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Aria Sounds LSS Violins

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New violin sample library for 30 gpb/45 dollars release price (until 11th february I think).

Unfortunately there aren't many naked demos of it but since it's very cheap I've been thinking of taking the risk cause even if not all of it is good there's a lot of content so hopefully something is worth it.

Here's the demos: https://soundcloud.com/aria-sounds/sets/lss-first-violins

Official page for the library http://ariasounds.com/symphonic_strings_kontakt_orchestral_violin_1.html

I'm considering making a few demos if I do get it.

If anyone has any experience with Aria sounds I'd definitely like to hear about it.

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I kinda wish the naked demos actually didn't have the reverb, just so the essential character of the violins is more evident, but oh well. Based on what I CAN hear from the naked demos, this library is... about what I would expect for $45 USD. It's not bad but it's not great either. The Symphony No. 25 demo doesn't sound convincing to me in the first 7 seconds. The notes don't really connect too well. If you want a violin sample library (solo and ensemble), I would suggest "Friedlander Violin" for $125. It has controllable portamento speed, vibrato speed, vibrato mix, vibrato type (the latter three NOT available in most libraries), slur, bow switch legato, and tremolo, among other features.

Info page: http://www.embertone.com/instruments/friedlanderviolinupgrade15.php

Demos: https://soundcloud.com/embertone/sets/friedlander-violin

Edited by timaeus222

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I kinda wish the naked demos actually didn't have the reverb, just so the essential character of the violins is more evident, but oh well. Based on what I CAN hear from the naked demos, this library is... about what I would expect for $45 USD. It's not bad but it's not great either. The Symphony No. 25 demo doesn't sound convincing to me in the first 7 seconds. The notes don't really connect too well. If you want a violin sample library (solo and ensemble), I would suggest "Friedlander Violin" for $125. It has controllable portamento speed, vibrato speed, vibrato mix, vibrato type (the latter three NOT available in most libraries), slur, bow switch legato, and tremolo, among other features.

Info page: http://www.embertone.com/instruments/friedlanderviolinupgrade15.php

Demos: https://soundcloud.com/embertone/sets/friedlander-violin

Yeah just the instrument by itself is definitely the most useful types of demos. I agree about the transition between the notes sounds kinda iffy. I thought Friedlander Violin was a solo violin library not ensamble? It definitely sounds very nice though but 125$ is a bit too much atm but I'll keep it in mind in case embertone does any sales in the future.

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The Friedlander has an ensemble mode which basically duplicates the solo instrument for 2-12 violins panned in a semi-circle, with options for adjusting offset and intonation for realism. It is not an actual recorded ensemble of players playing together.

Also just a note, Embertone doesn't really do sales. They do offer a generous student discount if you are a student.

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The Friedlander has an ensemble mode which basically duplicates the solo instrument for 2-12 violins panned in a semi-circle, with options for adjusting offset and intonation for realism. It is not an actual recorded ensemble of players playing together.

Also just a note, Embertone doesn't really do sales. They do offer a generous student discount if you are a student.

Ah thanks for the information, appreciated. Out of question in terms of price for me atm but the ens options sounds cool.

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I kinda wish the naked demos actually didn't have the reverb, just so the essential character of the violins is more evident, but oh well. Based on what I CAN hear from the naked demos, this library is... about what I would expect for $45 USD. It's not bad but it's not great either. The Symphony No. 25 demo doesn't sound convincing to me in the first 7 seconds. The notes don't really connect too well. If you want a violin sample library (solo and ensemble), I would suggest "Friedlander Violin" for $125. It has controllable portamento speed, vibrato speed, vibrato mix, vibrato type (the latter three NOT available in most libraries), slur, bow switch legato, and tremolo, among other features.

Info page: http://www.embertone.com/instruments/friedlanderviolinupgrade15.php

Demos: https://soundcloud.com/embertone/sets/friedlander-violin.)

