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Excellent LONG Samples of Basic Instruments


Peter D

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Hello out there,

 

I'm looking for superbly recorded long duration samples of instruments like a grand piano, bass and standard guitar (both electric and acoustic), saxaphone, trumpet, jazz and rock drum sets, and so on. I don't require every sound know to the martian landscape. Most modules, samples, and synths pack the sounds in, resulting in small sample partials that are looped too soon. It would be really nice to have a grand piano the faded out naturally or at least for 4 or 5 seconds. Has someone found a third party sound developer that produces sounds like these? Or perhaps there's a module that limits itself to just producing the beautiful examples of basic instruments with long sample durations.

 

My fingers are crossed. Thanx.

 

I also happen to be looking to purchase an Emu E-Synth keyboard new or used. Any leads?

 

Peter D

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You and me, both! The third party sample industry leaves a lot to be desired. They got into the habit of compressing and stretching the life out of everything years ago when memory was horrendously expensive. But today, memory is cheap, and we have software samplers like GigaSampler and EXS24, and they're very inexpensive. We have DVD-ROM drives in our computers - you can put a lot of data on a DVD. Most sample libraries don't fill a CD-ROM.

 

Give me that 300 megabyte piano, that 150 megabyte Spanish guitar. I want a 200 megabyte trumpet patch with chromatic 8 second samples at pp, p, mp, mf, f, and fff, plus alternate attacks like sfz, slurs, and double-tonguing. I want a tenor sax that would make Sonny Rollins smile.

 

The instrument samples that are available today are of no more use to the serious composer than General MIDI is. Every other area of music technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last five years, but there has been NO significant improvement in the quality of sample libraries in at least that long.

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The premium library of orchestral samples (available to the public) is the Miroslav Vitous set. It was introduced ten years ago, when 16 meg of RAM was considered to be a HUGE amount. What's wrong with this picture?

 

The darnedest thing is that the sample vendors spend LOTS OF TIME AND MONEY stretching and squeezing the raw samples to fit into a small amount of memory. I suggest that they save time and money and just give us the raw samples, every glorious chromatic note of them. Give us a utility to load only the notes we need. There are very few compositions that require every note on the piano, for instance. Key based loading with range parameters (high and low) and optional chromatic note selector would be ideal.

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The darnedest thing is that the sample vendors spend LOTS OF TIME AND MONEY stretching and squeezing the raw samples to fit into a small amount of memory. I suggest that they save time and money and just give us the raw samples, every glorious chromatic note of them.

 

As a rule, manufacturers do not sample every chromatic note of instruments. Or even every other note. Also, raw samples can be a mess, and frequently require a good deal of work to get them to the point where they are useable.

 

In the majority of cases (as has been noted in other threads in this forum) it is the synth engine, not the samples that is really responsible for the final sounds of most ROMplers. That is where the art lies, and why seriously talented programmers spend tons of time doing this.

 

Give us a utility to load only the notes we need. There are very few compositions that require every note on the piano, for instance.

 

You make it sound so easy...

 

Where do you suggest that this utility that loads only the "notes we need" comes from? How will it determine what notes are needed? Will the requirements change for different instruments? Will this utility be able to clean up grunge in the samples? Will it be able to select the best sample cross points and velocity switching points? What will it do when some of the samples don't quite match the other samples? How will it be able to tell if the samples match, or are even close? If this were so easy to do, don't you figure that one of the manufacturers who make samplers would have done so already?

 

I'm sure that some of you possess the ability to carve samples into smooth, even keymaps and have enough programming knowledge of your synths/samplers to write nice, clean, tight programs for them. I'm guessing that the majority of you have neither the time, skill set or the interest to do so.

 

If you guys are truly interested in carving your own keymaps, there are some pretty sophisticated tools out there...get the Nemesys Gigasampler, or SampleCell/Sound Designer II or a dedicated sampler with a whole bunch of RAM and do it. Or, if your ear is that discerning, I highly recommend that you find some way to get or record on a real piano (or whatever instrument you want). I have yet to find the sampler or synth engine that has the memory or processing power to be able to recreate the complex dynamic and harmonic interaction of the real thing.

