Higher speed tremolo?

I have some strings that don’t come with a tremolo articulation, so I left that section at sustain and typed tremolo on the filter for inserts. To my surprise, there was only one, the Steinberg bundled tremolo effect. And it’s good, it gets the job done, but the rate caps at 10 Hz or 1/32 D, and that’s a nice effect, but not a strings tremolo.

Double clicking on the number lets you enter a higher number, but as soon as you press enter it goes back to 10 Hz. So I’m guessing that particular FX is not useful for this particular case.

Does anyone know of any other tremolo effect that might give me a typical violin tremolo articulation? Yes, I know it’s not the same at all, but this is just one track among many, and the Steinberg tremolo, if it could be set higher, it would accomplish what I need.

I will answer my own question in case somebody else has it, and that is that the “Chopper” provides a higher speed. After testing some settings, this seemed to me like the most realistic:

Of course if somebody else has a better suggestion, please post, there may be something better.

What about using two (or more) of the Tremolos in series with each other. If set to speeds that aren’t multiples of each other you can generate more complicated waveforms. Fairly similar to how you can offset two simple oscillators in a synth to create richer sounds.

1 Like

Sounds interesting. Although for the purpose I needed it the chopper gives me what I need.

And it also made me realize something, which may or may not be the case. No matter what filter I put on strings, and how expensive the libraries are, I can’t get anywhere near the sound of real strings in an album. My favorite genre is film music so I have hundreds of albums of just that.

And I try to listen carefully and figure out what filters do they put in strings, and of course that depends a lot on the composer and his preferred engineer, but when I listen to long sustain of just one note, usually flautando, it seems to me that there’s more than just a compressor, EQ, etc. Unfortunately, most presets in all the audio effects usually are for rock, pop, jazz, etc, but hardly ever for orchestral music. Every once in a while I see a preset for strings and I open my eyes big and wide because it seems like there was a guy in the team that said “Guys, we need to include some presets for classical and film orchestral music”, and the others went “Oh, shut up, nobody listens to that garbage! People want pop and beats and rap and all that! That’s real music!”. So the guy sighed and the others felt sorry for him, so they said “OK, dude, we’re gonna put one for strings, but that’s it! No more! And that’s because rock and pop music use strings every once in a while!”

And playing around with the chopper effect I realize they might be using a filter like the chopper, but in a very subtle way, the mix at 10%, the depth at 3% and the speed at around 25 Hz. That gives the long sustains an sound that is very similar to many recordings I heard.

You’re welcome to tell me I’m full of crap, I won’t be offended.

Film composer here. Most of the articulations you’re describing are not made by filters or audio effects but by how the live players bow their instruments. The tremolo articulation performed by a string ensemble is a bowing technique, not an audio plugin. I can’t imagine a plugin ever being able to emulate it.

Lots of string libraries have this articulation as well as many other articulations. I personally use Spitfire, but like I said, lots of different libraries include patches for this.

It’s not enough to just listen, you need to watch how musicians play their instruments.
If you want to hear real strings, go to a concert. There’ll be no compressors, no filters, no flanging, just the orchestra.
If you want to emulate real instruments, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and do some deep MIDI editing of attack and release, crescendi and diminuendi and the like, etc, etc.
A lot of folks (and I’m not saying you do!) play string/brass/choir libraries as if they were playing a piano. Won’t work.
You should try an EastWest or Spitfire string/orchestra library, or even Steinbergs orchestra - they all come with a full set of articulations. Wait for a sale.

For corrective tools like EQs & Compressors I think most of the Presets, independent of genre, promise to deliver something they really can’t. The way you EQ or Compress audio is always super dependent on the specific source audio. There is no generic Male vocal EQ - every voice is going to need its own unique EQ adjustments. And that’s likely to change for different mics. I think most folks would be better off ignoring the Presets & learning how to adjust the settings from scratch.

I see that I should’ve done a better job explaining this. I’m not under the mistaken impression that tremolos in strings are done by plugins. Like I said, some libraries don’t come with a tremolo articulation, but are nevertheless good libraries for other articulations. And if it’s the only violin track I wouldn’t fake a tremolo with a plugin.

But when it’s one track among several, and the fake tremolo doesn’t stand in the crowd, I’m good with that. In the end, I’m working on a project for myself, not for a client.

Then I mentioned something else, that it seemed to me that perhaps certain engineers use some kind of tremolo effect but in a very subtle way as one of many filters they use. I didn’t say I was certain of this, unfortunately I never had the chance to be a part of that so I don’t know what they use.

But it seemed to me, when I started playing around with the chopper FX, that it had a sound similar to what I’ve heard in some professional recordings, like there was a wave type of sound on a long violin.

That’s all I meant.

Sure thing, but in that case we’re talking about a live orchestra. Which is a great sound, but the type of sound I’m talking about is the more heavily processed sound you can hear in a Zimmer/Wallfisch/Holkenborg/Balfe/Trapanese album, and to a lesser extent, Giacchino or McCreary, which seem to be in between the heavily processed sound of the Zimmer gang and the barely processed sound of classical music.

