Beethoven's 5th Symphony — MIDI Remake (Studio One 4)

deemarcus

New Member
Hey forum! Hope you are having a great quarantine time. Working at least :)

So i tried to recreate this piece i mentioned in title. Let me know your thoughts and of course, if you have any questions let me know.


This is the full version of first movement of 5th Simphony. Project is huge so sorry for glitches or articulation mistakes, it's very difficult to recreate every detail of it.

Most of libraries used are custom made.
Commercial Libraries used:
- Cinematic Strings 2
- Spitfire HZ Percussion (Timpani)
 

muziksculp

Senior Member
Hi @deemarcus,

Wow ! This is amazing...Wonderfully done. Bravo 👏👏👏👏👏

That must have taken a lot of hard work, and long time to get to this level of realism, and quality.

Q. Did you use additional custom libraries for the Strings ? or is it just Cinematic Strings 2 I hear in this demo ?

Thanks for sharing.
 
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deemarcus

New Member
Hi @deemarcus,

Wow ! This is amazing...Wonderfully done. Bravo 👏👏👏👏👏

That must have taken a lot of hard work, and long time to get to this level of realism, and quality.

Q. Did you use additional custom libraries for the Strings ? or is it just Cinematic Strings 2 I hear in this demo ?

Thanks for sharing.
I used additional string libraries, but i am sure you can achieve that sound with any decent string library out there, i use this one because i have fast workflow.
 

muziksculp

Senior Member
Hi @deemarcus,

Thanks for the feedback.

I'm curious to know what was the reason behind using custom made sample libraries, instead of the commercially available ones ? i.e. Quality, Flexibility, Advanced features not available in current commercial libraries, ..etc. ? and Are you using Kontakt for the custom libraries, or something else ?

Finally, my last question, how long did it take you to make this ?

Cheers,
Muziksculp
 

Franklin

Member
Deemarcus,

Great Job! Sounds very realistic. How much instruments can your Studio One template hold?
Read that there were problems with large templates in Studio One in the past.
 
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deemarcus

New Member
Hi @deemarcus,

Thanks for the feedback.

I'm curious to know what was the reason behind using custom made sample libraries, instead of the commercially available ones ? i.e. Quality, Flexibility, Advanced features not available in current commercial libraries, ..etc. ? and Are you using Kontakt for the custom libraries, or something else ?

Finally, my last question, how long did it take you to make this ?

Cheers,
Muziksculp
Only because i have ready template with them. But with any commercial library you can get this (css, spitfire,OT, etc).
About project time, don't take me as a reference, but i made it for 3 days. I am really able to sit for 12 hours a day or more to achieve something(that's not maybe the best in this case). The thing with remakes like this, you can't really hear the result till the end. That could be tricky thing when it comes to self- motivation.
 
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deemarcus

New Member
Deemarcus,

Great Job! Sounds very realistic. How much instruments can your Studio One template hold?
Read that there were problems with large templates in Studio One in the past.
Well I had bigger projects than this (over 150 tracks) and it handled really well. It's really more up to PC config (mine is 6 years old)
 

Buz

Member
Wonderful energy and timing!

I'm curious how you input everything. Do you have a lead part in mind for each section and play each other part against it? If an entry is a bit off do you immediately re-take or do you tend to just drag things together later?
 
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deemarcus

New Member
Wonderful energy and timing!

I'm curious how you input everything. Do you have a lead part in mind for each section and play each other part against it? If an entry is a bit off do you immediately re-take or do you tend to just drag things together later?
I tend to draw/record midi for everything first, part by part
 

re-peat

Senior Member
Because these are times when we should above all be friendly, nice and kind to one another, and also to compensate a bit for what follows, let me first transfer huge amounts of sympathy and positive sentiments to you, Deemarcus.

