in collaboration with Giorgio Tommasini & Peter Siedlaczek
Yes, like the Clarinets and Saxophones, Oboe & English Horn exploit a new technology on a proprietary platform, the SWAM Engine. The acronym stands for Synchronous Wavelength Acoustic Modeling, developed by Stefano Lucato.
Oboe & English Horn use samples as a base material, chromatically performed by a professional player over a very wide dynamic range, and recorded with state-of-the-art technology. The resulting timbre is therefore that of the real instrument. But the analogy with a sample based library ends here. The underlying, proprietary technology allows continuous interpolation among different vectors like time, dynamics, pitch and formants. Advanced real time processing techniques yield realistic legato, vibrato, squeak, overblow, ornamentations & trills, pitchbends, subharmonics, growl and flutter tongue to be performed in real time.
Differently from other Samplemodeling instruments running on NI Kontakt, Oboe & English Horn are supplied as plugins using our own SWAM engine. They run on PC (Windows XP, 7, 8 or Vista), supported formats VST2 and AAX, and Mac (OSX (Intel only) 10.6 to 10.8), supported formats Audio Units, VST2 and AAX. NEW: AAX for ProTools 10 (32 bit) and ProTools 11 (64 bit), is now supported. VST3 is not yet supported.
Standalone mode on a PC requires a suitable VST host like the excellent free SaviHost and Cantabile Lite. Other VST Hosts, albeit not necessarily free, can be found for example on http://www.kvraudio.com/get.php
Mac users do not need a VST Host, since they may directly load any Swam plugin in the built-in DAW GarageBand.
Stefano's idea is to create realistic musical instruments. The timbral properties should be indistinguishable from real oboe & english horn. They must be played as real instruments, using a keyboard or a wind controller, plus three or four midi controllers, including an expression pedal or breath controller. All articulations are easily shaped by the player, even in real time, using just velocity, pitchwheel, modwheel, an expression pedal or breath controller, a sustain pedal, plus some optional CCs to control, growl and flutter tongue, squeak/overblow, subharmonic and formants. Virtually any wind controller can be used to play these instruments. NEW: A breath controller mode is also available.
Every musical instrument has distinctive properties, involving timbre, dynamics, response to transients, articulations, vibrato and so forth. As a consequence, the development of each virtual instrument requires an individualized approach. The traditional, Kontakt-based Samplemodeling Brass employ an adaptive model, based on the performance "fingerprints" of the real instrument to minimize the differences between the real phrases and those played by the virtual instruments. This is not the case for SWAM-based instruments. Stefano's first prototype was subjected to a painstaking refinement process, carried out by ourselves and Lele Parravicini, in order to come as close as possible to the timbre and response of a real Oboe and English Horn. Even though these instruments proved to be quite difficult to emulate, we believe that this goal has been achieved.
Real time control of most parameters can be accomplished via midi. The Oboe & English Horn exploit several MIDI controllers for optimal performance. The basic controllers are the Pitchwheel, CC11 (or CC7, or CC2) for the dynamics, CC1 (modwheel) for vibrato intensity, CC19 for vibrato rate. Legato time can be assigned either to the velocity of the overlapped note or to any CC. Special effects are Key noise (CC9), Breath Noise (CC25), Harmonic Structure (CC24), Subharmonic intensity (CC20), Growl (CC21), Flutter Tongue (CC23), Overblow (CC64), and NEW: Formant shift (CC26). Channel aftertouch (CC129) can be used to control several parameters, such as vibrato intensity or rate, subharmonic, growl or flutter intensity.
Here you can modify the default settings for several parameters. You may vary timbre, harmonic structure and formants, choose type of attack, set the intensity of set the intensity of subharmonic, growl, flutter tongue, key noise, and breath noise. You may control random pitch and dynamics fluctuations, pitch response to dynamic changes, overall resonance of the pipe, subharmonic intensity on transitions, release and legato time. You may also set transposition, master tune, pitchbend response, volume, pan, dynamic compression, intensity and decay of the built-in reverb. A downward fall can be triggered by pressing a button, as well as from a keyswitch or a MIDI controller.
Here you will find more advanced settings, allowing control of the transition between attack & sustain, shape of portamento, vibrato rate and random fluctuations, type of overblow, linear or log response to the expression controller, etc. A MIDI remapper page is also available, allowing remapping of many control parameters to any MIDI CC.
The Oboe & English Horn provide unprecedented realism and expressiveness. However, they represent a demanding software in terms of CPU load. An up-to-date computer with at least 1,6 GHz Core2Duo CPU is therefore recommended. Supported OS are Windows XP, 7 or Vista for the PC, or OSX (Intel only) 10.6 to 10.8 for the Mac. NEW: AAX for Pro Tools 10 (32bit) and Pro Tools 11 (64bit) is now also available.
Less powerful systems may also prove satisfactory, but may require larger buffer sizes, involving higher latency, and the number of active instruments may be limited to one.
A master keyboard (5 octaves or more) with some configurable MIDI controllers, pitchwheel, modwheel, and an expression pedal (or breath controller) is required for real time playing. Virtually any type of windcontroller can also be used to play this instrument. If real time playing is not contemplated (you will miss a great fun though) using a sequencer may obviate the need for several physical midi controllers, while maintaining full control of the instrument's expressiveness.
The Oboe & English Horn have been thoroughly tested on most common sequencers, like Cubase, Logic, GarageBand and Digital Performer.
A good quality audio interface (USB, FireWire, PCI) with suitable low latency drivers (like ASIO for the PC) is required. Accepted buffer size are 128 -2048 samples (256-512 recommended). Excellent results will be obtained with any sample rate between 44.1 and 96 kHz.
A simple, but very effective, copy protection mechanism has been implemented in the SWAM platform. NEW: a simplified activation procedure has been developed, using the License Key provided with the download link to simultaneously activate all the instruments of the family. Both a straightforward online activation, and an interactive email-based offline activation are supported.
We provide two license keys. How to use them is a customer's choice. One can elect to install the instrument on two different systems, if both belong to him, and are not used simultaneously. Or, one can spare one license for a future installation. Please note that operating system, or hard drive changes, do not affect instrument activation. However, major hardware upgrades, or installation of the instrument on a new computer require a new activation. In this case, deactivation of a previous license is required in order to free the license for a new installation. This is easily accomplished by sending us a deactivation request per email. Sharing unused license keys is strictly forbidden. Please note that all license keys are personalized, and that your email address will be displayed on the instrument GUI.
The Oboe & English Horn bundle is available at the price of EUR 149 (+VAT, if applicable). Please note that these instruments will not be available as individual items, but only as a bundle. In addition, all Samplemodeling customers are entitled to a time-limited 10% discount. Watch the NEWS for details on how to obtain the discount coupon.
Please note that this offer expires on November 30th 2013.
Yes. Please click on the “buy” link on top of the page.