What's new

Thoughts on OT Berlin Strings

galactic orange

Sensor Number
Acknowledging that BWW has its issues, does anybody find Berlin Strings EXP A and EXP B useful? They appear to have a solid set of articulations for sul tasto.
 

Ihnoc

Active Member
Regarding RAM usage, a lot of Orchestral Tool's instruments overhead is down to the amount of zones in each group (samples per microphone position) which contributes to Object Memory. If you're like me and only use a microphone position or two, you can remove these zones from their groups and re-save the instrument, often for a substantial RAM reduction.

Explanation here:
https://vi-control.net/community/threads/reducing-berlin-series-instruments-memory-usage.77592/

Worth mentioning that Object Memory from zones in unused groups is, as far as I am aware, an issue outside of Orchestral Tool's instruments as well - it's just not as pronounced because other libraries don't have the same round robin, velocity layer and microphone breadth.
 
Last edited:

Vik

Scandi Member
An example: When you listen to a library with 8 violins you often hear twice as many instruments due to all the crossfading between dynamic layers. So, when you're in the middle of a crossfade between a recording of 8 violins playing mezzoforte and 8 violins playing fortissimo, you hear 16 violins – even if only 8 were recorded: you hear two different recordings of the same players at the same time.
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
An example: When you listen to a library with 8 violins you often hear twice as many instruments due to all the crossfading between dynamic layers. So, when you're in the middle of a crossfade between a recording of 8 violins playing mezzoforte and 8 violins playing fortissimo, you hear 16 violins – even if only 8 were recorded: you hear two different recordings of the same players at the same time.
I'm not sure it's really perceived that way.

likewise, if you use velocity and dynamic switching - you can eliminate that effect entirely, and it doesn't sound that way.

if I use a 2d xfade between two sustains - and my dynamics are right between dynamic layers - it certainly doesn't sound like 16 contrabass.
 

Vik

Scandi Member
I’m looking at EXP A and EXP B while they’re on sale. They sound great, but I don’t have Berlin Strings Main. I do have CSS, SCS, and SStS. SCS offers lots of articulations like this already and sounds amazing. Would getting these expansions be redundant?
The main strength of the EXP A and EXP B is in my opinion the sul tasto articulations, which has three dynamic layers (for the violin). CSS has no sul tasto, SCS has sul tasto with two dynamic violin layers, and four players.)
The Berlin sul tastos sustains come in two different versions, with soft/immediate attack. The Berlin cello sul tasto has three dynamic layers (and 5 players), the SCS sul tasto cello has one dynamic level (and three players). These libraries also sound quote different from each other, so if you check demos/walkthroughs and need that Berlin sound, go for it – unless you can get something similar from SStS, I don't have that library so I can't compare). But I know several Berlin String owners who are at least as happy with the sound of the the expansion kit as they are with the main library.

if I use a 2d xfade between two sustains - and my dynamics are right between dynamic layers - it certainly doesn't sound like 16 contrabass.
Hi, with the Berlin Sul tastos, it immediately sounds like more players once you go from only hearing the mp layer to hearing a mix of mp and f, and the same happens between p and mp. But I have the feeling that some libraries don't always crossfade when they say they crossfade; instead, it sometimes sounds like they add another layer on top of what you already hear (with some smart volume control happening in the background).

I certainly don't know the technicalities behind this, but t often sounds to me that I hear more players than the advertised number of players, and can't find any other reason for that than the fact that when a crossfade is being made, we hear two different recordings at the same time.
This means that with Spitfire Symphonic Strings, which has 16 V1s, we often hear 32 violins... and while there's a lot to like with SSS, the first feeling I got when buying Mural some years ago was that I should have bought a library with fewer players! :) This has to do with taste, of course, but personally I think string instruments sound more like string instruments when there aren't too many of them. :)
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
except it doesn't actually work like that. I'm someone who usually champions the idea of divisi libraries for the reason of build up - but it simply doesn't work out like that.

point: 2d xfade between two sustain patches - between 2 different dynamic layers - would result in 20 celli being heard. Does this sound anything like HZS 20 celli? And similiarly - 20 solo string samples really don't sound like an ensemble of 20 string players.

I think crossfading between the berlin expansion and the main library is almost required to get the most of out the breadth of sounds you can make with it... but unlike solo instruments - these ensembles crossfade well.
 

