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Amicus717

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Posts posted by Amicus717


  1. 58 minutes ago, Yan Filiatrault said:

    Would it fit well with other orchestral libraries for someone not owning anything from Cinesamples?

    I think the Taylor Davis violin, CinePiano and the Solo Strings would be a nice addition to anyone's collection, regardless of what you already own -- they're standalone products and they're great.

    The Woodwinds Pro library doesn't have the bread-and-butter essentials found in the core library - flute, oboe, bassoon and clarinet - but does have a lot of really nice additional instruments that are good to add if you do the kind of music that needs them. I can see it being a worthwhile addition if you already have another basic woodwinds library.

    The Brass Pro library is really intended to accentuate the Brass Core library, and I suspect it would be much less useful on its own - it's got a few nice standalone patches (12 horns, and a couple of solo patches for Trombone, Horn and Trumpet), but is also has a lot of FX patches and muted patches etc that are intended as direct extensions of the ones in the Core library. They may be useful, but they'd be a lot more valuable if you have both libraries. CineBrass Core and Pro are two libraries that really should go together as a pair, and the Pro one on its own is very incomplete.

    The Descant Horns library is a nice addition to my library, but is kind of niche; the descant horn is a agile, lighter sounding French Horn variant that is great at playing high range notes, and very handy to have around, but not exactly a game changer. Nice to have, but not essential. 

    So, there is definitely stuff here that would be useful to anyone, for sure, but if you don't have CineSamples Brass Core, then you're not getting full value for the package.

    There is also the matter of the CineSamples sound and vibe -- to my ears it's pretty specific to their products, and may not suit everyone. Their stuff is all recorded on the MGM scoring stage, and its got a similar sound across all their libraries, and it's kind of big and bold and a bit in your face. They do have lots of mic options, so that helps you tailor it to blend with other stuff, so it can be flexible. But it is something that should be noted. 

    Hope that helps!

     

    • Thanks 1

  2. So, I did take the plunge and grabbed the Toolset bundle. Couldn't resist for that price, and I spent yesterday evening playing around with them. So far, they're great. 

    The Woodwinds Pro library, in particular, is absolutely killer. Totally fits into the kind of music I like doing. It's got ensemble versions of the Woodwinds Core library (which is all solo instruments), and adds new solo instruments (bass clarinet, contrabassoon, contra clarinet, alto flute, bass flute, Eflat clarinet, etc) - but also has an extensive list of historical and world woodwinds and pipes: Irish whistles, a duduk, shawms, tenor and soprano recorders, baroque and renaissance flutes, a collection of bagpipes (border pipes, renaissance pipes, uilleann pipes), and a few patches worth of recorded phrases for some of these instruments.  It's an awesome addition to my collection. Really happy I got that one, and I've already used the border pipes in a new piece I'm assembling. The walkthru for this library is here, and I think it is worth watching: https://cinesamples.com/product/cinewinds-pro

    The CinePiano library is basic, has four flavors (basic grand, a more ambient classical grand, a soft and intimate cinematic grand, and a hard edged rock grand) and they are all excellent - clean, clear and nicely calibrated. 

    CineBrass Pro has additional ensembles and solo brass instruments, including a really delightful 12 Horn power ensemble, and lots of FX, mute patches and the like. Great addition to their already very nice CineBrass library. 

    Taylor Davis solo violin is excellent - clean, expressive with a nice legato.

    I've only briefly fired up the CineStrings Solo library, and haven't really explored it much. But what I have heard sounded great. 

     As always,  YMMV. These libraries perfectly suit me, my working style and my musical preferences, and they sound very good, but they may not suit everyone. However, if you are already in the Cinesamples ecosystem as I am, then adding these for $400 is a total must-have, no-brainer. Frankly, I'd have paid $400 for the Woodwinds Pro library, and called it a good day. 

