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Adagio vs VSL Violins
Last post Mon, Apr 16 2012 by civilization 3, 39 replies.
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Posted on Mon, Apr 09 2012 08:00
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

 VSL already has some out of tune samples. I never use them. Wink

I also think that if I heard a live violin section playing in this "imperfect" way on one of my sessions I'd top and do a re-take. A section not playing in tune together is not a good sound, and although it may, in some strange way, sound more real, it doesn't sound good to me.

DG

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Posted on Mon, Apr 09 2012 15:29
by SJSF
Joined on Sat, Sep 18 2010, Utah, Posts 497
DG wrote:
I also think that if I heard a live violin section playing in this "imperfect" way on one of my sessions I'd top and do a re-take.

I don't mean this as an insult, but more in humor... but have you even ever heard an orchestra!? Conducted one!? lol, I'm sure you are have compitent musical experience behind you- but no group plays every last note perfectly in tune all the time. Besides being physically impossible for human beings, if you had machines playing instruments instead of people- you'd probably get the same result some people seem to want on here. VSL doesn't sound like a machine; but if you left 'unhumanized' the result is certainly not a convincing performance.

I hear a lot of people gripe about intonnation like it makes or breaks a performance. I have always considered myself to have VERY picky standards here. Growing up, I never liked a string section lower than the highest of professional quality because of intonnation. However, even professionals aren't absolutely perfect; and if I can recognize that with my snobbish distaste for 95% of the performaning string ensembles out there, I guess I just don't understand how others here can't. Confused

I've had many experiences where people complain about pitch just to make a big deal about something. Meanwhile, those with very good sense of intonnation or even perfect pitch are often the ones not complaining. One of my favorite performances of Mahler's 8th has a Soprano that goes slightly out of tune and that note sounds 100x better than if it wasn't. It's a divine moment in the recording. It works. It's a powerful and effective performance. I've heard imperfections in the greatest film scores. So do I think I've made a decent case for why humanizing matters? Yes. Did VSL add humanize features for valid reasons and because people wanted them? Yes! The point I have been trying to make isn't about humanizing, because anyone with any experience and common sense I would expect would already agree with this! I mean no offense by that, but I feel it's a common sense point. In the end, if you want VSL to be perfect, great. But there's no harm in suggesting 'less perfect samples' also. I'm not saying VSL should switch to a crappy performance, but include optional 'slightly less than perfect' alternate performances.

The real point I've been trying to argue isn't even that the 'human touch' matters. I'm arguing that mimicing it with VI Pro isn't as convincing as the real deal- in some cases you don't even have the option. You can't "humanize" a recording of 14 violins. And if VSL used their less than perfect recordings to build an 'alternate imperfect repetitions' base or something, then VSL would have put together the best possible method of accomplishing a convincing performance. It wouldn't be as horribly performed as some other libraries sound, plus you'd still have all those perfect samples you want if you don't like humanizing samples. The benefit is that it also wouldn't be a 'mimiced' sound from VI Pro that isn't as convincing as a real recording. No one is really arguing that point with me and that's the suggestion I'm actually posting on here anyway.

-Sean

Studio One 3.5 | VIP 2.3.0.15962 | VEP 6.0.16502 | RME HDSPe AIO | scoredfilms.com
Posted on Mon, Apr 09 2012 15:50
by didger
Joined on Sat, Oct 27 2007, Salt Lake City, Posts 68
noldar12 wrote:

Didger, it is interesting that with VI Pro 2, different legato feels are possible (at least to some extent).

Yes, of course. But if the rumours are true and VSL's working on "Dimension Strings," I'm just saying this would be a great addition. I adore the VI Pro 2/ MIR Pro combo, both for the amount of flexibility it gives through tweaking it, and also because it's the closest thing to just making expressive music out of the box rather than having to be a programmer. That could only be improved with the Adagio model of multiple sampled legatos. I'd love to be able to alter my VSL template for any given piece in a moment by selecting whether the strings were recorded with ET, Sunset Boulevard, the Jupiter Symphony or, God forbid, Inception in mind. 