 

Key based loading with range parameters (high and low) and optional chromatic note selector would be ideal.

 

I suggest that you check out the Kurzweil VAST synthesizers - they pretty much possess the ability to do what you want...you can even edit the Factory ROM all the way down to the individual sample level, if you wish.

 

The bottom line is that I have heard compositions done with small amounts of memory that have taken my breath away, and 96 MB pianos that have sounded awful. The Kurzweil PC88 (and the Micropiano) has a mono 32k compressed piano sample that is less than 1.5 meg, and yet many, many people use them happily every day. The performance is equally as important (if not more so) as is the quality and length of the samples. If the proper performance idiomatic is not used, any samples can sound funky.

 

Like I said, if you really wanna delve into this, the tools are pretty much available right now. who knows - perhaps you have the tools, skills, time and ear to be the next Eric Persing...

 

dB

 

P.S. Kikky - don't be bummed...I'll bet that you can find some pretty great sounding samples to use with your Marimba Lumina.

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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Wow,

 

Talk about getting the wind knocked out of you. I just assumed what I was looking for existed, and I just had to find it. I've auditioned a lot of sampled piano presets and almost always that incredibly annoying "bee buzz" of the tiny looped portion of the sound kicks in around 2 seconds. Pretty similar with most other instruments. (No wonder sampled instrument demos always play staccato arrangements).

 

Really...there's not even a dedicated CD-ROM of a sampled piano? Ouch!

Well... what's collection of sampled sounds would most meet the description I posted above. Is that the Miroslav Vitous collection? You said it was orchestral. I assume then it wouldn't have sounds dedicated to jazz and rock instrumentation? Any more suggestions in this direction would be greatly appreciated.

 

I also happen to be looking to purchase an Emu E-Synth keyboard new or used. Any leads?

 

 

Thanks again, Peter D

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I just assumed what I was looking for existed, and I just had to find it. I've auditioned a lot of sampled piano presets and almost always that incredibly annoying "bee buzz" of the tiny looped portion of the sound kicks in around 2 seconds. Pretty similar with most other instruments. (No wonder sampled instrument demos always play staccato arrangements).

Really...there's not even a dedicated CD-ROM of a sampled piano? Ouch!

 

Whoa there, big guy...I never said that. There are, in fact, a plethora of good sampled sounds, both in factory ROM sets, and in the huge selection of CD-ROMs available from many third party vendors. The Nemesys Gigasampler that I mentioned previously relies pretty much entirely on such samples - in many cases, some very long ones. Noted film composer Hans Zimmer swears by his Gigasampler...his stuff sounds nice...

 

The ultimate judge of the quality, musicality and playability of any of these needs to be YOU, Peter...you're the only one who can tell whether they fit your playing and your music. Not me, Dan, or anyone else.

 

Personally, I manage to make some decent music that makes me pretty happy and makes me some money here and there, and I'd have to say that more than 95% of it is done with factory ROM and analog synths. I have a Kurz, and a hard drive loaded with samples for it, and a bunch of CDs for it, but I mostly just use the ROM in my synths. If I want a reeeeally nice sampled piano, I have this lovely triple strike Young Chang piano for the Kurz - it's a bit smaller than 16 meg, and it's quite playable. However, for the most part, I use the factory Bosendorfer sample form my Alesis DG8. It does the job admirably, and has much better decay/sustain segments than most ROM players to my ear.

 

As I said in my last post, a pretty darn small mono piano sample sure sold a boatload (actually, it was quite a few boatloads) of PC88s - that wouldn't have happened if they sucked, or the sample was unplayable, would it?

 

BTW, I've written one or two factory demos, and I'm pretty sure that none of mine had staccato arrangements... http://cwm.ragesofsanity.com/otn/wink/smily012.gif

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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OK, it's true. I spoke too soon. Dave, in the few posts I've made so far, you've been very helpful. Thanks again. It's hard to find a resource like this site and people like yourself who are so committed to answering so many questions thoroughly and quickly. Thanx again.

