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  • Classical Guitar.... hmmmmm?

    Hello all, I'm new to the VSL library. I currently use a private sample library of the Russian National Orchestra that I share as part of a consortium of film composers. In addition I use Sonic Implants, Dan Dean, Garritan and Miroslav. I run them on 8 giga PCs and on several macs running Kontakts via AULab and EXSmkiis.

    I've just bought the Classical guitar, solo strings and the chamber strings. Installing the guitar I have to say I'm really disappointed with the sound, it seems to have a bucket load of data for something that sounds no more than a cheap lute or harp sample. Comparing it to the guitar samples bundled with Kontakt wouldn't be fair to those samples!

    I have made a lot of successful guitar patches of my own over the years and feel the best way to achieve a usable performance patch is to be very expressive and idiosyncratic for every sample. I feel on this library too much care and attention has gone into making every sample sound identical, leaving a very cold and to be honest not very usable set of patches in my opinion. And surprisingly I find several examples of keys that have samples that are out of tune also, I cite A2 on AG_mV_sus+RS_FX-mu as one example, sorry, not good enough for the price, it took me several minutes to fix, I think sloppy that these minutes weren't applied at the factory end?

    Here's an example of a piece I wrote completely performed on fake instruments bar a single solo violin:

    http://hensonmusic.com/media/AudioLab/KaterinasTheme.mp3

    And whilst it has a folky feel to it I feel this degree of realism would be hard to achieve from the VSL guitar patch (the guitars you here are two single patches I made myself from a Charango guitar constructed from the shell of an Armadillo!).

    Could people advise me on whether the rest of the VSL library has this all too perfect and cold feel to it, as I don't wish to install another £600 of samples that I am not going to use!

    Christian.

    hensonmusic.com

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    I don't have the guitar lib so I am not gonna comment on it. But...

    @british_bpm said:

    Could people advise me on whether the rest of the VSL library has this all too perfect and cold feel to it


    This was exactly what I had in mind when I first entered the world of VSL [:P] I bought the Opus Bundle and after loading and loading patches I was like... oh my! These sound very dead and lifeless. However, after doing some research and asking lot of ppl's comments and advice, I finally realized they had a reason to record the samples this way, in the Silent Stage (more like a VACUUM STAGE to me hehe [:D] ) I used vacuum coz there is like no air between the samples and the mic, they only captured the best sounds from the instruments with minimal early reflections and no reverb tail and nothing more. Yes, they are clinically clean and perfectly recorded. Yet, to "animate" the samples again you will need some work to create a "space" and "air" to them. In a word, hall ambience. I didn't realize the VSL samples could sound so beautiful until I seriously spent some work on adding convolution reverb and recreating airy ambience to them.

    At first I thought this is quite a clumsy task but just think of VSL libraries are like dried food, they are so dried and hard that they are far from edible right out of the box. But to make them soft and tender, soak them in water and miracles DO HAPPEN! [[;)]]

    The musicians recording the VSL libraries are no doubt top notch IMHO. But imagine if you are hearing a great instrumentalist performing right 1 foot in front of you in a small enclosed space.... you might not admire his peformance at all!

    Cheers,
    Frankie

  • Hmmm, thanks for response, I don't really buy that at all. With my experience of recording film scores the best engineers rely more on room mics than they do the spots (exceptions can be found, i.e. in Gregson Williams' score for Narnia where the reverse is true) the sound of an orchestra is not just the air resonating from the instruments but it resonating a room and everything within it, and this is quite different to reverb. If you rely just on spots, or have a situation where there are no reflections you don't have the interplay between the strings, sound boards, air, room and back again. You simply don't. Nor can you rectify this, even with a ten thousand quid Lex or TC.

    I recently recorded another string session in London, at Air lyndhurst, in the hall, just a small group of 35 string players, but the room gave it a gorgeous live and large sound with a tale of seconds which is not verb, but simply the instruments and the room "coming to rest". Then of course when mixing we added reverbs to give it expanse, all the things one likes a film score to sound like.

    So in conclusion I think this approach is a bit dubious, they are recording in a way that you would never hear in real life, so therefore it is cold and lifeless, unfamiliar almost (certainly in the case of the guitar, which in my opinion doesn't really sound like any guitar I've heard). I find it odd that they have created a stage with no impulse response and then bothered to create patches with release triggers! Of what!?

    I think this library (intrigue, and it being a sunday has led me to load in the solo and chamber strings) has a sound very similar to that of Garritan alongside a very very muddled way that the patches are organized. Hooray for choice, but pooh bah for the searching one has to do! I have had the pleasure of writing a lot of orchestral stuff , and working with some great composers on big scores, and nine times out of ten they will be relying on some key usable patches, legato with a mod wheel expression switch, I always find it excruciating that libraries bury these key files in jargoned folders.

