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Best Harp Library

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
I generally don't like the A/B mic in OT libraries. Iinm they are figure 8's so there's quite a bit of 'room'. The Tree mic's have less 'room', just right to my ears!

I generally don't either as a main mic, I used it in the SF example to fit it into the soupy air lyndhurst sound, but generally I work mic mixes in a certain way.

I'll start with a "main" mic, like the tree. Then if I want to add distance I blend it with the AB or surround. the key difference being AB if I want narrow stereo image, surround if I want wider stereo image.

a great example is using a bit of AB to add distance and lushness to strings while using a surround heavy mic mix on brass to give the brass width. similarly one might want to use more AB on woodwinds and percussion then a more even amount of SURR and AB with strings
 
What's your opinion on the best harp library? Thoughts?
All the usual suspects have beautiful pre-recorded glissandos and single notes, and fit easily in a mix.

The problem comes when you try to use them in solo, exposed contexts: As crucial as legato transitions are to realistic string and wind VIs, "pre-pluck buzz" noise is to the harp -- but to the best of my knowledge, no harp library includes these.

When a harpist plucks a string that is already vibrating from a previous note, there will inevitably be a momentary muting sound before the string is plucked, as the string briefly vibrate against the finger before it is stopped and re-plucked.

In a live harp performance with many repeated notes, the pre-pluck noises can be heard clearly. All current harp libraries sound unrealistic and sterile in comparison:


In another thread, Chocolate Audio claimed that their harp can in fact perform such pre-pluck buzz noises, but unfortunately I haven't heard any demo that demonstrates these settings:
that is part of our library for sure as far as I remember. Part of the release samples that are triggered when releasing a key (we chose to have a piano-like sustain experience, so the opposite of an harp) so if you retrigger that key you will hear before it the buzz of the string. This depends on user settings of course, but it's thought like that.
 
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ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
plot twist, berlin samples true dampening. meaning when you release the note, they've sampled the manual muting of the instrument.

Similar to how they did it with percussion(like timpani and triangle ect). so if you release the note right before playing it again - you'll actually get this muting sound.

"Release Damping
For both harps, different note lengths and damping sounds are recorded and triggered within the sustain patches depending on the timing of the key releases.
If you play very short notes you get the immediate damping of the string. If you however use the sustain pedal, the string rings out as long as you hold it."
 

WindcryMusic

Lemurite
No love for the Soundiron Elysium harp?
I do like the Elysium harp for certain things. But it doesn't really sound orchestral to me ... the few mic positions are all too close. I also don't love the fact that it is only sustains with no muting (there is a length setting but it basically applies a decay ramp to the sample, rather than actual muted strings). And the lack of a glissandi articulation means that the individual notes of performed glissandi have too much of an attack. And no samples of pedaled strings, no recorded tremolo, etc. ... most of Elysium's articulations are more sound effects than anything else.

For non-orchestral or sound design purposes I will very likely still turn to Elysium, but for orchestral settings I am ready to try something different.
 

constaneum

Senior Member
I'm so tempted with Berlin harps at 30% but ended up not getting it. Why ?? 40GB size for 2 harps. That's insane even though I really love the sound. I dont really do solo harp music so having the need for such library in decorative context might be a bit redundant I guess. I might consider cinesample's harp for equivalent quality with smaller library size. Wait for sales.
 

Lee Blaske

Senior Member
I have a LOT of harp libraries, and it sure is hard to identify a "best" one. They're all so different. Interestingly, if I'm in a hurry, I still often turn to the VSL Harp library. It reliably gets the job done, and it sits really well in a larger orchestral context. Some of the other multi-sampled libraries out there are too responsive to velocity. They can be very nice, beautiful libraries, but you can get a loud bright sound, or a soft, mellow sound, but nothing in-between and the inconsistency makes it difficult to play a convincing part.
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
I usually reccomend cineharp if you're not interested in spending the resources on such an in depth harp. It's my 2nd favorite harp library, and quite the opposite of berlin - it's extremely easy on resources.
 

axb312

Senior Member
I do like the Elysium harp for certain things. But it doesn't really sound orchestral to me ... the few mic positions are all too close. I also don't love the fact that it is only sustains with no muting (there is a length setting but it basically applies a decay ramp to the sample, rather than actual muted strings). And the lack of a glissandi articulation means that the individual notes of performed glissandi have too much of an attack. And no samples of pedaled strings, no recorded tremolo, etc. ... most of Elysium's articulations are more sound effects than anything else.

