• Jonny Lipsham

    I used fake strings on a song called “Sundown Suzy” on my last album. I used an orchestral strings sample in the Kontakt 5 library, but then I blended it with a patch I created on a Prophet 5 synth. By writing realistic voicings, as Martin B said, I got a realistic sounding string orchestra. Worked perfectly backing an alto sax solo.

  • Larry Sexton

    Hi Joe, liked the tip on the strings, funny thing I got caught up in listening to the vocals. Loved the sound you put on them. Could you do a video on how you did the vocals?

  • Martin B.

    Good stuff, Joe. The song sounds great, too. A few other tips for realistic string parts that most people miss just playing pads:
    – use open voicings, don’t play triads, so instead of a C chord C-E-G spanning a 5th, play C – G – E spanning a 10th
    – follow basic voice leading rules if possible…e.g. no parallel 5ths or octaves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_leading#Principles)
    – after you’ve written the part, break up parts into individual (mono) lines.
    – try to use different patches for each part (cellos, violas, violins).
    – pan parts across the stereo spectrum – traditionally it’s L->R Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello – but separate parts
    – add reverb to place parts in same space (if necessary)

  • Did you only record the audio output of the ES8? One handy thing to do is track the MIDI data as well. Once you have that captured you can fiddle the MIDI equivalent of automation, things like velocity, aftertouch. Lots of string patches (orchestra libraries) can be made to sound satisfyingly real using multiple samples, etc. In this case (for me anyway) getting it right at the source is capturing all of the information about the performance. Can come in real handy later on.

    • Yeah I just recorded it straight using the audio out. For more difficult stuff I’ll sometimes record the MIDI, too. But you know me. I like to commit to things on the front end and not leave myself with countless options to sift through later.

  • Thanks again Joe!
    Good reminder. Between volume automation and “clip gain” we can move many parts to the exact level for each moment. Very powerful!

    • Powerful and simple. My favorite combo. 🙂