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Topic: GOS and the Wet/Dry Debate

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Orcas Island

    GOS and the Wet/Dry Debate

    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.

    Gary Garritan

    [This message has been edited by Garritan (edited 01-31-2002).]

  2. #2

    Re: GOS and the Wet/Dry Debate

    I would be curious to hear what the far-mic\'d samples sound like whenever you get some free time Gary .
    I messed around with Soundstage for mic placement and it adds a \"boxy\" type sound to my ears and takes away from the great sound quality of GOS.
    By the way, great job on the demos Simon! I especially loved the 4th Opus . What choir were you using as well?

    [This message has been edited by Damon (edited 01-31-2002).]

  3. #3

    Re: GOS and the Wet/Dry Debate

    Hi Gary,

    Thank you for shining more light on the recording aspect of this enormous library. Your thoughts certainly make sense to me, and raise the appetite to further check it out.

    I do hope you still have all the \'distant\' mikes samples. As CPU power, RAM and HD memory constraints become less and less of an issue, this string library could be a real bomb when it provides real time control of ambience.
    It could be done by simply Xfading the intermediate/distant miked samples using some controller. There are of course some phase and delay issues that might have to be tackled. Have you already tried/tested this?

    I use some patches that allow Xfade between \"normal\" strings from different libraries and samples from East West\'s (licenced from Masterbits) \"Orchestra\". The latter library might be seen as a bit dated, but it does offer a healthy dose of ambience that can complement the dry samples in a nice way. The end result is more \'live\' then when applying reverb to the \'dry\' samples only.

    I kind of like this \"real humidity\" mixed with \"sunshine\" thing, listen e.g. to Ralph Vaughn Williams\' Talis Fantasia.

    All the best, Robert

  4. #4

    Re: GOS and the Wet/Dry Debate

    HOLY CRAP!!!!

    Jeremy Soule is my hero!!!

    Really...I am an Idiot

  5. #5

    Re: GOS and the Wet/Dry Debate

    Agreed King! Jeremys demos are very impressive .

  6. #6

    Re: GOS and the Wet/Dry Debate

    Hi Gary,

    The mp3 links on your page will not work with Netscape Navigator...all I get is a screen with code, or if I right click and save the file, the resulting mp3 is very messed up...Could you look intot his please?


    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Garritan:
    snip...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.

  7. #7

    Re: GOS and the Wet/Dry Debate

    I agree on Jeremys demos! Wonderful, especially the 2nd piece. He seems to be a very capable composer indeed!! Very good balancing and expression on all instrument groups!

    Damon, thanks. All choir is Symphony of Voices.

    [This message has been edited by Simon Ravn (edited 01-31-2002).]

  8. #8

    Re: GOS and the Wet/Dry Debate

    Hey Simon,

    Evcellent demos. Well done. That Jeremy is not too bad either!


  9. #9

    Re: GOS and the Wet/Dry Debate

    Jeremy Soule is a man of exceptional composer skills. His music sounds incredibly mature and I love his tonal language.

    Great stuff. It certainly makes the library stand out from the rest of the heap.

    Oh and you did some good stuff too Simon!


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