No offense taken. Looking forward to talking more about it! CheersNo problem talking about this a little further if you like, Mr. Strezov, but I don't do social media — never have and never will — nor Skype. But we can e-mail of course. I'll try and get in touch with you through your company's website. (I don’t do PM’s here either, I’m afraid.) If I had a car and a driver's license, I'd love to drive up to Strezov's Towers
— Belgium>Bulgaria is bridgeable with today's vehicles, I suppose — and have that beer with you which you so kindly offered, but I fear I don't have those either. So, e-mail it must be.
Sorry about the use of the adjective 'cheap', by the way. That's not quite the most exact word for what I wanted to say. (And I certainly never intended to suggest that things sound 'bad'.) Instead of 'cheap', it should have been a word that differentiates between the glossy, multi-million-dollar sound of today’s high-end orchestral recordings, on the one hand, and the warm, somewhat retro-ish sound of Afflatus, on the other. The latter not necessesarily being worse or anything, far from it — and certainly having a character which I really like — but, to my ears, not having that high-fidelity ‘detail deluxe’ which today’s state-of-the-art soundtrack recordings often have.
Thanks in advance for considering to implement some of my suggestions in an update!
Where is the review of Chris ? I don't even find it on youtube ???The two video reviews/overviews/walkthroughs that have appeared thus far — Chris’s and Cory’s — are both a bit too awe-struck and reverential, I find. As if Afflatus is manna from String Library Heaven. A flawless game-changer. Which, in my opinion, is far from the case.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I think Afflatus is certainly a great and versatile collection of strings samples, but sadly, locked in uncontrollable patches and limited greatly, in my opinion anyway, by the all-too-overbearing ‘vision’ of its developer.
Moreover, it’s got a peculiar sound which, I’m sure, won’t please all tastes. If, for example, you’re looking for a glossy ‘expensive’ Hollywood-ish stringssound (as they cook it up in a.o. Los Angeles and London), Afflatus — despite being clearly score-oriented in its design (to my mind, annoyingly so) — contains very little to get excited about.
The sound of Afflatus is, to my ears, more the sound of a 70’s or 80’s continental European film orchestra. Noticeably thinner and cheaper sounding than the full, rich, high-end, widescreen L.A./London-sound we’ve come to associate with the contemporary silver screen. It’s the sonic equivalent of the difference between VHS and Blueray. Afflatus, to my ears, is positioned more in the VHS area of that comparison. (In that respect, Afflatus reminds me of many of Sonokinetic’s libraries that also have a slightly dated, not-quite-top-of-the-game, European sound.)
(That somewhat backwards-looking 'movie music'-philosphy behind Afflatus is also apparent in the choice of films its patches reference. It’s nearly all stuff from several decades ago.)
Now, I happen to rather like this quaint, retro-ish sound, so Afflatus’ sonic stamp doesn’t bother me at all, but I do think it’s worth pointing out that it is what it is, to prevent disappointment among those who consider a purchase.
What *does* bother me though, and rather a lot, is the near complete absence of any options to mould the contents of this library to one’s own musical preferences and control its behaviour.
To give just one example: many of the spicc/short patches are programmed in such a way that they have a very narrow dynamic range. (For those who own Afflatus: try, say, the Violins II Spicc patch to hear what I mean.) I suppose the developer must have had good reasons for doing it this way, but for the life of me, I can’t even guess what those reasons might have been, and I find it terribly frustrating. And even more frustrating is the fact that there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. There’s no parameter to control the dynamic response, and the patch is locked. And nearly all of the short articulation patches don’t even respond to #11 either, which means that the only control you have over them is ‘volume’. Not quite what you hope to find in a 2018 sample library, I’d say. Especially when the number of velocity layers in many of these patches rarely exceeds 2 (unless my ears deceive me).
Suppose I want to modulate the attack via velocity? Can’t do it. Suppose I want to control the decay of the tenuto’s? Can’t do it. Suppose I want to lower the sustain in the longs, to obtain a more portato-like articulation? Sorry, no can do. Suppose I want to change the level of the half-sections in the combined patches? No. Or suppose I want to write a line for the Chamber Violins spicc without the rest of the ensemble interfering? Again … not possible. And, sadly, there are just way too many of these questions that have been popping up in my head to which the answer is invariably: no, that’s not an option.
That last question, the one about the Chamber Violins spicc’s, brings me to another serious problem, and that is the strong ensemble-oriented concept of Afflatus. While this has a number of advantages and conveniences, there’s one major problem and that is that you’re stuck with how the 4 sections of the string orchestra are spread out over the ensemble. Wouldn’t be a problem if all of the ensemble articulations were also available for the individual sections, but they aren’t. So if you want to play, say, a cello part with the ‘Contemporary Strings’, everytime you venture into basses or violas territory, these two sections will join in as well, no matter whether that is what you want or not. And again: there’s nothing you can do about this.
Especially for those who take their orchestration technique seriously and want to adhere to the established principles of orchestration in their writing, these ‘hard-wired’ ensembles will quicky prove something of a disappointment.
Despite all of the above though, Afflatus is, in my view, a success. It does contain several ‘golden patches’ — things which you’ll look for in vain in other string libraries — and I do remain of the opinion that it is very much worth its considerable price. But … you *really* have to like the way it sounds. If you’re even in the smallest doubt about that, I would cautiously suggest to look elsewhere.
And to the developer: *please* open up the patches. Or, at least, provide open alternatives for a selection of the current patches, particularly the ensembles and section-shorts. That would instantly increase the appeal, power and versatily of Afflatus to no end. And I, for one, would be immensely grateful. Thanks.
I won't go into details but I decided for personal reasons to remove the review as well as shutdown my Samples Spotlight channel indefinitely. Being the commercial thread, I don't want it going off topic so we will leave it at that. And, before the conspiracies start brewing, Strezov Sampling did not ask me to remove the review and had zero effect on my decision to put Samples Spotlight to rest. I do stand by my review for those who watched and honestly love this library.Where is the review of Chris ? I don't even find it on youtube ???
OK, it's your decision, I respect your choice...I won't go into details but I decided for personal reasons to remove the review as well as shutdown my Samples Spotlight channel indefinitely. Being the commercial thread, I don't want it going off topic so we will leave it at that. And, before the conspiracies start brewing, Strezov Sampling did not ask me to remove the review and had zero effect on my decision to put Samples Spotlight to rest. I do stand by my review for those who watched and honestly love this library.
@re-peat - Haha. I think you miss-characterized my opinions with an unhealthy dose of hyperbole but I will say, based on my opinions as well, that Afflatus is a game changer for me and my workflow given the current work I do. But, again, that's my opinion based on my experience. Like all music software, your mileage may vary.
That's because George is just a fantastic person!Now one thing I really must say George, your approach to criticism and the politeness of your replies is a real breath of fresh air and your willingness to listen and respond stellar.
I hope you keep this up, as there are a few other developers who seem to have lost sight of that.
As someone who works in the creative industries, I know how soul crushing "constructive criticism" can feel especially so soon after you have launched your product.