Modern Scoring Strings walkthrough part 2 – Legato 1.1 (AudioBro MSS)

This is my 1000th video on Modern Scoring Strings from AudioBro, but it’s the first that features the new version 1.1 improved legato and ostinato features.

Script: DOWNLOAD the video script

Watch the video: https://youtu.be/2wDeZRfFwH0

New Legato

The new legato is — essentially by request — a bit more “laggy” or sluggish to play live in Auto mode, but they have a few controls that make it extremely flexible in some innovative ways.First, you can simply turn off the Automatic features and dial in a quick and responsive legato while playing things in if you like, at the cost of shortening those beautiful sweet legato transitions they recorded.

Some users will already be familiar with playing a little ahead of the beat to compensate for this added latency, particularly users of CSS which is widely known to have a very convincing legato sound.

Like CSS you can choose to use a more responsive legato by turning off Auto and dialing the knob clockwise, which essentially shortens the time spent on the intermediate legato transitions. Think of this speed control like a speedometer. To make the speed go faster, step on the gas.

Under the hood, these speeds are determined by tables and fine tuned so that playing slower or faster gives a more convincing result out of the box versus the 1.0 release, which arguably brings MSS up to date with the competition in 2021.

There is also an offset control. This determines the position in the legato transition’s sample file to begin playing back. It essentially cuts out part of the recorded transition to give you a more responsive feel while playing notes in, realtime.

Of course there’s a volume control as well. This has an auto setting which is again driven by tables so different note transition speeds will turn the transition volumes up or down accordingly.

User Editable Tables

AudioBro admirably went even further by letting you draw your own values into these tables. Just click the wrench or the spanner in the upper left of Kontakt and click the script editor tab to view them. The bars at the right represent MIDI Note ON events in fast succession, and bars at the left correspond to slower note ON events.

All of those cover the standard fingered legato.

Bloom

There’s a new Bloom feature, for the more Romantic styles, which helps dial in a bit of a mini crescendo to help the transition blossom. These are real recorded crescendos and have some more vibrato than the versions you get from the Norm part of the slider.

Bowed

We also find a new “bowed” legato and improved rebow implementation. The rebows are not going to sound as pronounced as Con Moto from Performance Samples; they are a bit more subtle at the automatic settings but you can do two things to emphasize bowed legato sounds. First, you can turn up the legato transition sound while using the bowed legato. Second, you can dial up the speed to the fastest and layer a staccato short, to really emphasize those note changes. These layered shorts can be used with CC only, Continuous Controller plus Velocity, Velocity alone, or a hybrid where Velocity only affects shorts while CC only affects Longs.

Tip

(Pro tip: when you are using velocity for the sustains, these do have independent dynamics per note.)

Rebow

To rebow the same note, simply hold a note while tapping the Repeat Key, which is set right here:

Molto Vibrato

The vibrato in MSS version 1 was a little understated, so the new version has a molto control which magically squeezes a bit more emotion out of the vibrato without sounding artificial or algorithmic. I haven’t wanted to turn this off in most cases, and it still isn’t overbearing. It might not sound overly impressive in isolation but as the sections begin adding up it really helps the ensemble. And if it still isn’t enough remember there is a detune dial on the main controls that – when used judiciously –helps thicken things up if you are going for an even more lush sound.

Espressivo

While we’re on the topic of luscious goodness, there is also a setting they discovered which highlights the B and D Violins 1 … if you watched my previous video where I showed how to navigate the ensemble builder, this is something you could do yourself but having it handy in the Switcher Tile should make it easy to find or remember.

Switcher

So the first thing I like doing when opening up the MSS instruments is turn off Auto Divisi. This is as easy as selecting it from the 4th Switcher tile. You don’t need to change to the ensemble page and disable it if you prefer to stay on the main page. These choices can be automated using the switching controls behind this cog or gear.

Ostinato

Things have changed with the ostinato feature set as well. There’s a new release timing menu and again “high” means turn UP the speed, or get faster. Release extension can be used to shorten the volume envelope of the ostinato. In practice these sound like this:

I still would like to be able to try a legato transition OUT of an ostinato but maybe that feature request could be attempted in a future update.

Here’s the same passage with the new legato versus the recorded ostinato:

The recorded ostinato sounds a bit more luscious and convincing. Note I had some timing issues during live playback that were resolved when I rendered the audio so if you have the same concern try bouncing the audio or freezing it (whatever your DAW calls it) at Kontakt’s “perfect” rendering setting and see if that clears it up for you like it did for me.

Quick note on the sustain pedal: it’s going to force mono legato even when NOT in the auto divisi mode. So you can play separated notes with the pedal up and hear separate notes, or separate notes when the pedal is down and hear connected mono legato notes.

Sound Variations

Also if you’re using Studio One 5.2 or newer, there are Sound Variation maps in the folder that you can drag onto the Editing window.

Click the wrench or spanner to open the variations editor and drag the map onto it; they will load. You can find a snapshot in Kontakt to use with the DAW Integrations (no matter what your DAW) as well as plenty of other useful snapshots.

0:00​ Welcome Ostinatos w/CSW
0:44​ NEW Legato: Norm & Bloom
3:07​ Clarification
3:22​ NEW Offset Control
4:26​ NEW User Editable Legato Tables
5:01​ Gliss & Port Caveats
6:11​ Bloom in Detail (+VSL Comment)
7:49​ NEW Bowed +tips (+Con Moto Demos)
11:01​ NEW Independent Dynamics per note
11:14​ Rebows / Repeat Notes
12:04​ NEW Molto Vibrato & Espressivo
14:22​ NEW Ostinatos
16:15​ NEW Sustain Pedal Legato
16:41​ NEW S1 Sound Variations
17:12​ Snapshots
17:36​ Longer Bloom Music Demo
20:10​ Aleatoric Outro

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