Naada: Acoustically modeled instruments in GeoShred

I just bought a new instrument from GeoShred, called the Naada Erhu. It works great with my new Striso and also with the slightly older QuNexus board. It is similar to the SWAM acoustically modeled instruments, in that it very realistic sounding, and very responsive to the MPE controllers I have. It also has (unlike the SWAM instruments I have) polyphony built in. Interestingly, it lists “double stop” in the control buttons, and “duophony” in the promotional video from Geo, but I can hear at least 4 (or more) notes when pressed simultaneously, so it really has some more versatility. I can imagine the little software wheels turning! They advertise some 7 or so of these new instruments, but my budget requires restraint this month!

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It’s been quite a month, hasn’t it been?
Beta tested all of them and been discussing things with the developers.
(Bansuri, Shehnai, Duduk, Carnatic Violin, Sarangi, Saraswati Veena, and Erhu)
(I’ve also beta-tested SWAM Brass apps/plugins for iPadOS before release and eventually bought a few of the SWAM Instruments for iPadOS.)

Something I enjoy about GeoShred is that the “control model” is really built for performance, particularly with the control surface itself. As such, I find that these patches work even better with MPE controllers than Audio Modeling’s patches do. Where you hit the note matters and transitions between notes benefit from your performance. For instance, several of these patches will apply portamento when you hit a new note at a lower velocity. For some sounds in the Naada series, the portamento feels quite natural, as it works on “morphing” between features of the physical model. So, really, these instruments are meant to be played.
This focus on performance is quite obvious in the “GeoSWAM” Collections as they’re using Audio Modeling’s engine yet these patches have a very different feel. Same was true of ROLI’s adaptation of SWAM instruments.

This performance focus contrasts with scoring instrumental parts, often done with generic keyboards by way of keyswitches or even editing CCs by hand. That’s a common thing for sample-based libraries and, even if they support MPE (which is rare), they wouldn’t respond that well to common performance modes with MPE controllers.

Audio Modeling’s offerings are basically a compromise, for performance. Scorers are the company’s target market. They do want to cater to performers and provide some features specifically for performance. Yet their assumptions come from scoring.

This distinction also has to do with a notion of “realism”. For Audio Modeling, the best compliment might be that “it sounds like the real thing”. With moForte, it can feel like playing the acoustic instrument.

moForte’s lineup also has a number of patches which sound like fictional instruments, which is a feature of Physical Modelling. Respiro’s even further in that direction. As is Chromaphone (unfortunately incompatible with MPE, to this day).

Glad you enjoy those Naada sounds! Wish more people knew about them.
And while they’re more affordable than SWAM ones, it’s easy to understand that the full collection is out of reach in certain contexts. So I hope you’ll be able to get all of them, at some point. The duduk and the Indian sounds can become really useful.

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I very much appreciate the thoughtful and expansive reply, Alex! Your comments “flipped the switch” in my head, regarding the difference(s) between “performance” and “scoring.” Actually, since I am exclusively interested in the “performance” side of this electronica, it reinforces my notion that the MIDI/MPE devices work wonderfully with the acoustically modeled stuff. How nice that you got to try all the Naada instruments. That leads to a couple of more questions from me: Can you remember which of the new 7 instruments feature “duophony/double stop” choices? I imagine only the strings? And, you mentioned the Duduk as a worthy choice, which makes me wonder if the Roli “duduk” is from the same family? Basically, I am getting the impression that various (or at least Geo and Roli) products source instruments from the same producers/programmers. Can you shed some light on that?

And, mostly, I concurr that the instruments “feel” real, as well as sounding real. Not like their exact acoustic forebears, for sure, but (especially with the Striso) like a tangible, tactile instrument. I am not as comfortable with the glassy-smooth tablet screen, and have willingly sacrificed some of the amazing responsiveness (and tiny form factor) in favor of something that feels good in the hands or on the table/lap. I am planning a “busking kit” that will come out of a concertina case, and have the iPad, Striso, power pack, and speaker. If I expand the box some, I could also get the QuNexus on board. One notion is that the QuNexus could be set up as the “bass” side an octave or two down from the treble Striso. Another includes a second iPad so it can be set completely independently of the first, which is something I don’t know how to do in software only with one host iPad, if that’s even possible?

Has anyone written “the” book on these new MPE instruments, or is that what you forward thinking folks are doing right here?

Anyway, thanks again!

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All the pleasure is mine, @colpitts !
I‘ve been conducting (slow, informal, self-funded…) field research on electronic musicking, so your reactions are really useful.

I do have the whole Naada Asian Collection and I’m checking which instruments have which features. The wind instruments support tonguing and all allow duophonic playing.


The Veenas have some extra features.

(Sarangis and Carnatic Violins are like the Erhus, apart from the fact that the Erhus are set to a pentatonic scale by default.)

I’ll respond to the rest later.

Thanks again!

–Alex

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So, this will be the place I find “the book” on these subjects, once your research is written up? Great!

Related note: I (finally) got the Respiro player app to make some noise with the Striso, et. al. inputs. I had loaded it months ago, and dismissed it because it looked like just a text page of instrument titles, and with no wind instrument to drive it, I moved on. But the six or seven provided do sound very good (real-to-surreal, one might say) and I have recommended them to my brother, who plays an old Casio DH100, mostly through ThumbJam, which though wonderful, does not seem to have acoustic models.

Thanks again, and I look forward to hearing more.

