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EQing Dimension Strings - how to shape the timbre?
Last post Wed, Jan 14 2015 by nektarios, 28 replies.
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Posted on Fri, May 09 2014 14:58
by Dominique
Joined on Fri, Aug 08 2008, Posts 178

Hello everybody

Upon buying the Dimension Strings, they have immediately become my go-to string library. I love the flexibility and comprehensiveness! And I find the tone very nice and suitable for many situations. In some cases, however, I'd like to shape it a bit, and that's where I'm stuck at the moment.

In my ears the Dimension Strings sound direct, crisp, and very detailed. It's quite a close sound, reminding of studio strings. I'd like to eq it to achieve a more relaxed, silky, and smooth/lush sound. It should be a bit less energetic and a bit more laid-back.

Using my ears, a recording of the Orchestrè Romantique et Revolutionnaire as a reference, and the Vienna Suite presets as starting point I haven't gotten very close to that sound. I guess my lack of experience in this field shows. But I know that there are some mixing/mastering-wizards over here Smile I'd much appreciate specific tips on how to eq the Dimension Strings in that direction!

Posted on Fri, May 09 2014 18:13
by Paul
Joined on Sat, Aug 03 2002, Vienna, Posts 12583

Hi Dominique, 

I´d give MIR PRO a shot with a free demo license. This way you´ll get both great room sound and character settings...

Here´s a short instruction on how to setup everything for a test with MIR PRO

Alternatively you can also check out http://www.vsl.co.at/en/211/497/537/2579/2234.htm Teldex Berlin: http://www.vsl.co.at/en/211/497/537/2579/2238.htm">MIRx, with the three available Venues (click "try" to get a demo license). 

Best, 

Paul

Paul Kopf
Product Manager - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Sat, May 10 2014 05:51
by GoranTch
Joined on Tue, Mar 14 2006, Berlin, Germany, Posts 524

Hi Dominique,

since you already have Vienna Suite, make use of Analyser - compare the frequency content of the Gardiner recording with your mix and try to use Master Equalizer to get in the direction of a similar sounding mix. Takes practice (and patience) at the beginning, but in my experience Analyser can be an invaluable tool if  you are a relative beginner in equalization.

DS are perfectly capable of a smooth/relaxed sound  - I belive the first three minutes of Wagner's Lohengrin Prelude I did and which employ nothing but DS Violins with 4 Solo Violins added (two woodwinds chords at the beginning excluded) are a good case in point.

And, as Paul already mentioned, I would try out MIR in conjunction with DS - they fit in MIR like a hand in a glove.

Posted on Sat, May 10 2014 07:58
by Dominique
Joined on Fri, Aug 08 2008, Posts 178

Thanks for the hint Paul. I'll try the demo, but actually I'm currently content with my reverbs and don't want to invest too much if it can be handled with an eq.

Goran, thanks for chiming in. I used the analyser extensively to compare DS and the Gardiner recording. I used CurveEq's matching EQ too.

It helped finding a general direction, but I'm still not quite there yet. Is anybody willing to share some settings? Or give some pointers in which frequency ranges to look?

Posted on Sat, May 10 2014 12:56
by Beat Kaufmann
Joined on Fri, Jan 03 2003, Switzerland/Brugg, Posts 1730

Hi Dominique

Here is another approach - the approach via your ears and the speakers/phones.

Use one of the Suite EQs. Chose a "bell-filter" with a low Q  (0.3 -1), boost the EQ (+6...+12dBs) and scan through upper frequency-range of the strings sound. This way you will find the most unpleasant frequency range for a certain situation. Now turn down the EQ to the minus gain (-3dB, -6dB,..) until you like it.

Try a highshelf filter as well. Use the same frequency you've found before as a starting point. A low Q will flatten the curve of this filter as well.

Remark:

The VSL filters are good for repairing frequencies and for having filters for low cuts in each channel because they offer a good quality with a very low CPU consumption in the mean time.

