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Topic: GPO4 solo strings.... this is for Jos & Yudit

  1. #1

    GPO4 solo strings.... this is for Jos & Yudit

    Talking with Jos about baroque strings and with Yudit regarding GPO4 solo strings, made me want to share this. This is an old rendering of mine, made just as an experiment so it is not that accurate and well crafted.
    I did not want to "disturb" your threads too much so I chose to open a different one.

    Jos, we were talking about the baroque sound. I understand what you say regarding Dimension strings. On the other side, though, it makes sense to work with individual instruments in case of small ensembles. When you are rendering a whole orchestra, you can not just get crazy rendering every single string instrument (20+ violins.... 10+ violas etc etc). For a total of roughly 10 string players it can be done.

    This is an attempt at the first movement of Bach's 1043. It is arranged for 6 violins, 3 violas, 2 cellos & bass. All instruments are different, meaning that there is a specific samples' pool for every instrument so tonal characteristics should be richer, micro-tuning issues should provide a dense environment and harmonics' depht should supposedly be very wide.

    Yudit, those two in the lead... one can barely guess but they are Guarnieri and Stradivari violins from GPO4. Isolated, re-programmed with a re-modeled dynamic emulation through filtering and layered internally with two sets of spiccato samples in order to recreate the otherwise missing attack noises.

    No 'battles', Jos . I just posted this for discussing and simply considering a different approach.




  2. #2

    Re: GPO4 solo strings.... this is for Jos & Yudit

    Yudit, those two in the lead... one can barely guess but they are Guarnieri and Stradivari violins from GPO4. Isolated, re-programmed with a re-modeled dynamic emulation through filtering and layered internally with two sets of spiccato samples in order to recreate the otherwise missing attack noises.
    Fab, I didn't know that. Is the Gagliano the third solo instrument then?

  3. #3

    Re: GPO4 solo strings.... this is for Jos & Yudit

    Hi Fab,

    This is indeed an interesting approach, as an experiment with individual strings (that is exactly what I do with the dimensions: I take only the separate strings and bring them together with all their individual differences and other set parameters (attack, patch choice to avoid romantic vibration, delay, release...) and I always add to each section one solo instrument to bring in some more presence and to cover missing patches for certain articulations.
    Your sculpting of the GPO strings is wonderful and the constraining of the often wild and deep vibrato is well succeeded. But I miss the dry attacks, dynamic contrasts and short bowing so typical in baroque music. (Of course I speak here about historic performances with period instruments, with hardly any finger vibrato.) Maybe that was not your intention, I can clearly hear what your aim was.
    The bass line (viola, cello bass) are at times a bit too much detuned. This was also your intention?

    As a strings ensemble approach, you did a marvellous job. It proves that there are many possibilities to build well sounding (chamber) orchestras, even with limited means.

    Great job!
    Jos Wylin

    http://www.joswyl.be compositions and sampling practices

  4. #4
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Shelton, Washington State

    Re: GPO4 solo strings.... this is for Jos & Yudit

    Is there an issue with the GPO 5 vs GPO 4?

    I found this Sound On Sound review of GPO 5. It sounded quite positive when it came to the new string recordings.



  5. #5

    Re: GPO4 solo strings.... this is for Jos & Yudit

    'Morning guys.... and ladies.

    Yudit, the Gagliano violin is 'Violin 1'. Strad would be #2 and Guarnieri #3.
    They are all lovely in tone (at sample level) but all have quirks. Samples for Gagliano and Guarnieri are very short, 2 to 2,5 seconds, so they loop all the time. Samples for the Strad are double that, its behaviour is more natural but this set of samples has the particularity that has been recorded with a massive vibrato which starts right away, unlike the other two that have a more 'common' lag before vibrato kicks in.
    The main problem with the vibrato on all three of them is that - on long notes - the part of the sample that loops is very short, so the vibrato gets annoying because it is very monotonous, there is a certain 'sameness' to it. Working some magic on the loop point and looping the sample alternatively forward and backward can truly help.
    The main problem on all three, though, is that they have NO attack noises. No way to simulate any kind of dynamics and the likes of sforzando/marcato playing, let alone the spiccato-ish sounds (spiccato itself, sautille, ricochet etc etc).
    They are useful only for lyrical sustained phrases.
    GPO had a very solid philosophy behind it, it was born as a resource-friendly entry level set of sounds, so all of the above is to be expected. Just, there are drawbacks as in anything in this world.


    That's exactly what I wanted to show: Dimension strings are a very serious candidate when trying to replicate a small ensemble. Concerning the sound, though, I do not have the clearest picture as I never used it. I am more sympathetic with VSL chamber strings, but the power of controlling every single intruments is something to surely take into account. Take the BWV1043: all violins involved in the score behave differently and you ideally need at least 2 separate solo violins to play the two lead parts plus at least another couple to play the supporting parts... chamber strings, even coupled with two solos, would fall short.
    The 'bowing' emulation on this one was pretty much intentional. I know this piece quite well, it is among the first pieces I studied on the violin. Please note that this file was born as a test device for the two lead violins, the time that I actually made the two patches. The strad, the second lead that is actually the first lead violin to kick in, is only layered with a single layer set of samples providing some attack as the base to simulate all possible bow strokes. The Guarnieri, on the other hand, is coupled with this:


    13 dynamics of attack strokes, you can emulate pretty much anything, from light spiccato to heavy marcato, with very interesting results. No round robin was available, but it is enough not to use it chromatically in order to get two alternating round robin layers that, coupled with the 13 dynamics, make pretty much sure that you never hit similar notes consecutively.
    Nonetheless.... samples are samples, they only play the music that has been 'baked' in them at recording time. So, no fully controllable vibrato, no proper bowing and above all, in this case, no baroque sound (gut strings, baroque bow, crystal clear attacks and lightness of touch). Baroque sound is nowhere to be seen in the samples' world, as we have already mentioned. Listen here:


    One interesting thing with this approach, though, is that all instruments are different and have a different character and their respective strenghts. According to the piece of music, I can always choose the one that will most ideally tackle that specific part. Take this one and listen to the first lead. This is the 'Adagio and Spiccato' followed by the Allegro of the second concert of Vivaldi's Estro Armonico. The violin in the first lead is from the free set of sampled available from the 'Philharmonia Orchestra'. Kind of crippled because samples are not always useful... but listen to this alternating detache-ish sounds. You can hear the 'clicking sounds' of the bow and there is a very nice 'ringing' quality to the resonances:


    ... then you listen to my hero (Biondi's version) and get blown, but that's another story :

    (the first piece)

    Anyway: yes, there is a bit of shaking tuning-wise, especially on the bass. I never really performed the needed effort to edit every single sample.


    I really never trusted any review . I am pretty sure that strings in GPO5 are an evolution from version 4. Mostly ensemble strings, though, I can not hear much difference concerning solos.
    Strange package, GPO5. The upgrade price is minimal but still I do not think it is worth getting it. Probably just for those who 'buy everything anyway'.
    If there one thing where Garritan was superior to any other competing firm, though, is their policies. Copy protection is effective and unobtrusive, instruments are always available on line in case you need to download them again, they have their own player which shows a serious approach (like VSL or EW...). I also like their philosophy, be reasonable on resources and model sounds rather than 'sample everything'. Shame that they did not go all the way. The CFX, though, is beautiful.

    Bye to all.


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