Anyone Else Think 8dio Adagio Violas Kick Ass?

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
Some lovely sounds in your rendition of the Adagio violas in particular. ***********
I think that we would both agree that the SF solo instrument manage this tradeoff much better (hardly surprising given that the SF library is both much newer and a dedicated solo library), but it does speak to a kind of affinity on this narrow point, even though 8dio and SF seem to me to otherwise have radically different approaches to sampling in general.
… and SF _ Alternative Solo Strings as well ?
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
… and SF _ Alternative Solo Strings as well ?
I don't have SF Alternative Solo Strings, and haven't yet looked at them carefully, so I can't really speak to it directly. It does seem like before the current trend of making instruments playable and, to deploy @ism's useful term, increasingly "plonkable," that the idea of the VI was more along the lines of analytical comprehensiveness for a library—more articulations, more variants, allowing the molding of performances through careful selection, even at the expense of often impenetrable complexity. The basic difficulty was and continues to be the joins (hence the obsession on legato) that creates a convincing performance in the nature of a set of splines. But there are all kinds of ways the joins can go wrong and legato only solves some of them (and legato is often not the right one, even if you have many different legatos to choose among). And it is immensely complex and time consuming crafting performances this way. So it's no surprise that recent instruments have taken to automating through scripting a lot of this work. This makes the current generation of instruments infinitely more playable and increasingly plonkable, but at the cost of the loss of control and access to some of the specificity allowed by the older model.

I should enter the caveat that I'm talking about tendencies here, not absolutes so I'm drawing a darker analytical line between the current libraries and older ones than actually exists, because the older libraries needed to be useable and appealing and current libraries need flexibility. But I do think they placed emphasis on different points in negotiating that tradeoff, and it's interesting thinking about why that emphasis changed, which I don't think only had to do with technological improvements (though those improvements were a precondition for the change).
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
I don't have SF Alternative Solo Strings, and haven't yet looked at them carefully, so I can't really speak to it directly. It does seem like before the current trend of making instruments playable and, to deploy @ism's useful term, increasingly "plonkable," that the idea of the VI was more along the lines of analytical comprehensiveness for a library—more articulations, more variants, allowing the molding of performances through careful selection, even at the expense of often impenetrable complexity. ***********
I should enter the caveat that I'm talking about tendencies here, not absolutes so I'm drawing a darker analytical line between the current libraries and older ones than actually exists, because the older libraries needed to be useable and appealing and current libraries need flexibility. *******
Thank-you. Expertise here goes well beyond personal level, yet helps make decisions on these library expenditures.
'Terrible' for ~$28. and questionably 'Plonkable' for $300. /$400. are not trivial choices. :notworthy:
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
At $28, I don't think the Adagio Violas are terrible. They are quite a good buy. In fact I don't think they are terrible at all, though it's perfectly possible to make them sound terrible in ways that is much harder to do with recent libraries. But they are a real challenge to use: out of tune notes, phasing issues, legatos that don't always work right, levels between patches not well matched, etc. Under the work flow for which this library was designed, many of those issues were not as much of a big deal, but working with current libraries, it makes those issues more of a problem, because we don't generally piece things together quite the same way. At least I don't unless I'm working with a choir or voice, libraries that, for whatever reason (well, because of the need to deal with the high variability of words), retain much more of that older work flow.
 

poetd

Active Member
Old pianos are full of character and a life that some think more modern pianos lack.
But ask any concert pianist if they'd rather play a 100 year old piano or a newer one, chances are they'll pick the newer one because it gives them greater CONTROL of the performance rather than being hemmed in by the sonic characteristics of an older instrument.

Doesn't mean that the old piano doesn't have it's uses when you need that specific sound though.

I guess it's the same with these older libraries. Less control in favour of a certain quirkiness when required like the delightful Sweet_Slur Legato for the Solo Viola and it's amazing A2-G2 legato that sounds like the Four Horsemen of the Viola Apocalypse.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
Old pianos are full of character and a life that some think more modern pianos lack.
But ask any concert pianist if they'd rather play a 100 year old piano or a newer one, chances are they'll pick the newer one because it gives them greater CONTROL of the performance rather than being hemmed in by the sonic characteristics of an older instrument.

Doesn't mean that the old piano doesn't have it's uses when you need that specific sound though.

