Greymanz

How on earth do I begin using samples? (Plus second issue)

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So I just tried using samples in my music for the first time, only to find out I have zero clue how to use them. Whatever I make is garbage, I cant get a simple instrument out of the songs provided for the life of me. I want to take a muted trumpet sound from an old 1920's song I got with a sample pack, but it just isn't working. 

My second issue is that I cant figure out for the life of me how Reaper even works. Ive been using LMMS this whole time, and in Reaper I cant seem to find anywhere any means to even use a sf2 file. I need help with all of this, I expected to have a fun time learning today but now I just feel stressed and depressed. 

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Sounds like you know how to use samples, you just don't know how to create the sound you want.  Could be a the sample itself isn't good to replicate an old 1920's song, could be you aren't mixing it in properly/at all, could be your sequencing is mechanical or too sloppy, could be a combination of all of that, could be something else.

I'd recommend not necessarily trying to create/emulate anything specific and just play around with your DAW, which leads to your second question, and I can't help you with that, I'm not a Reaper user.  Try reading/watching a tutorial on how to get started using the DAW, and once you've gotten the hang of it take over and play.

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My first guess is that you were using the same sample repitched for each note. That would give you a very unrealistic sound, because all it does is create audio artifacts which make the sample sound unnaturally darker at lower pitches or unnaturally thinner at higher pitches. It's noticeably not the same thing as a professionally-recorded sample library with optimized scripting, per-key samples ("chromatic sampling") with round robins (multiple rotating or randomized recordings of each note), etc.

It might actually be better to use a soundfont instead of literal audio samples of an organic instrument, because at least those have... I guess two or three samples per octave? It's not 3-8 samples per key, but at least it's not one sample over 8 octaves.

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In order to use sf2 files you'll need a sampler that can read them like sforzando or Sfz by Rgcaudio. I can't really give suggestions for making samples sound better if I can't hear them, but you should probably try playing around with the effects included in your DAW. For example, the instrument might sound better with more reverb, or if it were EQ'd to have a better tone.

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