User review of VR Sound\'s VR Percussion CD-ROM for Gigasampler
VR Sound recently sent me a copy of their new VR Percussion disk to review. It is similar, but not identical to their Akai Percussion disk. Please excuse the length.
VR Sound took a path in recording these instruments which is slightly controversial. Their recordings aren\'t totally dry and include some of the natural ambience of the rooms in which they were recorded. I\'m not saying that these sounds are \'wet\', simply that they aren\'t deadly flat dry. I\'ve noticed a couple of threads in these forums relating to how much natural room ambience should be recorded when sampling acoustic instruments. There are a few diehards who prefer their samples as dry and clean as possible. The argument here is that if your sample doesn\'t come sounding like it\'s in any particular size room, you can whack it into a good reverb unit and make it sound like it\'s in anything from a toilet to a car park.
In an ideal world I think this would be true, but that\'s not how most of us work. I spend my day in a reasonably well kitted-out project studio doing music for TV commercials. We have access to what I\'d say is better than average FX gear (TC Fireworks, Gold Channel, M5000, Lexicon 300, etc). Even so, it can be tedious to pull up a good verb for every sound you want to use, and often I\'m firing most of my sounds out of the stereo outputs of three or four modules. In a situation like this, instruments really come to life and seem much more \'playable\' when there\'s a believable room sound on them. As such, I\'m much more likely to use the VR percussion conga which ends up sounding like we got a real player in, than a clinically accurate sound which remains lifeless until the right room is added to it. VR Sound\'s approach is simply more inspiring at the time you need it most - when you pull up the instrument.
Another general observation is that Franz Pusch has programmed these sounds in a lateral region layout rather than a vertical dimensional one. That is, you find the various strokes of an instrument spread across the whole keyboard, rather than nestled at different velocity layers on three or four keys. In a situation where you have many different articulations, and are likely to devote a channel to the instrument anyway, I find it much easier to visualize what I\'m doing with this type of layout rather than sixteen velocity layers. If we were talking about a simple snare or seven different styles of string attack, I\'d advocate dimensions and velocity switches.
Pusch\'s approach, combined with LA percussionist Brad Dutz\' obviously intimate relationship with his percussion collection, presents the end user with a setup which seems very intuitive to me. Of course, YMMV.
Now to the sounds.
A little over 1500 sounds on a single 360 megabyte CD, grouped in 5 categories and represented as 74 individual, native Gigasampler instruments - S-Converter need not apply folks. The categories are (percussion) Hi, Mid, Low, Metal, Wood & More. I found the samples generally loud and clean with more punch than I get from most of my existing library. In most instances the envelope programming had very natural releases, although occasionally a patch has gotten through with default settings unchanged. Easily fixed if you have a rudimentary knowledge of the GS Editor.
VR Sound has assigned each instrument a two letter prefix, which is a big advantage when using the Gigastudio Quicksound database e.g., to display all percussion which is in the Wood category you type \'pw\', to find all percussion in the High Percussion category you type in \'ph\'. Pretty easy to remember. It may even be useful to go through the rest of your non-VR library and rename a few files so that they conform to the VR ID system.
The High Percussion folder has 10 instruments: Bongos, Chinese tambourine, Chinese Tom, Clay Bongo, Clay Drum, Kanjira, Moroccan Bongo, Metal Rio, Rio and Small Moroccan Bongo.
You get an idea of the depth with which Brad and Franz have modeled their instruments when you count the number of samples used to emulate a \'simple\' instrument like bongo drums. I counted not two, not four, not twelve, but 75 stereo samples! The bongos patch is reasonably representative of their approach to the rest of the percussion library. There are MULTIPLE versions of what you might call the \'main\' strokes - high, low, slap, mute, finger taps. Then there are also multiple versions of various idiosyncratic gestures. This is exactly what you expect and hope to use in a Gigasampler library when the ram wall is removed. It\'s almost impossible, and at the very least time consuming, to manufacture these little paradiddles, flams and rolls using just a few single strokes - it never sounds \'right\'. It\'s surprising how natural a part sounds once you throw in the odd flam or brief roll. It can really help. Thankfully, this approach is adopted with most of the library.
