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Topic: Advice for Someone Not Familiar with Stringed Instruments

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  1. #1

    Advice for Someone Not Familiar with Stringed Instruments

    Hey All,
    Strings are a new topic (so is GPO) for me and though I trust my ear to some degree, I want to ask for some advice regarding how to use the string samples. So, here goes...

    I have found through reading on the forum that to get a the kind of sound I am looking for I should not have been using the lush strings, but rather stacking the solo strings. This makes sense and has already improved the sound and is the direction to take to get the sound I am looking for. However, I believe I will need 2 - 3 strings (maybe more) per part to get what I am looking for and I have several questions that I do not know how to answer.

    1) If I am stacking several strings on one part, should I use, say Strad Ens 1 for each instance I am stacking? Or should I use Ens 1, Ens 2, Ens 3?

    2) Lets say I was talking about the Violin 1 part in question number one. For Violin 2 do I create the same stack? If not, how do I vary it?

    3) Is it ok to mix strad, gagli and guarn violins in the piece? If so, do you mix when stacking violins for each part or do you, say, keep strad for Violin 1, Gagli for violin 2, etc?

    I know these are very basic questions. I was taking the angle that I should just experiment, but I'd rather get guidance from those of you who have done such incredible work. I also was considering the fact that all violinists in an orchestra do not have the same violin. This is something that I had never thought about before. This makes me lean towards the `mix it up as much as you can' method, but I'm not convinced it is the right path. Hence, I'm asking.

    Thanks for any help. I would like to get a demo up pretty soon and see what you all think.

    -Kevin
    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  2. #2
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Advice for Someone Not Familiar with Stringed Instruments

    Buy a violin?

    Is it ok to mix strad, gagli and guarn violins in the piece? If so, do you mix when stacking violins for each part or do you, say, keep strad for Violin 1, Gagli for violin 2, etc?
    I like this question. Say if you did mix you would get quite a colorful sound wouldn't you? Also, from what you are describing overall, are you leaving out the Lush instruments all together or are you mixing them in as well?
    Styxx

  3. #3

    Re: Advice for Someone Not Familiar with Stringed Instruments

    Kevin,

    1. If I am stacking several strings on one part, should I use, say Strad Ens 1 for each instance I am stacking? Or should I use Ens 1, Ens 2, Ens 3?

    (TH) You should use Ens1, Ens2, and Ens3. The whole trick is to avoid instruments that share the same samples so that phasing issues don’t intrude. Ens1, Ens2, and Ens3 instruments never share samples so they can be combined without problems. Keep in mind that this is an issue only for unison parts.

    2. Lets say I was talking about the Violin 1 part in question number one. For Violin 2 do I create the same stack? If not, how do I vary it?

    (TH) Use a different combination if you are going to encounter any unison parts. So, for violin 2 you could use either the Gagliano or the Guarnarius Ens1, Ens2, and Ens3 instruments.

    3. Is it ok to mix strad, gagli and guarn violins in the piece? If so, do you mix when stacking violins for each part or do you, say, keep strad for Violin 1, Gagli for violin 2, etc?

    (TH) Mixing is fine so long as you observe the rules concerning shared samples. Each ensemble instrument is derived from its corresponding solo instrument. As long as you don’t combine a solo and its derived instruments any combination will be fine. This isn’t to say the results won’t be very different depending upon the particular combination. Experiment to taste. The numbering of the instruments has no significance other than to differentiate in the folder. Each solo instrument has a different character and choices will depend upon the situation and personal preferences.

    Tom

  4. #4

    Re: Advice for Someone Not Familiar with Stringed Instruments

    Thanks for the replies Styxx and Tom.

    Here are a few replies.

    Regarding the lush strings, I have found there is too much movement for them to be appropriate. For instance, at a tempo of 90 bpm I have some rhythms that are dotted eighth followed by sixteenth notes. I have found the lush strings to be too muddy. There are other challenges using the solo strings, but they are much more manageable. Also the lush samples may be too big a sound for what I am doing.

