What's new

Sample Libraries Demoed Badly

halfwalk

Member
I honestly don't think that doing purposely bad demos would really achieve much, I think it would be better to have demos where absolutely nothing is done to the instruments (no effects, reverb, or even CCs)
But that's demonstrating a use case that isnt found in the real world. You can sit in a car and rev the engine a bunch in neutral, maybe take it around the parking lot in second gear, but that doesn't tell you anything about how it drives on an actual road.(other than "hmm the engine sounds nice" or " the seats feel great on my bum").

See the post about SampleModeling above; test that without CCs and it actually doesn't even work, and displays a warning message.

It's hard to judge a salad before it has been dressed and tossed.
 

RandomComposer

Active Member
But that's demonstrating a use case that isnt found in the real world. You can sit in a car and rev the engine a bunch in neutral, maybe take it around the parking lot in second gear, but that doesn't tell you anything about how it drives on an actual road.

See the post about SampleModeling above; test that without CCs and it actually doesn't even work, and displays a warning message.
But people wouldn't purposely use libraries badly in the real word either. You wouldn't even be allowed on an actual road if you were purposely driving badly.

Maybe the example I gave wasn't well thought-out, sticking the CCs at a constant level is more what I was thinking, maybe with note velocities included from an import from Sibelius or similar.
 

Saxer

Senior Member
Huh?
I would never buy a library based on demos alone (burried with other instruments). It's gonna be almost 99% down to what I hear in raw playthroughs. I mean... that's what I'm gonna have if I open the library... and if I hear that the samples are well programmed and sound good I might get the thing. Musical context doesn't add anything in my view, just shows off the composers (in)ability, not what the actual sound and performance of the library is.
Sorry... I didn't mean musical context as 'burried with other instruments'. But there are so many walkthroughs with somebody loading Violins-1 sustain patch and playing A-minor D-minor without any CCs and go on to staccatos. Thats not music. For a string library I wanna hear at least some chords divided between Vl1/Vl2/Vla/Vlc/Bass and have a kind of real life melodic voice leading and dynamic movement over a couple of bars. That's musical context for me.
 

DarkestShadow

Senior Member
Sorry... I didn't mean musical context as 'burried with other instruments'. But there are so many walkthroughs with somebody loading Violins-1 sustain patch and playing A-minor D-minor without any CCs and go on to staccatos. Thats not music. For a string library I wanna hear at least some chords divided between Vl1/Vl2/Vla/Vlc/Bass and have a kind of real life melodic voice leading and dynamic movement over a couple of bars. That's musical context for me.
Yea, I guess I was thinking of the fancy demos by 8Dio when you said musical context. :P Amazing music to listen to but... wouldn't use them as guidance here haha...
I for example like "naked" demos that only feature the library (potential) and then playthroughs (funktionality + out of the box sound). What do I get when I just open the library? How much trickery is needed? Along that line... In that sense for me both would be the best - musical examples (being or including naked demos!!) and out of the box playthroughs...
 
Last edited:

dzilizzi

I know nothing
I think if they are going to do a demo, they should let you know what keyswitches or things like reverb or eq they used to adjust the sound. I can understand not sharing all the settings but the fact that they aren't using dry samples should be mentioned.
 

JonAdamich

Member
I've heard some bad demos where, after buying the libraries and getting better results myself, I was kind of annoyed that the devs weren't a little more discriminating in how they showcased their products.
I cannot agree more. There are some sub par demos with some of the top libraries.
 

MatFluor

Senior Member
Simple:
Proper composition and midi massaging (which you can show on screen during the track, DAWcast like)

Then once with all effects and treatment, and then "naked" with all effects disabled. Shows both sides, the professionally produced version, and the "first time open" version. It's great for learning too. E.g. you would hear muddiness, or frequency imbalance or whatever.

I'm not talking panning or volume - I'm talking EQ, Compressors and all that. As said, once with and once without. Similar as e.g. Sonokinetic does with their DAWcasts - first you hear the full track with additional instruments etc, then again but only the library in focus for instance Sotto. You clearly hear how to context is and what has been done "extra" in that track. Not effects wise, but composition wise. If you hear such a track and hear a nice solo horn line, you would be out of luck because Soto does not have a playable solo horn - but with the two version right after another in the same video, you instantly hear what Sotto alone can do, and that the composer added a melody with a solo horn from somewhere else.

