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Just HOW Important are Extra Microphones?

re-peat

Senior Member
(...) Because what sounds natural, or appropriate to me may not be suitable to you. So multiple (within reason of course) microphone choices and positions is a tool that I enjoy. And wish I could afford more of them - then again I still wish I could afford more microphones too!
I agree with most everything you say, Bill, but surely, the care, expense and attention spent on capturing multiple mic perspectives (and making mixes of those perspectives) has to be in some kind of proportion to the quantity and quality of what is being recorded and the competence of those who do the recording? No?
Put differently: if one can’t progam a decent, musically expressive and timbrally convincing part with, say, the SSWW’s Oboe — and one can’t —, it is of no solace or comfort whatsoever, it seems to me, that one can render that miserably sampled instrument with any choice of six different mic perspectives and/or two highfalutin stereo mixes, or any bloody combination thereof.

Example. What you just heard, is that SSWW Oboe — surely, the worst-sounding, most useless Oboeoïd in the history of human civilization (I’ve also left in some of the library’s vibrato to illustrate how wonderfully professional-sounding the New Spitfire has implemented that type of expression) — rendered with two mic perspectives (pass 1 and 2: the two Tree choices) and, pass 3, one of those Rolls Royce Stereo Mixes that you get with the *cough* 'pro version' of the library.

Now, be honest. First of all, is the difference in sound worth it? Do you even hear it? (And do you think you'd notice it in the context of a mock-up?) And secondly, is the difference in sound überhaupt relevant in view of the ghastly quality of the sampled instrument? And does "the peerless detail, from pin-pont sharp to super-wide, of the best from Neumann, Schoeps and Sennheiser" enhance the musical experience of listening to this affront to the art of sampling?

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OP
Parsifal666

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
Example. What you just heard, is that SSWW Oboe — surely, the worst-sounding, most useless Oboeoïd in the history of human civilization (I’ve also left in some of the library’s vibrato to illustrate how wonderfully professional-sounding the New Spitfire has implemented that type of expression) — rendered with two mic perspectives (pass 1 and 2: the two Tree choices) and, pass 3, one of those Rolls Royce Stereo Mixes that you get with the *cough* 'pro version' of the library.

Now, be honest. First of all, is the difference in sound worth it? Do you even hear it? (And do you think you'd notice it in the context of a mock-up?) And secondly, is the difference in sound überhaupt relevant in view of the ghastly quality of the sampled instrument? And does "the peerless detail, from pin-pont sharp to super-wide, of the best from Neumann, Schoeps and Sennheiser" enhance the musical experience of listening to this affront to the art of sampling?

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EE-fack! I think I'll just keep saving for BWW.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
Put differently: if one can’t progam a decent, musically expressive and timbrally convincing part with, say, the SSWW’s Oboe — and one can’t —, it is of no solace or comfort whatsoever, it seems to me, that one can render that miserably sampled instrument with any choice of six different mic perspectives and/or two highfalutin stereo mixes, or any bloody combination thereof.

Example. What you just heard, is that SSWW Oboe — surely, the worst-sounding, most useless Oboeoïd in the history of human civilization (I’ve also left in some of the library’s vibrato to illustrate how wonderfully professional-sounding the New Spitfire has implemented that type of expression) — rendered with two mic perspectives (pass 1 and 2: the two Tree choices) and, pass 3, one of those Rolls Royce Stereo Mixes that you get with the *cough* 'pro version' of the library.
And yet I've heard good work done with these libraries by those who stay within their limitations. These posts get irritating because you can draw bad performances out of practically any library. I've also yet to encounter a major library that didn't have a bug in it. In any case, you seem hung up on the "pro" designation rather than taking into account the price point. You may say at $400 for the full version it's overpriced and I might even agree, but it's still considerably cheaper than either SF's own Symphonic series or something like the Berlin Winds.
 

ism

Senior Member
EE-fack! I think I'll just keep saving for BWW.

In the mean time, its perhaps worth checking out the original BWW thread where, I believe its the above poster in fact who absolutely savages BWW, post examples of it sounding truly horrible, and the later admits that it's actually not that bad when someone posts a really wonderful example using BWW for what it's really good at.