 

Peter D

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>> Give us a utility to load only the notes we need. There are very few

>> compositions that require every note on the piano, for instance.

 

Roland samplers have a "Listen Delete" function which does this. The way you do it is load your giant Piano sample, for example, turn on Listen Delete and play your sequence. When the sequence is done you turn off Listen Delete. The sampler then deletes (from RAM) the samples which were not accessed, making room for the next giant sample you want to load. I have no idea if this feature carried over to the JV-5080, but if so this would be a great choice. Lots of polyphony, lots of RAM and access to Roland and Akai sample CD-ROMs.

 

-jl

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Give us a utility to load only the notes we need. There are very few compositions that require every note on the piano, for instance.

 

> You make it sound so easy...

 

Easy? I have no idea. But the concept is very simple. If you have chromatic samples, and you specify the key of Eb, you'll load all notes in that scale. If you optionally select Gb for a bluesy minor third, it will add that note to the list. Specify a range from G2 to D4, and you only get notes within that range. You should similarly be able to select a set of dynamics levels (pp,p,mp,etc.) If each sample includes attributes for note name, note number, and level, this is a VERY simple query.

 

Key based loading with range parameters (high and low) and optional chromatic note selector would be ideal.

 

> I suggest that you check out the Kurzweil VAST synthesizers - they pretty much possess the ability to do what you want

 

I have K series synths, and they don't do selective sample loads, nor will they support more than 128 meg of sample RAM. I envision this as more of a computer based application. I would be happy to buy a couple of extra computers and load them with memory if I had the samples to fill them, but they're not commercially available, and for me to record them myself is entirely infeasible. I'd love to do what Hans Zimmer did (sample an entire orchestra), but it's not gonna happen.

 

 

This message has been edited by dansouth@yahoo.com on 04-10-2001 at 05:25 PM

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Originally posted by synthetic:

>> Give us a utility to load only the notes we need. There are very few

>> compositions that require every note on the piano, for instance.

 

Roland samplers have a "Listen Delete" function which does this.

 

-jl

 

Listen Delete requires that you LOAD the samples first. I'm talking about adding parameters to the load program that will load only the notes that you need for a given project.

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If you have chromatic samples, and you specify the key of Eb, you'll load all notes in that scale.

 

Which scale? Major? Minor (if so, which minor scale)? Blues? Arabic? How will it know?

 

If you optionally select Gb for a bluesy minor third, it will add that note to the list. Specify a range from G2 to D4, and you only get notes within that range. You should similarly be able to select a set of dynamics levels (pp,p,mp,etc.) If each sample includes attributes for note name, note number, and level, this is a VERY simple query.

 

I still disagree, Dan. Like I said in my big post above, no one that I know samples every note chromatically - it's very difficult and (as a rule) unnecessary. It is almost always okay to go up and down at least a minor third without getting artifacts, and now that convolution and interpolation technologies are improving, it's ostensibly less necessary than ever. Scott Wilkinson from EM wrote an article about a year ago on super-interpolation software called PRISM developed by a company in Colorado called Euphonics (not the mixer company) and owned by 3COM...see if you can find it. This stuff can do entire keymaps based on only a few samples...and the Roland Vari-phase also is opening up new doors technologically.

 

Plus, then there's the dynamic side...at how many velocity levels do you sample each note? See what I'm getting at?

 

In my experience, what makes sampling so difficult is getting every note played exactly the same...in the case of multi-strike samples, it's on a per-velocity level basis http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/eek.gif. It is true that there are mechanisms that will strike a piano the same way every time, but how do you do that with a violin? Or a sax? To the best of my knowledge, you can't...you have to hope that you get a good enough player who can play notes either exactly the same, or close enough...and how do they remember as they bow/blow/whatever what they did on the previous note?

 

So, if you don't have every chromatic note, then your utility would have to interpret the samples that it does have, and then (basically) re-keymap them. Not so simple any more, because keymapping is not just mathematical, it needs to sound good as well.

 

I have K series synths, and they don't do selective sample loads, nor will they support more than 128 meg of sample RAM.