    Rob

     

     

    • Like 1

  3. Worth noting, the Toolset bundle is the expansions to the original core libraries. They sold the core libraries (CineStrings, CineBrass, Harps, CineBrass Sonore, etc) for 70% off last year. I got the whole collection for, I think, $700, and it was a really good deal. Great libraries. I won't be able to resist this one at all, as it gives me all the expansions for one pretty awesome price. And yeah, Tina Guo is great across the board. It sees a lot of use in my template.

    I really like their stuff. It is absolutely built as per the brand namesake, with a big, bold soundtrack vibe. The strings are fulsome and raspy, and kind of in-your-face. The brass is pretty powerful (and my favorite libraries of the whole set). The percussion is a mammoth library, with tons of options, and so far I like what I've heard (I'm still exploring that one). All the libraries have multiple mics and some really nice mix presets. 

    Cinesamples also has multiple settings for how to switch between articulations -- there is separate mappings for keyswitch, velocity, pedal, etc., and you can tailor it all to you preferences, including adjusting the adaptive legato speed and intensity, etc. There is also polyphonic legato for some of the libraries,. 

    I like their stuff a lot, and this is a heck of deal to my eyes...

     

     

     

     

    • Like 1

  4. Thanks, Bapu! Yeah, I read through the specs on your system, and its looks like a monster. I assume in whatever task you are running, it's pretty perky across the board?

    Do you know which make of PSU? I've had a few people tell me that different brands can be really different in terms of quality (and one tech dude at the local computer superstore told me that even within specific brands, different classes of PSU  can be really variable as well -- he was citing Corsair PSUs, in that particular case, saying in his experience some of them were great, some of them were quite unreliable). 


  5. Hi folks,

    I'm embarking on a little studio rebuilding adventure, and am looking for a bit of advice. 

    Some background: My girlfriend and I are buying a house together, so I just sold mine, and the crazy real estate market pumped the sell price into the stratosphere. Most of that profit is just being dumped into the next house (because the crazy sell price will mean a rough purchase price on the next house). But I'm carving off a small chunk of that profit, and plan to build a proper home studio in the new place. 

    This is something I have been looking forward to for a long, long time. I've been a single parent raising three kids alone for the past 17 years, and its been really rewarding (and totally worth it), but also rather a slog -- at one point, just to keep the mortgage paid and the lights on, I worked four jobs at the same time (my day job, an evening retail job, a Saturday job at a tire store, and a Sunday job at church). But I got my kids safely to adulthood, and now they're finishing up their education and getting started on their lives, and after almost two decades of hard work and sacrifice, I'm rewarding myself with a fun - and thoroughly ridiculous - shopping spree.

    My plans include: 

    a) a purpose built, spare-no-expense studio room that will be properly treated and furnished for audio
    b) a beast of a new audio computer, built with all the trimmings and custom-tailored for VST instrument use (including a new audio interface and new monitors) 

    The audio computer part is where I'm running into questions. I have built my own systems for many years, starting back in the Intel 386/486 days, including gaming PCs, music PCs and just about everything else. So I do consider myself something of a power user/builder. But the current tech landscape is a bit murkier than I remember in terms of building specifically for audio, and I'd be curious to see what folks think of the setup I am compiling. I have not purchased any of this yet, although I plan to start at the end of April. 

    The core of the system will be:

    Intel Core i9-11900K CPU
    ASUS Prime Z590-A LGA mobo
    ASUS ThunderboltEX 3-TR expansion card
    128GB (4x32GB) DDR4 3200MHz

    I'm trying to figure out the best HD/SSD configuration for a heavy sample user like myself. I figure some variation on this theme might work: an M.2 drive for the OS, a couple of large SSD (or M.2) drives for samples, and a nice big platter drive for storage (I already have a NAS on my network that I use for back-up). 

    I'm also trying to figure out what power supply brands are currently considered top-shelf; I'm a big believer that the power supply is one of those key components that make a huge impact on system stability and durability, and I want to make sure I get a good one, properly spec'd for my system's power consumption. 

    As for the audio interface: even though I have been an RME user for the past few years, I am really drawn to the Presonus Quantum 2632 with its uber-low latency and (apparently) great sound and build. I've heard nothing but good things about it's performance and stability, and it seems specifically built for all-VST dudes like me. 

