Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by Bing Hornsworth, Jan 7, 2019.
1. How do they compare to the original?
2. How do they compare to other solo strings libraries?
I don't have this one yet though i have been eyeing for it for awhile. but from what im listening and comparing it is as competitive as other solo strings. Maybe some complaints about vibrato control from what I heard in this forum.
Can check this thread for more info
I own both the the original and the new solo strings. I love the way the new solo strings sound but the the vibrato is almost unbearable. It is either non existent or full on in your face. To me the old library had a better vibrato but lacked the tightness and sound of the new library.
Can't you control the vibrato manually using the slider?
I think the same. You have a vibrato slider but you can only have no or a very prominent vibrato. No nuances in between. That's really annoying. But the sound in general is fabulous.
I hope they do Studio Solo strings, would be nice to have that dry controllable sound!
It's possible to balance the vibrato slightly by experimenting with lowering the expression (CC11) when increasing vibrato. I also noticed that changing the level of expression introduces vibrato more subtle.
EDIT: just checked again: what works best is to keep the dynamics low to have a less intense vibrato and use expression to balance the volume when increasing dynamics. Decrease expression when increasing dynamics and vice versa.
The cross fading is different between patches and on different levels on the vibrato CC21. The amount of vibrato per dynamic layer could be improved though. Sacconi quartet has a softer vibrato.
Yes, the vibrato kills me.
Yes, there is a slider for the vibrato, but it sounds to me like there is only 2 samples one with no Vib and one with full Vib and sometimes the transition sounds very awkward. I feel this is mainly the case using the Legato patch for some reason.
I got it on sale. I prefer the Cinestrings Solo. However, to match the Chamber Strings, I think they're worth it. I was hoping that it would also be good enough for exposed solo work, but I don't see that being the case really. But need more time to make a final decision. I do like that they have 3 different violins to choose from.
Got in on my christmas wishlist, and I am very very happy with it. I prefer it to Cinestrings solo, both in sound and playability, which are fabulous to me. I find that vibrato is best controlled in combination with dynamics. I think user ism has posted a lot of useful messages on the topic. Besides controlling vibrato you also have the opportunity to choose the progressive vib articulations on each instrument, they work perfectly fine for me. I guess, as with every library, this one will not be for anyone, but for me it's bliss.
The virtuoso violin works differently, and it uses progressive vibrato sustains with the legato rather than the regular sustains. My hope is that eventually we will have legato patches for all the instruments with progressive vibrato as well as the current on/off vibrato.
On the other instruments, vibrato is more or less an on/off switch that turns on somewhere in the mid-50s on CC21. You can ride CC21 right around that point, moving back and forth across the on and off before settling into full vib. I have found that this works far better than it should, especially when coupled with the right moves on the modwheel. In the context of a spot solo within an ensemble, I have also found that the abruptness of the change to vibrato often doesn't matter as the transition is masked by the rest of the ensemble.
@ism is working on a very promising script that automates coordination between dynamics and vibrato, so both are controlled through moves on the modwheel, with exceptions triggered by the sustain pedal. The script makes playing the instruments at the keyboard much less complex since everything is controlled by the modwheel.
The vibrato is easily the most difficult thing about this library. To get good results, you absolutely have to ride it constantly. I have a whole rant about how much I dislike cc21 in general, but more constructively I have a script (I have a passable beta that I can share with anyone who’s interested) that does the following:
1. Maps the vibrato to the mod wheel. There’s a few subtleties of course, but basically it lets you craft the dynamics and the vibrato with just the mod wheel (and occasional touches of the sustain pedal) so you never even have to think about cc21.
2. Applies ‘midi compression’ to the dynamics - ie brings up the volume of the lowest dynamic layer and brings down the volume of the top two layers.
3. Balances the levels between vibrato and non-vibrato. Part of the bumpiness the transition is inherent in the design decision to crosfade between vib and non-vib samples. But quite a lot of the time, it seems tone bumpiness simple from the vibrato samples being louder. So a little tweaking of the levels by the script (which goes beyond what you could de with cc11 alone) can sometimes really improve ness the smoothness of the transitions.
Some general points:
1. As noted above, you can get a kind of progressive vibrato-like effect via crescendo from the lowest dynamic layer. I find that both the dynamic compression and the level balancing of the script help improve the efffect. Ie you start non-vib at the p dynamic, switch to vib, which is still fairly weak vib, then crescendo into the upper dynamic layers where the vibrato is more intense. With a little care in how you craft the arc it can actually work very nicely.
The midi compression of the above script is actually quite important here, in that by default by the time I crank of the volume to the point that that’s the p layer is sufficiently audible, the high dynamics will blow your speakers. But in addition to letting you craft this progressive vibrato-like effect into your arcs, it also helps you craft arcs that really make use the three dynamics layers - which is equally important to getting the most out of these instruments.
