Ponchielli - Update: Complete Suite (Attempt for extreme realism with sampled orchestra)

OP
AlexanderSchiborr

AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
Hej Guys

Thanks so much for all the feedback. And yes: Of course the live is better..that was or can´t be any goal to top that but at least to get near to that. I want my own original tracks to sound also better and building templates like that help me with that kind of approach also. Regarding the requests for a walkthrough. I have unfortunately very limited time these days, so I will post a few macro tips for this mockup which means some general thoughts what hopefully might help a bit. Someone asked about the strings: Berlin(incl. expansions), OT Sphere mixed with SCS.

@Abdulrahman Thanks for posting your example. Sounds nice. Thanks for sharing mate.
 
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AlexanderSchiborr

AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
Wow, that's what I'd call a labour of love. Fantastic mockup! So many wonderful details in it. Of course, the standard orchestral repertoire is arguably the craziest thing to do with samples, and the fact that you're posting the live orchestral version for comparison says a lot about your work and attitude. In a sense, it's like playing chess with Kasparov: you know the game is lost beforehand, but you still play your best. I absolutely love that (and I think it's by far the quickest and more inteligent way to learn any craft).

I think there're many things which clearly show the limitations of samples and are simply impossible to solve, but, if you're not too tired to try, two things hit me that I think you can easily improve (if you agree with what I hear, of course):

1) you could try layering a pp legato unisono line along the meassured tremoli that leads to the climax at the end of the intro (marked "sortono le ore del giorno") to make it sound more fluid and lyrical. That way you'll be able to still hear the tremolo clearly, but less pronounced (samples are always too obvious; in this kind of passages, if you listen to a live orchestra, most of the times you can sense kind of a real legato part even if there's actually none). I'm sure this is doable with the tools you're using.

2) the dynamics at the cello part (in the "sortono le ore della notte" section) are too bumpy to be credible, because the long notes inflate too much in relation to the weaker piqué bowing that preceedes them. I'm sure that's a tricky passage to mock up, but I think that's also doable if you temper the CC curves in the long notes (or avoid prerecorded swells if you're using them, or draw a compensating CC curve if the legato patch you're using inflates the note by itself), and again layer a pp spiccato patch on top of the second note of the slurred pattern (the legato patches tend to have too slow an attack to work in those quick passages, otherwise it sounds legato, but not present enough). This might be difficult or even impossible to fix, but I think it's the weakest part of your mockup, so it might be worth trying, given the amount of time you've spent with this, and the level of detail you're working with.

Again, fantastic mockup. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Thanks so much for the great tips! Once I am through I will or have to polish some parts of course and I will definitely try that out. Great suggestions from you and thanks for sharing them.
 

Heinigoldstein

Active Member
Three Weeks so far. I never give up. Never. I attached to my fridge a handwritten note which I see every morning. It sais: Intensity + Consistency = Results. Though this message was meant regarding my diet and HIT workouts I apply that to my life in general.
3 weeks so far.......man I'm happy to hear that. Some guys here seem to work pretty fast and if you would ´ve said you did it in 3 days, it would be very frustrating to me and would leave me with the feeling being an untalented fool. I never reached consistency in my workouts though, but within music, mmh....maybe. Still not sure I´ll reach this level, thanks again for sharing.
 

Saxer

Senior Member
This sounds fantastic! What a hell of work!

Concerning the workflow: do you work on sections like i.e. flutes to make them perfect and move on to trumpets or violins... or is it more like: I can't hear the clarinets anyway in the tutti part so I don't need them here but lets add some missing low end by doubling the celli with another library...?

So how much is "real" orchestration and performance and how much is mixing signals and using masking effects or additional dirt and ramdomness? I think both is important.

I'd be really interested to listen to the different sections seperately.
 
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OP
AlexanderSchiborr

AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
This sounds fantastic! What a hell of work!

Concerning the workflow: do you work on sections like i.e. flutes to make them perfect and move on to trumpets or violins... or is it more like: I can't hear the clarinets anyway in the tutti part so I don't need them here but lets add some missing low end by doubling the celli with another library...?

