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Topic: Solutions to VSL's no 2nd strings issue

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  1. #1

    Solutions to VSL's no 2nd strings issue

    I'm using the VSL for most things I do. However, as many already know VSL does not supply separate 1st and 2nd string section samples. This is becoming one of my most time consuming tasks to solve when working.

    One example of a problem that this causes, is when 1st and 2nd violins play in unison - which they do often enough to become a problem. Since the same samples are used, I'm taunted by constant phase distortions and just as many phase cancellations.

    There are many theoretical solutions to this, but I've found nearly all of the 'obvious' ideas be non satisfactory. Since there are many other VSL users - and certainly on this forum - I'm interested in discussing some solutions for working around the "no 2nd strings" fact when using VSL.

    Have you encountered this problem? and what solutions have you found to get around this?

    Thanks
    /T.
    Kid: When I become an adult I wanna be a musician.
    Parent: Son, you cannot become both.

  2. #2

    Re: Solutions to VSL's no 2nd strings issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomke
    I'm using the VSL for most things I do. However, as many already know VSL does not supply separate 1st and 2nd string section samples. This is becoming one of my most time consuming tasks to solve when working.

    One example of a problem that this causes, is when 1st and 2nd violins play in unison - which they do often enough to become a problem. Since the same samples are used, I'm taunted by constant phase distortions and just as many phase cancellations.

    There are many theoretical solutions to this, but I've found nearly all of the 'obvious' ideas be non satisfactory. Since there are many other VSL users - and certainly on this forum - I'm interested in discussing some solutions for working around the "no 2nd strings" fact when using VSL.

    Have you encountered this problem? and what solutions have you found to get around this?

    Thanks
    /T.

    It hasn't been that much of an issue with me, much more of an issue finding some usable cellos that don't sound like they are sawing down trees

    Sometimes when a second violin section is playing something noticeably different from the first violins I find splitting the cells of one of them up with just a hint of the sordino legatos helps, or appasionatta, anything to give a tonal difference. Blend to taste.

    But really...this cello thing is really a problem. I have not found in either QLSO or VSL suitable cellos for long, pretty legato lines. QLSO is unplayable for the legatos, and VSL is just plain to grainy and aggressive. Any others out there with suggestions of a libraries that have better cellos?

    (don't mean to hijack this thread!)

    Tom
    "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." --Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

  3. #3

    Re: Solutions to VSL's no 2nd strings issue

    I really didn't care much for Opus 1 cello section (think it's the same samples as VSL). The legato was fine SOMEtimes, but kinda jumpy.. and the tone wasn't appealing.

    Well.. wow, I gotta say, Appassionata Strings has fixed that. I'll let the two clips I put together speak for themselves.

    http://www.samhulick.com/misc/app_celli.mp3
    http://www.samhulick.com/misc/app_fullstrings.mp3

    As far as 1st/2nd violins.. Appassionata offers detuned violin sections, that might help with phasing issues possibly? And they were sampled that way so it's a true detuning..actually the attack is detuned and it "readjusts".. it's kind of strange. You could probably build a custom matrix where you can trigger it infrequently for some variation.
    Sam Hulick
    Composer
    http://www.samhulick.com/

  4. #4

    Re: Solutions to VSL's no 2nd strings issue

    It is only a huge problem when there is an exact unison, the notes are quantised and the "performance" is an exact copy. However, all I do is use another patch for the second violins or layer them with a touch of Chamber in the second cell. This gives a very different sound. One can even do the same for the 1st violins, and use a touch of continually changing cell xFade to vary the sound. Of course, each instrument should be programmed independently, panned differently, including controller information, so even with identical patches, phasing is not necessarily going to happen.

    D

  5. #5

    Re: Solutions to VSL's no 2nd strings issue

    Quote Originally Posted by tomhartman
    Any others out there with suggestions of a libraries that have better cellos?

    (don't mean to hijack this thread!)

    Tom
    Tom, I experienced the same problem with EW Gold Pro XP and even though I love my Vienna Special Edition, the celli aren't as good as I would have liked. Personally, I'm using HALion Symphonic Orchestra mostly for the strings and I think they are great. The strings have a crescendo function built-in wherein you can use CC1 to control timbre and volume with the mod wheel. I find this helps quite a bit in shaping the lines and the over effect is more realistic to my ears. For smaller groups, I still go with Prime Sounds Session Strings which I got for $100 long time ago. The sound is the most accurate in terms of realism for the celli in my opinion.

    For you, HALion Symphonic Orchestra might be overkill but the HALion String Edition 2 is what HSO took its strings from. Right now, apparently Steinberg is offering HALion String Ed. 2 for $99 when you upgrade to Cubase 4. Seeing that I already own HSO (with HALion String Ed. 2 buiit in) as well as go between MOTU Digital PErformer and Logic Express 7.2, I don't need this but perhaps you should check into it.