So, again - please devs and demo composers...make it easy, just DAWcast (or not) the track you composed and make two exports, one as you would normally produce that thing, in context etc., and one just with disabled effects (except Pan and reverb, since that is relatively normal for everybody).
 

Blakus

Midi Magician
I agree with others here that have stated they get the most insight from real-time play throughs. Watching someone "noodle" through raw patches is awfully telling, and is usually not too dependent on their ability to play the piano. While the thoughts of the walkthrough creator might be valid, the real value in these videos comes from being able to hone in on the raw sounds, how the transitions are responding to the midi data, the quality and depth of the recordings etc., and then making your own conclusions.

While poorly executed demos obviously affect the perception of how good a library is, I think that the opposite can be equally frustrating and just as common. Midi wizards are consistently capable of squeezing absolute gold out of absolute turd... (that's an interesting topic for another time). This also provides an inaccurate perception of library quality. For example, although I am a huge fan of Hollywood Strings / Brass (still some of my favourite commercial libraries), I am not sure I have ever heard any other examples that come close to matching the quality of Thomas Bergersen's demos for those products.

Hearing demo tracks is useful in some ways, but IME it is a poor judge of how effective a library is. I would argue that demos showcase the composer's midi (and composition) ability more than the library's quality itself. I have been turned off libraries that are actually brilliant because of bad demos. I have also bought libraries that I have instantly regretted after playing the first note, because of amazing midi wizardry. I'm not interested in hearing how someone uses the tool, I want to hear the actual tool for what it is... :grin: I am constantly having to check myself when listening to demos: do I actually like this library? or is this just a badass melody? or is the orchestration just perfect? or is the mix god tier? Demo tracks bring in so many other variables that in the end distract from our ability to make a solid personal judgement.

All that aside: it's a clever marketing tool and they will obviously be here to stay. You'll find me stalking YouTube for walkthroughs though :P (Unless there's a playable demo of course).
 
Last edited:

ism

Senior Member
I think transparency is the word we’re looking for here.

You need a walkthrough, demonstrating not just that if you hit a certain button you get a certain sound,but how well it can be performed and/or programmed.

But you also need to see it in a musical context. Meaning both demo tracks and in action videos.

I find that at their best, the kind of ‘composer in action’ videos Daniel James and Geoff Manchester can be extremely valuable. Geoff’s video LCO is a great example of how such a genre can bring additional musical context to understanding what the library is.

Of course, if any of this is done in bad faith, you can either put lipstick on a pig, or obscure the nature of the instrument. Just like you can manipulate the statistics my, for instance adding 10s if Gb to the spec by adding useless additional mic’s. So I think that it’s about transparency is at root what we’re all after, in one way or another.
 

Saxer

Senior Member
I'm not interested in hearing how someone uses the tool, I want to hear the actual tool for what it is... :grin: I am constantly having to check myself when listening to demos: do I actually like this library? or is this just a badass melody? or is the orchestration just perfect? or is the mix god tier?
I'm more interested how a library interacts with the user. It's the playability that makes at least 80% of the sound. I don't think you can really separate the sample collection and midi wizardry. If I want to hear the sound of an acoustic instrument I want to listen to a good player too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lux

Blakus

Midi Magician
I'm more interested how a library interacts with the user. It's the playability that makes at least 80% of the sound. I don't think you can really separate the sample collection and midi wizardry. If I want to hear the sound of an acoustic instrument I want to listen to a good player too.
I understand what you’re saying, but I find that midi wizardry can often overcome blatant playability issues. I guess my point is that I want to build a picture of how the library will interact with me, and not the composer who made the demo (who may have spent ridiculous amounts of time, used complex mixing chains, relied on excessive layering etc.) Personally, I can see that more clearly from an unbiased noodling walkthrough. It's so easy to "hide" things in demos. I abuse these "hiding" techniques in my professional work, but in a demo situation it feels icky to paint a prettier picture than is maybe deserved. It goes the other way too. In a potential poor demo situation, I find it difficult to identify if it is an issue with the library, or lack of competency. A walkthrough usually illuminates the issue for me.

I agree totally with what you said earlier about hearing it a musical context though. When it’s whipped up quickly in a walk through it’s definitely valuable, as people like DJ often do. But I can't help but stay the sceptic when it comes to demos :grin:
 
Last edited:

Potter

New Member
People with talent can make most libraries sound great, but I'm not musically talented so I would be very interested in demos that show how instruments sound using just a couple of fingers or other very basic performances. This isn't so much about regular instrument type libraries, because of course I appreciate that they require some ability, but more to do with libraries that aren't played like a conventional instrument, if that makes sense.
 

