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Topic: Any way to make the Strad sound less "trumpety?"

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  1. #1
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    Question Any way to make the Strad sound less "trumpety?"

    Folks, I have recently acquired the Strad (from Gary's great G-Round) and have been playing with it. I had a couple of questions though.
    1. When the manual states the key switches of C1, E1, etc., they really are referring to keys that are an octave above C1? It appears as though the key switches are not located in the first octave of notes on a full 88 key keyboard.
    2. Do I need to some how apply some EQ or other adjustment in the Kontakt 2 player to make the Strad sound less like a trumpet and more like a violin? Has anyone had this same experience? Any suggestions? I am using an expression pedal, and the Mod wheel provides vibrato, but the sound still isn't as "sweet" as I would like to hear.

    Any help and suggestions are greatly appreciated, thanks so much in advance!

  2. #2

    Re: Any way to make the Strad sound less "trumpety?"

    Quote Originally Posted by rfdillon
    Folks, I have recently acquired the Strad (from Gary's great G-Round) and have been playing with it. I had a couple of questions though.
    1. When the manual states the key switches of C1, E1, etc., they really are referring to keys that are an octave above C1? It appears as though the key switches are not located in the first octave of notes on a full 88 key keyboard.
    2. Do I need to some how apply some EQ or other adjustment in the Kontakt 2 player to make the Strad sound less like a trumpet and more like a violin? Has anyone had this same experience? Any suggestions? I am using an expression pedal, and the Mod wheel provides vibrato, but the sound still isn't as "sweet" as I would like to hear.

    Any help and suggestions are greatly appreciated, thanks so much in advance!
    Hi rdillon,

    I cannot answer on the octave question because I still have a 61 keys keyboard and find myself shifting octaves all the day which leaves me searching for keyswitches anyway .

    Then, the strad sound you have there is like holding your ear one centimeter away from the strings of a violin. Probably harsh and if you don't keep out ... LOUD!

    What you need is to get control over the 'bowing' aspect - that means expression (CC11) and loudness (CC07).

    Then you need to get control over the vibrato, that means intensity (CC01) and speed (CC67).

    Then you need distance, that means rolling off the high frequencies vie EQing.

    Then you need room, that means putting reverb on it, or even better, running it through a convolution reverb.

    Let me get back soon with some more information to this thread.

    Hannes
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  3. #3
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    Question Re: Any way to make the Strad sound less "trumpety?"

    Thanks so much for your reply. I have heard of the convolution reverb, but being as I am just barely learning the Kontakt 2 interface, haven't played with it. I have played a little bit with the reverb listed on the left strip (right click then choose reverb, then choose the edit effects button).

    I have CC11 mapped to the expression pedal, and the regular sustain pedal, vibrato mapped to the Mod wheel and pitch bend joystick (you push north and south for vibrato, right and left for pitch bend data), and I lower the velocity quite a bit on the keyboard as if not, I get rather sharp attacks all the time.
    I am using an old Roland A-80 keyboard, which has a great piano feel, and has polyphonic aftertouch, but it is my understanding that one has to just about stand on the keys to get the aftertouch to work, so I haven't played with aftertouch while using the Strad.
    I have several sliders that I could map for CC67, and wasn't aware of the vibrato speed. Do you think that would help?
    And I'll be honest about the expression pedal - I can't tell any difference (from a sound perspective) between it and volume - when I move the expression pedal it gets louder and softer. What other expression is it supposed to impart?

    Thanks so much again for your help!

  4. #4

    Re: Any way to make the Strad sound less "trumpety?"

    Quote Originally Posted by rfdillon
    What other expression is it supposed to impart?

    Thanks so much again for your help!
    It affects timbre as well.

  5. #5

    Re: Any way to make the Strad sound less "trumpety?"

    OK here is what I do.