EDIT: There's a YouTube video demonstrating some exaggerated glissandos that gives a better feel for the library's general timbre. The sustains do indeed sound a lot like the VSL strings to me -- very dry and a little harsh, although there are apparently four mic positions and I would guess that it's the close mics used in this video.

Edited by Moseph

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I think the demos sound reasonably good, especially for an inexpensive library, although, yes, it is a little hard to pick the library itself out from the reverb and other instruments. I think I'm detecting a bit of 2.5 kHz rosin harshness, which is an issue I have with VSL strings, but it's kind of hard to tell given that this is compressed Soundcloud audio. The problems with the Symphony no. 25 demo sound more to me like problems in the way the mockup is programmed (stiff rhythm, constant dynamic level, inattention to note releases) rather than problems with the library itself, but it's hard to tell for sure without actually using the library. (
.)

EDIT: There's a YouTube video demonstrating some exaggerated glissandos that gives a better feel for the library's general timbre. The sustains do indeed sound a lot like the VSL strings to me -- very dry and a little harsh, although there are apparently four mic positions and I would guess that it's the close mics used in this video.

I think the longs sound good enough but the transition between notes seem too long and bit "sucky" like it sucks in instead of a stroke. https://soundcloud.com/aria-sounds/adagio-sordino-legato-naked at the high parts 0:41 or maybe I just haven't heard isolated high strings enough to know what it sounds like.

I kinda like the harshness actually, smart of you to look at the youtube video for getting a better feel of the timbre and comparing the demo to the original was also something I didn't think of.

The point about programming in the demos is tricky, you'd think they put out very polished demos by someone who knows how to get the best sound but would need to use the library to tell like you said.

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I think the longs sound good enough but the transition between notes seem too long and bit "sucky" like it sucks in instead of a stroke. https://soundcloud.com/aria-sounds/adagio-sordino-legato-naked at the high parts 0:41 or maybe I just haven't heard isolated high strings enough to know what it sounds like.

I kinda like the harshness actually, smart of you to look at the youtube video for getting a better feel of the timbre and comparing the demo to the original was also something I didn't think of.

The point about programming in the demos is tricky, you'd think they put out very polished demos by someone who knows how to get the best sound but would need to use the library to tell like you said.

Yeah, I'm not sure how a sample company generally goes about planning its music demos. I know for some, the library creators make them, and some have go-to composers they work with all the time, and I've seen some companies recruiting demo composers on places like VI-Control. But the demos they end up with don't always put the product in the best light. For example, last time I checked, the demos for EWQL Symphonic Choirs were not very good at all. The library is capable of much better than what EastWest has used to advertise it. I expect one of the big problems is that the people who program libraries aren't always the best at using them, and the people who would be the best at using them generally have to produce something so quickly to hit demo deadlines that they don't necessarily have time to learn all the ins and outs of the libraries they've just been handed. Which would especially be a problem on heinously complicated libraries such as Symphonic Choirs.

I think I hear the sucking sound you're talking about, and I think it's caused by the repeated crescendos -- the sucking sound happens when it goes from a loud dynamic level immediately to a soft one as the note changes. I don't think it's a property of the note transitions themselves, but rather a result of the way the dynamic levels are automated, and I don't think it's necessarily an unrealistic effect from a mockup standpoint.

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Yeah, I'm not sure how a sample company generally goes about planning its music demos. I know for some, the library creators make them, and some have go-to composers they work with all the time, and I've seen some companies recruiting demo composers on places like VI-Control. But the demos they end up with don't always put the product in the best light. For example, last time I checked, the demos for EWQL Symphonic Choirs were not very good at all. The library is capable of much better than what EastWest has used to advertise it. I expect one of the big problems is that the people who program libraries aren't always the best at using them, and the people who would be the best at using them generally have to produce something so quickly to hit demo deadlines that they don't necessarily have time to learn all the ins and outs of the libraries they've just been handed. Which would especially be a problem on heinously complicated libraries such as Symphonic Choirs.