    I'd really appreciate any thoughts on the above components. I was originally looking at the Gen 10 Intel CPUs, but if I'm reading the specs correctly, the Gen 11 CPUs allow me to use memory with a higher clock speed. Is the RAM clock speed upgrade (3200Mhz instead of 2666Mhz) going to make much of a difference? Also, while the Gen 11 CPUs have a smaller core count than Gen 10 (the 11900K has eight cores instead of the ten cores found in the 10900K), I've read that the Gen 11 CPUs are more efficient and faster on a core-vs-core basis, and this kind of speed and power matters more than pure core count when it comes to audio. 

    A detail worth noting: I'm also a Vienne Ensemble Pro user, and intend to also properly implement a multi-PC VEP setup in the new studio. I've got a couple of decently spec'd i7 refurb PC's that I picked up from a friend of mine (they are off-lease corporate workstations), and I intend to farm out some of my sample libraries to them. 

    Oh, and also: screens! I've heard and seen folks using 4K HDTVs as main image monitors, and am wondering if anyone here does that, and if so what brand/models do you recommend? I know there are potential issues with input lag and chroma subsampling when it comes to using TVs as computer monitors, but I love the idea of tons of screen  real estate for my rather large orchestral template. 

    Thanks,

    Rob

     


  6. 6 minutes ago, Bill Phillips said:

    Yes, I understand. I was thinking that you could find a less expensive version with less I/O if you don't really need 26x26 I/O. But that's not the case, at least at Sweetwater. The only TB3 interface less expensive than the Quantum is the UA Apollo Solo with 2x4 I/O.  All others are more expensive.

    Yeah, and while I understand the Apollos are pretty awesome in lots of ways, I don't think their latency is nearly as good when you're not using their plugins. 

    • Thanks 1

  7. 6 hours ago, Bill Phillips said:

    Why do you need 26x32 when you're working with all-VST-instruments-all-the-time? Wouldn't a smaller desktop interface would serve you better?

    I don't know of any other interface that has the low latency of the Quantums. The only thing that would match it would be a PCIe card, I'd guess, and the only high-end PCIe cards I'm aware of that might be able to match the Quantum's sound and latency figures would be the either one of the Lynx cards, or the new RME AIO Pro. But at this point I can find no reviews or demonstrations of the RME card, and so I have no idea how good it is. I know the Lynx cards have a great reputation for sound quality, but I have no idea what their latency is like. Both the Lynx and the AIO Pro cards cost about the same as the Quantum 2632, so if I can get awesome low latency performance, great converters, a few decent preamps (I do record with a mic, every now and then), and the ability to control monitor levels, etc directly on the interface, well that would be great. 

    I actually would prefer the Quantum 2, which was smaller and with less in-and-outs but otherwise the exact same specs as the 26x32. However, they no longer make it. 

     

     


  8. 8 hours ago, Jim Roseberry said:

    Quantum is a great audio interface.

    When it comes to round-trip latency, Quantum is an exceptional performer (can achieve sub 1ms).

    Obviously the machine has to be able to keep up with the load... or you'll hear glitches.

    Part of the reason why Quantum can achieve such low round-trip latency is there's no onboard DSP.

    IOW, Quantum doesn't offer hardware based monitoring/mixing/routing/loop-back-recording.

    All routing/mixing has to be done via software (in your DAW application).

     

    I've been eyeing the Quantum for a little while -- I'm building a new studio, and want to upgrade my gear across the board, and the Quantum 26X32 looks like a nice option. I am 100% in-the-box, and do orchestral stuff exclusively, so its all-VST-instruments-all-the-time. The low latency of the Quantum is very appealing.

    I wish the Quantum 26X32 was offered in TB3. It is has a lot more features (and slightly better specs) than the Quantum 2626, but I dislike the idea of buying a $1400 interface that right out of the box has an outdated interface and needs an adapter. 


