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Topic: Real time demos over the 'net?

  1. #1

    Real time demos over the 'net?

    Have any library developers considered providing the capability to try the libraries remotely, in (quasi) real time, over the network? I.e, the user sends MIDI over the internet to a server which is executing the library, and the audio data is then transferred back over the net. Sure - there'd be a disconcerting note-on delay, but I have a feeling it would still be somewhat useful.

    I know this general concept isn't new - I've heard of net jams, etc etc. But I've not heard of this being done to audition sample libraries - has it been tried yet?

    Piracy would be a risk, but perhaps there are ways to greatly reduce that risk.


  2. #2

    Re: Real time demos over the 'net?

    You can always send us a midi file and we will create a rendered piece of it with a piano of your choice so that we can upload it to our website or send on cd if it's large. Most library developers do this when you contact them privatly.
    Your idea would consume a lot of data bandwidth and possibly even enable people to create a usable track from an on-line demo. Something that we want to avoid.
    Best regards,
    Michiel Post

  3. #3

    Re: Real time demos over the 'net?

    Sorry - did someone say something? I can't hear you - I'm having *oodles* of fun playing the DEMO version of Applied Acoustics Lounge Lizard Electric Piano.
    127 velocity layers. Downloaded in no time.


  4. #4

    Re: Real time demos over the 'net?

    This idea makes no sence and your reply to Michael even less!!!
    Leandro Gardini - classical/orchestral composer

    Pacific Ocean - http://www.pacificocean.com.br

  5. #5

    Re: Real time demos over the 'net?

    Quote Originally Posted by leogardini
    This idea makes no sence and your reply to Michael even less!!!
    The point is this. I am sitting here playing a demo of an instrument in real time.
    I have not purchased it. I am able to test it thoroughly, in the comfort of my own home. Yes, if I really wanted to, I could make a complete track with this demo. Why is the risk any greater with a 1GB acoustic piano library played over the internet?

    I enquired about auditioning an electric piano library with a local dealer a few days ago. I am still waiting for them to get back to me. Maybe I'll buy this physical modelling electric piano instead - it's damn good, and I have been able to verify it instantly.

    I've tried Michiel's 1 octave (+ other sparse single notes) Emperor demo. It was the most frustrating experience not being able to play whatever note I wanted. (I got pretty good at improvising in the chords of C and G though

    Is this any clearer?


  6. #6

    Re: Real time demos over the 'net?

    Quote Originally Posted by sullivang
    Yes, if I really wanted to, I could make a complete track with this demo.
    This is why some developers would never consider your idea. For some, it is just an unacceptable risk.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Castle Rock, Colorado

    Re: Real time demos over the 'net?

    Michael Post's idea seems the most logical approach. Contact them privately with a midi file.

  8. #8

    Re: Real time demos over the 'net?

    Quote Originally Posted by Axiom
    This is why some developers would never consider your idea. For some, it is just an unacceptable risk.
    Yes, fair enough, but I don't think the overall risk is great. It would be a real hassle. This particular demo version fades out to nothing and back again, every 20 seconds, can't save presets, and stops altogether after 20 minutes (or so). I think it's small minded to think that this would reduce sales by any significant amount. Despite these limitations, I'm still able to test it out very thoroughly.


  9. #9

    Re: Real time demos over the 'net?

    How about soundware manufacturers 'rent' time streaming the samples, using a lossy sample format, and then when it comes to mixdown, you can use a lossless format?

    You could bypass the network latency problems by precaching the start of each sample, Giga style. The technology is pretty much here already to do this (although the security isn't there). You could use a VPN-based Samba share, sfz, DFD and a large precache setting (sfz supports .ogg compression, so shouldn't need too much bandwidth). However, the idea I have wouldn't allow the actual downloading of the entire multisample (that would be madness), just the streaming of it using a special interface (possibly a dedicated player VSTi). Also, the sustain section of the samples could be mixed together at the server end, to reduce bandwidth concerns, and keep the raw sample data at the server end.

    Network access would be provided on a $ per MB transferred basis. So it wouldn't be a free demo (although you could offer an introductory scheme, provided you carefully verified the user's identity to prevent freeloaders), but relatively cheap. You could even move to a rental only model, where you didn't even sell physical media... And there would be no concerns about piracy, as noone except the manufacturers would have a complete copy of the sample data.

  10. #10

    Re: Real time demos over the 'net?


    Even if the cost to "rent" time streaming samples was fairly low, someone would complain and cause a big ruckus eventually. They would essentially say things such as "they want us to rent in order to demo something? - when I go to Banjo Ctr, I can demo things for free - this is ridiculous". Typically, after the initial period (where people remember how things used to be) has ended, someone who does not remember the history of how it came to this will be the first to complain and there'll be a whole gangload of people doing the same.

    Also, while the sfz suggestion isn't necessarily a bad idea, many of these new libs are Kontakt-based or even have their own player (ie DFH Superior). A bunch of reprogramming has to go on. That takes a lot of time and money in order to provide this type of demo. Yes, in terms of technology, we have streaming from a hard drive. We do *not*, however, have technology which streams from a hard drive and streams over the internet. I think that this part of it has many technical issues that would need to be resolved before even thinking about implementing such a solution.

    Even though you suggest that it shouldn't need too much bandwidth, I disagree. Even using a compression scheme, when you're streming a bunch of samples over the net, there are still large bandwidth issues. Where would the audio be cached when using a large precache setting? If it is cached at the server, the server would need tons and tons of memory and then all of the audio for each sample would still need to be streamed as notes are played. You could easily use up more bandwidth than streaming a stereo mp3 (think of each note as a stream). If the audio is cached on the downloader's computer, well that is even worse because you must download a "precache" of every sample to your computer. Just starting it up would require huge bandwidth. This is just from a single user. Multiply this by multiple users.

    In regards to the rent-only model that you perhaps suggested, That opens up a whole new can of worms. How is there any way to control that the samples will not be resampled?

    Anyway, it's nice to see some people thinking about this issue. Even though there may be unworkable ideas, people suggesting and coming up with different and inventive ideas will one day yield a good solution to this. I don't think that we're quite there yet. Solutions like this require creativity but perhaps also lots technical ingenuity too.

    Just my .02

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