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Topic: whats are the best ways to make strings and horns sound real?

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  1. #1

    whats are the best ways to make strings and horns sound real?

    I'm having a difficult time getting my strings and horns to sound more realistic. I'm going for more of a band sound so I dont need it as big and clean as the orchastrial stuff. Does anyone know any good tricks for producing a sound like this...

    also what are the best uses of the keyswitch features. I know this would help my sound but I'm having trouble incorporating them into my music. do most people record to a midi track and then go back over it and add the keyswitches?

  2. #2

    Re: whats are the best ways to make strings and horns sound real?

    Your question is like asking how do you play a saxophone and make it sound good? LOL please be a lot more specific. Exactly what DAW, sample engine, and libraries are you using, and exactly how have you used them that doesnt sound real? Start with that then we can get more detailed
    Christopher Kennedy Alpiar
    Cinematic Composer
    www.alpiar.com

  3. #3

    Re: whats are the best ways to make strings and horns sound real?

    I agree with the previous comments but there are a few basic rules, many of which may seem obvious.

    Learn your sequencer, this is by far the most powerful tool at our disposal.
    My guess would be that most only utilize 50% of the power.
    Become a power user. Especially in regards to editing.

    Know your sample library, intimately.
    Pick your fav patches, keep things simple for a while in regards to composition and practice a lot.

    Copy a small segment of a piece you like, say a minute of strings as an audio track in your sequencer and work toward duplicating it.
    Naturally the right library for the right sound comes into play here.

    An obvious one here but use a quality library with sufficient articulations.

    Listen a lot to orchestral arrangements and learn at least some of the basics of music and composition, read books on the subject.
    The guide to Midi orchestration 3rd edition is a good starting point too.

    I realize that your needs are not as demanding as that of a Midi orchestrator but it is afterall music and just like a good omelete, ALL the ingredients are equaly important.
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  4. #4

    Talking Re: whats are the best ways to make strings and horns sound real?

    (sorry, magnus...just couldn't resist!)

    Q. whats are the best ways to make strings and horns sound real?

    A. hire great strings & horn players!!
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  5. #5

    Lightbulb Re: whats are the best ways to make strings and horns sound real?

    I have the Brass and strings covered after having to combine several libraries and VSTi's for large custom performances.

    But developers find it easier to avoid the saxophone and release the same old " new " libraries. Which is reminiscient of Roland, Yamaha, and Korg trying to re package the same old crap every year.

    Bruce Richardson and Wavelore seem to be the only current developers I am aware of who attempt to try new things instead of the same old "yawn,yawn" strings, piano, etc. boring crap.

    With so many tricks available in K3 and GS4, plus the memory available to store large variations of performances, I hope to see more releases like the Pedal Steel. Which BTW sounds incredible, and was a bold move for a developer.

    Otherwise, come to Vegas and hire a sax player as many are out of work. Most have to be hired as a keyboardist and play sax second just to get a steady decent check.
    JimmyV

  6. #6

    Re: whats are the best ways to make strings and horns sound real?

    send me tracks ;-) I am a sax player for 25 years, I can read and improvise pretty authentically in any style you can come up with. I play tenor and soprano these days tho i used to tour on bari but I dont have one anymore

    As far as samples there will never be a way to really emulate what a saxophone can do. I can play a single note a hundred or more different ways and how I connect 2 or more notes grows exponentially.

    The best stuff I have heard so far is the Chris Hein horns stuff but unless you are a sax player and really understand how the horn works you are going to sound silly. Even if you are familiar with the sax and can get a few things to sound "real" its still VERY limited as to what you can do with it

    So for really good horn sounds, you still need real live and breathing horn players
    Christopher Kennedy Alpiar
    Cinematic Composer
    www.alpiar.com

  7. #7

    Re: whats are the best ways to make strings and horns sound real?

    The more realistic you want your strings and brass to sound, the more time you must be willing to spend carefully crafting each individual note in your sequencer/DAW application.

    You have to think of each note as a series of connected events (attack, decay, sustain, release).

    The A, D, S and R of every note played is different.

    If you play the same note over and over, even though the pitch will stay the same, the harmonic content of each individual note will vary, depending upon its ADSR.

    If you play a string of notes, the "realism" of that string of notes will depend upon several factors, including:
    • the relative velocity of each note in the string of notes;
    • the ADSR of each individual note in the string of notes;
    • the duration of each individual note in the string of notes;
    • how much "before the bar" or "after the bar" you place each note; and
    • whether a particular note overlaps the following note, or stops before the next note sounds.
    Of course, the reverb and other processing that you add will give you added realism...