    I hook the Strad to a midi track and play in the melody. In this stage I ignore how it really sounds but take care of rhythm, note length, slurs. The result sounds like

    http://www.frischat.com/compose/GStrad_raw_notes.mp3

    Now we send our violin student to the second year by editing the velocities of all notes that are not slurred to. Attack is tamed. If you manage to play it in like that on the keybord at the first step, the better:

    http://www.frischat.com/compose/GStrad.mp3

    After that our violinist learns to use the bow. Phrasing is the magic word. CC11 (expression pedal) is reccommended but I like to automate CC07 and CC11 simultaneously for more timbre variations:

    http://www.frischat.com/compose/GStrad_bowing.mp3

    After that some of the attacks may need adjustion.

    Now we play with the vibrato. I run through it for practise a few times, then record speed and width simultaneously:

    http://www.frischat.com/compose/GStrad_bowing_vibr.mp3

    OK, this sounds OK so far but is straight in our face. For simulating distance we roll off the high frequencies, something in the line of



    The result is here:

    http://www.frischat.com/compose/GStr...ibr_EQdist.mp3

    And then we put our violin player into a room:

    http://www.frischat.com/compose/GStr...ist_reverb.mp3

    Some more adjustions are possible:

    Overlapping of notes and adjustion of attacks for glissando (portamento)
    Tune control by Pitchbend. Some portamenti are more in control with Pitchbend as well.

    Here is the midi file, maybe you will find it helpful:

    http://www.frischat.com/compose/HF_V...trad_tutor.mid

    Cheers
    Hannes
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  6. #6
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    Thumbs up Re: Any way to make the Strad sound less "trumpety?"

    Wow! Thanks so much, HannesF et al, for your great explanation of the detail involved in creating a great sound. I am not at home, but this evening I will download everything and look at your .mid file in Sonar.
    May I ask, precisely how do you automate your CC07 and CC11 continuous controllers?
    I can assign sliders to various continuous controllers, and have been using CC11 on the expression pedal, but I haven't gotten it to work as smoothly as I would like.
    Now that you mention it, I do like the timbre when I elevate the CC11 values with the expression pedal - it just sounds louder, but has a nicer timbre.
    As well as being a newb with the Strad, I am also a relative newb with Sonar 7. I have been using Cakewalk off and on (mainly off) since the ProAudio 9 days, but haven't really gotten into editing the midi data too much with the new version of Sonar, but look forward to delving into it soon.
    Would you advise that I not use CC11 while recording, but just draw in that continuous controller?

    "Now we send our violin student to the second year by editing the velocities of all notes that are not slurred to. Attack is tamed. If you manage to play it in like that on the keybord at the first step, the better:"

    I have done this by changing the velocity curve on the Roland to a maximum of 20, instead of the ~70 that I use while playing the keyboard with the Steinway piano patch. That tamed the attack some what, but I still haven't gotten the handle on creating smooth attacks without having them slurred to the next note. I'm sure that practice will help that, and perhaps if I raise the velocity on the notes that I don't want slurred that would help.
    Do you recommend that I assign a slider to the CC67, vibrato speed, and attempt to change that while recording, or is it possible to add CC67 in Sonar to the MIDI file and draw vibrato speed changes in after recording?
    Thanks so much again for helping me with these newb questions - I'm sure others will benefit from the answers you are providing!

  7. #7
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    Re: Any way to make the Strad sound less "trumpety?"

    CC7 is not necessary with the strad most of the time. CC11 should be used for controlling volume and timbre as they work together. CC11 morphs seamlessly between the different velocity layers. This would be the same as the violinist's bow control.

    Jim

  8. #8

    Re: Any way to make the Strad sound less "trumpety?"

    Quote Originally Posted by rfdillon
    May I ask, precisely how do you automate your CC07 and CC11 continuous controllers?
    I use the software tablet2midi which you can find here
    http://www.livelab.dk/tablet2midi.php

    It is my golden bullet. I like very much to think and work in x-y planes. It allows me to control two parameters in an intuitive way. Certain sounds have certain areas in the field, and after a while I learnt to produce sounds by drawing gestures.

