The following is posted on the main site, but I thought I would repost it here for your consideration.
Ambience is a matter of taste. Everyone has different ears and thus different opinions about what sounds right. Some like their samples sounding wet right “out of the box”; others prefer a dryer sound and want to control the amount of ambience. No sample library can nor will ever be all things to all people.
We carefully considered the ambience of GOS and regard it as one of the library’s strengths. GOS is neither the wettest nor the driest library, but most users feel the sense of space it provides is just right. (See comments on the GOS forum, this forum, and the GOS reviews and endorsement page at www.garritan.com Recently, certain sound developer/competitors have commented that they feel the library is too closely miked. In contrast, some people have commented that GOS is too ambient. For instance, Ken-P posted in this forum a few weeks ago that he was “disappointed by its distant hall sound.” Maybe KingIdiot said it best in a recent post \"... I think GOS is recorded just right, it takes VERY well to reverbs which is what I want. When I do short bows I like a little close and agressive sound. In fact I know that [another library] is WAY too close mic\'d and that GOS is far by comparison.... Again its taste that plays a big part here This debate could go on and on.\"
During the recording of GOS we used two sets of microphones. We were recording many millions of dollars worth of instruments and knew we had to do it right. To capture a dryer, though still resonant sound, we set up one pair for \"intermediate\" miking; and to record a more reverberant sound, we set up another pair for “far” miking. Needless to say, we grappled with the decision over what set of recordings to use initially for the library. Many factors were considered.
Some folks like a closer-miked, more intimate sound in order to control the sonic space. However, if the miking is too close, one may get too much detail of a single instrument within a group. Also, some artificial reverbs won\'t do justice to close-miked samples but, on the other hand, naturally wet samples may not blend together properly (especially in faster passages).
Some like a predetermined ambient sound and we could have used the far-miked recordings, which provide lots of reverberance. Yes, these may initially sound great, but they are limiting. You would be stuck with a certain \"signature\" sound — a flavor, if you will--determined solely by the developer. If you didn\'t like the flavor, you’d have to buy another library that better suited your tastes.
Different applications require different ambiences. Although a lush, reverberant sound may be ideal for a Hollywood sound, it may not be suitable for a pop or classical sound. And let’s not forget that certain ambiences may not blend or mix with other sampled instruments. In short, certain musical contexts would be excluded if we forced our choice of ambience upon the customers.
We also wanted a more intimate sound because of the nature and quality of the instruments that we recorded (2 Stradivarius, Guarneri, etc.). The farther you are from these fine instruments, the more detail you loose. We preferred a more intimate sound to capture the nuances, details and resonance of these incredible instruments. Also, we were privy to some information regarding upcoming impulse response technology and we had an eye on the future. Therefore, we concluded that the most compelling reason to reject the far-miking option was simply this: One could always add the desired amount of ambience, but one could not easily take it away.
And so we went with the option that provides the user with the greatest flexibility. Based on the considered opinion of audio professionals, and comments from members of this group, we chose the intermediate-miking.
This forum is great and has been one of the driving forces behind GOS and I always appreciate the suggestions of this group. The ambience issue has been thoroughly researched, discussed with leading experts, and I consulted with this forum when developing the library. Back in December of 2000, we had a discussion about this issue: http://www.northernsounds.com/ubb/NonCGI/Forum3/HTML/000567.html And I asked for your opinions about the wet/dry issue and explained the options. Of those who responded to my queries, it seems that most wanted to control the acoustic space.
Here\'s a recap of some of the posts:
Marty writes: \"dry is my preference. I can verb it up in the mix.\"
Chou writes: \"I sure like to have a string ensemble sample with natural ambience….\"
Damon writes: \"… I can always add verb to the dry samples. Besides, I\'d love to hear the real authenticity of the sound anyway.\"
Chadwick writes: \"I\'d much prefer the sound of the strings with their real ambience…\"
Simon Ravn writes: \"Either they should be dry, or you should have both. Having only samples with reverb would make me think more than twice about buying the library….\"
Chris Beck writes: \"I prefer ambient samples, but I guess I\'m in the minority there…\"
Laurence writes: \"I hate recorded ambience on samples!!”
Stonzthro writes: \"Gary, why don\'t you offer both libraries, with the hall as an upgrade.\"
The most effective approach was to use the “intermediate miked” recordings, which afford an intimate sound, not too close, not too far, but far enough to provide some ambience and natural instrument resonance, yet dry enough to give you control over the soundscape. Although we knew this would not please everyone, it gave our users the most flexibility. We are confident that we made the right decision.
For those who require more ambience, there is a wide array of tips and techniques to create realistic spaces, despite arguments to the contrary. We can discuss how to do this. Listen to some of the demos Simon, Jeremy Soule and others created to make these strings sing in a great place (see www.garritan.com/mp3.html You can hear for yourself the spaciousness that can be achieved.
Since GOS was designed to be an evolving and updateable library, we can offer even more options and bonuses:
1. We can provide release samples of the ambience in an update.
2. We can always use the far-miked samples and offer two versions of the library.
3. We could provide the Impulse Responses of the hall to use in Altiverb, Acoustic Mirror, etc. This technology is making great strides and new developments in this field make this a very attractive addition.
My primary concern is quality and service to the Maestros. In the end, our commitment is to give you the very best, and all the tools you need. You, the users, are worth it, and your support will continue to be rewarded with upgrades and excellent service.
[This message has been edited by Garritan (edited 01-31-2002).]
A well articulated approach to library development and customer care.
I think you have taken the most flexible route.
Updates (or additions) to GOS like you describe will probably be welcomed by most users. But, take care to introduce them as bonuses and not as fixes! Just my 2ct on a marketing \"risk\". As stated in other topics, GOS currently sets the standard.