I have been working with timbre variability by sending cc23 controls to various instruments. I can see the knob in the Kontakt player moving but I swear I can not hear any difference. I have even tried moving it on the player while a note is playing and cannot hear any change. Everything else, length, portamento, volume works fine. Even cc16 for aggressive sounds works.
Am I missing something?
I also noticed that a lot of the instruments don't even have Var1 and Var2 as a choice (i.e none of the lush strings or the sus&short in any of the violins, violas or cellos.) I am using the dry samples with all the current updates. I thought they all had timbre changes implemented.
Try loading a wind instrument like French horn 1 solo. From an external MIDI keyboard play one note repeatedly with VAR2 set to zero. As you continue to play the same note, raise VAR2 to its maximum setting (this will produce the most extreme results). Each note should now be somewhat different from each other. Some will even jump out at you. Lesser settings will give more subtle and musical results. The effect depends greatly on the particular instrument and its harmonic structure. With the French horn you will notice mostly strength-of-fundamental changes because it doesn't have strong partials. Other instruments, like some woodwinds, can show more varied tone changes. In any case, the timbre change happens, not during the note, but from note to note - each note being a little different. It is intended as a problem solver for situations that contain repeated notes. Repeated samples can often lead to the dreaded "machine gun" effect. By judiciously drawing VAR1 and VAR2 data into your tracks at the location of the troublesome passages you can usually improve things considerably, often solving the problem completely. If there is a specific instrument or instruments that you would like me check I will do that for you. You never know, I might have missed something!
And I noticed a much larger timbreal change in the horns than the other instruments, so like Tom said, give it a try!
About the string sections having no changes, I'm guessing that since it's a section patch, it would sound unnatural for the entire section to change pitch or timbre at the same time at the same level. Then again, I don't know if I'm imagining stuff, but it seems that all of the pitch variation in an arrangement goes up and down the same amount at the same time anyway.
I was doing an enseamble building test, and I decided to try to simulate a beginner stringed orchestra. I cranked up that pitch variation to 100%, and the entire stringed orchestra went up and down out of tune together.
Or maybe it was just every instance going up and down together?
I don't know, but if y'all could help me out on this one too, that would be great!
About the string sections having no changes, I'm guessing that since it's a section patch, it would sound unnatural for the entire section to change pitch or timbre at the same time at the same level.
Quite correct - good guess. Intonational variations from note to note (as a section) do occur, depending upon the situation and the particular note of the chord being played. That kind of intonational variation in live performance is not random, it's functional. In the world of MIDI, random variation, as in VAR1 and VAR2, is best applied to individual players. In other words, all players in a section do not randomly vary their intonation simultaneously in exactly the same way as one another. If you wish to add random variability to string section work I would suggest that you layer a few solo or "Plr" instruments in with the section samples and apply the VAR functions to each of the individual players separately, leaving the actual section samples as they are.
Once again though, VAR is intended as a task-specific problem solver for repeated notes, runs, and similar difficult situations. Generally, it is not intended to be turned on for an entire track. Pick your targets.