I think I hear the sucking sound you're talking about, and I think it's caused by the repeated crescendos -- the sucking sound happens when it goes from a loud dynamic level immediately to a soft one as the note changes. I don't think it's a property of the note transitions themselves, but rather a result of the way the dynamic levels are automated, and I don't think it's necessarily an unrealistic effect from a mockup standpoint.

Yeah good points about the demos, interesting and fairly tricky subject depending on how much the sound can change with knowledge of how to use the library. It seems to be mostly a guessing game. Also you'd think big companies like EWQL would put a lot of resources on the demos or are the demos just from the beginning of the library? Then it could be like you said rushed demos.

Ah yes now that you mention that the sound can get that "suck" effect in a drastic dynamic shift, because of how different it sounds when bowing softer I'm guessing. Thanks for the insight on a lot of things.

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Well, my interest is sufficiently piqued, and $45 is just cheap enough to still be in impulse-buy range for me, so ...

GO GO GADGET WALLET

I'll play with the library some over the weekend and post whatever examples I can whip up -- providing mic separation and MIDI source files, of course.

Judging from the full $75 price of this library, my estimate is that if/when they complete the full strings collection (I'm assuming five sections) the whole thing will be priced at around $300-$350 and be around 20 GB. This would put it in the same market space as a bunch of other low/mid-tier string libraries (Adagietto, LASS Lite, Hollywood Strings Gold, etc.), so that's more or less the context I'll be evaluating it in.

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Well, my interest is sufficiently piqued, and $45 is just cheap enough to still be in impulse-buy range for me, so ...

GO GO GADGET WALLET

I'll play with the library some over the weekend and post whatever examples I can whip up -- providing mic separation and MIDI source files, of course.

Judging from the full $75 price of this library, my estimate is that if/when they complete the full strings collection (I'm assuming five sections) the whole thing will be priced at around $300-$350 and be around 20 GB. This would put it in the same market space as a bunch of other low/mid-tier string libraries (Adagietto, LASS Lite, Hollywood Strings Gold, etc.), so that's more or less the context I'll be evaluating it in.

Nice, looking forward to the demos! Hopefully it stands up to the competition.

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Aria's posted a long demo that shows the library's naked sound with different articulations and mic positions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td9l4IN0E9o

I've been experimenting with the library this evening and have some initial impressions, but I'm going to wait to post them until (probably) tomorrow when I've had a chance to actually record some stuff with it.

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Aria's posted a long demo that shows the library's naked sound with different articulations and mic positions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td9l4IN0E9o

I've been experimenting with the library this evening and have some initial impressions, but I'm going to wait to post them until (probably) tomorrow when I've had a chance to actually record some stuff with it.

Their video demo didn't make me any wiser as to how the legato actual sounds when programmed well, it sounds very wonky at times but also nice at times so I'm thinking it really matters how you manage it.

Some of the articulations I like that I didn't know were in it (the fast attack chord suitable ones).

The short articulations are very sharp sounding but could eq that if undesireable.

I really just don't know about the legato yet.

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(
.)

...Yeah, it's no comparison IMO; the real thing clearly sounds tighter (especially at 0:09 - 0:16 in the real thing), and the demo just sounds a little more washy and it might even be using articulations that don't match the original. Hopefully it's a problem with the demo and not with the library. :<

Edited by timaeus222

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I took the plunge and bought the library, I had an issue with downloading one of the parts but support was fast and resolved it for me. The library isn't very difficult to use but playing it in real time is not ideal because velocity is crucial for the legato passages. I'll post demo/s once I finish something I'm happy with.

