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Topic: VOTA vs. EWQLSC (for a LOTR sound)

  1. #1

    VOTA vs. EWQLSC (for a LOTR sound)

    I own VOTA, but not EWQLSC. My goal is to get a fairly convincing (as convincing as possible) epic choir sound, a la Lord of the Rings. Here's a reference clip from the Two Towers soundtrack to show what I'm trying to achieve:


    The lyrics:

    An mauya, mahtie.

    Now, I don't own EWQLSC, but the thing with VOTA is, the consonants are too harsh..to me, they sound silly because they were sampled independently (as opposed to syllables) and so when the VOTA utility makes a simple syllables like "ka," it sounds synthetic. I figure I could get away with dropping a lot of the consonants like the N's and D's, since you can barely hear them in the reference clip. In the clip I provided, mostly it's the T's you can hear, and even then, they're very soft.

    My question is, is this something EWQLSC would be able to pull off, whereas VOTA wouldn't? I mean, what really has been improved in EWQLSC over VOTA? I've heard some negative comments on EWQLSC, how it was hyped a bit, and there isn't a huge difference. Is this true, false, or simply subjective? I haven't tried mocking up the above yet (having too hard a time figuring out the chords in the men's & women's sections of the choir), but I imagine using the VOTA 2.0 utility may not yield the best results, and the best mockup would be done by manually "hacking" in the consonants and vowel syllables manually into the sequencer, and adjusting the start/end times tediously until it sounded just right.

    Thoughts on this? PS, if anyone with a better ear than mine can figure out the chords of the men's & women's sections, that would be majorly helpful!

    PS: If I had my choice between easy out-of-the-box word-building, sacrificing realism/fullness, OR doing a ton of MIDI tweaking but getting a high level of realism.. I'd go for the latter.
    Sam Hulick

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Los Angeles

    Re: VOTA vs. EWQLSC (for a LOTR sound)

    I agree about problems with the consonants in VOTA. Other than that, it's a wonderful library which is not available for it's best use: movie trailer's. From what I've heard EWQLSC is not a major leap forward but is also quite good with better consonant's and vowels. I don't know about the ease of use of the word builder - perhaps you can comment on that.

    You're demo sounds absolutely great. What voices (patches) did you use and what orchestral sounds?

  3. #3

    Re: VOTA vs. EWQLSC (for a LOTR sound)

    Sorry Dave, that link was a reference clip from the LOTR soundtrack.. not a mockup (I've edited my post now to make that clear)
    Sam Hulick

  4. #4

    Re: VOTA vs. EWQLSC (for a LOTR sound)

    As to your basic question: the EWQLSC consonants are very similar to the vota consonants; there are no consonant+vowel combinations other than the default voiced schwa as in vota.

    IMO (others seem to disagree!) the SINGERS in Symphonic Choirs are not as good as the singers in VOTA, when you get right down to the sound of the samples; but there are a few more options in SC and the word builder seems to offer more control.

  5. #5

    Re: VOTA vs. EWQLSC (for a LOTR sound)

    I'd personally go for VotA, mostly just because it's so cheap now, and the improvements of EWQLSC might not quite justify the price. But I seem to operate a lot thriftier than most, so it's your call (especially considering your bosses apparently have such good ears ).

    About those chords, I feel like they're just triads on each section, doubled at the octave. In other words, women would be singing this:

    C5 C5 C5........ B4 B4 B4
    G4 G4 G4........ G4 G4 G4
    E4 E4 E4......... G4 E4 E4

    And men would be doubled down an octave (C4+G3+E3 ---> B3+G3+E3). It seems like it could possibly be more complicated than that, but chances are if you hear more notes then it's probably a factor of the reverb or the percussion flooding us. Generally there isn't too much point in giving tricky intervals to a choir, so I don't see why Shore would've done anything more than this.
    Wilbert Roget, II

  6. #6

    Re: VOTA vs. EWQLSC (for a LOTR sound)

    Thanks, Will. I'll try to get some time Sunday to mock this up using VOTA. If I'm feeling ambitious, I'll try to throw in the strings & percussion.
    Sam Hulick

  7. #7

    Re: VOTA vs. EWQLSC (for a LOTR sound)

    I haven't tried this yet with VotA, but it sounds like a great idea: run the consonants as a seperate audio track in your mix. Then, you can dull them a bit and ride the mix to get them to sit better. My personal experience is that once you have VotA in a mix the consonants smooth out.

  8. #8

    Re: VOTA vs. EWQLSC (for a LOTR sound)

    Another thing to note. EWQLSC wordbuilder allows you to control the overall volume of the non-pitched and pitched consonants via two sliders.


  9. #9

    Re: VOTA vs. EWQLSC (for a LOTR sound)

    I think the way to go is to lay down the initial tracks from the keyboard to the sequencer using the VOTA utility. The consonants and various vowel sounds are set up to be on different tracks. You can set the basic timing in the tool, but then hand tweak the expression to make it more realistic.

    One limitation with the tool is dipthongs. It can't sing AAAIIIIEEEOOWWAAAIII for instance. You would need to add those transitions manually.

    Finally, I don't think that the consonant sounds are hard enough. The words don't come through very clearly. I hope to get better results by recording some layers of yours truly and mixing them in. I may even mix my defined sounds in, but the sustained vowels out, since the VOTA singers are much better than I'll ever be. But I've read that overlaying VOTA with real vocals really helps sell the singing.

    BTW, I was waiting the LV airport on the way back from CES, while they showed Do You Want to Be a Millionaire on TV. What a horrible use of VOTA (and other synth sounds). Expression? We don't need no stinking expression.

    And another rant... Why do none of the Yamaha consumer keyboards come with mod wheels? The upper products have pitch benders, and the lower products have nothing. It just makes me shake my head...


  10. #10

    Re: VOTA vs. EWQLSC (for a LOTR sound)

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    I hope to get better results by recording some layers of yours truly and mixing them in. I may even mix my defined sounds in, but the sustained vowels out, since the VOTA singers are much better than I'll ever be.
    Even one or two live voices per part will sell VotA like gangbusters. It's amazing. And the great part is you don't have to sing that well- just like a real choir, they'll blend in (as long as it's not awful). It makes a HUGE difference in realism.

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