    Tom,
    Thanks for the insight. I will start experimenting with combinations and see what I come up with. It would be interesting to see what others use to get the sounds for their pieces.

    I have experience the phasing issue when stacking the same instrument, though it is not easy for me to hear. Do you think this is also a valid solution to the problem?

    1) Create a part, when it is finished perform some light quantizing for humanizing the part.

    2) Make 2 - 3 copies of the same part, assign each one to its own instance of the same solo violin.

    3) Offset the second and third copies by a few ticks on either side of the beat.

    It seems like this might also do the trick (regarding phasing). I don't, for some reason that baffles me, hear phasing very well. Perhaps I listen for the wrong thing, I don't know. Have you ever tried this technique and does it work?

    Thanks again for the help!

    -Kevin
    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  5. #5
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for Someone Not Familiar with Stringed Instruments

    Regarding the lush strings, I have found there is too much movement for them to be appropriate. For instance, at a tempo of 90 bpm I have some rhythms that are dotted eighth followed by sixteenth notes. I have found the lush strings to be too muddy. There are other challenges using the solo strings, but they are much more manageable. Also the lush samples may be too big a sound for what I am doing.
    Yeah, now that you've mentioned it your quite right. I was thinking more on the lines of a legato passage with using the lush behind and filling in somewhat with the solos.
    Styxx

  6. #6
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    Re: Advice for Someone Not Familiar with Stringed Instruments

    You will still get some phasing offsetting by a few ticks. Best bet is to determine how big a section you want. You can get up to 9 violins stacked on one part by using the 3 different ensemble instruments of the 3 solo violins. Do not use the regular solo instruments as this will limit you on the amount of instruments you can stack. Caution must be had though when you have both 1st and 2nd violins each stacked with the 9 instruments if they go unison as you will get phasing.

  7. #7

    Re: Advice for Someone Not Familiar with Stringed Instruments

    Ok, I'm new to this, so tell me if this is rubbish, but it seems to me that the lush strings have a very nice but very distinctive sound that can get a bit monotonous if used too much. For 'normal' string sections, I've been trying the sus section strings layered with a couple of solo ensemble strings. This seems good to me...?
    "A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules,often with the assistence of unsuspecting musicians"

  8. #8

    Smile Re: Advice for Someone Not Familiar with Stringed Instruments

    Quote Originally Posted by Haydn
    You will still get some phasing offsetting by a few ticks. Best bet is to determine how big a section you want. You can get up to 9 violins stacked on one part by using the 3 different ensemble instruments of the 3 solo violins. Do not use the regular solo instruments as this will limit you on the amount of instruments you can stack. Caution must be had though when you have both 1st and 2nd violins each stacked with the 9 instruments if they go unison as you will get phasing.
    Thanks for the heads up, Frank. I'll experiment with what you have told me and see what kind of sounds I can get. It's a good thing that GPO saves instrament sets...

    -Kevin
    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  9. #9

    Re: Advice for Someone Not Familiar with Stringed Instruments

    Kevin,

    You wrote:

    “I have experience the phasing issue when stacking the same instrument, though it is not easy for me to hear. Do you think this is also a valid solution to the problem?

    1) Create a part, when it is finished perform some light quantizing for humanizing the part.

    2) Make 2 - 3 copies of the same part, assign each one to its own instance of the same solo violin.

    3) Offset the second and third copies by a few ticks on either side of the beat.”


    (TH) No, this is not a good alternative. Haydn is correct. You will run the risk of phasing problems even with the offsets. And there’s no need when GPO has so many different instruments to choose from when combining. The Ens. Instruments are there precisely for the purpose of building sections. By combining different instruments you also gain the advantage of mixing instruments of differing tone qualities not to mention differing vibrato types and speeds. There are no advantages to combining identical instruments in a section, only drawbacks.

    One other piece of advice: You will always get more believable results if you avoid copying parts (even with timing offsets). Play each individual part in separately to reap the benefits of small discrepancies between players through the entire piece of music. More time-consuming and work-intensive? Sure, but that is the way to get the best, most human results.

    Tom

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