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Topic: Sampling vs Playability

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  1. #1

    Sampling vs Playability

    Not to start any heated discussion or anything but recently, after 2 years of using samples for dynamic instruments such as woodwinds and brass, I have gotten rid of all my samples and replaced them with WIVI. I have gotten rid of all my piano samples and used truepianos instead. To me percussion is the only thing that can be "sampled".
    This was due to an interesting conversation with a friend in where I composed a track with a full plethora of strings, brass, woodwinds, etc. When I let him hear it, he was impressed. Just for fun, I tried to convince him that I got a chance to record a real live orchestra. Of course, he didn't believe me, so I revealed how I stitched samples together. He looked at me with a wide eyed stare, and plainly said, "Its an instrument, its mean to be played, not imitate."
    And so I come to this conclusion, when I buy VIs or anything of the sort, I tend not to care how it sounds compared to the real thing. Think of it this way, every violin maker might want to copy the stradaviri, might not come close, but yet, they might ignore the beautiful uniqueness and dynamics of their finely crafted instrument. Of course this is a different story, but in the VI industry, many have the intuition to quickly compare a VI to the "real thing" and totally ignore its playability and ease of use (things that really define a great INSTRUMENT). I just wanted to share my opinion and see if others have actually had a paradigm shift when it comes to buying VIs now.

  2. #2

    Re: Sampling vs Playability

    great sound an playability are what most developers are striving for. look at the garritan strad and gofriller. look at LASS. the list goes on.

    i'm glad that samples are getting better, and starting to sound more "real"

    people say you'll never be able to replace an orchestra, which is probably true, but at least developers are trying.
    -Keith Fuller

    http://keithfullermusic.com
    ---
    iMac Quad i7 * MacBook Pro * Logic Studio 9 * WD 320GB & 1TB Externals@7,200RPM * Presonus Firebox * M-Audio Axiom 25 & Keystation 61 * Rode NT1-A * Epiphone Hollowbody * Fender Amp * KRK Rokit 8's

  3. #3

    Re: Sampling vs Playability

    Yes I completely agree with you, samples are getting better, but why try to replace an orchestra. Whenever you compose a track for the orchestra but do so with VI's, there is the notion, "I wish I had an orchestra to replay this". What if it sounded beautiful on your speakers, and by chance, you did get an orchestra to perform it. What if the orchestra tried to replicate the VI? What if it couldn't? The point I'm trying to make is that, trying to replace, is in essence taking away from the true goal, making good music. The orchestra has its own unique splendor, its an organization of many different instruments, same way that VIs, good ones at least, should strive to be instruments (not programming instruments, which is what they try to be). There are many VIs, like the garritan solo instrument, realguitar, WIVI, pianos, which one can just play without giving thought.

  4. #4

    Re: Sampling vs Playability

    i think people want it to sound real because real is good. unfortunately, about 99.99999% of people can't afford an orchestra and sound technicians to play/record their stuff. so this is their second option.
    -Keith Fuller

    http://keithfullermusic.com
    ---
    iMac Quad i7 * MacBook Pro * Logic Studio 9 * WD 320GB & 1TB Externals@7,200RPM * Presonus Firebox * M-Audio Axiom 25 & Keystation 61 * Rode NT1-A * Epiphone Hollowbody * Fender Amp * KRK Rokit 8's

  5. #5

    Re: Sampling vs Playability

    Nothing can compare to an accomplished artist playing an exceptional instrument like his or her life depended on it. No machine can fully replicate the depth of emotion inherent in such a performance. Samples may come close on occasion if manipulated by a musician with the talent and geekiness to pull it off but as an end product I think most folks in most venues would seek satisfaction elsewhere. Samples do however offer the average Joe/Joan an opportunity to create a demo to duplicate with real musicians in the studio should they get that far. The music biz is sadly not much more than dreams and samples help struggling artists get a little closer to that end product (something that sounds decent enough to actually take to the studio).

  6. #6

    Re: Sampling vs Playability

    I may only add, that even the percussion samples are way off in terms of real playability, unfortunately :0( Specially with "rolling" types, like the tambourine.

    I own all of the Wivi series except saxes II, and I agree that Arne Wallander has made probably the most advanced blend of playability and decent timbre. Of course Wivi may lack some color compared to samples (usually the ones which were recorded on stage) but its all about getting that anechoic origin closer to the "ambient" sounds we are used to.

    The problem of digitized instruments, as I experience it, is that they can`t teach you. I bet most of you had the experience of "being guided" by the living instrument - specially while improvising out track or arrangement. Sadly - even Wivi can`t, in my opinion of course, maybe its different from person to person... It`s also the emotional connect you create with the instrument, as good ones are quite hard to get, and have their "story", so once you play, they bring some memories etc.

  7. #7

    Re: Sampling vs Playability

    I don't see the issue with 'constructing' parts, rather than playing them. Who is to say that parts must be played? Those who are adept at improvisation might equally say that the process of composition on paper is inappropriate, and that the composition loses all spontaneity.

    We don't complain about it in the other arts. For instance, when we see a spaceship crash in a film, we know that thousands of hours of CGI work has gone into making those few seconds appear real; but, so long as the artists have done their job well, we never give it a second thought. We certainly don't insist that the whole thing needs to be done for real, in real time to be convincing.
    David

  8. #8
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    Re: Sampling vs Playability

    Quote Originally Posted by re1man View Post
    And so I come to this conclusion, when I buy VIs or anything of the sort, I tend not to care how it sounds compared to the real thing.
    Very sensible. Been saying that for years. Why torture yourself when trying to sound like a real orchestra performing. Sampled orchestras are their own performance and if it sounds 'good' as opposed to 'real' - what difference does it make. Sometime real orchestras can sound like shyte - but very, very rarely by most people's standards.

  9. #9

    Re: Sampling vs Playability

    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu View Post
    I don't see the issue with 'constructing' parts, rather than playing them. Who is to say that parts must be played? Those who are adept at improvisation might equally say that the process of composition on paper is inappropriate, and that the composition loses all spontaneity.

    We don't complain about it in the other arts. For instance, when we see a spaceship crash in a film, we know that thousands of hours of CGI work has gone into making those few seconds appear real; but, so long as the artists have done their job well, we never give it a second thought. We certainly don't insist that the whole thing needs to be done for real, in real time to be convincing.
    Sorry, Pingu, I cannot agree.

    And if you mention CGI - in my opinion all things shown in James Cameron "Avatar" lately, can`t hold a candle to "Aliens" visuals. We still need about 10 times more digits to describe the visuals and the sounds that surround us... Most artists draw on tablets, or at least sculpt their basic 3d models with later lighting in mind. Actually all my friend 3d artists say that precise midi programming of any decent music must be insane - they would never work like this.
    Its not to say that one way is best while the others wrong, its just different craft alltogether, so the results are different.
    Of course the best is "first hand" acoustic exploration of an instrument (Bach wrote cello suites while exploring the cello, and not by reading its manual ). By playing you develop yourself in the first place - believe me, much more important than developing the tech around you. Vsti`s fall into this category by much lesser extent, but still....

  10. #10

    Re: Sampling vs Playability

    Actually, Bach insisted that his students composed strictly on paper, as he saw playing the instrument during the process of composition as a limiting factor. He even had a mocking term for those who relied on their fingers in the first place. All this, of course, didn't prevent him from being one of the best improvisers of his time, but that he probably treated as a different kind of skill.

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