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How to fix Berlin Brass

NoamL

Winter <3
Here is a short little piece for horns, using the sustain articulation in Berlin Brass. Please try and concentrate on all four horns.


Not a very good performance, right? The bottom horn is way too loud, and the others aren't really balanced either. It doesn't feel like four musicians listening to each other and playing together.

Now how about this:



Still not perfect, but a LOT closer. All four voices are audible throughout the dynamic range and it feels like they are moving together.

So what's the difference? ;)





Berlin Brass is a great idea for a library. However, being productive with it is challenging because there are 11 instruments to program (as opposed to usually 3 or 4 "instruments" when using ensemble-based brass libraries).

Let's consider the 4 horns. I want to be able to control all of them with one CC1 performance. That way, if I need to edit the performance, it can be done by editing one track instead of four.

Both the performances you just heard were created by drawing in the notes for the horns, and then drawing in one CC1 performance that controls all four horns at the same time.

As you heard, that did not give a very good result when using the library "out of the box." There are a couple of reasons. First, the library does not have rationalized dynamic layers.



The two pairs of horns recorded different dynamics, but the four layers still trigger at the same point on the modwheel. So one horn's mezzo forte is another's forte! This makes little sense.

The second issue is that these reported dynamics are simply not accurate for the fourth horn. This horn is much louder than the other three and its lower dynamics are also too aggressive. When playing harmonies, about half the time the 4th horn pokes out and unbalances the chord. No need to pile on too much criticism here as OT have surely been aware of this issue during development and since the library's release.

So I set out to 'rationalize' the horns. I estimated (by listening) what the right CC1 value was for each dynamic, for each horn. It also required using the Soft Low Layer button, and also the Niente button for Horn 4 - otherwise Horn 4 was just too loud!

Then I drew new dynamic curves in C.A.P.S.U.L.E. so that all the horns were rationalized on the same basis. That is, CC1=50 was mezzo-piano on all four horns:



The result is a far more controllable horn quartet that sounds like 4 musicians, but playing together and at the same level. The great majority of performance editing can be done on one track, and then when everything is sounding good, the CC1 region can be deployed onto the four horn tracks to do any last micro-adjustments of individual horns.

@OrchestralTools I know that the Berlin series has a philosophy against editing the samples too much, but I hope that Berlin Brass's next update will include this kind of rationalization. It could be optional, such as a "Dynamic Balance" button.

The trumpets are very well balanced, so they wouldn't need much (any?) adjustment. The low brass are ok - definitely better than the horns - but at low dynamics, the bass trombone is a bit too overpowering (it seems to be specific to some notes? Like the low G, G#, A at the bottom of the bass staff).

I would be happy to send the presets (.nka files) to @OrchestralTools and also to share them here on VI-C, if they grant their permission.
 
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JohnBMears

Senior Member
@NoamL Thank you SO much for this post. It is really really helpful to me. Being past the beginner phase but not to the advanced phase of learning how to sequence VIs, I spent many hours wondering why my strings sounded so bad. I am a 25 year brass player who majored in Trombone so when I moved to learning about programming brass (only having CineBrass & HWB) I thought my results were better, but I still believed that I couldn't get the exact sound I needed because I didn't have separate players. SO I decided to put half a house payment into Berlin Brass last year, and so far have found every one of your listed inconsistencies to be a big problem for my programming.

Along with the RAM usage, I haven't even built a full template using BB yet. I find the trombones to be what I use the most (bed chord writing). I still lean on HWB for Horns and CineBrass for Trumpets when I need power. Once I first saw BB didn't have super intense timbral dynamics, I was bummed, but then thought "Hey that may mean it will be more consistent with equivalent dynamics in part-writing". But it has required just as much work as before, only now it needs to be on a per-track basis with 11 different parts.

I'd be INCREDIBLY interested and grateful to glean more knowledge on how I can work your ideas into my setup. I am still green on CAPSULE- and I've followed your great work on the forums. I know you know what you're doing!!!

