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Solo cello sound false....
Last post Mon, Jun 14 2010 by jasensmith, 23 replies.
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Posted on Tue, Jun 01 2010 10:33
by matteocremolini
Joined on Wed, Dec 24 2008, Posts 19
I own VSL standard and plus.
I write a small part of a solo cello in my theatre music.
I programmed the cello careffuly with velocity XFade, expression and a little "vibrato" through the pitch controlelr(as video demo).
But the sound does not satisfy me ...is not really...without "anima".
Maybe I have to go to the library "SOLO STRINGS I" or can only improve with these samples?
Any suggestion?

Posted on Tue, Jun 01 2010 16:12
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1582

Generally, whenever people ask these sorts of questions about sound quality I counter ask:

Did you listen to the demos of the instrument and do your renditions sound anything like the demos you listened to?  I presume you're talking about the solo Cello samples from the Special Edition?  These samples were taken from the Solo Strings collections.  Listen to the demos of the Solo Strings collections and compare them to your renditions.  It could be that either you're trying to do something artificially, because you don't have the correct samples, and are not happy with the results or something is going on with your programming.

Here are some suggestions:

When working with legato samples set your Release fader to 65. 

Persaonlly, I like to adjust my Attack fader in real-time (especially with solo instruments) as it helps the instrument sound more natural.

Vary your use of articulations.  Throw some sustains, portamentos and detaches in your legato lines and don't forget about the dynamic samples.

Aside from that I don't know what else to say other than to post an example of what you mean by sounding "false" and let the other users provide you with some constructive feedback.

"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 Tue, Jun 01 2010 20:50
by Komposer
Joined on Tue, Mar 17 2009, Posts 40

perhaps I´m totally on the wrong way, but sond false and sounds not really could be a room theme?

did you use a good reverb and room possitioning?

this wold make a dramatically difference.

since a view days I use Altiverb.

one instance as channel insert - for room positioning. (what a great tool!)

(with only direct, no early ref, no tail)

there are for every orchestral instrument fine presets.

than a second instance in master - only early ref and tail - no direct.

the difference is incredible.

for me it was the biggest moment since using VSL!

Posted on Tue, Jun 01 2010 22:20
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5738

You might also be having problems as a result of velocity crossfade with a solo instrument.  It works well with ensembles, but with solos it can causing phasing or artificial changes of sound.  If you can do it (I'm not sure which samples you have in that library), the solo strings benefit a lot from using as many actual dynamic samples as possible - the cresc, dim, pfp, etc.  Also, as pointed out already,  reverb or lack of it (and maybe some EQ) can ruin or perfect the overall sound.

Posted on Thu, Jun 03 2010 07:42
by matteocremolini
Joined on Wed, Dec 24 2008, Posts 19
thanks all for interest.
I build a good room reverbearation with ArtsAcoustic Reverb.I will try altiverb in the next future.
Also I am convinced that the demos are representative of the quality of the library but the question was about the special edition+plus version samples.
I love the timbre of the cello (especially when compared to other libraries), but the articulations availables are a bit "hard" so i wotk a lot with dynamic controller like exp,pitch,velocity xFade(no problems in phase or others).I don't use for now attack because i prefere mantein original ADSR in natural samples,as VSL.
The texture of solo cello is high.
I use these articulations:
legato,sustain,legato+sustain(my patch),detache.Every note is programmed and different to the others.
I hope that with SOLO STRINGS I the effort of programming work is much smaller.


Posted on Thu, Jun 03 2010 13:25
by cgernaey
Joined on Mon, Apr 04 2005, Detroit-Michigan, Posts 1062

To keep things realistic, I wouldn't think the "effort of programming" is going to be smaller with Solo Strings I.  In fact it will be much harder and take much more time because of the incredible amount of samples and articulations to work with.  The end result is far superior to what you have now, but it will require work.  Of all the libraries VSL has, Solo Strings is probably the most advanced and thorough of them all.  It has pretty much every possible articulation you could ever need.


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Gigabyte TRX40 Aorus Xtreme, Radeon RX 5500 XT
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RME Multiface 2, All NVMe SSD Drives (OS & Samples)
Posted on Thu, Jun 03 2010 15:52
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5738

That may be true.  There are a huge number of selections that very few people have the patience to carefully listen to.  I have found that simply doing a lot of work auditioning, selecting and placing into a musical line the various dynamic samples as well as the varying short notes makes all the difference between a completely fake sound and an astoundingly good performance.  There is so much dynamic variation in a live performance that you have to emulate with the dynamic samples, even on notes that you might not think are dynamics.  For example, taking what on paper look like simple sustain notes, and instead of "sustain " using slightly long descrescendos that never get to the end, but have a slight change in level.  That sort of thing done in different ways, including pfp samples, has a huge effect on expressiveness and realism.  The main thing to avoid is a sound that snaps on like a buzzer and just keeps droning at the same level.

