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Topic: Wallander vs Westgate Clarinets

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  1. #1

    Wallander vs Westgate Clarinets

    I'm not ready to do this yet, but I thought I'd ask for opinions from users who have tried these libaries, so I have some idea of which way to go in the future, because I am really torn between the two of them.

    I recently purchased the Westgate French Horns and I was quite impressed -- with both the quality of the samples and the variety of articulations. I liked the demos of their clarinets, the variety of the articulations, and their price.

    But I like the Wallander clarinet demos, too. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that the package includes A and Bb Clarinets. The samples mp3s posted on their web site certainly suggest that each has a different character. I am not familiar with any other library that has attempted to include A clarinets. From what I have read, clarinet players switch between the A and Bb instruments, depending on the key of the piece, to make fingering easier. If that's the only reason to have an A clarinet, it's hard to see why it should be included in a sample library that's going to be used with a keyboard. Is it my imagination -- or just the selections chosen for the sample pieces -- that makes it sound like the A clarinet has a discernably different character? A slightly different character that might be useful sometimes.

    Finally -- and again this is based soley on the sample songs on the Wallander and Westgate web sites -- it seems like the Westgate samples have a little more emphasized attack. (I'm not talking about just the staccatto articulations. I mean a sustain that clearly articulates the note and holds it, rather than behaving like a swell or a scoop up or down.) The Wallander instruments sound good, too, but their demos make the attacks seem a little less solid (a bit more like the attack on a French Horn than a trumpet). It seems to "speak" a little later.

    I'm just wondering if anyone who owns either or both the Westgate and Wallander clarinents and could comment on their experience with them.

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Wallander vs Westgate Clarinets

    Well, I own Wallander Brass and Woodwinds (most of them anyway:P), and I have to say they are quite a different kettle of fish.

    I don't own Westgate though, so eventhough I can't compare it to that, I can compare it to other sample libraries.

    First off, the main thing to know is that Wallander is not samplebased; it is some sort of modelling which afaik uses impulses of live instruments; however the way the instrument behaves is modelled and therefore is quite different to play than with samples.

    Because of this, it can sometimes be harder to get a good sound straight out of the box, though is in no part the fault of the instrument; it just means that the instrument sounds as good as you play; with samples, you usually have well played notes straight away so to speak.

    You don't really use articulations because you play them; so no keyswitching is necessary. You want short notes, you play them; longer notes, hold the note longer, trills, you perform trills etc.
    The way this works is that each instrument has a breath control, that denotes how hard the instrument is 'blown'. This can be linked to pretty much any midi control, and some people prefer to use an actual yamaha breath controller. Aftertouch is used for vibrato, and there are many tweaking options for this.
    I use the breath cc with modulation, and after a bit of practice this works very well. If I want staccato notes, I quickly ride the modulation up for the attack of a note, and quickly down again to simulate how it would be played in real life.

    Anyhoo, as regards to the sound; in general, very good (the clarinets and bassoons are imho the best of the woodwind package, with the oboes a close second). Perhaps not always as full bodied as samples, but for me the major thing about wallander is that you can play whatever you want, without restriction.
    Often with samples you find yourself tuning your performance to the samples, instead of the other way around.

    Cheers,

    Joris
    Joris de Man - Composer | Sound Designer - www.jorisdeman.com | Killzone 2 soundtrack now available on iTunes link

  3. #3

    Re: Wallander vs Westgate Clarinets

    I think it's quite easy to answer....Wallander has better playbility, Westgate far superior sound quality/realism...i have both and onestly never used Wivi woodwinds cause they sound too synthy to me.

  4. #4

    Re: Wallander vs Westgate Clarinets

    Thanks for all the feedback. I'd still like to know about the differences between the A and Bb Clarinets, though. Is there really a difference in the tone quality that would lead a composer to use one over the other? Or do they sound essentially the same and the players switch just to make fingering easier?

