This was nice ... pleasant indeed! It's always great when a poster includes such detailed info on which instruments were utilized. It's even nicer when EQ and other effects settings are offered as well ... thanks for listing both. Your mix had a lot of presence.
If I can offer a suggestion: it sounds as if the various string instruments enter on a note in a concerted voicing at precisely the same time ... was this done in a notation program? I think the voicings would sound more natural if this precise note-on/off were altered ever-so-slightly.
Thanks for the comments. I do things the old fashoned way - I write scores out by hand with paper and pencil (and large eraser). I then input using a Roland A-37 Midi keyboard controller connected to Cubase SL 3 for each part. Then I edit each part (in piano-roll) as necessary, sometimes quantizing if I was playing sloppy - also, at this time, do some revising if necessary. Only at the end do I use a notation program (Finale PrintMusic 2010) to back-annotate the piece. The reason for this is that PrintMusic is that I find it very non-intuitive and I have a lot of difficulties using it.
Looked at the strings in piano-roll and see that there is typically 20-30 ms of variation for the start and finish of notes between instruments (I am pretty sloppy on the A-37). Might be that strings need a lot more separation than that to sound real? I am having problems with the solo strings not sounding like I hear them in my head. Some of that is the vibrato issue and some might be compositional (not used to scoring for solo strings), for instance the staccato figures starting at 1:53 - I think these may be up too high by an octave. Oh well, I will keep working with them until they sound right. I think maybe the GPO solo strings are not as good as the winds (which are excellent).
Thanks for the detailed response! My workflow is exactly the same as yours: I play and work everything out in Sonar, then only post-process a score and/or parts in Finale. If what I'm working on is going to be played live (such as a musical I'm working on), it goes to Finale. If not, it lives and dies in Sonar alone!
OK, sounds like you already HAVE everything firing at different times (Great!). Hmmm ... are you applying different continuous curves of cc1 data to each line in your voicings so that they are all having their volumes at different subtle levels at any single point in time? Possibly your attacks are too pronounced and you need to cc1 up into them more gently.
I too always have a hard time working with "canned vibrato" ... I share your pain! The other thing I have found in creating realistic voicings (staccato or legato) is simply in the mixing/relative volumes of the component notes. IOW, I often have created a very decent voicing, but because the 3rd voice down was too loud, it destroyed the entire chord. You could try playing around with that too. When you are painting cc1 data, it's easy to get too much volume here and there.
John, this is all sooooo subjective ... let YOUR ears be your guide. I hope this helps a little.