Hi to everyone. It has been a while I' ve been away from these pages, I hope you are all fine.
I noticed the "annual string thread" and wanted to share something actually relevant to that discussion with you. I trust your "well tempered ears" and your experience/expertise.
Somewhere inside Cakewalk Dimension Pro there are some little treasures that lie completely hidden to the user. Most of the sounds are really more than satisfying... but the programming is strangely way too basic... and some other times ...there is no programming at all. Inside the samples' folders, in this case the one concerning strings, lies a full set of useful samples: the 5 sections, a two-layers "espressivo" set per section, a 4-layers "legato up & down" set per section plus some other bits and fx. Sounds are really nice, very warm and powerful, rather dry. In particular, I like very much the vibrato on the violins and the whole cellos character.
Incredibly enough, no RR patch is available in Dimension Pro for these, and not even all samples are used in the available programs.
Armed with a bit of patience and some python scripting, I patched the open format samples into programs for Aria. I wanted to completely integrate these with GPO, not just import them like sfz add-ons, with no access to Aria own features (eq and reverb).
At first, I aimed at creating a full program per section including the 4 layers alternating up and down sets (round robin style), but the large patches would not run smoothly so I decided to import just the two top layers, that play in alternation "RR style", and "carved" the sound in a way similar to the one GPO is programmed.
The idea was to start with the top layers, which have a very aggressive attack and powerful sound, and work with sample offsets, attack curves, filter and eq to emulate the lower velocity layers. Plus, I tweaked GPO's own legato features and adapted it to these programs and added/changed a few controls to the interface.
Basically I kept the "lenght" (release) knob, deleted var1 and 2 (no need for them now that there are RR patches), added an attack knob, useful for emulating particular playing styles, and a legato offset knob to fine-tune the legato feature that, like old style GPO, gets activated with cc64 (pedal down).
I am still fighting with the portamento feature and in particular with the filter settings. Filter doesn' t seem to respond... I try with the official sfz directives....any Plogue guy around willing to give some advise?
That's the "new" interface:
By the way, here's how they sound.
This is Dvorak final movement from the strings serenade(op22). It is a standard midi file, pretty raw, the patches are completely DRY. This was to test the alternating articulation on a quick, aggressive playing style. Fast attack, especially when coupled with quick release, make for a rather convincing staccato articulation without having to change program/keyswitch to a dedicated articulation. This would sound better with proper reverberation (and proper tweaking), of course.
Always Dvorak, always the serenade for strings but now the 2nd movement, the waltz, to test the legatos. This composition has very nice, flowing, legato phrases executed across the strings. Aria doesn't have to cross any string, but still has to play legato. This is slightly reverberated but still pretty raw.
The two previous renderings are directly out of Score Writer (Overture's little brother).
And this is how the strings sound together with GPO. First movement of Grieg's piano concerto op16. This is a bit more taken care of and better rendered, in Sonar. Instruments are all GPO except the piano.
So, was this a complete waste of time or was it worth to do?
I know there's a consistent number of Sonar's user, that also own Dimension Pro. If anyone is interested, I would be more than happy to send the patches. You' ve got to have the samples, I can only send the patches. If there's more of us involved, we can speed up the refining and the fine-tuning of the programs.