On a related subject to Volder's post about all-in-one...when is enough enough?

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by Headlands, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. Headlands

    Headlands Active Member

    Aug 18, 2017
    I understand that plugin and sample companies need to make a profit so they keep on coming out with new stuff and have great marketing (it's basic business 101 and I don't hold it against them -- it's what they should be doing 100%).

    A few composers here in L.A. and I were talking the other day about we simply don't really need the large majority of new stuff that's always coming out when it comes down to it, and that we live in a culture where we never think we have enough (the massive sales success of iPhones/smartphones/etc. are completely contingent on this).

    What are all of your thoughts about this? I know, I know: Many of these sounds can help creatively and sometimes inspire or sometimes are needed for the latest trend, etc...but it's a paradox of choice (a very well-documented human condition) where you're never satisfied and always think that something new will improve everything when we might have all it takes already in our arsenal, with some learning and diving deeper. Some don't have this issue, and I'm actively working on curbing it in myself as appropriate. We all know perfectly well there are exceptions for all of us -- I'm just talking broad strokes.

    Don't talk for anyone else or about others' choices, and don't take any higher ground or get prideful -- just talk about yourself and how you personally deal/don't deal with this. I'm curious, and it was a great, lively discussion the other day with my composer friends.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
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  2. Tanuj Tiku

    Tanuj Tiku Senior Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    Mumbai, India
    I think, it can get confusing. Here are my thoughts.

    1. Having a huge library of sounds and plugins is not inherently a problem.

    2. Dealing with it and learning how to use all of it can be nightmare. It is this second point where the differences are there between composers. I have friends, who use very little stuff and still get a fantastic sound going. Others have terabytes of stuff. Some people are struggling with it. I have even seen some friends ultimately cut down the amount of stuff actively loaded in their computer.

    3. Ultimately, whatever project you are working on, will find a voice and that means distilling ideas and choices into something resembling a structure or a concept. So, limitation works. I don't mean, one should be limited at first. The process of creativity, to create something by nature means that you will narrow down to a few choices.

    4. Yes, absolutely we do not need a huge amount. That will drive most people insane.

    5. The proffered method that most professionals use, is to buy products when there is a need for a particular project. Or, you may buy something to replace an older library or to experiment during downtime or 'lab' time. This is the model that I use.

    PS: People who just keep buying the latest stuff without very strong reasons, probably have a problem or have similar habits with shopping. It has nothing to do with music or a professional composer/musician. That is a different problem all together.
    S R Krishnan, TheKRock and JohnG like this.
  3. unclecheeks

    unclecheeks Member

    Apr 13, 2018
    As my collection has grown over the years, so has my confusion and ignorance as to what exactly is all in there, which of course is not very conducive to creativity. I usually get major GAS when new things come out, but now I may be forced to work with what I have due to a different reason - I'm still on 10.10 (I'm one of those if it ain't broke, don't fix it types), which means that my Kontakt is capped at 5.7.3. I'm already starting to run into libraries that require higher versions. If anything, it's reminded me that I have PLENTY of content to work with, and I really should spend more time getting the most out of it instead of lusting after new stuff that at the end of the day only adds more clutter and complexity. Honestly, some of the music that I made when I first started, with Fruity Loops and then the Reason 3 factory bank, is some of the more creative stuff I've ever done.
  4. StevenOBrien

    StevenOBrien Member

    Sep 22, 2012
    Styles change. Fashions get old. You won't be able to compete if you don't keep your library updated with whatever new sounds come into fashion.

    It has nothing to do with modern culture, it's the way things have always been. Bach was an organ geek, always up to date with the newest technology, wrote a cycle of keyboard works for this new invention called "a tuning system that isn't terrible". Mozart wrote for a new gizmo called the "clarinet". Beethoven wrote for a new gadget called the "contrabassoon".
    TheKRock, JohnG and rudi like this.
  5. novaburst

    novaburst Senior Member

    Dec 21, 2015
    I nearly purchased Hollywood brass ..........again ....that packaging looks so cool
    JohnG and I like music like this.
  6. MartinH.

    MartinH. Senior Member

    Jun 16, 2018
    I may be wrong, but I thought paradox of choice refers to the phenomenon that an overabundance of choice leads to making no choice. E.g. someone going to the supermarket to buy marmalade, when presented with only one or two brands to choose from, will buy one of them, but if there are 100 to choose from, chances increase that he'll be unable to decide and leave the store without marmalade.

    What you're describing sounds more like gear acquisition syndrome to me.

    The last big VI thing that I bought was Met Ark 1, and I kind of feel like I've got way more than enough stuff now, considering how little I can do with it anyway. I bought another 8$ 8dio library and the 20$ shreddage 3 upgrade after that, but I feel like it's gotten way easier for me to skip the "big sales" and not even consider them. It may also play a part that no VI product that I ever bought ever made me 100% satisfied. The "dream" for the next one to be a game changer just isn't there for me anymore.

