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Samplemodeling Solo & Ensemble Strings Released

leogardini

Senior Member
Better than the demos on the website you have to spend some time testing the library yourself.
After a couple of days working with it I can say SM Strings is going to be one of the most used string libraries in my future mockups. I would even dare to say that this is the best string library ever created.
I am not a fan of the official demos and to be sincere it gave me a wrong impression once I heard it. Since I have all other SM libraries and I absolutely love them all i decided to buy the strings anyway hoping that one day they would update it with a more realistic sound.
After testing it I realized that there's no need for such update because the library is already extremely realistic and versatile. Sure there is room for improvement as every product has (mainly in the GUI) but once again Sample Modeling has provided us with another amazing virtual instrument that can rival any real musician.
If you don't like the sound of the demos try this simple thing. In the ensemble patches turn off the original IR in the AUX and apply your own.
My only critic would be regarding the ensemble size. There isn't any way to specify how many strings you have in your group. It's just small, medium and large. For someone that likes to work with a certain specific amount of instruments this is going to be a little odd but not a big deal compared to the amount of versatility and realism you can get out of this instrument.
Another thing that I missed was an extreme aggressive FF (that is rarely used) when the player rapidly strikes the bow down with a lot of pressure on the strings. Maybe it can be achieved by changing some parameters.
The implementation of it in my template was smooth this time. I remember that it was a struggle to match SM brass with the other wet libraries but with the strings it was much easier and it didn't take more than 15 minutes to match it with Hollywood Strings for example.
I remain exploring this library for further customization and the more I learn about it the more I like it.
Will it replace all the other strings?
Definitely not! There's no library that can make it all and a careful combination and usage of them is what make the secret. But I may say that SM can easily replace a lot of strings libraries out there.
If you are a composer that likes to be inspired by what you play with the patches this strings are probably not your best choice even though the solos are very inspiring. On the other hand, is you go to the library because you've been inspired before and is looking for an specific sound then SM strings will beautifully reproduce what you've had in mind with little programming.
Thank you once again Sample Modeling. Your technology is the best!!!
Thumbs up!!!
 
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AlexanderSchiborr

Senior Member
I made a track using the strings in an orchestral arrangement. Here's a video showing the Logic session. First full mix and the second half is strings only.


Nice track there, I really enjoyed it. How was it or is it working with the new strings? Do you have or had to control a lot of parameters for that piece? The Expression is surely there which I find great also the fluidity with the lines. Which was always good with the sm approach. (I love the sm brass as you know..)

What I unfortunately am not so stoked about is the tone timbre/ sound of the strings, somehow there is something very artificial about it to my ears. Its feels like a great "synth string sound" to me. But not like a conventional sounding string orchestra or ensemble sound at all. Its a way too clean sounding also and misses the dirt and raw character of what makes string sounds sound more authentic, also in the fast passages the kind of swirly dirtyness. Now as I know that you are pretty good knowing in what you are doing, I am curious if there are things to make them sound more realistic. Also the lower range instruments like Cellos and Doublebass. I listened to the piece both on the laptop first but then also on my studio speakers which then reveal even more what I was thinking. While listening just right now there is also something very artificial on the room. It sounds even worse on my speakers..:/ it gives me the impression of some kind of sampler or rompler from the mid 2000s but with more controllable features and much more expression but tonewise..man. I hate to say that here because I dig Sm brass so much and since I have it, it served me so well with many very difficult performances which I wouldn´t be able to pull of with any other vi still up to this date. And the strings here just doesn´t make it for me. A lovely track composition still and much appreciated you are trying your best in showcasing that new product in the best light.
I hope my sentiments are here well received. I don´t want to dump down the library at all but I would lie when I would say I am impressed..by the tonal / timbre aspect here.

