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Topic: Orchestral Sampling Manifesto by Maarten, Thomas and Marc

  1. #1

    Orchestral Sampling Manifesto by Maarten, Thomas and Marc

    *taptap* Is this thing on?

    Well, this has been some time in the making. By no means is it complete yet... there are some issues that need revisiting, clear-up, detailing, expanding or EVEN correcting (we hope not).

    Also, we have not covered sampled intervals yet, which is an *extremely* important aspect for more realistic samples. We have some ideas bouncing around but this is all very early.

    Anyway. With much simple-heartness we hope this will be an effort met with healthy discussion.

    My personal favorite segment of this paper are the anechoic recordings... they rock for demonstration purposes.

    Well, let\'s get that show on the road.

    Addendum: The linked HTML version has tighter formatting, so you might want to print that one out for easier reading.

    [This message has been edited by Marc Floessel (edited 08-25-2001).]

  2. #2

    Re: Orchestral Sampling Manifesto by Maarten, Thomas and Marc

    <title>Orchestral Sampling Manifesto</title>
    <meta http-equiv=\"Content-Type\" content=\"text/html; charset=iso-8859-1\">

    <body bgcolor=\"#FFFFFF\" text=\"#000000\">
    <font size=\"5\" face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\"> Orchestral Sampling Manifesto</font>

    (Version August 25th 2001)



    <font size=\"6\" face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">

    <u>About this paper</u></font></p>
    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Q: Who created this manifesto?

    This manifesto is the joint effort of three people:</font>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Maarten Spruijt:

    Contact: info@maartenspruijt.com
    / Website: http://www.maartenspruijt.com

    Demo: http://www2.hku.nl/~maarte2/audio/tpsuite.mp3</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Thomas R&ouml;nnen:

    Contact: jzjz@online.no

    Demo: http://www.booyaya.de/enyak/Jazz2k_-_Unexplored_Territory.mp3</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Marc Fl&ouml;ssel:

    Contact: floessel@t-online.de

    Demo: http://www.booyaya.de/enyak/orchestra_ambience.mp3</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">

    All of us are relatively young composers with a (so we hope) firm grip on the
    technical side of sampling and sequenced music and the strong urge to push orchestral
    emulation beyond expected results. The BIG orchestral hollywood sound is what
    we\'re really pushing for.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Q: Why create this manifesto?

    This manifesto took a good amount of time and sweat for everyone involved. Frustration
    over past commercial library achievements and their shortcomings have fueled
    the wish for better orchestral libraries in us. There are limits to everything,
    but we feel that current libraries barely scratch the surface of what could
    be possible. However the reason for their shortcomings seldom seems to be budget
    and time constraint one, but a string of unfortunate choices and library concepts.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">In no way is our intent to mock the
    achievements and works of past libraries and makers. But we do see the chance
    for improvement and we do want to get our views out in public with the glint
    hope of discussion and change.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Q: Why even listen to us?

    This paper is the result of our combined real-life experience with orchestral
    samples, including the applied and practically realized ideas and concepts plus
    many weeks and days of further discussion and research. All this research is
    going to be directly fed into our own future sampling projects.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Our prime motivation is to gain better
    samples and it is our strong hope that the contents of this paper will undergo
    a healthy discussion and perhaps even adaption where possible.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Thomas has very successfully used
    the theories presented in this paper to create his own rudimentary, yet impressive
    brass and percussion library (the result of which you can hear a demo of by
    following his demo link) in the past and is currently planning to take on a
    larger undertaking with refined concepts.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Maarten currently employs these very
    concepts for his own ensemble brass sampling project - an extensive test ensemble
    trumpet session is scheduled for the next days and demos will be available eventually.</font></p>




    <font size=\"6\" face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\"><u>Recording</u></font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Apart from the minute details of
    the miking setup, there are a few fundamental recording choices that have to
    me made before: Far-miking vs Close-miking, sampling in a hall vs sampling in
    a studio.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">On the behalf of flexibility and
    sonic clarity the usual choice is being made for close-miking, often in a studio.
    The product samples will be dry and ready to be put in any needed acoustic theater
    by the means of artificial reverbation.

