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Samplemodeling SWAM Cello: what's special about it

Fa

Member
After few weeks from the launch of the new VI (and few days from the last nice update), I was reading comments and listening to demos.

I think one point has not been checked and discussed yet enough, and it's what makes this VI so special to me: the Physical Modeling approach, enabling a set of new features, like the mimic of real instrument behaviour in response to playing technics (bow/fingers position, direction, speed, pressure etc.).

I find this a bit challenging, but definitely stimulating and opening new options for MIDI programming, so I did some experiment: I take a video of a performance, and I try to use it as a source of inspiration, not only for the musical content (time, expression etc.) but for the technical gestures as well (looking to the pressure, position, bow changes, vibrato etc.).

Here you find a link to my video, with the sound track replaced by the MIDI rendition: it's a rough experiment, nothing perfect in sync or sound, but I think it's already showing some of the instrument potential features, almost impossible with traditional sample based VIs and libraries.


Well... if actually you find Yo Yo Ma original performance better than my rendition, I won't be offended :) Any feedback is welcome by the way...
 

Arbee

Senior Member
Nicely done! I think it's the consistent "creaminess", for want of a better word, that gives the SM cello away. Playability though, as with all SM instruments, is a huge plus.
 
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Fa

Fa

Member
Nicely done! I think it's the consistent "creaminess", for want of a better word, that gives the SM cello away. Playability though, as with all SM instruments, is a huge plus.
Well, actually I agree. There's some "borders" to the achievable sound, (not surprisingly, we are just pioneering the physical modeling with actual hardware/software resources) but the palette of sounds combining IR and gestures is so wide and flexible, that the amount of solutions is amazing, and the responsibility of the quality is back into the hands of the user/performer (...good or bad you may consider it vs. a frozen perfection of a nice sample)
 

Quasar

Senior Member
Nicely done. Did you use a MIDI keyboard, some other kind of controller, or write it out in a MIDI editor?
 
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Fa

Fa

Member
Nicely done. Did you use a MIDI keyboard, some other kind of controller, or write it out in a MIDI editor?
Thank you. Usually I play a piano keyboard controlling cc11 and cc1 with a Korg Nanopad. In this case I programmed it in Cubase, to get control over bow pressure, speed and some other special parameters of the SWAM-S engine.
 

PerryD

Active Member
That's really interesting, how an image can influence the perception of sound. I like to play all of the Samplemodeling stuff in real time, using a breath controller & keyboard. I'm still learning to use all the options available for the SWAM Cello. The new midi mapping features let you combine some things to squeeze a little more nuance out of a real time performance. For example, I have vibrato rate & depth both mapped to CC1 (modwheel). You can then set the threshold and range differently for each of those, so as I increase the depth, I actually have my vibrato speed up just a bit. You can even go in negative directions. Like Fa said, you can map other things like variable bow pressure and position for real time control as well. I posted this clip on another thread but it demonstrates how you can go from staccato to legato & portamento in real time without keyswitches.
 
In a similar vein, here is my version of the Prelude from Bach's G major suite for Cello, using the SWAM Cello. I've been playing this piece (on EWI) for years, but for this recording I took a few ideas on bowing and tempo from Yo Yo Ma's performance here.

The SWAM Cello is a joy to play, but it has its limitations. In this project I noticed that the bow position control works, but is subtle. In particular, I would like to push the Sul Pont. end of it much farther, more like what Spitfire calls "super sul pont." I'm interested in whether the bow position changes in my recording (mostly between normal and sul pont.) are audible to listeners.

 

muziksculp

Senior Member
That's really interesting, how an image can influence the perception of sound. I like to play all of the Samplemodeling stuff in real time, using a breath controller & keyboard. I'm still learning to use all the options available for the SWAM Cello. The new midi mapping features let you combine some things to squeeze a little more nuance out of a real time performance. For example, I have vibrato rate & depth both mapped to CC1 (modwheel). You can then set the threshold and range differently for each of those, so as I increase the depth, I actually have my vibrato speed up just a bit. You can even go in negative directions. Like Fa said, you can map other things like variable bow pressure and position for real time control as well. I posted this clip on another thread but it demonstrates how you can go from staccato to legato & portamento in real time without keyswitches.
Hi PerryD,

Your SM Solo Cello demo sounds very nice.

Q. How did set up the SWAM engine so you can change from Staccato to Legato & Portamento in real time without Keyswitches ?

Thanks,
Muziksculp
 

muziksculp

Senior Member
Hi Fa,

Very Nice Yo Yo Ma emulation using SM-Cello !

It would be nice to share some tips on some of the useful real time parameters to manipulate, and that add the most realism when automating the SWAM based SM Cello via physical controllers for CC's.

Another important detail would be which reverb you use with SM Cello ? basically the effects and other sonic treatments that might improve its timbre/character ?

Thanks for sharing,
Muziksculp
 

muziksculp

Senior Member
Hi brunodegazio,

Very nice SM Cello demo of Bach's G Maj Cello Prelude.

Yes, I can hear the subtle Bow position changes in your performance, the keyword here is subtle, It would be nice if this can be pushed further to more of an extreme, maybe this could be possible via a future update from SampleModeling.

Cheers,
Muziksculp
 

muziksculp

Senior Member
Hi,

For those who have all three SampleModeling Solo Strings : Cello, Viola, and Violin. Which one do you think sounds the closest to the real deal, (which one do you think they modeled best) ?

Thanks,
Muziksculp
 

Rob

Senior Member
Hi,

For those who have all three SampleModeling Solo Strings : Cello, Viola, and Violin. Which one do you think sounds the closest to the real deal, (which one do you think they modeled best) ?

Thanks,
Muziksculp
of the three, violin is my favorite...
 

muziksculp

Senior Member
Hi again,

I just wanted to point that using controllers is an important part of getting realistic realtime results when playing the SWAM engine.

Check this video :


Here is another one :

 
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of the three, violin is my favorite...
I would agree with Rob that, timbre-wise, the Violin is closest to reality. The Cello is a close second, though. The Viola is a lot tougher to make sound good. Maybe that's just the nature of the viola though.
 

Vardaro

Active Member
One problem is that we violists don't agree as how a viola should sound; velvety or husky, brassy C & A strings, silky or strident, warm or nasal? My two violas have 15-3/4 inch bodies, but one is narrow with a "mezzo" quality, while the other is wide bodied with a more powerful plummy "contralto" tone. One for Mozart, the other for Brahms?

Maybe there isn't enough cello-like "sluggishness" in the SM viola's attacks,or insufficient inharmonicity or pitchbend in the harmonics. In a real viola, we are expecting a cello-ish quality from an instrument not much bigger than a violin.
 
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Arbee

Senior Member
Hi again,

I just wanted to point that using controllers is an important part of getting realistic realtime results when playing the SWAM engine.
While these videos are great for demonstrating expression, I suggest these techniques would make many synth patches sound really organic. But, played "normally" across the full register I don't believe either of these quite cut it sonically as violins, sadly.
 

robgb

I was young once
While these videos are great for demonstrating expression, I suggest these techniques would make many synth patches sound really organic. But, played "normally" across the full register I don't believe either of these quite cut it sonically as violins, sadly.
Yet, in a blind test done a few months ago, most here thought the SM violin was the real thing... funny how a lack of knowledge (or just the opposite) can color your perception.
 
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