Vik

Scandi Member
Hi again, I also have some thoughts about why it doesn't sound like a doubled number of strings even if we hear recordings of twice as many players in crossfade situations, and I also generally think that crossfading in Berlin Strings work well; it' a favourite library of mine. And yes, crossfading is a different story in solo instruments. However, I generally don't think BS sounds "thin" due to a too low number of instruments pr. section.

And, btw, there may be ways to crossfade without increasing number of instruments as well, eg. by – when creating an ensemble of 8 players – also add an 'under the hood' layer which chimes in when there are no crossfades... meaning that when listening to only mezzoforte, we would hear two layers of 4 instruments playing mf. And please don't ask me about how this should be done in detail: I have no answer to that anyway! :)

The main limitation for me (for the main library) is that I miss a vibrato level under molto vib, and that I wish there was an easy way to to crossfade between vib levels without eg. opening two different instances of the same library and configure them as crossfadeable. In EXP A and B sul tastos this isn't a problem, because there is no molto vib and because these recordings are avoiding the most intense expressions anyway.
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
If you read the last page, theres a video of crossfading between sul tasto/normal sustains/sul pont. That's probably the best way to use them.
 

shawnsingh

Active Member
Yeah I remember you explaining that, it was brilliant. My thought here was in reference to a few pages back, people feeling like the main library didn't have large enough section size for occasional needs.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
Why do you say that?

They showed this as a feature, im not sure they would suddenly get cold feet on a feature that doesn't seem overly complicated in the first place
We'll see. I'll be very happy if they can tame the RAM needs of their instruments. But the history of developing effective alternatives to Kontakt makes me skeptical about the whole proposition and it's likely to take them several years to have full on functionality that rivals Kontakt. Again, I'll be happy to be proven wrong.
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]that was the video, I could have sworn I posted it to this thread, but either way. [/COLOR]

[COLOR=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8)]

We'll see. I'll be very happy if they can tame the RAM needs of their instruments. But the history of developing effective alternatives to Kontakt makes me skeptical about the whole proposition and it's likely to take them several years to have full on functionality that rivals Kontakt. Again, I'll be happy to be proven wrong.
the biggest issue with ram usage is the zones for all the mics ect. 1.) because kontakt cant turn these off, and 2.) actually using multiple mics is a straight up multiplier for ram use from samples.

1.) the OT sample player isn't designed to host wavetable synths, ect. Kontakt is a very broad purpose platform - and OT doesn't have to have features that aren't useful to it bloating it.

2.) they literally showcased the process of mixing down a mic blend for ram consumption.

they might not deliver, as spitfire didn't seem to have a great time... however - the library SF released with it also didn't do well, which might be a large portion of it. Play isn't the worst engine in the world, despite the flak it gets. Even halion player isn't that bad. Just because SF kind of bombed(pun intended) doesn't mean OT's will - and to even hold the opinion like that seems oddly defeatist given human history.[/COLOR]
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
the biggest issue with ram usage is the zones for all the mics ect. 1.) because kontakt cant turn these off, and 2.) actually using multiple mics is a straight up multiplier for ram use from samples.

1.) the OT sample player isn't designed to host wavetable synths, ect. Kontakt is a very broad purpose platform - and OT doesn't have to have features that aren't useful to it bloating it.

2.) they literally showcased the process of mixing down a mic blend for ram consumption.

they might not deliver, as spitfire didn't seem to have a great time... however - the library SF released with it also didn't do well, which might be a large portion of it. Play isn't the worst engine in the world, despite the flak it gets. Even halion player isn't that bad. Just because SF kind of bombed(pun intended) doesn't mean OT's will - and to even hold the opinion like that seems oddly defeatist given human history
It took Play how long to not suck? Spitfire player isn't horrible, but it doesn't yet have the same functionality of Kontakt even in basic usage—not even talking about wavetable synth, etc. Just given that history we shouldn't be surprised if it takes several iterations for OT to get its sample player right. We already know what OT's priorities are when forced to choose between comprehensiveness and conservation of computing resources. Their new player may allow them to defer that choice longer but I really don't see that changing when confronting a situation that requires a real trade off between competing priorities.

I also haven't seen anything from OT about its sample player since it was announced. Maybe you have privileged information, maybe OT will defy the odds of software development and deliver exactly what they promised and more. But I very much doubt it. Best guess is people will be disappointed in missing features/strange feature implementation in the player and at how expensive the individual instruments turn out to be when purchased outside the library. In any case everything now is just speculation, and my skepticism will hopefully be proved wrong.
 
Top Bottom