    While this concept might seem logic and workable at first, there are very serious
    flaws to it that will wreck any future attempt to get an orchestral sound out
    of the samples.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">I beg every orchestral sample maker
    to take notice, read and digest this article about brass and woodwinds sampling,
    mike setups and further advice in the UK pro-recording magazine Sound on Sound:</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">http://www.sospubs.co.uk/sos/jan99/articles/brass778.htm</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">

    &quot;In a live PA situation, this may be the only possible solution to achieving
    enough isolation, but it certainly isn\'t the best technique for recording! Like
    most musical instruments, the sound generated by trumpets and trombones needs
    space for all the different harmonics to become properly balanced, and so the
    microphone needs to be positioned at a respectable distance from the instrument...&quot;


    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\"> &quot;With trumpets it is usually
    easier to mic from above because most players angle the instrument downwards,
    but with trombones I would generally come in from below. As always, though,
    placement should be determined by the need to aim the dead side of the (directional)
    mic towards the sound sources you wish to reject. Moving the mic closer will
    tend to give a cleaner, tighter and brighter sound, whilst moving away will
    give a fuller and often more dramatic sound (dependent on the recording acoustics).&quot;


    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\"> &quot;The key to recording reed
    instruments is to be aware that most of the sound doesn\'t radiate from the bell,
    but from the body of the instrument. In the case of the clarinet and similar
    instruments the higher frequencies beam from the bell and rely on being reflected
    back from the floor to become properly balanced with the lower harmonics...&quot;

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">(Sound on Sound UK)</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">

    In a nutshell: For any kind of classical instrument and even more for orchestral
    music, close-miking is a dangerously effective way to irrecoverably damage the
    sound of the recorded samples. No amount of reverb or processing will restore
    what bad microphones and placement did to the sound. Although the quoted article
    is not limited to symphony recording, I would suggest that everyone involved
    in such a library making (current or future) prints out and reads it thoroughly.
    It has been stated by professional players and engineers over and over again
    that the orchestral sound absolutely needs a good, far-miked hall recording
    to expand, resonate and become what everyone expects it to be.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Of course there is always the argument
    of &quot;flexibility&quot; when it comes to the question of miking. However
    I have to ask: Are there really so many of us who write chamber music? Symphony
    Orchestras are being recorded all the time in massive halls - surely it doesn\'t
    hurt their sound. It would seem to me that the need to use orchestral samples
    in an orchestral context by far outweighs the needs of those who would like
    to use them in a wholly new context. </font></p>



    <font size=\"6\" face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">

    <u>Recording Examples</u></font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Thanks to lengthy research, we eventually
    came upon the test CD &quot;Anechoic Orchestral Music Recording&quot; that features
    an abundance of orchestral recordings performed by the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra
    - a high-profile symphony orchestra known for excellence. These cues were recorded
    within a specially set up, completely reverbless stage with a number of different
    miking setups.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Keep in mind that this orchestra
    has gotten outstanding ratings in normal concerts.

    We assembled a short representative demo of the CD, the performed cue being
    the opening bars of the 1st movement of Tchaikovsky 4th performed by the Osaka
    Orchestra. We found the comparison result to be quite shocking.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">First, the recorded cue with natural
    hall, far miking and then added artificial hall:

    1. <a href=\"http://www.booyaya.de/enyak/Far_Recording_-_Tchaikovsky_4th_-_Hall.mp3\">4th
    - Far Recording - Natural Hall</a>

    2. <a href=\"http://www.booyaya.de/enyak/Far_Recording_-_Tchaikovsky_4th_-_Hall_%2B_TC_reverb.mp3\">4th
    - Far Recording - Natural Hall plus TC Native Reverb</a></font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Now the real highlight - completely
    anechoic recordings:

    3. <a href=\"http://www.booyaya.de/enyak/Osaka_philharmonic_-_Tchaikovsky_4th_-_Anechoic.mp3\">4th
    - Closer Recording - Anechoic (reverbless)</a>

    4. <a href=\"http://www.booyaya.de/enyak/Osaka_philharmonic_-_Tchaikovsky_4th_-_TC_reverb.mp3\">4th
    - Closer Recording - Anechoic plus TC Native Reverb</a></font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">This (among the other demos on the
    CD itself) demonstrates very well what happens to the orchestral (brass in this
    case) sound when sampled too close and without the resonance of a natural hall.
    The artificial reverb just can\'t make up anymore what has not been recorded
    in the first place. Listening to the anechoic plus TC Native Reverb cue alone
    might sound decent, but comparing it to the real hall recording it becomes clear
    that the sound is miles off what it should be. This is in fact the case with
    every orchestral instrument, although the effect on brass is the most dramatic.</font></p>





    <font size=\"6\" face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\"><u>Current Library Concept</u></font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Currently a library concept might
    look something like this: Each instrument is sampled (chromatically for modern
    libraries) in its entire range in a number of different velocities (pp, p, mf,
    f, ff), dependant on the amount of timbre shifting that occurs throughout the
    instrument\'s dynamic range.

