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Topic: Quality of AO strings?

  1. #1

    Quality of AO strings?

    Hi everyone,
    as I\'m just a newbie in the area of professional samples I bought a version of the Advanced Orchestra Set along with my gigastudio to start somewhere. I\'m getting the grip with the brass and the woodwinds but my strings sound -- to my ears -- even worse than the free soundfonts (yeah, I know those suck [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] ) I used before. Are the AO strings (mostly the sections) just that bad or am I just missing some technique to make them sound good... or let\'s say exceptable. I know those cannot compete with GOS or the like...
    I like the pizzicato, trills and so one, but the sus sounds give me the creap. So any friendly soul got some pointers on programming these right (maybe even a small midi example on how to do it right)?


    P.S: Hey tob, if you read this, thanks for the stomps. I really love those... [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  2. #2

    Re: Quality of AO strings?

    Yes, I\'m afraid thats how they sound... [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Quality of AO strings?

    Hi Louis,

    There\'s quite a bit you can do.

    First, really get into the phrases and other combinations like you describe. There, you\'re going to find real played stuff, played very competently, and recorded quite well.

    Then get into the sustains, and use them to fill holes.

    Granted, that borders on musique concrete, but if the end goal is to make music of the quality you can sell with AO, that is one really fun technique you can use to do it. Depending on the range and approximate heading of your tastes, you can compose quite a bit of music in this way, and feel confident that you really \"meant it.\"

    Also, don\'t spare the studio technique if that\'s your bag. Filtering and controller mapping can go a long way with AO.

    Here\'s another thing you can do with it, which in my opinon offers excellent benefit: Use it to learn advanced programming techniques. AO was ported from a hardware RAM sampler format, so it\'s necessarily bandwidth limited in its programming. However, there is a very large amount of recorded material spread out there. For instance, some patches are not velocity switched, but instead programmed as separate keyswitch dynamics. You can practice constructing real and virtual velocity layers, using filtering, to make a much more \"modern\" interpretation. Additionally, the GigaStudio 2.x format gained some nice programming features, so benefit can be gained there as well.

    Dave Govett\'s \"GigaStudio Mastery\" CD series has great tutorials and streaming video lessons, which can be of great benefit.

    Finally, all of us who have been producing with samples for a long time have encountered and used AO. It was a major breakthrough at its release, and still can carry weight in anyone\'s studio. We tend to latch onto the latest greatest, and forget that people were just as smart and musical 20 years ago as they are right now. Although the methods may be different, and the flexibility limited, great art can come from that. In fact, in my opinion and the opinion of a great many artists, being forced to confront and confound limitation is the very essence of art. If you just keep bashing an idea against the medium, and don\'t give up, art will emerge in one form or another. It\'s a predetermined result, if the person doing the bashing is an artist!!

    Good luck with it.

    Best regards,

  4. #4

    Re: Quality of AO strings?

    Yes sir, I must agree. Musty sounding. Have you found that certain cello patches sound incredibly hissy? I\'m using them in exs24 and was wondering if it was one of the many conversion problems I face. One particular problem is that many of the legato horns have the heads of the samples completly cut off, making them sound like a bad casio! On the other hand there are a lot of useable instruments, it\'s just that you would hope for them ALL to be usable wouldn\'t you?
    All in all there is still a lot to work with


  5. #5

    Re: Quality of AO strings?

    Hi Bruce,
    well, using the phrases most of the time is an interesting idea, I definetly didn\'t think of THAT... I\'m wondering what it sounds like if one only composes with grace notes and trills... [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Reprogramming might be it. I think the samples behind it are not that bad. But maybe I\'m not riding the expression pedal hard enough to compensate the \"aged\" programming. It\'s hard to get even a simple melody sounding real. I feel like I\'m missing something very simple like using the expression pedal in the right way or something like that. That\'s why it would be interesting to have a peak at how others use AO... but I guess most people on this board have moved on to GOS or VSL... [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    For the \"heading\" of my music, it\'s rather the classical sort of thing that you would assume in an opera house.
    For example this piece (hope you can open ogg-vorbis, for example winamp will do):
    (please bare with me, I just don\'t get the expressiveness I have in my head into the samples)

    But at the moment it sounds more like I would score for a cheap computer game most of the time... boy, never thought orchestration would be such a huge topic... [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Thanks for the inspiration...


  6. #6

    Re: Quality of AO strings?

    I love AO!!

    Of course it was my first library, and I still use it...and yes I use AO strings for some things, altough I have GOS..hehe

    For sustains use only XFD patches with or without release. And use expression ctrl as well so basicaly use mod wheel to make them moving in timbre and expression for volume..
    If you are doing anything slow and emotional use the soft strings patch, I still use that sucker almost on everything I do...weather will you use it by itself or layered with xfd sections it depends..

    If you want stroung loud lines layer those marcato and long tone samples...

    Also you can get nice sound if you carefully layer solo strings with sections...

    When I first started using AO I also tought that it is unbelivable crap, but then when you start using it you see how brilliant it is...P.S. is genius.....whish he does something new..and I\'m hoping that VSL is \"new AO\" .. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    One thing I noticed is that unlike most AO is cruel, very very cruel..if you don\'t know how to orchestrate it will spit at you and sound terrible. But if the piece is properly orchestrated it will sound nice.

    Yes its old, yes it has some major flaws..but if you\'re starting you can do a lot with it.. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]


  7. #7

    Re: Quality of AO strings?

    I think I remember reading that the strings were all close mic\'d when recorded. Perhaps try different reverb settings such as lowering the dry signal to give them a slightly distant sound.

    Also, you could try the trick used in GOS; subtract around 6db of EQ to 1350k and 2900k respectively for a \"Hollywood\" sound. I haven\'t tried this in AO but a string is a string is a string. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Cheers, Scott.

  8. #8

    Re: Quality of AO strings?

    scott, that sounds about right for the hiss. Ah the marvels of eq. Thanks for that tip.
    lee- I agree I do like the detaches (hey!, how\'d you make an accent egoo?)


  9. #9

    Re: Quality of AO strings?

    Hi everyone,
    yeah, I got to do a lot about tweaking the reverb and experimenting with the EQ but at the moment I\'m in the \"composing-state\" and not at the \"mixing-state\". I think my main problem with the AO strings is that I cannot \"fit\" the notes together right. It sounds like

    Note 1 plays, Note 1 stops, Note 2 play, Note 2 stops and so on...

    It\'s not like a line played by a violin player but a collection of cheap synth-samples. If I use the normal sus samples the notes don\'t blend into another right and if I use the legato samples it sounds like a synth...
    Even tried to start with a normal sample note and then switch to legato but that didn\'t help much either. I tried to use the expression controler but am not happy with the result...
    My guess is I\'m using the expression pedal the wrong way or I have to change the programming of the samples to make them fit together better...
    That\'s why I suggested a cubase/midi file. It\'s that black art of making the plain notes (like on a sheet of paper) sound real that I\'m having problems with...


  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Dorset, UK

    Re: Quality of AO strings?

    Try using the XFaded dynamics patches (the XFade needs setting up. -not done as supplied) and then using MW instead of CC11 to control expression. (If you\'re unsure how to set this up just ask here) Also, for legato you need to experiment with overlapping notes a little and perhaps altering the attacks.

    AO strings are underated IMO. (also need less EQ than GOS)


    BTW don\'t go anywhere near the solo strings. There\'s NOTHING you can do about those

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