‘Neo Erhu’: A Delicate Reproduction of Traditional Chinese String Instrument ‘Erhu’ with Your Fingertips

Sound Magic’s latest ‘Music Domain Synthesis’ and ‘Hybrid Modeling Technology’ combined to perfectly simulate Erhu sounds

The Music Telegraph | Text 2020/05/18 [11:15]

‘Neo Erhu’: A Delicate Reproduction of Traditional Chinese String Instrument ‘Erhu’ with Your Fingertips

Sound Magic’s latest ‘Music Domain Synthesis’ and ‘Hybrid Modeling Technology’ combined to perfectly simulate Erhu sounds

The Music Telegraph| 입력 : 2020/05/18 [11:15]


▲ Neo Erhu

The Erhu is one of the most important Chinese musical instruments, with a history of over 4,000 years. Erhu, bowed, two-stringed vertical fiddle, is the most popular among this class of instruments. Though Erhu has only two strings, it is incredibly expressive, capable of imitating sounds from chirping birds to neighing horses. Neo Erhu is Sound Magic’s latest virtual instrument running under Mac (AU 32-/64-bit, VST 32-/64-bit) and Windows (VST 32-/6

▲ Erhu

© Wikimedia Commons

4-bit). Thanks to Sound Magic’s ‘Music Domain Synthesis’ technology, Neo Erhu enhanced traditional Erhu in many ways, changing the thing that is impossible in the past to a reality. Neo Erhu has an extended chromatic range. Traditional Erhu has a chromatic range that is around 30 keys, while 2 octaves are suitable for use in music. Neo Erhu extends this range to 42 keys, while 3.5 octaves can be fully used. These extensions enable Neo Erhu to also cover the chromatic range of ‘Zhong Hu’ and ‘Jin Hu’, another Chinese traditional string instruments, so it can also be used as these two Hu instruments. Traditional Erhu has a rather weak and noisy sound in higher octaves, which greatly weakens its usability in high octaves and also limits its ability to provide a steady high frequency string sound in a Chinese orchestra. Neo Erhu improved the higher octave sounds generating much purer, punch and fullness sound than traditional Erhu does in higher octaves. Neo Erhu also extends to lower octave and has more vivid expressions in low ranges than traditional instruments such as Zhong Hu. Compared to traditional Erhu, Neo Erhu has an enhanced dynamic range, so it will have more expressions across ppp to fff velocity.






The latest release by Sound Magic‘Neo Orchestra’ is an AU (Audio Unit)/VST-based platform that allows you to play sound samples of string instruments which Sound Magic has elaborately produced. Neo Erhu’ is a VST/AU plugin and sample library features an enhanced version of Erhu, aka Chinese violin. Powered together with ‘Music Domain Synthesis’ and ‘Hybrid Modeling Technology’, Neo Erhu provides exciting new features of ethnic string sounds and open the door to the new realm of sound.




▲ Neo Orchestra


Sound Engine

Neo Erhu is a virtual instrument based on ‘Music Domain Synthesis’ and ‘Hybrid Modeling Technology’. Sound Magic employed Music Domain Synthesis first to generate Neo Erhu original sound and then applied Hybrid Modeling Technology in order to represent the original sound to musicians.         


Music Domain Synthesis is a whole new method used in developing digital music instruments. Unlike the sampling and modeling method, it can create digital music instruments out of “nothing” (not rely on an actual instrument of real world). Music Domain Synthesis can remove the limitation on sampling and modeling, which makes it easier to build a new type of digital instrument.


Hybrid Modeling Technology is a fuse of both advantages from sampling and physical modeling. Sampling is like a static photo of a musical instrument, so it sounds real but is less likely to alter the sound. On the other hand, physical modeling is solely depended on the mathematical model of a musical instrument, so it has higher chances of altering the sound. But the tonal range is limited by the instrument model. 




Features of Neo Erhu 

Neo Erhu features different velocity layers with round robin samples. It has an extended note range (42 keys) compared with common Erhu (30 keys). This range can also cover the note range for ‘Zhong Hu’ and ‘Jin Hu’. It also features a much less noisy sound in high notes than Erhu. 



▲ Legato Control

Let’s take a look at Neo Orchestra. In this modeling Legato control, you can set time and legato curve here. Different legato curve will give legato sounds different energy, so it won’t sound boring in different situations. This unique feature gives you the realistic legato sound whenever and wherever you need regardless whether it has suitable legato samples. 