I love all of them. The Zimmer school of badass epic sounding brass and percussion, combined with great music, is my favorite because I love that sound, but I don’t think that sound signature can apply to everything, certainly not classical music. But listen to Tom Holkenborg’s score for the two Rebel Moon films and that’s a masterpiece of everything.

And Giacchino’s sound signature is a great example of how to produce epic music without being extremely post produced, case in point, “Jupiter Ascending” and “Thor Love and Thunder”. Both magnificent.

What I’m saying is, it would be nice if all these companies started including more filters that are made for orchestral music, not just rock, pop, jazz, rap, etc.

While what you’re saying is correct, it would be nice to have some presets like there are for all the other genres. I’m not just talking about Steinberg and Cubase, I mean iZotope, Native Instruments, LiquidSonics, Plugin Alliance, u-He, Valhalla, etc.

What you’re describing is a hybrid sound, and ironically that is defined by taking pop/rock/electronica influences and applying it to the orchestra. :slight_smile:

Regardless of terminology you should probably check out Sound Toys. Not only do they have great plugins, but they also have a ton of creative presets that are used for sound shaping. I’ve personally written for Holkenborg (among others) and Sound Toys is an excellent tool for creating that Hybrid sound.

I was going with this bit. :+1:

OK, I’m guessing it was about your comment about going to see a live orchestra to hear what “real strings” sound like. Sure, that’s a great idea, but unless I get really lucky, I will never get to see the performance of the orchestra that records, to put an example, a Tom Holkenborg or Hans Zimmer score at Air Studios in London. The most I will get to see is a classical music orchestra, which I would enjoy quite a lot, but it won’t give me a notion of how the strings for film scoring sound live, but also, what plugins do all the people that those recordings go through.

And I don’t exactly agree with the strict seating and recording of classical music either. To me it’s absurd to put the bass all the way to the right. The bass is a bold instrument, if there’s one, it should go at the center, if there’s more, put some on the left and some on the right. I’m tired of listening to classical music with headphones and the bass comes only from the right channel, and that’s something that happens in a lot of film scores, especially older ones. It feels weird.

That’s my biggest gripe with that type of seating, but what I mostly refer to is that no matter what strings I use, from the cheapest ones to the most expensive ones, I have trouble getting a sound that is close to the ones I listen in the give or take 200 albums of film scores. Price is not always an indication of quality, as anyone who tries to assign Orchestral Tools libraries to an ostinato knows, but many times it is, and while most of them sound good and sometimes great, I can never get a sound that comes remotely close to that of a film score.

Yeah, been there, done that. I have a huge collection. But I wouldn’t recommend Spitfire to anyone, especially the Hans Zimmer strings. I was more than excited when I got those for half price, since Zimmer is my favorite composer and I have many of his scores, but those strings have to be the worst or at best, close to the worst of all the ones I have, and I have several libraries.

Eastwest I agree with, the Hollywood Orchestra Opus Edition was my first purchase of an orchestral library, and I had to stop using it for a while because their Opus app would crash like crazy, but it’s been fine for several months and honestly, I’ve been using it more and more because when you load strings from the Orchestral Tools Berlin Series or the Benjamin Wallfisch ones to play an ostinato with spiccatos and staccatos and it sounds like the bows had rusted wires instead of horse hairs, you go back to the tried and true, and spiccatos in Eastwest are recorded with violins that have horse hair as they should.

Peace out :v:

I definitely will, but at this point I’ve spent so much money on VSTs and VSTis that for me to spend any money on more plugins I would have to go to a studio and talk with the sound engineer to see what they use to mix and master the albums, and not for any type of music, but specifically for film music.

The ultimate beasts for this task are MTremolo or multiband MTremoloMB from MeldaProduction. The first one is even free :wink:

1 Like

It’s not that strict. In fact, many of the concerts I have been to in that last couple of decades have not adhered to the modern classical seating you’re referring to (which has changed a number of times throughout the course of history).
The much renowned conductor Leopold Stokowski was famous for experimenting with different seating maps and sometimes placed the double basses in the center of the map.
In fact, the last concert I went to (less than a week ago) had the double basses just left of center.
Also, don’t forget that double basses are not the only bass instrument in an orchestra.

I’ll have to listen better then. It seems to me that every classical music album I have has the bass all the way to the right, and the cellos between center and right.

I’ll have to check out that conductor. When I’m less busy I plan on resuming my subscription to the Berliner Philharmoniker streaming service, which has hundreds of concerts, although as of a few months ago when I put it on hold, they still did not have “The Planets”, which is a puzzling omission.

Thanks for the rec, I’ll check those out.

https://andrewhugill.com/OrchestraManual/seating.html

this link has lots of alternative seating charts. They are definitely less common, but they do exist.