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What's the deal with templates?

purple

Member
I see a lot of talk about templates when it comes to sample mockup work. I've never really understood all the hoopla. I mean, put an instrument on a track, repeat process, add folders, blah blah, save when you've got all your standard instruments lined up and color-coded in a way that works best for you. Seems fairly simple to me. Maybe I'm really missing out on amazing workflow possibilities but I've never understood why everyone's talking about, or it seems in some cases even buying templates from other people? (okay maybe I'm mis-remembering that last part, but I'm pretty sure I have seen it somewhere)

Am I the only person here who doesn't really worry about templates much?

Enlighten me!
 

Denkii

Active Member
Short answer: it saves time that you lose setting stuff up. For as long as you're only working on one machine it's not necessary if you're someone who doesn't care about setting your tracks up and you don't need everything organized from the start of a project.
Getting more and more interesting if you also use Vepro and/or lemur etc.

Imagine having a project with only 100 instruments that you really use but you also have expression maps for all of them. Only this (let alone routing, balancing and organizing) that for 20 tracks for the same project which will all make use of these would drive me insane if I had to set it up 20 times.
Also exporting stems in a way that is always organized the same will be hell without a template.
 

I like music

Senior Member
I see a lot of talk about templates when it comes to sample mockup work. I've never really understood all the hoopla. I mean, put an instrument on a track, repeat process, add folders, blah blah, save when you've got all your standard instruments lined up and color-coded in a way that works best for you. Seems fairly simple to me. Maybe I'm really missing out on amazing workflow possibilities but I've never understood why everyone's talking about, or it seems in some cases even buying templates from other people? (okay maybe I'm mis-remembering that last part, but I'm pretty sure I have seen it somewhere)

Am I the only person here who doesn't really worry about templates much?

Enlighten me!
For me, it is a way to procrastinate. It is almost as fun as doing the music itself!

I tell myself that once I have the core of my orchestra balanced (each library mixed relatively well) then I should always be able to reliably draw notes into different tracks, knowing that the levels etc are good. I say theoretically because I seem to spend all my time going down the rabbithole of trying to get the perfect balance, only to open the template up a week later and start randomly twiddling volumes again, repositioning instruments etc.

In theory it is great, and I stand by it as a good basis for just opening up a project and getting on with writing music. Once you accept that it gets you close, I think it can become a handy tool. Or so I think. Haven't got there yet...
 

oks2024

New Member
The idea is to do once what you need to do for every piece.

So yes, part of this is to make sure you have all your instruments on a track, color coded, expression maps setup, etc, but I think this is only the first step.

You also want to balance the levels of all of your instruments, so that you don't have a library louder than the other, same for sections, and then for articulations, etc. You can also setup your reverb/eq to try to place all the instruments in the same space, or anything that will save you time later in the mixing stage.
 

MrLinssi

A glorified bedroom musician.
I see a lot of talk about templates when it comes to sample mockup work. I've never really understood all the hoopla. I mean, put an instrument on a track, repeat process, add folders, blah blah, save when you've got all your standard instruments lined up and color-coded in a way that works best for you. Seems fairly simple to me. Maybe I'm really missing out on amazing workflow possibilities but I've never understood why everyone's talking about, or it seems in some cases even buying templates from other people? (okay maybe I'm mis-remembering that last part, but I'm pretty sure I have seen it somewhere)

Am I the only person here who doesn't really worry about templates much?

Enlighten me!
I'll try. I am one of those people that need to have everything organized, color coded and named. And if possible, available with a few clicks. I also use expression maps, like to route things in a certain way and it would drive me absolutely batshit crazy if I needed to do this every time. Basically, I like to focus as much as I can in the composing process, any interruptions tend to kill my mojo. Templates are a very personal thing, so it's totally understandable if someone doesn't like using 'em. And about buying templates: I guess some folks want to just get a basic setup going and make music...I don't even want to tell you how much time I've spent on my template (+1500 tracks, integrating VEPro and Lemur)...in fact, it's not even finished yet, still balancing my libraries!
 

ricoderks

Active Member
Template is great! Depending on your end goal of course. I actually only use a template for orchestral stuff. All the multi mics are set up the way I like it.
Close, decca, far, outriggers etc. All routed and using different reverbs. I cant imagine doing it over and over again for all productions. Long story short: its a time saver!
 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
It's all personal preference. For example, when I score a production that uses a ton of orchestral elements, I'll load my "orchestral film score template". If it's a horror production, I'll load the "horror template". They have the main instruments that I'm most likely to use. For me (using VEPro in my templates), the major advantage is that every single instrument stays loaded between projects. So if I have something like 75 cues, it's a massive time saver. A template could have ten tracks.....or 1000, it all comes down to a composer's workflow.
 
OP
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purple

Member
For the record, I have a template (or a couple, really). I'm still experimenting as my library has been increasing in size a lot lately, but I just thought I must be missing out on some secret sauce because people make such a big deal about them here! Thanks for the replies.
 
I'm not sure. It helps to have some favorite instruments plus fx set up on purpose and at the fingertipps to load instantly. So I can understand the idea and also use some.

But: This also can be something overwhelming I guess. I will possibly never understand why people have soo many instruments from the start (500? 1000?). So it's like a huge excel sheet in the Daw.
How to take care of this? If you have the RAM of course..

