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making Logic Pro native strings sound more natural


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curious about recommended tutorial about ways to make the strings that come packaged with Logic Pro sound more natural. My immediate problem is I want to solve three issues: 1) how to make a natural sounding glissando (like not using my midi controller mod wheel obvious fakeness). 2) single note attack that sounds natural. 3) high pitch range that sound like real violins.

Also, am considering purchasing east west hollywood opus, but so far only seeing download options. I heard about purchasing it preinstalled on a hard drive. Where to find that option? Also, I'm a novice, wondering about ease of its plugin integration with Logic Pro x current version per Q1 2022.

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I have done some experimentation with Logic Strings in the past. There are a few tricks and some very real limitations. That said, I think the quality of the samples is mostly determined by the quality of the source. Like other VSTs, there are some techniques that give the appearance of natural strings, even though you are still only employing a virtual instrument.

First thing I look for in a VST is multi-samples. This means a staccato C on a violin is not recorded just once, but multiple times. When this note is triggered in midi one after the other, each strike appears to be a little different. The VST may mention round-robin playback or multi-sample recording. Something to that effect. But without this feature, your samples will sound mechanical and not realistic as I think you are experiencing with Logic.

Second, I found Logic Strings can be very good at long, drawn-out notes, but controlling the length of the note is somewhat limited. If you want a chorus of violins and cellos to hold a note for a couple bars, the sustain will tend to drop-out with higher notes. This of course is due to the fact that the samples are being sped-up. Not all notes on the native instruments were sampled.

So if I were to look for a VST, it would definitely need to have samples from every possible note on the instrument, with multiple accents and sustains. Nothing sped-up or slowed-down to cheat the actual notes.

I do not own any specialized string VSTs, I have experimented with Guitar and Bass VSTs and can tell you the cost is definitely a determining factor to quality. This is not always the case with equipment like microphones which tend to have a vanity value on them way over the actual cost of manufacturing. But in the case of VSTs, it tends to be more in line with reality.

So if you are looking for a VST that has all of the features of a pro recording, you may have to shell-out some additional cash. But I wouldn’t buy anything without a demo first. If the vendor does not allow demos, they don’t even get on my list.

PS: I like this guy for a lot of recommendations around orchestral instruments: https://youtube.com/@mikaelbaggstrom

Also, honorable mention to Guy Michelmore (https://youtube.com/@ThinkSpaceEducation) and Christian Hensen (https://youtube.com/@ChristianHensonMusic)

Lood luck!

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Thank you Steve for your suggestions and links. I will check out the links. 

In the meantime, I discovered that the hard drive option I heard about is offered by sounds online  (east west hollywood) on their website. However, as a novice, I wonder about the issue of latency running an orchestral plugin from an external hard drive. I have an M1 Mac mini that does not have the internal storage for the close to a terabyte of data in Hollywood Opus. Also, as a novice I wonder if maybe I should start out with a less sophisticated option. Am open to more advice.

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i have, in the past, added a little distortion or overdrive to the strings, to give them a little 'resin'... that's worked out really well. try that.

most 'faked' string sections work best mixed in with other instruments; i've seen people post their orchestral emulations and expect one to be fooled, but there are always giveaways (still, i've heard some admirable attempts). i've done string sections inside of pop mixes, that works out well. 

i had a friend do a 'sax' solo on a record once; he spent days getting the slides, nuances, note placement right. he played it for me, asked me to guess who the sax player was. i said it was 'you, and midi'. (he was really annoyed) 🤣

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I mainly use the Logic strings as layers, in the background of other string libraries.

Distortion and overdrive are good tools indeed. I also use tape emulation for strings (Chow Tape Model mainly) in order to tame some high frequencies and softening the ensemble.

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