 

Very true...I was speaking of the editing aspects , not the loading aspects.

 

I envision this as more of a computer based application. I would be happy to buy a couple of extra computers and load them with memory if I had the samples to fill them, but they're not commercially available

 

Now I am curious whether any third party sample vendors have actually taken the time to do every chromatic note on instruments; and, if so, whether they took the time to clean them up and make them usable...I wonder how I go about finding the answer to this...gonna have to do some research now...

 

for me to record them myself is entirely infeasible.

 

Once again, I have to go with the function over form chop here.

 

About 6 years ago, I did a project where I entered the entire score from the Broadway show "Company" into Performer by playing each part from each tune from each book (27 of them!) one at a time - boy, did that take a while. We used all Kurzweil synths and Roland samplers to play the sequences back, and used only a few musicians to play some of the lead parts. I took my friend Dave Garner, who was (and still is, I believe) the head of the theory department at SF Conservatory of Music to see the show. He was amazed that there wasn't a full orchestra under the stage.

 

My point is, there are all kinds of ways to get what you want. For many applications, quite a few excellent tools exist already. It just depends on how demanding your criteria is.

 

Also, IMO, a sample is basically one note played entirely out of any context other than a "nice, clean note". It can be very difficult to get a believable musical part out of such a thing. That's where the synth engine comes in. It is much, much more feasible and doable to let a filter and amp handle the dynamics, rather than try to get x number of velocity samples per each chromatic note. Plus, in the example of a piano, there is harmonic interaction of the other notes when just one is struck, especially if the dampers are lifted...how do you do that? To the best of my practical knowledge, you can't. That's why folks like General Music have pursued modelling as an option.

 

In my experiences with Kurzweil and Alesis, I have heard some samples that sound just awful by themselves that have actually made a very nice looped and carved keymap, and I have heard spectacular samples that were so distincive that you couldn't really do anything with them. It's really quite bizarre - believe it or not, the more neutral a sample is, the more useful and malleable it tends to be. Can you imagine having to have a set of samples (chromatic and multi-strike) for every different style of music that you want to play? http://cwm.ragesofsanity.com/otn/shocked/tdo12.gif

 

I don't mean to be discouraging - just trying to share what I have learned over the years. If anyone has any contrary information, I am not only willing to be contradicted, I welcome it!

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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Now I am curious whether any third party sample vendors have actually taken the time to do every chromatic note on instruments; and, if so, whether they took the time to clean them up and make them usable...I wonder how I go about finding the answer to this...gonna have to do some research now...

 

I did it. On my KeySolutions CD-ROM the 64MB version of the Steinway D has every key sampled. Not only that the samples themselves are very long! Actually now that I think about it, I think I have 86 out of 88 notes in the final version. So there were a couple notes that just didn't fit.

 

In most situations this is incredible difficult to do, but I was lucky enough to have access to a superb instrument that was setup SO evenly. Vladimir Horowitz toured with this particular instrument it also spent many years on the main stage at Carnegie Hall. Needless to say I didn't have to do much "clean up" at all. I hate to hear split points and especially short buzz loops. I choose to sample at ONE velocity, using Kurzweil's VAST to handle the dynamics (which is why it is only available in Kurzweil format). The samples are on average about 4-6 seconds in length. The loops are long and I spent alot of time trying to make them musical. The top octave and a half does not have any loops as those notes are not dampered.

 

The 32MB version has half the number of samples, thats the only difference so the loops are still very long. In the critical ranges I kept as many samples as possible. In the extreme ends of the piano is where I took liberties of stretching the split points as far as a minor third.

 

David, I remember giving you a copy of this CD at winter NAMM a year ago at the Keyboard Magazine party. I told you it had a 64MB Steinway D on it. You asked how many velocities were sampled and you were a bit shocked when I told you ONE.

 

Anyway my point is that there ARE some third party sample companies that do things a little different. Go to www.sonikmatter.com they have a piano shoot-out along with many user reviews in their forum area.