But the thing is, and there's no escaping it, as far as I'm concerned: I don’t think this mock-up is good. (And only a minor part of that comment is the result of my chronic allergy to, and deep-rooted loathing of mock-ups of classical pieces.) Previous posters have applauded the realism. I don’t hear any. I really don’t. They also commented enthusiastically on the sound. Me, I’m of the opinion the sound is actually really quite bad. So problematic in fact do I consider this mock-up that I don't even feel the necessity to apologise when pointing it out.

It’s the all too familiar, smeary and grainy mock-up sound that one always gets when using and combining ill-fitting libraries, when stacking samples on top of one another — a process that, if carried out even a little carelessly, only reinforces the samples’ many weaknesses —, when attempting to suggest/fake articulations and playing styles that your libraries don’t offer, when failing to observe the logical and/or written dynamics of the music, and when unable to maintain spatial consistency for all the sections of your virtual orchestra. Some of these problems can be solved (up to a point anyway), others less so.
(Only to say: I don’t believe that a musically and technically satisfying mock-up of Beethoven is possible with today’s tools. Maybe in 10 years time, I don't know, but certainly not today.)

Cinematic Strings 2 is a library that has many good uses, but summoning up the classical sound (I mean 'classical' as in 'pre-romantic') is not one of them, in my opinion. And trying to, as you do here, does not only do the music a debilitating and irrepairable disservice, it also makes your library appear actually a lot worse than it is. (As wrongly-chosen tools always appear to be a lot worse than they are.)

Unfortunately, the library is not alone in being unable to evoke the classical sounds and textures, making it quite difficult to suggest a much better alternative. I’m convinced though you’d get more pleasing results if you’d work with a smaller strings orchestra, or at least a strings library that doesn’t have that sticky, sandpapery, wall-to-wall-carpet-like sound which is so common to almost all current strings libraries but so alien to the classical sound of the 18th and early 19th century. (Ideally you should get one that offers divisi desks, because you really need that in this music.)

As for the other, non-strings libraries you used: most of them are often barely audible or all but washed away in the mix, so I can’t comment on them other than saying that I didn’t hear anything which I felt sounded right for the music. (I’d even pick a different timpani library.)

Which brings me to another major problem of this rendition: there are several parts of the music that are either missing or inaudible. (And some of what is audible is very poorly defined, probably because rendering the required definition is not the library’s strong point.)

And it often sounds like you gave the bulk of your attention and energy to the strings and then laboured with whatever stamina you had left on the remainder of the orchestra. (Understandable, I suppose, given the draining amount of work that a mock-up of this size and scale must have demanded, but still … this music — among the best ever written — deserves a lot better. I hope you agree.)
The woodwinds, especially, seem determined to maintain if not unsocial, then certainly unmusical distancing throughout the entire movement. (And even then, there’s no consistency in the approach, because, during these 7 minutes, the winds appear to be seated all over the place, on occasion even outside the hall.)

As for the performance: I have plenty to say about that as well and most of what I have to say would only express various levels of disagreement with several of your choices regarding accents, dynamics, phrasings, balancing and tempi — what you have here, in my opinion, is what I would call an obese performance —, so perhaps it’s wiser not to go into into all that. Some of it is personal preference anyway. There are, after all, as many different versions of this symphony as there are conductors who have performed it.

So, in closing, I can’t join the previous posters in their enthusiam for this work. Quite the opposite, in fact. But that is just my strictly personal, one-insignificant-man’s opinion, and as such, quite easy to disregard completely, I should think.

_
 
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deemarcus

New Member
Because these are times when we should above all be friendly, nice and kind to one another, and also to compensate a bit for what follows, let me first transfer huge amounts of sympathy and positive sentiments to you, Deemarcus.

But the thing is, and there's no escaping it, as far as I'm concerned: I don’t think this mock-up is good. (And only a minor part of that comment is the result of my chronic allergy to, and deep-rooted loathing of mock-ups of classical pieces.) Previous posters have applauded the realism. I don’t hear any. I really don’t. They also commented enthusiastically on the sound. Me, I’m of the opinion the sound is actually really quite bad. So problematic in fact do I consider this mock-up that I don't even feel the necessity to apologise when pointing it out.