These posts get irritating because you can draw bad performances out of practically any library.

I have to agree that a cartoon-like example of a library sounding horrible isn't always very helpful. Anyone can make any library sound absolutely horrible - or at least I can, and I assume this isn't a particularly rare talent. But it's only informative if it's accompanied by a sense of the landscape around what are and aren't the sweet spots of the library.

Otherwise its just a generic savaging. Not that I'm against generic savaging per se. Just that absent context, a bad example is often more an absence of evidence rather that evidence of absence.


The bigger question here (and one relevant to the OP) is what exactly is the difference between the (immensely beautiful) oboe in SSW and the SStW oboe? The dryer room of the latter has a crisper sound, and the above example does shows that it can used to get a very harsh sound. In fact the SStW oboe comes off a better even in the cursory noodling of the walkthrough, where the dynamics are crafted seemingly with a bit more care. But I'll confess that I don't really have a good sense of the sweet spots SStW - particularly the more lyrical sweet spots. It took me ages to get my head around the sweet spots of the Claire and SSW oboes (still working on 8dioboe), and then's when I actually owned them, so I'd love to see more demos that explore this.

And my experience with SSW in particularly, finding that sweet spot really meant playing with the mics. Especially if you want to do something sweet and lyrical with SSW (in general, not just the oboe), I find getting the right mix of tree and close mics to be essential. Mics also seem to interact with how you can craft they dynamic arcs on an instrument, and it all relates to how you craft the lyrically etc.

So agreeing fully with the ostensible point of the above post (ie. that the demoed mics don't make much difference in the (horrible) example provided), the more interesting question is what role will the available mics play in finding the sweet spot of that particular oboe?
 

re-peat

Senior Member
Ism,

Our thusfar fairly cordial co-habitation here isn’t going to last if you start telling twisted semi-truths about me. Yes, I was extremely negative about the original version of BWW. But quite rightly so as it happens, because I know that OT, some time later, started to have second thoughts themselves about some aspects of that very first release. Hence the thorough updates, revisions and expansions which the library has been blessed with. Tell me, if everything was so fine and dandy with the original release, if there was nothing that deserved to be criticized, then why did they feel the need to produce the Expansion (which contains a selection of the exact same instruments, only better sounding)?

And I fail to see what’s wrong or inconsistent about me criticizing a library and, a few days later, recognizing when someone’s doing good work with it? I’ve applauded some of fellow member Roberto’s work with KH’s libraries and those are products which, as is well known, I positively loath. My opinion doesn’t exclude the possibility of good work being done with what I consider an overal weak product, nor does an isolated occurence of good work with such a product mean that I will change my opinion about it.
Furthermore, I already mentioned on more than one occasion that not everything in the SF Studio Series is bad. But … too much is, in my opinion.

Secondly, and this is addressed to both you and jbuhler, please don’t *ever*, DO NOT EVER accuse me of the childish unfairness of making a deliberately bad sounding audio example. I don’t do that kind of thing. Everything I submit as audio examples — in the past, today and in future — is what a library sounds like in the hands of an unprejudiced, not entirely unintelligent and not untalented or unskilled musician, trying to make music on any normal day of the week. The malicious sillyness you accuse me of stooping to, is completely alien to me, if for no other reason than that it wouldn't help anyone.

To illustrate that I didn’t misrepresent the Oboe by sneakily focusing exclusively on its most harsh-sounding upper dynamic, here’s a screenshot of the recording. (And you’ll have to trust me that this is an undoctored image of the actual performance demoed in my previous post.) The modwheel reaches value 90 on only two points. Everywhere else, it stays, on average, around 60-70 (which should sound like a gentle-ish mezzo, but unfortunately doesn’t). If I really did want to play it nasty, I would have raised those modwheel values to above 100, but that’s simply unbearable to listen to.




- - -

And entirely over to you now, jbuhler:

And yet I've heard good work done with these libraries by those who stay within their limitations.