    In the example case of a oboe, this would be typically done for at least 3 different
    playing styles/lengths:</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">staccato for the short, hard

    portamento for faster passages and runs

    sustained for the longer lines</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">To make the final samples as flexible
    as possible they\'re usually recorded without any player emphasis or expression
    so that they stay entirely stable throughout the whole note.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">This does not sound very good.

    It doesn\'t sound very real either.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">How often will an oboe player sustain
    a note for 10 seconds without the slighest change of timbre? Very rarely, because
    it will sound cold, flat and lifeless. Instead a real player will employ vibrato,
    massive changes of dynamics (and thus timbre) and everything else he can use
    to shape the sound. Huge recording and playing achievement as they may be -
    breathing back life and expression (which orchestral music could not be any
    more dependant on) into static samples is frustrating and often impossible for
    the composer.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">While the use of clever LFO vibrato,
    intricate volume curves and even external editing goes a long way to recapture
    the realism of a performed instrument, it is still a compromise to realism and
    sound quality in the end. For example not only is the strength and depth of
    a real musician\'s vibrato constantly shifting, but also the mechanical details
    are insanely complex to be emulated. Roland\'s Vari-Phrase Technology (found
    in the VP-9000) improves on these aspects, but fails in others.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">

    Q: What about Crossfading velocity layers?

    Crossfading velocity layers to allow dynamic movement within the same note is
    problematic. For once each of the layers holds a fixed state velocity and interpolating
    between these absolute velocities is relatively crude compared to a real velocity

    Worse, especially with Solo Instruments, there is the problem of unwanted chorus.
    Even while x-fading between two velocity layers there is a point reached where
    both layers play with 50% volume. Suddely you will have double the instruments
    playing the same note with different velocities. In an expressive performance
    this can be seriously disturbing.</font></p>





    <font size=\"6\" face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\"><u>New Library Approach</u></font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">What we need to have is a way to
    employ the experience, talent and rich nuances of the live player in our captured
    samples to reach realism and playability. Right now this can only be done by
    building the expression into the sample itself, which means we have to sample
    the live player in a way that makes sense musically, features a great performance
    and in the end is usable in a sequencer.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Clearly using the the same old concept
    as described above, just with &quot;expression&quot; thrown in at random, will
    be problematic. We would end up with samples very much like those found in the
    Miroslav Vitous library. Their usage is limited by their pre-recorded expression
    - using them in a different context will result in the composer wrestling with
    the sample and sequencer controllers. Using them in the same context as they
    were recorded in can result in stunningly realistic parts.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Thus, we need a new library approach
    to adequately cover a larger ground.

    The solution is to sample each instrument / section in a large number of different
    lengths per note.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Reasonable notelengths would look
    like this:

    Staccato: 0.1 sec, 0.3 sec

    Portamento: 0.5 sec, 0.7 sec, 1.0 sec, 2.0 sec

    Sustained: 3.0 sec, 5.0 sec</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">However instead of sampling these
    notes in several fixed static velocites throughout their whole length, we also
    need to come up with a new system to allow them changes of dynamics (and thus
    timbre) while still keeping them within a desired dynamic range:</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">To achieve this we will record miniature-phrases
    that consist of nothing but one single note.

    We specifiy the attack velocity and the ending velocity of the recorded length.
    To gain further control, we might also add a climax velocity parameter when
    recording sustained samples.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Think of it as a recorded arc: For
    each recorded notelength, the player will start with the attack velocity, move
    naturally to the climax velocity and then fall back (or rise) to the ending
    velocity, ending the phrase in time. While playing this one-note-phrase he will
    employ as much dynamic shift, expression and vibrato as he would typically use
    if this very note length and velocity boundaries were part of a live music piece.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Example: Length: 2.5 seconds, attack
    vel: pp, climax vel: mf, ending vel: pp