I guess it's the same with these older libraries. Less control in favour of a certain quirkiness when required like the delightful Sweet_Slur Legato for the Solo Viola and it's amazing A2-G2 legato that sounds like the Four Horsemen of the Viola Apocalypse.
I think you often have more control with the older instruments because the new instruments have been optimized for other things. But I agree with you that I generally prefer to work with recent ones because they generally reduce complexity in useful ways that allows me to better exercise my control over them. But I find it's often harder to get around the limitations of the newer instruments because you are more at the mercy of the scripting.
 

poetd

Active Member
My thoughts on the library - nice characterful rich sounds, wonky as all heck in places - the elders will tell you tales about how it comes from a place in time where men were real men, composers were real composers and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
My thoughts on the library - nice characterful rich sounds, wonky as all heck in places - the elders will tell you tales about how it comes from a place in time where men were real men, composers were real composers and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

 
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ism

Senior Member
Thank-you. Expertise here goes well beyond personal level, yet helps make decisions on these library expenditures.
'Terrible' for ~$28. and questionably 'Plonkable' for $300. /$400. are not trivial choices. :notworthy:

So just to be really, really, clear - I never call this a terrible library. There's a lot that I really love about it.

I did say that it's a terrible *first* library. Because as amazing as the demos sound, this library original cost something like two or three thousand dollars, and there was never any need to make any concessions to beginners. And all the wonkiness you have to contend with in the violas along increases exponentially with you have to simultaneously deal with the enormous inconsistencies across the Adagio sections as well as within them. I bitterly regret buying this as a first library. But I'm actually very happy to have it now that I don't need to rely on it as a primary library.

And I also said that I don't know how to make the solo viola sound not terrible. And unfortunately this remains true - I especially don't know how to get it to blend with anything, I think because of the intonation issues. I look forward to hearing a convincing use of this in anything more that a demo phrase.

Note that even at $28, were you to multiply it by 5 sections, then it's still about as expensive as Light and Sound Chamber strings - which would be an excellent first library.

But I doubt we'll see the cello an violin on this kind of sale - although maybe we might hope for $38 sales over the next couple of years. Which would make this as roughly as expensive as Spitfire studio strings - another excellent first library.


That said - for $28 dollars, worth it for the dynamics bowing alone. And lots more to love besides.
 
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ism

Senior Member
… and SF _ Alternative Solo Strings as well ?

I don't think I would put the alt-ss in the same category here. They're very lovely, but I would understand them more as a texture library. There's great depth in the way you can craft the sonority - which is I think what people mean when they talk about "vertical develop". It does have legatos, but they're very limited, I would never used them for anything exposed - unless you're writing in a very idiosyncratic style that aligns with the Andy Blaney demos (I don't write in that style and so have never found them useful, except in doubling and thickening, so we're back to "vertical development").

Maybe a way to think of them is something along the lines of "LCO first chairs" - so performability/ playability isn't such an important concept in such a library.


it allows the instrument to sound bad if you ask it to do something that is outside its sweet spot, but that seeming negative is actually just a consequence of the degree of choice that it allows. I think that we would both agree that the SF solo instrument manage this tradeoff much better (hardly surprising given that the SF library is both much newer and a dedicated solo library), but it does speak to a kind of affinity on this narrow point, even though 8dio and SF seem to me to otherwise have radically different approaches to sampling in general.


I'de broadly agree with this - except that the spitfire breaks when you move out of the stylistic sweet spot that arises from the design decisions. Wheres Adagio additional breaks because of poor implementation.

This means that you don't just have to worry about it breaking when you push the style of your performance too far in one direction or another. Whereas, especially with the solo viola, you additional have to worry that it will break if you deviate into play a note that's excessively out of tune, or an interval that's unusable phasey. Because getting good results also means using the dynamic arcs also, you're also very limited in the tempo at which a phrase will work. The natural legato really can sound wonderful - but it's basically a "fast legato dynamic arc", and can be unforgiving of deviations in tempo.

Wheres with spitfire solo strings if it works in C minor, it's probably going to work in C major, so you don't have the overhead of planning your melodies to avoid those kinds of black holes in the universe of possible viola lines.

Which is perhaps why I'm having such a terrible time figuring getting any practical sense of just what is the sweet spot of the solo viola.
 
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jbuhler

Senior Member
I did say that it's a terrible *first* library. Because as amazing as the demos sound, this library original cost soothing like two or three thousand dollars, and there was never any need to make any concessions to beginners.
I think this is right. It is not a good first library. It's probably not even a good second library. The dynamic bows have a niche, so if you are needing something to supplement or give additional functionality to the OACE waves, for instance, it is very good for that. And I think that's even true of the solo viola. All of the various arcs in the different parts of the library can be useful for the varying kinds of longs in such contexts as well. For $28, it has real value as a supplement in that way.

