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VSL vs Hollywoods Strings #2
Last post Tue, Aug 09 2011 by devastat, 79 replies.
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Posted on Tue, Jul 05 2011 22:08
by Fiery Angel
Joined on Mon, Nov 07 2005, Milton ON, Posts 311

I worked on a piece the other day that used CineBrass but needed some good strings.  I own HS but frankly I don't use it.  Too much hassle and I need something that just works..  So I turned to Appassionata Strings.  Done.  Perfect.  Love the legato.  Love assigning the mod wheel to velocity x-fade.  Everything works.  I did a Herrmann styled piece a while back with CineBrass and I also used the Orchestral String trills from VSL.  What delighted me is that the harder the velocity, the faster the trill (at least it seems this way).  Briliant.

Can't wait for VI PRO 2.0  

I compose therefore I am.
Posted on Wed, Jul 06 2011 21:14
by Erik
Joined on Sat, Nov 20 2004, The Netherlands, Posts 144

Hi Fiery,

Fiery Angel wrote:

I own HS but frankly I don't use it.  Too much hassle and I need something that just works..

Agreed, but in Cubase 6 with its expression maps, in which articulations/patches can be assigned to channels (!!), the hassle is over, at least if you meant that. In all other DAW's it is a real nightmare I guess.

I will check your trills*velocity asap!

Also for me: eager to getting to know VI PRO 2.0!

Posted on Sat, Jul 16 2011 10:55
by C_Caouette
Joined on Thu, Mar 11 2004, Posts 172

Personally there are elements of different ones I like.  The App version is good but too dry for my tastes but the detail is nice...although the basses always sound muddy to me though.  The HS versions I like till it tries to do the TREM parts and the detail is lost.  This would sound much better with the stage or a close/main mic mix.  The LASS would work if you panned everything and brought up the verb...a little too dry to me.

Despite those comments thanks for doing this..well done!

Posted on Sun, Jul 17 2011 14:16
by devastat
Joined on Sun, Jul 17 2011, Posts 45
dragsquares wrote:

I admit to not using it much until I got a Gold license, as the Diamond was a bit of a bloated sluggish pig, not to put too fine a point on it.


Hollywood Strings Diamond performs very well when you run it from a SSD drive. I have two SSD drives as RAID 0 (software) and HS performs extremely well on those disks. Also the recent 2.0 update as well as PLAY 3 that just got released makes it really fast to use (again if you are running it from a SSD).

I have to say that the fact is that there isn't anything even close to Hollywood Strings on the market right now when it comes down to a true "Hollywood" John Williams type sound.
Posted on Sun, Jul 17 2011 14:29
by jammusique
Joined on Wed, Aug 04 2004, Paris, France, Posts 258

I agree that the App basses sound "muddy"!

WW complete. MirX Teldex, Cubase, PC
Posted on Sun, Jul 17 2011 16:01
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5512

 They don't sound muddy. 

You are hearing a larger number of players.  Listen to the Chamber basses.  You will think they sound clear.  Why?  Because there are only two.  On a larger group of low instruments, the sound is huge, deep and booming, but that is not the same thing as muddy. 

Posted on Sun, Jul 17 2011 23:01
by dragsquares
Joined on Sat, Aug 13 2005, Los Angeles, Posts 57

devastat wrote:
Hollywood Strings Diamond performs very well when you run it from a SSD drive. I have two SSD drives as RAID 0 (software) and HS performs extremely well on those disks. Also the recent 2.0 update as well as PLAY 3 that just got released makes it really fast to use (again if you are running it from a SSD). I have to say that the fact is that there isn't anything even close to Hollywood Strings on the market right now when it comes down to a true "Hollywood" John Williams type sound.