    (a 2,5 seconds long noble swell and decrescendo)</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Although the number of possible combinations
    of note lengths and boundary velocites might sound staggering, the truth is
    that recording a set of well chosen lengths and velocity arcs will cover 90%
    of the needed articulations. Even if such a library might miss articulations,
    the amount of stunning realism for those that have been sampled, will easily
    make up for it. In the end the composer will have a much more powerful and less
    time-consuming (since controller editing can be largely avoided) tool.</font></p>





    <font size=\"6\" face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\"><u>New Library Concept Realization</u></font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Clearly, above theory is that for
    now - a theory. We need to find a real world implementation to be able to sample
    live players to fit our desired matrix. This real-world implementation can look
    like this:</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">(This is actually Maarten\'s implementation
    for his upcoming test session)</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">4 general velocity zones: p - mf
    - f - ff</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">typical sustained note (lengths to
    be taken from above) sampled in 3 variations:

    1) normal expression curve - soft attack (neutral)

    2) hard attack (aggressive)

    3) soft swell</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">In all three cases the final target
    velocity is the same but the way and duration they take for reaching this velocity
    differs. Important is that each performance is expressive and makes sense musically.
    If it is of a length and performance that you don\'t normally hear in an orchestral
    piece, it\'s probably going to be less useful.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">To achieve the desired performance
    each to-be-sampled note is actually preceded by a different (lower) note on
    the players\' sheets.</font></p>



    <font size=\"6\" face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">

    <u>Chromatic Sampling vs Sampling in Thirds</u></font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Advantages / Disadvantages for chromatic

    - No timbre pitching effect at all (+)

    - Takes much time (-)

    - Less homogeneous nature of patch due to many different sampled performances
    and the chance for a note to stick out like a &quot;sore thumb&quot;

    - Takes more samples / more memory (-)</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Advantages / Disadvantages for sampling
    in Thirds:

    - Takes 1/3 of the time of chromatic sampling (+)

    - More homogeneous sound throughout

    - Less memory and samples needed (+)

    - Less natural sound as a result of transposed samples (-)</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">In the end a mixed approach might
    be the best one (thirds for sustained notes, chromatically for staccato) depending
    on time and budget constraints.</font></p>






    <font size=\"6\" face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\"><u>Instrument Specific</u></font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Since it is impossible to capture
    the full range of possible articulations, expression and velocity of every instrument
    member of a complete orchestra, it is of paramount importance that the library
    producer makes sure that each sampled instrument at least plays in a manner
    that it is most typically heard in and known for.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">For example an oboe can be played
    to sound harsh and aggressive and while this sound may be a desirable effect
    once in a while, the bread-and-butter timbre it is known for is a lyrical, soft,
    almost sad one. Should time and resource constraints force the sampling process
    to be of limited nature, these respective timbres and articulations should be
    sought for with priority, even on the expense of less (or not at all) covered
    other ones. A fantastic set of limited but well chosen idiomatic instruments
    will have a much bigger impact than a mediocre all-articulations covering set.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\"><u>Woodwinds</u></font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Woodwinds in general are to be used
    in more expressive parts and often expose their most interesting timbre in softer,
    mellow parts. Apart from flute and bassoon they are rarely needed in unison
    playing and thus as samples are most usable as solo recordings.

    Woodwinds are very often miced close as they play an important solo part and
    easily vanish in the orchestra, but if they are miced too close they respond
    badly to reverb.

    Enter the note without vibrato, slowly apply vibrato and dynamics, and then
    finally slowly &quot;deapply&quot; vibrato. This is typically true for solo
    strings as well.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\"><u>Brass</u></font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">The &quot;powerhouse&quot; of the
    orchestra. Brass samples are useful at any given velocity, from soft and sad,
    noble and strong, to fullblast epic.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Ensemble Brass is most sought for
    at the epic fullblast level, since this is where past libraries had their weakest
    spot. In a typical score, ensemble brass is constantly swelling and moving,
    crescendoing within one second from almost silence to storm blast. Without the
    ability to emulate these constant shift in dynamic velocity, a true orchestral
    emulation is difficult to achieve.</font></p>

    <font face=\"Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif\">Solo Brass is less useful at fullblast
    level, since one instrument alone will not suffice for an epic timbre. On the
    other hand, in the lower velocity levels it can be played to achieve a very
    emotional tone, deeply touching tone, making it very useful again.


