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Topic: Suggestions for Would-be Library Developer?

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  1. #1

    Suggestions for Would-be Library Developer?

    Folks, I'm exploring the process of developing my own sample libraries. I find that I'm never quite happy with my sound palette, for the simple reason that there are always new possibilities. I'd like to explore some of the ideas I have.

    I currently own Sonar 4, SoundForge 8, GigaStudio 3 (with the full Editor), several nice mics (Shure SM-81s, Studio Projects B3, & Audio Technica AT-803 omnis [portable]), a hard disk recording unit (Yamaha AW16G), some inexpensive preamps, and all the associated cables, vocal pop-screens, etc. With this equipment I can capture excellent audio in a variety of locations and environments. I have used this gear fairly extensively for acoustic recording purposes with mostly classical instruments; and I feel that I have a good sense of how to achieve a desired sound from an acoustic sound source.

    I'm curious primarily about the overall process that developers use to go from raw recorded audio sessions to multi-layer, fully programmed libraries:
    • How do you organize your recording sessions?
    • How do you get consistent volume levels to create the necessary velocity layers?
    • What procedures do you follow to ensure consistent & usable intonation for pitched samples?
    • Are there any helpful tips or guidlines for cutting up raw WAV files for a) samples that will not be looped VS. b) samples that will be looped?
    • How do you organize the cut up WAV samples on your HDD before you start assembling them into a Giga/Kontakt/Halion/etc. format file?
    • Are there any software/hardware tools beyond what I have listed above which automate or improve the efficiency of your sampling process (i.e. any "I can't live withouts")?
    These are things that I can probably figure out on my own; but I suspect that some of the knowledgeable folks here could really cut down on how much time that will take. If you are willing to part with some of your 'trade secrets' I would be VERY grateful. Suggestions, tips, books, "I made this mistake" stories, etc. -- just about anything you consider relevant -- I would love to learn.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: Suggestions for Would-be Library Developer?

    I'm not a developer but I sample stuff for my own use so lets see (all of this is strictly my opinion)...

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite5ths
    [*]How do you get consistent volume levels to create the necessary velocity layers?
    You don't. I would say that the best way to tackle this is by using limiters and such after the recording. If you are sampling French Horns for example, it would be REALLY hard for the musicians to come up with EXACTLY the same volume every time. So best thing to do is set your levels and let them do thier thing. If they are halfway good then keeping a steady dynamic level should not be hard for them. Also keep in mind that you should give them some breathing room, otherwise your going to have stale, very fake sounding samples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinite5ths
    [*]How do you organize the cut up WAV samples on your HDD before you start assembling them into a Giga/Kontakt/Halion/etc. format file?
    I just have seperate directories for different articulations, properly labeled so I know exactly what is where.

    That is about all the help I can give ya. Like I said, it is CRITICAL that you allow your musicians to actually play around a bit. The biggest problem with some libs I own is that they seem totally lifeless because the samples are completly static. It would also be a good idea to let people here know what you are sampling, as each instrument provided it's own challenges. And above all, sample for yourself first.

    James
    "PRODUCER TO ARTIST: I don't care if that grace note on the snare hit in bar 9085 works! This is dub 'n bass acid house penis, not ~~~~ing house dub 'n acid bass penis with a twist!" - Nick Batzdorf

  3. #3

    Re: Suggestions for Would-be Library Developer?

    James,

    Thanks for your insights! I completely agree with you on the subject of 'breathing room' and life in samples. I am a classical violinist myself, so I appreciate this a lot. That is part of why I asked. I can't even imagine trying to make a beautiful sound at EXACTLY 20 different volume levels and 60+ pitches over and over again for an entire recording session. I would walk out after 20 minutes! Hence the question -- how does the engineer manage this?

    Your suggestions about the limiters is good food for thought. I don't use limiters very often, except as insurance against momentary overs when recording and in combination with a volume maximizer on my final stereo master. I will look into using them for this kind of work.

    Thanks again!

  4. #4

    Re: Suggestions for Would-be Library Developer?

    If they are like most of the folks in the music world....they are already a little crazy to begin with... It's a point of pride: If you're not at least a bit crazy you don't really 'fit'.

    Thanks for the VSL tip!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for Would-be Library Developer?

    I would look very hard at technologies like DEF in GigaStudio, into using primatives driven through convolved models, etc. Those are the next generation ideas in sampling.

    I would propose that the number one issue in recording for samples is the room. You need a room which is hear-your-blood-rushing quiet, or you're doomed before you start. Also, if you want to use any amount of distance, you need a room which is extremely well diffused and damped, so you don't capture a bunch of phased bounce from room modes and nodes.

