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Help me out with ewql Hollywood orchestra

ZtlaMusic

New Member
So, I ordered the composercloud bundle some time ago and the whole point of getting it was to rework and polish (with the added possibilities of the ewql libraries) orchestration for a symphonic metal track that I have finished except for the vocal recordings. The track's current orchestration consists of free/quite cheap plugins that do not sound awful but not really realistic either.

However I'm struggling with some things when I try to achieve similar results with the Hollywood libraries. This is probably due to me being inexperienced but perhaps you guys can point me to the right direction. The problems I've encountered so far are string-related.

1. The staccato patches don't have a tight enough attack or if they kinda do they sound thin and dry.
2. Legato patches don't seem to handle fast stuff very well and with some patches the first note is much louder than the ones following it.
3. I'm also a bit confused when it comes to controlling the dynamics and volume of the libraries.

The DAW I'm using is FL-studio (And I know it's not very optimal for real recording stuff :D)

I've attached the current version (with the cheap plugins) of the track if you need to hear what kind of sound I'm working with. The mix is not super polished yet but pretty good.

Good example of a song that has inspired me and has the kind of sound that would be ideal would be "The Poet and the Pendulum" by Nightwish.

So what patches would you recommend me using and what controls should I be aware of. Any special tricks?
 

Johnny

Senior Member
Just as one does not simply walk into Mordor: the legato transitions are
velocity sensitive on a bulk of the main legato patches, so they may take a bit of velocity tweaking to sit correctly in your composition. Also, the whole of the HW series in general requires that you use multiple patches to achieve realistic results for articulate writing, just make sure that you've allowed yourself room for a wide variety of articulations. Also be sure to pick the appropriate patch for the appropriate lines too? There is a short and fast legato slur patch that I use for slurred runs and ornamentation during fast legato passages, it usually does the trick when used in conjunction with multiple articulations.
 

Dominik Raab

Active Member
Johnny's tips are very helpful. A few additional ones:

The Hollywood instruments have been recorded in a room, not a hall. Be sure to either activate the built-in reverb the PLAY engine has and browse the IRs (rooms) or use an external reverb. EW's Spaces is awesome. ;)

If by "tight enough attack" you mean they're slightly behind the click, adjust your track's delay (in the DAW). Some of the patches have a bit of "air" at the beginning, but it's largely consistent within the same patch. In my template, almost all of the short articulations from Hollywood Strings have values between -5 and -20 ms so they trigger exactly with the click. Then again, a bit of randomisation adds to the "human" feel. Your mileage may vary.

If you mean they sound weak - I don't think you specified whether you've got Gold or Diamond. Diamond's "Close" mics make a huge difference when it comes to short articulations. I don't use Surround/Vintage and Mid (or Main, depending on what the standard in Gold is) very often, but I couldn't survive without the Close mics.

For Dynamics and Volume, be sure to read the manuals for the individual instruments. In Hollywood Strings, it depends on whether you've got a patch with vibrato control. If so, the mod wheel (CC1) controls vibrato and expression (CC11) controls volume. If not, both are controlled by the mod wheel simultaneously. Same thing for Woodwinds if you're using a vibrato control instrument. In Brass, it's always the mod wheel.

Off-topic: I'm going to have to listen to Poet and the Pendulum for three hours now. Thanks a lot for reminding me how awesome that song is. :P

Edit: I like your song. Great stuff.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
Hi Z,

It took me about two months to wrap my arms around Hollywood Strings; you sound like an ambitious person so you are bound to be picky -- take your time and the results are fab. If you are in a rush, you could start with the "_Quick Start HS" menu or, if you have a really powerful computer, the one just below it, the "_Template PRO"

To your specific questions:

1. The staccato patches don't have a tight enough attack or if they kinda do they sound thin and dry.

There are two sets of short patches, "Short Tight" and "Short Loose." Given your comment, you might choose the Tight ones. Even so, in order to get the attacks just where I want them, I go through my midi template and insert a midi offset for every single instrument so it lands right on the beat during playback / recording. I do this for every library -- Spitfire, 8dio, etc. and Hollywood Strings too, so this issue is not unique to HS. I don't know of another reliable way to put the notes where you want them.

2. Legato patches don't seem to handle fast stuff very well and with some patches the first note is much louder than the ones following it.