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So here are my thoughts/observations about the library in no particular order:

Not a good download experience. Aria uses a third-party ecommerce provider, Digital Goods Store, to handle downloads, and Digital Goods Store allows three download attempts that must be made within 24 hours from when the link is first clicked -- the most ludicrously restrictive download terms I've ever seen for a sample library -- and advises you not to use a download manager. I have trouble getting stable downloads without a manager, so my first attempt spontaneously failed, my second attempt succeeded but had errors that made one of the files not unzip, and my third attempt (for which I did use a download manager set to make only one connection to the server) succeeded without errors but had to be preceded by a support request because the download link had expired. On the bright side, customer support (which was provided by Aria, not Digital Goods Store) was prompt and helpful -- and on a Sunday, no less. On the subject of download managers: the reason you're not supposed to use them on limited-attempt downloads like this is that they sometimes make multiple connections to the download server which the server interprets as multiple download attempts. Any decent download manager will allow you to restrict the number of connections to one, though, and if you do this, using a manager should be fine. (But does Digital Goods Store care enough to actually explain this? Haha, of course not!)

I can't tell a big difference between the sound of the fingered and bowed legato. The transitions sound generally pretty good, although in some instances there is a slight change of timbre between the transition and the sustain. Very high pitches at high dynamic levels, for example, have more noise from the bow hair in the sustains than in the transitions. This sort of thing is a fairly common issue in legato transitions, though -- for example, I've run into timbre problems in Hollywood Strings with legato transitions between notes with no vibrato -- and it comes from the fact that the transitions themselves are never sampled as deeply as the sustains. The sound breaks up in really fast passages, which is also typical of legato articulations, so for fast passages you're better off using shorts.

Aside from the sustain legato articulation, which has four dynamic layers, and the pizzicato, which has three (the loudest layer is Bartok pizz.), the patches have only one or two dynamic layers. Notes are sampled in whole steps (that is, each sample is used for two notes) rather than chromatically. It seems like the library focuses on breadth of articulations more than depth of sampling.

The instrument interface is limited, and there is no user's manual/read me. You get mic level/solo controls, buttons to load/unload individual mics, and pan/width controls for the close mic. None of these controls have numerical indications of any kind. The vertical mic level sliders are controlled by dragging horizontally, which is peculiar. There is no way to reset round robins, and there is no control over the level of the legato transitions.

Mic routing is inconvenient. I mix my mic positions in the DAW rather than in Kontakt, and LSS Violins isn't able to route mic positions to separate Kontakt outputs from a single Kontakt instrument. This means that I have to create four instances of each articulation -- one for each mic -- so I can route each instance to an individual Kontakt output. Additionally, the legato transitions (which exist independently of the mic positions) are triggered in a given instance unless one of its mics is solo'd, so I have to make sure that all but one of these instances solo their respective mic positions -- otherwise, the legato transitions will stack from all the instances and be too loud. It's all a little convoluted, but it at least works, and I won't have to set it up again now that it's a template. (And if anyone wants my Kontakt multis for this, I'd be happy to share them.)

The library construction strikes me as sloppy. A substantial number of the legato transitions in the molto sul ponticello legato articulation have clicks where the transition changes to a sustain. Some of the room mic samples for the spiccato articulation have audio glitches in them -- you can hear one of these in the room mic version of Example 1. The spiccato articulation also does 3x round robins using only two samples in a way that makes half of the pitches repeat the same sample twice in a row. There are two instances in the sordino spiccato articulation, which is supposed to be 4x RR, where a pitch repeats the exact same sample four times. I found three instances in the martele articulation (supposed to be 2x RR) where pitches that should have round robin variants don't. I also found an audio glitch in one of the SFX notes, and the start time on one of the samples for the violin concerto articulation is far too long.

There are no trill or tremolo articulations, but I like that there are three short articulation lengths (martele, spiccato, and colle). I find that that having access to a variety of shorts is extremely important for realistic mockups, because complicated fast lines often sound dull and static if you use only one type of articulation.

