I\'ve been asked a lot lately by my clients to justify my desires to use live orchestras in my productions; the argument being that sample libraries are so good that you can no longer tell the difference. I totally disagree with this argument to the extent that I believe the larger budget for live orchestra is still completely justified. Will libraries such as VSL render this opinion outdated? Only time will tell, but for now the difference in my mind is as clear as night and day and that makes the answer to this question a definite \"no\".
Fortunately, I\'ve been able to shift my clientel from a cheap minded base to a base which desires higher quality. Honestly, I have to say that I don\'t think I would have been able to make this shift if I didn\'t start producing higher quality stuff, so one could say that by using live orchestras, I\'ve bumped my professional stature up a notch but I doubt that this is a definitive reason why.
For my first 8 years as a professional, I spent it composing with synths and samplers because I drifted along with a clientel and employers who required nothing more of me, and frankly wouldn\'t have even considered funding more traditional means. However, I was trained with pencil and paper so I\'d been quietly lamenting a time when I could return to my roots as an orchestral composer. Well, a couple of years ago I decided that I was going to do it, so I quit my cushy job and created a demo using music that I funded an orchestra for. The gamble is paying off and I\'m much happier with my career as a result.
For my latest demo, I decided to go back to some of my older compositions and redo them with live orchestra. I posted to this forum a piece of music that I did for a short film which was positively recieved and recognized by this group as one of the better examples of sampled orchestras sounding real for the time. Keep in mind this was a couple of years ago, so what might have stood up then might not as much now. Regardless, I wanted to post the old version of that with a contrast of a newer version which I had played live, to open up a discussion of the differences between the 2. Since I stopped doing all-sampled music right after this piece, I think it\'s safe to assume that this is one of my best attempts at it. Have a listen here:
Now contrast that version with this new live version:
This latest version is live 31 piece orchestra, playing with a click, augmented with samples for a bigger sound. Besides a couple of minor orchestration changes, the tune is pretty much intact with the original mockup that I did in the first one.
So, what is it exactly between these 2 pieces of music that makes one sound \"ok\" and the other like a big fat swinging orchestra? Well, I believe it\'s because there is some sort of magic that happens when live players are in a room together attacking a piece of music. This is an example of why I believe that no sample library will ever render live musicians obsolete.
What do you think?