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m4uesviecr

Expanding As A Musician: Software Help

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Alright.

I am an up and coming composer who has been fortunate enough to score a couple of really nice and highly interesting gigs. Assuming (and strongly hoping) that this will continue, I've been doing a bit of research on different DAWS, virtual instruments and other software available to composers who intend on making their profession a serious one.

As of now, I am basically using FL Loops, aided with a bundle of free soundfonts.

A sample of what I have composed using what I have:

[url="http://soundcloud.com/m4uesviecr-1/temple-of-the-goddess"]http://soundcloud.com/m4uesviecr-1/temple-of-the-goddess[/url]

I am beginning to make a list of the softwares that I would look for purchasing in the future. Such as:

Kontakt/Reason
Vienna Soundfont Library

In order to get an orchestral sound like this:

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIEgYB54QGY"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIEgYB54QGY[/url]

But these two things merely scratch the surface (and only help with the orchestral compositions).

I want softwares that will help me compose music of high quality, ranging from heavy metal, to ambient.

I basically want to know what programs I should be looking at purchasing if I plan on moving forward as a video-game (or any other media art) composer, and perhaps even recommended microphones for live recording.

What I have at the moment for live recordings are:

Line 6 UX1 (For guitars/bass)
Yeti Blue Microphone

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Really good stuff you have there, but you do seem limited by the sounds you have available. Something that's key with using ensemble sounds is using the instrumentation correctly. Say a violin ensemble sound is sampled from twenty violins. If you have a chord with 5 notes, you now have 100 violins playing at the same time. That contributes to the non-realistic sound. However, high-end VST's have a way of getting around it. I'm not sure which one it was (it may have been VSL, not sure) but one of them started sampling chords rather than single notes to give a more true-to-life sound.

I use Edirol for my orchestra sounds. It's not the best, but it doesn't break the bank (if buying is what you're into- I probably shouldn't say any more about that!). I also use Kontakt. The great thing about Kontakt is the amount of free third-party plugins out there, there's some really unique stuff available. I got a whole drum kit using sounds from a food processor, it's really cool. If you go down the Kontakt route, I highly recommend Battery 3. It has a very wide variety of percussion sounds that would be great in a film or video game setting. Also, check out Damage, another Kontakt plugin. That's more for film scores, but it could suit a war game or something as well.

Now I'm rambling, but yeah. Digital instruments is crazy things.

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Hello,

[quote name='M4uesviecr' timestamp='1335203236' post='4934175']
I basically want to know what programs I should be looking at purchasing if I plan on moving forward as a video-game (or any other media art) composer[/quote]
What you need should basically depend on what you want to sound like. I know - pretty obvious!
But even orchestral software instruments have their own unique characters. My observations:

[b]VSL:[/b]
Most realistic sounding - but also most expensive, and demands most work to fit into other contexts than orchestral.
I would describe VSL sounds as "dry", sometimes even "thin" compared to other products. Again, if you're looking for realism though, this is probably still the best choice.

[b]East/West:[/b]
Mostly, also in film music but especially in video game music, we music producers aren't looking for the perfect reproduction of how a symphony orchestra sounds. We need larger-than-life, for instance fast spiccato strings and hordes of blaring horns that go with huge booming drums that I've never actually heard at any classical concert. (not even Wagner)
I own the EWQL Symphonic Orchestra and use it a lot for orchestral mock-ups: it's fat and huge. The solo instruments are also decent. Sometimes I find it lacks the "intimacy" the VSL sounds have, though.

[b]Symphobia:[/b]
Great for phrases. The low string/brass staccatos with percussion knock me out of my boots every time. There's also heaps of glissandi, wild brass shakes and other effects. Goes well with the EWQL stuff, too!

[quote name='Johncoyne' timestamp='1335227156' post='4934288']
I'm not sure which one it was (it may have been VSL, not sure) but one of them started sampling chords rather than single notes to give a more true-to-life sound.
[/quote]
Do you mean [b][url="http://cinesamples.com/products/cineorch/"]CineOrch[/url][/b]? A colleague of mine (my former boss, to be precise) uses it a lot to spice up his mock-ups. It sounds great, but it's quite limited in terms of voicings.

This only covers a few, though - and you're asking about other genres as well.

I could throw a few names in the ring of software that I like to use... but would that help?
In my opinion, your sound library should grow naturally with your workflow. Some recommend buying [b]Native Instruments Komplete [/b]because it's got pretty much everything, or [b]Spectrasonics Omnisphere [/b]because they've got great-sounding presets - and I agree with them. But I've found that I work with the sounds much more effectively when I buy them for a special purpose, sometimes even for a certain project.

For example, if I find it fit for the project I like using weird/interesting sound sources in my music like [b]Soniccouture[/b]'s Glass sounds or Ondes Martenot, or I go out recording ambiences of passing trains and running water with my portable recorder. (you should get one!)

And each new sound or instrument will require some learning, e.g. how it reacts to velocity values or how the sounds fit together with other stuff from your library before it becomes part of your workflow. This is an ongoing process which never stops for me.