I haven’t. I'm sorry. Travel the world and the seven seas, and I'm 100% sure that you won’t find me a single good-sounding, musically convincing, expressive performance with this particular Oboe. It just isn’t possible. (Unless you narrow the library’s limitations down to a few staccato notes, and even those are nothing to oboe home about.) The instrument is sampled all wrong and it’s programmed all wrong. Simple as that. It should never have been considered fit for sale. Is what I think.

And I also know a bug when I run into one, and this Oboe isn’t one. A bug is repairable. This Oboe isn't.

And I happen to not care much about prices (which you feel are an important consideration, but which I find totally irrelevant in this discussion). I own all of the big wind libraries (except EW's Hollywood Winds), and quite a few of the not so big ones, and I always happily paid what they asked for it. No problem, and the price doesn't really influence my views on any of these products in any profound way. I can't even remember what most of them cost.
No, what I care about more than anything else, in this context anyway, is being able to trust and rely on a developer — one whom, in Spitfire’s case, I used to regard as a stronghold of professional pride, integrity and quality — that when I buy something from him/her, I get what he/she told me I would get, no matter the price. Elementary trust, respect and decency among seller and buyer, that’s what I care about and what annoys me so much if I have to find out it isn’t there.
In the case of the Studio Series, the difference between what the product is described and sold as, and what it actually is, is so offensively huge, that I feel I payed at least for the prerogative to be very irritating about for a long time to come.

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Apostate

Active Member
I like the SStWWs and been happy with the results with both the solo and ensemble oboes. I haven't heard anything near what re-peat recorded, but hey I'm a relative noob and probably don't know what I'm talking about.
 
OP
Parsifal666

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
I own all of the big wind libraries (except EW's Hollywood Winds)

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You might want to check out the EWH...the oboes are definitely better than that you recorded. It's a very good library (just not as good as the Strings and Brass).
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
And entirely over to you now, jbuhler
I don’t have the library—as with nearly every VI I have heard things I like about the library and things I don't—but even in your oboe performance there was enough to tell me the library, even that patch, isn’t useless, however unlovely it rendered your passage. I would say the general consensus on the woodwind library is that it is adequate for orchestral section work, but that it lacks expressive range for exposed solos. Nothing about your example runs contrary to that consensus, and I have heard good work done with the woodwind library. It is an open question though whether the additional mics are useful at all if the library is going to be used mostly for section work. (And a lot of folks seem to have opted for the core version of the woodwinds and its single tree mic, perhaps because the added mics don't seem to warrant the additional cost when the solo instruments are difficult to make expressive.)
 
OP
Parsifal666

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
Honestly, I kind of did, but looking back I'd be extremely happy to be able to re-sell half of the stuff.
I have regrets over several SA libraries as well. Enough to where their NFR policy pushes me over to the Hein camp again and again.

The last SA release I really liked was BHCT, which is still my favorite sample library, period. Since then I haven't been thrilled by anything. I started up with OT last year and have been absolutely delighted since...really psyched to grab BWW on Black Friday.
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
A bone dry, solo passage performed by any general purpose orchestral library is always going to sound a bit naff (look it up) and unrealistic. It's where you can hear the choppiness and sample crossfading the most.

Plop the sound in an arrangement, sprinkle on some reverb or hall mics. It's only then that this VI stuff comes to life and starts to sounds convincing. Let's not try and fool ourselves otherwise and then get pissy about it on a forum. It's not an argument worth having.

Night all.
A
 

re-peat

Senior Member
Forgive me for calling your post, together with jbuhler’s ‘consensus’-remark, one of the more unintelligent contributions to this thread.

The whole point of studio woodwinds — and the very reason I purchased them — is that they can (or at least should) function in a smaller, dryer, more close-up environment than orchestral woodwinds. You might not hear it, and from what you write it appears you don’t — and calling that oboe in my example ‘bone dry’ is further proof that your hearing isn’t perhaps all it should be to qualify as a worthy participant in this conversation —, but there is a huge difference between an orchestral woodwind and a chamber music woodwind. A very big, musically meaningful difference which I happen to consider extremely important.

(Amazing and incomprehensible, I find, that uninhibited display of comfortable ignorance and superficiality with which you people think and talk about these things.)