It’s the all too familiar, smeary and grainy mock-up sound that one always gets when using and combining ill-fitting libraries, when stacking samples on top of one another — a process that, if carried out even a little carelessly, only reinforces the samples’ many weaknesses —, when attempting to suggest/fake articulations and playing styles that your libraries don’t offer, when failing to observe the logical and/or written dynamics of the music, and when unable to maintain spatial consistency for all the sections of your virtual orchestra. Some of these problems can be solved (up to a point anyway), others less so.
(Only to say: I don’t believe that a musically and technically satisfying mock-up of Beethoven is possible with today’s tools. Maybe in 10 years time, I don't know, but certainly not today.)

Cinematic Strings 2 is a library that has many good uses, but summoning up the classical sound (I mean 'classical' as in 'pre-romantic') is not one of them, in my opinion. And trying to, as you do here, does not only do the music a debilitating and irrepairable disservice, it also makes your library appear actually a lot worse than it is. (As wrongly-chosen tools always appear to be a lot worse than they are.)

Unfortunately, the library is not alone in being unable to evoke the classical sounds and textures, making it quite difficult to suggest a much better alternative. I’m convinced though you’d get more pleasing results if you’d work with a smaller strings orchestra, or at least a strings library that doesn’t have that sticky, sandpapery, wall-to-wall-carpet-like sound which is so common to almost all current strings libraries but so alien to the classical sound of the 18th and early 19th century. (Ideally you should get one that offers divisi desks, because you really need that in this music.)

As for the other, non-strings libraries you used: most of them are often barely audible or all but washed away in the mix, so I can’t comment on them other than saying that I didn’t hear anything which I felt sounded right for the music. (I’d even pick a different timpani library.)

Which brings me to another major problem of this rendition: there are several parts of the music that are either missing or inaudible. (And some of what is audible is very poorly defined, probably because rendering the required definition is not the library’s strong point.)

And it often sounds like you gave the bulk of your attention and energy to the strings and then laboured with whatever stamina you had left on the remainder of the orchestra. (Understandable, I suppose, given the draining amount of work that a mock-up of this size and scale must have demanded, but still … this music — among the best ever written — deserves a lot better. I hope you agree.)
The woodwinds, especially, seem determined to maintain if not unsocial, then certainly unmusical distancing throughout the entire movement. (And even then, there’s no consistency in the approach, because, during these 7 minutes, the winds appear to be seated all over the place, on occasion even outside the hall.)

As for the performance: I have plenty to say about that as well and most of what I have to say would only express various levels of disagreement with several of your choices regarding accents, dynamics, phrasings, balancing and tempi — what you have here, in my opinion, is what I would call an obese performance —, so perhaps it’s wiser not to go into into all that. Some of it is personal preference anyway. There are, after all, as many different versions of this symphony as there are conductors who have performed it.

So, in closing, I can’t join the previous posters in their enthusiam for this work. Quite the opposite, in fact. But that is just my strictly personal, one-insignificant-man’s opinion, and as such, quite easy to disregard completely, I should think.

_
Thanks for your comment! Hoping you will also listen next remakes of classic orchestra that I am doing right now :)
 

josejherring

Senior Member
... But that is just my strictly personal, one-insignificant-man’s opinion, and as such, quite easy to disregard completely, I should think.

_
Don't get soft on us in your old age. Your opinion is just as valid as any other and I mean it when I say with all sincerity, nobody is insignificant.

