just wondering if anyone\'s got any tips on arranging strings so that they sound realistic. I\'m using the AO strings sets, but it\'s all sounding a bit too much like an organ (?). I\'ve tried various panning, slight shifting of timings, etc, but it\'s not sounding too great. It doesn\'t help that GS keeps changing the instrument files that I\'ve loaded up, but that\'s a whole different post.
I find that the AO strings are very sensitive. They can\'t be played straight from the keyboard. I go into the sequencer and use the expression control almost continuously. All aspects of a string part must be manipulated -- attack, sustain, decay, note transition, ... I also regularly switch between the various articulations available.
Many times I layer with other string libraries. However, the layering must be dynamic. Ultimate strings complements the AO sound very well. I am a perfectionist and, frankly, even after all the time-consuming tweeking, there is still much room for improvement.
Sometimes a blend of string section and solo string (at a lower volume and panned) makes for a satisfying sound.
Make sure you\'re using midi controller #7, Volume, to almost always be either increasing or decreasing the volume throughout a phrase or note, as a real player would. Also, if it\'s a chordal passage, go through and play each line (voice) one note a a time, rather than grabbing the chords. Think like a string player rather than a keyboardist, bearing in mind that it\'s virtually (pun intended) impossible to duplicate a real string section, your efforts can only bring you closer to the real thing.
Jamieh, yeah I use the WX5 to control AO samples in Gigastudio. It works extremely well on expressive solo parts. I\'ll use it when layering a solo violin part that is identical to the first violins part, but the solo sound adds some \"rosin\", some spirit to the phrase. One small thing, though: on my unit at least, it seems that the pitch bend wheel doesn\'t reset all the way back to zero when you let go, leaving the sample a bit detuned. Sending a simple reset from the sequencer clears it up, but you should know that that can happen.
Through use of the WX5, I\'ve discovered a way to mix while sequencing that expands on John DeBorde\'s idea of using CC7 to swell and decay individual notes. The thing is that AO samples (if not all of Giga) respond to CC11 (expression) exactly as it does to CC7 (volume). I can set the WX5 to translate breath strength into either controller, but by setting it to transmit CC11, I can then use CC7 in my sequencer to mix relative instrument volumes, and use CC11 strictly to swell or decay instrument sounds. And by simply dropping in one CC11=127 message, you reset the individual instrument back to full strength without fudging up the mix. In other words, you can basically swell while performing the part without messing up any mix settings in your sequencer.
Also, just to emphasize John\'s earlier point:
>Also, if it\'s a chordal passage, go through
>and play each line (voice) one note a a
>time, rather than grabbing the chords
That is SOOO true. I won\'t lie to you. I\'ll sit down and sketch a six-staff string arrangement for a piece, just to make sure that I\'ve got the spacings and doublings I want. Then I\'ll read each part in on the WX5, one part at a time. I\'ve never been able to \"fly\" those kinds of passages straight into the computer off the top of my head. They sound really poor and amateurish when I do that. Of course, I\'m sure that there are as many opinions as there are users on this forum, but I think everyone would agree with John in that you should definitely get your string parts in one at a time.
In my relatively limited use of AO (2 months), I have found the XFD instruments pretty fake sounding when you go from p to f, so I usually go with the KEY option. That being said, I don\'t find myself using the AO strings much, except maybe layered with other libraries. I\'m still experimenting a lot though, trying to find an approach that works best for me.