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   A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )
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muddle
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A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )  
« on: Apr 10th, 2014, 10:41am »
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Hallo everyone. I'm  reluctant to make this long post, but I think the matter is worth considering at least.
( Apologies to all non-english speakers.)    
 
I have been experimenting with  gold base string sounds, making them into 'user intruments'.
The latest test demos, attached  below, should give an idea of what is possible after some effort.  
 The tests have HA's 'surround' effect set at maximum  and  external reverb was added to the exported file .
 
The  first question is :- are the sounds good enough for other people to use?  
 
I really cannot tell because my hearing has adjusted after months of  exposure to them .
Sometimes they sound reasonable to me,  other times  ... ...  not good at all !  
 
Such user instruments would have some advantages over VST's or midi:-
 
1.  They use HA's  native output and audio export, and don't require any other interface.  
2. The samples are Myriad property and they could be freely modified and /or combined and distributed as they chose.  
 
They have disadvantages:-
 
1.  They are not high quality samples of string articulation such as you get on good sound libraries.  
  
 2. The wonderful reverb / space effect of some library players does not seem to be possible with H.A.output.
      I suppose, as long as you can add some external reverb/space effect,  this is not so important?  
      
3.  I've tried to make some string ensemble instruments which work with just single staves,  but, to my ear, the best results come when you duplicate a staff and use different strings (attack and/or timbre) at a different pan position.    
     So, there is a second question:-   how many people would want to trouble  with the doubling process?  
     Or, if you are like me, a tripling process, when you add a third duplicate staff, with say a staccato like sound.  
 
   However, HA users commonly  use merged staves to handle different intruments, so perhaps this "instrument doubling" is not a concern?  
You can also  use 'rules' on the staff  though I think it tends to create a somewhat confusing mixer.  
    
  4.  An orchestral performance usually needs some variety of attacks in the sound.  
   In HA, to some degree this can be done with the various note shaping 'effects'  applied to the required notes, and by shortening or lengthening  pressure times, but the notes can often flow better if one uses strings with  different attack speeds.
  
  If if you want  fairly realistic  strings,  I don't see any way to avoid this sort of  detail.  
  It is no easier if you use VST's as they can still require 'keyswitching' or different assigned staff / midi channel outputs.  
  I find it usually takes much listening and repetition and adjustment for the best results!  
                  
  5. Compared with VST's, another disadvantage is that with a basic VST like Garritan, you  would be getting a wide range of instruments ready made for orchestral performance.  If you  used GOLD user intruments instead, you may well find that they are ultimately unsatisfactory and want to upgrade anyway.
Though it does seem that the Gold woodwind and brass may be able to be impoved at least for some sounds.
 
At the very least, I don't see why a gold base ( 2.xx) could not include some basic string sounds with trimmed release and adjusted attack(s)  suitable for orchestral strings.  
 
 
  ----------------------------------------------
 
   That's it.  I think I have worn out my ears and brain for now !!  
It would be good if others had  a few instruments to  try out.  Failings could be found and corrected and so on.  
In the meantime I can't post them here as I belatedly realized that the samples, which are myriad property, would become available to anyone.  
 
At least the technical note added below tells you what you can do for yourself.  
 
Hope that was of interest.   And if it's not ...  that's  okay,  I am just sooo glad to have reached the end of this obsession !  
 
regards, David.
 
« Last Edit: Apr 10th, 2014, 11:01pm by muddle » offline

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muddle
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )   mozart_fast_slow.mp3
« Reply #1 on: Apr 10th, 2014, 10:45am »
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First demo ...  
 
This mozart ( midi by George Pollen) uses my current most useful  'combination string' instrument,  with either  filtered power strings or SE strings as the duplicate partner.  
Modified reconstituted strings did the contrabass.  
(They are good for bass combinations or alone.  If someone would just provide  a few different violins we could have  a full  reconstituted string orchestra!.)
 
Some staccato instruments were added in places on separate staves, but I'm not sure it improved it much.
It needed HA's volume effects to get the result I wanted.
 The slow movement just used the slow versions of  similar strings.
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muddle
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )   slow_combi_B.mp3
« Reply #2 on: Apr 10th, 2014, 10:48am »
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Some slow  pieces.
 
