I stumbled onto something today, that I truly wish I knew about years ago – the Solo Instrument Performance Suite (SIPS), a series of scripts for Kontakt by R. D. Willock.

This suite of amazing, awesomely cool scripts was initially released in 2006, with the latest version (v2.05) released in 2008. You can download it for free here at: http://nilsliberg.se/ksp/scripts/sips/sips.htm.

WHY I’ve never used this suite before is beyond me… it is simply a must-have for anyone with older libraries that lack a ‘true legato’ like many of the modern libraries feature. I’ve been holding off from upgrading for years, still using the NI version of EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Gold as the workhorse of my little ‘synthony’ orchestra. But I’ve lately been hearing some amazing demos from some of the newer string, brass and wind libraries, and have been feeling a little uninspired to play with the old Gold much. That all changed today.

I heard about this suite on the VI-control.net forums (great forums btw…), and decided to give the legato a whirl on various instruments. I’ve made a few demos below (with a couple of Star Wars themes in commemoration of the Disney/Lucasfilm merger):

Luke Skywalker’s Theme (Solo French Horn)

Luke Skywalker’s theme on Solo French Horn. The SIPS legato connects each note very realistically – straight from the French Horn legato preset. The patched used in this demo is F SFH Sus (from EWQL Gold). This was a one-take recording… no post MIDI editing was used at all.
(No Legato)
(With Legato)

Princess Leia’s Theme (Solo Oboe)

Princess Leia’s theme played on solo oboe. Again, the SIPS does beautifully, using the oboe legato preset to transform a clunky expressive oboe patch into something very musical. The patch used in this demo is F SOB Exp Vib (from EWQL Gold). This again was a one-take recording, with no post MIDI editing.
(No Legato)
(With Legato)

Deep Impact Passage (Solo Trumpet)

A solo trumpet patch from James Horner’s ‘Deep Impact’ score. Using the trumpet legato preset, this SAM solo trumpet becomes much more expressive. The patch used in this demo is 03 STrp Sustain Vb 2 (From Project SAM Trumpets). Again… another one-take recording.
(No Legato)
(With Legato)

And FINALLY…

Legato Lament (my own theme!)

I had to have a whirl using the legato with some strings – because that’s where I find I need it most, hearing such amazing demos from new libraries like LASS and Hollywood Strings. To get the sound you hear in the legato demo, I blended a 18V Exp Fast patch with a 11v sus patch that was affected by SIPS, using the Violin Section 1 preset. I also blended a SIPS legato cello patch with an unaffected cello section to get somewhat of a realistic gliding legato, that I think works great (can’t wait to practice with it!). As the SIPS presets don’t contain a Cello section preset, I ended up using the violins 1 preset as well (which seems to work fine). This track also features french horn and oboe patches from before! 😀
(No Legato)
(With Legato)
When using the full sections, it seems that blending them with an unaffected full section patch is necessary to make them sound realistic, as the legato affect tends to have a sucking effect on the sound of the patches. It takes a bit of fine-tuning and balancing, but damn… it’s a powerful little tool to have. SIPS can actually do a WHOLE lot more than legato (otherwise it wouldn’t be a suite), but it’s worth the download JUST for the legato.

It’s a bit daunting to figure out what’s going on – so have a quick look at this tutorial by Theodor Krueger (one of the guys who helped get SIPS to where it is today).

In short, I’m amazed at the possibilities, and am eager to play some more to see what’s possible.  I may even get to postpone buying some new libraries for a little while longer!

-s