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Topic: Orchestral samples ? Poor, poor what is on the market!

  1. #1

    Orchestral samples ? Poor, poor what is on the market!

    Ok, guys:
    I could not believe, that what Vitous, Siedlacek and others put on the market is state of the art of natural sounding orchestral samples.

    I tell you from what I´ve heard so far that e.g. there is not a single flute on the sampling-market that is close to acceptable!

    I can tell you this because my girlfriend plays the flute. If I compare the sound to e.g. the Vitous vibrato flute on the demo-cd from Nemesys I must say: Poor, poor, poor!

    To find out if it is possible to produce something better, we recorded her flute ourselves. It took us 3 hours to record long sustains with vibrato (2 sessions), 2 hours for me to edit the sounds and another 3 hours to loop them (which, of course, is optional)

    The result is clearly much more natural and living than vitous, whose vibrato we both found simply awful and unnatural. It also sounds much more like a flute than from what I remember the strange Siedlacek flutes sounded.

    Our equipment was two old Sennheiser amateur mics, an old Superscope-recorder as preamp and soundblaster AWE Gold as sampler.

    I have no idea, what the professionals use, but for the great efforts they pretend to take, they produce a lot of low to mid quality stuff and sell it (especially Vitous) for a ripp-off price.

    We sampled C-Major, so not more than two notes for one sample. But what do the professionals do ? 12 samples for 40 notes or even less. Try to play a chord and identify the notes. There is a huge difference in clarity.

    To be honest I am
    - tired of $3000 libraries that are worth a sell-out price because they are outdated,
    - tired of libraries that are performed by very average amateur players
    - tired of string libraries that have heavy tuning problems and broken sample pieces like a well known string prduct
    - tired of products who use 1 sample for 4-5 notes
    - tired of products who use the same samples and just equalize and ADSHR them a bit
    - tired of string samples that sound like a generator (basses) or a distorted heatwave (high violins) and lack nature and warmth.

    Do these guys really know, how natural instruments sound ???

    Forget about voices, channels and 24/96. If any of those sample products would be produced with knowledge, engagement and heart, we would understand the possibilities of the outstanding GS-technology.

    A new start COULD be the new Xsample library.


    P.S.: Have you heard the bandoneon on the Ultimate Percussion demo ? Do you think this is the ultimate ? I advise you to go to the concert hall and hear a real bandoneon...

    I cannot imagine that it is not possible to record this with more clarity and pressure.

  2. #2

    Re: Orchestral samples ? Poor, poor what is on the market!

    very strong words indeed. Of course it would be very nice if libraries did not cost a fortune and of course they could be much better in many ways. Still I think, to make a library of so many instruments like AO or Vitous offer is major undertaking involving many people who do not work for free like your friend.

    If you think of the strings there is some 60 people and they all are professionals = they live from playing. You also can\'t say recording takes so and so much time so it should cost so and so much money. Every good orchestra is well organised and has things like every other business. It also has trades. And they all know that any recording will be used by so many people and that by recording they will loose money from concerts. So they want to be paid adequtely. No wonder there is so many old orchestral recordings on the market. It is very, very expensive to record a good orchestra.

    And now imagine you want to record a sample library which in the eyes of musicians and management threatens the very existence of orchestras. (Probably not any soon, but it might eventually happen). Do you think they give themselves cheap? No wonder Peter recorded his AO in Poland...

    Anyway, it would be nice to hear your flute samples in action. So that we can judge. Any examples?


  3. #3

    Re: Orchestral samples ? Poor, poor what is on the market!


    sorry, my intention was not to insult anybody - just to put some new ideas into discussion.

    I do not own your library, I just heard the demo. Of course I will not be able (and I do not want to) to produce a library.

    I hope that your product receives the success it earns.

    I just found that the fff-bandoneon is something which in reality makes the orchestral hall \"thunder\". May be it is not possible to have this reproduced as a sample.
    But I can hear this effect on some good orchestral recordings of symphonies.
    Maybe there is a way to do it ?

    Maybe I should have expressed my ideas more carefully. Sorry - again.


  4. #4

    Re: Orchestral samples ? Poor, poor what is on the market!


    No problem, as I said before I wasn\'t mad at all. However I would like to state for the record that a bandoneon is not a percussion instrument...you know this right?