Curious about your observations though, I too didn't like the woodwinds much in this and it went beyond the wrong octave of the clarinet part. I pretty much just put it in the category of somebody trying to mock up a piece that has been performed by master musicians so it's hard to not make the comparison to previous high caliber performances. But overall I applaud the effort and some of it does come off quite nice.
One thing that I do admire about your mock ups is that things are really well defined. Perhaps too defined for my taste as it gives off the 1970's studio vibe which I'm not too much of a fan of. But, I notice a lot of things now that the current pandemic scare has me parked in front of my computer all day. One is that I tend to suffer a little from my samples wandering all over the stereo field, then on full orchestral tuttis everything collapses to the middle. While some of that is even natural to a live orchestra performing in hall with refraction and reflection, I'm trying to minimize it for now and create a more focus sound.

Using separate reverbs for sections has helped a lot rather than the one hall reverb but it hasn't solved it perhaps made it a little more obvious because it's cleared up a lot of the reverb clutter.

One thing that would be helpful in any critique is that once problems are mentioned some solution is put forth to actually help the poster with the perceived problem. Curious to find out what methods you employ to help locate woodwinds in a larger orchestral context? I did notice that you are a big user of SPAT, but beyond that do you prefer close mic'd samples that can be placed over woodwinds recorded seated in a hall?

For wet samples, I've tried powerpanning in VEPro to narrow the stereo field, precedent effect, ect...nothing is too satisfying as power panning just seems to narrow the stereo field beyond what is audibly appealing while still having the occasional sample jump to the other side, and the precedent effect being psycho acoustic in nature will only fool people for a short period. Extending the technique to larger sections like strings turns out to be more problematic as they tend to lose the width that I like.

Regarding SPAT could one put an entire section through SPAT to locate the entire section stage center?
 

Jon W

Member
...
Unfortunately, the library is not alone in being unable to evoke the classical sounds and textures, making it quite difficult to suggest a much better alternative. I’m convinced though you’d get more pleasing results if you’d work with a smaller strings orchestra, or at least a strings library that doesn’t have that sticky, sandpapery, wall-to-wall-carpet-like sound which is so common to almost all current strings libraries but so alien to the classical sound of the 18th and early 19th century. (Ideally you should get one that offers divisi desks, because you really need that in this music.)
...
Thank you for your post. Not that I wish to hijack this thread, but I would very much like to hear which string library, or string libraries, you would recommend.

I am also curious about your opinion of Spitfire's Albion Tundra.
 

re-peat

Senior Member
One thing that would be helpful in any critique is that once problems are mentioned some solution is put forth to actually help the poster with the perceived problem.
I totally agree, José, but unfortunately, mocking up the classics, and particularly anything pre-romantic, creates a whole set of problems for which there is, in my opinion, simply no solution. (Ever heard a good Beethoven or Mozart mock-up? I haven’t.) Hence my inability to offer constructive suggestions. I would love nothing better than to be able to point the opening poster, or anyone else who’s interested, to library X or Y knowing, from experience, these products to be the right tools for the job, but as I said before: such libraries don’t exist. Nearly all orchestral libraries today are developed, from the first sampling session to the final script edit, with a ‘music for media’ purpose in mind, for perfectly understandable reasons of course. Developers think in terms of ‘cinematic’, ‘soaring’, ‘emotional’, ‘nordic’, ‘fit for trailers’, etc. and they assume, perhaps wisely, that we all want (or need) to sound like Williams, Zimmer, Newton-Howard, Richter, Jóhannsson or Newman. None of them assumes that some of us might want to sound, occasionally, like Concentus Musicus Wien, or the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, or Le Concert Des Nations, or The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, or the Freiburger, or Gli Incogniti or any other dedicated ensemble or bona fide ‘classic’ orchestra.

There is to my knowledge no developer, and there’s certainly no product that suggests there might be one, who, while planning an orchestral library, is thinking: “we’ve got to make sure that this is going to be great and sound right to do Haydn, Schubert and Stamitz with”, or: “let’s do an orchestral library that’ll bring people a few steps closer to being able to make musically convincing, historically informed and timbrally defensible renditions of Mozart and Beethoven” …

In order to do classical music — from, say, Monteverdi right up to the present day — a minimum amount of justice, it would require very specialized libraries (and very different ones for each century) that no developer is interested (and/or would be allowed by his/her accountant) to produce. And it isn’t just a matter of sound — although that already disqualifies most existing libraries right from the start — it’s every bit as much a matter of idiomatic articulations, phrasing and overal musical perspective and insight.

