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Topic: EWQLSO/VSL-Hollywood sound or classical?

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  1. #1

    EWQLSO/VSL-Hollywood sound or classical?

    There's been quite a few posts from new members looking to buy the "right" library and I keep seeing that EWQLSO is quite often referred to as having the "Hollywood Sound" and that VSL has the "detail".

    I'm still not quite sure what the"Hollywood Sound " is but to me it's more in the orchestration, composition and the specific reverb and equalisation that is added in the film mix to make the sonic experience in a picture theatre more enjoyable. But this topic has been well and truly been argued before.

    When I recently set about trying to decide whether to buy VSL or EWQLSO, I found I didn't have the range of demos to help me choose.

    Often the observation is the VSL has the detail and QLSO is for the "Hollywood" sound. I ended up with both EWQLSO Gold and VSL Pro (minus the performance set) and I like both.

    In my humble opinion I think the EWQLSO has great detail so I've posted a classical piece by Bruckner for those interested. It might help some members who haven't bought a sample library yet to see this library in a different light (well I hope I do it justice).

    And I'm not trying to say this library is better than VSL or any other. Just hope it helps some members look at it with different ears. Mind you, you have to like Bruckner.

    http://users.senet.com.au/~duoartc/Bruckner0.mp3

  2. #2

    Re: EWQLSO/VSL-Hollywood sound or classical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharmy
    The brass sounds great but the strings often sound synthy, especially in the higher registers (most libs have this problem). I also do not think this gives the newbie or new reader here, a fair sense of detail in a QLSO versus VSL debate. I am pro VSL as many of you know, but will often find times I prefer QLSO. Still the issue of detail really is a non issue as VSL has it over QLSO on that front. Though not a total VSL mockup, much of Andy B's mockup was made with VSL because of it's detail, and probably only could of been done with VSL.

    http://www.vsl.co.at/english/demos/C...de_vagues.htm#
    Hey Sharmy,

    Thanks for listening.

    Well I could have made the brass sound much better but how much time can you justify on these exercises.

    I must admit on the whole though we have to disagree. If I could have done a more realistic job with VSL PRO I would have posted it (and I don't think the performance set would help).

    Maybe my skills aren't up to it, and I certainly wouldn't tackle "La Mer" - Andy's done a great job with the samples he has in a composition that is oozing with compositional detail in contrast to the Bruckner which is quite simple.

    I don't think the strings sound "synthy" at all in the Bruckner (my opinion of course) but I do note a few occasions in "La Mer" which kind of grate on me ie at 1.35 in for example. Just that scratchy/hollow/synthy sort of string sound as you point out is a failing with most libraries. But GS3 and GigaPulse might save the day for VSL strings - I hope so for my investment - three times that of GOLD.

    Another point worth noting that natural reverb is a detail that GOLD has, as well as audiophile hi-fidelity that is quite apparent to me through audiophile equipment. Real hall ambience is detail you are never going to accurately emulate and can only approximate if it's not recorded in the first place. It's a no-brainer! It will always be artificial - a construct.

    This of course is an audiophile talking.

    Craig

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: EWQLSO/VSL-Hollywood sound or classical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig_L
    Real hall ambience is detail you are never going to accurately emulate and can only approximate if it's not recorded in the first place. It's a no-brainer! It will always be artificial - a construct.

    Craig
    Unlike recording notes one at a time through microphones spread all over a building, then chopping them up and triggering them with a computer, eh?

    Sorry, couldn't resist the irony.

    Actually, you can't get past an artificial construct no matter how you slice it. If we're triggering the "hall" with each and every note, then we are in essence imposing a sampling granularity equivalent to note spacing, and there is very little opportunity for "reality" in the interplay of sound in a space.

    With digital reverb, at least your granularity is running realtime with your sample rate, and you are getting a more "realistic" construct of disparate instruments playing into a given space.

    It's artificial either way, though.

