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It seems the major downside of recording actual audio is the limited moddability in making a flawed human recording sound more perfect, while the major downside of MIDI recording is the time and effort necessary to make perfect flat synthesized sounds, sound more human. Both are cons; each are from one extreme.

Are MIDIs/VSTs less appropriate for more expressive / subtle / nuanced/ classical compositions? For example, even with Vienna Symphonic Library's VST (one of the better libraries?), it seems it would take an inordinate amount of time and effort to reproduce the tone color and rubato of human playing (see link below). But this (skilled) musician can do it in minutes.

How difficult is it to mimic the first 60 seconds of this video using VSTs and all the mixing effects at your disposal? The cello play sounds pretty detailed.

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Imho a days work, if you got the right impulse responses. The thing that is the hardest to mimic is the "life", which comes from the room and the human musician.

An expert (not me ;)) will always know that it is Midi or real. But a normal listener can be tricked with Midi. (Look at all those "epic movie" trailers right now.) They are most of the time basic synthesisers + Midi Orchestras. The regular cinemaist would not hear the difference imho.

If you are going to re-midi this (solos), the most important thing is the intonation and right amount of instrument "noise". So be very, very careful with your vst choice regarding the human factor and intonation. You will need to pitch automate like every note if the vst has no inbuilt intonation tool. after that you can use melodyne to finetune pitch shiftings if needed. Also getting the right amount (often very subtle) of vibrato and tremolo is important for strings. Be sure to vary the vibrato tempo for each note played. Often the vibrato and tremolo does not kick in right away. You first have a small glissando to "find" the pitch of the note, then the vibrato kicks in and swells a little bit. Then to the end of the note the player often reduces the vibrato amount. Things like this can make or brake a solo. (If you think of it as a synthesiser solo, you would use a lot of pitch and modweel to if you'd play a solo).

Good day

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