Nevertheless: For "making sounds warmer" I would try other EQs as well. There are some just for making music warmer.

Some Freeware:  

http://www.kvraudio.com/product/tdr-vos-slickeq-by-tokyo-dawn-labs/details

http://varietyofsound.wordpress.com/vst-effects/  (BootEQ mkII)

http://dsp.sonimus.com/products/soneq/

Some EQs for money:

http://spl.info/de/produkte/analog-coder-plug-ins/passeq/video.html

http://www.pspaudioware.com/plugins/equalizers/psp_nobleq/

http://www.waves.com/plugins/rs56        (...and others from waves)

http://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/plugins/detail/elysia_museq.html

...

BTW. Some of theme seem to be very expensive but all of them are "On Sale" from time to time.

So you will be able to buy it for the half price. Further on: Most of them you can try for free for some days.

Do it and you will see that it is worth to have on or more of those "legends". They really can make the race.

Best

Beat

www.musik-produktion-createc.ch (Konzertaufnahmen, Musik mit Samples)
at www.beat-kaufmann.com : MIXING an ORCHESTRA - TUTORIAL
Posted on Sat, May 10 2014 15:23
by GoranTch
Joined on Tue, Mar 14 2006, Berlin, Germany, Posts 524

Seconding Beat's suggestion for trying out a "frequency sweep" approach as well - this one is also very good for equalization ear training, as it makes you remember how a particular frequency band sounds on different instruments when you "overemphasize" it (provided you do this in an organized and regular fashion (I would start with "standard" octave spectrum divison (63-125-250-500-1k-2k-4k-8k-16k)).

EQ presets: honestly, I don't have any. I am so used to doing EQing completely dependent on the sound of every inidividual project/mix that, if and when I use any, these are almost always Vienna Suite EQ Factory Presets as good starting points.

Posted on Sun, May 11 2014 14:25
by Dominique
Joined on Fri, Aug 08 2008, Posts 178

Good suggestions there Beat, I'll look into these Eq's.

Even before using the ORR recording as a reference I started with sweeping. It's a good way to find some frequencies that bother me. To shape the timbre, however, I find that I'm not trained enough to imagine the effects of broader, more subtle eq settings. So, sweeping with a narrow q helps me finding single frequencies I'd like to dial back or up, but to really shape the tone I have a feeling that at some places broad(er) q's are important. Maybe I should simply try to sweep with broader q-settings as well?

Despite the great help so far, if anybody is willing to share some DS specific settings I'd appreciate that much.

Posted on Tue, May 13 2014 07:38
by Beat Kaufmann
Joined on Fri, Jan 03 2003, Switzerland/Brugg, Posts 1730

Hello Dominique

Your wish is "a matter of taste" so it would be difficult to find any preset for that.

Also you do nothing wrong with taking a highshelf-filter and play a bit around with different - gains (-3dB - - 6dB) and sweep a bit around in the high frequencies. Try the same with high cut filters (-6dB/Oct or -12dB/Oct)...

I believe you have a certain idea of the sound you would like to reach with your dimensions.

So probably one important side is to find this sound played by an orchestra. It could probably be the first step to search for such a reference sound.

Another approach could be that you offer here a short sequence of your strings without any effect (no reverb no EQ no nothing) except for the panning maybe.

(wav-file)

So people would be able to treat this file with their suggestions.

You also can send me such a short excerpt.

http://www.musik-produktion-createc.ch/kontakt.php (use "File-Upload" (Datei-Upload))

Best

Beat

www.musik-produktion-createc.ch (Konzertaufnahmen, Musik mit Samples)
at www.beat-kaufmann.com : MIXING an ORCHESTRA - TUTORIAL
Posted on Tue, May 13 2014 14:23
by Dominique
Joined on Fri, Aug 08 2008, Posts 178

Hello Beat

That's a good idea, and a generous offer! Thank you. Here's a snippet with Dimension Strings only. It's panned (with PowerPan), but no other effects applied.