Posted on Mon, Apr 09 2012 15:50
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5401

iscorefilm,  DG is a conductor, violinist, composer and MIDI programmer whose work is as good as anything on this site.  Maybe better.  But he doesn't post it.    I have said what you are saying about a hundred times - that imperfection is needed with MIDI.  But the point DG was making (I venture to state - sorry DG) is that the imperfection on this Adagio library is going to backfire, because it is too much.  I noticed on the demos that it sounded far too out of tune on the target notes of those legato patches.  The repetitive aspect will surface if you ever have to hear that same out of tune effect.  That is where a RANDOMIZED digital lack on tuning is superior than a built-in recorded one.  For example - if you create two layered tracks that are digitally detuned, you will not be able to tell the difference between that mix and a real one out of tune.  Another example - that swell patch - it was far too regular.  Every swell was the same.  I would never end up using that supposed feature.  Totally artificial sounding and no players would ever do that so regularly except on a sample library.   

One other thing - within the VSL samples already are many very useable examples of variation, detuning and imperfection.  These are besides the VI Pro digital presets.   Just check out the lists of Appassionata, Orchestral, etc.    Incredible amount of variation has already been recorded. 

Not to say that more would be unwelcome though!    Especially something like  Dimension Strings.  If you listen to the Dimension Brass, part of the great feature on that library is the slight, very musical detuning between the individual players and the variation audible in the exact performances.  So that would presumably be a major aspect of a new, supplemental (not exclusive)  VSL string section that would allow both auto-divisi and even more variations of tuning/performance.  

Posted on Mon, Apr 09 2012 16:27
by SJSF
Joined on Sat, Sep 18 2010, Utah, Posts 497
William wrote:
DG is a conductor, violinist, composer and MIDI programmer whose work is as good as anything on this site.  Maybe better.  But he doesn't post it.    I have said what you are saying about a hundred times - that imperfection is needed with MIDI.  But the point DG was making (I venture to state - sorry DG) is that the imperfection on this Adagio library is going to backfire, because it is too much.

lol, I'm sure DG is everything you've stated. I meant that point completely in humor just to make the point. Although I do agree. Adagio is too much. 

William wrote:
The repetitive aspect will surface if you ever have to hear that same out of tune effect.

It's no different than what we are already doing in VI Pro 2. If I had 8 'slightly' out of tunes, 8 'more' and 8 'very' out of tune patches, it is the same as using the humanize option and can be just as random but with a real recording instead. Technically it is better because of that fact. But the humanize feature isn't random, it's a "set" of humanizing examples- just as one could do with recordings. And like I've stated, you can't humanize a recording of 14 violins... again why a recording is far superior. VSL's philosophy has been less about mimicing things and more about being genuine than any other company. What I am suggesting is simply in line with that approach. If we still disagree after having explained this point- then I doubt we'll reconsile this point. Although...

William wrote:
Not to say that more would be unwelcome though!    Especially something like  Dimension Strings.  If you listen to the Dimension Brass, part of the great feature on that library is the slight, very musical detuning between the individual players and the variation audible in the exact performances.  So that would presumably be a major aspect of a new, supplemental (not exclusive)  VSL string section that would allow both auto-divisi and even more variations of tuning/performance.  

...That is exactly what I'm hoping for. Big Smile Performers adjust to each other. Strings that aren't as static as what VSL has now, but not poorly performed as other libraries are- is the ultimate goal. I can still appreciate tuning things off with humanize if people want a seriously detuned performance. But VSL could be less strictly unorganic while still performing things 'relatively perfectly in tune' (now there's an oxymoron!). I've been giving examples in my analogies that involved multiple recordings with different options... but the way you explained the Dimension concept here I think sums up exactly what I, and probably most of us, want.

-Sean

Studio One 3.5 | VIP 2.3.0.15962 | VEP 6.0.16502 | RME HDSPe AIO | scoredfilms.com
Posted on Mon, Apr 09 2012 16:46
by Erik
Joined on Sat, Nov 20 2004, The Netherlands, Posts 144

William,

I think you are quite right here:

"But the point DG was making (I venture to state - sorry DG) is that the imperfection on this Adagio library is going to backfire, because it is too much.  I noticed on the demos that it sounded far too out of tune on the target notes of those legato patches."

Yes, and that is what gets quite (and each time more) annoying after three or four times listening at some Adagio demos. I don't have any orchestra recording at home of a quality orchestra that suffers from this level of tuning.
 
"The repetitive aspect will surface if you ever have to hear that same out of tune effect.  That is where a RANDOMIZED digital lack on tuning is superior than a built-in recorded one."

Or maybe: scripted built-in one. I don't know.

