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Orchestral-style strings on the Octatrack?
Old 16th October 2013
  #1
Orchestral-style strings on the Octatrack?

Sup dudes-
I need strings in my songs that I can sequence and arp as needed, and I’d like them to sound fairly natural and real, rather than synthesized. I can make synth strings on my Juno easily enough but it’s still a synth sound, and for my purposes right now I need it to sound more “real”.

I’ve played around with single-cycle stuff from Adventure Kid Waveforms, with less than stellar results. I sampled a few loops of sounds like I wanted off the net, but then couldn’t really get it to sound natural in the OT.

So, I’m wondering- If you guys were going to use the OCTATRACK (emphasis because that’s what I have, this isn’t a gear suggestion thread.) to make orchestral-style string sounds, what are some of the techniques you would employ? How would you make it sound more natural and real? I hate using the computer for anything except recording demos, but I will if you guys tell me to lol, just need the goods!

So, not sorry if this is a noob question, I’m a noob on the OT. Thanks in advance!


Gear I have:
Octatrack
Tempest
Juno-106
Korg MS-20 mini
Computer: Reason (4 lol), Reaper, Waves (8 I think) various freebies off sharewaremusicmachine…
Old 17th October 2013
  #2
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oldgearguy's Avatar
 

Why not use the OT MIDI sequencer to trigger strings on another box/computer?

If you want to stay away from the computer there's tons of rackmount units with great string sounds. Sampling and arranging samples across the keys is not something the OT is particularly good at; certainly not like the Emus or Akais or Rolands.
Old 17th October 2013
  #3
Loads of sources from software to racks ... problem with strings is trying to emulate the velocities and tremolos players will impart ... crazy work to do ...
if in a hurry or if it s on a classical side u want them u should consider ACTION STRINGS by NATIVE INSTRUMENTS ...

Worth the money spent i think !!!!!!


PEACE


MORDICUS
Old 17th October 2013
  #4
ACTION STRINGS by NATIVE INSTRUMENTS looks intense. I think if I was gonna spend that kind of money, I'd go with hardware.
I'm on a hardware kick and not current with software knowledge. I might look into a Roland M-OC1 or M-SE1 if I decide to buy something, they seem to get love here...

I guess I was looking for a little more in depth Octatrack knowledge, like if someone had already done what I am attempting.

That being said, I appreciate the replies and the input.
Old 17th October 2013
  #5
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oldgearguy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtrhaus View Post
ACTION STRINGS by NATIVE INSTRUMENTS looks intense. I think if I was gonna spend that kind of money, I'd go with hardware.
I'm on a hardware kick and not current with software knowledge. I might look into a Roland M-OC1 or M-SE1 if I decide to buy something, they seem to get love here...

I guess I was looking for a little more in depth Octatrack knowledge, like if someone had already done what I am attempting.

That being said, I appreciate the replies and the input.
It's simply a matter of using the right tool for the job. Yes, you *could* sample some strings and play around with a bunch of samples at different pitches and then trigger them and shape the envelopes and filters and such, but why?

You can make an entire CD using nothing but a DX-7, but again - why? The goal is not an intellectual exercise to show how clever you are or how much diversity you can wring out of a piece of gear. It's to make music. Use the tools that get the job done and move on. Use the OT for what it does best.

Sure I have a pair of OTs and can make them do strange and wonderous things. But, I also have an Akai S6000, a Memotron rack, and a Kurzweil K250 rack to handle playback of well sampled instruments, sound effects, etc. I don't waste a moment trying to make the OT do what the S6000 does best.
Old 17th October 2013
  #6
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shponglefan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtrhaus View Post
ACTION STRINGS by NATIVE INSTRUMENTS looks intense. I think if I was gonna spend that kind of money, I'd go with hardware.
When it comes to realism of orchestral instruments, software trumps hardware any day of the week.

Personally, if I was going to use realistic instruments in the OT, I'd sequence them on the PC then sample various music phrases w/ the OT. Alternatively, you could build up a lib of one-shot samples for each note, although you'll not likely achieve realistic results that way sequencing on the OT.
Old 17th October 2013
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgearguy View Post
It's simply a matter of using the right tool for the job. Yes, you *could* sample some strings and play around with a bunch of samples at different pitches and then trigger them and shape the envelopes and filters and such, but why?

You can make an entire CD using nothing but a DX-7, but again - why? The goal is not an intellectual exercise to show how clever you are or how much diversity you can wring out of a piece of gear. It's to make music. Use the tools that get the job done and move on. Use the OT for what it does best.

Sure I have a pair of OTs and can make them do strange and wonderous things. But, I also have an Akai S6000, a Memotron rack, and a Kurzweil K250 rack to handle playback of well sampled instruments, sound effects, etc. I don't waste a moment trying to make the OT do what the S6000 does best.
Understood, and accepted as truth. As stated, Octatrack noob here. My motivation to do this doesn't spring from some need to exploit the OT in some grandiose way, quite the opposite. It's my only sequencer/sampler, and I am still learning the capabilities of the sampling half, I'm ok with the sequencer having owned a Monomachine before. Also, it wouldn't hurt my wallet if I didn't have to slut for a while, and it wouldn't hurt my sanity if I didn't have to learn yet another box.

I'm still barely cutting my teeth on the OT, and the damn Tempest just sits there laughing at me because I'm too addicted to the damn OT. There's a post from like 2 days ago where I said I was gonna ignore the OT for a while and compose on the Tempest...that lasted like 3 hours...I get up in the middle of the night and crack out on the OT...I'm in deep. Too bad everything still sounds like robots f$%king...

On a side note I finally got my ASIO drivers working right so I'm sequencing the NN-xt in Reason from the OT for strings, and it's not too bad...but it's no LSO either...I see what you all mean about software and ITB stuff for this, I'll probably end up sequencing parts ITB and triggering loops in the OT as suggested for this, I'm stubborn but I also like to get **** done, so thanks!
Old 17th October 2013
  #8
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oldgearguy's Avatar
 

I think of the OT as a monophonic modular playground for samples.

It's perfectly fine to have a "works for now" solution while keeping an eye open for a reasonable cost upgrade path later. Things like strings and horns are very particular. Each company has a core library of sounds and whether you like Roland strings better than Korg or Emu or Kurzweil is really a matter of the style you're working in and what you grew up listening to.

I agree that software libraries can potentially provide amazing recreations, but not everyone needs that or wants a computer in the mix. So IMHO there will always be a place for hardware.
Old 17th October 2013
  #9
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slaughtrhaus View Post
... I need strings in my songs that I can sequence and arp as needed
You might also consider libraries of sampled phrases instead of individual notes meant to be played from a keyboard:

Just off the top of my head, two come to mind:
Disco Strings, Strings Sample CD, Disco Strings Loops, Organic Loops
Loops & Samples: Orchestral 1: Classical
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