So how much is "real" orchestration and performance and how much is mixing signals and using masking effects or additional dirt and ramdomness? I think both is important.

I'd be really interested to listen to the different sections seperately.
I have learned over the years that a macro look over the section and working accordingly gives me better results. So to answer your question: No, I definitely don´t work on each section seperately but all together in a specific way to create the right color and blend. According to how close that is to real orchestration I would say: At parts yes, most of the time not. Some has to do with the layering / masking techniques, another thing is that I inccoorporate these days quite a bunch of sounddesign elements into the programming which I wouldn´t notate at all and it is primarly for midi performance mockups.

At the other guys here:

About the masterclass thing: I am thinking about that but it needs time and preparation which I need first to figure out, also some technical things (recording it the right way, overdubs etc etc.). In general I would consider applying the masterclass specifically to this track, not because the techniques are that specific just for that track but simply because I think this track incoorporates many many good things which I learned over the last couple of years.

Amen, Ben.
 

mediumaevum

Active Member
This sounds extremely realistic.

But of all the realistic samples I've heard, very few attempt realism with longer notes on the strings.

Why so? Is it simply much easier to do realistic sounds with short notes? I'm mainly working with long notes on the violins, violas and cellos. I'd really appreciate tips on making an adagio piece realistic using samples only.
 
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AlexanderSchiborr

AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
This sounds extremely realistic.

But of all the realistic samples I've heard, very few attempt realism with longer notes on the strings.

Why so? Is it simply much easier to do realistic sounds with short notes? I'm mainly working with long notes on the violins, violas and cellos. I'd really appreciate tips on making an adagio piece realistic using samples only.
Thanks buddy,

Its not all short notes but all kinds of different types of shorts and performances in the shorts. Once you explore that subject deeper you will find how difficult it can be even to mock up the most simple line in case you want to get close to the real thing. I am a guy who is very considerate about the details in the work when mocking up things. Having said that there is no such thing as a fixed note length even if notated that way. It seems first to be easier but you are missing a lot of content in that regards if you ignore that fact. Some things can be even more difficult (maintaining clarity with clouding releases in fast passages etc etc.) Long notes are of course also not easy of course because you need to battle with certain types of issues like baked in performance swhich simply not match the desired content or simply with the very limited recorded true legato dynamic range or other things like tuning and timbre. Adagio pieces are also very difficult and a bit of their own "territory" or league. I would even go that far to say that it deserves a seperated sort of template with very foccused treatments only for that style.

A general tip which can help is to treat each line very carefully with a unique performance. And when I am speaking of unique I mean unique in everything. Also layering solo instruments very settle can help to goose and enrich the details. You need also to detune the lines quite a bit to create a better more realistic blend. Often what leads to more mediocre results is also that the strings in mocked up adagio pieces simply sound to even, to much in tune, too perfect in timing, they don´t swell really, they don´t breath like the real thing therefore. To fake that you need to meticously pay attention to things also like little decrescendos or other irregularities in tuning. Also most sample libraries simply don´t reach that very quite delicated ppp or even to niente dynamics which are part of these details. There is no general tip, it always depends for what sort of performance and source you are going for. Also try to search for patches which are rich in sound and match the general tone and vibe to the reference naturally or at least quite a bit. Spent time in researching what kind of sound naturally fit there without humiliating them with eq, additional reverbs etc. Is the piece maybe bowed in a very specific way? How do the violins sound? Do they have that lush sul tasto sound? Before even mocking up one bar spent time experimenting with all the libraries you have.
 