JOHN
 

wbacer

Senior Member
I love Berlin Brass but am also bothered by the many inconsistencies.
This is a great work around. I'm not as C.A.P.S.U.L.E literate as I'd like to be so any additional screen shots or info you could share on how you rationalized the values would be great. I have an idea on what you're doing but I'm not sure I could recreate this. I would love to learn how and use it in my work.
Thanks so much for sharing.
 
OP
NoamL

NoamL

Winter <3
Hi all,

Here’s a step by step, until/unless OT gives permission to share the preset files (I don't want to violate any EULA):



1. Load up the Sustain Immediate patches for each of the 4 horns.

2. For each horn, make sure "Soft Low Layer" is on (toggle is to the right)

3. For the fourth horn, also turn on “Niente." Leave it off for Horns 1, 2 and 3.



4. Click on the bottom left icon that looks like a chessboard to open up the editor. Make sure Dynamic Xfade is selected.



5. Use your mouse to see you can draw curves. Anytime you use your mouse the number in the top left says something like "#34 12" with two numbers, right? That means the 34th bar of the graph (from 1 to 127) has value 12, it’s "12 tall." The standard preset for CC1 (which you can recreate at any time by selecting Preset -> Linear Up) is for every number to be "itself tall" that is bar 34 is 34 tall, bar 62 is 62 tall, etc up to 127. We are going to change these values to distort at what point on the modwheel each dynamic occurs for each horn.



6. Make everything zero! Just erase the graph.



7. Being very careful, pull up the bars for 1, 25, 50, 75, 100, and 127. Until the value of each one is the value reported under “TRUE APPARENT VALUES” in the table I posted. So for example for the fourth horn: we want bar 1 to be 11 tall, we want bar 25 to be 17 tall, we want bar 50 to be 26 tall, bar 75 just be 49 tall, bar 100 should be 88, and bar 127 should be 127.



8. Now fill in the bars in between with a smooth line. This is the part that takes patience! On Mac, I use the zoom in feature (Command Option Plus to zoom in, Command Option Minus to zoom back out) so that I don't misclick on those tiny bars.



9. Save your work, using the save icon on the top right:



10. Call it something like “Horn 4 Sus Fix.”

11. You can use this preset with the following patches: Horn 4 Legato, Sustain Immediate, Sustain Soft. Anytime you load up one of these patches, first thing you should do is load the preset using the load icon (to the right of the save icon). This will make two changes to your patch: it will click the Soft Low Layer button (and also Niente button if it’s the 4th horn), and it will load up the CC1 curve you drew for that horn.

You can see how drastically the horns are edited by comparing the Horn 4 curve to the one for Horn 1:



Keep in mind my values aren't perfect, so you may want to make your own value table first by loading up the horns, writing some chords and listening carefully. I just spent a quick afternoon on this. This rationalization only works for the Sustain patches - the other patches like Staccato, Repetitions, etc. need their own rationalizations, that's why I hope that OT is working on their own solution for dynamic balancing.
 
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Heinigoldstein

Active Member
Hi all,

Here’s a step by step, until/unless OT gives permission to share the preset files (I don't want to violate any EULA):



1. Load up the Sustain Immediate patches for each of the 4 horns.

2. For each horn, make sure "Soft Low Layer" is on (toggle is to the right)

3. For the fourth horn, also turn on “Niente." Leave it off for Horns 1, 2 and 3.



4. Click on the bottom left icon that looks like a chessboard to open up the editor. Make sure Dynamic Xfade is selected.



5. Use your mouse to see you can draw curves. Anytime you use your mouse the number in the top left says something like "#34 12" with two numbers, right? That means the 34th bar of the graph (from 1 to 127) has value 12, it’s "12 tall." The standard preset for CC1 (which you can recreate at any time by selecting Preset -> Linear Up) is for every number to be "itself tall" that is bar 34 is 34 tall, bar 62 is 62 tall, etc up to 127. We are going to change these values to distort at what point on the modwheel each dynamic occurs for each horn.