    I have a feeling that this also correlates with lowered expectations and desire to purchase for other things. E.g. I had planned to buy Assassins Creed Origins at some point, I could buy it for 9$ right now, but I no longer can imagine to enjoy the game. Nothing about the game or my information about the game changed, I feel like I changed between then and now.
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  7. OP

    Headlands Active Member

    Aug 18, 2017
    That can be one of the side effects indeed, though the most common ones are less happiness and less satisfaction (based on Barry Schwartz's book, anyway). I was going with the general definition derived from him, which is that a large amount of choice can often be associated with freedom but that too much causes less happiness and less satisfaction.
    dzilizzi and MartinH. like this.
  8. Robert_G

    Robert_G It really is just an expensive hobby for me

    Feb 6, 2019
    As someone new to the game (less than 6 months), I was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of libraries out there. Thankfully I knew someone with Komplete and a handful of soundiron libraries...and had some time to investigate the whole market before plunging.

    After a few months I bought the Komplete bundle with the full Kontakt player and then the EW composer cloud plus subscription. The subscription gave me enough stuff to keep the pressure from diving into every sale and purchase that 'looked' good. At the end of the day...its enough to compose what I want to compose....with concessions that is.

    EW CC+ by itself won't work long term. Even though I am using their HW strings and brass more and more...the lack of KS patches among other things doesn't work for my needs.
    So I wait patiently to buy my goto string and brass library. CSS/CSB is going to run almost 700. 8dio Century is going to be more than that. In the end, I'll choose one....but thankfully....because of EW subscription....there is much less pressure.

    I want to compose Celtic music...but why would I want cheaper inferior products when I know Celtic Era is going to prove the best results? But its another 259 bucks.

    I think Emotional Cello was the eye opener for me. I used EWHW solo strings at first, but when I got EC....well...you can't even compare the 2 in the same sentence....EWHW solo cello will collect dust forever now that I have EC. Other libraries will follow suit...soon enough....

    In the end....I don't make any money doing this....so not having the pressure of 'having' to buy libraries right now is a good thing. But I don't enjoy knowing there are libraries out there that sound better and with better and faster ease of use.
  9. Studio E

    Studio E Eric Watkins

    I've been falling victim to more and more marketing hype and "great deals" this year. I'm not sure why it's happening and why I'm falling prey to it. I don't necessarily feel like I'm getting any bad deals or anything and I don't have any regrets based on what I've purchased, but I am really feeling the need to reel-in my behavior on purchases.

    This is deeper to me than whether or not I am paralyzed by choice. This is more of me hating myself for feeling like I can't live without something that I didn't hardly know existed before today, lol.

    When I first started really getting into the sample library game, I bought my first two or three for an Akai sampler. Then GigaSampler came out and changed the industry. Still, at that time, it didn't seem like there was overwhelming choice and the goals of ownership of the best libraries, although still not financially viable, seemed like good goals because there wasn't THAT much to own.

    Today however.....wow! The amount of choice is stunning, truly! I have WAY too many strings and brass and probably everything else too, but now all these amazing niche libraries are really helping to individualize one's musical voice more and more. Many more libraries are being released that just sound a bit more organic in nature or are of sounds that haven't been typical of the past libraries. Spitfire and Heavyocity on the big end, and countless amounts of indy developers coming in with great content as well.

    Maybe because of all the amounts of things available, the marketing and sales seem to be in a constant state of frenzy and it's easy to feel like you are going to miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity if you don't act now.

    I quit a few major habits this year and I should really REALLY make library or VST FX purchases something that is just "off limits" for a year. I already bat away countless emails every day as it is. I am already sitting on a virtual mountain of technology and sounds. I should definitely concentrate more on just putting it to good use.
  10. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    Well, the same could be said for stuff like women's shoes ;) Does a woman really need 100 pairs? Of course not, but it's something they enjoy buying and it all comes down to personal taste. I know, bad analogy but you get my point. Developers have a right to market and sell a product, just like any other retail/online business. It has always been this way, there's just more of it these days. I believe the more products we have to choose from, the better, and competition typically forces innovation. I own a lot of VI's, and I use just about all of them. Like Eric, I often indulge in the deals that pop up, but I research the hell out of the VI before pulling the trigger. My best VI's were bought as a result of flash sales, and are from developers I wasn't even aware of (Audio Modern, Fluffy Audio, etc). Do I really need he latest sample library? It all depends on what is has to offer, and at least I know where to find it if I ever need a certain library. So yes, bring them on! The more the merrier.
    dzilizzi and jononotbono like this.
  11. jononotbono

    jononotbono Luke Johnson

    My collection has been aggressively expanding over the past year. So much so I’ve just added another Slave computer to run more. I don’t regret spending anything on music and love having choice!