I didn’t buy these winds to then send them through a hall reverb and make them part of an orchestral texture — I am a bit more discerning than that in my instrumental and production choices and, besides, I have tons of acceptable orchestral woodwinds already —, I bought them on the claim and in the hope of having a handful of decent virtual winds to make small-scale, not-too-reverberant, chamber-y music with that requires well-recorded, detailed, expressive and timbrally convincing winds that can stand close-up scrutiny.

(The studio woodwinds don’t have any hall mics, by they way. They’re studio woodwinds.)

What satisfaction and argument that should stop me from being irritating and pissy, is contained, I’d like to know, in the knowlegde that these studio woodwinds fail miserably for the very thing I bought them for (which happens to be the exact same thing their developer claims they excel at), but that they may be adequate — not great, but merely adequate, the consensus apparently has it — for a purpose I don’t need them for and certainly didn’t buy them for?

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OP
Parsifal666

Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
What satisfaction and argument that should stop me from being irritating and pissy, is contained, I’d like to know, in the knowlegde that these studio woodwinds fail miserably for the very thing I bought them for (which happens to be the exact same thing their developer claims they excel at), but that they may be adequate — not great, but merely adequate, the consensus apparently has it — for a purpose I don’t need them for and certainly didn’t buy them for?

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I'm respectfully curious...do you have problems with the rest of the SStWW besides the oboes? And when you speak of the oboes, do you mean both ensemble and solo instruments?

I doubt I'll pick up the library (the Hein and EWH are better than fine for me, and I make my own ensembles out of those), but I'm honestly interested in your thoughts.
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
(Amazing and incomprehensible, I find, that uninhibited display of comfortable ignorance and superficiality with which you people think and talk about these things.)
Ugh, what an ugly and pretentious post. If you'd given the Spitfire walkthroughs even a cursory listen, you would have realised that the library wouldn't deliver on your lofty requirements.
Even I could have told you that with my "unqualified" hearing. ;)
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
It is an arrogant statement, but a truthful one nonetheless. So many factoids, platitudes, truisms and superficial observations always float around these topics.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
Forgive me for calling your post, together with jbuhler’s ‘consensus’-remark, one of the more unintelligent contributions to this thread.

The whole point of studio woodwinds — and the very reason I purchased them — is that they can (or at least should) function in a smaller, dryer, more close-up environment than orchestral woodwinds. You might not hear it, and from what you write it appears you don’t — and calling that oboe in my example ‘bone dry’ is further proof that your hearing isn’t perhaps all it should be to qualify as a worthy participant in this conversation —, but there is a huge difference between an orchestral woodwind and a chamber music woodwind. A very big, musically meaningful difference which I happen to consider extremely important.

(Amazing and incomprehensible, I find, that uninhibited display of comfortable ignorance and superficiality with which you people think and talk about these things.)

I didn’t buy these winds to then send them through a hall reverb and make them part of an orchestral texture — I am a bit more discerning than that in my instrumental and production choices and, besides, I have tons of acceptable orchestral woodwinds already —, I bought them on the claim and in the hope of having a handful of decent virtual winds to make small-scale, not-too-reverberant, chamber-y music with that requires well-recorded, detailed, expressive and timbrally convincing winds that can stand close-up scrutiny.

(The studio woodwinds don’t have any hall mics, by they way. They’re studio woodwinds.)

What satisfaction and argument that should stop me from being irritating and pissy, is contained, I’d like to know, in the knowlegde that these studio woodwinds fail miserably for the very thing I bought them for (which happens to be the exact same thing their developer claims they excel at), but that they may be adequate — not great, but merely adequate, the consensus apparently has it — for a purpose I don’t need them for and certainly didn’t buy them for?

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You’ve made it clear you don’t like these libraries and you keep hyperbolically running them down, along with anyone who notes you are being hyperbolic. I’ve heard good work with them. And at this point I don’t trust your opinion on them in the least. If your point is only that SF is not true to their marketing that’s fine and worthwhile. And it is useful to hear the flaws you uncover. But that’s a long way from these instruments are useless when there are user examples and testimonials that say just the opposite.
 
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