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Academic research! The use of virtual instruments and samples.


Kruai
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Hey guys! I'm going a research paper on the usage of Virtual Instruments and samples and I'd like to quote some of you guys (you expert ReMixers, you!) and wanted to know what you guys thought.

So here's the type of response I'm looking for: How often you use short samples (i.e. one note at a time) and full recorded tracks, and at what bit rate; how often you use VSTi's, and what your requirements are for them; how you compare your usage (or general quality) of VSTi's.

In addition, if there's anything you want to say concerning either (or preferably both) of them, give it a shot!

So yeah. Thanks a lot!

Kruai

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Virtual insturments aren't gonna go away. Neither are real orchestras, bands, singers, etc.. Most vgm budgets just aren't on the level of Hollywood productions, so vgm don't get a lot of recorded scores. Virtual instruments work fine and to most people sound like the real thing (most people don't listen close enough and don't know what to compare it to), and the more interactive the music gets, the more useful VIs are. You don't need to record everything over and over to get every variation, you can just write the variations and they're done.

Also, most hobbyists can't afford real orchestras. Oh wait... Most _people_ can't afford real orchestras. :D

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Luckily, I'm a drummer! So I don't need to find one :P

And no, I don't know anybody that can afford to rent an entire orchestra. And your piece about interaction is very useful to me. Thanks!

If anybody else wants to comment on samples (or continue VI discussion) I'd still appreciate it! :)

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I'd say virtual instrumentation is only as good as the sampling technology behind it. You have round-robin sampling, you have a large variety of notes played per velocity range and you have the amount of flexibility within the sampler (writing your own envelopes and such). Personally, I find the amount of flexibility within sampled orchestras quite tolerable. Sure, there are many things that a sampled orchestra can't do, but for for the most part, they are some sort of weird sound that you can do 99% of in post-processing.

Sampled instruments are a necessity for people like us. The amount of money you can pay to record a second-rate orchestra for half a day, you can spend on a sample-based solution that sounds on par with what you would get from the musicians; minus a couple of quirks here and there to make it known that its "real."

I mean, when was the last time you saw a drum set up that gets you the kind of results you get from just buying BFD or StormDrum samples? How much more did that cost? probably 10-20 times more? The only difference there is between a sample set and the real thing is a certain amount of freedom that you can get in live recording. But most of the time the number of times you would use that freedom is negligible.

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Hy Bound that was a very in-depth, wonderful, grammatically correct response.

You have exceeded the standard of what I was looking for and you are now my idol blah blah blah. :)

Thanks!

And again, I'm always looking for more opinions. If you'd like to say something, please do.

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I was asked personally to share my thoughts on virtual instruments so here goes:

Virtual instruments and sampling are essential, in my opinion. When computers became powerful enough to run something like ProTools, the entire music industry changed. For the better? For the worse? That's open for interpretation. It definitely changed for the cheaper, though. With studio time and instrument prices being as expensive as they are, why not just download the synthesizer you want, or samples of any instrument for free, legally or otherwise, and save space, money, and time practicing? Now anyone can make music for free, which I think is fantastic. Of course, you have to take the Crystal Castles with the Ronald Jenkees, but you had good and bad music in any century.

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The amount of money you can pay to record a second-rate orchestra for half a day, you can spend on a sample-based solution that sounds on par with what you would get from the musicians; minus a couple of quirks here and there to make it known that its "real."

Having worked with a B level orchestra (coordinating, pricing, organization, implementation, etc), I can say that the cost of what it takes to get them (non union) is still a boat load more money to the VAST MAJORITY of orchestral libraries out there! In essence, Hy Bound is in the right direction, but VI orchestras are still the more cost effective solution!

Also, I'd like to offer a different perspective. I think we all agree that it's cheaper, but cheaper doesn't always mean better. Why is VI growing and becoming more and more popular, and the people who program music using VI's in higher demand?

Let's look at the economy. For years, the world acted as a super consumer. People/companies would drop money at the tip a hat for expensive services and products, thereby making REAL orchestra "cost effective". The consumers where paying for high end services, therefor the companies were paying for the best of the best production for their advertising, which drew in the consumers, who buy the company's products, etc etc etc.

Since the tanking of the global economy, both business and consumers have been forced to re-evaluate their spending habits and their priorities. Companies had to now find cost effective ways to continue hiring composers, sound designers, etc and the composers had to find a way to meet that need, but with a fraction of the budget!

Composers who were already doing the VI programming saw their opportunity and the companies and clients saw how comparable it was to the "old times" (in regards to quality) and, more importantly, how cheap it could be for them. The technology available is increasing despite the crappy times, which in turn brings possibilities of new and better VI development.

Now, don't get me wrong, this transition has been going on for years (decades, really), but the economy and the sky rocketing pace of technological advancement has hurried its evolution to a great degree. There will always be a place for big orchestras, whether it be commercial (Hollywood) or simply artistic (city orchestras and philharmonics), not to mention bands and musicians in general. However, because people want music for next to nothing and they're getting it that way, VI will continue to grow and flourish.

What's the point in all of this: In my professional opinion, VI programming is the future for the music and sound design business.

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