How necessary is it to learn sampling/kontakt?

Discussion in 'Newbie Questions' started by dexterjettser, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. dexterjettser

    dexterjettser Member

    Sep 4, 2017
    Hi all. I've watched a lot of Christian Henson's vlogs and he frequently mentions how necessary it is for composers young and old to be sampling and creating your own libraries. While I admire a lot of the composers and sound designers that do this, I'm not really interested in taking the time to sample instruments into Kontakt. I'd rather spend that time composing/producing and building those skills.

    I know there's a danger of sounding like everyone else and I do try and play live drums on most of my pieces, but sampling a piano or violin just doesn't appeal to me when I can use a commercial library created by someone that knows way more than me. I'm also wondering why make libraries at all if you can just record the instruments into whatever you're working on. It makes sense for larger string and brass libraries, but why would I sample my friend who plays the cello when he can just record the parts I need.

    Am I missing the mark here? I suppose I could learn how to make kontakt libraries-and I would if it's absolutely necessary, but I'm not sure.
  2. Mornats

    Mornats Senior Member

    Feb 21, 2016
    Bristol, UK
    I'm a hobbyist who has been inspired a bit by Christian's videos to have a little bash at sampling. I'm liking my little foray into it but I don't think it's necessary at all.

    I also believe that there are so many niche libraries out there that you're not going to sound like everyone else unless you're using some old pre-rolled loops from very popular libraries (I've recognised Damage and Action Strings in TV and games).

    For me, beginner-level sampling at home is about weird sounds and not sampling proper playing of an instrument. I put my bass through a distortion pedal and tapped the strings with a pick and sampled that. Then I out it into the Photosynthesis engine in Kontakt and threw on some delay, reverb and other effects to create a rhythmic bed. That's where I believe the value is, creating something unique. But like I said, it's not necessary in my opinion.
    purple, dzilizzi and MartinH. like this.
  3. Andreas Moisa

    Andreas Moisa Active Member

    Jun 5, 2007
    Aside from sampling: I think knowing Kontakt very well can help iron out some flaws many sample libraries have.
    purple and dexterjettser like this.
  4. Fab

    Fab protect your ears!

    Feb 18, 2016
    Try it with something easy; like sampling a few hundred megabytes of musician friends/ family. It won't take that long, and you get bespoke sounds, just the way you want them.
  5. SchnookyPants

    SchnookyPants I never metaphor I didn't like

    Apr 26, 2016
    42.709, -83.020
    I think that you're on exactly the right track. For centuries it has been the writing that sets a composer apart, NOT the tone of his instruments. If you have unique-sounding instruments and your writing sucks, well... good luck w/ that. DO NOT GET SUCKED into the endless vortex of "Gotta' have the latest & greatest." Rather, work on avoiding the "danger" of your compositions sounding like everyone else.

    Check out the piece in my signature. Does it sound like "everyone else"? Nothing I've sampled myself, and no elaborate and/or expensive libraries there, either. Just off-the-shelf, commercially available schtuff.

    Stick to your guns. Work on your craft of composing. You are most definitely NOT 'missing the mark.'

    Good luck there, Mr. Jettster.
    purple and Quasar like this.
  6. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    I used to sample religiously back in the day, with my Ensoniq ASR, as sounds were quite limited and you had to create your own. When the world of VI's was introduced, I slowly stepped away from sampling. I have honestly never been "under the hood" of Kontakt (since it's release), and I doubt I ever will. I prefer to just select a patch (and tweak if necessary) and get busy writing music.
    SchnookyPants likes this.
  7. GtrString

    GtrString Active Member

    Dec 10, 2016
    The 4 tier theory..

    Basically we are 3'rd tier composers in terms of originality, if we dont play our own instruments or sample our own sounds. Consumers, as much as Creators.

    1'st tier: you play the real instrument
    2'nd tier: you sample sounds from an original instrument, and play those
    3'rd tier: you play sounds that other persons have made
    (4'th tier: you play sounds that other persons have made and arranged (loops))

    You can be creative in all tiers, but the rate of originality drops. I'm sure there are more tiers (or none).
  8. Mornats

    Mornats Senior Member

    Feb 21, 2016
    Bristol, UK
    Sounds like we should all be out there sampling orchestras instead of messing around here composing...

    Edit: had my grumpy hat on when I posted! What I should have posted was a question about why not sampling your own instruments would decrease your originality. I'd have thought that the origin of orchestral sounds would have no impact. If you're doing more sound design based work then yeah, I can see that.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  9. SchnookyPants

    SchnookyPants I never metaphor I didn't like

    Apr 26, 2016
    42.709, -83.020
    Now you're going to have to 'rate' on a scale not unlike the astronomical magnitude scale, wherein we cross into negative numbers for extremely bright objects.

    How about a composer who built his own instrument - level 0?

    Or one whom builds various instruments, is a multi instrumentalist, plays his various instruments, samples them to sell to others, but can't write a lick to save his own ass?

    This is ridiculous.
    averystemmler likes this.
  10. purple

    purple New Member

    May 4, 2019
    I don't think you need to at all. I don't have the resources or time to make a sample library at all, at least not one that would be able to take up space in my template. I don't understand why anyone would want to, simply because of the complexity demanded of sampled instruments these days? Sample libraries are just tools to take your music and make it audible to others. I'm sure going under the hood will make you better or faster at operating MIDI sample libraries but it certainly won't teach you crap about composing, which is what we're really here to do.
    Wolfie2112 likes this.
  11. neblix

    neblix Music, Math, Cats

    Jul 22, 2010
    Philadelphia, PA
    I don't think learning how to sample is at all necessary for a composer. It's cool if they can do it, and they may be able to tap into a unique source of sounds that no one else has access to, but this isn't even remotely something I would consider an essential value of musicianship. Composers wrote for the same orchestral setups for centuries, and their merit was their command of emotion, form, and development of ideas. The same is true today. No one cares where your sounds came from. If you want to sound different, sampling on your own is one (just one, not the only one) approach of doing that.
    purple likes this.

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