Cinebient

Active Member
Bad demos.....i´m good at that maybe :)
And indeed you could wonder what an experienced talent can do with even some apps today. Sounds almost like huge Kontakt libraries (minus the mic settings).
And at the other side people can make sound huge and expensive libraries like some GM sounds if they want.
But i really like if a non-pro just take these instruments and play with it and even try to build a small song or do something "against" the rules.
Don´t be shy people.....
 
OP
robgb

robgb

I was young once
I probably made a mistake using the term "bad demos." But I think most of you get what I meant.
 

JEPA

Senior Member
best way to proof a library out of the box for a bad demo is to pick a MIDI file in internet and throw it on the sequencer with the VI loaded, expecting the results...
 

ism

Senior Member
Here's a concrete example of what I think you're getting at but 'bad' demos - OT's new first chairs 2.0.

The demos really do sound great. But there's a body of considered opinion here that this library has issues in the legatos. The website advertises:

"we offer a completely overhauled update of the previous instruments (Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello). We made sample fixes and improved the legato performance for better playability"

But there's nothing currently available to give much sense of what this means. Except that that the new demo really does sound really, really good.

Adding to my solo string angst it's only on sale to about the time we expect the new spitfire solo strings to come out - which has its own issues of transparency regarding the way the old spitfire solo strings are being plugged at the 'first sale' price.

Of course its a general rule that nothing cause me more angst that solo strings. And this is in large measure due to the sheer complexity inherent in the instruments.

But I think we have a good example here of what we need it terms of 'bad' demos - transparency in communing the try scope of what this library really is as a musical instrument.
 

muk

Senior Member
The demos really do sound great. But there's a body of considered opinion here that this library has issues in the legatos.
In my opinion the library has issues in many department, the legatos being just one of them. Sascha Knorr's demo sounds indeed fabulous. It shows the best the library can sound under ideal circumstances. But I fear that in 99% of all cases the users won't be able to get a similar result. I sure know that I won't, not even close.

There are two particularly unfortunate statements on the OT website in my opinion:

'But also on their own the first rate players work together perfectly as a chamber string section'

In my opinion the players have very different playing styles. I would be very surprised if they had played together as a string quartet regularly before recording this library. This makes it very hard to get a cohesive string quartet sound out of this library for me. Mr. Knorr's demo shows that it can be done, but I suspect that the music has to be specifically tailored towards the library, and that a lot of work is involved.

'The First Chairs were recorded at their orchestral seating positions at the perfectly balanced Teldex Scoring Stage.'

What does that mean, a perfectly balanced Scoring Stage? It would make me expect a well balanced library, but that is clearly not the case. There are very noticeable volume differences between articulations, and between the players. In that sense it is probably the least balanced sample library I own. So a rather unfortunate choice of words there in my opinion.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ism

ism

Senior Member
In my opinion the library has issues in many department, the legatos being just one of them. Sascha Knorr's demo sounds indeed fabulous. It shows the best the library can sound under ideal circumstances. But I fear that in 99% of all cases the users won't be able to get a similar result. I sure know that I won't, not even close.

There are two particularly unfortunate statements on the OT website in my opinion:

'But also on their own the first rate players work together perfectly as a chamber string section'

In my opinion the players have very different playing styles. I would be very surprised if they had played together as a string quartet regularly before recording this library. This makes it very hard to get a cohesive string quartet sound out of this library for me. Mr. Knorr's demo shows that it can be done, but I suspect that the music has to be specifically tailored towards the library, and that a lot of work is involved.

'The First Chairs were recorded at their orchestral seating positions at the perfectly balanced Teldex Scoring Stage.'

What does that mean, a perfectly balanced Scoring Stage? It would make me expect a well balanced library, but that is clearly not the case. There are very noticeable volume differences between articulations, and between the players. In that sense it is probably the least balanced sample library I own. So a rather unfortunate choice of words there in my opinion.
Thanks for that. How then would you like to see a library like this demoed, transparently?
 

muk

Senior Member
Thanks for that. How then would you like to see a library like this demoed, transparently?
The developer has no interest to show the inconsistencies, of course. Mr. Knorr's demo is pretty much ideal for them. A transparent demo would have to come from a user I guess. A patch per patch walkthrough video perhaps. Or a chance to try before buying. Other than that you have to take a leap of faith, and in some cases will be disappointed and stuck with your purchase.
 
Top Bottom