On using VSL's Timbre Adjust controller

I have been working with VSL’s Timbre Adjust controller alongside Velocity Crossfade and Expression.

The problem I have run into is that one can only control two of these simultaneously in the XP map. I decided to go with XF and TA, leaving Expression set at around 90-100 as an Init condition.

Now, I am fond of da niente/al niente markings. I’ve found, though, that unless I control both XF and Expression, I don’t get to niente.

Ideally I would disable Expression, but that isn’t possible at the moment – XF and TA can both be enabled and disabled by discrete cc values, but Expression cannot.

Thoughts, anyone?

Map them both to the same cc in Synchron Player, and set the curve for expression so that it only kicks in at the lowest values and takes you down to niente.

That’s true of course, but it has to be done every time you set up an instrument. At least, as far as I know, you cannot set up Synchron Player without a patch loaded. Sure you can save individual instruments as user presets, but… my current orchestral template has around 100 instruments.

for me the relatively new VSL timbre adjust is a largely a pretty crude instrument for eliminating the nasty fizzy edge to the solo strings. It also reduces the dynamic level considerably which is not necessarily a good thing. Still, mapping it to as with CC11 on the secondary controller which is itself linked to primary CC1 – though with a reduced range which I currently have at 65 to 120, otherwise the lower dynamics are far too quiet – is worth considering. I’d never disable either Expression or CC1 – both are essential imho for anything like a decent dynamic balance. @Paul_at_Sydney 's general approach does seem to be along the right lines even if it does involve some initial set up

Mhm. I think some people have mentioned the Filter cc (24) in relation to selectively taking the edge off. I’m agnostic about Expression. Presumably there’s some early history of MIDI that accounts for Modulation & Expression without reference to the specific needs of sample sets.

Would you be setting all that up on a case-by-case basis?

certainly cc24 provides a different option which modifies the tone is a different way though I suspect I’d go for a fixed preset if I was to go down that road , rather than linking to CC11. But there’s certainly room for experimentation.

My current “standard” solo strings template doesn’t make use of timbre adjust but I have created new ones which link this to CC11. In a sense this could be used on a case by case basis but I was planning (and your thread reminded me) to try and investigate this option a bit more. It would require no changes at all to EM’s or projects, simply to swap in and out different Vienna Ensemble String quartet presets.

For my VSL projects for chamber orchestra (for full symphony orchestra, I prefer other libraries), I’ve yet to create timbre adjust presets but presumably if you’re writing for full orchestra, you’ll tend to use some sort of standard VSL preset – mostly obviously in Vienna Ensemble or VE Pro – to do this? That would just involve a few seconds re-matching timbre adjust to, for instance CC11 or CC1, for each instrument and then it would be done.

I have Dimension strings, so my full template is enormous – to get four desks and all the con sord/sul tasto/sul pont options means 16 instances. Also Dimension Brass.

When you say you linked TA to Exp, I take it you mean as
liquidlino suggests? Or is the way via XP map that I’ve missed?

My two cents on this subject (but probably not so useful?): I use XF and velocity in the expression map for dynamics. And I use expression (cc11) and Timbre adjust to smooth the performance, so just in the cc lanes of the key editor. Perhaps this is a little bit time consuming but I can nuance things per occasion. Also I use the on/off button for XF, to avoid that certain notes of solo instruments sounds as 2 instruments.

the full Dimension libraries are, of course, enormous. I only have the SE Dimension strings (which was a good exercise in trying to produce a compact and reasonably efficient EM). My idea of linking TA to Exp. in the Synchron player is similar to @Paul_at_Sydney as far as I can understand, yes. The idea is that the louder, the more edge and the closer to no TA filter. However, a direct mapping to CC1 from tests to date, rather overdoes the effect, especially because the dynamic is at the same time so much reduced. That’s why I want to experiment further with a mapping to Exp. (i.e. CC11) because if you want to set up controllers CC1 primary and CC11 secondary, the dynamic range is too large with quieter dynamics at times almost inaudible. Hence the idea of linking TA to the reduced range Exp. I already have in my EM.

Of course this is only one way to do it @mmka 's using velocity as secondary is another (though I have never really seen the point in using velocity with VSL, esp. as you cannot do a hairpin on a single note with it and that almost forces you into having to create a lane for CC11 in the Key Editor anyway.)

another way round this which I think is quite promising is to simply set CC11 permanently at 127 (or at least somewhere near it) and link TA and CC1. The you have a direct link between the two but have sufficient dynamic impetus. Obviously, CC11 can be set where required in the Key Editor (as @mmka does) for al niente and the like.

Ignoring CC11 led me to the problem with al niente, which is that dims don’t fade completely as they do with XF and CC11 linked.

yes, exactly but you can easily fade CC11 with the Key Editor in a CC lane. If your projects are full of al niente’s then it’s a bit of extra work of course. I never found directly linking XF and CC11 without modification satisfactory because then other quiet dynamics are often too quiet. Obviously it will depend to some extent on the project but that’s something I tried and rejected fairly early on for my own works.

Don’t forget you can change the response curve for each slider in the performance tab. So push the expression curve up to the top left, it’ll give a natural niente without messing up dynamics elsewhere.

There are 2 reasons for me to use velocity with VSL

  1. Short notes have velocity dynamics in the presets in the Synchron Player.
  2. The moment I decide to set XF temporary off because of the problem of hearing 2 instruments at a certain dynamic level or because I like the sound of the non XF notes more at a certain point (I had this situation yesterday with the VSL Synchron Oboe 1), I keep the dynamics right because the velocity dynamics is activated. (And when I use the hairpin, I take care to use XF at that moment).

And furthermore I always find it instructive to read the solutions of others. It broadens your horizon.

well I agree entirely here! As I only use Synchron-ized instruments and my way of working refers to them, the newer native Synchron ones such as your Oboe 1 may work in a different way. We all need to find the best solutions of our own specific needs.

On the matter of timbre adjust, I’m still experimenting. I do get the impression that in general, the frequency damping at higher levels is really too extreme for most music so if we’re to automate this, it might be better after all to tie this in with a scaled CC11 as I suggested earlier. But I remain open to other ideas.

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