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It would be very nice if you could record something, even with private links, to demonstrate those sounds. I could find some demonstration videos but it’s always with noisy orchestral accompaniments. I’d like to listen how they sound by themselves and especially how it is possible to use it with a Striso.

I will happily try to make some samples in the next day or two, Didie, and with the Striso playing the Naada Erhu, which is my only current Naada instrument. Is it those you are most interested in hearing, or the Respiro samples? And, @Alex : Can you provide some samples with just the Naada instruments for Didie, and/or do you have the Striso?

I am rather embarrassed at my inexperience sending sounds out to the world. I am a many-year PC person, and would just save a file and send it as an attachment to an email, or such, but all the music is on my iPad, and live, since I have very little storage space. Not directly in this thread, I apologize, but is there an elegant, simple solution one might point me to for sending sample sound files? I have made rather clumsy videos with the PC and sent links for YouTube, but it seems to take me forever and the audio gets diminished when part of a video…

AFTERTHOUGHT EDIT: Might we use SoundTrap to share sounds? I forgot about it, but it lets people share quickly and simply (albeit not real time) and does not take space on the host device…

Eh! Don’t hold your breath! It’s a longterm (really slow) project which takes many turns. The reason I mentioned it is mostly for transparency.

Sweet!
I have Respiro on the desktop, which means that I can transfer more patches to the player on iPadOS. There, I’ve only played it with windcontrollers. And, though rather clunky in some respects, it’s precisely the thing needed for those of us who enjoy this side of Physical Modelling. Real-Surreal is an apt description. It has some ties to the VL70m (Rudy distributes editors for the VL series).
On desktop, I’ve also tried it with MPE controllers, including by using several instances at once for polyphony. (Each instance is set to a voice number and, somehow, it works. Kludgy, though.) The key is to switch the “Control Mode” to CE (gear icon in the top-right corner, in Respiro Player).

I don’t have the Striso… and I hope it’s ok for me to send recordings from the beta version. Typically, moForte isn’t that strict and the changes are basically about a bugfix.
@Didie It’s probably not what you want. At the same time, it might give you an idea of how these instruments play.
I’ve played a couple of them with the GeoShred control surface itself (you can notice finger movement with the Wizdom-style effects on the pads) and with my Yamaha WX11 windcontroller (then, the notes aren’t displayed).

(Screen recordings are really convenient, on iPadOS. In this case, I cut things up a bit. In most cases, it’s easy to just record, trim, and share. However, this instance of Discourse doesn’t accept MP4 files so I had to put it on a video sharing site. Extracting the audio might have worked as well. Didn’t try it.)

Very nice, Alex, and thank you! I just added Duduk, so now I have it and Erhu from Naada. They are very nice, to be sure!

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Thank you very much David and Alex! @Alex merci beaucoup for the demonstration of Naada sounds. I like it very much and especially the Duduk sound from 1’16, maybe because you use it with a wind controller and it sounds closest to the real Duduk? I wonder how it could sound with a striso. The problem is that there are so few striso players recording and sharing their music. As I’m more in playing the striso like a traditional instrument than in technology, I’d like to listen to what other striso players can do with electronic and try to learn from them when it’s possible…

Thanks! In our windcontroller group, I’ve posted another excerpt playing that duduk sound using my Yamaha WX11.

Sorry I don’t play the Striso. I’ve pledged on the Exquis and I’m eager to get that. There are some similarities between the two and maybe there can be some shared insight. Wonder if there are Dualo players here.

Eventually, we might have critical mass among players of expressive controllers so that we could learn together.
I have a similar issue with a playing method on a popular device with limited expression (the Novation Launchpad X). I tend to play it in note mode, which is itself rather rare, using a layout similar to that of other controllers, from the LinnStrument to GeoShred and from the ROLI Lightpad to the electric bass (chromatic rows in fourths). Thing is, I’m not finding examples of people playing this way and I eventually need to devise my own approaches. Plus, it’s surprisingly difficult to find inspiring sounds which support PolyAT, though that’s an old part of the MIDI standard and it’s supported by many synths.
For the Sensel Morphy and my other MPE controllers, the MPE sounds I find aren’t always configured in a way which makes sense in the way I play.
Though my Naada example on the GeoShred control surface was pretty poor, I do find that the softsynth works quite well with MPE controllers and playing that control surface is quite satisfying, despite the lack of haptic feedback.
There’s a player version of the app and those Naada soundpacks can work there.
(Same with the GeoSWAM sounds, made in a partnership between moForte and Audio Modeling. Those only work with MPE controllers, including the GeoShred control surface.)

More great sample, Alex! It sure sounds good when played with your wind controller.
I am very interested in all these comments/threads, and am learning a lot. Like Didie, I am more interested in “just playing” the Striso as an instrument, but am willing to learn what it takes, technically, to get fluency in more interesting sounds. And like you, Alex, I would play the glassy surface of iPad with GeoShred and ThumbJam more, probably, with some tactile/haptic feedback. I actually use some cheap bumpy film over my old iPad, and it helps some…not really positional, but something lumpy to add some “touch” to it.

I will try to post samples of the way I use the Striso, although they’ll be simple and mostly “single note melody” examples. What I have happily discovered this week is the rather smooth and (to me, at least) appealing way that the Striso plays ThumbJam, and then when the ThumbJam is listed as MIDI input to the (free) Roli Seaboard 5D app, the result is rather like two instruments playing together, but with some ability to control the relationships/ratios in real time with the Striso buttons while playing. I’ll try to sample some of that, too. Actually, that combination now dominates my practice time, although GeoShred has those SWAM and Naada instruments which pull me back sometimes.