Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Re-thinking the newbie orchestral template

even though I have no idea how to score for orchestra lol. And its fun to window shop! Previously.

Here's my updated plan. Strikeouts indicate acquired stuff.

Strings: VSL Solo Strings, Cinematic Strings 2.0, EWQL Symphonic Orchestra
Winds: No idea.
Brass: Short term: WIVI Band, long term: WIVI Brass and WIVI Pro Player.
Percussion: Drums of War, EWQL Symphonic Orchestra
Drums: Addictive Drums


Even though I only have VSL Solo Strings 1 i.e. no extended articulations - it has soo much I doubt I will exhaust them anytime soon. EWQL SO, I quite like the strings, but I do want a library with proper legato, so most likely CS2.0 (LASS Lite, as originally mentioned, is still up for consideration)

Waiting to see how Berlin Woodwinds shapes up. CinematicWinds is a no-no for me at the moment as I do not have Kontak. VSL? Expensive. Don't like the WIVI winds in the demo, may change my mind when I get wivi band properly. Don't really like the winds in ewqlso, sadly.

WIVI, easily. I like it :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I like this kind of license agreements.

Although I can't really agree with number 5, for the sake of the plugin, I'm willing to temporarily change my tastes :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I suck at dubstep

Taking a break from working on electronic music to apply some of the things I've noticed when doing the score reduction of Adagio For Strings.

So, what I've tried is this:

Melody Line is the first violins, with the viola section doubling it one octave below.

Violins 2 plays harmony, together with the Cellos, using simple triads.

Double basses simply double the cellos an octave below.

Flutes double the melody line for the first part, then split off to do a counter melody in the section section.

Oboes, are at a 3rd below the melody line, but adjusted to keep the triadic harmony "correct".

Eh, I think I'll get some food, paint a bit then back to some EDM.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Of monitors and piano lessons

Another piano lesson today, and I must say, playing on a grand is just soooooo amazing. From what I felt today, I'm pretty damned sure that the key travel on my teacher's C3 has a few mm more than my CP33. I am very likely to be wrong, but it sure felt that way.

And oh the string resonance, omg the string resonance!!!! I need an excuse to get something like TruePianos that has string resonance.

Class wise I've started on the jazz book 2... and it's tough. The need to play swing plus off beat stuff is playing havok with my head. On the sax is one thing, playing two handed melody and harmony just screws with my brain.

Also, monitors! I finally got a chance to listen to Adam A5X monitors, and oh my god I love them! Previously I tried a few at Chappels, the HS50m, HS80 and MSP5. Visited west end dj and heard the A5x.

The Adam A5x seem like a good match to my ears - detailed, but not fatiguing like the HS50s. And they don't seem as warm/smooth as the MSP5. In short, I like them.

A smaller version, the A3x, is actually the model I am looking at. Very compact, full range speakers that go down to 60Hz. Any lower, and I'd want a sub. While I was very gungho about wanting to get a good pair of monitors earlier this month, I think I've calmed down a bit and had a good think. I may still get a pair, budget pending, but I'm not sure if I will actually use them that much out of mixing.... well I'll decide later, it's not something that's holding me back... yet.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More homework: Score reduction

Time to start on reading scores and score reductions. This is actually based around my lunch time art sketching schedule. I usually do two days of sketching followed by one day of digital painting. As I don't do digital painting at lunch, I'm putting the free time towards doing score reductions instead.

For now, I'm working on a really short piece (only 6 pages!) of Samuel Gerber's Adagio For Strings. It only has string parts so its much less work. Once I finish this, the next one will be a reduction of a full orchestra. Mmmmm.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

VSL Solo Strings Install

My my, this is going to be a fan boy post. Or maybe not, but I'd like to share my experiences installing VSL Solo Strings I last night.

Installation went *very* smoothly. VSL uses the eLicenser for copy protection, and installation of their control center software was a snap.

VSL wise, things were extremely straight forward; put in the license key on the vsl website, and I get an email with the authorization key. Enter the auth key into the control center, and we're ready to install the samples.

Installation was very long, more than an hour for the 4 dvds (damn you crappy mac dvd drive), but it went without a hitch, and the solo strings update also completed with nary a hitch.

