How Important is Realism to You?

robgb

I was young once
I've seen a couple developers tout "realism" in their libraries in recent days. So I'm curious.

Do composers want sample libraries to be practically indistinguishable from a real orchestra (a nearly impossible feat unless you're highly skilled)? Or does it matter when most laymen are fooled by something like GPO 5?
 

GPlowman

New Member
Realism is important to me for my own interests, but I don't make it the be-all-and-end-all. I'm working on a game soundtrack right now and it doesn't require I create realistic tracks, just well produced tracks.

I try however overall in my productions that afford me the time, to keep chipping away at realism. If I do a mock-up of a well known piece I usually attempt realism. Something I aimed for just recently after getting the new JXL Brass and tried it out on a Star Wars piece.
 

mralmostpopular

Active Member
I've seen a couple developers tout "realism" in their libraries in recent days. So I'm curious.

Do composers want sample libraries to be practically indistinguishable from a real orchestra (a nearly impossible feat unless you're highly skilled)? Or does it matter when most laymen are fooled by something like GPO 5?
As realistic as possible. I don’t have access to an orchestra, and likely won’t for the foreseeable future. When I hear some of the glaring things, it takes away from some of the enjoyment of the music. Obviously, it’ll never be exactly the same, but it’s getting closer. If you’re trying to do more complex things, I can imagine it being very frustrating.

I also go through phases of wanting my orchestration to be completely realistic to what an orchestra could actually play to just doing what sounds good to me because I know it’s not going to be recorded.
 

GPlowman

New Member
Either way I'm going to try to make it sound as convincing as I can, so a library that makes it easier to get the results I want is always going to be a better choice than one I have to struggle against.
Yes - when it it comes to purchasing a library, realism is my top priority. Depending on the type of track I'm writing though, aspects of realism might be creatively subverted for a reason.

However, I mostly do orchestral music, so..... realism!!
 

nas

Senior Member
Agree with as realistic as possible, however, a good deal of realism is achieved not only by the samples but solid orchestration technique and good harmonic practice. That IMHO trumps everything else and I've heard more conniving mockups with inferior libraries because of this along with great programming chops, and of course a very moving composition. Having great "realistic" sounding and well scripted libraries is an added bonus.
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
Not realism here. Maybe for my own stuff, but usually only a “flavour” of the orchestra is all that’s required for the work I’m paid for, or the work I do for my own library.

That said, it's nice to have libraries that will deliver a realistic line, but it's as much about workflow and "deliverability" for me. So, stuff like Albion ONE works in my world.
 
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Uiroo

Señor Member
I'm aiming for decent realism, but lots of scores I like are not really recorded as a whole but striped, so that's not realistic either.
What I value are proper dynamics and stuff as default, and if I want to hype something I've got to actively do it, instead of needing to change the library so that it behaves similar to live players.
 

Thomas Kallweit

eclecticism
Realism is overrated : o
But in the context here I'm expecting that most of all will want it to sound as realistic than ever.
For myself I don't know. Crappy Samples will sound like them, so more good samples for certain cases are appreciated. But that's not all for making good compositions I hope.
 

dsblais

Active Member
For me at least, it’s about creativity, first and foremost. The realism is important as the context evoked by symphonic instruments (esp.) is a very powerful creative dimension. If a violin doesn’t sound like a violin, I can’t communicate the cultural meaning of a violin, meaning that’s much richer and more multifaceted than just a particular sound. This is part of why synthesizers, despite their astounding sonic range, can become very boring. All sound is contextualized by living experience.
 
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Sears Poncho

Senior Member
Both. I have my "realistic" libraries (Spitfire, CSSS etc) and then my weirdo libraries (Heavyocity etc). Ultimately, I'd like to be able to mix reality with non-reality. I like the idea of "illusion", where the listener ends up being confused about what is real and what isn't. I throw in real strings too. At some point hopefully there will be a "wait a second, is this real or not?" LCO strings are great for that because it is real playing, all those sounds are playable.
 

constaneum

Senior Member
for me, it's more towards the sound of the recording. realistic sound, not realistic performances. lots of strings libraries still dont sound that nicely captured, i'll say.
 

Polkasound

Senior Member
Speaking from a non-orchestral perspective, realism is of the utmost importance to me. It's what has driven me to continually upgrade to more complex (and more expensive) libraries through the years. I'm not satisfied with simply making tracks that are convincing to the general public. I strive to wow other musicians.
 

mralmostpopular

Active Member
Speaking from a non-orchestral perspective, realism is of the utmost importance to me. It's what has driven me to continually upgrade to more complex (and more expensive) libraries through the years. I'm not satisfied with simply making tracks that are convincing to the general public. I strive to wow other musicians.
Thinking a bit further on it, there is a balance. New libraries can sound better, but there’s also a lot in programming. I’ve heard demos from libraries that blow me away, followed by demos that sound really bad/fake. I want new libraries to push the boundaries, but I also continue to work on my midi performance/programming skills.
 

Polkasound

Senior Member
Thinking a bit further on it, there is a balance. New libraries can sound better, but there’s also a lot in programming. I’ve heard demos from libraries that blow me away, followed by demos that sound really bad/fake. I want new libraries to push the boundaries, but I also continue to work on my midi performance/programming skills.
Absolutely. Amazing tracks come from a combination of things: good libraries, good MIDI composing skills, good engineering skills, good mixing skills, etc. I would actually rate owning a high-end library toward the bottom of the priority list, because no library cheap or expensive will result in stellar tracks in the hands of a novice. It's really the other way around. A cheap library in the hands of a skilled MIDI composer will always come out on top. But a great library in the hands of a skilled MIDI composer can't be beat.

What has driven me to invest in better libraries is when I've pushed a library to its limits trying to get more out of it than it can deliver.
 

Sears Poncho

Senior Member
IMO, sometimes when we strive for realism, we're aiming the wrong way. I attached a very crude clip of LCO strings.

Does it sound "real"? IMO, pretty much.
Does it sound "good"? No, not at all. Obviously I played it intentionally sloppily etc. But the attacks aren't quite together, intonation is spotty. This is good. :) It's what a small handful of strings would sound like in a very dry, small room. I could easily fix it with quantize, eq, a glorious reverb etc. But at its core, it has a "real world", sloppy, rough sound that is far more realistic than "epic, 90 piece violin section in luxurious hall with 12 second reverb".

This makes for a tough sell. :)
"Would you like the Yo-Yo in Carnegie library?"
"No, I'd prefer the Joe in my basement library."

But there is a "reality" to it. I heard "Disco Inferno" on the radio today. It's probably 5-6 strings in a back room studio in Philly. And it's real. Many libraries today are too pretty to pull it off.
 

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JohnG

Senior Member
This makes for a tough sell. :)
"Would you like the Yo-Yo in Carnegie library?"
"No, I'd prefer the Joe in my basement library."
I agree. Some kinds of music really does sound "symphonic-nice" and is convincing that way.

Quite often though, if one wants gritty reality (or just reality), one needs to throw in a bit of rough stuff -- samples or other sounds that are a bit wobbly or out of tune or deliberately weaving around. Bowed things that were not originally intended to be bowed.