    OK rant over, I feel it's amazing how much work has gone into this, and whilst it lays a bench mark for such recordings I feel it is misguided and really lacks the life which is after all the key reason you would want to spend so much time programming orchestral samples in the first place, we'd still be on our Sound Canvas strings if we didn't. We are fighting a battle with directors to represent what an orchestra may sound like, and I think VSL doesn't allow the user to hit the ground running in this respect.

    Any other thoughts would be great. Also, does anyone have the time or inclination to tell me the patch names for all the looped long strings which have an expression control triggered by the mod wheel in both solo strings and the chamber package. Also, am I blind, but is there any con sord patches aswell?

    All the best.

    Christian.

    hensonmusic.com

  • No offense Christian,
    but I'm surprised that you purchased this lib if you find it so obviously flawed, bland and lifeless.
    There are some audio demos for this guitar on VSL site which, IMO, are long and detailed enough (not to mention in various styles) to tell a lot about what one may (or may not) expect from it.
    So, there seems to be only 2 options :
    - you bought the lib without even listening to the demos of the product you were about to purchase (which is a risky thing to do), [:'(]
    - you listened to them but have problems to make it sound like in the demos (which is not the lib's fault). [[;)]]

  • Your first presumption is correct, I didn't listen to the demos, and had I listened to them I wouldn't have bought into the package, which, yes, makes me a bit foolhardy, I'm a bit of an impulse buyer and VSL has a high and good brand profile.

    Would be very interested to hear how people have been able to breath a bit of "life" into their samples I have Sony EQs, the TC VSS reverb thingy and Space Designer among other things....

    Christian.

    hensonmusic.com

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    @british_bpm said:



    Here's an example of a piece I wrote completely performed on fake instruments bar a single solo violin:

    Could people advise me on whether the rest of the VSL library has this all too perfect and cold feel to it, as I don't wish to install another £600 of samples that I am not going to use!
    Christian.
    hensonmusic.com


    Hmmm. You mean they're fake instruments - or samples of real instrumens?

    You should already know that sample libraries are like snapshots in time - like photos. You go through a photo album and some of the pictures are good - and some are poor. Samples are like that. VSL takes a lot of work at the moment in terms of processing and mastering. Maybe that will change in terms of ease of use with the new VI.

  • Regarding britishbpms post. You come into this Forum trying to impress with all your credentials - you've impressed me - negatively. I am not going to fall down and worship you because you've done this or that gig. Whoopie f**kin' do.

    More importantly, you don't know what you're talking about. The release samples are mainly the ambience of the instrument - the resonance or ambience within the instrument (most noticeable in strings or larger brass). They are not release samples of a hall's ambience. I thought that was obvious. Do you think release samples are used only for a hall's reverb? These VSL release sample instruments are quite useful and sound very good with short fast notes.

    The Silent Stage is an excellent approach because it enables a composer to vary the amibence, not be locked into it as with EWQLSO. You might prefer that library because there is less choice and less to think about. Also, the entire library is designed with the MIR project in mind, which invalidates everything you said concerning this topic. You might have looked into that before spouting your ignorance.

    The organization of VSL is extremely precise, consistent and accurate. It is simply too huge to simplistically and instantly understand. Take another more careful look and you might start to get it.

    Also, to compare VSL to Garritan shows an abyssmal lack of discernment, almost to the point of indicating complete deafness. There is nothing much to be said in response to a statement of such extreme tastelessness.

    Other than that, an excellent post sir and I bid you welcome. [6]

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    I agree, William.

    Furthermore, VSL and GPO are so distant in terms of sound, that I wonder how one can...

    I tried a very elementary comparison by playing the very same eight bars of a Schubert's Symphony with GPO and then VSL: as expected, from two completely different products one gets two completely different results, even if he/she didn't intended to.

    Indeed, I don't like very much VSL Classical Guitar sound (I don't question the raw samples), but it's a question of personal taste: there are many that don't like VSL Viennese Oboe, too.

    I like it, instead.

    And, IMHO, Tango en Skai guitar demo is no sot bad.

    [[;)]]

  • Thank you William for such an aggressive take on my comments, I am flattered that such an inconsequential post such as mine could sponsor such voracity.

    I do feel it also worth pointing out that whilst I did mention I had worked on several big projects and with big names, I was merely saying this in support, no, in the absolute knowledge of how.... in the real world, the.... get a score written, arranged, orchestrated, recorded and mixed in four weeks, real world of modern film composing. Most, not all, but MOST of the people I have worked with tend to enjoy working with sample libraries that offer ease of use, flexibility, as straight forward and quick a work flow as possible. By this I mean not only sample libraries that are organized in an intuitive manner, but also with results that are pleasing to the ear straight out of the tin! I wasn't trying to impress, as I don't feel my credentials are that impressive!