2. It’s absolutley true that on its own the vibrato, at least in the higher dynamic layers, is very wide and sometimes excessively instense. And conversely, the non vib can have a real harshness. Both the intensity and the harshness are effects that you sometimes want, but not always.
Yet when you take care to idiomatically craft your arcs with vib and non vib, and across the dynamic layers, then somehow the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Somehow the vibrato softens the non vib, and the non vib softens the vib. Crafting a note a note across two or three dynamic layers interacts with the vibrato, and the vibrato interacts with the dynamic layers. There’s a real sweetness and subtlty to be found, I think make all the sweeter by the presence of the harshness of the non vib.
3. This probably isn’t the library to mock of Beethoven quartets. I’m not actually convinced there’s anything that gets remotely close to credible Beethovensque quartet mock ups (maybe Sacconi, if anything).
That said, once you get the hang of crafting the arcs with vibrato and across the dynamic layers,you really have the capacity to craft interactions in your lines to get that ‘string quartet effect’ - where, as someone on another thread put it ‘you can hear the players watching eachother’s wrists’.
You could probably never get this with with something like The Bohemian instrument where the arcs are baked in - it does sound great on its own, but in the presence of other instrument, you have so little control over the shape of arcs that you basically need to write everything else around it.
And so while there are clear limitations on just how much quarter work this will be good for, the same design decisions that makes crafting the arcs more difficult than the Bohemian approach - where the shape of the arc is pre baked) or the Joshua bell approach (where you have no control over the shape of the arc on a singe note, unless you use the simulated vib, which I don’t) - this same ‘limitation’ also opens up an expressive space that is largely unexplored, but has at some promise for at least a certain type of quartet work.
The examples that I keep sharing are these:
On crafting the arcs - note how the vibrato is constant shifting, and how it’s an essential part of the over shape of the arcs , and it’s here entirely controlled by the ‘performance vibrato’ script. (on a more practical level, it saves you from having to cc21 up and down something line ~400 times in just these two little noodles).
This kind of crafting of the arcs is far beyond anything that CSSS or the Joshua Bell could do. You’d need to go to something like Chris Hein to craft arcs like this - and while CH would give you smoother transitions, it comes at a severe cost to the overall sonority, which is endemic to the more sophisticated phase alignment and other techniques that the CH class of instruments employs.
Second , a little noodle that again shows the kind of delicate arcs you can craft (the first chairs violin, when you crank up the volume to really hear the textures of the p layer, had a wonderful, textural, I somethings think of it as a ‘neoclassical’ quality) - with the bits the end being suggestive that there’s at least some quartet potential here:
These use the first chairs Vl only. But meanwhile, the virtuosic violin is an entirely different beast - check out some of the examples on the thread quoted above, especially the one posted by @jbuhler - which shows that it has an amazing (and barely documented) rocochett Legato. It also has a some progressive legato capabilities build in, which can be used to great effect.
My own (much less skilled) experiments with the virtuosic violin includes a go at mocking up Part’s Fratres - at first the mention of Fratres in the marketing seemed like marketing happy talk. But with the release of the virtuosic Vl, not so much. I don’t think there’s anything else out there that could get close to the arpeggio/ricochet legatos of the first section:
So to answer the OP
1) it is light years beyond the old Spitfire solo strings. and completely different in its conception. I haven’t even talked about the non legato patches. And I probably would have bought the library just for all the amazing sonorities you can craft from the non-legato patches.
2) this is an enormous question. But hopefully you can get some sense from the above of the sweet spot(s) that this library covers in the universe of possible solo string lines.
Not that my sense of what the library’s sweet spots are is any way definitive. It’s just that this library really hits the sweet spots that I was sorely missing in instruments like the Joshua Bell and the Bohemian.
I'd be interested to try your beta version of the script.
Yes, the sound is good but the vibrato issue makes this library totally useless to me.
I can PM it to you - although I really should have mentioned that it’s prototyped as a Logic script for the moment - so probably only helpful if you use Logic.
I don't use Logic but Cubase 10 Pro so that's a shame. Not sure if this could be done in Kontakt or Cubase itself?
That’s a pity - and there’s no equivalent of the Logic’s Scripter in Cubase?
I think once I have it nailed down a port to ksp will be perfectly straightforward. I much prefer to have it saved in the Kontakt patches in any event.
I will have to check what's possible in Cubase 10. It agree that a KSP script or a fix in the patches themselves would be best.
AFAIKT Cubase only has an input transformer which has 4 options (modules) to convert an incoming midi event to something else which is limited IMO. I'd be interested to see how the Logic script looks so I can get an idea of how to handle this. Maybe there are external midi transformer tools for Cubase that allow me to script in code?
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