Chinese Tambourine has several samples with varying amounts of skin tone. I could have used a couple more straight metal hits on this patch, but if you\'re desperate you can use those on the other tambourine, or edit the fronts off a couple of the longer Chinese strokes.
Chinese Tom. Sounds a little like a single high conga with a coated head. Several notes and mutes. A nice light sound.
Clay Bongo. Less aggressive sound than the traditional bongo. Strokes include at least two each of High and low tones, with multiple hard, soft and flam versions. A ver \'organic\' sound which would sit easily in a percussion mix.
Clay Drum. Lost quite a few minutes just playing this patch - which is always a good sign. I don\'t know what it looks like, but it has an infectious ring tone to it. The last couple of samples have some cute panning effects, which would be pretty bizarre in a roll.
The Kanjira is a small frame drum from South India with a single pair of jingles. Quite a powerful upper mid range sound with a couple of talking drumesque hits.
Maroccan Bongo. A bongo tone which is a little less refined than the traditional bongo, a little more dissonant in the bottom end. Plenty of different hits. Some of the octaves work well for rolls. Someone forgot to edit the envelope releases longer on this patch, but I didn\'t notice it until I\'d been playing it for a couple of minutes....
Metal Riq. Play two keys and I dare you NOT to think of broad hipped girls swaying behind veils amongst the date trees and sand dunes. Very evocative, very Egyptian, very belly dance. You\'d find it hard to use this as a standard tambourine, but you\'ll never think of trying to fake a riq with a standard tambourine after hearing the real thing.
Riq. A much deeper sound than the metal riq. Fewer samples than the metal riq, but still at least two per stroke.
Small Moroccan Bongo. Sounds very small and high. Thoughtful keyboard layout makes this one very easy to play.
The Mid Percussion folder includes 19 gigs. Congas, 3 Batas, 2 Cajon, a Djembe, 2 Dumbacs, a Mrdangam, Pakhavaj, Quika, Sakara, Tablas, 2 Talking Drums, Tamborim and a Tar.
The \'3 Congas\' instrument is also on the VR Giga-Module disk. This is what I said when I first reviewed it:
3 Congas is about as big a misnomer as you\'ll ever see in relation to drum patches. The last thing anyone really wants in their Latin kit is just three conga hits (which is what I thought this patch would be until I loaded it). Usually, after I find a conga sample which fits what I\'m working on, my next big problem is always that dreary mechanical repetitiveness caused by having only three samples - usually low, high and slap. You can try to convince yourself that a little creative velocity and filter control can make that high conga sound unique on every hit, but the truth is it\'s still the same bop over and over again for the whole piece, which probably works AGAINST the idea of using a conga part to liven things up in the first place. This patch contains over eighty stereo conga samples. Some are effects - like heel slides or flams, but most are straight tones and slaps. Again,. The programmer has chosen to spread the samples out linearly across the keyboard rather than build several 16 layer velocity switched single key regions. This is what I prefer, as I can locate the samples I like quickly, and more easily visualize how to build a part around them. There are enough variations for each of these sounds (even the slides) that your conga part will continue to sound fresh and can even evolve with the mood of the piece.
Bata drums is a group of three (Large, mid and small sized) sacred, solid wood double-headed drums which originate from the Yoruba culture in Nigeria. The slave trade has seen these drums appear in Cuba, the US and other countries. They are represented here as three individual instruments, which makes it a little tricky to play them as a \'family\'. My first action would be to do a simple \'combine\' and put all three drums in the same Gigastudio instrument. Each Bata is represented by about twenty or so samples, each with various strokes of open tones, slaps, mutes and flams. Well recorded and very \'in the room\' sounding.