  5. #5

    Re: Wallander vs Westgate Clarinets

    Quote Originally Posted by ejr View Post
    Thanks for all the feedback. I'd still like to know about the differences between the A and Bb Clarinets, though. Is there really a difference in the tone quality that would lead a composer to use one over the other? Or do they sound essentially the same and the players switch just to make fingering easier?
    I've read a lot about how the A clarinet has a darker tone; sometimes it's described as more mellow. But, if you're talking about two instruments of the same design, from the same manufacturer, then I've never been able to tell much of a difference. Obviously the breaks in register come at a different point, but ideally a good performer disguises those anyway.

    On the other hand, if you're not talking about the same manufacturer, then I can find two Bbs that sound totally different. I can't think of a score (although I'm usually wrong) where a composer has insisted on using the clarinet that gives the more awkward fingering.
    David

  6. #6

    Re: Wallander vs Westgate Clarinets

    Regarding Westgate, playability is excellent for a sample-based lib. Load the legato patch and go. For more expression, load the DEF filter in GS3/4 and control the timbre in real time without the need for crossfades (which work well for ensembles, but not so well for solo instruments).

  7. #7

    Re: Wallander vs Westgate Clarinets

    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu View Post
    I can't think of a score (although I'm usually wrong) where a composer has insisted on using the clarinet that gives the more awkward fingering.
    Any score requiring a Bb clarinet to play in four or more sharps Unless you have a very recent model clarinet with special keys, there are passages that literally require some fingers to be in two places at once. Players know how to cheat around them, but they would be much more easily fingered on an A clarinet in one flat.

    The reason you don't see many scores calling for A clarinets, in my opinion, is that they are a little darker and don't project as well, and they are nowhere near as commonly found as Bb's. I'd be surprised to find a professional clarinetist that didn't have an A horn, but the rest of us probably don't.
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA
    www.bakersjazzandmore.com

  8. #8

    Re: Wallander vs Westgate Clarinets

    Quote Originally Posted by bmdaustin View Post
    Any score requiring a Bb clarinet to play in four or more sharps Unless you have a very recent model clarinet with special keys, there are passages that literally require some fingers to be in two places at once. Players know how to cheat around them, but they would be much more easily fingered on an A clarinet in one flat.
    Sorry, I wasn't too clear. I realise how it works - I am a clarinetist of sorts. What I meant was I can't think of a score where there is an instruction saying, 'Don't you dare pick up your A clarinet to make this easier, because I want the tone of the Bb even though it makes the fingering awkward.' And while most orchestral scores have the clarinets shown in Bb, players I know wouldn't hesitate to substitutes the A-Clarinet when necessary.

    Here in the UK it seems a little more common for people to have both. The clarinet teacher we use at school has a lot of private students in, after school hours, who carry both with them - most of them have reached a fairly high standard, but are years away from being pros.
    David

  9. #9
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    Re: Wallander vs Westgate Clarinets

    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu View Post
    What I meant was I can't think of a score where there is an instruction saying, 'Don't you dare pick up your A clarinet to make this easier, because I want the tone of the Bb even though it makes the fingering awkward.'
    That's funny, I wrote those exact instructions on one of my scores... Made sure those blighters bring the right instrument to the gig...

  10. #10
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    Re: Wallander vs Westgate Clarinets

    trumpet players do it all of the time. in fact Malcom McNabb doesn't even use his Bb on most of what he is playing. he has a Schilke D/Eb that he uses. i have a picture of a section where Malcom is playing his D/Eb the 2nd and 3rd players are on C trumpets and the 4th is on a Bb. that really put my Hollywood Brass sound myth to rest.

    i saw Malcom 2 summers ago in LA and he did 90% of the concert on the D/Eb and it sounded BIG like a Bb. amazing!!!!

    i think he is using it in D (like with Zappa) but i have heard that it is in Eb. i'll have to ask around.

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