with no vibrato and then add fake vibrato with synthesizer LFO - it sounds fake. Real vibrato is the only answer.

    Because of the way samplers work (like a snapshot) to have different amounts of vibrato you must use a different sample for each \'amount\' you need.

    Then, to go from one amount to another you must crossfade between one sample and another. Here is a big problem.

    This works well on_groups_of instruments, but it doesn\'t work on solo instruments because as you start to crossfade from the sample with a little vibrato into the sample with a lot of vibrato - for a while you hear two samples instead of one.

    The other thing which could be done is switching between notes. eg, play a note using the \'little vibrato\' patch, and then the switch patches and play the next note with the \'more vibrato\' patch. This would work fine, but you could not swell vibrato during a note. Perhaps that could be another patch.

    The thing to remember about GPO is that you get examples of many many instruments. If Gary goes into lots of detail on strings, why not go into more detail on brass? What about percussion? Woodwinds. In the end, if he keeps doing this he will record forever and we will never get a library to play.

    I am sure he takes a note of what everyone mentions and plans upgrades for the future based on feedback from customers like you, so keep discussing what you need. If enough people want solo strings without much vibrato - you\'ll probably get it.

    Cheers
    Rick

  3. #3

    Re: Unpleased of GPO string sounds, how can I improve?

    Rick,

    Thanks for the reply.

    So you have no practical offer for me how to control the amount of vibrato used in existing patches (I understand that when you say \'little vibrato\' and \'more vibrato\' patches you mean them as a concept, not as something that is actually available or can be artificially done with the library). Do you?

    Besides the vibrato issue, I\'d appreciate that if you, or others here, could give me few practical tips how to get the maximum from the string patches - if by involving specific MIDI CC supported by the library, specific combinations of patches etc. I am very disappointed of the sound quality - the amount of vibrato and the fact that certain string instrument patches simply do not mix well together. But, I do believe that I am doing something improperly and that there are more ways to use the library and specific things that one can do in order to use it better for this or another specific purpose.

  4. #4

    Re: Unpleased of GPO string sounds, how can I improve?

    Yep...the vibrato is totally out of control...I would call it a VIBRATOR!

    No chance to fix it. They gave the musicians the instruction to play in that way.

  5. #5

    Re: Unpleased of GPO string sounds, how can I impr

    The first thing to do will be to skim through the manual if you haven\'t done this yet. If nothing else, make sure that you read the help file in GPO Studio. You can access this help file by going to the menu item of \"Help | Contents\". Although different sections are specific for Overture, Sibelius and Finale, I would recommend reading through all of it since it is a short document. This will explain some of the issues you face with using a notation program for GPO and how you can best use GPO in the context of notation.

    That said, some of the most important controls you have available are Mod Wheel (incredibly important, since it changes the volume/timbre), velocity (which controls attack speed - NOT volume!!), and sustain pedal (which engages/disengages legato). These controls are naturally suited to a sequencer and a user recording parts in real time, but not so natural for a notation program, so you need to manually enter these controls into your score to get the best use out of GPO. It really will make a big difference to the quality of your results if you use these controls at least minimally, particularly the mod wheel (cc 1). These controls are all explained in detail in the manual.

    As for solo strings, I\'d suggest for you to try the different solo strings in each instrument type, to find the one that works best or that causes the least trouble if vibrato is a problem. For example there are three solo violins - one of them may be slightly better suited to your work than the others.

    For section strings, you have a huge number of options to change the sound of the section, though a notation program is not the easiest place to use all the options. There are many different articulation types, which is the first place to look, and of course the controls I mention above will drastically alter the sound you achieve. If you are willing to spend a little time, you can create an entirely custom string section by combining the different solo instruments - for example there are 9 different violin ENS instruments available. It is difficult to do in a notation program (as compared to a sequencer), but you have the potential to play all the 9 different violin ENS instruments simultaneously from a single staff. This probably goes beyond the scope of what anyone would normally do in a notation program, but I wanted to cover the range of options you have. A lesser implementation of the above example would be to layer a single solo violin with one of the GPO violin sections, in order to customize the sound.