    The most prevalent problem with recorded ambience is that the ambient response gets "shaped" with the controllers just like the note response does...so the "hall" tends to dry out or wet-up depending upon variables introduced while trying to get full expression. In the Bruckner example (well done, by the way) you can hear the room recede along with the samples themselves when CC data causes the recorded data to play back below unity. This is not a problem with "applied" reverb, so in that sense, artificial reverb is actually a more realistic construct than separate triggered "room slices."

  4. #4

    Re: EWQLSO/VSL-Hollywood sound or classical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    Unlike recording notes one at a time through microphones spread all over a building, then chopping them up and triggering them with a computer, eh?

    Sorry, couldn't resist the irony.

    Actually, you can't get past an artificial construct no matter how you slice it. If we're triggering the "hall" with each and every note, then we are in essence imposing a sampling granularity equivalent to note spacing, and there is very little opportunity for "reality" in the interplay of sound in a space.

    "
    Hi Bruce,

    Thanks for the comments.

    Well of course I'm comparing these sample libraries to other "recordings" ie CD's that have been "miked" - and not live performances. So there are mikes all over the place whether it's recorded by Decca, DG, Phillips etc - multi mike recordings. But recording techniques aside, these are orchestras and instruments recorded in real halls and the ambience/reverb is recorded along with the instruments as well of course the extra reverb being added in the final mix (plus EQ etc etc). And the same to for QLSO which is recorded in a real hall with ambience/reverb. Whether it gets chopped up and triggered by computers, it's still "real" information and "detail" that is a part of the instrument's unique sound that is captured in the initial recording. It's "extra" real information that you won't get in a reverb damped studio which is designed to eliminate that information. With the latter, you are relying on software algorithms or hardware to fill in the missing detail. Maybe Gigapulse or MIR can pull it off? But it's a construct none the less - artificial - an audiophile no no (mind you I hope to be convinced otherwise). In the seventies, hi-fi went through the full range of approaches to simulate the "ambience" of the hall with rear speakers and using the "hafler" effect, complicated matrix approaches to rear channel sound derived from the L and R signals. So much easier now to record it directly as in Super CD's etc. Information, the more of it the better, as long as it's real.

    Of course, as you point out, unless you add an overall low level ambience/reverb to QLSO, then in certain delicate passages, apparent in the Bruckner, where one note has to die down completely to nothing as you use the CC contollers, the absence of hall ambience will be noticeable. Point taken. This is a problem for EW to solve if they want to be purist in their approach. Otherwise you add some additional ambience from the real hall - as they would in a classical recording anyway. This is still different than having next to no natural reverb recorded in the first place. To me, the shortcomings of this seem most noticeably in the recording of strings - I'm not sure why - maybe because of the sheer size and physical space they occupy which makes them more reliant on the physical environment for their sound - unlike the sole bassoon or other instruments.

    I feel that one of the advantages of classical mockups is that there is always a reference, if only to CD recordings, which can more readily expose the shortcomings of sample libraries and set goals for future improvements.

    Craig

  5. #5

    Re: EWQLSO/VSL-Hollywood sound or classical?

    Actually, you can't get past an artificial construct no matter how you slice it. If we're triggering the "hall" with each and every note, then we are in essence imposing a sampling granularity equivalent to note spacing, and there is very little opportunity for "reality" in the interplay of sound in a space.

    With digital reverb, at least your granularity is running realtime with your sample rate, and you are getting a more "realistic" construct of disparate instruments playing into a given space.
    In actual practice, EWQLSO's ambience sounds more realistic than even Altiverb - with the caveat you mentioned about controllers sometimes affecting the reverb trails when you don't want them to (and the easiest answer is just to use a little reverb to cover the seams!).

    As far as granularity theory, I look at it as summing the reverb returns instead of summing the sends. Either way, you're not really getting the interplay granularity of live instruments in a hall granularity. The way to get closest to that is to do what Dietz says they did with one of the VSL demos: "re-amp" the instruments through speakers in a room - something I've tried with little success.

  6. #6
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    Re: EWQLSO/VSL-Hollywood sound or classical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    The most prevalent problem with recorded ambience is that the ambient response gets "shaped" with the controllers just like the note response does...so the "hall" tends to dry out or wet-up depending upon variables introduced while trying to get full expression.
    While I understand how artificial reverb can serve as a unifying element to mould a controlled ambiance, I’m not following why the hall is being manipulated when various dynamics, etc. are changed via controller data.

