Need Help with Spitfire Symphonic Strings

Artemis

New Member
Guys! Need help (sorry, didn't find the actual topic).
Work with Spitfire Symphonic Strings (Sonar Platinum, Cubase, last Kontakt) and have a big problem: in fast passages and especially in arpeggios, I constantly get strange, little rhythmic deformations. All my notes are arranged in a grid, but in reality I hear delays.
I'm watching this problem in many Spitfire's libraries, but libraries from other manufacturers works good.
Also, I do not observe this in examples and walktrough of Spitfire Symphonic\Chamber Strings on YouTube.
Example (Spitfire Symphonic Strings, I violins - Performance Legato):
Thanks in advance for the answer and advice.
 

tehreal

Active Member
Can you post the midi (and which tracks are using which patch)? Also can you change your title to be more specific to the subject of your post.
 

Mihkel Zilmer

Senior Member
You should drop a line to Spitfire Support - the price you paid for the library includes getting fast and efficient help from their customer support :)

That said, I am pretty sure that what you are hearing is normal and expected. Not only do the ambient legatos have a certain amount of delay, but that amount of delay is often inconsistent. Spitfire has the biggest challenge to deal with because they record in a room with A LOT of reverb - each new note and new transition has a ton of ambience that needs to be dealt with, or it all becomes a blurry mess. The performance legato script is very clever, but some glitches and inconsistencies remain.

Anyway, you should submit a support ticket. Occasionally they iron out little issues straight away and send you a hotfix. And they are the only one that can tell you whether this is something that they can address or not.

Good luck!
 
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Artemis

New Member
I tried your MIDI - sounds exactly the same over here.

All of what I said above holds :)

You can't align ambient legatos with the grid - the transitions need to be triggered early in order to sound in time.
So, it seems that there will be more work than I expected.
Thank you for you answer and this little investigation :)
 

tehreal

Active Member
The triplets are inconsistent in my DAW as well. If I switch the patch to Spiccatos it plays fine. The performance legato patch is definitely less than adequate.

That said, I am pretty sure that what you are hearing is normal and expected
I couldn't disagree more. A library of this expense should be able to easily handle something as basic as eighth note triplets at 120 bpm, even with release callbacks. The problem is not simply that they fall behind, but that they fall behind inconsistently.

Occasionally they iron out little issues straight away and send you a hotfix
And many times they are dismissive of known issues and prefer to focus their development efforts on new products instead of fixing the older ones.

the price you paid for the library includes getting fast and efficient help from their customer support
Agreed. Definitely open a ticket asap.
@Artemis let us know what support says if you could. You are definitely not the only one dealing with these types of issues I'm sure.
 

Mihkel Zilmer

Senior Member
I couldn't disagree more. A library of this expense should be able to easily handle something as basic as eighth note triplets at 120 bpm, even with release callbacks. The problem is not simply that they fall behind, but that they fall behind inconsistently.
Definitely. I was merely pointing out that Artemis is not experiencing an isolated bug, and that this is in fact how the library behaves normally.

I've been wondering - could they make the delay always the same length by including an extra pre-roll for transitions that are shorter? That'd make this a lot easier to work with.
 

The Darris

Senior Member
Set a pre-delay on the associated Midi tracks to (Negative) 100 ms or so. This will compensate for it sounding late when locked to the grid. With that said, sit and play/perform with the library. Get used to how the transitions feel and you can get a more natural response in your sequences. I also split out any faster passages to a single track of the Fast Legato patches by themselves as well as the Runs patches. The Performance legato patches are great but there is just so much going on under the hood that it doesn't necessarily work with every musical context. I start with that patch but separate it out when I'm coming across some odd sounding phrases.
 

JF

Member
Set a pre-delay on the associated Midi tracks to (Negative) 100 ms or so. This will compensate for it sounding late when locked to the grid. With that said, sit and play/perform with the library. Get used to how the transitions feel and you can get a more natural response in your sequences. I also split out any faster passages to a single track of the Fast Legato patches by themselves as well as the Runs patches. The Performance legato patches are great but there is just so much going on under the hood that it doesn't necessarily work with every musical context. I start with that patch but separate it out when I'm coming across some odd sounding phrases.
There are fast legato patches? All I see is the old legato patch with fingered/bowed/portamento/runs and the new performance legato patch. Did I miss something?
 

The Darris

Senior Member
There are fast legato patches? All I see is the old legato patch with fingered/bowed/portamento/runs and the new performance legato patch. Did I miss something?
In the individual articulations folder, they've separated out the legatos.
 