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AlexanderSchiborr

AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
Another tip as I wanted to share also some tips to you guys here: Nothing is worse like composers who have quadrillions of libraries but they simply don´t know their content. That is a perfect recipe for desaster. Why is that? Because in order to create great mockups you need and I repeat that: YOU need to know the strenghts and weakness of your library IN AND OUT. Simple as that. You also need exactly to know what Patch X in Library Y does, how it sounds and what its great for and not. When you do your homework like that you also speed up your workflow because you avoid and minimize SHITTY choices.
 

mediumaevum

Active Member
Thanks buddy,

Its not all short notes but all kinds of different types of shorts and performances in the shorts. Once you explore that subject deeper you will find how difficult it can be even to mock up the most simple line in case you want to get close to the real thing. I am a guy who is very considerate about the details in the work when mocking up things. Having said that there is no such thing as a fixed note length even if notated that way. It seems first to be easier but you are missing a lot of content in that regards if you ignore that fact. Some things can be even more difficult (maintaining clarity with clouding releases in fast passages etc etc.) Long notes are of course also not easy of course because you need to battle with certain types of issues like baked in performance swhich simply not match the desired content or simply with the very limited recorded true legato dynamic range or other things like tuning and timbre. Adagio pieces are also very difficult and a bit of their own "territory" or league. I would even go that far to say that it deserves a seperated sort of template with very foccused treatments only for that style.

A general tip which can help is to treat each line very carefully with a unique performance. And when I am speaking of unique I mean unique in everything. Also layering solo instruments very settle can help to goose and enrich the details. You need also to detune the lines quite a bit to create a better more realistic blend. Often what leads to more mediocre results is also that the strings in mocked up adagio pieces simply sound to even, to much in tune, too perfect in timing, they don´t swell really, they don´t breath like the real thing therefore. To fake that you need to meticously pay attention to things also like little decrescendos or other irregularities in tuning. Also most sample libraries simply don´t reach that very quite delicated ppp or even to niente dynamics which are part of these details. There is no general tip, it always depends for what sort of performance and source you are going for. Also try to search for patches which are rich in sound and match the general tone and vibe to the reference naturally or at least quite a bit. Spent time in researching what kind of sound naturally fit there without humiliating them with eq, additional reverbs etc. Is the piece maybe bowed in a very specific way? How do the violins sound? Do they have that lush sul tasto sound? Before even mocking up one bar spent time experimenting with all the libraries you have.
Thanks a lot for this in-depth advice.

Actually I'd really appreciate if you - with all your expertise would take a look at my Church-like hymn in this forum?

I'd really appreciate some advice on how to achieve a realistic adagio string sound and also on the orchestration/arrangement itself.

I want to learn from the best!
 
OP
AlexanderSchiborr

AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
Thanks a lot for this in-depth advice.

Actually I'd really appreciate if you - with all your expertise would take a look at my Church-like hymn in this forum?

I'd really appreciate some advice on how to achieve a realistic adagio string sound and also on the orchestration/arrangement itself.

I want to learn from the best!
Sure I can do that. :) Did you work with a reference for your piece?
 

mediumaevum

Active Member
Sure I can do that. :) Did you work with a reference for your piece?
Not really. It is very difficult to find orchestrations of old hymns if they're not from Vaughan Williams, Holst or Finzi. But those are my main sources of inspiration.

To achieve that sound with samples is a difficult task.
 
OP
AlexanderSchiborr

AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
Not really. It is very difficult to find orchestrations of old hymns if they're not from Vaughan Williams, Holst or Finzi. But those are my main sources of inspiration.

To achieve that sound with samples is a difficult task.
It has not to be the same but there are definitely pieces out there which you can and just my recommendation always use for a comparision because it helps you to translate their performance to your own choices for your own track better. It can also serve for mixing to see if the relative balance and loudness between the sections are right. Even if you balanced your template good chances are high that you misstreat your interpretation of your own music and a reference helps you because you see how real players would interprete a similiar situation. Real players listen to each other and balance them out naturally. And that is really important to understand. So I always tell the people I teach in private lessons that they always please load in their project a refrence track which is similiar in vibe, genre, style and mood. orchestral music is too complex as we can go and just work blindly on that. Even with a lot of experience references are always very important for objectivity. I will check out your track, not quite sure if I can make this week because I have yet to do some stuff.
 