!!Watch your listening levels, it starts with a forte chord!!

https://app.box.com/s/0kmn3b9bw4oin8xh7cl1

By the way, what I'm experimenting with at the moment is a slight boost around 400Hz with a medium q, and bringing down the frequencies between 4kHz and 8kHz a bit.

Posted on Wed, May 14 2014 19:27
by Beat Kaufmann
Joined on Fri, Jan 03 2003, Switzerland/Brugg, Posts 1730

Hi Dominique

Thanks for your example.

Listening to it triggers a question: It seems that there are some phasing-effects and the dimension strings (violins) sound unusual.

I can't imagin that a VSL Library can sound so strange without any effect.

Could it be that you played the melody twice and then you panned the one to the left and the other to the right?

?

Further I seems that you probably shoud treat each violin- / viola- /cello- track for itself...

Beat

www.musik-produktion-createc.ch (Konzertaufnahmen, Musik mit Samples)
at www.beat-kaufmann.com : MIXING an ORCHESTRA - TUTORIAL
Posted on Wed, May 14 2014 20:23
by Dominique
Joined on Fri, Aug 08 2008, Posts 178

You are absolutely right. The phasing issue occured because in VE Pro I accidentaly set the balance slider for the second group of Vl 1 to right channel only. Here is the file again, this time without that phasing:

https://app.box.com/s/wx4j85bycl4vtwclmj8n

Interesting that you find it doesn't sound like the Dimension Strings. It's really just that, without any effect whatsoever. It's only DS panned with PowerPan, and that's it. Maybe you find the way I set them up unfamiliar? Starting from Saxer's setup I made a preset with 10 Vl 1, 8 Vl 2, 6 violas, 6 celli, and 5 basses. Each section divided into two groups. For this snippet I recorded every group individually, which means two passes per section.

Posted on Thu, May 15 2014 05:49
by Peter Alexander
Joined on Wed, Aug 21 2002, Virginia, Posts 642

Within the VSL family which works with the Vienna Suite is FORTI/SERTI. In my tests with DS, I use a Brighter 03 C3 on the Violins and Violas, C2 on the Cellos and Brighter 03 or 04 C2 on the Basses. This thins out the sound a bit plus moves them further back "on stage" for a more recorded string sound. You can position the strings stage left to stage right using sample delay and then look for a brighter reverb for the mains.

These are called Tilt Filters and are EQs for the sound.

Peter L. Alexander
Author, Professional Orchestration Series
www.soniccontrol.tv
www.alexanderpublishing.com
Posted on Thu, May 15 2014 09:15
by Beat Kaufmann
Joined on Fri, Jan 03 2003, Switzerland/Brugg, Posts 1730
Dominique wrote:
Interesting that you find it doesn't sound like the Dimension Strings.

I never had phasing effects without any effect and VSL-Library sounds. That's the reason why I mentioned this.

And also: There are users who think they can double the strings just by playing a voice twice.

Unfortunately this doesn't work in most of the cases because VI uses the same samples for the same notes.

This can lead to very strange sounds in total... With dimension libraries it it could be a bit different because of the splitting possiblities...

OK, I will now treat your file. Please be a little patient.

Soon

Beat

www.musik-produktion-createc.ch (Konzertaufnahmen, Musik mit Samples)
at www.beat-kaufmann.com : MIXING an ORCHESTRA - TUTORIAL
Posted on Fri, May 16 2014 13:51
by Dominique
Joined on Fri, Aug 08 2008, Posts 178

The TILT filters look interesting, I have an eye on them since some time. And it's true that the right reverb can make quite a difference. However, as said I'm quite content with my reverb at the moment and would like to go about this task from eq-wise.

That's kind of you, Beat. Thanks a lot. And of course no hurry. I had the same idea to eq the individual sections, but I think if I have a good starting point in an overall eq that will make things a lot easier.