FriFlo

Senior Member
I think I can add a little bit from my experience here ... I cannot download the files you provided, but I think I know what you speak about!
You have to understand first, how any legato script works:
The first not you play in any legato line is a sustain sample, in the case of your SF performance legato patch, this may even be layered with a staccato or spiccato sample providing a more pronounced attack, depending on the velocity you played that note with.
This first note is pretty much instantaneous, only delayed by the buffer size of your host and the latency of your sound system.
Then, any notes following played overlapping with previous ones are triggering the legato script to do its job. That again means, they trigger a transition sample between the previous and next sample. Depending on how the particular patch works and the transition sample(s) provided, this transition causes more or less the perception of this note sounding late! There are so called fast legatos, which cause very little delay as there are transitions which cause quite a lot of delay, like slurred legatos or even portamentos.
That is why it will always sound wrong, if you align all notes to the grid, especially with fast passages and even mor so with those, where you leave gaps in between certain groups of notes (to simulate bow changes).
Instead, try the following:
1) Quantize all notes to the grid (or, to leave certain human element, play as rhythmical as possible to make it sound right on a piano VST).
2) For some legato scripts, either the velocity of the legato notes or the speed of succession may have an influence on what legato transition is being triggered, so, for a first test, I would stick to equal velocities on all notes and a continuous pace, like semiquavers for the full line.
3) Shift select all notes, that trigger a transition, but leave all first notes out!
4) Move those selected notes a little bit earlier than the grid. Listen, how it sounds and look for the sweet spot, where it sounds right. This is the hard part, as you need a good rhythmic sense and patience to find that spot.
Unfortunately, depending on the library, there may also be things like transitions of individual notes, that sound more delayed than others, which is particularly notable during repetitive phrases (Ostinati).
More so, this proves my point, that legato patches are very often impractical to be played live! A solution would be, to have a playable patch (with less realistic transitions, but no delay) and a good sound version (with realistic transitions and an articficial delay on EVERY note to give the script a little time to think ahead, when to trigger transitions). This could be within the same patch and remotely switched via CC. In other words, you would just play in and then switch and put a negative delay on the whole track. To my knowledge, CSS has a feature like that, but I haven't bought it thus far.
However, be aware there is a certain problem, no developer could possibly solve, which is that fact, that a script can not look into the future! :) In other words: realistic sounding patches will always have problems like you describe or require general latency, while playable patches will always have limitiations on the sound regarding transitions. Less a problem with slow playing, very much so with quick playing!
I hope this helps!
 

khollister

Senior Member
Advanced|Legato Techniques|Legacy Patches

I can't play your audio example ("too many downloads" message), but I tried your midi file with SSS violas performance legato and with fingered legato (slurred, I presume) from the Legacy Patches folder. The fingered legato definitely has faster transitions and sounds pretty damn close to the intended timing I think. The performance legato is close, but not quite there due to either the programmed interval.

I used violas because the midi file is seriously out of range for violins (and has a note or two below the violas range too).


One interesting observation - I have been using Reaper recently and the triple stop on the final chords causes clicking on playback with record enable selected, even though the real-time CPU meter shows less than 10%

I went back to Cubase 9.0.30 and doing the same thing plays fine in spite of the real-time peak ASIO meter spiking to what appears to be 100%

Both tests were with a buffer of 96. Turning off record arming puts the indicated RT loads way down in both DAWs, but I'm now beginning to wonder if my belief in Reaper being vastly superior to Cubase in real-time CPU utilization is actually sound. All of this is on a 4.0GHz i7-6850K (all cores locked to 4.0), Windows 10

Also interesting that the same midi file didn't come into Reaper and Cubase exactly the same, e.g. there was a panning offset when I dragged it into Cubase that was not there in Reaper.
 
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JF

Member
3.JPG
Advanced|Legato Techniques|Legacy Patches
I know. I referenced that patch in my question to darris about where do you find the individual fast legato patch. There is none. It is blank. There is only fingered, bowed, portamento, and runs. Am I missing something? :)
 
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Artemis

New Member
Guys! First - thanks very much to everyone. I did not even expect that I would get so much support, and I'm very grateful.
Legato Performance Palette patches will greatly facilitate my life - delays and artifacts are much less (I did't know about it too)
Fri Flo, thank you for explanation of mechanics. Your method I will use for the correction of leading parties.
Also, I sent a request to tech support, but have not received a reply yet. If I learn something new - I will necessarily share.:)
 

khollister

Senior Member
View attachment 10224
I know. I referenced that patch in my question to darris about where do you find the individual fast legato patch. There is none. It is blank. There is only fingered, bowed, portamento, and runs. Am I missing something? :)
There is a fast legato in SCS, but not SSS. Of course SSS has a bowed legato articulation where SCS does not (just fingered, portamento, runs and fast). Spitfire has never completely harmonized all this stuff when they moved to the Symphonic bundling from BML.
 

reddognoyz

Senior Member
If you reference the demos and walk throughs you'll see how these best strings perform. As will most "baked in" libraries, you really need to conform your performance to what the library was designed to do best, or try another library. I don't think these's a magic trick that will make this library perform nimbly without lots of fiddling. At least I haven't found one.
The spitfire guys generally don't do any quantizing of legato strings in their demos.
 

The Darris

Senior Member
My bad, I was getting it confused with Chamber Strings. What I would try to do is load up the patch JF has referenced above and turn off the adaptive legato features on each articulation and try using just the Fingered or Runs legato patch on its own, versus having all that manual switching going on. Again, my apologies as I don't use SSS very often and I thought the Legato articulations were homogeneous among the 1st Violins and Celli in both SCS and SSS.