WIP waltz. Anyone can help me get more out of these samples?
KGS
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#1
27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
  #1
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Thread Starter
WIP waltz. Anyone can help me get more out of these samples?

I decided to write a waltz. Any suggestions on how to make this sound better?

I know I need to work on the strings in the beginning but there are probably lots of things I should fix that someone else is better at spotting than myself!

Notice that it's incomplete, so near the end stuff gets weird.

Edit: Added version 3
Edit: Added version 4
#2
29th February 2012
Old 29th February 2012
  #2
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Nice to hear something different! Bringing it Old School!

The biggest problem is the strings, they just don't sound very real. In a string heavy track like this variations in expression are vital for "perceived realism", no amount of trickery with reverbs or anything like that will help I'm afraid. I'm not sure if anything but the expensive orchestral libraries have this unfortunately, but what you'd need ideally is the ability to control expression (intensity, vibratos etc) with automation or similar.
KGS
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#3
29th February 2012
Old 29th February 2012
  #3
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Thread Starter
Yeah I agree what you say about the strings. Right now everything is programmed manually. I'm going to try some stuff the expression controller to add more variation.
#4
2nd March 2012
Old 2nd March 2012
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KGS View Post
Yeah I agree what you say about the strings. Right now everything is programmed manually. I'm going to try some stuff the expression controller to add more variation.
I don't know what samples you're using, so I don't know what sort of limitations you have on dynamics, vibrato, attacks, et cetera, but it feels like most (all?) of the sustained notes swell unrealistically, and many of them don't have much of an attack, if any (also not realistic). The staccatos aren't as bad.

I have to pick and choose from various sample sets I have, because they all have their own unique traits and constraints. Some have too much vibrato in the samples themselves, some don't have realistic aggressive tones, some don't have realistic fortissimos, or crescendos/decrescendos, et cetera. If you're limited in your selection, it can be extraordinarily difficult to get realistic sounding strings -- i.e., more manual labor.

I don't know what sort of violin music you typically listen to (if any?), but try listening to some solo stuff if you mostly listen to quartets/orchestras. Listening to some solo violins with a lot of variety in dynamics and expression can help you become more familiar with some of the subtleties of the instrument (I'm assuming, of course, that you don't play violin yourself).
#5
2nd March 2012
Old 2nd March 2012
  #5
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The woodwind at 0.47" sounded a bit ... plastic.

Your post made me look out a piece I haven't heard since I was about 10, so thanks for that!

KGS
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#6
3rd March 2012
Old 3rd March 2012
  #6
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Thanks for the comments. I'll upload an improved version soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanpdx View Post
I don't know what samples you're using, so I don't know what sort of limitations you have on dynamics, vibrato, attacks, et cetera, but it feels like most (all?) of the sustained notes swell unrealistically, and many of them don't have much of an attack, if any (also not realistic). The staccatos aren't as bad.
What I'm using is a low-attack sample as basic legato patch and then using a patch with some swell on it for emphasis on longer notes.

The version I have now which has yet to be uploaded has:
1: Replaced the low-attack notes with some with more some with more defined attack
2: Most of the slow-attack notes have been given additional vibrato

This has been done with violins, violas and cellos. I haven't done any changes to the double basses yet. Not sure if it's necessary.

Another reply mentioned that the english horn sounds plastic at some point and yes this is true. I do some really bad arpeggio thing there that I will tone down. It sounded good in my head and less good in practice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanpdx View Post
I have to pick and choose from various sample sets I have, because they all have their own unique traits and constraints. Some have too much vibrato in the samples themselves, some don't have realistic aggressive tones, some don't have realistic fortissimos, or crescendos/decrescendos, et cetera. If you're limited in your selection, it can be extraordinarily difficult to get realistic sounding strings -- i.e., more manual labor.
The set I'm using right now is good, I'm just not yet used to working with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanpdx View Post
I don't know what sort of violin music you typically listen to (if any?), but try listening to some solo stuff if you mostly listen to quartets/orchestras. Listening to some solo violins with a lot of variety in dynamics and expression can help you become more familiar with some of the subtleties of the instrument (I'm assuming, of course, that you don't play violin yourself).
Can you reccomend any good solo violin works to listen to? From the top of my head all I can think of right now is Vanessa Mae :P
#7
3rd March 2012
Old 3rd March 2012
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KGS View Post
What I'm using is a low-attack sample as basic legato patch and then using a patch with some swell on it for emphasis on longer notes.