Doing a little Flamenco? Then the Cajon box drum is your man. These things found their way to the Americas during Spanish colonialism when fishermen used to sing to rhythms they beat out on boxes used to keep fish in. The Cajon has a short ring compared to some bigger drums. A range of strokes are included, with more than one per type.
I love the \'liquid\' sound of the clay pot. A well-recorded patch, plenty of tone with the hand strikes. Two or more versions of each type of hit from deep slides to delicate finger taps.
I have a friend learning Djembe, and we had a great time jamming with his drum and this patch. I was generally able to match him slap for slap, bass hit for bass hit, although his drum was deeper and he had access to more flams than I . Well recorded, but I\'d like to have samples of a bigger one as well. At least MY goatskin can\'t split!
The Dumbac, or Doumbek, is that goblet shaped drum you see them playing in Middle Eastern music. If you\'ve heard bellydancing music, you\'ve heard a doumbek. The name is actually onomatopoeic - deep bass tones (doum) and crisp high tones (bek) characterize this drum. Over forty samples in two gigs, - deep tones, slaps, finger taps, mutes, slides, rolls and flams.
The Mrdangam (pronounced mruh-dun-gum) is a double headed horizontal barrel drum from Southern India, normally used to accompany classical and dance music (no not THAT kind of dance!). One side is for bass notes, and the other is for high-pitched notes. It\'s usually played quite fast. This file has about forty samples, including bass tones, high tones, slaps, flams, rolls and finger taps. I\'m not sure what they normally sound like to be honest. The bass tones have a buzz on them which is reminiscent of the old ruler on the desk twang - I can only assume this may be de rigeur in Indian classical music (just kidding Ravi).
The Pakhavaj is North India\'s version of the mrdangam. It\'s a double-conical drum similar to the mrdangam. It has a cleaner sound to my ears. 25 samples. The envelopes are set with short releases. You may want to extend them to get the full drum rings. There\'s a little noise at the tops of some of the more sonorous long tones. I\'m not sure if this is the nature of the beast, but it would disappear in an ensemble mix.
The Quika patch has 36 samples. Quika is the drum which people say \'sounds like a dog bark\'. About seven clear, open hits down the bottom of the layout are followed by a wide range of slides and \'shakes\'. This drum poses the same problem as a sax or human voice when sampling. It\'s very mercurial in its timbre. However, 36 strokes is a lot better than you\'ll find in other world percussion collections.
The Sakara is another Nigerian drum consisting of a 6-12\" clay frame with a goatskin stretched across it, and hit with a stick. There are 16 samples from light hits to very hard whacks, and always two or three versions of each.
There are 36 tabla samples in the hi/low tabla patch. Distinctive, snappy high notes and ringing mid tones. Lots of idiosyncratic gestures, but I would have liked several more bends. Very playable.
Watching Afro-Celt Sound System the other night I was struck by the contribution of the talking drum. It just percolated along on top of the main beat like some kind of juicy synth with its filter being tweaked. Plenty of percussion patches come with a talking drum sample, but its not enough - using a pitch bend wheel on one single sample to try and emulate squeezing the drum head lacings under your arm just doesn\'t work. VR Sounds provides two drums, one large and one small with plenty of different strokes, but in performance it will still be useful to play across three or four similar hits whilst moving your pitch wheel - that WILL work.
Tamborim - that\'s not misspelled, it\'s a different instrument altogether. It\'s a small frame drum held in the left hand and hit with a stick, while your left-hand fingers can mute and open the head. It\'s popular in Brazilian music like the Samba. About six different timbres are here, with some beater \'shakes\' which are characteristic of frame drums.
The Tar is another frame drum, but from the Middle East. It\'s played with the hands and fingers rather than a striker. It has a beautiful harmonically low tone rich in harmonics. 24 samples cover a range of velocities, finger vs. hand strokes, mutes and flams.