▲ Dynamics control

There are seven velocity curves in Dynamics section and this setting has a major impact on how the keyboard respond to your play and how it sounds. Also, you can set the dynamic range for the instrument you are playing and keyboard tracking values which can change degree of dynamics depend on the area of MIDI keyboard.



▲ Harmonics control


The Harmonics section, one of the most powerful unique features Neo Orchestra has, allows you to adjust key harmonics affecting the overall tone of Neo Erhu. With this you can directly operate on the harmonic proportion of the sound. 




▲ EQ control

Neo Orchestra provides a 5 bands parametric EQ section. Turn it on, and click on this dot will add new band to EQ. You can use EQ if needed to shape the final sound. Holding the right key of your mouse and move it left or right will adjust the bandwidth/Q value. Moving mouse icon up or down will adjust boost amount in dB. Holding the left key of your mouse and moving left or right will adjust the frequency. 




▲ Vibrato control

Here is Vibrato section, you can control the speed and depth of vibrato and tremolo. Also here is a human knob enables you to humanize the final effect.




▲ Envelope control

In the Envelope section, you can change ADSR Envelope of the sound you are playing by simple click and drag. In addition, you can make fine adjustments by time and stage settings.




▲ Reverb control

This is Reverb section, a lite version of famous Neo Reverb. It is a hybrid of convolution and algorithm technology so you can hear the quality of this reverb is excellent. 




▲ Virtual 3D Stage


On the Virtual 3D Stage, you can pan your instrument freely by dragging the cursor on the screen and it will generate 3D audio effect to the sound. This Virtual 3D Stage makes sounds real using the algorithm of the sound localization simulated from realistic space. It is very useful when you need to pan the instrument in a group of instruments such as a huge symphony orchestra.




The Sound

The sound of Neo Erhu is ultra realistic. If you know how to manipulate the  modeling legato controls properly, you won’t miss any delicate string expressions from this old Chinese traditional string instrument. Yes, it is not super easy to learn controlling the Sound Magic’s modeling legato, but once you are accustomed to this legato controls you can generate very natural and smooth transitions between playing notes in real time. Another contribution to the extreme realistic sounds of Neo Erhu comes from hybrid vibrato and tremolo controls of Neo Orchestra. You can start with non-vibrato sound and then fade in vibrato sustain while changing depth and speed. Or, you can also change tremolo speed in real time while optimizing control or leveraging human behaviors in the vibrato section for enhanced realism in your final version of sound.


Neo Erhu has many features that allow you to shape your sound in more detail. Using 5 bands parametric EQ and harmonics control, you can quickly change timbre of your sound with a simple turn of a knob or tune every single note with the Scala Tuning System provided in Neo Orchestra. In addition, Performance Key Switch system allows you to use more than 10 traditional techniques of Erhu in real time. All of these techniques never bring about any downgrade of sound quality and control efficiency.


Overall, if you need super realistic ethnic sounds with various delicate expressions in your audio tracks, grab this one. No doubt the Neo Erhu sounds great for the $99 price.






- Samples generated by Music Domain Synthesis, Over 1,200 samples, 2 GB sample data

- Fully covers Erhu, Zhong Hu and Jin Hu, 3 traditional Chinese strings

- Modeled Vibrato, Legato, Tremolo, Glide, and Glissando

- Round Robin on most techniques

- Innovative Performance Key Switch system

- Embodied high-quality reverb and EQ

- Comprehensive Envelope system

- Scala Tuning System can emulate different tuning systems

- DFD/RAM system enables users to relocate resources and ensure the best performance under every individual project

- Different GUI mode for standard resolution and 4K resolution






$99.00 USD 


(This is the Sale Event price. The Original Price is $169.00)  



*You can purchase ‘Neo Erhu’: here





Sound Magic Co. Ltd Founded in 2007, Sound Magic Co., Ltd. has transformed into one of the primary pioneers in virtual instruments and DSP software. Starting from humble beginnings in Beijing, China, Sound Magic Co., Ltd. now has over 20 employees with regional offices spread out across the world.  With one office in Anaheim, California and one in London, Sound Magic Co., Ltd. has the privilege of working with talented engineers, developers, musicians, and creatives from across the world to create products from a culture born from diversity and dedication. 




For more information on Neo Erhu 



View this article in Korean version:  1   2





  • 도배방지 이미지