  9. Great stuff -- smooth and tight, with a great mix. Nice and clear, and I could hear all the musical details. Sweet!


  10. Like this a lot -- a modern take on a Renaissance ballad. Quite haunting.  The only thing that caught my ear was the flute being a bit uneven in loudness and dropping down behind the guitar at a few points. 

    What libraries did you use for this, Starise?

    • Like 2

  11. 1 hour ago, Hatstand said:

    @Amicus717 Thanks for taking the time mate. In regards to the panning, I was trying to keep to the orthodox orchestral soundscape apart from the bass which I kept central rather than in the traditional position. A few people have mentioned the dynamics which is strange as I used very little compression apart from on the percussion bus. Will need to look at it again. Similar to you I didn't use a lot of plugins at least on the tracks. I did use two reverbs and did originally start with a more ambient space for the IR but found the overall mix lost a bit of definition.

    Cheers

    In terms of reverb, I swear by Nimbus by Exponential Audio (now owned by iZotope). Easily the clearest, most airy and open reverb in my arsenal. I consider it one of my not-so-secret weapons. When I first tried out the Nimbus demo, I opened a few of my finished orchestral projects and swapped out the existing reverb for Nimbus, and the difference was huge and immediately noticeable. I bought the full version of Nimbus literally 10 minutes after trying the demo out. It's that good. 

    As for dynamics: yeah, if you used minimal compression then it might be worth looking at the arrangement itself. One of the first things I learned (and STILL haven't mastered) is the crazy-wide dynamic range that orchestral instruments and ensembles bring to the table. I think our ears expect that sort of dynamic range when we listen to orchestral style music, so if the dynamics of the arrangement are restricted, it immediately jumps out at us. That might be what is happening in this track.

    Hope you don't mind all this commentary :) -- I kinda feel I should re-emphasize that I really liked the track. Solid cinematic stuff, with some really nice elements, and I can totally see it being used in anime, or movie trailers or similar. 

    • Like 1

  12. Hi Hatstand,

    To my ears, this track is a good foray into orchestral/hybrid scoring type music. 

    In terms of offering a useful critique: while I do orchestral and hybrid-cinematic stuff exclusively, I'm also still learning the ropes, too. So take all this with a grain of salt :)

    I like the overall style and motifs in the piece - very cinematic, and would be great for a montage or an extended opening credit sequence, or similar. I also like the mix of traditional orchestral sound and the ethnic vocal stuff. Works great.

    In terms of mix, I got a sense of emptiness in the centre of the stereo image. The strings are panned to one side, the horns to the other, and the remaining instruments sort of float around the mix but don't seem to have enough presence to fill out the rest of the soundscape. The vocals occupy that middle space partway through the piece, and then the percussion comes in pretty strong, so that helps.

    But I'd recommend moving the strings and horns in from the margins and more towards the middle. Not too much; they still need to be spread across the soundscape so they don't get in each other's way, but I've never been a big fan of panning orchestral sections too hard to one side or the other, as I think it sounds unnatural and distracting. If I'm adding hybrid elements (ethnic vocals, or electronic sounds etc) to a track, I may sometimes pan them pretty hard, but only in small amounts, and usually to draw the listener's attention to an esoteric element that doesn't last long and is there to produce a specific effect.

    In terms of the overall acoustic space in the recording, it sounded a bit congested to my ears. I'd recommend a more spacious reverb sound, if possible. It also sounded a bit too compressed and lacking in dynamic range -- which is an issue that I've had in my recordings, also. Possibly this is over-compression in the mix, but it could also be addressed in the arrangement, too. For example, the string ostinato that pulses throughout the piece doesn't really develop or expand after its initial statement, so it might be nice to evolve it as you get deeper into the music. From what I could hear, the ostinato is all basses/cellos and maybe violas? I have found that expanding that out by adding violins to the ostinato can add energy, bite and excitement to the sound. 

    Same with the brass parts -- it's mostly horns playing their motif, and the other brass instruments making a tonal bed for them, but it might be nice to expand that a bit by doubling the motif on trumpets later in the piece. 