The Low Drums folder contains 9 instruments: Bass drum, Bendir, Frame Drum, Gaval, Igba, Oil Drum, Soo Doo, Surdo and Tupan.
The Bass Drum has some cracking hits, and some nice deep distant strikes. I would have liked to hear a few more of the more moody distant hits and maybe some more strokes of intermediate force. There\'s a distinct rattle in the heads on about ten of the seventeen samples which would force me to look elsewhere if the drum was to feature at all.
The Bendir, on the other hand, wouldn\'t be well sampled without the characteristic buzzes! It\'s a Moroccan frame drum similar to the Tar but using string snares along the inside part of the head. There are 36 samples here, again with at least two or three of each stroke and timbre supplied, with more than an octave range. Mutes, fingers and flams are also supplied. This sample set proves that the Bendir drum doesn\'t have to sound like a plucked rubber band.
The Frame drum sounds like a large one. 36 samples cover everything from low open toned hits to finger flams, slides and mutes. I would have liked some beater rolls as well, but then - I\'d like more of everything....
The Gaval is a tambourine-like frame drum from Azerbaijani. It\'s large and has a correspondingly deep tone. 25 samples range from deep open tones with a small amount of jingle, though to thinner finger taps, thumping mutes, almost all jingles, flams and thumb slides.
A Nigerian Igba is a short, stout, open-bottom, tom-tom like drum. It is slung from the shoulder and played with curved stick. Not much to say about this one. Ten hits, most of which sound very staccato and slappy.
The Oil Drum sounds Big with a great low ring to it. There are 30-odd samples covering straight strokes from deep and long to short and incredibly snappy and resonant. Laid out to be played intuitively in octaves. This one\'s very good value.
I\'ve never heard of a Soogoo drum before, but it sounds like a mid sized tambourine style frame drum which is smaller than the Gaval. 30 samples include light open hand hits, tighter ringing finger taps, rimshots with mostly jingle, deep mutes, a few flam/rolls and thumb slides.
A Surdo is a large, metal, barrel shaped Brazilian bass drum, played with a covered beater while the bare left hand opens and closes the tone on the head. There are only seven samples here for some reason. I find it hard to get excited about the Surdo, but if you have to use one - here it is. If you don\'t specifically need a Surdo, look at the Tupan for more balls.
From the Giga-module review:
I had no idea what a Tupan was when I loaded it. My first impression was that it was some kind of bass drum - which it is. Apparently Tupan is the Macedonian word for a bass drum used in Bulgaria and some Arabic countries. There are twelve samples in the patch which range from very loud to quite soft and distant. Again, it\'s great to have several versions of the same style of hit - e.g. three or four soft hits or a few hard hits, instead of finding a sound you want to use, but only having that one strike to play over and over. This patch would benefit from the programming which is used on the Giga Module version of the same sound.
The Metal Percussion folder contains 23 instruments: Bead Pot, Bell Tree, Bell Stick, Cabasa, Cowbell, Donkey Rattle, Maracas, Metal Maracas, Metal Shakers, Metal Shoes (!), Metalmospheres (?), Rusty Rattle, Saw Sounding, Shaker Tree, Sleigh Bells, Spoons, Tambourine, Temple Bells, Triangle, Triple Shaker and Wood Bells.
Bead Pot contains 23 samples. The first couple you strike are your standard bead shaker strokes - very clear single strokes. Most of the rest of the samples tend to be accents with movement at the beginning or end. With a little release tweaking to add control over the end of the sample, I found it made the shaker part less mechanical if I threw in some of these accents occasionally. There are several samples which seem to be kind of aimless - like the pot being put down or something. There are also a couple of long rainstick like movements which would sound great through effects like flanging or phasing.
Belltrees. 9 samples here. Three \'fast\' down strokes, one slow downstroke, two fast upstrokes, one slow upstroke and two \'effect\' glisses (one up, one down) where we clearly step through pitched bells. There\'s a lot of detail in the sound, but these samples may be too close mic\'d for some. Very cute panning in stereo.