 The first is from HA's collection of midi files. Originally for piano and clarinet.. I duplicated and panned apart both the treble and bass, and the result seems to be reasonable .  
 
 The 'Nimrod" midi was an internet source but looks very like HA user  Edward Gold's work to me.  
Changed to my taste for strings alone.  'Death of ase' was an anonymous internet file.
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )   flood_then_finlandia.mp3
« Reply #3 on: Apr 10th, 2014, 10:53am »
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The "flood" by MaCunn, is a midi file from George Pollen again.  
 I like the effect of the modified 'power strings' with other strings  in the low staves.  
 
'Finlandia' was an experiment.  A  surprising but pleasing result.  
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )   italian_baroque.mp3
« Reply #4 on: Apr 10th, 2014, 10:58am »
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I had to try some baroque stuff.  
The trumpet is, I think, a dark trumpet made brighter, combined with a staccato made from trumpet 2. But it is the reverb that makes the difference .  
In 'spring' I tried to get  a combination as light as possible, with solos.
 
Attack strings were required for the last piece, plus some staccato.  The solos are versions of the natural violins.
 
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )  
« Reply #5 on: Apr 10th, 2014, 11:06am »
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BEWARE  ... technical note!  
 
The main change to  the original instruments  was to cut any long 'release'  down to a short fade. ( longer though, for slow strings).  
The reason is that  long release sounds seemed to  fill classic style music with a "jangle" of sound.  
The velocity response was increased to maximum if they were not that already.  
Attack rates were altered  to different bowed speeds.    
 In most cases different amounts of the equalizer low pass filter were  applied.  Power strings needed maximum filter.  Eventually I exported the power samples with the 'export' script and filtered them even more for  a different instrument.  Note that you have to compensate for the bass increased by the equalizer filter setting. I normalized the low samples from about 50% upwards.  
I was able to get some  ensemble short bow or   staccato sounds from the start/attack of various strings.  
Some samples were modifed.
 
About half way though this epic I discovered that the script to combine digital instruments could be used. And so I had to do it all over again with combination instruments.  AUGH!  
It took a lot of time and listening to get  combinations that worked throughout the note range.  
( Note that the script for this currently  swaps volume and velocity when a combination is saved and loaded ... tricky !  )
 
Surprisingly, some vibrato can be added to the ensembles, especially when they are used as a duplicate  pair with a different instrument which has no vibrato.
 
Some strings, and especially, the slow ones needed the actual samples to be altered by applying a 'fade in' and then cutting off the sample start . This helps with the otherwise too quiet start.  More work might be required there if I continued.  It can also work if you move the bar that sets the start play point of the sample, and then alter the attack rate.
 
Note :-  after making these demos, I had to turn off  any "hi- quality velocity". This is  because when you duplicate staves, a bug in  HA can  produce  harmonics/extra notes in the sounds with such settings.  Well, it seemed to.   Advice is welcome ....
You can add a staff to the score and paste the original staff notes into the new staff, and there are no harmonics,  but it is slow to do.
 
 Cheers, and good luck if you try this, Muddle.
 
« Last Edit: Apr 10th, 2014, 4:46pm by muddle » offline

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dheo
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )  
« Reply #6 on: Apr 14th, 2014, 5:51pm »
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Hello,
My knowledge is limited on this subject.
  1. Would soundfonts be another alternative for a better sound ??  
  2. I've noticed that MuseScore has "reverb and chorus" on their mixer. Would this be a feature that would enhance the sound ?
dheo
« Last Edit: Apr 14th, 2014, 5:52pm by dheo » offline
jorge grillo
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )   Efectos_y_Adornos.png
« Reply #7 on: Apr 15th, 2014, 2:35am »
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Hello Muddle,  
Your Post it is very good.  
I always use Reberberance, Ecualización, Digital Efects and other... also, to achieve a realistic sound: I always use apoyaturas, trills, Fade In (mainly in instruments of chords and winds). It is not a very difficult matter, but all this is a little forgotten in the tutorials... or people don't want to read them (maybe... ).  
I thank to you for this great work.  
You see, my English is very bad... I regret it.
Jorge
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )   Bach_Suite_No3_BWV1009-Fragment.mp3
« Reply #8 on: Apr 15th, 2014, 2:53am »
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Hello again, a simple example.  
(I am no longer expert in classic music...)  
Greetings...
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )   Digital_General_Efects.png
« Reply #9 on: Apr 15th, 2014, 3:01am »
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Hello Dheo,  
Maybe you can use the palette of General Effects.  
Greetings
Jorge
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )  
« Reply #10 on: Apr 15th, 2014, 5:43pm »
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Hello Jorge ,
Thanks for the suggestion !
dheo
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )  
« Reply #11 on: Apr 15th, 2014, 6:37pm »
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Happy to be useful for you...!!!
Jorge
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muddle
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )  
« Reply #12 on: Apr 18th, 2014, 12:57am »
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Hallo Jorge, that's a pleasingly natural and spacious sound.   There's no doubt that effects can add a lot.  
 