Yes, it sounds good and big, etc.  We all know that, which is why we bought it.  My point is, as far as I can recall, before Diamond came out they didn't say anything about it requiring more hardware to actually work in the way it should - I could be wrong about that, but I kind of expected it to work as well as the other libraries under the same conditions.  Then I was thinking, at least it ships on a drive...but it was a drive they didn't recommend for optimal use.  At the time, although it did a few things that VSL didn't (like crossfading dynamics on legato, for instance) and although it sounded great out of the box, it seemed way less efficient, and I wound up getting Gold as my second license so that I could use it without spending $5k at a minimum for another Mac to play a $1400 library.  (With intonation issues, that takes a bit more work than VSL to get the timing on legato patches right.)  Don't get me wrong - I do really like the way it sounds.  But let's not say it isn't a bit of a pig for resources if it requires the absolute fastest tech available to really do what it's designed to do.  Because that is what a pig is.  A resource hog.  Fortunately, bacon makes everything taste better.

Richard F.W. Davis
Composer, Producer, Arranger

VSL, VEP, OT BS, AM/SM, CSS/CSSS, SSO, 8Dio, NI, JFK, MTBF, TL;DR
Posted on Sun, Jul 17 2011 23:22
by devastat
Joined on Sun, Jul 17 2011, Posts 45
dragsquares wrote:
I wound up getting Gold as my second license so that I could use it without spending $5k at a minimum for another Mac to play a $1400 library. (With intonation issues, that takes a bit more work than VSL to get the timing on legato patches right.) Don't get me wrong - I do really like the way it sounds. But let's not say it isn't a bit of a pig for resources if it requires the absolute fastest tech available to really do what it's designed to do. Because that is what a pig is. A resource hog. Fortunately, bacon makes everything taste better.


SSD disks are fast becoming industry standard in the computer world (and most likely in 2-years time most of hard disks are only SSD disks) so I wouldn't necessarily call it the "fastest tech available". All that HS requires is a fast hard drive and a quite decent computer (nothing fancy), altho I think it does work quite nicely even on a regular 7200rpm hard drive. Offcourse memory is another factor you might want to have 12GB of ram, but given the fact that memory is so cheap these days..

P.S The only difference between Gold and Diamond version of HS is that Gold only has mid mic positions and it's lacking bowchange legato patches, so you could have just copied the mid mic positions only from the Diamond installation disk and save the money spent on the separate Gold license..
Posted on Mon, Jul 18 2011 01:48
by dragsquares
Joined on Sat, Aug 13 2005, Los Angeles, Posts 57
devastat wrote:
SSD disks are fast becoming industry standard in the computer world (and most likely in 2-years time most of hard disks are only SSD disks) so I wouldn't necessarily call it the "fastest tech available". All that HS requires is a fast hard drive and a quite decent computer (nothing fancy), altho I think it does work quite nicely even on a regular 7200rpm hard drive. Offcourse memory is another factor you might want to have 12GB of ram, but given the fact that memory is so cheap these days.. P.S The only difference between Gold and Diamond version of HS is that Gold only has mid mic positions and it's lacking bowchange legato patches, so you could have just copied the mid mic positions only from the Diamond installation disk and save the money spent on the separate Gold license..

I don't mean to appear argumentative, but let me clear up a few points.

First, the last one.  Gold is 16-bit.  Less data throughput.  Easier on a system.  Not the same as Diamond using only one mic position.

Second, the second to last.  I've never run HS on a system with less than 16GB RAM.  That's a good thought, of course.

Third, SSD's are an emerging standard.  But they are not the industry standard yet in our business.  Why?  Not inexpensive enough.  They'll be the standard when nobody's buying platters anymore - or when a library that really (come on, now, it really does) requires SSD actually ships on one and it doesn't increase the price by half or more.  So a library that really doesn't do everything it should without the fastest tech available was a bit of a shock to many people, I think - certainly based on lots of posts here and elsewhere.  Also, I'm guessing there may be a minor misunderstanding here - but within reason, a drive like the OWC top-of-the-line SSD could easily be considered the fastest tech available, standard or not.  Arguably faster and more suitable for sample streaming by virtue of its large numbers of iops than, say, fiber-channel 15k drives.