Bellstick. 10 samples. Light, not as close mic\'d as the belltrees. A little like grabbed windchimes. There are a couple of swirls which would make good top end atmospheres if they were looped and DSP\'d.
Cabasa.15 samples. Sounds just like my cabasa! That may sound silly, but most cabasas you find in percussion patches are so filtered they\'re very thin. These sound totally natural. If you want them skinny, you can just cut the bottom out of them with Giga\'s highpass filter though. The two halves of the short strokes are an octave apart for easy playing, while there are some long strokes which are perfect for breaking up a pattern (a little like an open hi hat vs. closed). There are a few shakes as well.
Cowbell. 50 something samples. Sounds like a few cowbells were recorded. Once again I\'m reminded of how nice it is to have a room associated with the samples. Big thick hits as well as thin tinny hits and mutes. Mardi Gras here I come!
The Donkey Rattle sounds a lot like a quijada or vibraslap. There are twenty six samples here with noticeable panning effects. There are three distinct sounds in this patch. The first have a light attack and very organic boney rattle to them, and probably wouldn\'t cut much in a mix. The second are what I\'d call classic vibraslap - that long decaying ratchet sound. The third group seem to be a weird mix of the two, which actually creates a much thicker sound. I\'m not sure what to make of the sample which starts with one sound and has the second join in 3/4 second later!
Maracas. 23 different styles of maraca shakes. They all sound nice and natural, but I was left wanting some more \'straight\' strokes which didn\'t have any extra shakes to them.
Metal Maracas. 15 samples. The emphasis here seems to be more on swirling stereo effects, rather than on something which would play a regular motif in a percussion mix.
Metal Rattle. 25 samples of something that sounds across between metal maracas and several finger cymbals mashed together. The open strikes ring out, are very energetic and a little messy - which would be great for accents in a big Latin piece. There are also more standard \'shaker\' style motifs and some metallic mutes. Lots of stereo movement on the long sounds.
Dead Metal Shaker, with 41 samples, has lots of similar, edgy strokes to alternate between when playing a simple 8ths or sixteenths figure. The sound of the beads in the shaker is very prominent and adds to that \'organic\' vibe which can be so hard to achieve with samples. The boys have also placed the individual hits all over the stereo image, so that without much effort you can end up with quite a bizarre amount of spacial movement in the top end. Just mono it if you don\'t need it.
Metal Shaker. 22 samples, with several very nice small single strokes complemented by a variety of stereo enhanced shakes and rolls.
Metal Shoes. 26 samples of something across between gogo bells and a metal shaker (so help me!). Lots of shakes, but what I really liked was the metal hits - they\'re bright and would really lift any rhythm mix into party mode.
Metalmospheres. 28 samples of various percussion tools manipulated in unusual and generally ambient ways. Most of the samples are long \'swirling\' type sounds. These are great sound design fodder. The kind of thing I imagine Eric Persing used when he was sourcing sounds for Distorted Reality. The keys have a lovely sandy top end shimmer. The small bells sound like very high sleigh bells - no surprise, but it probably makes them more useful than sleigh bells. There are some short hits and \'glisses\' in the small bells which have really complex, yet tuneful ringouts. The wood tree samples remind me of high pitched bamboo anklungs being jangled and swept. This stuff makes you want to fire up the effects units and set the reverb for \'longgggggg\'.
Rusty Rattle. 26 extremely useable mid range metal shaker hits, rolls and shakes. Not too bright, not too soft. Great value.
Saw Sounding. 35 samples of someone hitting and shaking a thin piece of sheet metal. Lots of splashy hits which would sound great tuned way down, several wobbly hits, and a few cowbell-like strokes. The splashy hits would also be great accent tools.
Shaker Tree. 8 recordings of a very beady sounding shaker tree. The four short hits have great decays, while the other four samples are gentle and continuous shaking which is kind of like a rhythmic rainstick.