It can be refreshing to know the instruments you want to use and let them in, if they might fit in the situation you want to load them. But why so many from the start? Maybe only a question of philosophy.. and of course workflow
 
This is implying to know how to set them up for any use. Don't know if I know when I start something what should be inside though. If it should not be with idea inside to compose for a certain genre. So I can understand how Wolfie2112 explained it for his case.
 

Paul Cardon

Ninja Otter Music
Busses and groups and stems! Organizing things into a funnel of narrowing track counts, so instead of everything dumping straight into the master track, you've got stages of grouping and processing. And this isn't just for mixing abilities; it's also for delivery.

Even if your template has no instrument tracks and only has a bussing and grouping and folder structure, it becomes vital for rendering and delivering stems in a timely parallel way.

(Compared to the more dangerous way of soloing specific tracks and hitting render over and over again until oops, you forgot a track, or oops, you forgot to solo the send effects, or oops, your routing when solo'd muted something, or oops, the effects on your master are stacking in weird ways, etc. etc. etc.)
 

oks2024

New Member
But: This also can be something overwhelming I guess. I will possibly never understand why people have soo many instruments from the start (500? 1000?). So it's like a huge excel sheet in the Daw.
How to take care of this? If you have the RAM of course..
That's where Cubase (and other DAWs with similar features) is so great.
In my template everything is disabled by default, so it does not cost anything in ram. Alt+D is my shortcut to enable/disable a track, it's super fast to load an instrument.

For me it's great to see all the possibilities I have, my memory is really bad, I would probably forget half of the instruments I could use.

And when I'm working on a track I'm using "Show Tracks with Data" so I only see the instruments I'm using in the current project, so it's as easy to navigate as small template.
 

givemenoughrope

Senior Member
^ “Who ARE these people!?” Knew that was coming. Templates: both liberating and at times limiting. Saves time. And other stuff.

I’m actually rethinking/rebuilding mine bc of tack’s unbelieveably fantastic Kontakt multiscript Flexrouter. (Thank you @tack!)

I’m also back on the side of ‘there is no one template to rule them all’ especially since different DAWs have different strengths.ex. 1: I use a lot of Acustica Audio plugins and print as I go. Instead of doing this in the mixing stage in Cubase, I print to audio, open the file in Reaper, since it handles AA plugins like a champion, print and import back into Cubase. ex. B Having hundreds of orchestral midi tracks AND hw synth tracks/editors makes my machine too nutty so I treat these as separate sessions too.
 

InLight-Tone

Senior Member
Templates save time because of routing routines, sends and as mentioned loading names, colors, articulations maps and the like. The downsides are being faced with the same tracks even though 1000+ to where you develop routines and reaching for the same stuff. Some say that you write the same/similar music with templates and that having a more blank slate allows more spontaneity and shakes things up. I think for that to work you should still have your groups and sends setup, populated with your favorite verbs and what not, and create track presets to allow loading of names and colors and plugins quickly. Template balancing seems a complete waste of time to me as every track is different including how an instrument will be used...
 

borisb2

Active Member
Just spend the last days digging through all Hollywood Strings and Brass patches, making the ultimate articulation expression maps and adding these to the main template - big time saver from now on, because I now dont have to worry about finding the right patches. Its all ready to go and I can rather focus on composing.
 

Ben

Active Member
I plan to take my template to the next level after my vaccation. I want to integrate most of the libraries I got since I have created it + take advantage of the VEP7 automation and fx.
I think about sharing it on github as soon as it is ready. Do you think that someone will be interested?
(Cubase + VEP7 + most VSL instruments setup with optional expression maps + pre-configured instance where you could insert your own instruments)
 

Saxer

Senior Member
Bad templates can add up to a lot of mistakes. Main thing is balance. Just adding tracks and load samples isn't the real work. A good template doesn't sound harsh on loud tutti parts. It doesn't have low mid boosts when doubling tenor range instruments. It doesn't give bad surprizes when arranged for real instruments.
And a good template is easy to handle with stem export, key switches, overall workflow, clarity, system recources, correct clefs in note editors, names and colors, timing offsets for latency, room, panning...
 

Meetyhtan

Noise Maker
A good template doesn't sound harsh on loud tutti parts. It doesn't have low mid boosts when doubling tenor range instruments. It doesn't give bad surprizes when arranged for real instruments.
And a good template is easy to handle with stem export, key switches, overall workflow, clarity, system recources, correct clefs in note editors, names and colors, timing offsets for latency, room, panning...
That sounds pretty advanced. In my case, my big orchestral template only includes samples loaded where they should be, mixer routing (incl. reverb / dry mix channels) and individual CCs and keyswitches for each instrument. All colored, structured and named correctly. Not much more than that, but this took a couple of days to set up already.
One obvious problem I see when going into even more detail, pre-mixing and applying more effects on individual channels and instruments. Yes, you want it all balanced, but you don't want to risk everything sounding too similar when you use the same template over and over, with everything already set up and processed in the more or less same way.
I'm sure though that this isn't what you were saying, Saxer. Just a general thing. Big proponent of a good template here :)
 

nas

Active Member
Templates, especially for large orchestral mockups can take quite a bit of time to setup and tweak until you find a workflow that suites you. For me it's always a work in progress as I find new and more efficient ways to enhance my workflow.

I think one thing I try to remind myself is not to get locked in too much into a specific approach and allow for flexibility within a template so that if an idea hits or I need to try something slightly unorthodox, it won't be hindered by the template.
 
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