For non-orchestral or sound design purposes I will very likely still turn to Elysium, but for orchestral settings I am ready to try something different.
I agree with you, that the Elysium harp does not sound "orchestral" out of the box, but somehow cannot see the justification in putting up so much money for the Berlin Harp or the Cineharp, when the harp is rarely (if ever) at the forefront of a piece.

For roughly half the price of the Berlin Harp or Cineharp (when on sale), you get a finely detailed harp in Elysium, perfectly usable, great sounding and mold-able into any context using the close mic.
 

WindcryMusic

Lemurite
I agree with you, that the Elysium harp does not sound "orchestral" out of the box, but somehow cannot see the justification in putting up so much money for the Berlin Harp or the Cineharp, when the harp is rarely (if ever) at the forefront of a piece.

For roughly half the price of the Berlin Harp or Cineharp (when on sale), you get a finely detailed harp in Elysium, perfectly usable, great sounding and mold-able into any context using the close mic.
Harp is seldom at the forefront for most of my music as well, but I did use harp quite a bit in the last several episodes of “DarkenSpace”, and it was pretty important to the overall effect even when mixed to be part of the backdrop. I listen back to those cues now and wish that the harp had “blended” a little more … the sound of Elysium stuck out too much IMO. Maybe with a lot of audio massaging I could have forced it to blend better, but I didn’t have the time to spend on such nuances … there were too many minutes of score to generate in too short an amount of time, and with a day job mixed in there, too. So it seems worth it to me to have an orchestral harp that will give me the sound I want next time around, and without a lot of work.
 

GingerMaestro

Active Member
I have Spitfire Audio Harp, I bought in in a sale and it was a mistake, I really don’t like the sound. At moderate to high velocities it had a very hard attack to it which is not so great for me. Does anyone have chocolate audio Glissaindi Harp, I’m now intrigued about cinesamples offering, especially as they have a sale on at the moment.
 

constaneum

Senior Member
I have Spitfire Audio Harp, I bought in in a sale and it was a mistake, I really don’t like the sound. At moderate to high velocities it had a very hard attack to it which is not so great for me. Does anyone have chocolate audio Glissaindi Harp, I’m now intrigued about cinesamples offering, especially as they have a sale on at the moment.
Having both choc audio and cinesamples, I'll say cinesamples has better offer and sound wise. Choc audio doesn't offer recorded glissando and I found it a bit hard to use when I wanna do gliss. Sound wise I'll rate it 7/10. Cinesamples ill rate 8.5/10. Berlin I'll rate 9/10 but the size of that library...man, that's huge.
 

Casiquire

Senior Member
All the usual suspects have beautiful pre-recorded glissandos and single notes, and fit easily in a mix.

The problem comes when you try to use them in solo, exposed contexts: As crucial as legato transitions are to realistic string and wind VIs, "pre-pluck buzz" noise is to the harp -- but to the best of my knowledge, no harp library includes these.

When a harpist plucks a string that is already vibrating from a previous note, there will inevitably be a momentary muting sound before the string is plucked, as the string briefly vibrate against the finger before it is stopped and re-plucked.

In a live harp performance with many repeated notes, the pre-pluck noises can be heard clearly. All current harp libraries sound unrealistic and sterile in comparison:


In another thread, Chocolate Audio claimed that their harp can in fact perform such pre-pluck buzz noises, but unfortunately I haven't heard any demo that demonstrates these settings:
Pianoteq does have a bit of this buzz. I'd love it to be a little stronger or more controllable but it's better than zero!
 
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