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  • Comparing VSL Trumets and Cornet

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    I continue to improve my skills with using virtual instruments, and I am somewhat pleased with the example that follows. This is a 1:30 excerpt from the Haydn Trumpet Concerto movement 3. I first used the Bb trumpet, then tried using the same midi data with the Cornet and the Trumpet in Bb. It is a testament to the quality and consistency of the VSL instruments that the same data can be used with multiple instruments.

    Here are the three clips:

    Haydn Trumpet Concerto - Cornet

    Haydn Trumpet Concerto - Bb Trumpet

    Haydn Trumpet Concerto - Trumpet in C

    Comments and suggestions for improvement are appreciated. The piano part was just a very simple midi, no work was done on the piano part.


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    For comparison, here is the "real" trumpet performance that I was trying to use as a model. He is taking this really, really fast, yet it sounds terrific.

    Real Trumpet Performance clip

    I tried one last time, actually slowing down the tempo a bit to make the ornaments clearer and more distinct and "loosening up" the performance as much as I dared. I also did a little bit to increase the "breathing room" in the spots where a real player would breath. Although in the example above, this guy seems to have steel lungs the size of beach balls. I used my favorite of the three, the Bb trumpet.

    VSL Bb Trumpet revised version


  • Hello Paul,

    This is an interesting comparison.  Thank you for taking the time to put it all together along with an actual performance as a "control' sample for comparison.

    All in all not too bad but here are some things that come to mind:

    I agree with you about the Bb sounding the best.

    Are you using the expression fader in any of these MIDI rendidtions?  I'm hearing some wide dynamic ranges.  For volume and timbre I'll start with the Vel X Fade then try to smooth it out with expression.  

    Have you tried applying a compressor?  I realize most Classical composers/arrangers shy away from things like compression, limiters, exciters, delays and multiband processing because they're trying to preserve a "natural" presentation but, when used in moderation, audio processors can work wonders; smoothing out dynamic extremes, bringing voices out of the mix and masking certain flaws that are inherent with sample work.

    For very fast passages you can try turning off the release samples or bring the release fader down below 63.  The old GUI allowed you to turn release samples on or off on the fly I'm not sure if you can still do that with the newer VI player or VI Pro.

    But thanks again for putting all of this together and posting.


  • Thanks jasensmith for the very specific ideas and questions. I controlled dynamics with velocity on all but one note, the long "F" that crescendos from pinao to Forte. I also used expression (CC11) to give some dynamic movement on the longer notes that were controlled by velocity.

    It is interesting that you are suggesting a reduction in dynamic range. I actually worried that the dynamic range was too narrow as most of this passage (except for the one long crescendo note) is marked forte. Trumpet velocities in the forte passages range from about 95 to about 110. I did not use any processing at all except for MIR Pro. I would love to know more about how to use compressors, limiters, exciters and delays. Any thoughts on how to go about learning the best way to use these tools? Are you only thinking of these in order too smooth dynamics, or is there something else that they would add? Any tips would be appreciated!

    I like the idea of reducing or turning off release samples during fast passages. I think I will give that a try. I am using VI Pro, and yes, release samples can be reduced or turned off and on using CC automation.


  • When I listen to both the real performance and the MIDI together some of the Forte notes in the MIDI rendition sound more like Fortissimo to my ears (and speakers)  Those notes just seem to blare for some reason.

    Are you using the full Bb trumpet library or the standard?

     

    The best way I've heard compression explained to me is like when you're watching a movie on TV and you have to turn the volume up when there's dialogue but then imediately turn it back down as soon as the guns start shooting, explosions, space ships flying, soundtrack, etc. then turn it back up again for more dialogue.  Well, in simple terms, compression does that automatically.  Too much compression will make audio sound over processed or just bland and stale while too little doesn't do much of anything so the trick is to use just enough.

    lImiters allow you to increase the volume of a track without affecting the dynamics and without clipping.

    exciters are a type of distortion effect that add color and work great for ensembles like choirs or four part horns or something.

    Delays are more useful in Pop music setttings but can add life to solo work in orchestras if used sparingly.  The rule of thumb for orchestras is if you can hear the delay it's too much unless you're trying to create a dramatic effect like Goldsmith's echoing trumpets in the movie Patton .

    Watch the VSL videos for the Vienna Suite and they will open your eyes (and ears) to how these tools can be used in orchestral music.


  • Thanks jasonsmith for the long post. I am using the full library of all three instruments. 

    The challenges of mixing and engineering seem daunting. I don't know why some of the notes might seem to blare. They don't on my system, but that is probably a defect on my part. I know that a good mixing engineer can somehow produce a mix that sounds good on almost any playback system. Although I am not into the engineering aspect, I suppose I will need to learn more about it. Ugh, life is too short, especially fir ne at 64, to put energy into something I don't like,. But perhpas I can learn it. 

    The problem is, if I can not hear the problem, how can I fix it? Perhpas I need to buy additional speakers or different headphones. Or maybe it is my ears, and not my speakers. Hmmmmmmm. Or maybe it is your ears?

    I will be looking at the Vienna Suite videos, Thanks for the help.


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    @Paul McGraw said:

    Hmmmmmmm. Or maybe it is your ears?

    You may be right. 

