Sampling for Rookies ( special guest – Eduardo Tarilonte )
Eduardo Tarilonte is a well known sample library developer, and some might argue he is absolutely one of the best. He shares the secrets of what lies behind his specialty.
Soundbytes Magazine is starting new series of Rookie articles, where well known developers will unveil their secrets and voodoo tricks explaining to us, mortals what lies behind their specialty trying to explain the steps that we need to do if we want to follow them, giving us an advice or two, or just explaining what the hell is going on under the hood of their niche. We are all playing some instruments, or use some effects, libraries or loops. We constantly record something, doing mastering or mixing our songs, but do we really know how all those tools that we use is really made? Which skills do we need? It is a time to know better each other.
Eduardo Tarilonte is the first one who will take us in a secret world of sampling. He is a well known sample library developer, if you ask me, he is absolutely the best one. There is no way to spot the difference between the real player and the passage recorded with instrument from one of his library. He started his carrier with Bela D Media, currently working for Bestservice, which is number one Sample library provider in Europe and also highly presented in America. Eduardo got all sort of awards. Sample library of the year, Sample developer of the year, the most innovative sample developer of the year. Just name it and he have it.
More about him and his libraries you can find on http://www.samplelibraries.com/
Sampling for Rookies – How to …
When Arsov asked me to write an article about making sample libraries for newbies, I initially thought to myself…well, it is easy to explain, it is like if you ask a painter, “how do you paint”? If I were a painter, my answer would be “take your pencil and start…”, that’s all…but then, there wouldn’t be any article to read.
But it is not easy to explain, at least for me, an endeavor with so many nuances during the process. On one hand, you can sum it up in one sentence: “start building YOUR dream”. A skilled painter paints as if it were an easy task. But if you ask him why he uses one or another color, he will probably say: “I use this one because it is the right one!”. In other words, it’s easy to say, but it’s still a challenging thing to explain.
Developing a sample library is a primarily creative process, although many people may think it is mainly technical. Of course it is technical, but that is just the part that can be “easily” achieved. The creative part is, without any doubt, the most important one and the one which makes the difference. It must be there from the very beginning to the end.
As I always say: all things that go beyond technique, in other words, those things that are intangible, are the most important ingredients.
So let’s start!
1. Think of something you love, something you would love to sample, no matter if it already exists, once you do it, will be different from others, it will have your seal.
2. Don’t copy the way others develop their products! It’s not because it is forbidden. It’s because that’s very easy to do and will be a waste of your time. Making things your own way is the trick to making a great product. No matter if some people say it is a bad idea, it won’t sell, it will waste huge amounts of time, the idea is too niche, there are other amazing libraries featuring those instruments … whatever. Developing a sample library is actually a lonely process, so get ready to fight against yourself. If you survive, it will increase your self-confidence
3. Once your idea is crystal clear (no way to go back or run away), your project must start with one of the most important quests...finding the right musician. This might seem an obvious statement, but it isn’t. You are capturing the soul of the musician in your sample library.
Avoid amateur musicians, unless they are very talented, but on the other hand, be careful of musicians that are too professional, or they will play what they want, not what you want!!
Your role with the player is like a film director with an actor. Listen to him and his suggestions first. If he is good enough with his instrument, you may learn some details that will be useful to sample. But later, ask him to play what you finally want. It’s one thing to play the real instrument, but quite another is playing samples on a keyboard later on. This is not something easy to explain (again), and of course depends on the instrument being sampled. For example, the player may prefer playing a hard attack in every sustained note, but such an attack might sound harsh in every note when you play it in your keyboard. What you should be going for is even transitions. You can record them in many different ways; everything will sound “real” when you listen to the original sound played by the musician. But once you bring them to the sampler, things change. That’s why selecting exactly what nuance you want to sample will make the difference. You are the director, never forget it.
4. The recording sessions…well, this is probably the most annoying part, listening to zillions of notes, one after another. But you must pay attention to every single note to be able to go home with good samples to edit. Try to use the best gear you can. Choosing a great mic is important for the final sound. Good gear is a must, otherwise the sound you will get won’t be as good as everyone expects.
5. Now you have TONS of audio data on a hard drive (you better have it on a couple of drives at least … hard drives fail). And now starts the “fun” part … EDIT!
You can do it in several ways: automated processing, hiring or asking someone to help you edit and name all the files, or the only way in my opinion: doing everything on your own. Otherwise you won’t really know if the files others have selected are the right ones. If there is something weird on them, that will be noticed for good or for bad in the final result, which is what matters.
It is important that all samples are coherent from the first one to the last one (this step has also to be taken into account during the recording session). Otherwise, when you finish your puzzle and put all pieces together, might sound weird, with some similar notes having a different timbre or character. But if you do it right, your samples will bring to life a real instrument.
As editing samples requires a long daily schedule and is a mechanical job, be careful to have some rest from time to time. Otherwise you will damage your back, shoulders and wrists. Unfortunately, I can tell you about that.
6. After that comes mapping and programming. Programming it is important, as it will allow you to make the instruments playable in the way you want. But don’t rely too much on scripting or programming, or your will get a robot instead a “real” player in the end.
7. Ask for some beta testing and feedback from sincere friends. But don’t despair if you don’t hear what you expected, you will know if they are right or not. In the end is your general vision which counts, even if the world is against you!
8. Use it in a real composition. Make some demos to test how far the library can reach. That’s the real test. That will help you to fine tune the patches. Fine tuning is important and a more gratifying task, like mixing after composing.
9. Spread the word! Let the world know that your library exists. No matter how good it is if nobody but your friends knows about it.
10. And the most important … just before wrapping up your sample library, start developing another one!!! Developing sample libraries is absolutely addictive! So handle with care.
And to finish…don’t think too much about the profit you will earn selling your library, think about how good it is gonna be during the whole creative process … and it will sell!!
This is just my point of view; others will have different visions … create your own.
Come on…stop reading and start developing something! 😉
Before starting recordings, it is important to choose the right mic placement. Spend some time testing which position gives the best sound for the instrument.
Make sure you take some pictures of the player, mic placement, gear settings, etc. for future recording sessions with same player and instrument (fixing mistakes, recording more samples).
Be careful of the background noise, especially for plucked instruments, where the release must be maintained for seconds. The noise in samples is multiplied by every note you play together.
Ask the player to come to the recording session with comfortable clothes and avoid watches, rings or any other items that can make undesirable noise during the recordings.
You must have a clear idea of the general vision of the library before starting. That will guide you to know what exactly you need to sample and what not.