dheo:-  
 Yes, soundfonts can be  a very good alternative, some of us have used them for years.  
You should download  Muse Score and try it.  
 Out of curiosity I did just that.  Sadly my computer has some software  that prevented it running a second time with a proper sound font, so I didn't get to test the reverb properly.  
 It may have been the inbuilt soundfont which was the problem, but while the chorus  worked well as a 'surround' like effect, the reverb did not seem to adjust correctly.
And the string sound seemed to be  locked .. I didn't know that a sound font instrument could be set to do that... only volume adjustable, no pan or FX control.
 ( It was a stereo sound so was not entirely useless)
 You will have to test this yourself.
 Let us know if it works properly as  Muse score apparently runs on Mac's as well.   It could be useful for all HA users.
 
The good thing is that Muse Score will export the whole piece as a .wav file.  All you have to do is find  a quality sound font that has the sounds you are interested in, check that the reverb does adjust correctly, and away you go... as long as you don't want to record HA digital as well.
 
And that's the problem.  It is possible for anyone who has  a proper audio mixer of output to record sound from every source,  but I believe this would be very rare
 Its because of recording difficulties, and because of limitations or complications in the SF2 players I have tried, that I decided to experiment with Gold base user instruments instead.  
 
cheers, muddle.
 
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )  
« Reply #13 on: Apr 18th, 2014, 8:37pm »
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Hi Muddle &  Dheo,  
I could never use HArmony with sources VST, neither with Garritan neither with Miroslav Orchestra, neither using those "Scripts" provided for HArmony. I don't know because, a message of the Operating System indicates me that it lacked a Plug-in or something like that.    
For that reason I abandon the intention of using VST and I began to study the many possibilities of Gold Sound (the big of HArmony is that everything can be published (editing) and to be configured...).    
I can assure that very good results are achieved exporting, from HArmony, in format Wav, then publishing (open) the file with Nero 7, tool: "Nero Wave Editor."  
This provides a multitude of effects, adjustments, filters pass band, suppressive of noise and many other possibilities that improve the music's sound a lot (best sounds).    
Then we can convert wav to mp3 with HArmony and we will obtain a realistic sound of very good quality. Any editor of Wave is useful and there are them gratuitous (Free).  
it is only a possibility.  
Greetings  
Jorge
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Re: A suggestion for  orchestral style string sounds ( instead of VST ? )  
« Reply #14 on: Apr 26th, 2014, 5:48pm »
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Hello,  
Some time ago I received some help from Olivier Guillion on soundfonts using HA. Here is a quote from him.
 
1- I downloaded a complete MIDI soundfont, FluidSynth:
http://www.musescore.org/download/fluid-soundfont.tar.gz
and unpacked it
2- I downloaded a free SoundFont MIDI host, CoolSoft's VirtualMidiSynth:
http://coolsoft.altervista.org/en/virtualmidisynth
and installed it
3- put the FluidR3 GM2-2.SF2 soundfont in the VirtualMidiSynth's Soundfont list
4- ran Harmony Assistant
5- In "Configuration > Hardware configuration", set "Coolsoft VirtualMidiSynth"
as MIDI 1 output
6- Loaded a score file
7- Opened "Instrument > Relate output device", clicked "All", selected "MIDI 1"
and OK
8- Played. The instrument sound was generated through the soundfont.
Regards,
 
Olivier Guillion
 
I hope this helps anyone who would like to use soundfonts.
 
dheo
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