  3. #3

    Re: Orchestral Sampling Manifesto by Maarten, Thomas and Marc

    I just felt that I had to express my opinion on the \"Recording Examples\" section of the manifesto. Remember that what follows is just my opinion, which I feel strongly. However, you may have just as strong feelings in the opposite direction.

    This may shock some people on this board but, concerning the opening bars of the 1st movement of Tchaikovsky 4th performed by the Osaka Orchestra, I prefered the \'anechoic\' recording by a very large margin. Having been involved with real orchestras, my preference is to be up where it\'s happening, where the music is being made and not somewhere back there in the hall.

    The main \'anechoic\' tracks of the Denon \"Anechoic Orchestral Music Recording\" CD (i.e. tracks 1 to 16 if you have the CD) have an exceptional sound clarity allowing each individual part to be heard. These anechoic recordings where recorded principally with 2 main microphones above the head of the conductor, and are not close-miked recordings. (Denon used two B&K type 4006 omni-directional microphones).

    The temporary anechoic environment they used for the recordings satisfied the recommend values for semi-anechoic rooms as specified in the ISO 3745 international standard. The environment they used was not completely anechoic, but can be described as semi-anechoic. For the stage, due to a necessity for a hard floor for instruments like cellos, absorbing material could only be used in certain places.

    To be honest, I\'m not really sure why I\'m ranting on about all this, but I love those Denon recordings, and I have never desired to add any artificial reverb to them.


  4. #4

    Re: Orchestral Sampling Manifesto by Maarten, Thomas and Marc

    Interesting topic. I\'ll look forward to seeing what people have to say. One thing I noticed was the anechoic chamber results - it\'s possible you\'ll want to reword the conclusions about reverb and distant miking based on the recordings. One problem is an anechoic chamber would affect both the sound mics pick up and the sound the players hear - they would be missing the reverb cues that are always present when they play. If you want to read a little, I remember Benade\'s Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics has a few pages on how players may depend on reverb cues for accurate intonation. Hope this is of some help. Anyway, I do agree with most of what you\'ve said about problems with close miking. Good luck with the paper, and for any applications-

  5. #5

    Re: Orchestral Sampling Manifesto by Maarten, Thomas and Marc

    Hi Jeff,

    For those Denon anechoic recordings, the conductor and players performed the music whilst monitoring the sound via headphones with artificial reverb added (2 second decay time). This was partly done to avoid shortening the general pauses/fermata in the music, so that the CD can be played in a reverberant environment and maintain the impression of a musically appropriate relationship between sound and silence.


  6. #6

    Re: Orchestral Sampling Manifesto by Maarten, Thomas and Marc

    The anechoic recordings reminded me of the current crop of dry, semi close mic\'d recordings. Personally I found them lacking character in comparison to the natural hall recording. It made me suddenly realise that what I regarded as really crappy samples, were actually probably well played and recorded - but wasted due to misguided mic\'ing techniques and a \'lowest common denominator\' approach to phrasing.

    Unquestionably, unless I hear something new, my next orchestral library purchase will be one which uses true room acoustics, not one which requires the addition of eq and a digital reverb algorithm.

    A question for Maarten et al.,

    What do you do about the \'accumulation\' effect? When you record a brass section playing in a hall you get one instance of the hall. When you use a sampler with the section broken down into smaller parts, and play four or five lines to create the same recording you end up with the same size brass section, but with four or five instances of the hall.

    Do you guys notices a substantial difference in quality? Is it worse? Better(!)?

    Don\'t take this as a negative.

    From my POV, you guys are right on the money - not only with the far mic\'ing in a concert hall, but also with the idea of making recordings of a range of useful dynamics/phrasings.

    You\'re also right about not wasting resources recording totally esoteric articulations. Most of us would prefer better quality meat and potatos.

    One of the things Nemesys has been asked to put at the top of their list is VP9000 style HIGH QUALITY time stretching. Your samples, combined with good time stretching would probably cover any tempo.

    Maybe with XP, 2gb CPUs, dual processors, and Tascam support, we\'ll see this kind of facility before we retire....

    [This message has been edited by Chadwick (edited 08-25-2001).]