Tags: ui
Posted on Sun, May 18 2014 19:23
by Beat Kaufmann
Joined on Fri, Jan 03 2003, Switzerland/Brugg, Posts 1730

Hello Dominique

First of all, your second version - without the phasing issues - sounds better and not so cheesy than the first.

I've checked your file now.

There are several resonances in the high range, which are "singing" soon when you increase the frequencies at their points.

So I suppressed them only for some dBs and I used also a high cut filter (6dB/Oct).

Maybe it sounds already too dark now...

I used the Fabfiltre because you can nicely make out what corrections I made.

How does it sound?  Originalsound  After the filter

After this correction you could use another  (musical) EQ now for giving air, warmth, or any other "colour")

As I mentioned above in an other post: Such correction you should normally do in each track and not in the sum because you don't only suppress resonances this way but also the frequencies of those instruments which are sounding correct at these certain points.

And also: If you have the Suite Effects you will find within the presets the EQ the one called "Dimension Strings Ensemble Violins Resonance Menu" and dito for the violas, cellos,...

Those presets can be a help as a starting point.

All the best

Beat

www.musik-produktion-createc.ch (Konzertaufnahmen, Musik mit Samples)
at www.beat-kaufmann.com : MIXING an ORCHESTRA - TUTORIAL
Posted on Sun, May 18 2014 19:39
by Dominique
Joined on Fri, Aug 08 2008, Posts 178

Hello Beat

That's fantastic, thank you so much. I can clearly hear that this goes exactly in the direction I want it to go. As you suggested, it's a tad too dark already for my taste. But it's a perfect starting point, exactly what I was looking for. I'll try to port it to the individual sections, which will be a lot easier to do now due to your help. So thanks again. YesBeer

Posted on Wed, Jan 07 2015 03:14
by Michael Machado
Joined on Mon, Nov 22 2010, Posts 45

Hi guys, i´ve tried everything and still with phase issues!

I´m working on a orchestration and the phase sound is killing me. 

Here is a example with no eq and reverb, just tradicional panning!

http://michaelmachado.com.br/audio/Phase2.mp3

I don´t have MIR and i´ve got the vienna instruments pro to use the harmonize function and still sound like the above example .

Posted on Wed, Jan 07 2015 13:44
by Dietz
Joined on Tue, Aug 06 2002, Vienna / Europe, Posts 7609

Hi Michael,

beautiful music! 

I can't really hear what a sound-engineer would call "phasing" - maybe you have to point me towards the sonic aspects you don't like.

Is there any chance to see the setups you were using? Was this done within VE Pro?

/Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
Posted on Wed, Jan 07 2015 17:18
by Michael Machado
Joined on Mon, Nov 22 2010, Posts 45

Originally Posted by: Dietz Go to Quoted Post

Hi Michael,

beautiful music! 

I can't really hear what a sound-engineer would call "phasing" - maybe you have to point me towards the sonic aspects you don't like.

Is there any chance to see the setups you were using? Was this done within VE Pro?

 

Hi Dietz, thanks for reply!

The music is not mine, it´s only a orchestration. Claudio Santoro is the name of the composer, Prelude 1 is the name of the piece.

The entire melody sound wierd to me, specially when played one octave

 

I´m use cubase pro 8. And no, this was done within VE 5, not the PRO version.

Which setups do you wanna see?

Posted on Wed, Jan 07 2015 17:47
by Dietz
Joined on Tue, Aug 06 2002, Vienna / Europe, Posts 7609

Assuming that all instruments are set up within Vienna Ensemble, just save the VI-Frame and and attach it to your next reply in this thread. Alternatively, you could send it to supportATvslDOTcoDOTat, to my attention (... please add a reverence to this thread). You could also add the Cubase-project then (without any audio files), although that shouldn't be necessary, and it could give me some troubles as I haven't upgraded to Cubase 8 yet.

In any case: I'll look into it ASAP; just allow for a few days, please.

Kind regards,

/Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
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