    Finally, get twice as much as you need in every direction. Twice too many layers. Twice too many takes of twice too many articulations. If you are sampling player held instruments, get some flourescent spike tape, and spike chair positions, feet positions, and every microphone position. Measure everything. If the instrument is conducive to it, put spike tape on the instrument, and create a target on the wall that the player lines up on for every take. That will cure a lot of the "wandering image" problems.

    Finally, I'd advise renting top shelf mics and boutique preamps and converters. The mics you're calling nice are actually pretty bottom-shelf for sampling purposes, if you intend to compete. You need to be thinking more in Shoepps, B & K, Royer, etc., if you want to compete commercially. A few hundred bucks per day on rentals is pennies on the dollar if you have some idiot on a newsgroup going off about your gear!!

    And yes, I fully realize some of those mics you have are more than capable. It's a marketing thing. You don't want to give anyone any low-hanging fruit to pluck and throw at you...

  6. #6

    Re: Suggestions for Would-be Library Developer?

    Thanks for the great info Bruce! I really appreciate it.

    Many of your points are very practical and quite enlightening. On the subject of better equipment:

    I intend to do a lot of sampling for my own purposes, to explore, learn and develop my skills before I even consider producing/releasing a commercial library. I realize that my equipment is not up to the commercial standard, but is there any reason I should be concerned about using this stuff to learn the ropes? I certainly see your point about the correlation between reputation and gear; but until I decide to create a pro release, I can't justify the expense -- even renting. Is it a waste of time to work with my setup, or will I learn skills that transfer well to better gear in the future?

    Thanks again. I'm grateful for your candid advice.

  7. #7

    Re: Suggestions for Would-be Library Developer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    I would look very hard at technologies like DEF in GigaStudio, into using primatives driven through convolved models, etc. Those are the next generation ideas in sampling.
    Bruce, do you know of any libraries in the works that will take advantage of these GS3 technologies? If you can't share specifics then just an 'oh yeah, wait and see' will do. There's been a lot of advancment with K2 scripting, but it seems like very little attention is payed to GS3's abilities, especially GigaPulse. I'd love to hear that there are libraries in the pipeline..

    Mike, sorry I kind of hijacked your thread there. A few years ago I set out to create my own electric guitar library because I wasn't happy with anything that was out there. After a couple of weeks working on it I had maybe one octave playable and it was insane how bad it sounded! Not the recorded sound itself, but how what I recorded and edited translated to playing on a keyboard. Any little velocity difference from note to note is instantly discernable. It was horrible and I gained newfound respect for the library developers out there. I can't imagine recording and editing the new generation of mega libraries like TBO, Prominy LPC, or SID XL.

    I think Bruce hit the nail on the head as far as being very selective about your recording environment and the equipment you use. I don't think that it would be a bad thing for you to use the equipment that you already have to record for 'practice' libraries.. but what if you put a lot of time into recording and editing something and it comes out really nice, are you really going to want to go back and do it all over again?

    Mike

  8. #8

    Re: Suggestions for Would-be Library Developer?

    Hey Mike! Thanks for your observations. Oh...and I don't mind your little hijack at all -- I actually addressed the same topic from a different angle in this thread:

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ad.php?t=46441

    I think the two subjects are related. The thought of spending my whole life recording, editing and programming samples isn't really appealing. I'd rather be making music. But there is a side of me that always wants to explore new sounds and colors. If the commercial developers can't/don't/won't offer stuff to make my inner sound-freak happy (at a price I can afford), then I have to do something about it myself.

  9. #9

    Re: Suggestions for Would-be Library Developer?

    Quote Originally Posted by clonewar
    Bruce, do you know of any libraries in the works that will take advantage of these GS3 technologies? If you can't share specifics then just an 'oh yeah, wait and see' will do. There's been a lot of advancment with K2 scripting, but it seems like very little attention is payed to GS3's abilities, especially GigaPulse. I'd love to hear that there are libraries in the pipeline..
    I'm not Bruce... but, to my everlasting credit, I have read this website excerpt:

    http://www.larryseyer.com/content/view/28/53/#why

    Unfortunately, other than the pre-VI VSL stuff, I can't think of anything else...
    — alanb

    ...........................

    http://alanb.org

    http://www.myspace.com/arsperspicuus

  10. #10

    Re: Suggestions for Would-be Library Developer?

    Quote Originally Posted by alanb
    ...to my everlasting credit...

    Chuckle.....absolutely.

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