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Joshua Bell *Essential* ????

Embertone

Senior Member
Yes, I spent yesterday trying to sculpt the lowest dynamic layer in the JB Violin. It was quite resistant to the performance I wanted and would have been a relatively simple matter to coax out of one of the SF violins. I’m still learning the JB so maybe I’m missing something but I suspect the behavior I got is what the instrument is designed to deliver. Don’t get me wrong, I very much like the JB Violin and it is far more versatile than I had feared. But it is nevertheless optimized for certain things and those things appear to come at the cost of other things.

Hmmm, what Control Preset did you use? If you want *just* the lowest dynamic, I would highly suggest using something different than the default preset, which triggers legato dynamics via MIDI velocity. Try one of the "Pro Controller" presets, which allows you to set dynamics via MIDI CC. That way you can consistently trigger *just* the lowest dynamic. IMO that set of samples is super beautiful. Gentle but full.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
The Joshua Bell (even essential) is the most Virtuoso sounding kontakt library I've ever used, for any instrument, not even just for violin. It blows the Spitfire Performance Violin out of the water.
I have both and I really don't think this is true. As @ism has pointed out at length, they have different sweet spots, and I've already found much that I prefer in the Spitfire Total Performance Virtuoso Violin but also the First Chair Violin. Yes, there is lots—an incredible amount—to like in the JB violin and in the short time I've had it I've already found a number of its sweet spots, but there are definitely things that are more challenging for the JB violin and things that don't sound as good (or at least are not to my taste) played by the JB violin. I'm really happy to have both libraries.
 

Embertone

Senior Member
JB is more plonkable right out of the box though, and offers more instant gratification. The spitfire Virtuosic Vl by its nature lets you craft performances with much more expressst picked up Emotional Violin too, with opens up a whole other expressive space again, even more orthogonal to the JB and SF instruments that I original thought).

Orthogonal! I had to look that one up :)
 

bfreepro

Infinite Musical Possibilites
I have both and I really don't think this is true. As @ism has pointed out at length, they have different sweet spots, and I've already found much that I prefer in the Spitfire Total Performance Virtuoso Violin but also the First Chair Violin. Yes, there is lots—an incredible amount—to like in the JB violin and in the short time I've had it I've already found a number of its sweet spots, but there are definitely things that are more challenging for the JB violin and things that don't sound as good (or at least are not to my taste) played by the JB violin. I'm really happy to have both libraries.
I disagree entirely haha but fair enough, just my opinion, when I want an instantly amazing performance without having to tweak everything afterwards, I can just live record playing on the keyboard and it sounds amazing, with Spitfire it may offer more control, but they lack character and just sound sterile and especially the vibrato control... it's like all or nothing and sounds awkward transitioning from nv to vib.. That's why I say that, not that it's bad, but very different, since he said he was disappointed in the Spitfire one :). I guess Spitfire, to me, is more classical and just kind of "bread and butter",the Joshua Bell is a true instrument and you get so much life and character out of it.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
Hmmm, what Control Preset did you use? If you want *just* the lowest dynamic, I would highly suggest using something different than the default preset, which triggers legato dynamics via MIDI velocity. Try one of the "Pro Controller" presets, which allows you to set dynamics via MIDI CC. That way you can consistently trigger *just* the lowest dynamic. IMO that set of samples is super beautiful. Gentle but full.
Thanks for the tip. Yes, I'm still learning the instrument. I also love the sound of these samples of the soft layer, which is why I was trying to sculpt them! It's good to know that a different setting will give me more control. It also looks like I need to spend some time studying the configuration presets and ultimately build my own set.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
I disagree entirely haha but fair enough, just my opinion, when I want an instantly amazing performance without having to tweak everything afterwards, I can just live record playing on the keyboard and it sounds amazing, with Spitfire it may offer more control, but they lack character and just sound sterile and especially the vibrato control... it's like all or nothing and sounds awkward transitioning from nv to vib.. That's why I say that, not that it's bad, but very different, since he said he was disappointed in the Spitfire one :). I guess Spitfire, to me, is more classical and just kind of "bread and butter",the Joshua Bell is a true instrument and you get so much life and character out of it.
I find the Spitfire first chair violin works very well in context for spot solos in a larger ensemble setting, and I really like its tone. The sound seems to emerge from the ensemble and then recede back into it, and in those contexts I rarely if ever even notice the transition from non-vib to vib. The total performance virtuoso patch handles the vib transition differently being linked to progressive vib samples that are then modified using Time Machine for speed. I don't especially like what Time Machine does to the sound at the extreme, so I tend to stay away from that, but the progressive vibrato generally sounds nice and seems to fit the kind of things I write. I'm not as enamored of the virtuosos tone but I wouldn't call it lifeless or sterile. None of the SF instruments are really noodling instruments though, where you just sit down and play. The JB is far better than the SF violins in this respect, but I find the Virharmonic Violin even better, especially the original version, which has many fewer options, but just seems to fit my playing. So when I just want to noodle on the violin, I almost always take out that one. But I also find the Virharmonic Violin very hard to control when composing for it. It will play what it will play by golly. That's fine when you are noodling, less happy when you are trying to compose (unless you are willing to compose specifically to the instrument). So far the JB Violin is a little recalcitrant (it rightly wants to show off that beautiful tone) but it does seem to take instruction much, much better than the Virharmonic. I'm hoping as I learn the JB instrument better I'll find it even more flexible.
 

ism

Senior Member
Yes you can control the vibrato unlike Tina!

To clarify though (and see jbuhler’s quote from the manual above) you have a beautiful, recorded progressive vibrato. You can start a note with the vib on, and progress quickly to Joshua actually playing vibrato. But there’s no ability to crossfade at arbitrary times.