For example - if you create two layered tracks that are digitally detuned, you will not be able to tell the difference between that mix and a real one out of tune.  Another example - that swell patch - it was far too regular.  Every swell was the same.  I would never end up using that supposed feature.  Totally artificial sounding and no players would ever do that so regularly except on a sample library. 

I also agree here with you.

Adagio has a nice overall sound in their demos, I think, and, to be honest, for me more appealing than many VSL legato patches, but that Adagio tuning issue will be hard to solve I guess. It is the same reason why I can't or just don't dare to use LASS without layering with other products very often, if I use it anyway. But again: then I am able (and I want to be able) to manage the balance in the mix.

I sincerely hope that it is worthwhile to wait for the Dimension Strings, more flexibility and, as far as I am concerned, a better and more open basic string sound.

I just uploaded the 8DIO page on my blog with (19!!) new examples, based on the midi versions of the "swell melody" as offered by 8DIO themselves. You and/or others might find it interesting. It concerns VSL and many many others.

Posted on Mon, Apr 09 2012 19:31
by noldar12
Joined on Thu, Dec 04 2008, Posts 582

I am in full agreement with DG.  What scares me about what some developers call "realism" simply, is to me, very sloppy and bad playing - playing at a level that simply does not fly. 

Sometimes, it seems to me, that what people expect in terms of "realism" is a specific special effect, that has little to do with what would be regarded as normal solid technique (extreme bow attack noise being one of the most severe examples).

One of the drawbacks with samples (and I am glad VSL's samples are less forgiving) is that one can create pieces without really knowing how an instrument works.  In strings, the issue often shows up in discussions regarding portamento/bow stroke technique/legato playing.  Nevertheless, "One doesn't know, what one doesn't know," and educating/teaching about these, and similar, issues is always a good thing.

Posted on Mon, Apr 09 2012 21:44
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608
iscorefilm wrote:
DG wrote:
I also think that if I heard a live violin section playing in this "imperfect" way on one of my sessions I'd top and do a re-take.

I don't mean this as an insult, but more in humor... but have you even ever heard an orchestra!? Conducted one!?

 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Big Smile

Sorry, but having conducted professionally for nearly 25 years, 10 of those being in full-time employment, I find your comments very funny. Not that you'd know about my background, so I don't blame you.

However, I could ask the same question of you. Have you ever conducted a professional orchestra?

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
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Posted on Mon, Apr 09 2012 22:20
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1025

I heard the demos and I agree that the intended "errors" are too frequent and grinding, and I would expect such only from a 3rd rate ensemble, and not as often as with the demonstration video. I must say I did like what I heard in some instances and perhaps there is some future potential there, however they are too expensive for what they offer at the moment in my opinion. Further, I must say I haven't worked with the Humanizer of VI PRO, but from the demos it looks that it can "compensate" for that error-feature much better (I'd rather be in control as to where the error occurs in my mix).

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Tue, Apr 10 2012 02:34
by SJSF
Joined on Sat, Sep 18 2010, Utah, Posts 497

DG, I'm glad you got a laugh. I wasn't really even questioning whether you have worked with other professionals or not, but more of just trying to say that every last performance will be imperfect in some way. Either way, it is true that I am a youngin' and my experience conducting is limited... Just remember that I wasn't being serious, lol.


I think one of my favorite musical jokes just has to be shared after that- 'The guy just can't play his instrument, so they gave him two sticks and sent him to the back. He still couldn't play, so they took one away and sent him to the front.'


Anyway, I think we've resolved the tuning dispute with William's comment and my reply. I don't think things need to sound as imperfect as Adagio to sound real, just more dimension-brass-styled organic instead of being as static as things currently are. Hopefully we'll see Dimension Strings become a reality.

-Sean

Studio One 3.5 | VIP 2.3.0.15962 | VEP 6.0.16502 | RME HDSPe AIO | scoredfilms.com
Posted on Tue, Apr 10 2012 08:32
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608
iscorefilm wrote:

DG, I'm glad you got a laugh. I wasn't really even questioning whether you have worked with other professionals or not, but more of just trying to say that every last performance will be imperfect in some way. Either way, it is true that I am a youngin' and my experience conducting is limited... Just remember that I wasn't being serious, lol.