    I am merely posting to ask for peoples advice on how to get this thing integrated into MY workflow so that it doesn't sit festering on my hard drives. I bathe in my ignorance simply because I am too busy to spend hours researching sound libraries, I tend to go on word of mouth, reviews and such like. And, dude, I really don't think I'm alone here. I am simply very disappointed when I am lumbered with a piece of software, that whilst brilliant in it's conception, fiendishly detailed in it's execution, is disappointing in it's application. Unless, of course... you have bucket loads of time to spare. And you my friend sound like you have troughs of it..... I can't imagine, after all with such an aggressive attitude, that your social life is up to much.

    I am also sorry to say that whilst I may not have your hi-fi hearing, I simply judge what I hear by if it sounds real..... and, compared to the libraries I use, it sounds about as real as Garritan.... which in my opinion doesn't sound very real at all. I understand that VSL is a much more comprehensive library, but so too is it's price!

    Sorry if I came across all bigging myself up, but I don't feel I dropped any names, mentioned any jobs, and the link to the MP3 I enclosed was for anyone who was interested in results I had had with other sample libraries. The link above was something conceived written, and with the live violin in place, recorded in a matter of an afternoon and I simply don't see how I'd get similar results with VSL in that kind of time frame that's all.

    Sorry for lengthy reply, but I find your aggressive and insulting nature not only rude and unnecessary but also ignorant in what I feel these forums are for. I am here to ask advice, and wished to illustrate that I am a professional not some lazy technophobe who doesn't know his an English Horn from a Clarinet. I am also very interested to hear what your workflow is and how you have made it work for yourself, because I simply can't get VSL to sound all that hot!

    Regards.

    Christian.

    hensonmusic.com

  • Christian I think that before you can comment about a product, you have to decide whether or not you like the finished result. If you don't like any of the demos, then I would agree that you've wasted your money.

    If, however, you find some merit in the sounds other people have coaxed out of the library then it is time to sit down and calmly work your way through the library, forum posts and anything else that will help you get the sound that you desire.

    There is a lot of talk about real vs. unreal when it comes to orchestral sample-based music. It sounds to me as if you want "real", so I'll make that assumption. Apologies if I'm wrong [:O]ops:

    You talk about the film industry and the necessary ease of use of a sample library due to lack of time. However, there are many other sorts of music that people on this forum write and it may well be that even though it could take more time to learn to use VSL, for them the results are much better than a quick fix library. Of course with the release of VI all this will change and the ease of use should outweigh any other sample library currently on the market.

    The other thing to remember is that the great thing about VSL is choice; of dynamic, articulation and most importantly aural space.

    You mention Air Lyndhurst. I agree that it can be a lovely sounding studio, however I would never buy a sample library recorded there, for the simple reason that it would be unusable in far too many instances. The interesting thing about Air is that the acoustic can be so uncontrollable that often the orchestra is recorded section by section, rather than as a whole. Of course this only works because often the composers don't really know how to orchestrate; I can't imagine a JW score recorded like that [[:|]]

    As I said at the start, if you are looking for a reverberant orchestral library, then this isn't it, but if you are prepared to work a little with it (and learn to use a convolution reverb!!) then the results can be rewarding. Oh and if you haven't already, do download and use the Performance Tool, as that is one of the things that makes this library special.

    DG

  • Thanks for your response, as a point of interest JW's Harry Potter's Scores were recorded at Lyndhurst, and Hans Zimmer has just recorded an entire private orchestral sample library there. In fact his famous LSO samples were recorded there also. I have had the pleasure of using these, and I completely agree with you, they are somewhat unwieldy which is why I think a lot of the (formerly) media ventures guys tend to demo this stuff complimented by Sonic Implants, that seem to have the tenderness, and clear articulation, with, dare I say it more of a human feel to it.

    I look forward to hearing more about VI.

    Sincerely.

    Christian.

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    @british_bpm said:

    Thanks for your response, as a point of interest JW's Harry Potter's Scores were recorded at Lyndhurst...
    Christian.

    But I bet that they weren't recorded section by section...!

    DG

  • Two methods were adopted, by section and also with brass and woods in the galleries, if you're interested in an extraordinary recording, Dario Marianelli recorded one of the biggest sounding cues I have ever heard for the forthcoming V for Vendetta, using an entire orch' squeezed into the hall, with full personnel up in the galleries and in the iso booths, short of the cannons it makes for interesting listening!