I suppose what I'm really getting at is this: I could be wrong, but to my memory, before HS was released there wasn't any (or much of any) mention of the fact that to really do a full contemporary arrangement with everything online, that you would really want to spend @$950 on an SSD system - and oddly enough, before Play 3 was released there wasn't any mention of the fact that to get the same functionality as Play 2 in certain instances, that you would have to upgrade your RAM.

Now, I don't have anything against upgrading hardware for software.  I built PC's to run Giga and later VSL.  I remember when MOTU seemed to code for computers that hadn't quite been built yet.  And the price I pay for being an early adopter of EW software and libraries is that I often don't find out until I install the stuff that my system is lacking in some way.  It's not EW's fault if I'm eager and willing to live on the bleeding edge (when I'm not in the middle of a project, anyway).  It is, however, worth noting that the FAQ that was just released is the first document that indicates that Play 3 might require an upgrade - and it was released after the beta cycle and after the product was released.  I don't know why that is, and I don't really care.  Someone else can go there (and has).  

Anyway, just clarifying my position.  

Richard F.W. Davis
Composer, Producer, Arranger

VSL, VEP, OT BS, AM/SM, CSS/CSSS, SSO, 8Dio, NI, JFK, MTBF, TL;DR
Posted on Mon, Jul 18 2011 02:08
by dragsquares
Joined on Sat, Aug 13 2005, Los Angeles, Posts 57

Also, even though VSL does a bit less in terms of things like modwheel crossfades in the stock library, I don't ever run into things I can't do with it because my system is choking.  And I like my Hollywood sound that I get from it...Big Smile

Richard F.W. Davis
Composer, Producer, Arranger

VSL, VEP, OT BS, AM/SM, CSS/CSSS, SSO, 8Dio, NI, JFK, MTBF, TL;DR
Posted on Mon, Jul 18 2011 08:55
by devastat
Joined on Sun, Jul 17 2011, Posts 45
dragsquares wrote:
I could be wrong, but to my memory, before HS was released there wasn't any (or much of any) mention of the fact that to really do a full contemporary arrangement with everything online, that you would really want to spend @$950 on an SSD system

With the same amount of money you spent on the extra Gold license you could easily buy an 240GB SSD drive (extremely fast OCZ Agility 3 for example) and run HS diamond on it with everything on the SSD except one mic position on a regular drive, and there are cheaper SSD's out there as well that's a top of the notch option..

The logic to me would be that If someone is willing to pay 1k on a sample library they might be willing to invest a few hundred dollars more to make it run well on their system..

dragsquares wrote:
It is, however, worth noting that the FAQ that was just released is the first document that indicates that Play 3 might require an upgrade - and it was released after the beta cycle and after the product was released.


PLAY 3 will run with the same specs as PLAY 2 did - only it will perform MUCH better on the same system. The recommended specs for optimal performance including a SSD drive and 16GB RAM has been on the Hollywood Strings website specification section as long as I can remember - when I first started reading about HS: http://www.soundsonline.com/Hollywood-Strings
Posted on Mon, Jul 18 2011 15:21
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5512

 

devastat wrote:
I have to say that the fact is that there isn't anything even close to Hollywood Strings on the market right now when it comes down to a true "Hollywood" John Williams type sound.

What is that, exactly?  A Tchaikovsky type sound?   A Korngold type sound?   A Vaughn Williams type sound?   John Williams' "sound" is DIRECTLY derived from those composers, as well as other famous concert composers.  Your statement is absolutely false because the real reason for John Williams' "sound" is his use of strings in the style of those great composers, and the only way you can do that with sampling is not with some "Hollywood" sound out of a box - which does not exist at all and is an illusion you have bought into  - but with extreme, detailed sampling of all articulations of great players, which VSL has a huge advantage in with its methodical approach and highly varied ensembles.