    There are a few alternatives out there luckily. You just need to know where to look.

    -Dave

  6. #6

    Re: Solutions to VSL's no 2nd strings issue

    Quote Originally Posted by MDesigner
    I really didn't care much for Opus 1 cello section (think it's the same samples as VSL). The legato was fine SOMEtimes, but kinda jumpy.. and the tone wasn't appealing.

    Well.. wow, I gotta say, Appassionata Strings has fixed that. I'll let the two clips I put together speak for themselves.

    http://www.samhulick.com/misc/app_celli.mp3
    http://www.samhulick.com/misc/app_fullstrings.mp3

    As far as 1st/2nd violins.. Appassionata offers detuned violin sections, that might help with phasing issues possibly? And they were sampled that way so it's a true detuning..actually the attack is detuned and it "readjusts".. it's kind of strange. You could probably build a custom matrix where you can trigger it infrequently for some variation.
    Scary stuff, yeah that's much more like it....I haven't tried Apas celli, I only own the violins...thanks for the demo....!

    Tom
    "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." --Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

  7. #7

    Re: Solutions to VSL's no 2nd strings issue

    A quick tip about VI strings (both standard and appassionata). Part of the problem with the VSL/Opus legato strings is that the velocities are very jumpy/touchy. So if you are playing a legato phrase and you just happen to hit one key a little too hard, it sounds inconsistent.

    In VI, this has been dealt with. Load up a legato string section, then click on the "PERFORM" button in the upper right. Turn on (click) "Velocity X-Fade", then right click on its slider and then move your mod wheel so it learns the control. Now, velocity will be tied to your mod wheel rather than your key hits, so you can hit as hard or soft as you want, the key velocity is ignored. This allows for MUCH more consistent string playing in VI.
    Sam Hulick
    Composer
    http://www.samhulick.com/

  8. #8

    Re: Solutions to VSL's no 2nd strings issue

    Quote Originally Posted by MDesigner
    A quick tip about VI strings (both standard and appassionata). Part of the problem with the VSL/Opus legato strings is that the velocities are very jumpy/touchy. So if you are playing a legato phrase and you just happen to hit one key a little too hard, it sounds inconsistent.

    In VI, this has been dealt with. Load up a legato string section, then click on the "PERFORM" button in the upper right. Turn on (click) "Velocity X-Fade", then right click on its slider and then move your mod wheel so it learns the control. Now, velocity will be tied to your mod wheel rather than your key hits, so you can hit as hard or soft as you want, the key velocity is ignored. This allows for MUCH more consistent string playing in VI.
    Thanks Sam. I wondered if we could achieve this as I prefer using the mod wheel to affect timbral change as opposed to velocity.

    One other I noticed with the Vienna Special Edition strings is that they cut-off too quicky upon release. What I do it go in and add some extra sustain. Just a bit to the staccato strings to achieve a more accurate reproduction in the release (like a release sample). Works much better.

  9. #9
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    Re: Solutions to VSL's no 2nd strings issue

    Quote Originally Posted by MDesigner
    A quick tip about VI strings (both standard and appassionata). Part of the problem with the VSL/Opus legato strings is that the velocities are very jumpy/touchy. So if you are playing a legato phrase and you just happen to hit one key a little too hard, it sounds inconsistent.

    In VI, this has been dealt with. Load up a legato string section, then click on the "PERFORM" button in the upper right. Turn on (click) "Velocity X-Fade", then right click on its slider and then move your mod wheel so it learns the control. Now, velocity will be tied to your mod wheel rather than your key hits, so you can hit as hard or soft as you want, the key velocity is ignored. This allows for MUCH more consistent string playing in VI.
    Cool idea Sam. let me ask though, in some of those patches (I don't think the Appasionata are programmed this way, but solo and chamber strings are), the mod wheel triggers the slides between notes.

    When you set the mod wheel up to control velocity, how do you add the slides in those legato patches? Or do you re-map them to the low A and B of the keyboard, like the Appasionatta strings do? Just curious...

  10. #10

    Re: Solutions to VSL's no 2nd strings issue

    Yes, the sustain does cut off immediately. The ideal performance technique (I think so anyway) for strings is to drop the mod wheel slowly as you let go of the key.

    As far as the slide/portamento..yes, I remapped it to pitch bend (set the threshhold to 55). So basically when I want a portamento, I just push the pitch bend wheel up a tiny bit, hit the next note, then let go of the wheel so it snaps back.
    Sam Hulick
    Composer
    http://www.samhulick.com/

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