I am cornering Gary on this question because he's too nice of a guy to not respond and you know that he's probably going to be honest and forthright. So, Gary; How much do you think that the sample/vsti field has grown in the past 5 years? I think that 10 years was a different world but 5 years is about when I really started. Other than the Halion, which hardly came with any samples at the time, I consider GPO to be the first professional VST/sample library that I ever owned. Back then I was SO hungry for sounds and I could sort of see a clear path of what I wanted/needed to purchase to start realizing my ideas. Of course wants and needs change and evolve but it just seemed so much simpler then. I wanted an orchestra and choirs, decent piano, a little this and that. Now it seems that the industry is just so saturated with phenomenol products, it's hard what to decide to do. Of course, I can get by just fine on the small arsenal of what I have now but at the same time, if there are fresh new sounds out there and other composers make those sounds popular, then it becomes my burden (albeit a fun one) to also be able to provide those sounds for customers. When I first started there were like maybe 3 major VST based orchestras and the price spread was huge. It was like a tier based system. Now everyone has gotten way more competetive and the libraries are so diverse. It seems that libraries are geting more specific and narrow while exploding with new detail at the same time. I'm just wondering how much growth there has been in available content and stuff I guess. I bet I've bought about $10,000 worth of libraries and vsti's and I could easily go out tommorrow and double that number and still not have half of what is available. Not that I need to but it does happen among composers who sell their music straight from the box. I just thought it might be an interesting subject that you could chime in on if you get the chance and I of course, welcome commentary from anyone else on the forum. Thanks.
if I buy X library, will it make a substantial improvement to the quality of my product for my clients, and will I ever make profit after using only the funds generated from these customers to buy these other libraries?
Another big concern is the client's purpose for the mix.
Realizing that most projects with samples will not fool everyone, but some will be impressed. Are they impressed because it was created on a computer without an army of real musicians, or are they impressed because it just sounds great?
I think when we consider the cost of many upper end libraries, it will be a long time before "profit" is made if that is possible. That's a biggie.
Still, the concept that Gary has always had for GPO is that it be a library that allows users to get a idea of what the arrangement/composition may sound like.
There are a number of libraries that I would like to have, but looking at the cost is what stops me dead in my tracks when I consider them... even for a moment.
VSL has some incredible sounding instruments, but I am scared to death to buy any of them because it seems no matter what you buy, it only has this and that articulation and leaves you feeling taken. The new LA Scoring Strings sounds pretty cool, except for some questionable tuning issues, overall very useable, but gosh, way too much money. So many of the libraries come off as being impressive, but only when they are doing "conballso" Hollywood movie music. Lot's of choices today, but it all boils down to how much money do you want to make, verses how much do you want to spend on the tools.
As someone who has been writing orchestral music for a couple decades, and one who got into orchestral sampling with the Kurzweil K2000 libs back in the '90s, I think GPO4, for me, exists as a super compositional tool. And, to be honest, I like its sound.
I bought GPO4 this week along with LASS. GPO4 has already spawned a few composition ideas in Finale 2009 (hope it's not too long before one for Sibelius 6 shows up since I prefer that) while LASS has been immensely rewarding but a steeper learning curve to get a convincing sound with the legato patches.
I own pretty much all of the big libraries (VSL, EWQLSO, Symphobia, HSO, Miroslav Phil, MOTU SI, Kirk Hunter) but GPO4 has been a delight when it comes to straight out composing. Add a little ambience and it's damn convincing too. I love the SAM brass inclusion and I'm currently working on a brass chorale.
$150 is a steal and you won't find a better sound and assortment of instruments at that price. Also, the Aria player is really kind to my Macbook. Even the Silver edition of another reputable library would put a load on my laptop which frustrated me to no end. I want to COMPOSE music, not be a programmer. GPO4 allows me to do this with the least amount of hassle.
Thanks for posting and you raise some interesting observations.
How much do I think that the sample/vsti field has grown in the past 5 years? A great deal, for sure.
There have been so many innovations and avenues for creative expression.Enabling technologies have allow us to go from a simple Mellotron-like playback to very detailed instrument emulation.
Yes the field has grow over the years. When we released GPO six years ago we emphatically stated we wanted people to gravitate to other libraries. We wanted the field to grow. At last count there were several dozen Orchestral libraries and growing. And the industry is maturing and becoming like many others. Lots of choices and good healthy competition.
It's just like the real musical instrument industry. Instead of three choices (like you noted five years ago) there are hundreds of different pianos, violins, flutes, cymbals, etc. And why not just as many virtual or software instruments choices?
It does seem it will become more difficult for new developers entering the field. When I entered it was much easier. If you had Gigasampler, an idea for a good library, some good gear and basic programming skills - you could be a developer. Back then there were just a handful of samplers to write for and plug-ins were just getting started.
Now, one must have products that work on all flavors of Mac & PC as well as VST, RTAS, AU, and work with a variety of hosts. It's more complex and musicians want plugi-ns. A developer must either be a software company and do some very intricate programming, or must have the resources to pay hefty fees to license a player. So the barriers to entry will get higher as things are becoming more complex.
In the future we may see a consolidation in this industry. It seems to be the progression in software. An infant industry has a few companies and grows rapidly, matures and consolidates back to a few companies. Then those companies get too big to fail.
There are new technologies coming and the capability to do some very advanced instrument modeling. So many more things are now possible that were a dream five years ago.
Although software instruments are getting better and better, I still believe strongly that they are no replacement for the real musicians. The higher role for sample is to be a tool, to inspire, to make it easier to compose and arrange, innovate and to learn. It should be an aid to making music and not get in the way. And that it should still lead people to the real thing.
Thanks everyone. I just think it's fascinating yet, a bit overwhelming anymore. When I first started, it wasnt too hard to be aware of the whole industry. Now it seems as though a new library, developer, or total concept pops out of the woodwork weekly or more. Sometimes it does seem hard to just sit down and use/master the tools I have because they are becoming SO diverse.
Having played with the ARIA-based GPO4 now, I have to say that it is indeed a really great product. I always managed to squeeze a really good sound out of GPO too (IMHO) and now, with the Ambiance plug right there on a send, it's easier than ever. Congrats on such a great piece of software Gary, stemming from a great product to begin with. I finally bought a dedicated piano plug-in but listening back to all the pices I recorded with GPO's Steinway lite, I dont regret a single one of those recordings. The clarinets and oboes are still major favs of mine too. I'm going to have to write something all GPO4 just to stretch it out a bit and push creativity beyond the programming aspect for a change.