So make a list what sounds you'd like to be able to produce, get out there, hear demos, improve your sound.
That's work we can't take off your shoulders - and you should be glad about it!

Cheers,
Moritz

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Thanks a lot, Moritz and John.

So I guess I'll basically continue doing what I have been doing; Listening, taking samples, and placing them within my bank of sound sources to choose from. You both gave me a nice list of virtual instrument ware to choose from, so I'll definitely be taking a look at everything suggested.

What about for electronic music?
I have a couple of outside sources for retro games (mainly Famitracker, though FL can do some pretty good 8-bit stuff if used currectly), and I'm sure if I utilize the resources in fruity loops I will be able to manage pretty fine, but are there any DAWs like FL that would offer a boost in production and quality?

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I would suggest getting some different free VSTs for that, there's little reason to change your whole DAW. If you just Google "Free 8 bit VST", you'll have a lot at your fingertips. I recommend two VSTs called Peach and Toad. One of them is made for tonal sounds, and one is made for percussion, both 8 bit (I can't remember which is which). There's a ton out there, but I also recommend Chip 32. It doesn't have a lot of functionality, but it allows the user to easily edit the actual wave form of the sound, allowing for really unique sounds to be made. I wouldn't change DAWs, by staying in FL, you have the ability to make your 8 bit stuff more interesting by adding other elements (see: Anamanaguchi as well as the Terraria soundtrack).

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[quote]
I own the EWQL Symphonic Orchestra and use it a lot for orchestral mock-ups: it's fat and huge. The solo instruments are also decent. Sometimes I find it lacks the "intimacy" the VSL sounds have, though.
[/quote]

While true if you have the platinum version it offers three mic settings: close, stage and surround. The close mic setting can help create more intimacy but these mic options are only available in the platinum version of EWQL.

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[quote name='nsmadsen' timestamp='1335295669' post='4934523']
[quote]
I own the EWQL Symphonic Orchestra and use it a lot for orchestral mock-ups: it's fat and huge. The solo instruments are also decent. Sometimes I find it lacks the "intimacy" the VSL sounds have, though.
[/quote]

While true if you have the platinum version it offers three mic settings: close, stage and surround. The close mic setting can help create more intimacy but these mic options are only available in the platinum version of EWQL.
[/quote]
Sure, you're right about that - I think I asked you in another thread, are the close sounds worth the money? I can't really tell by their online demos.

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[quote name='nsmadsen' timestamp='1335302876' post='4934556']
To me - definitely worth it. Check and see if they have a sale going on now and if they don't wait until they do. They almost always have some kind of deal going on these days.
[/quote]
Alright, thanks!

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[quote name='Johncoyne' timestamp='1335279704' post='4934464']
I would suggest getting some different free VSTs for that, there's little reason to change your whole DAW. If you just Google "Free 8 bit VST", you'll have a lot at your fingertips. I recommend two VSTs called Peach and Toad. One of them is made for tonal sounds, and one is made for percussion, both 8 bit (I can't remember which is which). There's a ton out there, but I also recommend Chip 32. It doesn't have a lot of functionality, but it allows the user to easily edit the actual wave form of the sound, allowing for really unique sounds to be made. I wouldn't change DAWs, by staying in FL, you have the ability to make your 8 bit stuff more interesting by adding other elements (see: Anamanaguchi as well as the Terraria soundtrack).
[/quote]

I guess I'm getting pulled into the trend of purchasing the newest thing on the market because it is undoubtedly better since it is more recent. I guess I'll be spending my time searching and finding out more about free vsts and soundfonts (even making my own), to help with my electronic/orchestral compositions, and anything else in between.

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[quote]I guess I'm getting pulled into the trend of purchasing the newest thing on the market because it is undoubtedly better since it is more recent. I guess I'll be spending my time searching and finding out more about free vsts and soundfonts (even making my own), to help with my electronic/orchestral compositions, and anything else in between.[/quote]

Actually, Vienna things are quite old, cumbersome and flat sounding. They were recorded extremely dry in a concrete room, and this is exactly what it does sound like to me.
However, theirs "Special Edition Woodwinds Standart" are still the top of the top (until cinewinds are released of course)

New and upcomming things are: Lass V2.0 / Cinematic Strings V2.0 / 8dio`s Adagio / Spitfire Orchestral (Commercial Range), Cinesamples stuff +.
It depends on what you want to do really, vienna is more suited to classical / concert stuff, while the newer libraries are recorded in their native film / soundtrack recording mic possitions in famous recording studios, so they are better suited to soundtrack work. (they also mostly come with at last 3 mic positions)

You can spend quite a LOT of money there (which i did, and still do), ore you can make awesome music like the ones of Botanicula-Machinarium using just the things you have at your hand already and be creative, and maybe get even better results! ;). Also: I recommend some handheld recording device, i use a ZoomH4n for instance which can be handy in a lot of situations.

Free Orchestral Soundfonts / Sfz: Try this: http://sso.mattiaswestlund.net/

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