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  • Elite Strings - Factory Spatialisation of Violins

    Recently there was a comment about Elite Strings Vn1 and Vn2 appearing to be somewhat too far and too distinctly to the left:-

       "It's not so much the position of the violin groups, but rather the harsh separation from the entire orchestral ensemble as to left-right positioning. Since the violins 1 and 2 are left orientated, the entire violin group comes almost exclusively from the left. That is what I meant. In a 'real world' orchestral setting, even with that position, they sound through the full orchestra (left most, mid somewhat less and right rather weak but still present). That is not what I hear with the prerecorded positions, they sounds as if they are exclusively left."  (Jos Wylin)

    Having now had a close look at this aspect of ES, I concur with that comment - although conditionally.

    Of course when judging various aspects of spatialisation in today's orchestral sample libraries, it's rarely if ever possible for judgments to be simple, categorical or unconditional. For one thing, the question of the intended listener's position is always important. In this particular case, it would appear the listener is supposed to be fairly close behind the conductor's podium.

    I believe it would help, should they feel it's sensible to do so, if VSL would declare - in each library's documentation - at least some sort of nominal intended position of the listener, and most especially if this varies according to different MIxPresets.

    To get a close look at this In the case of ES, with straight-out-of-the-box Presets and MixPreset (05 ... Ambience Room-Mix,), I used two different makes of 'stereo scope' (displaying Lissajous figures in real time). These plugins indicate that the Vn1 section is indeed quite far over at roughly between -45 and -55 degrees of pan, with a somewhat narrow azimuth spread of stereo corona - this panning (but not the stereo width) being consistent with a fairly close listening position of no more than a few metres directly behind the conductor. For the Vn2 section, the indicators show somewhere between roughly -25 and -50 degrees of pan, with a much fatter stereo corona.

    To change the listening position and/or the orchestra's seating arrangements substantially (most especially if preferring to have Vn2 seated stage-right), it generally means the user must replace factory MixPresets with his own determinants of spatialisation. But doing that, though certainly feasible technically in VSL libraries, is probably not what most users would be inclined to do. It can take an awfully long time to become familiar enough with spatialisation techniques and devices to go it alone. (And I speak from long and hard-won experience - which is still far from settled) So I'll not suggest anything along those lines here and now.

    In this particular case of ES, given the very small numbers of players in each section, I'm inclined to think the factory default MixPreset yields Vn1 and Vn2 placements that are indeed somewhat egregiously too far over - more in keeping with much larger Vn sections but also where there's lots of space beteen them and the conductor's podium, neither of which seems apposite for the bijou size and feel of the very lovely ES.

    Best simple workarounds? Sorry to say I haven't spent time on any, but perhaps others have. So if any generous souls choose to disclose their succesful experiences in this, and if VSL would add their advice, it would I'm sure be widely welcomed and much appreciated.