How do you get an instrument to sound a certain way?

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domineekee
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11 May 2020, 4:16 pm

ironpony wrote:
Oh okay, so that is a real cello and viola then?

I believe so. Where's it from?



ironpony
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11 May 2020, 4:35 pm

The first string sample is from the movie Police Story (1985), and the second was in one of the re-releases of Battleship Potemkin (1925).

But where they are from wouldn't help tell if the instruments are real or synthesized, would it?



auntblabby
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12 May 2020, 3:00 am

ironpony wrote:
auntblabby wrote:
i think the OP was searching for relatively simple ways he could liven up or modify the sound of instruments in his collection when he records them.


Well I don't often record instruments because there are not a lot of musicians around that play the ones I want, but I when I buy instrument packages, that have recorded samples on them, they sometimes do not sound how I want them to sound and trying to figure out all those differences. I haven't bought many yet because I want to know a lot of the differences first to see what I am getting :).

there is software that can alter the sound quality in ways emulative of what studio producers can do to the sound [in cooperation with the engineer]. if they want a harder closer sound, they back the performer up to the studio back wall or front wall for early reflection reinforcement of the low mids. or use digital sound environments to imitate that. or just surgical EQ. you can do much of that with a good .wav editor such as sound forge.



ironpony
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12 May 2020, 3:08 am

Oh okay thanks. If I hear an instrument sound I like, is there any way of telling what it is, if I don't know? Is there a program or an app that can ID instrument sounds, by playing back the music for the app or program to hear?

There are several sounds I like, and some instruments I can tell from hearing, but there are still a lot that are hard to tell. Any way to tell?



auntblabby
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12 May 2020, 3:12 am

ironpony wrote:
Oh okay thanks. If I hear an instrument sound I like, is there any way of telling what it is, if I don't know? Is there a program or an app that can ID instrument sounds, by playing back the music for the app or program to hear? There are several sounds I like, and some instruments I can tell from hearing, but there are still a lot that are hard to tell. Any way to tell?

as far as i know, AI has not advanced enough in the public realm, to pick out a particular instrument in a mixed recording and tell you what it is. a good musician could tell you, if one is fortunate enough to have one as an acquaintance. or you could ask me. :)



ironpony
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12 May 2020, 3:18 am

Oh okay, as long as it's okay. Thank you very much. Well remember the instrument in this sample:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TbeIDI ... e=youtu.be

You said before that you think it's a real cello and viola, but I am wondering, are they electric or acoustic?



Last edited by ironpony on 12 May 2020, 3:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

auntblabby
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12 May 2020, 3:21 am

come to think of it, it sounds synth-ey to me. i think a mellotron could do something like that also.



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12 May 2020, 3:23 am

Oh you mean the cello and viola sound, sounds like a synthesizer?



domineekee
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12 May 2020, 4:06 am

ironpony wrote:
The first string sample is from the movie Police Story (1985), and the second was in one of the re-releases of Battleship Potemkin (1925).

But where they are from wouldn't help tell if the instruments are real or synthesized, would it?

Yes it would, digital synths that simulated real instruments came in during the 80s.

Here's the soundtrack from that movie. The drum track sounds as if it might have been played by a drummer playing along to click track but I don't think it is, the crash cymbal is the same every time. Same for the bass, sound live but probably isn't. The brass sounds digital, the added reverb which helps. notes tail out, is usually a bit of a giveaway but further in the riff sounds slightly late in the timing.

Jackie Chan does the vocal.



Sound like it was all knocked together in a studio by a composer and a technician to me, maybe the brass is recorded live. At a guess they were using soundbank CD roms, synths, a real mixing desk and 8 track DAT machine. Maybe a drummer came in and recorded a drum track on an electronic kit :shrug:

In any case, this would be hard to replicate in a typical bedroom studio.



Last edited by domineekee on 12 May 2020, 4:59 am, edited 4 times in total.

domineekee
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12 May 2020, 4:10 am



Not sure about this clip... Sounds digital to me but the drum fill sounds live... Maybe....



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12 May 2020, 5:46 am

ironpony wrote:
Oh you mean the cello and viola sound, sounds like a synthesizer?

maybe, either a mellotron or an early digital synth which all had that "hard" sound [to my ears in any case].



domineekee
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12 May 2020, 7:18 am

Just realised, it was probably recoded on analogue tape.



ironpony
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12 May 2020, 11:58 am

domineekee wrote:
ironpony wrote:
The first string sample is from the movie Police Story (1985), and the second was in one of the re-releases of Battleship Potemkin (1925).

But where they are from wouldn't help tell if the instruments are real or synthesized, would it?

Yes it would, digital synths that simulated real instruments came in during the 80s.

Here's the soundtrack from that movie. The drum track sounds as if it might have been played by a drummer playing along to click track but I don't think it is, the crash cymbal is the same every time. Same for the bass, sound live but probably isn't. The brass sounds digital, the added reverb which helps. notes tail out, is usually a bit of a giveaway but further in the riff sounds slightly late in the timing.

Jackie Chan does the vocal.



Sound like it was all knocked together in a studio by a composer and a technician to me, maybe the brass is recorded live. At a guess they were using soundbank CD roms, synths, a real mixing desk and 8 track DAT machine. Maybe a drummer came in and recorded a drum track on an electronic kit :shrug:

In any case, this would be hard to replicate in a typical bedroom studio.


Oh okay, thanks. I actually wasn't inquiring about the song Chan does of course though. It was that cello and viola sound I was interested in. But would the cello and viola be synthesized too then?

When you say synthesized do you mean an actual synthesizer instrument, or they are using actual samples of the instrument that have been recorded, and then putting all those samples together? If that makes sense how I worded it?



domineekee
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12 May 2020, 1:58 pm

Either, I can't tell you, the notes are short and there's other stuff going on, the arpeggio in the background and the riff repeating so perfectly makes me think it isn't a live musician, the more I listen to it the more I'm inclined to think its a sample of a cello riff.

From the little that I heard, I do think that kind of music could be recreated in a bedroom studio.



ironpony
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12 May 2020, 3:24 pm

Oh okay, so it's recorded samples of real instruments though, and not synthesis, right?



domineekee
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12 May 2020, 4:23 pm

ironpony wrote:
Oh okay, so it's recorded samples of real instruments though, and not synthesis, right?

Haha, I'm changing my mind every five minutes, it might be helpful to know where the music comes from and how it progresses. I'm thinking it could be a cello sample, the drums sound live to me and the little arpeggio could be from any source but I'd say there's technology involved, a keyboard or single string sample.

So long as you're not concerned about copyright, you could lift a nice hi fidelity, 3 note cello sample from the intro of someone else's recording and build up a track around that. Make a 4 note arpeggio on a keyboard, add a little reverb and modulate the frequency and volume here and there, import a drum loop of a sample CD and do some light editing here and there and make something that had similar impact. I think things get tricker as you add more sounds but using just 3 or 4 getting a good mix isn't nearly so difficult.

What do you think and where are you at with your music production?