Something a little Different

Here’s a little light orchestral piece… whatdayathink?


What the? ha ha Good to step off the path Andy. Sounds really good to these old ears. I hear Beatles elenor rigbyish? I hear some bottom in places but sparse. IMHO it is good stuff.

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Strong melody here @ColdRoomStudio , this could go in a lot of different directions. Could be an intro to a pop tune or morph into some hard rock. Or you could develop it into something cinematic or straight orchestral. The cinematic stuff gets crazy with big sounds these days though.

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I was hoping to have something but as the others said that is an inspirational and useful little piece.

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I’m gonna sound like a completely moron if this was real people (which would be downright amazing). But here’s some thoughts assuming it’s not.

It’s stiff. The composition itself is fantastic, but the midi programming could really benefit from some ‘humanization’. Normally this isn’t a big deal, but when the strings themselves are this exposed, and there’s nothing else to hide behind, the midi-programming is audible.

Do you have the 4 parts on separate tracks? Or is this a multi-instrument ‘performance’ patch (where the key switches auto trigger based on what you’re playing?)

Some tricks I’ve used to humanize fake strings:
In the VI settings, offset the attack and entry point of each part by random intervals. That’s basically un-aligning the entry points and cutoffs of each player (or part).

Adjust settings to make certain notes slightly out of tune, but you shouldn’t have to do any of that by hand. Set the VI so that it triggers certain pitches to be slightly off at the beginning of the note, but compensate/auto-correct while the note is sustained.

If you can make the instruments bleed into each others mics (like on a drum set VI), that can help.

And if possible, max out the randomization of the round-robins and un-sync the vibratos, that helps a lot too.

Also, the release/decay of the samples doesn’t feel natural to me. Like when you drop the dampers on a piano, there’s release samples that trigger on a good piano VI… likewise with strings, there’s some things that should be happening after the bow stops, and without them it sounds like there’s a fast gate (with a threshold set too high) which makes cutoff unnatural.

Just some suggestions. Lemmie know if any of that helps.

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I’m not very knowledgeable about this style of orchestration but I find this sounds good.

I can see where Jonathon is coming from regarding the “stiffness” of the sound. I’m wondering how difficult it is to overcome the MIDI affect. A few months ago I made a very short piece of orchestration with MIDI and a free VSTi. I’ll have to go back and listen to it. I seem to remember thinking it was a bit “stiff” and not truly natural sounding. I think your song here is quite a bit better than the one I made. Using some of Jonathon’s advice would probably help you make this even better. Cool stuff!

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The midi format and the many VST libraries out there give you a lot of tools to try and get whatever effect you want. One approach is to use a reference track like we do with audio mixing. Here is an example where Eric Vallette has used a bunch of VST libraries to do a mockup of John Williams’ ‘ET Flying Theme’.

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Thanks Paul. Yeah, there is no low end in the beginning. Double bass comes in toward the end - that’s by design.

Thanks Ingo. Yes, I have plans for this - it will make more sense when heard in context.

Thanks Eric - that’s encouraging.

Haha, that reminds me of the time back on RecordingReview waaaaaayyyy back around 2006 or 07 when I posted a mix I’d done, and one of the respondents said he thought my drum samples were a a bit…“obvious”… or something… the irony being that it was one of the first multi-mic’d live drum kit recordings I had ever done, and I didn’t even know what samples were, let alone how to use them to enhance a recording!.. that was funny!

… but no, you’ll be relieved to know that no live string players were harmed during this!

To be honest, I made no real attempt to disguise the fact that this is midi. It was my absolute first try at using the standard midi strings that come with Logic Pro X. Apart from switching some articulations to get some expression, I spent very little time fiddling with any finer details. It was basically just to get this idea down.

I’m using separate tracks for separate instruments, mostly. There is one combined “strings” track, but for the most part, they are individual instruments.

Thanks for taking the time to share that - much appreciated! Those are all great tips, and I’m sure they would help greatly if I took the time to implement them. That said, I think if I did, the result still would not fool anyone - and certainly not someone with your expertise.

Thanks mate - Yes, it’s very tricky to make fake strings sound real. I really appreciate your thoughts and input!

That sounds amazing! As I mentioned to Jonathan, this was really just a quick proof-of-concept mockup. I have to decide where I’ll take it from here.

TBH, I don’t really have the patience to fiddle with midi on a microscopic level. I enjoy the composition part of this type of thing - essentially it is a very slow form of improvisation - But I doubt I have the patience, knowledge or experience to create something convincing (even with all the great advice above).

My over-riding thought is to get real players to record it for me. I’ve had excellent success doing that with horns in the past, so that’s probably the direction I’ll head in…

Thanks for all the input everyone - much appreciated.

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So did you play it on a midi keyboard?

Yes I did. (I’m the world’s worst keyboard player, BTW)

Sure! Cool. If that’s the case, then I’d say everything was pretty spot on :slight_smile:

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Thank you for the reviews! Now your song: wish it was a bit longer. Glad it wasn’t death metal. Ha ha. Parts of it had a Beatle-esque vibe for me: ala “Eleanor Rigby”. I liked it, nice melodies! Seems like you used high quality orchestral software to me. Nice job! :slight_smile:

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