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CS2 <> Hollywood Strings

shawnsingh

Active Member
CS2 makes HS sound thin. They blend nicely together though.
Heard this type of opinion a lot, personally I disagree. But I want to hear more about this perspective - can you (and everyone) please elaborate what feels "thin" or what doesn't sound good in EWHS?

For example, EWHS is just wet enough (compared to dry libraries like VSL) that it doesn't really require special mixing to position the instruments. So I guess that stereo image is not what makes it feel thin for people, right?

But if it's just a matter of EQ and reverb tastes, it's easy enough to tweak EQ and add reverb as desired. Or is this where people disagree?

I think a lot of these libraries have pleasing stereo imaging and can be mixed to a desired timbre. So considering all this, the main differentiating factors in a strings library boil down to what's baked into the samples: the quality and breadth of articulations, the quality of editing and scripting, the performance nuances in the samples, and the potential to get realistic, expressive performance for a wide range of emotions. That's where EWHS has done really well in my opinion. I don't have experience with CSS or CS2 to compare those aspects though.

Thoughts?
 

Mike Fox

Senior Member
Heard this type of opinion a lot, personally I disagree. But I want to hear more about this perspective - can you (and everyone) please elaborate what feels "thin" or what doesn't sound good in EWHS?

For example, EWHS is just wet enough (compared to dry libraries like VSL) that it doesn't really require special mixing to position the instruments. So I guess that stereo image is not what makes it feel thin for people, right?

But if it's just a matter of EQ and reverb tastes, it's easy enough to tweak EQ and add reverb as desired. Or is this where people disagree?

I think a lot of these libraries have pleasing stereo imaging and can be mixed to a desired timbre. So considering all this, the main differentiating factors in a strings library boil down to what's baked into the samples: the quality and breadth of articulations, the quality of editing and scripting, the performance nuances in the samples, and the potential to get realistic, expressive performance for a wide range of emotions. That's where EWHS has done really well in my opinion. I don't have experience with CSS or CS2 to compare those aspects though.

Thoughts?
Reverb doesn't have much to do with the conventional positioning of an orchestra (that's only partly true, reverb can be used to make an instrument seem further in the background or closer to the stage), but it's more about panning than reverb. The entire Hollywood series has already been properly panned for you, unlike the VSL stuff. HS sounds thin to me compared to other libraries like CSS and CS2. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and can actually be quite useful depending on the application. For example, I would much rather use HS over CS2 for an action sequence that requires fast spiccatos. Some strings are better suited for different applications. It's all relative, really. With that being said, i don't think HS sounds bad at all (to answer your question). It's a beautiful library that is very versitile.

Every string library is different. They each have their own character, voice, personality, etc. There isn't a be-all, end-all string library. Each one has their own strengths and weaknesses. It's up to the composer to decide what they want, like, and need most from a string library for any given situation. Personally, If HS was the only string library I had I would be content.
 

shawnsingh

Active Member
I can see how my statement accidentally sounded wrong, like I was suggesting reverb as a positioning/panning tool. But that's not what I meant at all. I was basically proposing that EQ and reverb are tools that can make EWHS sound as thick as any other library.

What do you feel are the technical properties if something sounding thin?

Here's an example of EWHS. Feels thick enough to me. I know it's not a natural room sound, it's the only example I have right now. but I'm fairly certain it's possible to mix a more natural sounding room and still make it feel thick.

 

Mike Fox

Senior Member
I can see how my statement accidentally sounded wrong, like I was suggesting reverb as a positioning/panning tool. But that's not what I meant at all. I was basically proposing that EQ and reverb are tools that can make EWHS sound as thick as any other library.

What do you feel are the technical properties if something sounding thin?

Here's an example of EWHS. Feels thick enough to me. I know it's not a natural room sound, it's the only example I have right now. but I'm fairly certain it's possible to mix a more natural sounding room and still make it feel thick.

I see. Yes, there are things you can do to thicken strings up (add eq, compression, layering, reverb, etc.), but I thought we were discussing the out of the box sound of these libraries? Also, keep in mind that one needs to be careful when it comes to processing already processed strings. In my experience, you really don't want to add too much of anything to them, otherwise you risk the possibility of your strings sounding synthetic. Personally, the only thing I add to my strings is reverb (and only when it calls for it).

"What do you feel are the technical properties if something sounding thin?"

There's a lot of ingredients we are talking about there, including...

- the room/hall that the strings were recorded in
- types of microphones used to record the strings
- string section size
- post processing

These are just some variables that can effect the overall tone of the library. Adjusting the eq on any given library will only take you so far, because there's only so much lipstick you can put on a pig. In other words, HS will NEVER naturally sound as thick and lush as CS2. The final product is what makes each string library unique. If you could make one string library sound like any other string library by just adding eq and reverb, then people wouldn't own several different string libraries.
 
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Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
.. just asked Alex about that dicsount code for CS2 .. couldnt help it.

fun fact: just saw that talking about Hollywood Strings here only senior members contribute .. I guess loving HWS comes with age?
It's a sign that older is wiser ;). Noobs tend to want the heavily stylized, loud, flashy libraries because of their marketing and youth.

I'm a paid composer, and most of the paid composers I know use HWS extensively. What Nick and co. did with that library remains more than relevant today, don't listen to anyone whom would tell you differently. I hope that helps.

If something is great, it's great regardless of age. Look at Mr. Ludwig Van...there's an unscalable high bar.
 