- - -

The reason I didn’t have any suggestions for improvement to offer with regard to the production of the above mock-up is that, to my ears, there is no consistency in the problems it is struggling with. In some bars, the strings may actually sound quite decent, in other bars they sound totally wrong and out of their depth. At times the woodwinds may seem to fit, at other times they appear to belong to a different recording entirely … From one bar to the next, different problems rear their distracting little heads and all of them together simply can’t be reduced down to a clear, convenient list that includes a suggestion for improvement next to each identified issue.

Some issues have to do with wrong articulations (sampled or programmed), other issues are the result of the libraries’ limitations, still others are the inevitable side-effect of ‘mocking up and orchestra’, others still are space-related, and then there’s also a few issues that are much more difficult to analyze because due to the sonic clutter it is near impossible to determine where the problem begins and where it ends …

- - -

Re SPAT: I use it many different ways. In a piece I’m working on at the moment, for example, I have 4 different clarinet libraries — incl. the one you were involved with, José — which take care of the clarinet parts. They’re all sent to a bus where SPAT is inserted, and they come out sounding as a single instrument consistently located in one specific place in the mix. At other times I might send a prominent solo instrument through SPAT, or suggest extra depth in a string section by placing a selection of desks a little further back … The options are limitless and my answer to any imagineable question that is spatialization-related and inquires about something being possible with SPAT or not, is: yes.

- - -

I have a question too. For the opening poster and people with similar inclinations. What’s the fascination? I mean, why would one want to mock-up a classical piece? I never understood that. I have never understood what creative satisfaction can be derived from producing musically wrong, artistically inferior and sonically crippled versions of a classical piece of music. Surely, the music itself can’t be the reason. (I would think that the music itself provides all the reasons NOT to do it.)

People usually answer that it’s very eductional, as in: you learn a lot about your libraries when you mock-up classical pieces. That may be true up to a point (although I fail to see what there is to be learned from forcing your samples onto music for which they weren’t created to begin with) and also, if self-eduction is the main drive behind these efforts, then why do entire movements or even entire works? I don’t get that. Why not just do a minute or two, and give those two minutes all your focus, attention and commitment? If, for example, you had just done, say, the exposition of this movement, and truly made the effort to take things as far as your tools allow you to go, doing your utmost to sculpt everything as musically correct as possible, wouldn’t that have been a much more satisfying and educational excercise than doing the entire thing in a sort of slapdash, inconsistent and “there’s just too many problems here to address them all”-kind of way?

- - -

Jon W, I hope the first section of the above text answers your question too. In addition, I must say that I’m very reluctant to recommend libraries (strings or others), because any choice is, in my opinion, always determined by the music that needs to be rendered. That said, Sable (the ancestor of Spitfire Chamber Strings) is as close to a constant presence in my mock-orchestral music as any library ever got, as are the Spitfire Bespoke Chamber Strings. Next to those, it’s a merry and chaotic coming and going of libraries like Afflatus, the Berlins (the 2 Expansions and the strings from Ark 4), other Spitfire stuff, a small selection of Century Strings patches, LASS, the old Sonic implants, Light & Sound, CSS, and several others, …

As for Tundra: I don’t have that library but judging from what I heard in the walkthrough and various demos, and even just going by its name, I don’t think it is something I would reach for should I ever decline to a mental state that has me thinking that doing a classical mock-up might be a sensible way to spend the day. (Tundra sounds nothing short of amazing for a particular type of musical stylings though. If I had any musical affinity with those stylings, I’m sure I would have bought the library on the day it got released.)

_