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Verta's Race

Discussion in 'Tips, Tricks & Talk' started by Matthias Calis, Apr 2, 2023.

  1. #1 Matthias Calis, Apr 2, 2023
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2023
    I wanted to see if I could anything close to the (string) glue with virtual instruments. Years ago I had made some attempts and seemed pretty impossible to do convincingly, but that was before the latest version of CSS and before Adachi.

    My thinking was that Adachi should be able to do this. Adachi by itself is almost too clean however, and still a pain to line up the viola against the cello. It sounded better when I put CSS back in because that added a blurriness I was otherwise missing.

    Don't get me wrong. This stuff is still a pain in the ass to mock up, but I think this is getting maybe 60 or 70% of the way there? Certainly when buried in surrounding orchestration I think the results are promising.

    This is measure 21 to 29 from The Race. I forgot the clarinet, I'll add it later. Maybe do some more bars while I'm at it.

    Bones + Tuba = Samplemodeling
    1st Violins = CSS + CSSS
    Basses = CSS
    Clarinet (not in there but will likely be CSW or BWW)
    Violas and Cello = CSS + Adachi (P Village legato transitions for Viola and MF Instinct legato transitions for Cellos)

    @Mike Verta if you don't want me butchering your piece on something like soundcloud, let me know and I'll take it down. I've given credit in both the title and description.
  2. Might be the closest thing I've heard to this working in a mockup. Every time I've tried it, it just becomes all blurry and starts to sound more like a pad. Good job!

    Quick question about CSS, how are you finding the new version? I still think it has a lot of delay on the legato patches that drive me up the wall. Did you quantise the strings to make up for that?
  3. Thanks! Adachi is doing most of the heavy-lifting. I honestly don't know how many other VI strings there are with multiple types of round-robin legato. 8dio might be a shitty company, but the adagio stuff is just great. The only other one I can think of right now is OT's Berlin Symphonic strings, and maybe some of the VSL stuff.

    It still has that delay, but the expressive mode should be more playable. Or are you already using that? Nevertheless, I almost always use the delayed version because I like having that level of control. While I agree with Mike's idea of why you should play stuff in live, I still get better results if I do all the MIDI fuckery with a mouse. Thankfully, since I don't have any composing career whatsoever, I can afford to spend/waste hours on that stuff. I realize that for actual working composers, that just isn't an option.

    The strings are quantized-ish, but they're all dragged forward by about a 16th note. Even though both CSS and Adachi are quite consistent with their delays, I still had to move individual notes back and forth (and it's still fairly off the beat in places)
  4. I'm currently using the expressive mode and...well, I was hoping it would be better. It's still got more delay than I would like.

    For sure. I would much rather play things in live...but I find most libraries (particularly string libraries) don't really allow me to do that very well. You need to account for delays and all that garbage. There are only a handful of libraries that I can play in easily....but there's no string libraries like that yet which is annoying. I hate using strings so much right now.
  5. #5 Matthias Calis, Apr 2, 2023
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2023
    Uh, sorry I just realized I didn't really answer your question how I am finding CSS. To summarize: better than ever. I really like the individual spot mics. The marcato patch now also can do runs in the style of Cinematic Strings 2, which was pretty much the best simulated runs out there (imo). Not sure when the ability to X-fade the vibrato was added, but that's also quite useful to have ofc.

    For legato lines (or any sustained articulation) I think Hollywood Strings is still the most expressive without having much in the way of delay. Pretty much has a perfect balance between playability and still sounding good.

    The out of the box HWS sound however can be quite massively improved (improved being somewhat subjective of course). Maybe about half a year ago I kinda stumbled on an EQ curve that I really like on HWS. It makes it a bit darker, but also makes it much smoother and less harsh, it's in the folder linked below.

    This is for the Hollywood Strings Violins and Cellos. See the Pro-Q 3 Folder. The curve should be applied to the MID mics.


    Quick and dirty demos of HWS with and without FX are here: https://on.soundcloud.com/juiKR

    EDIT: I forgot I had a more recent example of HWS. This is Drawing The Battle Lines. All strings except violas are HWS:

    Duncan Formosa likes this.
  6. It's just so hard to get that to work virtually. And so easy to do live. I applaud the effort, and no I have no problem with you using the piece as a test source!
  7. #7 Matthias Calis, Apr 2, 2023
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2023
    Thanks, that's very generous. I'm going to see how far I can get with this before I have no hairs left to pull :)

    Edit: first mystery (to me), bar 4. All the woods are running up, but not the oboes... I wonder why? The only thing I can think of is breathing, but none of the other woods get this treatment.