Sleigh Bells. 17 samples. A great selection of timbres to choose from. Five or six sets of matched straight hits, supported by a wide variety of swirls, shakes and grabs.
Spoons. Hearing these reminded me that the tools we\'re now using have greatly improved in the last fifteen years or so. I tried recording a similar soundset into an Emulator II ages ago, and the filters just mangled the sound. These spoons sound just like...spoons! Eight straight hits with six castanets-like shakes. I can\'t see you needing anything else for your next vaudeville \'gig\'.
Tambourine. 23 samples with straight hits ranging from soft to very hard. Supported by a few long rolls, some shakes, a few \'movements\' and a couple of hits which have a noticeable amount of jingle leading up to them - the kind of thing you could use to make the beginning of a tambourine part sound more authentic.
Temple bell. A beautiful high-pitched antique bell with a finger cymbal-like long chorusing decay, and a tremolo which moves around the stereo image. 7 samples of this one.
Triangle. 10 samples. This triangle is tuned, as opposed to dissonant. There are two long strokes, with a series of rolls of different types which would work well to spice up an otherwise simple rhythm.
Triple shaker. 16 samples. My best guess is that this is a combination of large and small shakers held in different hands. The single shakes are quite thick, while the complex shakes and rolls sometimes expose different shakers on the left and right. Great long very stereo rolls.
Wood Bells. 8 style samples across between a tambourine and a shaker. If these bells are wood, they\'re pretty small. I could have done with a few more similar versions of the single hits to alternate between. Nice stereo panning on the rolls.
The Woods and More miscellaneous folder contains 12 instruments: Anklungs, Benzasard, Broom, Devil Chaser, Fish, Ratchet, Room-Clapper, Spiketree, Spinners, Wood Whistle, Wood Log & Wood Stick.
Anklungs. 15 extremely evocative samples with really strong stereo imaging. These play really easily. Even randomly mashing a few fingers on the keyboard in time produces exotic results. Grabs, rattles, rolls and hits all work well together.
Benzasard. 19 samples. I have no idea what this instrument is. It sounds across between a tiny guiro and a ratchet with ridges really close together. No taps, but plenty of guiro style long strokes. It would certainly fit in places where you would otherwise use one of these instruments.
Broom. 10 samples. I suppose this is what it says, a small broom smacked on a surface giving a nice percussive effect, which would be perfect in the place of a shaker. Plenty of tops, nice length of decay with a hint of bead-like rattle. These are all similar strokes which can be used to articulate complex patterns really well. I\'d use this tomorrow.
Devil Chaser. 9 samples. Originally used to ward off evil Phillipino spirits, these things are basically a stick of bamboo which has two long opposing rectangular slits cut out of about half its length. When struck, the two remaining tongues of bamboo slap or rattle against each other. Several rattles and a couple of slaps. Fun stereo panning on the rattles.
Fish has 22 guiro samples. There are a few standard scrapes but also lots of moody slow ones and several very fast slashes. Lots of emphasis is placed on panning effects.
Ratchet. 12 very loud and clear ratchet winds. I\'ve never used these in a piece so it\'s hard to comment on which samples are the most useful. There are short half a second blips, long repetitive looped ones, and some unlooped long scrapes.
Room clapper. 8 samples of what sounds like someone clapping in a room. Very snappy single hand claps. There\'s enough timbral variation between these that, played in groups, you can easily sound like a four or five person clapping chorus. I\'d be tempted to spread these samples out so that each region covered four or five semitones and had pitch follow on, just to get an even broader range of clap textures.
The Spiketree is covered by 13 samples and sounds across between a Jew\'s Harp and a ruler being \'buzzed\' on a desk. A very ethnic sound. Stick this in your percussion mix to get an enhanced \'eastern\' flavour.
