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  • Excerpt from 'The Sampler'

    Hello. I've posted a few times about different things but not put music up of mine.

    So, have a listen to this, part of a track I'm working on 'The Sampler' - which refers to Victorian childrens' embroideries of course. Not the music machines we use!

    Any thoughts?


  • Very expressive and convincing! Love that dry sound if the strings are so well performed and programed as you did. Best Frank

  • That's pretty good. One of the problems that I find ( therefore I don't use them) is the continous vibrato that samples have especially on solo string sounds. You can't do anything about it because it's printed onto the samples - so what you get is this continous wobble, that to me, sounds unnatural.

    But that aside - I like the dry sound and musicality of the piece.

  • That is good - sounds realistic and expressive.   Concerning the vibrato I've noticed the "sul" samples add some variation of vib. and timbre as well as the more connected legato on one string.

  • I feel guilty now because I've mistakenly given the impression that this was done with samples (obviously I can see you'd think that, being a VSL forum!), whereas in fact this is 3 players (2 violins and 1 cello) from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, multi-tracked 12 times on the second part, to get the sound of 36 players.

    I have to admit that I pretty much always only use VSL on my projects to get the draft version while scoring, then replace it with real players. Partly this is just the obvious fact that real still (usually) sounds better than sampled, but part of it is that my in-depth knowledge of the VSL articulations and programming tricks is pretty weak compared to some of the demos and examples on this site and forum. I'm sure some of you guys could get this nearly as real with VSL, but it would sound like a honking Casio keyboard from 1982 if I did it that way.

    You could *almost* argue that using real players is a form of laziness, where the great sound and great playing can pretty much cover up your arrangement sins :) 

    Another thought while I'm here: this and a lot of other very detailed bits of string writing I've done for this project will eventually be somewhat hidden under a layer of 60s sounding female pop, but it's nice to show that there's a bit of craft going on under the hood :)

  • I must say I didn't much like the layered part of the piece, but I thought it up to the middle to be very nice writing and really damn good programming! The fact that it wasn't but some of us here thought so, only goes to show what can be achieved today by talented programmers when working with great samples, and the damn beautiful intonation you get when using great players.

    The dry sound was refreshing as I'm used to absorbing 4 layers of reverb all the time by people using samples. I wonder whether this quality of realism and expression (or as close to it) could be achieved with an equally dry mix using Vienna Instruments.

    P.S.: And you call this 'The Sampler'... 

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    Here's an excerpt from a different track - "I Want To Die By Your Side"

  • Actually I thought it was real players but in a reverse psycho moment, because the guy before me said he liked the programming, I subconsciously assumed it was samples. Even then, there's too much vibrato for my taste. But I admit I have been fooled by real players before thinking it was good programming. In this case, it was the dry, fuller sound that got me to thinking it was real.

    Regardless of that, it's got a good musical drive.

  • The guy was me :-); no there is no reason for apologies. I think the somehow artificial effect is coming from the doubling behind the solo instruments. Maybe a mix with some samples would be work better for this part. Doubling the same string-players on the same instrument isn't mostly a good idea. Recording brass players (specially trumpets) sometimes you get phasing issues on unisonos already with different players (if they don't care enough). I really like the sound of the cello!

  • After listening your second link I hear some serious problems with phasing just in the (obviously doubled) cello line in the end of the piece. Best Frank

  • Phasing problems on the cello... well it's the same line 'doubled' 12 times so I suppose a bit of phasing is expected. I did get all the players to move around between each take which does help a lot to avoid this. Probably I could spread the panning a bit more in the mix. To some extent though, surely the sound is mainly just natural chorusing which is part of the symphonic effect.

    I could maybe consider stripping the mix down to solo instruments as it gets to the last few bars. But then again, it's part of a song, and the lyrics here are about a finding a soul mate and feeling a 'soul warming river of sun'. I think imagery which is quite universal, or large scale like that probably suits an ensemble sound.

    That's the thing, you're hearing some clips of string parts in isolation when really they were written in the context of the song meanings and also other instruments and chords that you can't hear. For example, someone mentioned there being too mich vibrato on the first track, but the song is about a sick Victorian child obsessively sewing a Sampler (mini tapestry thing) before her birthday, which she won't live to and instead becomes a ghost attached to the Sampler, now hanging in a current-day auction house. So, to me I was trying to get the sound of over-varnished dark Victorian oak, needles, obsessive sewing and a kind of overwraught intensity. So I asked the players for a lot of vibrato and put in a lot of high register counterpoints which I thought felt like needles and interweaving threads.

  • This is amazing!  I didn't know it was real.  I have to admit I listened on small speakers and was not trying to detect samples at all,  I was just listening to the musical composition.   But do you realize this is one of the best compliments VSL has gotten?  Experienced USERS not knowing they were listening to REAL.  That is hilarious.  Also, I love "The Sampler" -   how appropriate.

    I listened again on headphones more carefully and was impressed by your composition more. Also  I was wondering when you say "double-tracked" do you mean they all played their parts over and over until you got the number you wanted, using a click track and headphones, or do you mean you used digital de-tuning or chorusing to create the increase in numbers?   

    By the way I really like the concept behind this also, the Victorian story elements.  I think you achieved those impressions very well in the musical lines with the string parts and in fact, would suggest you don't bury them too much with a lot of more conventional pop stuff since they are worth hearing on their own.  Good luck on the project!

  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on