    These are just spitball suggestions, as I have found orchestral arranging to be incredibly sensitive to changes and really unpredictable - adjusting one arrangement detail can sometimes make a piece click, or completely throw it off in unexpected ways, or both! But I'd start experimenting with that sort of approach and see what happens.  

    For my own orchestral stuff, I am something of a plug-in minimalist -- aside from my instrument VSTs, I use very few audio plugins or processing in my projects. My current template loads up with exactly one processing plug-in: a single instance of Nimbus reverb that I create as a send. All my instruments and sections use it, and I dial in different amounts depending on how much I want to push instruments back or move them forward. I use a pretty broad selection of libraries, and when I built my template I used the settings within Kontakt, VSL and Engine for each library in order to position and/or eq the instruments so they occupied the same basic acoustic space right out of the gate.  I have found that one reverb works great in that setting, and doesn't clog up the soundscape.

    Of course, that approach depends on what libraries you happen to have on hand. I've got a ton -- way more than I'll ever need, frankly -- so I have lots of options to choose from, and that makes it easier to assemble a basic template that sounds good. I'd be curious to know what libraries you use. 

    I do sometimes end up adding other plug-ins to polish the sound by the time I get to a project's finish, but rarely more than a couple of EQ instances and maybe a compressor or limiter (usually for solo instruments, and on the final mix), and sometimes a tape emulator for some analog mojo. In terms of EQ, I usually only need it for clearing mud or boomyness, and I almost never add anything and just do minimal cuts on a pretty wide Q for the sake of overall clarity.

    As I mentioned above, take all this with a grain of salt -- I'm just describing the stuff that has worked for me, and much of that is really just based on my own personal tastes and preferences. 

    But I figured I'd offer my two cents, and maybe you'll find a nugget or two of useful info in it :)

    Best,

    Rob

    • Like 2

  13. 18 hours ago, Marc Cormier said:

    Having spent the last 7 years as a marching band parent and getting 3 girls to college (yeah, my profile pic is from '08!!) I would see a lot of kids struggling with old instruments, dog-eared sheet music, and plenty of other obstacles to just learning music.  I didn't see as many kids moving on to study music at university but there were a few.  Private scholarships always went to the BA or engineering students, the ***** lauds, and the usual progression of awards that didn't require a lot of thought in the actual giving.  In Terry's case, his handle was "Musical" and he was in the process of raising three little ones himself.  I'd love to see our gift support a local kid or kids that share the same love for music that  it seems Terry did.  I just had this whimsical thought that maybe we donate the $$$ to a local middle or high school musical program in his city, it gets airplay through the local news, and Terry's family see it and recognize who it is in honor of.

    Not in favor of cancer research charities.  I have a feeling that money rarely supports the actual research.

    +1 for this idea. I like it a lot. 

    • Like 2

  14. 4 hours ago, Bad Mac said:

    Why did you guys choose RME over MOTU? As much as I don't want to change, I may have to soon.

    If we are ranking by efficiency, support and stability, there’s RME drivers, and then there’s everyone else. Best hardware/drivers I’ve ever owned; I’ve got an original Babyface that I bought used three years ago, and it sounds great,  and performs flawlessly. 

    • Like 1

  15. Hi Bjorn,

    This track sounds great, and develops nicely. I really like it a lot. Great use of Vocalise, by the way -- very organic and natural.

    Rob

    • Like 1

  16. 5 hours ago, Fleer said:

    I wonder if this is still worthwhile if one has all Strezov vocal libs. 

    I am looking at this as a great way to get a start on the Strezov choir libraries. While I've heard a lot of good stuff about Strezov,  so far I haven't really been star-struck by the few libraries I do have (original Storm Choir and Cornucopia Strings 2).

    Storm Choir is useful although I find it quite limited; and I never really liked Cornucopia Strings -- a bit too rustic and uneven for my tastes.

    But their newer stuff, like Wotan and Frejya sound really amazing in the demos, and reviews suggest they are top-notch. Choir Essentials seems like a pretty inexpensive way to find out. 

    • Like 1
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