Naturally it is an imperfect solution - but while the real viola does not yet exist, has anyone tried 'faking' it by pitch shifting (and possibly eqing) either the Strad or the Gofriller? I have been pondering these instruments for quartet work, but the current lack of viola seems like it would be an endless source of frustration...
If anyone has tried this with success, I would certainly appreciate hearing about it (or perhaps even hearing some of the results).
I empathize-my choice was to get the vienna solo strings for viola and cello when it seemed like the viola was going to be another project with 1+ years after the cello. I do not regret it. The vienna lower instruments are rich and full, if not quite as expressive as Garritans. I like the strad better so my quartet is the 2 strads with a vienna viola and cello. I have a hard time imagining that you could eq either the strad or gofriller into a viola-the timber is very unique with a somewhat undersized body. There are some new IRs (I think from Numerical sound vault) that may give the strad a more dark timber, but the instrument is locked so changing the range is not easy. Combining the gofriller for the bottom 5th along with the strad would be very tough to get a good match. If you try it good luck and let us hear a sample.
Reminds me, there was once a demo on the T.C. Helicon vocal processors site where somebody used one of their products to convert a violin into a kind of pseudo viola. I can't remember if they used only the formant shifting capabilities or also the pitch shifting. However, I tried to do the same, and the results weren't very good. They're really geared to vocal sounds.
Since the main thing that determines the size of a stringed instrument sound-wise, is the wood resonance, if you pitch shift a violin down so it's wood resonance drops from its usual 440-530 Hz range down to a viola's approximate 300 Hz, then you will kind of turned your violin into a viola. Or you could do some intense EQ to try to achieve some of that, though that wouldn't give you the extended playing range of the viola down to C3.
Thanks for your thoughts!
The VSL strings are in fact pretty stunning, and when used with care are probably the most realistic out there. What has had me pondering the Garritan solo strings is their integration with Finale. I'm liking the idea of being able to simply write the score 'properly' and get good playback of what I'm writing without having to resort to all manner of workarounds. The lack of viola is the one hitch along the way...
Seems like it might be possible to 'fake' it, but the results may be dubious.. my main worry was if the specialized programming that makes these instruments what they are would be thrown off by pitch shifting (in K2)..
I used a pitch-shifted Strad in the v1 version to simulate a Viola, which works well for phrasing, but not at all for sound. The violin is so strong in overtones that you get very strong formants which doesn't sound like a viola at all. This is a rather overtone-poor instrument. I guess the same will happen with pitch-shfting the Gofriller. the Cello also has very strong overtones.
I was sifting through TC Helicon's site to see what was new and found that demo I mentioned previously where they used the unit to shift formants and pitches of a violin to get bigger and lower sounding instruments, kind of faux viola and cello. Figured I'd post the link just for the hell of it. Go down to demo that says Virtual Strings to hear it.