i am currently using string patches within logic 8 pro and vsl orchestra with kontakt2. although these packages have been ok in the past as i'm now doing more tv work i'm finding that the quality just isn't up to scratch. i'm aware that nothing will beat a live performance but as there is never a budget large enough to consider that does anyone have any advice on packages or techniques i should be looking into that will help avoid the "synth" sound i always seem to end up with.

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  • The only advice - layer strings and uneven rhytms in tracks - that is what makes those runs closer to the real thing. Unfortunately, when you have artificial sounding libraries (as most of them do), you will always complain. Unless you have something like LASS, I heard... ;)
  • There are three issues here.

    1. Knowing how to effectively write for strings.

    2. Having good sample libraries.

    3. Knowing which string writing techniques work best with samples to achieve a realistic sound.

    With these three pieces, even "unrealistic" strings can sound good.

    Even if you have LASS (see my initial review at www.soniccontrol.tv), you still need to know how to write for strings.

    The most realistic sounding electronic string parts are linear with minimum vertical harmony. Invest $17US into Corelli's Concerti Grossi (http://store.doverpublications.com/0486256065.html). The objective ISN'T writing like Corelli, but examining his vertical structures and then applying them to your writing style.

    Recently, we released From Piano to Strings (see www.truespec.com) and I wanted to use the newer libraries to create MIDI mockups of the examples in the book. Now, I had done this once before with a single library years ago - the original Synclavier strings, which at the time, were the best there were. When I listened back to the demo CD before it went to duplication, I killed the project. I wouldn't release it, because the one library sounded so synthy.

    So, TEN YEARS pass. Newer libraries. New 50th anniversary edition. I tried recording the same examples with individual libraries. Results - all failed. Every library sounded synthetic, including creating the dreaded organ sound.

    OBSERVATION - dense orchestral string writing doesn't work well with single string libraries - for 10 years!

    REALITY - simpler linear writing with open spacing using vertical intervals of thirds, sixths, and thirds and sixths in vertical octaves works the best - STILL!

    HOLLYWOOD REALITY - A problem with most string libraries isn't the absence of legato, it's the absence of a large Violins 1 section that sounds great in the high and very high registers to create a soaring emotional line. I beta tested both original Vienna libraries, First and Pro editions. Neither library, nor the strings in Logic (which are also licensed from Vienna) can achieve this. So you need that 18 Violins sound from QLSO Gold or Symphobia to have that tool.

    Peter Alexander
    Senior Communities
  • I got my hands finally on some of the string programs, which are: East West Symphonic Gold, and Sam Project Symphobia. I'm not sure what you prefer though, more options and customizations or upfront everything ready software? Symphobia just has a couple of presets, like Staccato laid out on the whole keyboard, then Tremolo laid and etc... East West Symphonic on the other hand, gives you option of loading only Violins , or only cello's or only Viola's.. Because the Symphobia loads all of the instruments already, doesn't matter if you are going to use cello's only or not, the other strings will be always part of the patch.

    But the sound is Great!!! They both sound amazing. Superior.

    And might I suggest, if you are making music for cinema or for yourself, try the program: East West StormDrummer 2..
  • Anyone of you who has EW Symphonic Orchestra libraries tried the patches called "run simulator"? I have not used it yet, but wanted to know how they work (as the name indicates their purpose for some fast string passages).

    Cheers,
    Michal
    • Hi Michal,

      Yes I've used them. There's no doubt that simulating fast string runs is REALLY REALLY difficult.

      I just used them and wrote in the fast runs. They're not bad but in the end I layered them with 5 other tracks (including the VSL Appassionata Trills, Symphobia stuff, chamber strings, solo strings) and EQ'd them like crazy to make them sound less full and I felt like I got a decent result. It's a ton of work though, no doubt.

      Here's an example ... http://www.jamessemple.com/ls/setnin1.mp3 ... the string run is right at the start.
  • Am I to understand that 'chops' means 'skills'?
  • Well it's quite simple. Load your 18 V run Simulator.
    Active the CC 65 (Portamento) and the CC5 in your midi editor.
    With the CC5 you will tune the lenght or the portamento efect. The lower CC5, the longuer Portamento effect

    It is describe in p102 of the User's Manual of the EWQLSO Gold Complete Play version

    Michal Cielecki said:
    Anyone of you who has EW Symphonic Orchestra libraries tried the patches called "run simulator"? I have not used it yet, but wanted to know how they work (as the name indicates their purpose for some fast string passages).

    Cheers,
    Michal
    struggling with "unrealistic" strings..any advice on software to use and techniques..
    i am currently using string patches within logic 8 pro and vsl orchestra with kontakt2. although these packages have been ok in the past as i'm now d…
  • Hey thanks for that info on the Run Simulator, I'd not seen that before!

    LeBeginner said:
    Well it's quite simple. Load your 18 V run Simulator.
    Active the CC 65 (Portamento) and the CC5 in your midi editor.
    With the CC5 you will tune the lenght or the portamento efect. The lower CC5, the longuer Portamento effect

    It is describe in p102 of the User's Manual of the EWQLSO Gold Complete Play version

    Michal Cielecki said:
    Anyone of you who has EW Symphonic Orchestra libraries tried the patches called "run simulator"? I have not used it yet, but wanted to know how they work (as the name indicates their purpose for some fast string passages).

    Cheers,
    Michal
    struggling with "unrealistic" strings..any advice on software to use and techniques..
    i am currently using string patches within logic 8 pro and vsl orchestra with kontakt2. although these packages have been ok in the past as i'm now d…
  • There are a bunch of good answers here. I would say that anything you choose to do will require a major investment in time and money to buy the right stuff and to learn how to really implement it properly. I have been focused on it since 2003 and every year I still have to shell out thousands and thousands in upgrades and spend countless hours in new templates and concepts. What about using a few live players mixed in at least, or maybe find a situation with a junior college orchestra that will practice your pieces enough to play them good enough to record? I find that even one strong soloist can change a mockup dramatically to sounding a lot more convincing
  • It's always a pleasure... ;-)

    James Semple said:
    Hey thanks for that info on the Run Simulator, I'd not seen that before!

    LeBeginner said:
    Well it's quite simple. Load your 18 V run Simulator.
    Active the CC 65 (Portamento) and the CC5 in your midi editor.
    With the CC5 you will tune the lenght or the portamento efect. The lower CC5, the longuer Portamento effect

    It is describe in p102 of the User's Manual of the EWQLSO Gold Complete Play version

    Michal Cielecki said:
    Anyone of you who has EW Symphonic Orchestra libraries tried the patches called "run simulator"? I have not used it yet, but wanted to know how they work (as the name indicates their purpose for some fast string passages).

    Cheers,
    Michal
    struggling with "unrealistic" strings..any advice on software to use and techniques..
    i am currently using string patches within logic 8 pro and vsl orchestra with kontakt2. although these packages have been ok in the past as i'm now d…
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