The legatos are more questionable in my opinion. While I'm reasonably happy with what I can craft from the library (both section and solo), it is very fussy, takes a relatively long time to program, and it's not apparent to me that the library excels in some aspect over other libraries that take much less work getting there. That is, its sweet spots are not comparatively distinctive, at least, I don't think so, but now that I've crafted a few phrases I'm reasonably happy with I will try them on my other libraries and see if I can, as I believe, get similar results in much less time.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
I'de broadly agree with this - except that the spitfire breaks when you move out of the stylistic sweet spot that arises from the design decisions. Wheres Adagio additional breaks because of poor implementation.
Yes, this is largely true, and it's why hitting up against the limitations of the SF instruments is not maddening the way this library can be, but I also wonder how much of what we see as poor implementation now is at root a product of that analytic, modular comprehensibility that was part of older instrument design that focused on providing a large inventory of possibilities. I mean, one thing that is very interesting about working for a spell using this library is how if feels like stepping back in time in terms of work flow and library functionality.
 
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ism

Senior Member
Here's another example with the ensemble legato, what I think refines my notion of where there's a real sweet spot in this library:


Again it's Spitfire flautanos on the Vc + Vl, with the sweet slur Va legato, much the same as the above, but a little less crude as a proof of concept. A few thoughts:

1. The dynamic bowings really add something.

Again, the sweet spot I imagine comes from when an Adagio section comes to the foreground for a particularly lyrical passage. And in this context, I really think the various dynamic arcs (that is, the legato keyswitches, not the separate patch) - in this example short bow, short bow 2, medium arc + heavy vibrato - really do something add something uniquely lovely, if used carefully.

2. You need to have space in the mix to hear the dynamic arcs.

I'm pleased with how it mixes with the softer spitfire flautandos. But it's not just that you need space in the mix in order for the expressive nuances of the dyanamic arcs to be even audible. It's that if you're using all the Adagio sections, the hollywood intensity of all 4 Adagio sections risks overwhelming the detailed nuances of the dynamic arcs, and I tend to feel that it's hard to get much audible benefit from them - in such cases I'd probably go with CSS or some such in that an extra dynamic layer and better quality cross fade would, in practice, probably give you better results than the beautiful, yet in practice, all but imperceptible details of the Adagio arcs.


But as a lyrical foreground on a more subtle background, I'm starting to feel this is a real sweet spot where the Adagio concept really benefits the kind of music I want to write.

(Not saying there's aren't other sweet spots of course, just that this is one that that might suit my own style).


3. Unexpectedly good performability.

There's an example here that might help refine the notion of "performability".

And the key concept here is that the melody here comes from improvising a performance with the arc key switches in real time. For instance the first 4 notes use short bowing. Then as we get more intense move to the medium arc and the heavy vibrato.

And there a real sense in which my ability to improvise such a melody depends on the ability explore the different expressive senses I get from the different arcs. I'm not sure that I think the Loure or the "2 bows exp" are terribly useful. Or that the difference between "short bow 1" and "short bow 2" are consciously audible in context. But in general, you can a very nice short bow effect, and the ability to intensify from Xfade -> medium arc -> and heavy vibrato.

And with a bit of practice, this a real "performability" here that might contribute to actually composition and improvisation, as opposed to just some nice nuances you can slap on afterwards.

4. Other legatos ... as keyswitches?

To get this performability, I'm focusing on using a single legato patch. But in general, I think tweaking the legato type on a second or third pass is perfectly ok. Or at least, I think that focusing on performing with the arc keyswitches adds more to the performability - or the compositionally significant part of the performability - that simply selecting the legatos.

It's such a pity 8dio abandoned this library for the expressively much inferior Anthology. Even by the time they made Adagio, they had much a more practical approach to the legatos worked out.




5. This also explains why Anthology is so disappointing.


I especially dislike the solo legatos in Anthology - and I think this is down to the abandonment of the dynamic arcs, and indeed the central philosophy of the library (if you believe the marketing).

but I also wonder how much of what we see as poor implementation now is at root a product of that analytic, modular comprehensibility that was part of older instrument design that focused on providing a large inventory of possibilities.
I think there's some of this. But wonder if it isn't predominantly just the industry gaining experience in what actually works.

