Fast Strings Test

Discussion in 'Software Reviews and Tutorials' started by Gramofon, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. Gramofon

    Gramofon Producer

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    Hey, peeps. I've been meaning to do something like this for some time now and since I've gathered quite a few test tracks I thought I'd share them. It's something along the lines of these threads:
    http://audiosex.pro/index.php?/topic/9281-different-sample-libraries-sound-comparison/
    http://audiosex.pro/index.php?/topic/9973-hands-on-which-concert-harp-to-get/

    I'll probably add a few notes for each library later, although this is focusing more on the fast playing and not so much on the general character of the libraries. So, here it goes:

    Symphobia:
    http://www.firedrive.com/file/9798A51FC7784D51 (Stacked Spiccato & Staccato)

    Sonivox Symphonic Strings:
    http://www.firedrive.com/file/E8BD835D4F322EEB (Stacked Spiccato & Staccato)

    Spitfire Mural Strings:
    http://www.firedrive.com/file/01C1DCF144C40F35 (Spiccato)

    LASS 2:
    http://www.firedrive.com/file/5ADCF738FE880B38 (Stacked Spiccato & Staccato)

    Kirk Hunter Diamond TVEC4:
    http://www.firedrive.com/file/73E2D759E90357ED (Short Notes with accents)

    EWQLSO Platinum:
    http://www.firedrive.com/file/370EAC5783903F25 (Spiccato)

    Cinematic Strings 2:
    http://www.firedrive.com/file/8539B36987DA817D (Staccatissimo)

    8Dio Adagio Strings:
    http://www.firedrive.com/file/260642B5CB53A506 (Feather Spiccato)

    And a combination:
    http://www.firedrive.com/file/2DD6DD6CA13A6AA0 (EWQLSO High & Symphobia Low)

    Note: These are examples to get you an idea of some basic articulations and with basic editing. It's not an example of ultimate, perfect editing and library-spefific tweaking, just some minor adjustments to fx to make the sound as similar as possible. A quick overview of how these patches play out. I wanted to make this as a quick reference when trying or choosing a library to get an idea of this specific style.

    The point is the transitions/repetition lags.

    I'm waiting for comments on this or what else I could do and critisim. Maybe I'll add some more examples or do it again sometime and improve it. I could try to go into full editing but considering the amount of time it would need, my (partial?) lack of mixing/editing skills and not knowing whether anyone's really interested in this or not, discouraged me.

    Anyway... Enjoy (or not).
     
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  3. Andrew

    Andrew AudioSEX Maestro Staff Member

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    Good idea, but there are areas for improvement:
    1. The staccato is too mechanical in most examples, this is actually a good thing as it show us how you constructed the MIDI. First rule of thumb in every scenario is randomization (even in real life). Try to randomize velocities, most of them sound like fixed 110 value. Also quantization, use humanize to make those pieces less mechanical. I know they are mostly just for illustration, but I do have a feeling that some of them diminishes the possibilities of those libs, no offense :wink: .
    Also try rhythmic passages, like (velocities) 110, 87, 76, 82, 107, 86, 79, 84, 111, 87, 77, 80, ...

    2. Why are all recordings in WAVE? Just a suggestion, (I am actually amazed how few people here knows about lossless compression) use FLAC instead, the quality is the same and the files will be 2 times smaller.

    3. I stopped making those sound examples because each library reacts differently to input data, e.g. velocity and modwheel. The comparison is indeed useful at certain level, but should be taken lightly, with enough room to manuever.
    *yes*
     
  4. Gramofon

    Gramofon Producer

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    For sure, there are things I could have approached differently. Like, not using any fx at all. Now, that would be a real shock. :bleh:

    Believe it or not, the notes are not actually all the same values and are also using swinging (which I think is partly to blame for some notes getting cut off, as the releases overlap with the start/attack of the next note which in Kontakt gets cut instead of repeated). The ideal thing would be to try and edit each one with full automation etc. but it's a lot of work. I think velocity 110 and 70 for forte dynamics is a huge difference and I'm not sure it'd sound better. But yes, some do sound like a machine gun that takes some breaths, haha. But, that's how I also realized that CS2 has a quite limited dynamic range.

    The recordings are in WAV to avoid compression and I think firedrive doesn't stream flac (I'm testing now), so you'd have to download it. And I didn't want an mp3 either...
     
  5. Andrew

    Andrew AudioSEX Maestro Staff Member

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    MP3 is way below everything :rofl: .
    Also when we speak quality, just another suggestion, try to match the library sample rate with project sample rate.
    OK, I'll stop now :rofl:
     
  6. Gramofon

    Gramofon Producer

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    It was all at 44.1 kHz. I tried upscaling to 96k once and it sounded worse (artifacts - it was as if the whole track became more synthetic, but I guess that's what you get for adding info that's not there to begin with), so until all libs are at 24bit 96k or something I'm keeping it all 16(24)bit 44.1k to be sure.

    I thought of what you said before I posted. That's why I added the note.
     
  7. Andrew

    Andrew AudioSEX Maestro Staff Member

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    Actually you might be surprised what sample rate is being used. SONiVOX and Spitfire use 48k, not 44.1
    For this issue, I'd relate to my previous post: http://audiosex.pro/index.php?/topic/10461-kontakt-libraries-and-sampling-rate/

    Anyway I hope I didn't discourage you, that was not my intention, not at all. :mates:
     
  8. Gramofon

    Gramofon Producer

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    Thing is, if I changed, say, the project to 48k for Cinematic Strings then I would mess everything else that is at 44.1. :rofl: I could make a separate project though. I use 512-point/biggest value for resampling and 32 bit for initial export. If in REAPER, I opt for 64 bit. But, anyway, you've got a point. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I could upload the MIDI and the 'backing' track so you or anyone interested can see it and have a go at it and post their results and make it a team effort. :dancing:
     
  9. Andrew

    Andrew AudioSEX Maestro Staff Member

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    There's maybe best solution and also the easiest one.
    In Kontakt, use "perfect" for offline interpolation quality:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Gramofon

    Gramofon Producer

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    Yeah, I always have it at perfect. :grooves:


    ~~~~~~ (Avoiding double comment)

    Ok, I tested a flac file and it doesn't seem to recognise/play it. Taking Andrew's comments into consideration, I may do a revision and try to make the performance a bit more dynamic. Until then... :break:
     
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