    Michael Lückgen likes this.

  8. I think the simple answer is that the jump from C to the G in the lower octave would be a little too clumsy and unnecessary. It's a pretty big jump.

    Screen Shot 2023-04-06 at 2.44.50 PM.png

    There is no reason to make the oboe players jump an octave and a half to play these notes: the flutes and the clarinets are all playing the run, so you have enough volume for the notes to come out, so you're safe to drop the oboes. It's not like their sound contribution is so big for those 5 notes.

    You're basically asking for trouble if you write it like this. They're sightreading it and you want to minimize potential mistakes.

    If you really care about the oboes playing the run with everyone else, I guess you could write the part like this:
    Screen Shot 2023-04-06 at 2.45.10 PM.png
    Maybe the only downside is that it would reinforce the clarinet line (octave below) more than the flute (octave above), but it might be a negligible difference.

    Either way I don't think it makes much of a difference sonically speaking, so might as well keep the melody like it is and give them a little breath.
  9. Glad to see you on here! Thanks for the helpful post.
  10. Francesco is correct. Not getting much for it, kind of a jump, but also, the run is the decoration; a device being used as a sort of dynamic. It differs from the melodic line before it, and even the trilled note at the end. So I gave it its own slightly different, slightly less prominent color. Very subtle, but the sort of thing I'll do when I have ample time to really examine the score for efficiency.
  11. But they wouldn't have to jump down an octave and a half? They can just play in the same octave as the flutes. Though I suppose the trill would then be at the upper limit of the range.

    Thanks for that explanation!

    I was curious about this since it stood out immediately from just looking at the score.
  12. The trill is pretty much just a decoration, no reason to write it a the top of the playable range for oboes just for the sake of including them in the run (which is also just a decoration). You wouldn't get anything for writing it that way, and the players will look at you funny. Tbh, I'm not even 100% sure it's really playable in the really high octave.

    So, given that the E in the octave of the original score is really the only note that makes sense for the oboes, you start by working your way back to the previous measure. You'll see that you don't really have much of a choice but leave a little breath.
    Matthias Calis likes this.
  13. Worth repeating that this sort of detail might occur to an orchestrator with fresh eyes on a first pass, but I almost certainly wasn't as efficient when first writing. I tend to go very quickly to get things down, and then take a top-down view. Edit, edit, edit, edit.
    Matthias Calis likes this.
  14. #14 Matthias Calis, Apr 25, 2023
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2023
    Had another stab at the interlocking strings thing. I think it's better now. I had layered some stuff on top of Adachi which I've now removed. Also had a go at the first few bars. The trombones still suck, I know!

    Horn is tricky too, the attacks aren't right. Samplemodeling would be my first pick usually but it is too mellow for this kind of stuff.

    Samples are never going to beat live, but I think this is about as close as I can get. I'll be bold and conclude that samples (Adachi) can do interlocking strings but it takes a lot of MIDI nudging to get somewhat right.

    If you don't know what Adachi is, look below:
    Adachi is a complete reprogramming (and retiming of samples) of 8dio's Adagio done by Sarah Mancuso. If you want to get Adachi, you can find the patches here: https://vi-control.net/community/th...hreatens-reviewers-and-competing-devs.116094/

    You will need some libraries from 8dio, including old versions (v1) of Adagio that are not available through the storefront but can be purchased when their support is contacted. At least, that's how I got mine. Unfortunately there is a whole bit of drama surrounding 8dio, as a company, and also how they treated Sarah. I am not up to date on whether 8dio pulled some of these older libraries from their store in revenge, but I seem to recall that this was at least momentarily the case. Point being, I've got no idea if it's even still possible to get the v1 Adagio versions from 8dio at this time.

    So until @Aaron Venture blesses us with Infinite strings, I think this is the way to go for interlocking strings. I would still recommend Adachi beyond that one use however. Adagio has a very "live" sound and also a whole slew of uncommon articulations like loure, trills up to 4ths, trills with swells, etc. Definitely narrow the stereo image though because almost all 8dio stuff I've ever played with has a ping-pong delay kind of effect going on where the stereo image moves between left and right.
    Tom Welsh likes this.
  15. Bookmarking this, thanks for the tip!

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