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decent realistic strings

Discussion in 'Recording' started by karambos, Apr 11, 2004.

  1. karambos

    karambos Guest

    How does one get really good realistic strings in a project studio? I have only a couple of synths and the strings aren't very good. Can anyone advise? I also have a sampler at my disposal.

    Please don't suggest hiring the Berliner Philharmonic I'm on a tight budget here! :D
  2. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    A sample library is the only way to go. There are several great libraries, Garritan, Vienna Symphonic, Miroslav... pick one up. I don't own any of them myself, but I've heard all of these and they're quite nice. Xavier in the vocal booth forum just picked up the Garritan llibrary. Ask him about it.
  3. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    I've only played with the Garritan a couple hours, mostly strings, and they are good. My only complain is that running through DP as a plug in is so much lower in volume than Mach Five and my audio tracks- i turned the volume all the way up and it doesn't help that much.... I also have the East West string library for Giga (running in Mach Five) but so far the Garritan is better- now if I could only get the volume up!
  4. by

    by Guest

    The best sounding most versitile strings IMO are Sonic Implants Symphonic Strings:

  5. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Hey, now that I figured out the volume issue on garritan its a great program- real good sounds, reasonably priced-
  6. Ellegaard

    Ellegaard Active Member

    I would go for Garritan. I've heard the demos on http://www.garritan.com, and at first (on a laptop!) I really had to listen closely to hear that the ouveture from Mozart's Magic Flute wasn't a real orchestra. It's very convincing! The thing it lacks, as with everything else in the sampled world that tries to make it out for real instruments, is quite simply balls, but you'll never get that without a real orchestra. It's definitely good enough for a composer to present his work on a very decent audio file, and it's more than enough as a sample library used in a pop/rock home recording studio for background strings.

    I'd stay clear of Vienna, it's way too expensive and, in my opinion, not very much better than Garritan. Garritan is affordable, Vienna is not, and you're never going to use those several hundred gigs of samples anyway.
  7. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Okay, I won't suggest the Berlin Philharmonic.

    How about the New York Philharmonic.

    Now, with that poor joke out of the way....

    Even with rudimentary synths and samplers you can make fairly convincing strings.

    1. Do each part separately. Block chords, etc., just won't cut it.

    2. Use subtle bends when doing large jumps in pitch.

    3. When doing the parts, work with the sounds dry.

    4. If you can, do multiple solo violin/viola/cello/bass sounds instead of an ensemble string patch. Record each one separately in real time, don't copy and paste. Or copy and paste and "humanize" or "groove quantize" each one slightly differently. Real players do not play exactly the same. Also, vibrato is positive and negative (above and below pitch). Keep it subtle. Use slightly different vibrato rates for each part.

    5. If you have to use ensemble sounds, mix and match them. I use a Roland U-220, a Korg 05R/W and an Ensoniq ASR-10 Sampler. I'll do Violin 1 with the ASR and 05R/W, Violin 2 with the the -220 and a new sound on the ASR, Violas will be the 05 and -220, etc. through the parts. I will also add two solo instruments to each part to add a little personality. The programming time both for MIDI and sounds is worth the effort.

    6. Track each part separately with a small stereo spread. Mix the parts just as they would be on a concert stage. Violin 1 hard left, violin two center/left, violas soft right, cellos hard right, basses soft right. Once the mix is close, then start adding your reverb.

    7. If you are really ambitious, VERY slowly increase the pitch of the strings through the piece. As a symphony goes on the string players are "deafened" by the brass and horns behind them and start playing a little sharp to compensate. Also note that brass instuments tend to go FLAT as the instruments get warm and enlarge. In Beethovens 9th, for example, the strings have been as much as 40 to 60 cents sharp by the end of the performance, and the horns 10 to 20 cents flat.

    I hope that this has been a help.
  8. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    That's really good info, uncle Bob- thanks!

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