I'm not disagreeing that sample performance has to be imperfect in order to sound organic. I was disputing that a section has to be out of tune. This is something I don't agree with at all. Of course all the violinists in a section have a slightly different interpretation of intonation, and part of the phasey sound a violin section makes is caused by this, as well as the fact that all vibratos work at a different speed and amplitude, so the sound is never static. However, for a section to play so out of tune with itself that you really hear it, there has to be a discrepancy of somewhere over a 1/4 tone between the players, which is not a good sound. Having said that, there is nothing to say that the combination of intonations (is that a word?) between the section players won't give the impression that the whole section  is sharp, but the average  tuning within a section has to be within acceptable limits, and from what I've heard of Adagio, it's way outside of my toleration zone. I was quite serious when I said that I would ask for a re-take...!

iscorefilm wrote:
 

I think one of my favorite musical jokes just has to be shared after that- 'The guy just can't play his instrument, so they gave him two sticks and sent him to the back. He still couldn't play, so they took one away and sent him to the front.'

 Mine is:

What's the difference between a bull and an orchestra?

The bull has the horns at the front and the ar*sehole at the back...

iscorefilm wrote:

Anyway, I think we've resolved the tuning dispute with William's comment and my reply. I don't think things need to sound as imperfect as Adagio to sound real, just more dimension-brass-styled organic instead of being as static as things currently are. Hopefully we'll see Dimension Strings become a reality.

If your strings really do sound static, you need to ride the CCs much more. William has already given you some solutions for getting a more out of tune sound, should you require it. My main sound is a mixture of App, Chamb and Orch strings, and within that mixture I could easily make some tuning "errors", if I thought that they would improve the performance. Mostly I use timing though, because that makes the section seem to have more life to me.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Tue, Apr 10 2012 14:51
by SJSF
Joined on Sat, Sep 18 2010, Utah, Posts 497

DG, I combine strings and primarily use timing to offset them just slightly from each other. I also adjust the attack and release to give smoother transitions when needed. A lot of people I know don't like doing this because they think it's not 'authentic enough' but in sampling, I find that a convincing demo is more important than doing things the "right" way. I don't feel the need to have things as out of tune as Adagio, and I appreciate sampling like VSL does now to have a good performance- but if I wanted to have an imperfection, I think a sample is more convincing than using Humanize to mimic the same result.

About your re-take comment, I guess I have to take what I said back. I had this mentality that 'unless it was perfect' you'd do it again. Your toleration zone bit clarified it for me.

By "static" I only mean that VSL if played without any adjustments to it, you won't get as organic of a performance. Rather than mimicing everything with the computer- the more that can be accurately accomplished with samples, the more convincing, imo. VSL does have dynamic patches, but again- my mentality is just that 'the more organic patches the merrier', instead of mimicing via software. I think when I say this, people think I don't like VSL's current method. I would still have all the same patches VSL currently has, just with the option of using a recording in place of cc'ing, humanize, changing attacks, etc. Hopefully that clarifies things.... I think? lol

-Sean

Studio One 3.5 | VIP 2.3.0.15962 | VEP 6.0.16502 | RME HDSPe AIO | scoredfilms.com
Posted on Sat, Apr 14 2012 07:18
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1631

I didn't see an answer to 'do you have VI Pro 2?' If you don't, do, before you conclude that the tools are inferior to get that human error in there. VIP 2 has ways to get out-of-tune in time, determining the error by envelopes.

& it's a learning curve. It doesn't sound to me like you are familiar.

iscorefilm wrote:

By "static" I only mean that VSL if played without any adjustments to it, you won't get as organic of a performance. 

well frankly this is the art of sequencing, that 'adustments' bit.

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Posted on Sat, Apr 14 2012 07:32
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1631

the mistake on the soundstage (by a guess?), is going to be the same mistake every time. I don't get how convincing that will be at the end of the day. if you want that to be a number of these errors by a repeat menu, that's what VIP 2 provides specifically with its humanize.

I could be reading you wrong, you may be just frustrated with that approach in VIP 2. But more saliently I doubt VSL is going to record a lot of out-of-tune performances, *guessing* what's 'more organic' for you.

MacBook Pro 15,1: 2.9 GHz 6-core i9
32GB 2400MHz DDR4
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Posted on Sat, Apr 14 2012 07:41
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1631
iscorefilm wrote:

 I combine strings and primarily use timing to offset them just slightly from each other. I also adjust the attack and release to give smoother transitions when needed. A lot of people I know don't like doing this because they think it's not 'authentic enough' 

they don't know what they're talking about. if that doesn't happen, it's not going to be so realistic I think, but tend to be very canned.