Probably it needs much more room treatment, programming and post production with timbral shaping also. But one thing what I noticed is the first time I listened to the sm brass demos back then there was something more realistic in most of their demos even the early ones. I guess string instruments in the orchestra are simply the most difficult ones to get right because they are capable of so many different timbres and articulations and bowing techniques. I think modeling strings is almost like a shot in the dark to me. Its probably a long road still until there is coming something what makes normale sample based string libraries obselete.

Mhmm..I would love to get my fingers on this strings anyways just to try them out but pulling the trigger and fire out 400 more bucks right now is actually not on my budget unfortunately just to testify that I might be eventually wrong, you know?
 
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Hanu_H

Senior Member
I made a track using the strings in an orchestral arrangement. Here's a video showing the Logic session. First full mix and the second half is strings only.

What an amazing composition and it sounds really good as well. I have to agree a bit with Alexander though that I would like to have more of the rosin and high end in the string sound. Maybe it is possible with some EQ? But man those runs...o_O It would be really hard to pull this of with a normal sample library. What are the other libraries used in the piece?
 

jonnybutter

Active Member
Hi Jonny,

I've never blended a library before, but it's on my list of things to learn/explore next. I realize you've only had it for a few hours, but do you have any initial general impressions/opinions re: blending Samplemodeling strings with other libraries? Or is everything context-dependent, i.e. "in this context LASS is supporting Samplemodeling, in this other context it's vice versa" ... ?

Any tips/observations based on your initial experiences are greatly appreciated, if you have time to write them up.

Thank you,
Sam

You've never blended before? Are you sure??

Of course it's context dependent, like everything-audio!

I'm in the middle of a project right now, but when I have a chance I'll post some audio
 

Saxer

Senior Member
The only controller I used was CC1 (converted by a midi plugin to CC11 and CC7 with a flattened curve). There's probably more potential to add blur and randomness.

The strings are out of the box except the room. I used the dry string presets and inserted one Breeze 2 per channel for early reflections and added a little Lexicon random hall tail of 2 seconds via send. Nothing fancy.

I don't really have a problem with the sound but there is still some way to go. Especially cncerning room mixing. On the other hand it's really fun to control the note lenght by... well, by note length! Finally! It feels much more like making music than any standard sample library with key switches and all. The only key switches I used were for pizz.

I actually cut some high end of the strings (-5 dB at 10KHz and above) to blend better with the other libraries and have them less close. All brass is Samplemodeling as well, woodwinds are a mix of Audiomodeling and WIVI. Percussion/Harp is from different libraries.

I will try layering the strings with other libraries sooner or later. But I don't want to loose the playability what makes the assortment very small. The most likely candidate I can imagine are the Performance Legatos of SCS.
 

bun

🐇
I like your composition a lot Saxer. I personally prefer the results of manually multi-tracked SWAM strings, but having more than one option for freely playable strings is a very good thing.
 

I like music

Senior Member
That solo viola demo sounds really really good. I think they just uploaded it today, or something? If all the solo strings can sound like that, it'd be worth looking into it for the solos alone for many people, I imagine.
 

Garry

Senior Member
I made a track using the strings in an orchestral arrangement. Here's a video showing the Logic session. First full mix and the second half is strings only.

Absolutely incredible!! Just amazes me what can be done with these libraries in the hands of a skilled composer. Really fantastic composition - I thoroughly enjoyed it (and was disappointed to find your YouTube channel only contained this 1 piece - was looking forward to hearing more).

Like you Saxer, I so much prefer the playability of the SM/AM approach, and have most of their products. I've had my eye on SCS for a while now, waiting to see what SM's strings would be like. Your demos are really convincing. I'm only going to choose one (I know they both do different things, but I'm not one for buying 20 different string libraries - I personally just don't need degree of flexibility in sound for my limited purposes).

So, if I went for SCS, I'd clearly lose the playability of SM; but in your opinion, what would I miss from SCS if I went for SM strings (I already have Tundra & Albion One)? Clearly the Air Lyndhurst reverb - anything else in SCS you can't get from SM Strings?

If you were only to buy one, which would you go for?
 