6. Make everything zero! Just erase the graph.



7. Being very careful, pull up the bars for 1, 25, 50, 75, 100, and 127. Until the value of each one is the value reported under “TRUE APPARENT VALUES” in the table I posted. So for example for the fourth horn: we want bar 1 to be 11 tall, we want bar 25 to be 17 tall, we want bar 50 to be 26 tall, bar 75 just be 49 tall, bar 100 should be 88, and bar 127 should be 127.



8. Now fill in the bars in between with a smooth line. This is the part that takes patience! On Mac, I use the zoom in feature (Command Option Plus to zoom in, Command Option Minus to zoom back out) so that I don't misclick on those tiny bars.



9. Save your work, using the save icon on the top right:



10. Call it something like “Horn 4 Sus Fix.”

11. You can use this preset with the following patches: Horn 4 Legato, Sustain Immediate, Sustain Soft. Anytime you load up one of these patches, first thing you should do is load the preset using the load icon (to the right of the save icon). This will make two changes to your patch: it will click the Soft Low Layer button (and also Niente button if it’s the 4th horn), and it will load up the CC1 curve you drew for that horn.

You can see how drastically the horns are edited by comparing the Horn 4 curve to the one for Horn 1:



Keep in mind my values aren't perfect, so you may want to make your own value table first by loading up the horns, writing some chords and listening carefully. I just spent a quick afternoon on this. This rationalization only works for the Sustain patches - the other patches like Staccato, Repetitions, etc. need their own rationalizations, that's why I hope that OT is working on their own solution for dynamic balancing.
Hi all,

Here’s a step by step, until/unless OT gives permission to share the preset files (I don't want to violate any EULA):



1. Load up the Sustain Immediate patches for each of the 4 horns.

2. For each horn, make sure "Soft Low Layer" is on (toggle is to the right)

3. For the fourth horn, also turn on “Niente." Leave it off for Horns 1, 2 and 3.



4. Click on the bottom left icon that looks like a chessboard to open up the editor. Make sure Dynamic Xfade is selected.



5. Use your mouse to see you can draw curves. Anytime you use your mouse the number in the top left says something like "#34 12" with two numbers, right? That means the 34th bar of the graph (from 1 to 127) has value 12, it’s "12 tall." The standard preset for CC1 (which you can recreate at any time by selecting Preset -> Linear Up) is for every number to be "itself tall" that is bar 34 is 34 tall, bar 62 is 62 tall, etc up to 127. We are going to change these values to distort at what point on the modwheel each dynamic occurs for each horn.



6. Make everything zero! Just erase the graph.



7. Being very careful, pull up the bars for 1, 25, 50, 75, 100, and 127. Until the value of each one is the value reported under “TRUE APPARENT VALUES” in the table I posted. So for example for the fourth horn: we want bar 1 to be 11 tall, we want bar 25 to be 17 tall, we want bar 50 to be 26 tall, bar 75 just be 49 tall, bar 100 should be 88, and bar 127 should be 127.



8. Now fill in the bars in between with a smooth line. This is the part that takes patience! On Mac, I use the zoom in feature (Command Option Plus to zoom in, Command Option Minus to zoom back out) so that I don't misclick on those tiny bars.



9. Save your work, using the save icon on the top right:



10. Call it something like “Horn 4 Sus Fix.”

11. You can use this preset with the following patches: Horn 4 Legato, Sustain Immediate, Sustain Soft. Anytime you load up one of these patches, first thing you should do is load the preset using the load icon (to the right of the save icon). This will make two changes to your patch: it will click the Soft Low Layer button (and also Niente button if it’s the 4th horn), and it will load up the CC1 curve you drew for that horn.

You can see how drastically the horns are edited by comparing the Horn 4 curve to the one for Horn 1:



Keep in mind my values aren't perfect, so you may want to make your own value table first by loading up the horns, writing some chords and listening carefully. I just spent a quick afternoon on this. This rationalization only works for the Sustain patches - the other patches like Staccato, Repetitions, etc. need their own rationalizations, that's why I hope that OT is working on their own solution for dynamic balancing.
Just one question a little out of topic. Don´t you run into trouble when you use the Niente option ? I often have weird behavior since Capsule was introduced.
 