-Mike Martin

 

Casio

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The opinions I post here are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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I did it. On my KeySolutions CD-ROM the 64MB version of the Steinway D has every key sampled. Not only that the samples themselves are very long! Actually now that I think about it, I think I have 86 out of 88 notes in the final version. So there were a couple notes that just didn't fit.

 

Excellent! There you go, Peter/Dan!

 

David, I remember giving you a copy of this CD at winter NAMM a year ago at the Keyboard Magazine party. I told you it had a 64MB Steinway D on it. You asked how many velocities were sampled and you were a bit shocked when I told you ONE.

D'oh! I had forgotten about that disc...you should never give me things like that at a party, dude! http://www.mpz.co.uk/cwm/otn/party/beerchug.gif

 

Unfortunately, I don't have enough sample RAM in my K2000, and I sheepishly admit that I have not listened to it. I'll bet that it's great, though.

 

Tell us more about it...how did you record it? What mics and outboard gear did you use? Did you use a mechanical striker?

 

Thanks, Mike!

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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No I didn't use a mechanical striker, though I wish I had access to such a device. I just played it as consistantly has I could, even holding my breath to prevent any additional noise from getting recorded. Its a long, somewhat annoying process. I made several attempts recording other pianos before this one, so I learned from the previous mistakes I made.

 

The Steinway D now owned by a friend of mine in Columbus, Ohio named Kim Pensyl (a great pianist). He owns a pair of incredible Coles 4038 Ribbon Microphones which we used to record the piano. We used a Summit tube pre-amp then added some very slight compression before going to DAT.

 

Then everything was brought into Sound Forge. Despite the excellent recording environment, I still had to use a bit of subtle noise reduction. Then I began the painful process of looping the samples....

-Mike Martin

 

Casio

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The Big Picture Photography Forum on Music Player Network

 

The opinions I post here are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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I believe that the Will Lee bass libraries were sampled chromatically. I'm sure that there are others. I'll definitely check out Mike's piano samples. Are they sampled at a single volume (f,mf,?)

 

Anyone know where I can find top notch chamber orchestra samples?

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It's interesting that no Gigastudio users have jumped in on this thread...

 

One of the major reasons why Gigastudio has been catching on so fast and making people think in new ways is recisely because it has no need for small samples. The soundware industry for Gigastudio is growing exponentially, as people realize they can now sample every note without loops and with a variety of attacks. Some of the current piano sample libraries have 8 sets of stereo-sampled non-looping layers per key - usually 4 each with pedal up or pedal down. That only fills 1.8 Gigabytes of space (!!), which would take roughly 8 fully loaded Akai S5000's to play. Learn more about long piano samples and the search for the best piano sample library from Bill Busch's excellent piano comparison:

http://www.purgatorycreek.com/pianocompare.html

 

In terms of non-keyboard instruments, it's difficult to say whether longer samples do make it sound more realistic. In fact, it probably has more to do with velocity crossfading between samplesthat would make a sampled trumpet be more realistic, but it's hard to say. One thing's for sure, though, people are switching to Gigastudio left and right - Russ Landau's interview in the current Keyboard said he'd just replaced his suite of 16 Akai S-2000's with a 933Mhz Pentium III and 700Megs of ram just for Gigastudio. With a system like that, you could run several multi-gigabyte patches at once without a hitch. Now that's power. Soundchaser.com will now set up computers for Giga that will have guaranteed voicing configurations in multiples of 160, and the computers are rackmountable, thus masquerading as a sampler. The situation is simple: if you want long samples, getting a 256 meg sampler is just not enough, you have to go to Gigastudio.

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Steve,

In many of the reviews I've ready from users that have both my piano and the giga piano, they prefer mine simply because its more playable and more expressive. Check out the reviews at www.sonikmatter.com

 

I've been offered many times to make my piano available in giga format, I've tried and and frankly isn't the same. Its not near as expressive or dynamic. The engine just can't do what VAST can. No doubt that the endless sustain and the pedal down layers sound great, but making a piano sample sound great takes more than just long samples.

-Mike Martin

 

Casio

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The Big Picture Photography Forum on Music Player Network

 

The opinions I post here are my own and do not represent the company I work for.

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