I like the glissando articulation, which gives you a recorded glissando of variable speed up or down between any two notes. I expect it will be difficult to get exactly the correct speed for any given use of it since it's controlled by velocity and always pretty slow, but I haven't seen this in any other library, and I've deliberately avoided writing string glissandos because I've had no way to make them sound good. So this particular articulation could prove extremely useful.

Overall? The library lacks polish, as can be seen in the very basic UI and in the numerous problems with the sample editing. The advantage here over existing low-tier string libraries is that this is being sold a la carte, so you don't have to drop several hundred dollars on a full string ensemble if all you need is violins. There's also the true glissando, which AFAIK no other library has right now. I'll likely use this library mostly for layering, and I think it will work well for that, problems not withstanding. Fortunately, most of the problems could be fixed by updates from the devs, so I'll probably open a support ticket on some of the particularly egregious stuff like the bugged room mic samples.

(All examples below are normalized. Separate mic examples do not represent their respective levels within the mic mix examples. Levels within mic mixes are not the library defaults.)

Example 1

MIDI file

Separate mics:

Close

Main

Rigs

Room (you can hear one of the spiccato room mic glitches mentioned above at 0:03)

Mic mix:

All mics (no room mic glitch at 0:03, because it's in a RR sample that didn't get triggered on this export)

All mics with reverb/slight compression/analog saturation (Also no glitch)

Example 2 (Legato only. Each segment is played twice -- first is fingered legato, second is bowed legato)

A word on mic positions and legato: The transition samples exist independently of the mic positions. They are automatically mixed in when nothing is solo'd within the instrument and left out when something is solo'd. They sound a little odd when used with any single mic besides the main mic, and are obviously designed to be used in the context of a full mic mix. So if you want, for example, close mics only with legato transitions, that really doesn't sound good.

There's a click in the fifth note of this example. This happens consistently with this particular fingered transition leading from that particular note into this particular note at this particular dynamic layer -- it's a glitch that I found by freak chance, in other words.

MIDI file

Separate mics:

Close

Main

Rigs

Room

Mic mix:

All mics

All mics with reverb/slight compression/analog saturation

Edited by Moseph

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Big thanks for that Moseph, and thanks for the heads up Dissidia. Seems like a nice complementary library for $45, definitely grabbing it and hope they'll release an update fixing the bugs soon.

Their French Horn library sounds nice too, may as well, may as well...

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If you pay closer attention to 0:03 on "All mics", there's an odd note on the right speaker. Is that a library issue?

The note in question is spiccato layered with legato. The thing in the right speaker is noise in one of the round robin samples in the lower dynamic layer for that spiccato note. One of the other RR samples for that note also has the noise, but it's quieter and tuned to the note (as heard in the reverb version). So for that spiccato note at the lower dynamic, you get your pick of loud noise, quiet noise, or glitched room mic. (I say "your pick," but not really, since there's no RR reset.)

EDIT: The noise seems to be audible mostly in the room mic, and it can be substantially reduced with little change to the overall sound by high-passing. High-passing specifically the room mic, that is, which requires the rather complicated routing mentioned in my previous post, since that's the only way to isolate the mic outputs.

Edited by Moseph

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Got a marketing email from Aria, mostly about how the 40% off intro price is valid only for another 24 hours, but at the end it says, "Updates for the first violins will also be sent out soon, with release samples, and an even more even and refined legato interval system."

I'm very pleased that they're doing maintenance updates, especially since the addition of release samples wasn't something I ever expected to see in the library. We'll see if the update resolves any of the issues I've encountered with the library.

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Got a marketing email from Aria, mostly about how the 40% off intro price is valid only for another 24 hours, but at the end it says, "Updates for the first violins will also be sent out soon, with release samples, and an even more even and refined legato interval system."

I'm very pleased that they're doing maintenance updates, especially since the addition of release samples wasn't something I ever expected to see in the library. We'll see if the update resolves any of the issues I've encountered with the library.

Wow yeah that's surprising especially this soon. Hopefully it doesn't disappoint.

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