Posted on Mon, Jul 18 2011 16:01
by devastat
Joined on Sun, Jul 17 2011, Posts 45
William wrote:
John Williams' "sound" is DIRECTLY derived from those composers, as well as other famous concert composers.  Your statement is absolutely false because the real reason for John Williams' "sound" is his use of strings in the style of those great composers, and the only way you can do that with sampling is not with some "Hollywood" sound out of a box


I agree with you on what say about John Williams' composing style - that it is derived from a lots of great composers such as Tchaikovsky, but I have to disagree with you on the comment that my statement about the way Hollywood Strings sounds is absolutely false.

Lots of big budget movie soundtracks are being recorded in soundstages such EastWest studios in LA and engineered in a particular style to give it a certain "texture". Listening to the soundtrack of 'Super 8' (Michael Giacchino) and listening to a live recording of Tchaikovsky from Europe is a very different experience in terms of sound (and I am now talking about engineering, not the composition itself). Now, Hollywood Strings was engineered by Shawn Murphy who has recorded numerous soundtracks including Saving Private Ryan to John Williams and that is why Hollywood Strings DO carry a certain sound, not only because of the soundstage it was recorded on - but also because of the engineering.
Posted on Mon, Jul 18 2011 16:47
by mike connelly
Joined on Wed, Apr 28 2004, Posts 260

Thanks for taking the time to do the comparisons.  Maybe I missed it, did you say what verb you used for LASS?  Is it the same as the VSL versions?

For those who think that HS is locked into a particular sound and not as flexible, it would be interesting to hear how it sounds with the close mics and whatever verb was used on the others.  Does it still have that "hollywood" sound (whether that's a good thing or not) or does it take on different character with different reverbs?

Posted on Mon, Jul 18 2011 20:11
by dragsquares
Joined on Sat, Aug 13 2005, Los Angeles, Posts 57

The comparison cues are really interesting.  I have a question for Erik - are you using the same articulation types for HS and VSL?  I've always felt VSL to be a little bit more agile in terms of fast things, but there are faster articulations available in HS than may be represented in the comparisons... also, am I wrong or have the files been replaced with newer and perhaps more ambient versions?

As has been said, thanks very much for taking the time to do this!

Richard F.W. Davis
Composer, Producer, Arranger

VSL, VEP, OT BS, AM/SM, CSS/CSSS, SSO, 8Dio, NI, JFK, MTBF, TL;DR
Posted on Thu, Jul 21 2011 10:20
by PaulR
Joined on Mon, Dec 22 2003, England, Posts 2370

This particular piece is mostly suited to the VSL Chamber Strings sound.

Any comparisons of sample libraries are nonsensical anyway because you could give a piece of music to 1000 users all using the same library and it would come out sounding different every time. What really counts is what you originally write yourself and then how you want to make it sound in your own way - not how it sounds the way others do it. 

A sample library is NOT a real orchestra and one of the advantages forgotten about sample libraries is the choices it gives you regarding sound. Conversely, you could have the same piece of music played by many real orchestras and it would sound different every time.

Posted on Thu, Jul 21 2011 13:57
by Erik
Joined on Sat, Nov 20 2004, The Netherlands, Posts 144

mike connelly wrote:

Thanks for taking the time to do the comparisons.  Maybe I missed it, did you say what verb you used for LASS?  Is it the same as the VSL versions?

Hi Mike,

I used for all non MIR examples EWQL Spaces (NY String Hall, true stereo, 3,2 s). Personally I think, that 'non VSL libraries' don't match with MIR for an optimum result, whereas the combination VSL-MIR has certainly high qualities.

mike connelly wrote:

For those who think that HS is locked into a particular sound and not as flexible, it would be interesting to hear how it sounds with the close mics and whatever verb was used on the others.  Does it still have that "hollywood" sound (whether that's a good thing or not) or does it take on different character with different reverbs?