    I just think “At least I’m not spending all of it on booze and cocaine” instead!
    Wolfie2112 likes this.
  12. OP

    Headlands Active Member

    Aug 18, 2017
    Thanks for the responses so far. Here's my own take on it:

    I, too, have fallen for some of the flash sales but usually have gotten things that I now use quite a bit. There are also plenty of cases where I bought something that I pretty much never use. So lately I'm really pushing myself to not buy unless it really offers something I don't already have or can make.

    Not having the most choices humanly possible helps my scoring and production work in a pretty significant way I'm finding for myself, both with speed and quality. If there's something I need for a specific job that I don't have then I'll buy it just for that
    MartinH. likes this.
  13. TigerTheFrog

    TigerTheFrog I'm supposed to be working now.

    Nov 18, 2016
    Brooklyn, NY
    Not necessarily. Cinematic Studio Series has a sale every Black Friday. Last year was 20% off. If that happens this year, CSS will be $320. Once you own CSS, CSB will always be $279, whenever you get around to buying it. So...more like $600 if you can wait until BF.

    Also, after you make your first purchase, you get discounts on CSSS and CSP, should you ever want them. Not to mention CSW, whenever it comes out. Such a great company.
  14. Brian Nowak

    Brian Nowak Active Member

    Jan 9, 2018
    It really depends on what you're doing.

    If you are writing orchestral music and that's it, a good well-rounded orchestral set will work, plus some bells and whistles for when you need a specialty sound.

    If you are competing in a fast-paced, trend-driven industry, you must keep up at least a little.

    Having chops helps. Having synthesis skills has helped me save a lot of money on hybrid stuff that steals a lot of cash for that easy solution quick fix stuff that floods the market.
    JohnG likes this.
  15. Robert_G

    Robert_G It really is just an expensive hobby for me

    Feb 6, 2019
    Too bad they only do a sale once a year. Id buy it today if they did 20%.
  16. YaniDee

    YaniDee Active Member

    Dec 3, 2017
    I think that if we spent more time learning how to use what we already have , we would spend less time and money on "instant gratification" items, a lot of which we may never use. With software like NI Reaktor (which I admit I don't know very well) you can reproduce just about any synth or effect (or get it free from the user library!). But...it is fun to buy stuff on sale!
  17. Jimmy Hellfire

    Jimmy Hellfire Senior Member

    Jun 28, 2015
    Over time, I realized that most of this stuff really does sound the same, does the same kind of things and also comes with the same set of crap and issues and nothing ever changes. I have way too many libraries and plug-ins and am once again finding myself scaling down, settling on fewer choices and deleting a bunch of stuff from my drives. Making great sounding music does require a core selection of quality products, but beyond that it's so much more about entirely different things.
    Wally Garten likes this.
  18. Daniel James

    Daniel James Senior Member

    Jan 9, 2008
    For me its not so much about the sound of libraries anymore. I have ALOT of amazing libraries that sound just as good as the next. For me it usually comes down to inspiration. You can get used to hearing the same patch over and over and need something new to reset your inner sparkplug. Just having a new UI to play with, or a new articulation can get your mind thinking in new and inspiring ways...and thats what makes things worth it to me. Thats why I am a big fan of sales haha.

    EgM likes this.
  19. Henning

    Henning Member

    May 22, 2006
    I'm actually investing more into new real life instruments than in sample libs nowadays. For me personally it's always a joy and inspiring to pick up a new instrument. For example I recently bought a domra for a project. It has such a sweet sound. Instant inspiration.
    TheKRock and PaulBrimstone like this.
  20. Henu

    Henu Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2017
    I tend to get libraries which serve a purpose I cannot fill otherwise or are a clear upgrade in my opinion. And when that happens, it's usually due to sales. I have a list of things I want to get and unless it's super-urgent, I can usually wait for the sales to happen.

    For the first example, I got myself Heavyocity's Ethnic Drums Ensembles due to the fact that I've been desperately craving for flamming percussion samples, and for the second example I wanted to notch my realism a bit up by getting CSB to replace Cinebrass in regular orchestral use. Or, I decided to buy the U-He collection from Native Instruments in February due to having both Satin and Presswerk "in my radar for sales" and wanting to get a couple of synths which are proven to be successful as I was seriously lacking on the synth department (having just Omnisphere and Komplete on my hands).

    One of the criteria outside these is also speeding up my workflow, but that goes more into the plugin-section. For example, as a producer and mixer, Sound Radix's Drum Leveler or Slate's Trigger were something that have paid themself back in saved time easily. :)
    Wally Garten likes this.

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