How do you get to know your libraries?

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by antonyb, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. antonyb

    antonyb Member

    May 21, 2017
    Following @lastmessiah thread on Buying so many libraries I was actually wondering if you guys could share the way you study or learn your new library.
    (I couldn't find any topic on this, so maybe the words "study or learn" are not the correct ones)

    I think we are all guilty of thinking that a library will make things simpler and sound better right out of the box.
    As my mentor on midi production likes to tell me, "using MIDI CC is really like teaching the computer how to play an instrument". I do like the programming side of things.

    So what's your approach to getting to know your newly purchased library?
    Are there ways that are more efficient than others? more creative? more rewarding?
  2. MusicalRay

    MusicalRay New Member

    Oct 16, 2018
    Following - Great Question!
  3. ptram

    ptram Senior Member

    Nov 30, 2013
    I was sure the right method was playing the first four sounds, and then buying a new library?

    (OK, when in the right mood, I read the manuals, explore the forums, browse the books, and test each patch with the most suitable pieces. It's a lot of work, but as you say, it is like teaching the computer to play the scales smoothly. It takes time).

  4. aelwyn

    aelwyn Member

    Feb 1, 2016
    I'll pick a piece I know well (and is of a suitable genre) and start doing a mockup of it. When it's something I'm familiar with and know how it should sound, I find that trying to replicate that sound as closely as possible will acquaint me with what the library can do and, equally important, what it can't do. For example, I used "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" by Paul Dukas to get a good feel for Spitfire Symphony Orchestra, as I had a favorite recording of it (by a real orchestra) to try to emulate.

    I've never finished one of these mockups... just go long enough until I feel I've got a good handle on the library. That's what I like to do, anyway.
    musicalweather and ptram like this.
  5. bryla

    bryla Senior Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    I like to make small pieces only using that one library. Both to see all the possibilities and shortcomings. Also to see how far I can take it sound-design-wise.
    Jonas Hallstrom and ptram like this.
  6. Sears Poncho

    Sears Poncho Active Member

    Apr 23, 2017
  7. Guffy

    Guffy Fugdup

    Sep 13, 2013
    I buy a fine bottle of wine, whip up something real good for dinner, dim the lights, put on some smooth jazz to set the mood, then i gently start to fondle around with the keys testing the waters before i DIVE right in and check out EVERYTHING it has to offer.
    dzilizzi, tim727 and MaxOctane like this.
  8. MaxOctane

    MaxOctane Active Member

    Mar 23, 2017
    Two minutes later I'm done with the library, and really just want to go do something else by myself thanks.
    dzilizzi and tim727 like this.
  9. elpedro

    elpedro Active Member

    Dec 20, 2015
    I jam a lot with my libraries, absolute crap music, just “riding the sounds”, if something musically worth while comes out of it, it’s time for the “spit and polish”.
    CGR likes this.
  10. robgb

    robgb I was young once

    Apr 6, 2016
    Just keep playing and recording until I feel comfortable with it.
  11. jaketanner

    jaketanner Senior Member

    Mar 21, 2017
    Easton, PA
    Hands down, mockup your favorite scores. Without a doubt will show you the ups and downs of your libraries. Simply because the scores do not revolve around the ability of the samples, so there is no limitation to the amount of articulations used by the live players. So get the score, and program while listening to the live version for balance and proper articulation. Another way, is to only use one library at a time and try to expose the weakness yourself. So an example would be if you are using Tina Guo Legato's not a fast legato, and has a lot of vibrato and portamento...take it to the limits and see just how fast you can play it before it craps out. Also learn the dynamic ranges of each...where the crossfades are...and figure out the best way to use the it via velocity, KS, CC? Each library is a bit different. These would be my approaches. I have also found it satisfying to just pick a solo violin, and just improve what comes to mind. :)
  12. HelixK

    HelixK Active Member

    Nov 10, 2018
    Don't overthink it... load the instrument and have fun with it.

    If I'm in the middle of a cue, I replace all instruments for the new ones (keep a muted copy of the old tracks) just to have an idea of how they sit on a working mix. It's a good method to see how the new library can hold on its own.

    I also like to write short tech pieces, mockup a few seconds of my favorite scores, RTFM to learn all obscure controllers or hidden tricks, watch dev tutorials...
  13. yousuf

    yousuf New Member

    Dec 12, 2018
    Normally I'll go through and play the sounds either on a drum loop or through a mix, to see how it "cuts" without tweaking. It gives a good sense of how the sounds sit in a mix.
  14. Mike Fox

    Mike Fox Senior Member

    Jul 8, 2016
    - read the manual

    - play every patch and every sample of that patch, then make notes of the ones that stand out to you

    - compose a piece of music with nothing but that library

    - watch walkthrough videos

    - press buttons on the GUI, even if you don't know what they do (experiment)

    - repeat these steps
  15. Vik

    Vik Scandi Member

    Dec 15, 2013
    Yes, because some libraries do exactly that. :)
    Mike Fox likes this.
  16. TheSigillite

    TheSigillite Active Member

    Jun 22, 2018
    Southern California
    These are the steps I take as well... Although I would insert two other steps: 1. Listen to demos created by users. and 2. Fill your head with self doubt about your abilities until your little ones come up to you and say in their cutest softest voice "that sounds great daddy".
    MusicalRay and Mike Fox like this.
  17. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

    Nov 13, 2007
    I never read the manual unless truly desperate.

    I go through every patch and make notes.
    musicalweather likes this.
  18. whiskers

    whiskers Perpetual student

    Sep 5, 2018
    There are manuals (??!!?!?) /s
    dzilizzi likes this.
  19. SchnookyPants

    SchnookyPants I never metaphor I didn't like

    Apr 26, 2016
    42.709, -83.020
    "How do you get to know your libraries?"

    A lot like Art Carney addresses the ball.
  20. jbuhler

    jbuhler Senior Member

    Jun 19, 2016
    Honestly, a lot of the manuals are not very good and/or have outdated information. Still, I'd rather have a manual than not, and a lot of libraries don't have meaningful manuals.
    dzilizzi and whiskers like this.

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