There are 40 samples in the instrument with the catch-all title of Spinners. The long low spinner sounds remind me of something I used to play around with in the backyard. We called it a Bullroarer. Basically it was a small piece of wood about the size of a 12\" (30cm) ruler with an eye hole in one end. The eye hole had about a 60\" length of string through it. You would swing the string around your head in circles until the ruler started to spin on the other end. They make a fluttering whooshing sound, sometimes with a rich bass drone, which is hard to describe. Very good stuff as source material for an FX processor. There are also a large number of high and low swishes - from something like a golf swing, to what sounds like a thin switch of bamboo whizzing past the mic. Also in this preset is another sound I remember from my childhood - the eerie swirling whistle made by those long plastic tubes which you spin around. Slowed down a little these things could be as moody as any rubbed glass effect you\'ve ever heard. It sounds like Brad had a few to play with, as there are a couple of samples which sound like someone\'s picked up a beehive and chucked it into a cyclone - weird stuff indeed.
Wood Whistle only has 5 samples, but it\'s quite an evocative sound - across between a low blown bottle and an Andean pipe. Very luxurious crescendos with noticeable breaths. One starts with a high whistle crossfading onto the fundamental. Ready made for documentaries or your next Survivor atmos track.
Wood Log? Think heavy duty Gon Bops or temple blocks. 16 samples. 6 similar single hits, seven double hits and three \'scrapes\'. Very useful sound for any mix needing something which will cut through on accents.
Wood Stick. 8 very nice clave-like samples. Playing this yet again reminds me of how much better these sounds are to use than the two dimensional offerings you get in most sampled percussion kits. Keeping some room on the samples and giving you several choices of similar hits to alternate between just makes your parts stay so \'alive\'.
That\'s it.... Excuse me for describing each instrument, but I\'m no sound engineer or percussionist - so I try to keep my opinions as even handed as possible. I think knowing exactly what\'s in each preset can be very useful if you\'re trying to decide whether to add a new CD to your library.
This particular CD doesn\'t contain an exhaustive collection of every percussion instrument. There isn\'t a library which does (or ever will, I think), but it has sounds I\'ve never even heard recorded before, combined with a lot of samples which are simply the nicest versions of those sounds to which I\'ve ever had access. As young dub-celt-reggae producer Oliver Twist was heard to say at the end of the last overdub, \"Please sir, may I have some more?\"
[This message has been edited by Chadwick (edited 03-07-2001).]
Re: User review of VR Sound\'s VR Percussion CD-ROM for Gigasampler
To me, the laying the samples across the keyboard approach doesn\'t work well for MOST percussion. I prefer the velocity switching approach, or a combination of both, especially for hand drums. What does everyone else think?
Re: User review of VR Sound\'s VR Percussion CD-ROM for Gigasampler
When you\'re talking about three or four INTERCHANGEABLE versions of the same strike, say four almost identical hits at pf on a conga, I\'d prefer to have them layed out alongside eachother so that I can noodle around between them. Although each key does the same job, it\'s easy to get that \'live\' randomness.
I know you could put them all one a single key and play harder and softer to switch, but that doesn\'t feel natural. I\'d prefer harder and softer hits to have harder and softer recordings of the instrument behind them.
In an ideal world I think I\'d have the velocities layered with soft to hard hit samples stacked up and switching, but also have three or four adjacent keys for each drum tone (eg low conga mute)which had similar (but not identical) recordings. That way, when played at a specific velocity, any of the adjacent keys would play a very similar sound, but as you play harder you get the changing timbre.
It depends a lot on how many keys you need to use to properly represent the instrument as well, and whether key switching several banks to get from one style to another is useful. Dave Govett makes a good point in his newsletter article when he talks about how memory intensive it can be to load up huge gigs with multi dimensional key switched instruments. Hopefully as Windows and Giga mature the number of samples in a gig won\'t be something requiring conscious consideration when choosing which instrument to use in an arrangement.
I still find myself amused that I don\'t even think about how big the samples I\'m using are on Gigasampler. Mind you, it only takes a quick switch back to the old 16mb 770 to remind me