This is interesting for sure: maybe I will make more versions in due course with different mic positions. Nice suggestion anyway!


dragsquares wrote:

The comparison cues are really interesting.  I have a question for Erik - are you using the same articulation types for HS and VSL?  I've always felt VSL to be a little bit more agile in terms of fast things, but there are faster articulations available in HS than may be represented in the comparisons... also, am I wrong or have the files been replaced with newer and perhaps more ambient versions?

Hi dragsquares,

I have used as much as possible the same articulation types for HS and VSL. But in somes cases you might conclude that we are talking about apples and pears because of the way patches are presented by both companies. VSL has staccato long and short + perfect spiccato + perfect rep. spiccato and staccato, HS has marcato, spiccato, staccato, staccatissimo and staccato on the bow.

To be honest: usually I choose what I personally find the best solution for a musical passage within one library, also doing a lot with velocity in combination with CC11: if a higher velocity is too rough I use a lower setting, but increase the CC11 setting. Or the other way around. This makes it time consuming, but in a way it is just the level I want to work on: in a way you get the feeling of being a virtual (!!) director who is creating and moulding the sound he or she has in mind (that day, that moment etc.).
This is exactly the point where anybody else would have each individual version, so this makes any comparison as stated before quite relative.

Furthermore: a true LASS user would have been able to present maybe a much better LASS version than mine because of the fact if you use a library really very frequently you simply know it much better and can do better things with it. So the issue of involvement with a libray is at stake here also.

Next point: talking about more ambient versions, I simply don't remember very well anymore the few (1 or 2) changes in the beginning of this 'adventure'. Indeed I (hopefully) improved some reverb settings of the first contributions. I haven't made a logfile.

Besides this I  hope to have encouraged others here to make their own version with whatever library (and to present it also of course).

PaulR wrote:

A sample library is NOT a real orchestra and one of the advantages forgotten about sample libraries is the choices it gives you regarding sound. Conversely, you could have the same piece of music played by many real orchestras and it would sound different every time.

Fully agreed, as mentioned hereabove, (I quote) "being a virtual (!!) director who is creating and moulding the sound" is what I like so much, working with the top quality libraries anno 2011.

Posted on Thu, Jul 21 2011 20:27
by Shawn Gibson
Joined on Tue, Sep 23 2008, Toronto, Posts 187

If what you like so much is, "the sound" then you aren't too particular if you hold EW over VSL.

If all you want is to 'make Hollywood sounds' then EW is easier if you are lucky enough to have it work. If not, VSL is the way to go because the sounds are more useful, there's no need to create a room artificially, and VSL has a far, far superior support team. EW thinks of support as "bagggage from a dumbass", even when theirproducts blow up, which one of mine did at day one and 4 others followed.

I can't imagine needing EW products to work in the middle of a big production. VSL, on the other hand, never fails, EW is infiorior, because of all these limitations.

Have any papparrazi taken pics of Doug or Nick lately? They probably need it to get through the next stage of development...

Shawn

Eternal Nube with a passion for all-things VSL.
Posted on Thu, Jul 21 2011 23:43
by PaulR
Joined on Mon, Dec 22 2003, England, Posts 2370
shawngibson wrote:

If all you want is to 'make Hollywood sounds' then EW is easier if you are lucky enough to have it work. 

Shawn

Hollywood sounds don't mean anything and straight off the bat that's the whole point of sales language. You've all fallen for sales techniques. There is no Hollywood sound. That's the whole point. The classical Hollywood string sound is made up of orchestration. If you can't orchestrate  to show off that style and string writing,how on earth is a sample library going to do that for anyone.

Bernard Herrmann wrote numerous Hollywood film scores. That would not be regarded as the Hollywood sound. There is no Hollywood sound. Thomas Newman writies great string parts. Is that the Hollywood sound? Max Steiner's score to Key Largo?

Posted on Fri, Jul 22 2011 00:15
by devastat
Joined on Sun, Jul 17 2011, Posts 45
Hey Paul, what about Hollywood Brass then that's coming out tomorrow, I am really interested to know what do think about that - no Hollywood sound?
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