    Anyway I strongly encourage you to listen to our samples because I would love to hear your thoughts.

    Donnie Christian
    DS Soundware

  5. #5

    Re: Orchestral samples ? Poor, poor what is on the market!

    Interesting thread.... First of all, I too would like better libraries - especially better strings and french horns. The french horns are pretty awful, all of them (haven\'t heard Quantum Leap Brass yet though). However I think Donnie and Sean have made a giant leap. I\'d been working with the timpanis and tubular bells from their library for some time, and then tried listening to the timps from Adv. Orchestra - I was shocked at how bad they were in comparison - and I used to like those OK! Now I\'m at your library, Donnie... don\'t you think it would have made for even more realistic timps to have recorded left and right hand hits, like you did for the snares? So you would be able to do rolls and crescendos as well as fast repeating the same notes without using recorded rolls or crescendos? And now what about that new secret project - any new hints??


  6. #6

    Re: Orchestral samples ? Poor, poor what is on the market!


    I made a mistake (due to language): I meant of course a Gran Cassa (you know, the big orchestral drum).

    TO ALL:

    I think we better stop this topic here. I did not mean to insult anyone or to put down the sampling industry. Just a few things:

    1. I think we need a new generation of samples (each note sampled)

    2. With Gigastudio we need a better standard of performing and recording

    3. I wish we had more natural sounding instruments rather than generic, liveless products

    4. And we need something good in a fair price-range. In some areas I think this is missing.

    I think that probably XSample are going this way. Cannot tell about Ultimate percussion, because I do not know it.

    Our own amateur-efforts were just to find out, if it is difficult to produce something like this.

    To be honest I was astonished, how relatively easy it was with the flute. It might be much more difficult with brass or strings.I do not know.

    Thanks to all.

  7. #7

    Re: Orchestral samples ? Poor, poor what is on the market!

    First of all Simon! Good to hear from you again and glad to see that you are enjoying the library. Also I could not agree more. The timpani suppliment that we will have coming out soon will have right and left hand samples as the rest of the instruments do. As well as some other needed timpani effects that we just couldn\'t fit on the fourth disc.


    Please believe me when I tell you that I was in no way offended by your statements. We don\'t get like that. It would be silly on our part to react in such a way. AND I\'ll go as far to say that I agree with a lot of what you are saying. Thats why we are trying to do what we are doing. Papa Chalk plans to have a \"live\" chat session soon and he will bring us on for people like yourselves to ask as many questions as you like about the sounds in our library.

    Believe me when I tell you that this is our passion. This is what we have done all of our lives and what we continue to do because we love it! As far as the bass drum or \"gran cassa\" our library contains two. One is a 40\" and one is a 36\". Both have renaissance heads on them and were meticously tuned to obtain the optiomal fundemental tone possible. To get into even more detail about this and to maybe share our extreme passion I\'ll explain further.

    The reason why many bass drum samples do not cut or have the pressence of a live performance is caused by several things. One is the drum and the heads on it. Two is the way in which the heads are tuned. And thridly and maybe most importantly is what you hit the drum with and HOW you hit it.

    This is how we did it for both drums...

    1. We used newer renaissance heads that were not dead but had been on the drum for around 6 months. This insured that the heads had \"settled\" in and that they were not \"worn out\".

    2. Tuning: The key to tuning an orchestral bass drum is this: tune the bottom head to the lowest \"pitch\" possible. This insures that you will get the deepest fundemental tone possible. The top head can be taken to whatever pitch the performer likes.

    3. Mallets/Striking: This may be the most important aspect. All of the above mentioned means nothing if you hit the drum with the inappropriate beater. This is where most samples (and live performers for that matter) go way wrong. To get the desired sound mentioned above you need a mallet that will \"draw\" out the deepest tones of the drum. We use a very heavy beater to acheive this. Specifically it is a hand made mallet made by myself that consists of a bamboo shaft filled with sand and heavy lead fishing weights with a baseball core on the end wrapped with first hard cord, then a layer of med yarn, then a layer of soft yarn an finally a wrapping of felt stitched in. (I warned you guys that we were really in to this
    BUT it doesn\'t end there....

    Even all of this is for not if you don\'t hit the drum correctly. The age old misunderstanding of playing bass drum is to hit the drum with a glancing stroke. This is dead wrong!!!! Think about it....You want the biggest deepest sound right? So why would you hit the drum with a glancing blow and make half the contact?