    I have to make a confession: I was listening with my laptop speakers instead of my car stereo while driving which is usually what I do when I listen to others's music on the forum.

    Also, nobody else is chimming in with the same conclusions so it may be my ears.

     

    Regarding mixing, unless you have the money to hire sound mixing and mastering engineers this business of do-it-yourself music has pretty much evolved into a one-stop shop where you'll have to compose, arrange, record, mix and master all yourself😶 

    Start with Youtube videos.  Believe it or not, for general subject matter topics, there are actually some pretty informative videos on Youtube.  However, when you start getting into specific techniques for doing this or that you'll find some good stuff, some okay and some garbage from people who have absolutely no idea what the hell they're doing.

    Then there's always the forum.  If you keep posting, somebody is bound to listen and give you some advice.  If I happen to listen to your works remind me not to do it with laptop speakers.  


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    @jasensmith said:

    Start with Youtube videos.  Believe it or not, for general subject matter topics, there are actually some pretty informative videos on Youtube.  However, when you start getting into specific techniques for doing this or that you'll find some good stuff, some okay and some garbage from people who have absolutely no idea what the hell they're doing.

    I almost fell over laughing when I read that. And it is so true. I have run accross YouTube videos that I found so informative that I have saved them, and take notes on the content, and I have run accross some that seem laughably ill informed.

    I would not be opposed to paying for a professional mix for one of my better compositions. I am a slow worker and I probably will only finish two or three per year. But obviously for an excercise like this Haydn I would not want to pay for a pro level mix. Anyway it is something to think about.


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    @Paul McGraw said:

    I have run accross YouTube videos that I found so informative that I have saved them, and take notes on the content, and I have run accross some that seem laughably ill informed.

    Yeah, the nice thing about Youtube, and forums like this one incidendally, is that they have eliminated the gatekeepers and democratized the medium but the downside is that they have eliminated the gatekeepers and democratized the medium.

    From the right sources you can get some very useful information and learn what you could from a university setting.  Unfortunately, the democratization of the medium means that EVERYBODY is suddenly an expert when in fact you could be talking to a complete lunatic.

    And you know something else, it's a real pain in the a$$ trying to write these forum entries with my toes😔   I wish that one of these nice people dressed in white would kindly loosen my straitjacket... 😉


  • Paul, that sounds good and the only critique that occurred to me was having more separation between notes.  You can hear it in the real performance.  Exaggerating the separation on brass parts - epecially trumpets and trombones -is an instant way to make them sound  more natural (except of course on actual legato note phrases).  


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    @William said:

    Paul, that sounds good and the only critique that occurred to me was having more separation between notes.  You can hear it in the real performance.  Exaggerating the separation on brass parts - epecially trumpets and trombones -is an instant way to make them sound  more natural (except of course on actual legato note phrases).  

    Thanks for the feedback William. By the way, I bought 3 of your CD's from CD baby, the Romantic Symphony, Chivalry and Shadows of the Soul. Great CD's. My favorite is Chivalry.


  • Thanks very much Paul!


  • Hi Paul,

    Aren't we all searchers for the best? Being a composer is one thing, being a sound engineer is quite another! Being both of them is something... to be jealous of.

    As to the trumpet: to come close to the original CD recording, most of the notes should be 'shortened' or played with short articulations and releases.
    That particular concerto was the very first LP I bought many, many years ago (with Maurice André as soloist). I know every part almost by heart and your interpretation is good, but doesn't sound yet like a real performance. The acoustic (mostly a church) is so rich, that every single trumpet note keeps reverberating while the next ones are being produced. You know what that means. Therefore the note values aren't or shouldn't be exact as written (which is mostly the case in baroque or classical music), especially for powerfull instruments.

    As to the sound: I prefer the cornet (I believe they played mostly a C-trumpet, even a D-one at that time), it comes closer to the real sound in the CD version. But that's of course a matter of taste or personal preference.

    In my recording of 'The Last Post - 1918', I used both (cornet and trumpet) in unison, with a number of small irregularities (call them humanisations) in the final bugle call (at about 10'). They blend very well and are different enough to build a richer sound.

    I hope this was of any use,

    Max


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    @Max Hamburg said:

    Aren't we all searchers for the best? Being a composer is one thing, being a sound engineer is quite another! Being both of them is something... to be jealous of.

    . . . 

    In my recording of 'The Last Post - 1918', I used both (cornet and trumpet) in unison, with a number of small irregularities (call them humanisations) in the final bugle call (at about 10'). They blend very well and are different enough to build a richer sound.

    Hi Max, thanks for listening and for your comments. I especially identify with the challenge of being a composer, and midi performer and sound engineer. I recognize (painfully) my shortcomings in all three areas. Getting feedback from kind folks like yourself does help however. And hopefully together we can make progress.

    Like you, I really like the Cornet, though I wish that some of the articulations did not include vibrato. It is nice to have the option to have a performance with or without vibrato as is true with most of the VSL instruments. I suppose I prefer the Bb, partially for that reason, with Cornet second. I just do not like the tone of the C trumpet personally.

    Thanks for pointing out the issue with note lengths. I should have forseen that it would be a distraction for listeners. 

    As I posted earlier, I very much enjoyed your "1918" and look forward to hearing your next composition.

    Paul


  • PaulP Paul moved this topic from Orchestration & Composition on