Something I love about my new lover, Berlin Strings

So, Berlin gets a LOT right with their very expensive orchestra.

Here’s something I love about Berlin.

With some libraries, as you push the modwheel from 0 to 127 (or, say, if you’re using velocity to trigger loudness and intensity as your velocity goes from 0 to 127), the sound seems barely to get louder as the modwheel increases…until suddenly a new sample is introduced, and the sound jumps up in loudness and brightness.

So, you might move from pianissimo to barely above pianissimo from 0 to 27, then by 32 on the modwheel, you’re fully mezzo-forte. Then, it remains in the mezzo forte range until 85, then by 90 you’re fully fortissimo. Thus, executing smooth crescendi is not a matter of simply smoothly moving the modwheel up.

Berlin gets this right. a move from 32 to 33 increases volume and brightness the same as a move from 50 to 51, or from 120 to 121. It’s smooth all the way from bottom to top. This makes creating crescendi SO much easier than with certain other libraries I will not name!

I will have more to say about these Berlin instruments, which are proving to be a pleasure to use.

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They say to avoid crescendos with the mod-wheel where possible and use any crescendos that the library contains for better realism. I guess with Berlin, this isn’t quite so much of an issue. If it’s very natural, it must come in handy if you need to create particular lengths.

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I can see that when executing a simple crescendo from pp to ff on a single note. But the musical phrasing has to line up just right for that.

More often I’m asking a section to increase or decrease volume as they play a phrase, or to merely go from mp to mf over the course of a note. It’s really nice to just be able to draw your dynamic on cc#1 and have it be smooth!

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A lot of sample libraries go for a different but almost universal approach when making their libraries that OT doesn’t seem to adopt.

Which is, that they all seem to think that the best way to make a sample library is to add your velocities to the different dynamic ranges and then set expression and modulation to give you control over playing the instrument. Some even include a second set of vibrato samples you can mix into the original sample pool via Cc automation.

I’ve often pondered wether this is the right way to do things as it simply means more work for you in the long run, but you do however get more control.

Berlin orchestra seems to do something similar but with z twist. Instead of the modulation just switching between samples it also includes a script that enables a filter that starts with everything rolled off above 6k (I’m guessing soft knee-12) and then gradually opens the filter as you control your Mod. This will only give you a slight increase in volume and it also keeps the girth of the samples low end intact, which in my opinion is best of both worlds.

At least this is what I hear in the samples I’ve had the pleasure of listening to.

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