EastWest Snags Award Winning Engineer Shawn Murphy For New Hollywood Strings Library

By • July 1, 2009

EastWest has announced that Academy Award winning recording engineer, Shawn Murphy, was retained to record the company’s new Hollywood Strings Virtual Instrument, the newest addition to the PLAY software instrument family of products. While frequently identified for his work with composer John Williams, Murphy’s work includes The Boston Pops Television Series, Great Performances (PBS), consultant and mixer for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Festival and the Hollywood Bowl. Mr. Murphy has been involved in design and consultation of facilities for McGill University, Todd-AO, and Sony Scoring. He’s recorded more than 300 movies including ET: the Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, all five Harry Potter films, Titanic, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Bourne Ultimatum, Minority Report, Saving Private Ryan, Munich, The Passion Of The Christ, X-Men: The Last Stand, Memoirs of a Geisha and Ice Age.

hollywood-strings-prod-team
L to R; The Hollywood Strings production team: Doug Rogers, Shawn Murphy, Nick Phoenix, and Thomas Bergersen

Hollywood Strings was announced originally in 2007 by Doug Rogers in the Soundsonline forums. Production was delayed, however, until the remodeling had been completed on the Western Recorders and Cello Studio which according to the RIAA, the “Cello” studio complex has received more Gold and Platinum records, and more engineering awards, than any other studio in the world. It was recently one of only 15 studios featured in the book Temples of Sound.

Now called EastWest Studios, the complex contains six studios including the famed Studio 1 which is capable of handling a 70-piece orchestra. Hollywood Strings was recorded in Studio 1 which is where Frank Sinatra and others recorded.

Hollywood Strings was recorded with a typical A-list sized movie string section including a genuine Violins 2 section, with all the strings in their stage position:

Violins 1 = 16
Violins 2 = 14
Violas = 10
Cellos = 10
Basses = 7

Additionally, divisi strings were also recorded in the following groupings:

VIOLINS 1
A = 9
B = 7

VIOLINS 2
A = 8
B = 6

VIOLAS
A = 6
B = 4

CELLOS
A = 6
B = 4

BASSES
A = 4
B = 3

Another feature not found in other virtual strings collection is Finger position which, for the first time, enables the composer to play as far up the strings as they want, achieving a fuller more romantic Hollywood sound. Vibrato intensity and extensive dynamics are also controllable by the user. Extensive multi-dynamic true legato has been sampled for all sections in three different categories: slurred, portamento, and bow change.

Hollywood Strings is the first strings library to be recorded using the Decca Tree setup which is one of the 5 user-mixable microphone positions:

Main – Decca tree (Neumann M50s) and Brauner VM1 KHE (Klaus Heyne Edition) outriggers
Mid – Neumann KMi, Neumann KM 254, Sony C37A, Neumann U-47
Close – AKG C12, Neumann U47, Neumann U67, Nordic Audio Labs NU-47
Surround – Neumann KM 83
Alternate Room – Vintage RCA44 Ribbon

Produced by Doug Rogers, Nick Phoenix, and Thomas Bergersen, recording for the library has been completed and is now being edited. While a release date has not yet been announced, EW is projecting a release in the next few months, with pricing to be announced shortly.

Click here for more details.

Comments

By Charles Chalfant on July 2nd, 2009 at 10:49 am

This is exciting news indeed!
Always been a big fan of Shawn’s work too, who hasn’t.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the new library.

Hurry up and get that editing done guys but don’t rush too much, we do expect perfection you know.

Thanks for your continuing contributions to the industry.

By Joseph Renzetti on July 5th, 2009 at 3:46 pm

It would be great to have it available for a player like Kontakt.

JR

By Stefan K on July 7th, 2009 at 4:57 am

I’d like to Beta-Test it :o)
I always seem to find little bugs in the sound ;o)

By Jamie M on March 9th, 2010 at 8:04 am

Yeah whilst listening to their demo, I could hear that a lot more work needs to be done on the high end staccato’s. Whilst HS retains that dark rich hollywood style and ambience it also lacks the power of the high end.
Hope they fix it.

Some day keyboardists will rule the world.

By Rob Holland on November 13th, 2010 at 5:17 am

I love Shawn’s work tremendously (I have a 9 out of 10 recognition of his sound in my own personal tests). So far only a couple have come close.
But, I’ll never believe a keyboard generated performance can match the synergy of people playing together and responding to it all in the moment.
People will realize someday that interactions we take for granted are really precious and a kind of magic when fully appreciated.

(I also have a great respect for his fondness of ribbon mics which in the best case scenarios have the least hyped sound and bring out warmth lost when highs are over-accentuated causing out of balance colors.)

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