    You can control all of these factors by fine-tuning your velocity levels, and by playing/drawing in various CC MIDI data (expression pedal, modwheel, pitchbend wheel, etc.).

    The Giga instruments that come with DEF control are great for simulating the harmonic content during swells, or even fast runs of notes in which each note is played with different intensity.

    So warm up that mouse and get to work!!

    — alanb

    ...........................

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  8. #8

    Re: whats are the best ways to make strings and horns sound real?

    In my experience, a lot of people massively underestimate the important of simple phrasing in all this. I'm not even talking about specifics of sax breath control, violin bowing etc (although all that can help too), but just basic factors of organic phrasing that are common to all instruments that can control volume through the course of a note (unlike the keyboard instruments we use to input their parts).

    So: LOTS of cc11, everywhere, on everything, is my first piece of advice. Listen in real recordings, or in your own experience as a musician, to the way string and brass notes naturally die away, and sculpt something as close as you can using expression envelopes in your sequencer. Then ups and downs on every note, every phrase.

    Like I said, more fancy control of instrumental specifics can help too. It also really helps where libraries have control built in that is "calibrated" to the instrument - for example I use Garritan Orchestral Strings and the EXP patches are great because they're pre-programmed to respond in a similar curve to real strings.

    But it's surprising how mch difference can be made without even going to that extent, just by really addressing the issue of the rise and fall of phrasing. This is the essential difference between strings/brass and keyboards, so dealing with can often make even quite ordinary libraries sound pretty realistic.

  9. #9

    Re: whats are the best ways to make strings and horns sound real?

    Quote Originally Posted by scope4live View Post
    I have the Brass and strings covered after having to combine several libraries and VSTi's for large custom performances.

    But developers find it easier to avoid the saxophone and release the same old " new " libraries. Which is reminiscient of Roland, Yamaha, and Korg trying to re package the same old crap every year.

    Bruce Richardson and Wavelore seem to be the only current developers I am aware of who attempt to try new things instead of the same old "yawn,yawn" strings, piano, etc. boring crap.
    Scope, seems I recall some months ago you asked a similar question looking for the best sax samples. (you always remember the pro's questions.) I think you were building your new library then. What'd you ever come to think of the Yellow Tools saxes? Have fun.
    -Rajay
    Sonar6PE,GS3Orch,GVI,Reason3.0,Batt.3,StylusRMX w/Exp,Trilogy,B4ll,VGuitar2,TranslatorPro,CoolEditPr o2.1, K2500XL,2xIBMM51P4530HT/80GBSATA/3GBDDR/350watts,2xWD149GBFW,Delta1010,MidiTimepieceAV,2x1 604,20/20,on & on..........

  10. #10

    Re: whats are the best ways to make strings and horns sound real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouch that hurts View Post
    In my experience, a lot of people massively underestimate the important of simple phrasing in all this. I'm not even talking about specifics of sax breath control, violin bowing etc (although all that can help too), but just basic factors of organic phrasing that are common to all instruments that can control volume through the course of a note (unlike the keyboard instruments we use to input their parts).

    So: LOTS of cc11, everywhere, on everything, is my first piece of advice. Listen in real recordings, or in your own experience as a musician, to the way string and brass notes naturally die away, and sculpt something as close as you can using expression envelopes in your sequencer. Then ups and downs on every note, every phrase.


    But it's surprising how mch difference can be made without even going to that extent, just by really addressing the issue of the rise and fall of phrasing. This is the essential difference between strings/brass and keyboards, so dealing with can often make even quite ordinary libraries sound pretty realistic.
    I guess I'm just old, but it seems odd whenever I hear this question. I guess it's 'cause I'm from an age when the only way to get feeling in phrasing was the ADSR ( and cc. You had to build them note by note. You'd build a library of edited patches over time. It required a lot of listening and practice. I guess in this time critical age there's not enough time to learn that much. Ahhh! The good ol' days.
    -Rajay
    Sonar6PE,GS3Orch,GVI,Reason3.0,Batt.3,StylusRMX w/Exp,Trilogy,B4ll,VGuitar2,TranslatorPro,CoolEditPr o2.1, K2500XL,2xIBMM51P4530HT/80GBSATA/3GBDDR/350watts,2xWD149GBFW,Delta1010,MidiTimepieceAV,2x1 604,20/20,on & on..........

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