  7. #7

    Re: Orchestral Sampling Manifesto by Maarten, Thomas and Marc

    Excellent demo Marc! Those are the best slow strings I\'ve heard yet played from a keyboard. What strings did you use or combine? They sound fantastic! A+ work on the expression as well. What are the flute phrases from also? They remind me of the flute sounds Elfman used in \"A Simple Plan\".
    Great job man!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Orchestral Sampling Manifesto by Maarten, Thomas and Marc

    I applaud the effort that went into the \"manifesto.\"

    However, when it comes to sampling I believe a hall is an inferior choice to a large and well-diffused studio. This affords the amount of air necessary for an instrument\'s timbre to be fully realized--without imprinting a hall\'s reflections and character. Or noise.

    Like it or not, even the quietest halls in the world have air you can very much \"hear.\" It is not so bad when you record an orchestra at once...but VERY bad when you record each section of the orchestra at pianissimo, then recombine it to the tune of 10 to 20 times the amount of noise a person would normally experience.

    Diffusion is not the same as absorption. Sampling in an anechoic environment is clearly not the way to go. A diffused room can be very live, it just won\'t say \"walls\" in the mix, or \"hall.\" And the advantage of using a controlled and quiet environment far outweighs any other factor.


  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Burbank, CA. US of Mexico

    Re: Orchestral Sampling Manifesto by Maarten, Thomas and Marc

    Sounds like you 3 are well on your way to creating the Ultimate Brass Library!
    I\'m glad to see that you guys have decided to work together instead of banging your heads on the floor concurrently on different projects.

    I\'m looking forward to your results and hoping that your theories actually translate into practical application.

    I don\'t know why you posted this as opposed to keeping it amongst yourselves as an internal brainstorming session, but I can only assume that you did so to garner feedback in order to improve your efforts. That being the case, I\'ll contribute an issue that will need some problem solving on your part. The issue I present to you is tonguing attacks. When I did my brass library, I set out to solve the problem of the machine-gun effect with consecutive staccato attacks. I did so by recording double and triple tongue phrases and chopped them up. It did not work on the first try. I had to have my players come back in and redo all of them after I figured out what was going wrong. However, I will tell you in confidence that I can reproduce fast tonguing passages at any speed convincingly with my samples. I will post an example someday when I get a chance. Based on my experience with this type of sampling, I don\'t see it happening very well with ambient reverb. Your players would have to compensate for reverb decay before the next attack began. You can\'t play fast tonguing passages with breaks in the middle or else it will defeat the desired effect....not to mention killing your players embouchures in a matter of minutes. Allen Vissutti might be able to do that, but it is not something that could or should be expected from mere mortals
    You guys are onto something when it comes to the expressiveness and natural ambience theories you\'ve proposed, but you seem to be overlooking important issues such as attacks and legato playing. Also, you seem to have settled into the logic that artificial reverbs just won\'t do anymore. I should remind you that most Hollywood orchestra recordings have lots of artificial reverb in them. Also, I would seriously recommend you trying out Altiverb before you do any of your ambient recordings. It really does magical things. I\'ve been tweaking my brass library with it and it gave it an entirely new life. I\'m actually really enjoying my samples now whereas before I was writing them off as a failed first attempt.

    Take it for what it\'s worth, and good luck!…I’ll be waiting by your doorstep with cash in hand if you succeed!

  10. #10

    Re: Orchestral Sampling Manifesto by Maarten, Thomas and Marc


    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>\"And the advantage of using a controlled and quiet environment far outweighs any other factor.\"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    We disagree. The main goal here is to capture the true acoustics of an orchestral instrument in its native setting. It is therefore imperative that the recording technique in no way differs from that of a normal orchestral recording. The musical sound of a sample by far outweighs the technical aspects of the sample, and orchestral instruments do not belong in isolated recording studios.

    One thing to keep in mind is that pp recorded samples are (proper use given) not going to be played back at a louder level than the initial recording.

    Through our own research we have tried to determine whether the problem is as big as people would have it.
    The following mp3\'s should provide a good indication that, while the noise is still apparent, it does not drastically break down the sound quality.

    As a test we sampled one sustained violins part from a modern, commercial score CD (\'Meet Joe Black\'). As you can hear in strings_noise_cd.mp3 (first the 1:1 sampled version, then 50% level normalized) the recording does indeed have a good amount of noise.
    We used the same violins sample, loaded it into a Gigastudio playable patch and recorded a little multi-polyphonic (5 stereo voices) cue for demonstration. Keep in mind that this is one sample, mapped over one octave (meaning it\'s transposing pretty severely). Still the same basics apply.

    CD Sample:

    test cue:

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