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Right, well having spent about 18 months running from assignment to assignment I decided to try and take control of my whole procedure.

My samples are getting to the point where I'm generally happy (although who isn't looking for that elusive string sound?) and I've begun creating my definitive sample templates.

So having created an intimate orchestral template and a light orchestral template, I'm now doing an assignment in the style of Star Wars and I decided to create my 'Orchestral Blockbuster' template for those big Hollywood sounds.

There are a couple of differences this time. Firstly, I'm now in a position to use completely separate solo instruments for woodwind and brass. I can finally avoid using section patches. Well not quite true, I'm still using section patches for the French Horns but otherwise everything is combinations of solo instruments.

Secondly, I decided to write up this template in a comprehensive format to which I could refer back at a later date.

http://www.jamessemple.com/orchestral_blockbuster.rtf

I decided to give this info to see if this helps other people or (more likely) if others could recommend improvements to my approach. I plan to document other aspects (notably how I try and simulate orchestral placement) for similar reasons.

Enjoy!

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Comment by James Semple on September 14, 2007 at 7:21am
Hi Neil. I'm currently running a PC with a dual core 3.4 GHz Pentium D using WinXP64 with 4GB of RAM. I have three hard disks: -

80 GB C drive (system/apps)
150 GB D drive (audio/recording)
500 GB E drive (samples)

I'm considering moving to an FXTeleport solution and adding a mini-PC or Mac to use for plug-ins.

In the interim I've bought another 500GB drive so that I can start splitting my samples across the two and hopefully reduce any contention when streaming.

My CPU is pretty low but my disk usage occasionally redlines and I sometimes get ASIO spikes so I'm thinking most of the problems are around disk access speed.

Glad this article is interesting!
Comment by Neil Bruce on September 14, 2007 at 6:05am
Wow Fantastic James! Thanks for taking all that time to do that!

I am curious to know how much ram you are running. I am currently having computer problems with neither my PC or Mac running well (even after re-building). I am thinking it is time to bite the bullet and upgrade (especially now Logic 8 has come out)

Thanks once again, and I hope to return the favour at some point!
Comment by James Semple on September 13, 2007 at 5:26pm
One thing worth noting is that this template eventually got too big for my PC but that was probably because I was running 6 instances of Altiverb as well.

Anyway, this meant that the mix got gradually worse as the track goes along, especially with the brass. I didn't really have much more time to work on it so I used a compressor and a sonnox inflator to try and work around the poor initial mix. Not great unfortunately.

Anyway, the point is that the opening fanfare and first rendition of the main melody are about the only part of the track that sound the way I originally intended (and even they suffer from overcompressed brass).

Oh well ... live and learn ;)
Comment by Chris Merritt on September 13, 2007 at 5:23pm
Great! This is perfect. Now everyone can read exactly what you used and listen to the results!
Comment by James Semple on September 13, 2007 at 5:16pm
Thank you Chris.

For best results I recommend opening the rtf file in WordPad (not Word). I'll try and get it converted to HTML format sometime soon.

I'll be honest and say that this template is a big one and it ended up taking around 7 minutes to load on my PC and using over 3GB of RAM.

I've created a track called Fanfare with this template so you can hear whether it works or not!
Comment by Chris Merritt on September 13, 2007 at 4:08pm
James. THis has got to be one of the most useful posts we have ever had. THANK YOU!

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