MacBook Pro 15,1: 2.9 GHz 6-core i9
32GB 2400MHz DDR4
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Posted on Sat, Apr 14 2012 16:10
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5401

civilization 3 wrote:
frankly this is the art of sequencing, that 'adustments' bit.
 

That is really true - it is the whole art of changing MIDI from sheet music playback of notation,  into a natural sounding performance.  Also what you say about the recorded inaccuracies is absolutely right -  as soon as you hear them a second time, you instantly know it's the same.  Very treacherous to do that on samples.   The VSL samples have just the right amount of accuracy vs. inaccuracy.  Plus, the  humanize functions in VI Pro are really good because of how adjustable they are - from subtle to extreme. 

Posted on Sat, Apr 14 2012 18:26
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1631

anopther aspect that can detract from the realism is that players of strings and winds strive towards concordance in a way that samples, being straight 12 tones, equal, don't provide. so, VSL provides a few menus of intonations. in the general, we strive towards just intonation, a 5:4 type of major third for instance. so the VI Pro interface can allow us to eat our cake and have it too, a just intonation for the next key or what-not.

MacBook Pro 15,1: 2.9 GHz 6-core i9
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Posted on Sat, Apr 14 2012 22:11
by SJSF
Joined on Sat, Sep 18 2010, Utah, Posts 497

Civ,

I do use VI Pro 2, and I do use the humanize features. My experience has been that a real recording of an imperfect phrase is more convincing than using humanize to recreate it. However, I do love the idea behind the humanize features. I just find the alternative more convincing. Players adjust to each other, and thus Dimension Brass was made. I think a Dimension String library would likely be a partial answer to what I was trying to get at before.

One of my biggest problems with a humanizing vs recording is that you can't effectively humanize a recording of 14 violins. For obvious reasons it doesn't work. I don't mind combining different string libraries to accomplish a slightly more convincing sound- but it still isn't as convincing as 14 violins all adjusting to eachother naturally. A Dimension string library could help this, imo. But even then, I'm still not sure how convincing it would be for me. DVZ strings are ideal for accomplishing this level of individuality between instruments, but they lack in other ways that still makes them not convincing enough. I doubt VSL will ever be 100% divisi (as I believe if I remember, this has inevitable problems???)... so with all that in mind- this is why I suggest having recordings of near-perfect performances and performances with imperfections. To me, this gives the best of both worlds.

I understand that a 'pre-recorded' imperfection may seem less convincing to some people on here because it's "the same imperfection", but this isn't a very strong argument to me. Compare this to the instances where VSL has less-than-slight timbre imperfections (especially on solo instruments). I notice them myself, but by having repetition samples users have both options, and sometimes the timbre variance is very useful for a certain phrase or moment.

I have arranged my samples to have a base articulation, then time stretch variations where applicable, then for each and every articulation or stretched alternative- I have an additional row of the same articulations but having deactivated the repetitions with a noticable timbre difference. This way my performance defaults to use the basic VSL library, but when I want a time stretch sample, I can access it- when I don't like the timbre of a specific VSL recording, I can access a different recording for that specific note. I essentially have ultimate control over my library this way. I don't see why it would be any different for pitch. If I had 10 recordings of a Viola section staccato, and 10 of a slightly less perfect performance- then I have both options in front of me. And the people who say they would notice using 'an imperfect recording more than once' aren't convincing me as the current timbre differences are already a part of the VSL library. Why doesn't that bother anyone here? If it does, you have the option of not using it. If you want a real recording of a human performance, you currently can't accomplish this with any ensemble patches.

-Sean

Studio One 3.5 | VIP 2.3.0.15962 | VEP 6.0.16502 | RME HDSPe AIO | scoredfilms.com
Posted on Mon, Apr 16 2012 01:35
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1631
iscorefilm wrote:

One of my biggest problems with a humanizing vs recording is that you can't effectively humanize a recording of 14 violins. For obvious reasons it doesn't work. .

Well a 'recording of 14 violins' contains the differences of intonation and attack, etc, from one fiddler to the next times 14. Talk about an argument that isn't strong...That's nonsense.

"If you want a real recording of a human performance, you currently can't accomplish this with any ensemble patches"

it's already there. an ensamble patch is a real recording of human performance. Did you think they used robots? You now appear to asking for a solution for a problem you are fabricating.

You have an honest difference, that occurs on the soundstage, to work with. and are making a strange argument in favor of recording intentionally poor playing in its stead. I'll leave you to that. You have a position and a kind of ideology to support it now.

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32GB 2400MHz DDR4
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