    I\'m sorry I can\'t offer to you specific advice about which instrument choices/articulations in GPO to use for the best soft sound, but I think you will probably do better than any advice I can give if you experiment to find what you think is best. You probably don\'t need to go to extremes like creating your own section as I mention above. Just choosing from the available section strings, and using the controls available with each string section choice, will probably give you what you need. Take a look through the manual if you haven\'t yet, so that you become accustomed to the controls. Best wishes-

  6. #6

    Re: Unpleased of GPO string sounds, how can I impr

    Thanks for your detailed answer. I\'ll go more deeply in the manual. However I just have one question - when you refer timbre control via the modwheel, do you mean that changing the volume with the modwheel repspectively changes timbre? Or does it have something to do with pitchbend, perhaps?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Unpleased of GPO string sounds, how can I impr

    [ QUOTE ]
    but you have the potential to play all the 9 different violin ENS instruments simultaneously from a single staff.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    and the whole room comes to a screeching halt! Jeff, \'ol buddy \'ol pal oh great wizard of all that is GPO. Let me ask, (how do I put this...) How is this possible with either? I missed something somewhere. Are you referring to layering the instruments and if so, how is this achieved on one single staff or track?
    Sorry, don\'t intend to tread on the thread. This just caught my attention.
    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]

  8. #8

    Re: Unpleased of GPO string sounds, how can I impr

    Interesting. The solo violins are the best part of GPO to my barbaric ear. Flutes and horns have sounded fairly realistic on most any platform or synth. GPO\'s solo strings sound much better than anything else I have had. Certainly better than any of the free soundfonts I have.
    Eventually, I will move up to Vienna Strings. However, it is three times the price of GPO.

  9. #9

    Re: Unpleased of GPO string sounds, how can I impr

    [ QUOTE ]
    when you refer timbre control via the modwheel, do you mean that changing the volume with the modwheel repspectively changes timbre? Or does it have something to do with pitchbend, perhaps?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Evergreen, the way the modwheel works is explained in the manual, page 7. It\'s worth looking at. Yes, the modwheel controls both volume and timbre ( \"brightness or EQ\" ). You need to use it to make your strings sound more realistic (refer to manual). Also, you should really consider buying a sequencer if you want to make high-quality sounding compositions. If you plan on starting and finishing your pieces \'on the computer,\' then sequencing is the way to go - notation programs make the work much more difficult. Check out Sonar, Cubase, or Logic - they\'re the big 3 in sequencers.

    That said, I have a question for you: Do you own any other sample libraries? I do not mean this offensively, the point is that the dry string samples from GPO are among the best I\'ve heard from an orchestral library. Sure, it may be a matter of taste, but compared to some of the other libraries I own, the GPO samples are really great (and for $250, that quality makes GPO the best library I own). Now, if you do own other libraries, and you still aren\'t satisfied, try layering a few solo vib string instruments on top of sections, as was pointed out above. Personally, I do that in nearly all of my string pieces for that extra expressiveness. I use the vib instruments as a sorta \'overall vibrato\' that I can fade in/out with the modwheel - works very well.

    Remember that you have to actually mix your work. Mixing is a BIG part of sequencing - it literally can make or break a piece. Add reverb where necessary, eq things appropriately to bring them out in the mix. GPO pre-pans instruments for you as they would be in an orchestra, but if you use smaller sized pieces, be sure to pan appropriately. Good luck!

    [ QUOTE ]
    Quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    but you have the potential to play all the 9 different violin ENS instruments simultaneously from a single staff.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    and the whole room comes to a screeching halt! Jeff, \'ol buddy \'ol pal oh great wizard of all that is GPO. Let me ask, (how do I put this...) How is this possible with either?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    It\'s simple, actually. On the kontakt player, you can assign each instrument to a specific midi channel. Assign em all to one channel, then route your single staff to that channel and it will play back all 8 violins from that player. How do you get the 9th? Well, in some notaters, you can \'double\' a staff, that is put two staves right on top of eachother, one of em is routed to the first kontakt player (the one with 8 violins), the other is routed to another player with only 1 violin in it, and ta-da - 9 violins playing simultaneously. Don\'t know how useful it would be [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Also, using that \'doubling\' feature, I guess theoretically you could assign, say, 4 violins to one staff and 4 to another. Move them on top of one another then write your violin parts on BOTH staves (so long as there are no chords). When you wish to write a two-note (or more) chord, you just write one on one track, and one on the other [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] You\'ll get a \'natural\' division of violins.

    Let the record show, that I\'ve never done this - I only heard it was possible.

    - Junk

  10. #10
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Unpleased of GPO string sounds, how can I impr

    Woe! Let me read that again... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img]

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