X-Bassist

Senior Member
Great Job NoamL! Capsule can be confusing at first, but after using it a while it gets easier. This short video from Orchestral Tools helps clarify some new features and hidden gems in 2.5:


And velocity adjustment is covered in this short video (@4:45):


Thanks again for the info and directions NoamL. :)
 

wbacer

Senior Member
Thanks @NoamL.
I would not have been able to figure this out.
It wasn't even on my radar.
Great fix, thanks again for sharing.
 
Hi Noam L

Great thread. I’m just trying to do this and was wondering what you did with the other horns ?. Did you apply the same settings to Horn 2 and leave 1 and 3 as they are ? Can you share the .nka files ? I agree with Paul. OT should pay you to sort the lib out.

Again, great stuff and thanks for any clarification you’d be kind enough to give me.

Cheers

Dan
 

Rasmus Hartvig

Active Member
I would be bummed by a "Revive" (paid update). Berlin Brass has only seen one update. That was a year and a half ago and it didn't fix most of the issues that are still keeping us from working efficiently with the library. So I'm hoping for a free update that fixes the stuff that should have worked out of the gate. I love OT and their sampling ethos, but I have to say that Berlin Brass is the one library I've bought where I've been disappointed. For other sections OT has some of the best libraries in the market - their brass lib should be one of the best too.
 
Well such an update would be great ! Again, this library features a beautiful tone and authentic sound, which for me is the most important thing. But as with some other developers the programing part often makes it inconsistent...
 
OP
NoamL

NoamL

Winter <3
Hi Noam L

Great thread. I’m just trying to do this and was wondering what you did with the other horns ?. Did you apply the same settings to Horn 2 and leave 1 and 3 as they are ? Can you share the .nka files ? I agree with Paul. OT should pay you to sort the lib out.

Again, great stuff and thanks for any clarification you’d be kind enough to give me.

Cheers

Dan
Hi Dan & everyone,

Given the amount of time that has passed, I too am a little frustrated about the lack of official updates.

I've attached the NKA's below as a zipfile. These just cover the legatos for Horns 1, 2, 3, 4 and Bass Trombone as that's all I bothered to create in 2017. I hoped then that it would serve as an example of how to fix it and OT would take things the rest of the way.

All I can say is that I am working on a more universal fix to this problem and many of the other issues that affect sample libraries. If you'd like to learn more, subscribe to this thread and keep an eye out in a few weeks.
 

Attachments

C-Wave

Senior Member
Funny thing I asked Tobais once when is the update coming he said but we did update right after.. so there you go :)
But please don't mention Revive to OT.. it's like your're asking them to give you a paid upgrade. I am not going to pay a single penny to OT to fix a problem they created.. period! I learned my lesson from OT.. they fix a problem only to create new ones.. Sad how they approach quality control and then turn it into a feature. Far from what I dreamed OT to be. I am not going to say they're the only ones in the industry who are doing that; Spit Fire Audio set up a very bad example for the industry to follow regarding quality control (yes now you can all jump on me if you like) so I am not entirely blaming OT for this behavior.
 

robgb

I was young once
I love Berlin Brass but am also bothered by the many inconsistencies.
I find inconsistencies in nearly every sample library I buy. Which is why it galls me that they charge so much for a library. Too often, instead of receiving the Gibson Les Paul I paid for, they send me a Chibson and I have to make all kinds of adjustments to get it up to snuff...
 

Brian Nowak

Active Member
I don't know what the deal is with OT. I have a few feature issues with Ark 2 and 3 that prevent me from using it in a capacity I would like. When I first brought it up in January they said it was a priority fix.

I asked if they had any update on the fix last month and I didn't even get a response. Just a shame QC doesn't seem as important as it used to be.
 
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