Composers' Forum

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Just a quick note. How you present your work is important. You can compose something great, but if you use bad samples, your presentation will stink. The solution. Go through your samples and choose which sound best- expressive, real, etc. For example, I have an old 'rompler', an Alesis Quadrasynth Plus Piano. It came with about 500 patches. Out of all of those samples, I like about only a dozen or two. I compose music with those particular samples in mind. I really recommend writing for your best samples available, even if that means writing for only a dozen patches/samples. This will really help the presentation of your work. And, of course, if you can afford to acquire great (expensive) sample libraries, do it!

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I recently went through all my Omnisphere patches, it took three days! I also have many other VSTs including quite a a few orchestras.

Even say choosing a flute means loading various VST's searching through EWQL, VSL, Garritan, Halion , Kontakt, Halion and searching through various banks of sound.

If i were to do this for every sound it would rob all my creativity.

 

Of course you are right to say use the best sound - but the business of finding it is a real chore even with things like Cubase's media bay you still dont get it all... Dont know what the solution is.

Hi Doug,

I currently mostly use Sibelius notation software. Obviously for creating demos these samples are not great. You can get plugins, but this is limited. What is a more effective/efficient way of creating demos? Would you use Cubase notation which is more compatible with the producing/recording medium or something different? 

Thanks for the post.

Hello Hugh, welcome to the forum.  You are replying here to a thread that is eight years old and as far as I know this member is no longer active.  You have asked some questions that are quite relevant and much on our minds to this day but the answers are not easy.  You can search on this forum or you can google, 'virtual instrument libraries' or  'VST instruments'. The instrument collections that you find will work with a  DAW such as Cubase but the transition between a DAW and good notation software remains a problem. There are also websites ( VI-control.net ) that are dedicated to this subject.

Thanks Ingo, My mistake. I believe there is however a new notation program that may be viable though I haven't checked it out. Its called Dorico. It seems quite promising. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKaqprDhslU

Yes, Dorico is getting a lot of buzz and attention since it is new. We are talking about a lot of money here though.  I would suggest you study all of this carefully.  There are members here who are getting good results with Sibelius using a plugin called NotePerformer which is about $130, I would take a close look at that.

The all around best results posted here seem to come from the Vienna Symphonic Library and Spitfire Audio. Both of these are expensive ( over a thousand for a complete orchestra) and you must export midi from Sibelius and then import it back into a DAW where you must then program the midi parameters controlling the orchestra articulations and dynamics carefully to get a good result. This is very time consuming, but the results can be excellent.

There are many examples of all of these on this forum, I would listen carefully to them and to the demo recordings offered by the different companies. And be sure to share your work with us here!

I totally agree that the samples matter. I don't agree that a person needs to spend 1K to get decent samples. I don't feel that draw, especially since this is a hobby for me. The frugal person will wait around for a sale. Almost all of the sample library companies have periodic sales that slash $$ from the prices. There are a few lesser known companies with excellent libraries, or you can mix and math the way I tend to do it. Soundiron is one such company that's worth looking at.

A great budget friendly "all rounder" I have found is "Amadeus". I mentioned it here before.. It sounds better than the average package that comes with notation software if you set it up right. Another thought, Many companies like everyplugin.com offer a discount if you have a discount code. Get on their email lists to get their deals when they come. Best Service is yet another great source for all kinds of sample libraries periodically on sale.

One hidden gem is the Korg M-1 series. It goes for something like 50.00 or less. Yeah it also has some cheesy samples in it, but also some excellent orchestral combinations and even a few single instruments worth using. Where can you get anything like that for 50.00...might be less than that. 

If you don't want the bother and choose to stay in one or two programs that's ok too. I have always liked to mix it up .Spitfire and similar are excellent for large templates. What some don't know is many DAWs let you make up mixed templates.

I have always felt that writing your music according to the samples you have is stifling to creativity. I would rather write the music I want to write, than write something simply because certain samples are good and people are more likely to be impressed. A matter of artistic integrity, but then that doesn't seem to mean much anymore.

True. I set up a few small works with some samples I bought cheaply ages ago but managed to tame with a lot of work. Crikey, it took ages setting them up in Reaper's Samplomatic but it was a start. Some don't sound nice but I know it's the samples not me as the harmony works. I wouldn't present the original versions here! Also confirmed by my recent acquisition of better samples/player during sales. 

Good or bad, I've had to compose down to individual's abilities in the past but I shudder at the idea of composing down to one's sample libraries. I can see a case where a particular sampled instrument is good-enough-sounding so there's a temptation to open one's mind to what can be done with it. At least you get some confirmation of what the piece could sound like were it performed (as long as one is self-critical enough to know on which side the weaknesses are: the composer or the samples).  


michael diemer said:

I have always felt that writing your music according to the samples you have is stifling to creativity. I would rather write the music I want to write, than write something simply because certain samples are good and people are more likely to be impressed. A matter of artistic integrity, but then that doesn't seem to mean much anymore.

Hugh,

My samples have often received good feedback on this site and I use only Sibelius, but enhanced by NotePerformer 3. I find that good use of the expandable mixer deck in Sib helps, plus good orchestration of course. It's taken me a few years to fully come to grips with everything Sib has to offer (and will probably discover more tweaks as time goes on) but I must say it's a very labour-saving alternative to using a DAW and produces perfectly acceptable demos (if my sales via various sites is anything to go by).

Hugh Zachary Smart said:

Hi Doug,

I currently mostly use Sibelius notation software. Obviously for creating demos these samples are not great. You can get plugins, but this is limited. What is a more effective/efficient way of creating demos? Would you use Cubase notation which is more compatible with the producing/recording medium or something different? 

Thanks for the post.

FYI until May 12th Spitfire has a great sale going on. I am seriously eyeing Albion 1. I never would have payed the full asking price but at these prices..............

SPITFIRE

Ingo Lee....Cubase is also having a 30th anniversary sale. Dorico might be within reach if you still fancy it.

Thank you Timothy for thinking of me here, I will look into this.

Timothy Smith said:

FYI until May 12th Spitfire has a great sale going on. I am seriously eyeing Albion 1. I never would have payed the full asking price but at these prices..............

SPITFIRE

Ingo Lee....Cubase is also having a 30th anniversary sale. Dorico might be within reach if you still fancy it.

I believe that the quality of the writing is far more important than the samples you use. Samples are meaningless with out good music. It is sad to me that we live in the age of the fast buck. Producers seem to be more impressed by a quality of a recording than by it's actual content. There is way more to composition good melodies and harmonies that work. What instrument, and what octave that Eb goes in can make all the difference. When to use full orchestra or just WWs is important. And percussion? A mystery to most folks. Good music has a far better chance of surviving less than stellar samples then the other way around. 

I have two DAWs and haven't been able to make heads or tails of them yet. So I continue on with stock Sibelius 7.5. It is possible to wrestle descent sound out of it. But it take some work.  

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