The version I have now which has yet to be uploaded has:
1: Replaced the low-attack notes with some with more some with more defined attack
2: Most of the slow-attack notes have been given additional vibrato

This has been done with violins, violas and cellos. I haven't done any changes to the double basses yet. Not sure if it's necessary.
Cool. Hopefully that will help. Be careful with vibrato, though. Admittedly that's a personal thing. But so many people think strings have to be all vibrato 'n' stuff. Phooey. It's an embellishment. Too much is a bad thing.

Quote:
Another reply mentioned that the english horn sounds plastic at some point and yes this is true. I do some really bad arpeggio thing there that I will tone down. It sounded good in my head and less good in practice.
Heehee. That happens to me a lot. I'm not sure if the problem is in my head, or in the failed attempt at properly getting the idea out onto paper (or computer, or whatever).

Quote:
Can you reccomend any good solo violin works to listen to? From the top of my head all I can think of right now is Vanessa Mae :P
Well, what immediately comes to mind are all of (J.S.) Bach's solo violin works (Sonatas and Partitas). Some of it's pretty intense stuff, and it's far too early to be demonstrative of slow waltz stuff, but they can definitely give you an idea of what violins can do and how they can really sound. Be sure to find a good quality recording by a good quality performer. Some of the later romantic (19th c.) composers might be good for stylistic cues, but I mostly listen to piano in that period. If nothing else, finding some good quartets wouldn't be bad; you can still pick out the violin 1 and 2 from the viola and cello, and you don't get that big "section" sound, so you can hear some of the subtleties.
KGS
Thread Starter
#8
3rd March 2012
Old 3rd March 2012
  #8
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Thread Starter
The latest version uploaded! (version 4)

The violins have been reworked.
1: Almost all swells have been removed
2: I've minimized use of the attack-less violins
3: The english horn arpeggio has been changed.
#9
4th March 2012
Old 4th March 2012
  #9
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Listened to version 4 only, coming along nicely. My recommendation is to bring in one live violin in the mix, this will usually disguise any internal mix, soundtracking for movies on a budget will mostly shy away from an abundance of live players to achieve an equivalent.
KGS
Thread Starter
#10
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #10
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by AfterViewer View Post
Listened to version 4 only, coming along nicely. My recommendation is to bring in one live violin in the mix, this will usually disguise any internal mix, soundtracking for movies on a budget will mostly shy away from an abundance of live players to achieve an equivalent.
Thanks!

If I understand you, you suggest that the live violin should double the sampled violins in unison? That sounds similar to what I've been told is a good way to use sampled choirs.

Now I'll have to ask a followup question: I've done very little actual audio recording in my life. I've done lots of midi programming and recording, but little audio. If I were to attempt to do what you suggest, I would record the violin and place it only barely audible above the other violins. It would add a little life and colour without coming out sounding like a solo violin. Is this they way you mean?

As for reverb, I guess I would use a reverb to match the room of the orchestral samples I'm using right now, too?
#11
6th March 2012
Old 6th March 2012
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KGS View Post
Thanks!

If I understand you, you suggest that the live violin should double the sampled violins in unison? That sounds similar to what I've been told is a good way to use sampled choirs.

Now I'll have to ask a followup question: I've done very little actual audio recording in my life. I've done lots of midi programming and recording, but little audio. If I were to attempt to do what you suggest, I would record the violin and place it only barely audible above the other violins. It would add a little life and colour without coming out sounding like a solo violin. Is this they way you mean?

As for reverb, I guess I would use a reverb to match the room of the orchestral samples I'm using right now, too?
Yes.
#12
6th March 2012
Old 6th March 2012
  #12
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Version 4 sounds much better!
KGS
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#13
7th March 2012
Old 7th March 2012
  #13
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanpdx View Post
Version 4 sounds much better!
Great!

I'll just have to figure out some way to END this song. Endings have always been my weakness.
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