We all listen to sample library demos before purchasing a library. They all sound great. Then, we hear an out of the box newbie demo and are surprised at how \"less great\" it sounds. Of course, it\'s the mix. No verb, no space, panning, EQ, etc. The newbie needs help. We all need help in both learning the library, and getting the best mix.
How do these ideas sound?
Developers (or enterprising entrepreuners):
-- provide a variety of \"mix\" templates for your library.
-- purpose of template is a premixed composition that sounds very good using (hopefully) library samples.
-- templates for all major sequencers (Mac and PC).
-- templates can be played by users immediately getting a \"great\" sound.
-- users can then clear the \"notes\" and input their music into those tracks and get a good result.
-- different size templates: string orchestra, full orchestra, brass choir, percussion, and so on.
-- common articulations for instruments should be represented (enough to get started).
-- tracks should have proper settings reverb, panning, eq, volume all preset into the mixer all using the programs internal effects. Result = a good sound using just the sequencer and the library.
-- users can look at the settings to learn about a quality mix.
-- provide \"advanced\" demos that show MIDI tweaking of the basic samples to get even better results.
-- expand these learning templates to new user and more advanced requests.
-- post templates on your web sites for registered users
I sense that the major problem is how sounds can be \"preloaded\" into the templates. Can they? Maybe not. If not, maybe a General MIDI software substitute (Quicktime) can be used and the developer would tell which sounds can be loaded for that track? I\'m a little confused about how this would work.
What a great way to learn. Everyone benefits--the developers and users. Demos sound better. The libraries have a better first impression when users first use the library. Learning is easier when you have a quick-start approach to getting better results.
I know this is simplistic, but if doable, it could be very nice. Or do these things already exist? I know that GPO will have templates but will they be \"premixed\"? EWQLSO Gold will have the positioning/verb resolved but a template still doesn\'t sound like a bad idea. VSL Opus 1 with MIR would benefit from this type of approach.
This subject has been coming up in many forms. But the bottom line is that if you want to be a successful producer of music, you must aquire a broad skillset, or you must hire people who have the skills. Buying sample libraries won\'t make you a producer. It won\'t make you an arranger or orchestrator, or a composer. Or a player. It makes you a person who bought a tool, period.
The rest really IS up to you, your dedication, your skills, and your taste and tenacity. It is not really any easier to be a producer now than it ever has been. There is a gigantic leap between being a musician, even a good one, and being a person who can conceive, shepherd, advance, finish, and promote original music.
The template idea really won\'t work...if it would, you would already see this kind of product everywhere. And if someone actually does launch this kind of product, you\'d be a fool to pay for it, because it would be a boondoggle.
I\'m not trying to be harsh or dismissive, but to explode the myth that there\'s any shortcut to becoming a producer of music. There\'s nothing to do except start at square one and acquire the skillsets in musicianship, performance, orchestration, arranging, engineering, and to expose yourself to the widest array of music, art, and culture possible. That is the most direct path to success...it\'s long and difficult, but luckily, it is a highly pleasurable and rewarding pursuit. The books have already been written--they\'re not templates, they\'re orchestration texts. They\'re engineering theories, music theory.
This is the old \"give a man a fish/teach a man to fish\" quandry. A template might, maybe, happen to work on one project or two. The secret isn\'t templates or magic buttons. It\'s aquiring the skills of mastery, and it is a lifelong pursuit.
In general, you want to fix things at the lowest possible level in a production. For example, you want to do everything you can in the MIDI domain before you commit a track to an audio file. Then, you want to do everything possible in the tracks before you generate a mix...striving to leave nothing to do at all in mastering. If the bass is booming, it is better to find the part/track that is causing the problem, and fix it there. If it is only a single note, you want to fix it there rather than EQ the entire track.
Same if you feel your mix is a little cold and you want to \"warm it up.\" Better to get back into the tracks and figure out exactly which instruments are lacking warmth, or conversely are too harsh, and fix it there.
Certainly we sometimes master a single track for a specific purpose, but there again, the real goal of mastering is to adjust a mix to a purpose--not to affect it musically at that level.
Even processes like compression, EQ...these are best used on the track/part level to solve the problems in the specific places they happen--not to mitigate the problems on a global scale by \"mushing\" problem tracks together. Compressors can become apparent when used on an overall mix, while they\'re almost completely transparent used on tracks--because the compressor will \"breathe\" on the whole track when it encounters a single problem.
In readint the first post, I do think there\'s value in studying mix work, but rather than a preconceived template, I think it\'s so much faster to learn by booking time with someone and watching them work first hand. Sometimes, even an experienced producer or engineer will have to study hard to figure out what someone did in a mix, even with the levels, pans, FX, all of it right there. Sometimes I go back into my own mixes, and think, \"Why the hell did I do that?\" about a particular thing...only to discover why after I\'ve undone it and a problem revealed itself that I\'d totally forgotten about.
Thanks Ted and Bruce. Great points from both of you.
Ted, Mastering, that\'s the next level and, of course, where much of the magic happens. The next frontier so to speak. I agree that there are so many variables and equipment out there that it makes the template approach a little less practical for certain software such as mastering.
As you mentioned, your experience with the disappointing sample library (until you understood a key piece of information) would be less likely to happen if the developers provided some examples (templates?). The more the developers give us as starters, the better.
Bruce, you hit it on the head. Skills. No longer is someone a songwriter, or composer, but they are now recording and mastering engineers as well. I agree that templates are not really a magic answer to mastering anything. I also agree that learning through experience is the best way to move ahead and have the most meaningful learning. I just think that a \"getting started\" template is helpful to anyone buying any type of program. In general, it\'s something that serves as a little slice of \"how to use\" a program.
Again, just something to get started. It would have helped that first use by a newbie to get a better sound. And it would reduce the difference between the \"great sounding demo\" (and why I am buying a library) and the first experiences in using the library.
Bruce, do you have time to write a book on this new field of \"electronic orchestration/producer,\" using one or more of the new libraries? It could become a staple in the college curriculum. You\'ll get royalties for life. So, please write this book (soon). [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]
At any rate, it is fun to learn and grow in the process. I\'m with both of you there. However, I\'m the kind of guy that will buy books, read all the magazines, and these forums, to get all the tips and advice that I can. Bruce, your posts and other writing are always educating us as well (so thanks, [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] )
First of all, I think it would be a dream come true if the sample developers would do what you suggest.
I believe the problem is that, from my point of view, mixing and mastering are two separate things. Mixing includes most of the settings we can make in sequencing. Mastering,for at least many of us,is after we recorded in some form the mixed piece. This is where I can make the most effective changes using what ever waveeditor program is available. Since these programs are many, and the use of them are quite different, it would be difficult to set a library up in such a way that out of the box it would sound the best on all the various systems.
However, there are some basic help which is missing on all libraries and this is causing a lot of frustration. I will not mention the library, but for example I was waiting for it full of hope, and when tried the first instruments, I was so dissapointed that I abandon it, never even tried it until recently. With a few unimportant-looking changes in my CW sequencer,inspired by some reading on this forum, suddenly I discovered the greatness of the library, and I am using it now all the time. I believe with a few basic suggestion from the creators I could have been happy right from the start. I am not as knowledgable as the gurus on this forum but I am not without some experience so it was not the kind of settings which should have been obvious and I missed them.
Some developers are great to help you, some are not. I believe they should listen to your suggestion and use the basic concept to help setting their library up in any sequencer, and have some general advise for wave editing.