    But yes, section by section is usually the method adopted there, I tend to prefer doing horns separately there as the bleed can be pretty tasty.

    CH.

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    @british_bpm said:

    Two methods were adopted, by section and also with brass and woods in the galleries, if you're interested in an extraordinary recording, Dario Marianelli recorded one of the biggest sounding cues I have ever heard for the forthcoming V for Vendetta, using an entire orch' squeezed into the hall, with full personnel up in the galleries and in the iso booths, short of the cannons it makes for interesting listening!

    But yes, section by section is usually the method adopted there, I tend to prefer doing horns separately there as the bleed can be pretty tasty.

    CH.


    I surprised that JW would allow his orchestrations to be recorded separately. I have always found that not only is the actual recording process unsatisfactory, but the final result doesn't gel. Having said all that, it looks like the next project that I'm doing at Air (or possibly Abbey?) will be recorded section by section, for a number of reasons [:(]

    I'm always interested in new ways to play and perform, so next time I'm up at Air I'll try to imagine what Marianelli score looked like.

    DG

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    Welcome Christian,

    Sorry that you obviously don't like our work and miss its possibilities. I won't comment on all those parts of your messages that rely on personal taste and/or experience, but I think I have to put a basic misunderstanding into perspective, that happens sometimes to people that are not familiar with our concepts:

    @british_bpm said:

    [...]
    So in conclusion I think this approach is a bit dubious, they are recording in a way that you would never hear in real life, so therefore it is cold and lifeless, unfamiliar almost (certainly in the case of the guitar, which in my opinion doesn't really sound like any guitar I've heard). I find it odd that they have created a stage with no impulse response and then bothered to create patches with release triggers! Of what!?
    [...]
    Christian.


    If we would record our samples with lots of reverb like old-school sampling libraries, we would run into major problems with the realisation of all our advanced Performance-concepts, like true legato, repetitions, free placement on a virtual stage and so on. The reverb inherent to the recordings would be extremely damaging in all these cases. Our release-samples are not meant to be a cheap reverb, they are part of the instrument's own sound. -For Reverbation, we are working on a dedicated solution with multi-sampled orchestral venues.

    Apart from that, I kindly invite you to visit our Silent Stage, and you will see that this orchestra stage is far from "dry" (... would be hard to achieve in a room about 7 metres high, BTW). Due to our concept, we had this studio designed to be free of _reverb_, but with lots of controlled ambience.

    If you want to hear what other people were able tro achieve with those unusable, "cold and lifeless" sounds, you are kindly invited to visit our vast demo-site and listen to our users' works as well as our own.

    -> http://vsl.co.at/en-us/65/71/175.vsl
    -> http://vsl.co.at/en-us/67/90.vsl
    -> http://vsl.co.at/en-us/65/71/149.vsl#


    All the best,

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Thanks for your comments, and I think your work is a true achievement, I am speaking from the perspective of the application and workflow that myself and many of my colleagues adopt and look forward to finding the time some time to look further into your performance software, until which point it is a case of better the devil you know!

    I appreciate you taking the time out to comment and am doing some orchestral sessions out in Brataslava (heavens above) soon, so may well take you up on that offer of looking at your silent stage.

    Regards

    Christian.

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    @Dietz said:


    If you want to hear what other people were able tro achieve with those unusable, "cold and lifeless" sounds, you are kindly invited ....


    Classical guitars was my first vsl library and I like it a lot. I feel it is not about "good" or "bad" samples - it is what and how you get out of it.
    In the beginning, I was disappointed about everything - actually with GPO as well. Then I listened to the demos, tried to get that sounds. It was a journey, and I learned a lot of how to handle samples to finished work.

    I think it is not fair to blame certain samples and the way they sound. Especially not the top quality of VSL, and GPO, btw, as well. They all have their purpose and they are all craftmans work.

    Too old for Rock n Roll. Too young for 9th symphonies. Wagner Lover, IRCAM Alumni. Double Bass player starting in low Es. I am where noise is music.
  • Hi Christian

    glad to have you on this forum and i appreciate your frank comments. William is known here for his strong opinions so don't let that bother you too much.

    I actually think you have a very valid point about the usabilty of sound libraries in general. VSL does take quite a bit of time to become familiar with. The new VI version will hopefully make it more accessible.

    As for the guitar-it does sound quite nice, but sometimes you want a sound with character rather than one which is clean and perfect. That's why I still like to use Vitous or Siedlacek for certain things- also I then don't have to think "hmmmm, which articulation do I need" 'cos there's only one. Lovingly played, there can be a lot of mileage in one set of samples.

    I use Real Guitar for instance for a lot of acoustic parts, not because it has a great concert guitar sound_ it doesn't - but because it has great playability.

    Nigel