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Midi control hardware vs Pro and app
Last post Thu, Jun 05 2014 by jasensmith, 5 replies.
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Posted on Mon, Jun 02 2014 15:56
by themajor7
Joined on Thu, May 15 2014, Posts 3
Hello there, forum-ers.

I'm very (very) new to VSL and recently purchased Solo Strings 1 (standard library). My aim is to play expressive pieces as I write them, so really it's a creative tool in real-time as opposed to going back over the midi roll and tweaking everything until it's realistic at a later point.

My issue is how to best go about this. I have a weighted midi keyboard that I like, but this is a faux-piano with midi out, so I have no midi sliders, buttons etc to do anything beyond play the notes. I'm wondering how best to go about changing patches, such as going between a long sustained note to a portamento or gliss, in real time? Would it be best to purchase Instruments Pro and utilise the tablet app, or would a separate hardware controller be a better option - if so, any recommendations?

Lastly, and this is slightly off topic, I was wondering what real-world experience people had between the standard and extended (full) library of Solo Strings 1? Is the aim of getting this natural playing style a pipedream if I only have the standard library?

Many thanks in advance for your help, my brain is in a spin of how best to approach the software!
Posted on Tue, Jun 03 2014 05:53
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1469

It may be a question of budget but you really should consider purchasing the full library for any solo instrument collection.  Although the standard Solo Strings will take you a long way trying to do any virtuoso work with just the standard library will become frustrating after a while.  It would be like trying to paint the Sistine Chapel with only three colors.  There's only so much mixing the colors watering colors down and other tricks you could do before you just need more colors.  If you can't afford to upgrade then consider purchasing the Vienna Instruments Pro (especially now with the software offer they have going).  The time stretching and other features will allow you to "fake" variations on certain articulations, or create new ones, which is like having more articulations even though you really don't.  

Most people use keyswitches to change patches however some matrices work better with a mod wheel to switch between patches.  If you just have the standard library consider using the speed matrices for legato lines.

You are going to have to have some way of controlling things like expression, velocity crossfade and attack in real time for more natural sounding performances.  Not sure how you are going to do that without a mod wheel, breath control, or other MIDI controller device.  Otherwise you'll have to draw or program it depending on your sequencer.  Do you have a sequencer?

themajor7 wrote:
what real-world experience people had between the standard and extended (full) library of Solo Strings 1? Is the aim of getting this natural playing style a pipedream if I only have the standard library?

(See the first paragraph of my post)

However, if you're a virgin to the world of VSL a standard library might be a good entry point to familiarize yourself with the general ins and outs of the software.  When I purchased my first extended library I was a bit overwhelmed with all of the articulations thinking that I would never use most of them.  Not anymore!  In fact, sometimes I wonder if I'm going to have enough articulations to make my piece.


"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."
- W.C. Fields
Posted on Wed, Jun 04 2014 10:12
by themajor7
Joined on Thu, May 15 2014, Posts 3
Hello Jasensmith, and thank you very much for the detailed reply, it's helped me get more of an idea of the overall control I need.

Now, because I'm a simple chap, I'm not sure what my sequencer would be - sorry to be so utterly useless! I used Logic Pro X as my DAW, but I'm not sure if that info helps or not!?

The Instruments Pro upgrade is a great idea, and I've been looking at that as I love the idea of pitch variations in terms of the attack of the note, and that 'settling' into place for realism.

I don't have any of the mod wheel etc functions on my weighted keyboard sadly, so are there any hardware controllers you would recommend, or would using the free tablet app that comes with Instrument Pro be the sensible choice do you think?

Thanks again for your time, the forum is a really great place for newbies like me, and I love how involved everybody is - the product is fantastic and I can't wait to start being more creative with it.
Posted on Wed, Jun 04 2014 16:47
by FredB
Joined on Sat, Apr 01 2006, Montreal, Posts 668

Hi,

about playing live keyswitch and velocity crossfade, here hor I work and some other possibilities. 

I use a novation remote SL (37) witch have fully programmable button, faders and knobs. I only need 3 octave because all the keyswitch are made with the buttons. I have 88 weighted key for piano stuff too. 

If you want to play live, it's easier to trigger a single keyswitch to get an articulation. The remote app good for that because you only have to press a button for the x and y row.

You could use the mod wheel for velocity crossfades or if you want to free you left hand you could use a breath controllers (there is some cool new models but I could not name it, I have an old BC3).

The remote app is pretty nice. But its easier to play keyswitch on real buttons because you can feel it even if you dont look. it's easier to play on a 4X4 matrix than a 12x12 on the remote app...

You could even check for the leap motion GecoMidi app wich I use for live tracking. I combine Velocity crossfade (cc1) and Vibrato CrossFade (Cell Xfade cc20) in 2 simple gestures and it works great. But you cant use your left hand for keyswitch.

Fred

Master: Imac I7 32Gb Late 2013 - - OsX 10.13.6
Slave: Corei7 6800k 64gb - Win 10
Soft: Logic X 10.4.4 - ProTools 12.x - VE Pro 6 - VI Pro 2 - MIR
Posted on Thu, Jun 05 2014 06:50
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1469

themajor7 wrote:
I used Logic Pro X as my DAW, but I'm not sure if that info helps or not!?
 

I don't use Logic but I think it has sequencing capabilities.  It's usually like a piano roll view or something.  Maybe a Logic user can join the discussion about that.  What I do is arm a track, play the notes in then later program additional notes corresponding to the keyswitches set up in the matrix.  BTW you can create your own matrice setting up the keyswitches to your liking.

themajor7 wrote:
so are there any hardware controllers you would recommend, or would using the free tablet app that comes with Instrument Pro be the sensible choice do you think? .
 

I use a keyboard with controllers already built in so I have no experience with external controllers and subsequently can't recommend one for you.  Also, I'm not familiar with the free tablet.  I mentioned a breath controller earlier as a possible solution but they do take a bit of practice to master and it might feel a little strange blowing into a device to produce a string soundTongue Tied  However, from what I understand, everyone who uses breath controllers love them.

Of course the other option is to just program velocity crossfade, expression, attack, etc. in Logic.  The ability to program MIDI controller changes is pretty much standard in every DAW I think so there should be a way to do it in Logic.The problem is programing MIDI events can get very tedious and kind of suck all the fun out of the composing/recording process.


"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."
- W.C. Fields
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