VSL's sampler is simply fantastic. Load times were not too bad - considering I was streaming off an external FW drive, and the way the patches are grouped together in matrices make a whole lot of sense. Keyswitching, Velocity, Modwheel, even speed of playback can be used to determine which patches are played back. (videos here)

Going to take awhile to get used to this baby. Maybe it's time to spam the internet with horribly written string quartet pieces lol.

I've always read that the vsl samples are too dry - but after my experience with another library with baked in environment is that I'd much prefer to have my samples dry. It makes it so much easier to blend in a mix.

From my quick tests last night, EOS on the strings was very nice, and that was just using a plate preset.

Oh well, this sample junkie is signing off for today, I'll write more about my ocremix compo piece tonight when I'm back :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wallander Instruments next?

Building up my library of legato capable instruments, and the next one I'm looking at is brass for jazz style stuff. (I'm sorted for strings.... for now, anyways).

Just tested out the trial version of WIVI Band, and I must say I do really enjoy the brass sounds. The saxes and flute in there, not so much. Oboe seems not bad but I was focusing mainly on the brass. Pricing is good, but I'm keen to find out how the upgrades work, can I upgrade to the orchestral and big band brass at a special price after getting WIVI Band?

Since I don't really have a budget for that at the moment, I'll pop them an email when I do have the budget. One of the videos they have about divis type playing on brass really intrigues me, it reminds me of the demos for VSL's Dimension Brass.

I am such a sample junkie.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lips sore, etc.etc

Lips are bloody sore as I type this.... had a great (if short) saxophone practice session today. Due to work/life commitments - the sax has had much less play time. Been plodding along, and I think after two weeks my tone is right back to where I want it to be.

But... the embouchure has definitely weakened - doing some aebersold exercises that feature high notes prominently had my lower lip blister. Didn't want to further injure my lip so I decided to cut it short.

Damn man, it feels so good to belt out some notes at ff :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Prance In The Meadows: Piano compo

Another one complete, not so sure about the harmony in the last 2 lines, but we'll see.

Dance Among the Tress: Piano Compo

Given the horrendously messy compo previously, my teacher got around revising how to keep things neater. And neat this piece is. Its also short, as I need to do another piece with another way of approaching harmony.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Period of Calm: Piano Compo

More homework. This particular piece I wrote the melody straight off the bat, then filled in the harmony, after which I moved the individual parts. I tried to keep all 4 parts active, so I can try applying some strings on this to explore quartets.

Piano lesson update

Another piano lesson yesterday, progressing now to the ABRSM Jazz Piano book 2... got the book and CD over lunch today, about £16 in total.  Teacher also caught some issues with my playing - not curving my fingers enough. This has been causing me pain on my little finger, and after being more aware of it and correcting it, seems to be better.

Next weekend got a piano recital, playing my original piece as well as To Zanarkand for my fellow students.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bought a Reverb

Been looking for an additional reverb (or two) and finally settled on EOS from Audio Damage. This is my first* 3rd party 'verb, and limited tests with Finale and applying it to my piano recording in the previous blog post proves that it is well worth the price.

Several other reverbs were considered, SKNote's Verbtone (could not get it to work), Valhalla Room (not my taste), Reverbs from Airwindows (not my taste either)

Price of course, is a big factor. There is no way I can afford a top of the line reverb like Aether or Lexicon's PCM Native. These verbs above ran the ~50 range, affordable.

Soundwise, EOS seems to give a pretty pleasing result, compared to Logic's platinum verb. Side by side, it's less metallic, but then again, I don't really know my reverb settings that well. I'd bet an experienced logic user can make me eat my words.

Another nice thing about a 3rd party 'verb is that I can use it with Finale when I'm scoring (ha, I said I'm scoring. What a joke :P). Space Designer, whilst kick ass only works within Logic. There is of course the AU Maxtrix reverb - which IMO is pretty darned good, but what can I say I'm a sucker for a pretty interface :)

EOS is an algorithmic reverb, one with a modulating tail. I am not sure if the algorithmic reverbs in Logic include modulation, and I think space designer, as a convolution reverb does not. So, nice thing to have.

The one thing I do miss from Platinum Verb and Space Designer is mix controls for the dry sound and reverb. In EOS, it's a straight up Mix parameter. For the moment it's ok as I do tend to send stuff to a reverb bus, but at times it is convenient to have the wet/dry mix on the reverb itself.

Ok back to work, as you may see I just wrote the melody line for my homework, now to fiddle with the harmony :)

*2nd actually, I bought verbtone months ago but it crashes on my system :-/