    Try this experiment....Take your knuckle and glance it across a table and listen to the pitch of the table....now take you knuckle and hit directly into the table and listen to the pitch of the table....you can\'t believe it can you! : )

    Soooo the to get the best tone out of the bass drum you should use a direct blow BUT it doesn\'t stop there.....now do this....use the direct blow into the table JUST using your wrist and listen to the pitch....now use a direct blow but use your whole arm as the lever instead of just the wrist......am I freaking you out yet??

    Ok so my point is this.....thats what kind of thinking went into JUST the bass drums. Believe when I tell you that just as much if not more went into the other instruments..

    So in summary Horst I am actually thanking you from the bottom of my heart for bringing this up. Now you and everyone else can get a feel from where Sean and I are coming from with our libraries. I anyone has any other questions about any of the other instruments in our library PLEASE feel free to ask. We are more than happy to discuss this....heck we LOVE to discuss it!


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Chandler, Arizona

    Re: Orchestral samples ? Poor, poor what is on the market!


    I have your percussion library and find that it is awesome. Nothing compares to it!!!

    Could you post more info on when to use some of the various samples. For example, want kind of timpani should I be using for Beethoven or a Ravel piece. When should I use the various mallets on the xylophone? This information would be quite useful as I am not a percussionist. Maybe there is a good book on orchestra percussion that you could point me to.

    Thanks for the great library.


  9. #9

    Re: Orchestral samples ? Poor, poor what is on the market!

    My wife plays flute (lucky me!!!) so I don\'t worry about flute samples. If your girlfriend plays flute take advantage of her ability to play. In other words, when you got the real instrument and live player - use it!!!
    Samples, for me and my wife, are for those times when we can\'t produce the live music because of lack of funds or good musicians.

    We appreciate the libraries by Donnie and Sean, Ultimate Strings, Miroslav, etc (all of which we own). We don\'t have a lot of resources where we are - suddenly with those libraries we feel as if we have the next best thing to live musicians.
    Furthermore, cheers to those sample libraries produced by real, quality musicians!

  10. #10

    Re: Orchestral samples ? Poor, poor what is on the market!


    Thanks for the compliments!

    There is a help file with our library that goes into this some but your right there is a lot to think about. I\'m not sure if you knew the help file was there and maybe other people with the library do not know either but there are help files with samples that give brief explinations of appropriate uses for each instrument/mallet.

    Since you brought up timpani I\'ll address that insrument first. And you bring up a very good question and I applaud you for giving it some thought. I know as a percussionist myself I love it when the conductor says \"hey Donnie lets try a silver jingle tamb. instead of that brass jingle one\". I absolutely go nuts with joy because I know that he is actually listening to my sound enough to know that that was not the particular timbre that he wanted.

    But I digress....on to the timpani...

    Ok heres the way it goes...if your a purist then you will always use wood with Mozart. This is because in Mozart\'s day this was the only kind of mallet around. However many feel that you need to change with the times and use what is availible today just as brass and woodwind players do not play on period instruments in the modern orchestra.

    With composers such as Stravinsky and Ravel (one of my fav\'s!) you have a lot of room for experimentation. These guys were absolute masters at what they did and what kind of sounds that they wanted. My first recomendation would be to read the score. Most of your answers will be there.

    All this talk has really inspired me to hurry up and do the timpani suppliment. Sean and I knew that this would be the first suppliment that we would do because , to be honest with you, the timpani were the most lacking--articulation wise on the disc\'s. As a matter of fact we almost left them off completely but we figured that the instrument was so lacking in other libraries that we should at least inlcude the bare bones basics---which is exactly what it is.

    Here are the plans for the suppliment....

    1. NEW...Right and left hand samples at four velocities with legato and staccato strikes. (you will be able to tell a BIG difference in the character of the two samples...one great for smooth legato playing and one great for the intense marcato playing).
    2. NEW...Rolls at four velocities with all four mallets instead of just one.
    3. NEW...Cres. and decres. at three speeds
    4. True hand muffled staccato strokes at four velocities.
    5. NEW...bowl hits with all the mallets
    6. NEW...ethereal sounds; ie. cymbal on the head rolling while moving the pedal up and down

    If there is ANYTHING else that you guys/girls want PLEASE let us know!!



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