    If you are attempting to enrich a line expressively by using different dynamic layers, for example, you might use a f sample and in doing so produce the hall’s sonic reaction to it. Then if you use a mp sample, again the hall would react to it as per the original recording of the sample and be a little less apparent, etc. So one would expect the hall’s contribution to change as a function of the amplitude of the instrument's dynamic on an ongoing basis. If this problem is encountered primarily with decrescendos, etc., well these extremely important nuances must be recorded at some point anyway, they are as important as the ambience is. Or maybe I not thinking straight on this one?

    Despite some of the technical aspects involved with the ongoing debate of real vs. artificial ambiance, I still believe many are forced to conclude that there are passages in Craig’s mockup, particularly the tutti forte passages, that VSL will never be able to duplicate in terms of realism. Andy’s mockup was incredibly well done, but it represents a pointillistic style that lends itself to the VSL sound, dry detail. Note how few large romantic-style pieces have been produced with VSL.

    There is no question that each library has made distinct contributions in regards to our common quest for realism, but one can’t help from wishing that VSL was recorded in a hall with several mike options like QLSO to allow user manipulation in their choice of sound. VSL detail (legato, phrases, dynamic samples) with QLSO lush sound, recorded with the passion and emotion of Vitous, with the comprehensiveness of Garritan (number of recorded articulatuions). But there I go dreaming again.

    Cheers, Don
    Last edited by gungnir; 06-08-2004 at 11:33 AM. Reason: realized another aspect

  7. #7

    Re: EWQLSO/VSL-Hollywood sound or classical?

    Quote Originally Posted by gungnir
    There is no question that each library has made distinct contributions in regards to our common quest for realism, but one can’t help from wishing that VSL was recorded in a hall with several mike options like QLSO to allow user manipulation in their choice of sound. VSL detail (legato, phrases, dynamic samples) with QLSO lush sound, recorded with the passion and emotion of Vitous, with the comprehensiveness of Garritan (number of recorded articulatuions). But there I go dreaming again.

    Cheers, Don
    The dream becomes reality. Next Year.

  8. #8

    Re: EWQLSO/VSL-Hollywood sound or classical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Phoenix
    The dream becomes reality. Next Year.
    Do tell...please.

  9. #9

    Re: EWQLSO/VSL-Hollywood sound or classical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Phoenix
    The dream becomes reality. Next Year.
    mmm... interesting! No more details Mr. Phoenix?

  10. #10
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    Re: EWQLSO/VSL-Hollywood sound or classical?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Phoenix
    The dream becomes reality. Next Year.
    Well, this represents a major announcement.

    Whereas virtual orchestration capabilities in general have grown almost exponentially in the last few years, there are some elements that have most prominently stood out in terms of providing truly effective tools.

    Capturing the sound between notes has been identified as being just as important as capturing the notes themselves so that recorded phrases and the VSL legato tool therefore have now become essential ingredients towards realizing convincing results. Dynamic samples are indispensable for solo instruments, etc. and the net effect is that now we can fool some of the people some of the time.

    But, in truth, we are to some extent also in denial. Even though we are justifiably excited with current developments, we still have to consider the next stage because the truth is that current libraries sound real only in certain specific musical applications. When compared to actual real world performances, even the best mockup attempts sound like cgi looks (special effects in movies). We politely accept the illusion, wowed by the technology yet still sensing the unnatural inorganic aftertaste.

    One important element in all of this is the lingering unanswered question of ambience: are the acoustical surroundings an integral part of the sonic character of the instrument itself? At least for classical applications many think it is. Giga 3 and convolution developments will be of pivotal importance.

    Depending on the outcome of the reverb technology about to surface, it may be that QLSO will become increasingly interesting to those involved with classical applications. If it is expanded to encompass some of the additional innovations and tools now available to provide the required level of detail, it’s going to get an awful lot of serious attention from a whole new group of people. I am hoping this is what Nick is getting at with his comment.

    Cheers,
    Don

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