Or you can use simulated vibrato, which is ok, but obviously not remotely as good as Joshua himself playing vibrato.

I think the amount and speed of the progressive vibrato is very well chosen, both for ease of play, and for the expressive space the lib captures.

But SF and EV make different choices - for instance the ability to crossfade between vib and non vib suitable to their own expressive spaces.
 
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jaketanner

Senior Member
It blows the Spitfire Performance Violin out of the water.
I don’t like the performance violin. And since they updated both violin and cello, my library seems to act funny now. The vibrato defaults at max and I just don’t like it. Maybe I will pick up the JBE. BTW, so if there is no dynamic crossfades, is it all velocity based then for p to f?
 

ism

Senior Member
I don’t like the performance violin. And since they updated both violin and cello, my library seems to act funny now. The vibrato defaults at max and I just don’t like it. Maybe I will pick up the JBE. BTW, so if there is no dynamic crossfades, is it all velocity based then for p to f?

There a number of presents on the controls.

The easiest one, I find, lets you control volume with the mod wheel - meaning it select the dynamic layer from the mod wheel, then alter the volume (but not the timbre) - which is usually ok as long as you keep in to within ~10%.

It also avoid forcing you to control the vibrato - if you start with the mod wheel above 50%, you get the recorded vibrato. Below 50% you start with non vi, but moving the mod wheel up will add some simulated vibrato.

This locks you into a particular expressive spaces where louder => more vibrato. But to a first approximation, it makes it easy to play with just the mod wheel.

Of course you get better control (and enter a larger expressive space) if assign vibrato to a separate cc - and three's of course a preset for that too.

The videos that Alex did on release are really worth watching.
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
There a number of presents on the controls.

The easiest one, I find, lets you control volume with the mod wheel - meaning it select the dynamic layer from the mod wheel, then alter the volume (but not the timbre) - which is usually ok as long as you keep in to within ~10%.

It also avoid forcing you to control the vibrato - if you start with the mod wheel above 50%, you get the recorded vibrato. Below 50% you start with non vi, but moving the mod wheel up will add some simulated vibrato.

This locks you into a particular expressive spaces where louder => more vibrato. But to a first approximation, it makes it easy to play with just the mod wheel.

Of course you get better control (and enter a larger expressive space) if assign vibrato to a separate cc - and three's of course a preset for that too.

The videos that Alex did on release are really worth watching.
We are talking about the Essential violin though right? Not the full. Can the essential version dynamic be CC controlled?
 

ism

Senior Member
Orthogonal! I had to look that one up :)

Fancy way to say: "you really need to buy them all"! Or maybe: "Nothing else does what the JB does".

(But it also works with the metaphor of 'expressive space' as a higher dimensional space also - and echos some of the underlying mathematics of sound - Fourier Analysis and all that )
 
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ism

Senior Member
We are talking about the Essential violin though right? Not the full. Can the essential version dynamic be CC controlled?

I would watch some of the JB full videos (or read the manual if you're short on time) and then just see if the version you have does the same thing. I can't imaging them taking this functionality out.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
I don’t like the performance violin. And since they updated both violin and cello, my library seems to act funny now. The vibrato defaults at max and I just don’t like it. Maybe I will pick up the JBE. BTW, so if there is no dynamic crossfades, is it all velocity based then for p to f?
The full vibrato on the total performance patch is not good with Time Machine on. But you can save a version of the patch with Time Machine off and that should solve most of that problem. Unless you just don’t like the sound of the progressive vibrato.
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
The full vibrato on the total performance patch is not good with Time Machine on. But you can save a version of the patch with Time Machine off and that should solve most of that problem. Unless you just don’t like the sound of the progressive vibrato.
oh yeah it's off...just too much for most things
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
(1) We think the spiccato is the more usable articulation. Crisp and short. In my work I use it more often than not
(2) The vibrato is not over the top at all -- super usable... Though obviously my opinion will be biased here
(3) Just to correct you -- you CAN control the amount of vibrato with both versions of the JBV. We combined our scripted vibrato with Mr. Bell's legit vibrato. So you get the best of both worlds there.

In terms of dynamics, we decided not to go down the road of processing these samples that way, because they would squeeze the natural sound out. So though there isn't the possibility to crossfade from a PP to an FF in one bow, you can use our dynamic modulation fx which sound great in most situations, and also, if you absolutely need to move up in "legit" dynamics, you can do a rebow to the new dynamic level.

The full version of the JBV does feature contour sustains, FYI. So there it is possible to hear Mr. Bell's real dynamic modulation in different levels.

-Alex
Thanks for the reply Alex. Much appreciated.
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
@Embertone ...last question. If I get the Essential at $59, what would the upgrade path be to the full JB after the sale is over? Right now there is an $80 difference...what will it jump to? Thank you.

I see this, thanks to transverb. "We decided to bump the price down on the upgrade as an incentive— $90 to upgrade while swapping licenses, $100 if you want to keep both." But is this DURING the sale, or always if I decide in a year from now to upgrade?
 
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transverb

Active Member
@Embertone ...last question. If I get the Essential at $59, what would the upgrade path be to the full JB after the sale is over? Right now there is an $80 difference...what will it jump to? Thank you.
Forgive me if I get this wrong but I'm pretty sure it was stated that there would be $90 difference. It was originally $100 (the difference in price between the two products at full price) but then it was reduced to $90. It is stated earlier in this thread.
 

jaketanner

Senior Member
Forgive me if I get this wrong but I'm pretty sure it was stated that there would be $90 difference. It was originally $100 (the difference in price between the two products at full price) but then it was reduced to $90. It is stated earlier in this thread.
That's awesome...means then the full JB would be no more than $149 at any given time. Seems like a deal if I can't take advantage of it now...I am eagerly awaiting the release of another library any day now.. ha.
 
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