Garry

Senior Member
One other question: I have the AudioModeling Cello and Violin. I really love playing these, and the feel of control you get over over the performance. However, I'm not always happy with the tone, and it's certainly more challenging to get a track written using these, than something that uses a more standard approach, so I often find myself retreating to those libraries.

How does the SM strings compare, in terms of tonality and playability to the Audio Modeling strings (other than the latter doesn't have ensembles).
 

I like music

Senior Member
One other question: I have the AudioModeling Cello and Violin. I really love playing these, and the feel of control you get over over the performance. However, I'm not always happy with the tone, and it's certainly more challenging to get a track written using these, than something that uses a more standard approach, so I often find myself retreating to those libraries.

How does the SM strings compare, in terms of tonality and playability to the Audio Modeling strings (other than the latter doesn't have ensembles).
Did you see the updated demo on the site? I think they removed a demo or two (unsure) but definitely added a couple over the last few days. The solo viola one was very interesting to me, because the tone (and expression) here felt pretty good to me. I think it is called "Suite for Viola 1" but yes, keen to hear the answer from Saxer.
 

Bollen

Vintage Member
The only controller I used was CC1 (converted by a midi plugin to CC11 and CC7 with a flattened curve
Ah! I think that might be one of the big issues... Runs were good and sloppy how you would expect, but I found the swelling and phrasing very "synthy" as well. It's probably because it's so symmetric. If I were to use these ever I would certainly use each section in more that one instance with mid size setting just to get a bit more of the natural sloppiness you get from lots of players in a section... This coming from someone that listens to the LSO live on a monthly basis!

Is there like a sloppiness setting in the instrument? Something to make the different players in the same section have a bit more randomness?

I agree with Alexander, so far I haven't heard anything that would make me cough 400 for this library...
 

Vardaro

Active Member
First reactions, comparing with Embertone's Friedlander and Chris Hein's legacy Italian Violin; all three propose LFO vibrato on non-vib samples, with CC control of amplitude and frequency.

SM and ET are pleasing and very similar, with SM having a rounder tone, and more CC control of attacks, pitch-bends, and randomisation.

With Chris Hein the basic tone is less smooth, and the LFO controls seem less convincing; indeed Chris Hein has abandoned LFO vibrato in his "extended" versions of these libraries. However, he gives all his solo strings extended ranges, which I appreciate when writing music which I can no longer play myself! His layerable "noteheads" are a great success, but I feel that SM's scripted attacks will be just as "real".

All three propose scripted ensemble patches with degrees of randomisation (not to be confused with CH's voluminous Ensemble Strings library)

LFO vibrato has the the problem of modulating the violin's resonances along with the strings' pitches, and SM and CH offer "body" IR's to lessen the phase-like effects.

XSamples also offers alternative non-vib samples with LFO vibrato, but as I have no aftertouch I cannot try it. They also have ensemble patches.

BTW the viola solo on the SM site is the same piece as was used for the Swam viola as sold by SM before the AM seccession.. The new demo is more realistic to me as a violist..
 
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novaburst

Senior Member
I made a track using the strings in an orchestral arrangement. Here's a video showing the Logic session. First full mix and the second half is strings only.

Nice one @Saxer you really aced the low end nice and deep loved it.

But man those runs...
Agree those runs sweet.

Listened to the string only version makes me feel they are full of possibilities.

Thanks for posting
 

dormusic

Member
Is there any way of dramatically increasing the ensemble detune and timing? I reay think that could go a long way in increasing the quality of sound.
 

germancomponist

Senior Member
Is there any way of dramatically increasing the ensemble detune and timing? I reay think that could go a long way in increasing the quality of sound.
You mean for any instrument in a section, maybe by using that old "humaizer" script, for example?

humanizer.PNG

It works, for sure. I did hundreds of experiments with it, when I built sections with solo instruments. But now Samplemodeling comes with its super great new sections builder. Maybe later in an update they can it make more controllable, to let us add more "dirt"? (Dirt is good meant here...)
 
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