Posted on Thu, Jun 03 2010 22:54
by noldar12
Joined on Thu, Dec 04 2008, Posts 582

 As others have said, one has to play the samples, literally checking each note, and thinking in very detailed terms.  It takes a great deal of work.  One thing that might help would be to match the volume of the different samples in your matrix.  The loudness of the different articulations vary, and while a player can automatically adjust bow pressure/speed, etc., to create a pleasing line using different bow techniques, that is very difficult to achieve simply by using raw samples.

Try using some of the different controllers to sculpt the line.  If you are only using velocity, the sound will likely be too static.

As a double-bassist, IMO, the VSL sample libraries (even in SE libraries, and the ones that I have), are as realistic as I have found in terms of the articulations offered, and techniques used in traditional orchestral and chamber music.

Posted on Fri, Jun 04 2010 12:32
by matteocremolini
Joined on Wed, Dec 24 2008, Posts 19
then what is needed is a lot of programming. A demo that is published on how many days of programming required?
Using Altiverb really helps to naturalize the performance .. is true!

Posted on Fri, Jun 04 2010 16:57
by noldar12
Joined on Thu, Dec 04 2008, Posts 582

 That is a difficult question to answer as required time will vary from piece to piece.  IMO the key is to think as a performing musician for each instrumental part.  The difficulty comes in that a computer cannot naturally do what a player has learned to do... a good musician doesn't have to think consiously about how to do technique "x".  In essence you have to tell the computer how to play each line - raw samples in and of themselves do not equate to a musical performance.

BTW, based on this thread, it is not clear to me if you play an instrument yourself or not.  If it happens that you do not, or perhaps you play only piano or guitar, it might not be a bad idea to also take some lessons on an orchestral instrument of your choice.

Note also that VSL provides some ways to automate how a given sample is chosen, particularly if you are playing the parts in (though in my own situation, I prefer to use a more detailed method).

Posted on Mon, Jun 07 2010 08:40
by matteocremolini
Joined on Wed, Dec 24 2008, Posts 19
noldar, i'm graduated at the conservatory (italy)in guitar and studied composition.
I know quite well the joints of phrasing in the strings.
My question concerns the time needed to plan every detail (with SOLO STRINGS I). I would not ask for more time programming than just writing that part of the entire composition.
I confirm that the timbre of the sample using a much better reverb impulse as altiverb.
Posted on Mon, Jun 07 2010 14:25
by cgernaey
Joined on Mon, Apr 04 2005, Detroit-Michigan, Posts 1062

This is one of those questions that is absolutely not answerable.  It is something you simply cannot understand right now.  The fact is that wisdom comes after the experience.  No one can tell you how long it is going to take for you to work on a piece (programming etc).  You're seeking an answer that you'd be better off just investing the time "diving in" rather than wait around for an answer that you will find "suitable".  Because trust me, the second someone tells you "Oh it's easy, you can program one song per day easy!!  I do it all the time!!  yay!!" you're going to think ok cool!  I can do one song per day!  This is wonderful!

Then you buy Solo Strings 1 and find out you have absolutely no idea what you're doing or where to go.  Then you become discouraged and find yourself blaming everyone but yourself for not "giving you the answers you need to give you the results you need".  If you want real world results that are astonishing and realistic sounding, plan on investing a LOT of time.  If you want to create boring, static results that sound like a 1970 midi synthasizer then you can do a few per day.  Your best bet is to tweak and tweak and tweak until you find a sound you love.  Then build templates around that sound so you can just open up a new project and load that template and begin making music.  If you have no idea what sound you're going for, this is another thing that will put a huge wall in front of your forward progress.  You have to know what you want and be willing to work towards getting it.

Being a musician may help you write a score, but don't think that just because you know how to play the guitar, that it's going ot help you "program faster" in any sample library.  Those skills are completely different.  To do a complete song from start to finish in the sample world you need an ear for mixing and mastering (unless you plan to pay someone else to do it for you).  You need some understanding of how an instrument is played so you can pick the best samples to fit the passages for each instrument in a song.  You need to program and work relentlessly to smooth out the breaks in between samples.  Apply just the right amount of reverb, EQ out bad frequencies.  These things are overwhelming at first, but like anything else get easier and easier over time.  But it will feel overwhelming at times if you're just starting out.  One day though, you will look back and wonder why you struggled so hard, because now it seems second nature.

Ask yourself, "Am I willing to work HARD to get the results I want?  Am I willing to invest how much ever time it takes to get what I want?".  If so then you will succeed.  If you're looking for the "no bake cookie recipe" that you can stick in the microwave and be done in 5 minutes, it's not going to happen.  You will fail and become discouraged and blame everyone (especially VSL) but yourself. 

