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Topic: "Mastering" for samples

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  1. #1

    "Mastering" for samples

    I'm wondering if anybody has any insight into the overly finished and sparkly sound that so many great libraries have today. For example I was just playing with the True strike demos and I'm blown away at how clean the samples sound. The tails of the big drums lead me to believe there was quite a bit of compression and processing used to create long trails, but there doesn't seem to be a noise floor - at least not a noticeable one. However when I've recorded large drums here in the studio, there's no way to avoid at least some noise in the room (if nothing else the musicians own breath).

    Another example is for example Spetrasonics atmosphere. I think the sounds are consistently crisp, clear, and loud across the board, but they don't seem to have a noticeable noise floor. However - I on the other hand have struggled with this. I sampled some hardware synths using EXS Autosampler and while the samples sound great on their own, if I get too many notes playing I hear noise floor build up. How can this be?


    So I'm wondering 2 things:

    1) do most of these libraries use noise reduction? What kind and how does it not affect the overall sample?

    2) Is there some sort of mastering performed to create a consistency across all of the samples from selection to selection? How would one achieve this? You clearly couldn't take 14,000 individual samples to a mastering guys and make him go one by one through everything. Any insight?

    Thanks

    J-

  2. #2

    Re: "Mastering" for samples

    Quote Originally Posted by J. Whaley
    I'm wondering if anybody has any insight into the overly finished and sparkly sound that so many great libraries have today. For example I was just playing with the True strike demos and I'm blown away at how clean the samples sound. The tails of the big drums lead me to believe there was quite a bit of compression and processing used to create long trails, but there doesn't seem to be a noise floor - at least not a noticeable one. However when I've recorded large drums here in the studio, there's no way to avoid at least some noise in the room (if nothing else the musicians own breath).

    Another example is for example Spetrasonics atmosphere. I think the sounds are consistently crisp, clear, and loud across the board, but they don't seem to have a noticeable noise floor. However - I on the other hand have struggled with this. I sampled some hardware synths using EXS Autosampler and while the samples sound great on their own, if I get too many notes playing I hear noise floor build up. How can this be?


    So I'm wondering 2 things:

    1) do most of these libraries use noise reduction? What kind and how does it not affect the overall sample?

    2) Is there some sort of mastering performed to create a consistency across all of the samples from selection to selection? How would one achieve this? You clearly couldn't take 14,000 individual samples to a mastering guys and make him go one by one through everything. Any insight?

    Thanks

    J-
    Hi Jeremy.

    If noise reduction are needed, you mostly work with programs that uses noiseprints. And then it's a matter of finding the correct settings....

    Samples that are recorded in the same session, with the same mics and the same settings can, for some stuff, (like noise reduction) be processed in a batch. Somt things like cutting and trimming, can NEVER be done automatically. It always has to be done by hand.

    Btw, it was a while ago since we talked! Please mail me!
    Worra
    SampleTekk

    Arf, arf, arf...

  3. #3

    Re: "Mastering" for samples

    A valid question! :-)

    As far as the samples of the Vienna Symphonic Library are concerned, I can assure you that each sample is _of course_ "mastered" individually, as well as in respect of its function within the instrument it belongs to, and the library as a whole.

    But don't see this as a mastering (actually: pre-mastering) in the sense of conventional music-production. We don't aim for maximum loudness, or "better" sound, we just try to achieve a sonic image as pure and versatile as possible, plus highest consistency through-out the whole instrument/ensemble. The range of tools for this task is pretty broad, including more obvious and "common" processors like EQs and (a selection of) denoisers, less obvious ones (for example for fixing small tuning issues), but also our own tools developed in-house.

    ... to give you an idea: In extreme cases (for example the Vienna Konzerthaus Organ) the signal-to-noise-ratio was as low as 15 dB originally (... average noise floor at -70 dBFs, due to the noise of the organ itself, the room-noise, and the involved electronics, opposed to the average loudness of certain flutes at -55 dBFs at maximum gain of the mic-preamps). I think it is quite clear that we had to get rid of this! 8-)

    In addition to the tools, you need people with lots of experience and good ears to get this done, as each instrument (and sometimes each dynamic layer or style of playing) has its own idiosyncrasies. It's not uncommon that a single sample passes 10 or more "steps" of editing before it is ready for a finished product. Now take this for each of the almost 1.8 million samples (-> http://vsl.co.at/en-us/65/71/8.vsl ) stored on our servers, and you know what "mastering" means for us! ;-)

    All the best,

  4. #4

    Re: "Mastering" for samples

    Well - sounds like there's some much bigger audio nerds in the world than me Thanks for the input


    J-



    PS. Worra - I've sent you a ton of emails and you never respond - so I gave up. The last ones were probably end of March. You email me because your filters must be cutting me out!!!!

  5. #5

    Re: "Mastering" for samples

    Quote Originally Posted by J. Whaley
    PS. Worra - I've sent you a ton of emails and you never respond - so I gave up. The last ones were probably end of March. You email me because your filters must be cutting me out!!!!
    Hi Jeremy.

    I've got two mails from you in March that I didn't answer, when I try to mail you now, the mailadress don't work. Can you please mail me with the right adress?
    Worra
    SampleTekk

    Arf, arf, arf...

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