To address the mushiness of legato patches, substitute the patches that have an attack built in, either the "Marc Leg Slur" or "StacSl Leg Slur" patches. Personally, I prefer the ones without portamento, so either "1st Violins StacSl Leg Slur RR LT 6 Ni" or, for a more powerful computer, "1st Violins StacSl Leg Slur Ni."

These are combination patches, with an attack melded onto the legato patch. The attack part of the patch is velocity-sensitive, so you can regulate how prominent it is by how hard you hit the keyboard; if you play softly enough, you don't really hear it, but if you hit pretty hard and release quickly, you can even use these patches to play all your short notes.

At one point, for his demos, Thomas Bergersen (Two Steps from Hell and also one of the team that developed this library) used those patches exclusively for composing. Thomas not only produces dazzling demos, but he is one of the fastest composers out there.

These patches can be found under the four main folders that have "legato" in their names, the "Legato Slur + Port," the "Legato Bow Change," and their "Powerful System" cousins.

3. I'm also a bit confused when it comes to controlling the dynamics and volume of the libraries.

Dominick's post is good for addressing this. If you're not accustomed to it, it takes a bit of practice to master the modwheel and cc11 simultaneously while playing.
 

Christoph

New Member
Hi JohnG,

I know I'm two years late, but I have a similar problem and I am interested in your solution. I also use the Hollywood Orchestra and have issues with the different delays.
You wrote that you create a seperate track for each patch and adjust the offset for each in your midi template. That sounds like a fantastic solution. I am wondering if there are any problems with it.
Stays the delay the same when you change the tempo or the volume?
And what about the sustain notes at the start of a legato passage. I assume you'd have to move it manually. (But if that remains the only problem, I am happy to do so.)

Thank you in advance!

Hi Z,

It took me about two months to wrap my arms around Hollywood Strings; you sound like an ambitious person so you are bound to be picky -- take your time and the results are fab. If you are in a rush, you could start with the "_Quick Start HS" menu or, if you have a really powerful computer, the one just below it, the "_Template PRO"

To your specific questions:



There are two sets of short patches, "Short Tight" and "Short Loose." Given your comment, you might choose the Tight ones. Even so, in order to get the attacks just where I want them, I go through my midi template and insert a midi offset for every single instrument so it lands right on the beat during playback / recording. I do this for every library -- Spitfire, 8dio, etc. and Hollywood Strings too, so this issue is not unique to HS. I don't know of another reliable way to put the notes where you want them.



To address the mushiness of legato patches, substitute the patches that have an attack built in, either the "Marc Leg Slur" or "StacSl Leg Slur" patches. Personally, I prefer the ones without portamento, so either "1st Violins StacSl Leg Slur RR LT 6 Ni" or, for a more powerful computer, "1st Violins StacSl Leg Slur Ni."

These are combination patches, with an attack melded onto the legato patch. The attack part of the patch is velocity-sensitive, so you can regulate how prominent it is by how hard you hit the keyboard; if you play softly enough, you don't really hear it, but if you hit pretty hard and release quickly, you can even use these patches to play all your short notes.

At one point, for his demos, Thomas Bergersen (Two Steps from Hell and also one of the team that developed this library) used those patches exclusively for composing. Thomas not only produces dazzling demos, but he is one of the fastest composers out there.

These patches can be found under the four main folders that have "legato" in their names, the "Legato Slur + Port," the "Legato Bow Change," and their "Powerful System" cousins.



Dominick's post is good for addressing this. If you're not accustomed to it, it takes a bit of practice to master the modwheel and cc11 simultaneously while playing.
 

JohnG

Senior Member
You wrote that you create a seperate track for each patch and adjust the offset for each in your midi template. That sounds like a fantastic solution. I am wondering if there are any problems with it.

It takes a long time if you have 1,000 tracks
Stays the delay the same when you change the tempo or the volume?
There is something of a tradeoff with tempo -- you can make the offset a time thing or a fraction-of-a-beat thing but I'm not totally convinced which is better.

And what about the sustain notes at the start of a legato passage. I assume you'd have to move it manually. (But if that remains the only problem, I am happy to do so.)

You can use one of the HS combination patches so that there's a velocity-sensitive attack. That helps a lot and I'm pretty sure Thomas Bergersen posted that's what he does. I think they're a combination of marcato and legato or spiccato and legato -- I'm traveling so I can't look.
 

labornvain

Active Member
Wow. The poet and the Pendulum. That was dramatic. I'm glad I was wearing headphones. Lest I wake the Dragon.
 
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