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sIR dORT

Active Member
Bravo. I am curious tho - how do you achieve such a good tutti sound in your mockups? What sections/registers do you give the most dynamic emphasis to, and what is your approach in general? I have had a really hard time making any tutti parts I write sound cohesive. It sounds like strings, brass, and woodwinds, not an orchestra.
 

JEPA

Senior Member
congratulations, awesome work.

I noticed from the beginning that the long string phrases in the mockup don't have the micro nuances of the bow pressure of the real thing. That's a thing that makes it so difficult...
Your mockup is excellent! Another tipp could be to not open so wide the stereo spectrum, I think this kind of recordings were not extreme wide, I noticed this also.
And the multiple micro variations of the articulations of the cello are naturally super difficult to emulate... but wow! nice job!
 

pipedr

Active Member
Thanks buddy,

Its not all short notes but all kinds of different types of shorts and performances in the shorts. Once you explore that subject deeper you will find how difficult it can be even to mock up the most simple line in case you want to get close to the real thing. I am a guy who is very considerate about the details in the work when mocking up things. Having said that there is no such thing as a fixed note length even if notated that way. It seems first to be easier but you are missing a lot of content in that regards if you ignore that fact. Some things can be even more difficult (maintaining clarity with clouding releases in fast passages etc etc.) Long notes are of course also not easy of course because you need to battle with certain types of issues like baked in performance swhich simply not match the desired content or simply with the very limited recorded true legato dynamic range or other things like tuning and timbre. Adagio pieces are also very difficult and a bit of their own "territory" or league. I would even go that far to say that it deserves a seperated sort of template with very foccused treatments only for that style.

A general tip which can help is to treat each line very carefully with a unique performance. And when I am speaking of unique I mean unique in everything. Also layering solo instruments very settle can help to goose and enrich the details. You need also to detune the lines quite a bit to create a better more realistic blend. Often what leads to more mediocre results is also that the strings in mocked up adagio pieces simply sound to even, to much in tune, too perfect in timing, they don´t swell really, they don´t breath like the real thing therefore. To fake that you need to meticously pay attention to things also like little decrescendos or other irregularities in tuning. Also most sample libraries simply don´t reach that very quite delicated ppp or even to niente dynamics which are part of these details. There is no general tip, it always depends for what sort of performance and source you are going for. Also try to search for patches which are rich in sound and match the general tone and vibe to the reference naturally or at least quite a bit. Spent time in researching what kind of sound naturally fit there without humiliating them with eq, additional reverbs etc. Is the piece maybe bowed in a very specific way? How do the violins sound? Do they have that lush sul tasto sound? Before even mocking up one bar spent time experimenting with all the libraries you have.
Interested in your comments regarding baked in performance in sample libraries--I am not at your level, but I have come to respect that there are so many different ways to play a single note, let alone a phrase, let alone 16 players together approaching a piece on violins. To approach any specific piece, do you think one needs a cornucopia of specialty ensemble libraries, maybe like Afflatus? Or contextually supersampled individual instruments, like Emotional Violin, perhaps combined into ensembles (or more generally sampled individual instruments, like Dimension Strings or Kirk Hunter?)? Or modeled or phase aligned instruments with dynamic and vibrato control, like SWAM or SampleModeling, again combined into ensembles? What approach or combination do you favor?
 
OP
AlexanderSchiborr

AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
congratulations, awesome work.

I noticed from the beginning that the long string phrases in the mockup don't have the micro nuances of the bow pressure of the real thing. That's a thing that makes it so difficult...
Your mockup is excellent! Another tipp could be to not open so wide the stereo spectrum, I think this kind of recordings were not extreme wide, I noticed this also.
And the multiple micro variations of the articulations of the cello are naturally super difficult to emulate... but wow! nice job!
Completely agreed, but to clarify my mockup has the narrower stereo field.
 
this piece is awesome! also really great advises. i not sure how this is possible but if you do have a master class i would be interested for sure. i am new to realistic stuff and seeing this is possible with general library is nuts! do you use eqs and filters and stack of sound libraries? i am assuming theres a lot of instrument combination to make them sound this way.