Even to this day, the more I learn, the more I go back to my older pieces that I thought sounded great and realize, how my new skill sets and templates would make them sound even better.  So some pieces can take years to get them where you dreamed they could go :).


Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, 128GB RAM, AMD 3970X 32-core
Gigabyte TRX40 Aorus Xtreme, Radeon RX 5500 XT
Studio One 5.1.1, Cubase 10.5, Nuendo 10
RME Multiface 2, All NVMe SSD Drives (OS & Samples)
Posted on Mon, Jun 07 2010 15:25
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5738

The idea that programming should not take longer than writing - that is unfortunately not the case with samples most of the time, unless you want to ignore the possibilities available and do a mediocre quickie performance.   Programming can  take ten times longer than writing the piece, because you are essentially doing all the performances of the instruments.

I also noticed recently what cgernaey mentioned, listening to an earlier VSL First Edition recording I did that I thought was really good at the time.  Now it sounds very artificial and weird, because I did not have all the articulations that are now available.  There is a huge amount of expressive possibilities with the various articulations and dynamics in the complete Symphonic Cube and it takes time to use them. 

This got me to thinking about how the nature of a musical performance - though it is obviously intuitive and emotional, is still based on a QUANTITY of possible sounds.  In other words, good music is a matter of numbers - massive amounts of data -  not just beautiful sounds.  For example, the old Miroslav Vitous library which is still being sold with new packaging had really nice sounding recordings and performances.  But it was tiny in quantity - like ten samples spread across the entire range for sustain violns(!) no alternations, no articulations for legato, only a couple velocity layers,  etc.   So even though the original playing/recording  was good, it could never even begin to do a performance like VSL.  When the First Edition appeared, it was a revolution in sound, but still inadequate to do a complex symphonic performance.  Now however,  the VSL concept of applying raw power of numbers in a consistent way has proven to accomplish what couldn't be done in the past and you can actually do a serious performance of complex music at least as good as a live professional orchestra.  But this ability takes a large amount of work to harness.  You can ignore that work and do a quickie performance that will sound o.k., but to really use the potential of VSL at the highest level is no easier than playing a live instrument which takes years of practice or - perhaps more accurately - learning how to conduct a live orchestra.   

Posted on Mon, Jun 07 2010 15:46
by matteocremolini
Joined on Wed, Dec 24 2008, Posts 19
Do not get me wrong because of my bad English.
I know what it means to sacrifice.
I studied all day for years on my instrument and Dubois and the Treaty of Harmony in Schoenberg etc ...
I know what it means to have the tendons on fire!
The question is of professional quality and cost.

I share the enthusiasm, really, but how can I pay a producer all the time which would require a program like this?
Perhaps with a few hundred dollars can enforce a part in a player, as far as possible.
Certainly a symphony orchestra would become a problem .. but I asked how to improve my cello and only if the "special edition" could, in your opinion, be sufficient for an acceptable result ....

With gains of this work will buy SOLO STRINGS I because the demo are incredible.

Posted on Mon, Jun 07 2010 16:21
by noldar12
Joined on Thu, Dec 04 2008, Posts 582

The larger collections will certainly give you more articulations as well as more velocity layers (I hope to eventually get some of them).  However, my suggestion would be to learn to use the current tools that you have first.  Simply spending money on additional libraries might help, but it also might not, as the issues you are facing seem to relate only indirectly to the sample content.

Looking at your original post again, did you make any alterations to the tempos in your original sequence?  One of the more important steps, IMO, is to program many tempo changes within the sequence file.  A straight midi file will sound very lifeless and mechanical as the tempo will be static.  A good conductor normally makes constant subtle changes, literally almost measure by measure and even within the beats of any given measure. 

This is one of those time consuming steps, as you have to listen to the sequence over and over thinking in terms of how you would conduct each phrase of the piece.

Posted on Mon, Jun 07 2010 23:19
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5738

It is impossible to help much without hearing the actual music - you ought to post it and specific things could be suggested. 

Posted on Tue, Jun 08 2010 08:34
by matteocremolini
Joined on Wed, Dec 24 2008, Posts 19
ok i search a shared web space.
Posted on Wed, Jun 09 2010 00:18
by SyQuEsT
Joined on Mon, Jan 13 2003, Quebec, Posts 617

matteo wrote:
ok i search a shared web space.

4shared Smile

Mathieu Laprise
Sonomax inc.
Posted on Wed, Jun 09 2010 20:41
by matteocremolini
Joined on Wed, Dec 24 2008, Posts 19
voila the link of my cello part.


Is the track as is in the main mix of the music.

thanks for help

Posted on Fri, Jun 11 2010 15:16
by matteocremolini
Joined on Wed, Dec 24 2008, Posts 19
no help?
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