Well, it's a few months down the line from my first WIVI post and I thought it was worth writing a sequel.
A few things have happened since that first post: -
- Wallander released WIVI woodwinds!
- I bought a breath controller
- I wrote a few more pieces using WIVI
...so I thought it was time for an update.
Firstly, I'm going to talk about using WIVI for the last few months. Like every piece of software or tool you learn new tricks and techniques and you develop a favourite method of working.
At the moment I'm using all instruments with the Dry Sample Library 3 preset. This takes reverb very well and keeps the warm and rounded sound (which we lose with the External reverb setting).
I've now begun working with the BC3 and (after some advice from Arne Wallander) I'm keeping the valve closed and letting air escape from the sides of my mouth. It seems to be an excellent setting for very responsive playing. Tonight I intend to mockup a couple of opening phrases from Star Trek First Contact to show off the sound of the horns and trumpets (with the Todd AO IR from Altiverb).
This of course frees up the mod wheel for other duties. In big orchestral works this can control standard vibrato. For jazz this can be used to control 'shake'. I recently created a Pink Panther pastiche called The Red Lion (what else could a Brit call it?) and the lead trumpet in the second half is controlled like this (hence the excessive amounts of shake).
Another useful piece of advice is to use multiple instances of WIVI. Unfortunately WIVI cannot split outputs for different instruments within an instance. Thankfully the CPU and RAM hits are absolutely minimal so it's pretty easy to create a whole heap of WIVI instances within your template. At extreme levels I guess you'd be able to create a WIVI instance for every single instrument. At the moment I tend to split them by groups: -
Left brass, right brass, left WW, right WW. This allows me to run the groups through appropriate Altiverb instances for placement.
Another potential issue comes with the specific sound you're looking for. If you set up one sound for that beautiful round Jurassic Park horn solo, it may have difficulty getting that Cape Fear style brassy stabs. At this point the common approach has been to use different sets of instruments for different effects. This might seem difficult but the same thing happens with using samples (legato, sustain, staccato, crescendo, etc) and even recording instruments (close mikes, adding muted instruments, etc).
So, one idea for those monstrous horn stabs is to combine open horns with muted or stopped horns, often using up to 8 horns for this idea. Also, moving the 'audience' onto the stage can really help to emphasise the staccato effect. One piece I worked on like this was a mockup of Battle of the Heroes where I was very pleased at how well I could reproduce the staccati in both the horns and trumpets.
Ok, I'm going to be up-front here and say that many of the woodwinds have not been as well received as the brass. Certainly the lower woodwinds have been popular and I particularly like the clarinet sounds. The oboes and flutes are usable but I am still going back to my samples in this area.
I am still working with these all the time to try and get an improved sound and one recommendation I have is to significantly increase the amount of breath noise in the flute. Also, consider mixing in a quiet flute with an overblown sound in there. I love the sound of John Williams' flutes and they tend to be very bright and breathy.
Still, working with WIVI is so convenient that it's worth perservering to get that great sound. Also, consider virtually 'close-miking' them for that intimate sound. One composer who manages to get amazing sounds is Roberto Soggetti and I highly recommend listening to his demos on the Wallander forum.
Still, I have been using the WIVI WW and they are quite strongly displayed on my piece Droid Arena where I specifically wanted to open with those big 5 octave woodwind chords which are all WIVI. The brass is mostly WIVI but I did double it with many sample libraries for that massive sound.
Wallander Instruments are very close to releasing a new version of their player which will incorporate a lot of very useful features that will massively expand the flexibility and usability of their instruments. Saxophones are going to follow as well...
What can I say? I really still like WIVI!