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Pietro

Senior Member
I don't have either of CSS but I also default legato stuff to HS Diamond. The sound is very flexible and I found that it works in 99% situations. The speed control (with velocity) of the transitions is very useful. And I enjoy using the "fake" con sordino. It actually sounds great.

And the whole library works in both intimate and epic context. Not the best shorts, but after some fiddling with the dynamics curve, they are not bad either.

I was worried with the studio sound at first. It's audible, especially on the main mics. Which is why I almost never use them. Close + mid does the trick for me. Maybe a bit of surround for basses. Add a bit of reverb for glue and it works.

- Piotr
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
Also, keep in mind that one needs to be careful when it comes to processing already processed strings. In my experience, you really don't want to add too much of anything to them, otherwise you risk the possibility of your strings sounding synthetic. Personally, the only thing I add to my strings is reverb (and only when it calls for it).
Great post, Mike. Let's take the Arks: I've been mixing them in with libraries like the Hein and SStW for weeks now, and what's been working for me is to use solely the close mics in the Arks. I take the room and body off of the Hein and knock the tree mics down in SStW, the outriggers way down or off (I rarely use the ambient mics unless it's SStW on its own in a composition). Finally, I slap some reverb on the bus (most often Spaces or Altiverb, though I've been having a ball experimenting with RC 48...plus, I have to give a shout out to Valhalla when applied sparingly).

I have to be careful when messing about with the predelay on the bus...sometimes that factor can be vitally important when aiming for a final mixdown, so please everyone keep that in mind and don't be afraid to start experimenting with that...like yesterday. Listen carefully.

So far the above approach has worked pretty damn good! Might work for others.
 
CS2:
+Really pleasing lush sound out the box.
+Easy to programme.
-Phasing can be a real issue if you adjust the mic mixes*.
-Quite noisy releases**.
Haven't tried HS.

*I'm still learning about using mic mixes - maybe there is a really easy work around if you know your stuff.
**It's never stopped me using them though - they still sound wonderful!
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
CS2:
+Really pleasing lush sound out the box.
+Easy to programme.
-Phasing can be a real issue if you adjust the mic mixes*.
-Quite noisy releases**.
Haven't tried HS.

*I'm still learning about using mic mixes - maybe there is a really easy work around if you know your stuff.
**It's never stopped me using them though - they still sound wonderful!
William, if you make a point of learning all you can about your library (and applying that knowledge) you are going to end up very happy with the results. Trust me on this, my friend.
 

novaburst

Senior Member
EWHS is the library that continually raises the question in my mind: "just how much more advanced has technology actually become for string libraries over the years?". Time and time again I default to Hollywood, and I have a ton of libraries.
The only developers that have a potential of a huge step in innovation are Audio Modeling and sample modeling, but as of now with a dated EWHS as a foundation developers seem to be stuck in a loop with only very small steps being made and no real advantage with what ever string library you own.
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
The only developers that have a potential of a huge step in innovation are Audio Modeling and sample modeling, but as of now with a dated EWHS as a foundation developers seem to be stuck in a loop with only very small steps being made and no real advantage with what ever string library you own.
I think this just hit it on the head. +1
 

MartinH.

Senior Member
Great post, Mike. Let's take the Arks: I've been mixing them in with libraries like the Hein and SStW for weeks now, and what's been working for me is to use solely the close mics in the Arks. I take the room and body off of the Hein and knock the tree mics down in SStW, the outriggers way down or off (I rarely use the ambient mics unless it's SStW on its own in a composition). Finally, I slap some reverb on the bus (most often Spaces or Altiverb, though I've been having a ball experimenting with RC 48...plus, I have to give a shout out to Valhalla when applied sparingly).

I have to be careful when messing about with the predelay on the bus...sometimes that factor can be vitally important when aiming for a final mixdown, so please everyone keep that in mind and don't be afraid to start experimenting with that...like yesterday. Listen carefully.

So far the above approach has worked pretty damn good! Might work for others.
Don't the Ark 1 close mics have relatively high amounts of noises and "quirks" in the samples that are less noticable in the tree mics? I went through a bunch of combinations of mics and external reverb and ultimately went back to the factory default of just close+tree. Do you have an audio example of how your setup sounds with just Ark 1 strings close mics playing?
 

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
Don't the Ark 1 close mics have relatively high amounts of noises and "quirks" in the samples that are less noticable in the tree mics? I went through a bunch of combinations of mics and external reverb and ultimately went back to the factory default of just close+tree. Do you have an audio example of how your setup sounds with just Ark 1 strings close mics playing?
Forgive me Martin, as I suck too bad to post examples. Yes, certain Ark 1 samples could be termed quirky and not exactly perfect. But that goes for any library imo, they all have idiosyncracies the composer has to get around.

All I can do is say that I've had success combining the libraries, and if a composing loser like myself can do it, anyone can.
 

5Lives

Senior Member
Do most folks that use HS have the diamond version or is gold sufficient? CS2 has mic mixing compared gold.
 

camelot

Member
I like to use the stage mic instead of the mix in CS2. They loose a bit of their lushness, but it makes them more agile. They also have a certain delay in the legato mode, so you have to shift the next note a little bit forward. This will remove alot of their sluggishness.
 
OP
borisb2

borisb2

Active Member
Do most folks that use HS have the diamond version or is gold sufficient? CS2 has mic mixing compared gold.
Mixing in the close mics with HS can create some extra biteness to the sound which is great to have
 
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