    A freeware alternative is the software mouse2midi, you will find it easily at google.

    Now that you mention it, I do like the timbre when I elevate the CC11 values with the expression pedal - it just sounds louder, but has a nicer timbre.
    As being pointed out by Jim the standard procedure is to use cc11 for having an automatic timbre change with increasing loudness.

    I automate cc07 nevertheless because of three reasons:
    - More variations in timbral nuances
    - Having a controlled cc07 value avoids unwanted surprise
    - More dynamic range on my fingertips

    But this is not the usual way to do it, so you can skip this.

    Back to the tablet: The idea is to control more than one parameter with audible feedback. I also draw in curves sometimes but realtime shaping works more direct for me. I do the vibrato recording in a second step.

    The other method I use is to control all 4 parameters at the same time. I use a data glove for that - xyz positions and the bending of one finger. This is really fascinating because now one can control all in one pass while playing the keys with the other hand.

    Would you advise that I not use CC11 while recording, but just draw in that continuous controller?
    I think it is good to try all. I drawed all sorts of curves at the beginning just to learn what they do musically. But once I had set up my pen and glove controllers there was no way back :-)

    "Now we send our violin student to the second year by editing the velocities of all notes that are not slurred to. Attack is tamed. If you manage to play it in like that on the keybord at the first step, the better:"

    I have done this by changing the velocity curve on the Roland to a maximum of 20, instead of the ~70 that I use while playing the keyboard with the Steinway piano patch. That tamed the attack some what, but I still haven't gotten the handle on creating smooth attacks without having them slurred to the next note. I'm sure that practice will help that, and perhaps if I raise the velocity on the notes that I don't want slurred that would help.
    Exactly.

    I would leave the keyboard at its original and press the keys more softly. Put the finger on the key before pressings, don't hit, and move it down with slow speed. You will learn it very fast.

    Do you recommend that I assign a slider to the CC67, vibrato speed, and attempt to change that while recording, or is it possible to add CC67 in Sonar to the MIDI file and draw vibrato speed changes in after recording?
    Both will work.

    I guess I have an instrumentalists mindset, so I will always try to shape the sound directly with my hands. My goal is to play this new sort of instruments as expressively as an instrument made from wood, gut and horse hair, maybe even more. The flip side of this is that you need do develop coordination, but for me it is worth it.

    The other factor is time. Once the realtime control over the controllers is learnt, I can record most parts within minutes. This comes very handy if needed for an actual production.

    Hope this helps
    Hannes
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  9. #9

    Re: Any way to make the Strad sound less "trumpety?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Haydn
    CC7 is not necessary with the strad most of the time. CC11 should be used for controlling volume and timbre as they work together. CC11 morphs seamlessly between the different velocity layers. This would be the same as the violinist's bow control.

    Jim
    Jim, you are right of course. CC11 is the way to go - normally.

    However I am always experimenting, so currently I automate cc07 a lot. The idea is to have one crescendo with more cc07 involved, and one crescendo with more CC11. The result are two slightly different variations.

    Or I begin with more cc07, involve cc11 then, and when I return to piano I reduce cc07 first, then cc11. The graphical equivalent of this would be a circle in the x-y-plane. I have found that these circles sound very natural. Try it, you will be surprised.

    The other reason is that I like to fade in and out while playing, with other words a bigger dynamic range.

    Hannes


    Hannes
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  10. #10
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    Thumbs up Re: Any way to make the Strad sound less "trumpety?"

    Well, folks, you certainly are much more advanced in controlling midi parameters than I. I don't even know what kind of MIDI glove controllers are out there. I may look into that down the line, but was hoping to control things between the Roland A-80 and Sonar.
    I will try some of the things you mention, and if you all would like to post details of things like type of tablet, connection, type of glove, how you connect it, program it, etc., I'm sure that all will benefit.
    Thanks so much again!

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