My sense with Anthology is that it responded to some perception that market had spoken and the CSS model was the winner. All the marketing copy about "this is what we wanted all along" was clearly grotesque marketing happy talk. But it also basically announced the abandoning of the whole Adagio concept - or what the marketing had previously claimed was the whole concept, if you happen to be someone who believes 8dio marketing.

So echoing what I said above, I have this sense that the 4 dynamic layers and much smoother crossfade and legato of CSS (and probably also the SSS/SCS performance patches) had become good enough to let you craft the phrase well enough that in most practical cases the additional expressive benefits of the Adagio approach was mostly inaudible. And certain the CSS approach to rebowing is far superior to the fiddly and frustrating Loure approach.

So while CSS delivers superb plonkabilty, it's in some sense also a legitimate side effect of genuinely better performability. And a better understanding of what's actually most important , in practice.

And Century strings confirms that the Adagio approach has been largely abandoned (excepting the separate dynamic arc patches, ).

Which is great pity, as there remains something in the heart of the Adagio approach that I really think is exceptionally lovely.

Still, the "Adagio philosophy" lives on in various places - most obviously in solo string libraries like the Bohemian and Emotional Violin.

But also in the innovations of Light and Sound Chamber strings dynamic arcs. Which are eminently playable and hopefully a proof of concept that it's absolutely possible to execute dynamic arcs both beautiful and practically which I hope the rest of the industry is taking note of (ahem - @Spitfire Team , how about integrating those Olafur waves into SCS more deeply? Because that would be amazing.)
 
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sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
OK. Was trying to be careful using marks around 'terrible' so as not to infer direct quote.
But c'mon …. almost everything posted is clearly critical. I have no judgements about any of that and remain comfortable with $28. spent, to use and learn.
Anthology is also battered, and perhaps a better choice may have been L&S Chamber Strings … which has also seen conflicting comment.
Are KH Diamond Chamber Strings waaay deficient versus L&S ?

Still likely pick up Adagio Cellos and Basses if they are promo'd.

Sorry for late edit. Did not want to sound sarcastic. Just having fun while trying seriously to build more affordable lib content. :blush:
 
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jbuhler

Senior Member
OK. Was trying to be careful using marks around 'terrible' so as not to infer direct quote.
But c'mon …. almost everything posted is clearly critical. I have no judgements about any of that and remain comfortable with $28. spent, to use and learn.
Anthology is also battered, and perhaps a better choice may have been L&S Chamber Strings … which has also seen conflicting comment.
Still likely pick up Adagio Cellos and Basses if they are promo'd. Will then have a plethora of mediocre Strings libs NI_Symphony Essentials, KH_ Diamond Symphony /Virtuoso Ensembles /Spotlight Solo Strings, 8DIO x,y,z _ to wallow in with ignorant glee. :roflmao:
The "problem" is that none of the libraries is perfect, and they each choose to optimize certain things. Nearly every library that is released these days does something well, usually multiple things. Yet the marketing for almost every library also overpromises. Everyone's needs are different and so trying to figure out if a particular library is going to be a useful addition can be difficult. The libraries also differ quite a lot in terms of complexity. Adagio is a very complex library in that it requires knowing how to do a lot of things in order to get it to sound decent. And comparatively it takes a long time to program it. I think that's why @ism says it is not a good first library. Yet, even this library has items, such as the dynamic bows, that would be useful to someone starting out—they are in fact very plonkable—assuming you want to write music that does those sorts of things.
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
No worries, but



I don’t see this at all ... sure people are noting it’s flaws, but mostly this thread is about the brilliance that can be found in the library.
My bad grammer … not referring to Thread overall but recent detailed, technical posts.
The limited, and specific, strengths mentioned are noted.
 
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Ihnoc

Active Member
5. This also explains why Anthology is so disappointing.
...
I especially dislike the solo legatos in Anthology - and I think this is down to the abandonment of the dynamic arcs, and indeed the central philosophy of the library (if you believe the marketing).
...
Do you have some comparisons of the same lines between the Adagio/Agitato instruments and the Anthology ones? I'm personally more interested in the ensembles than the solo or divisi instruments, but I can't find like for like comparisons for either.

I personally feel that, for what I want it for, buying into Anthology is going to be simpler to integrate with Cinematic Studio Strings and my workflow than Adagio will be (as you suggest). Having said that, there's a few patches and articulations in the Adagio Violas that I might go the other way, depending on the comparisons in sound.