When everybody is using the same libraries...

Bluemount Score

Senior Member
...do you think that's a problem?

How many people use e.g. CSS as there main string library? How many times have we heard the same samples being played over and over, just in a different order and with little different processing? Do you feel like it lacks some sort of uniqueness when composing with the same libraries as hundreds of others? Maybe it's a good thing that developers keep pushing out basic string libraries and so on, even though the competition is high. A big palette of choices helps to stay unique as an individual...
 

filipjonathan

Literally The Best Member
...do you think that's a problem?

How many people use e.g. CSS as there main string library? How many times have we heard the same samples being played over and over, just in a different order and with little different processing? Do you feel like it lacks some sort of uniqueness when composing with the same libraries as hundreds of others? Maybe it's a good thing that developers keep pushing out basic string libraries and so on, even though the competition is high. A big palette of choices helps to stay unique as an individual...
I don't see the problem in that. Everyone has their own style of composing. Doesn't matter if you have the same samples, it hardly sounds the same. It's all about what you create with it. The same with paint. Artists use the same brand of colors, but that doesn't mean what they make with them is not unique.
 

John R Wilson

Senior Member
...do you think that's a problem?

How many people use e.g. CSS as there main string library? How many times have we heard the same samples being played over and over, just in a different order and with little different processing? Do you feel like it lacks some sort of uniqueness when composing with the same libraries as hundreds of others? Maybe it's a good thing that developers keep pushing out basic string libraries and so on, even though the competition is high. A big palette of choices helps to stay unique as an individual...
I personally dont think it is a problem. It's more down to the orchestration and compositions themselves I think. It's what you do with the samples.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
Fundamentally I don't think it's a problem, since sample libraries, plug-ins etc. are just tools, much like music instruments, and it's not as if you had to buy a guitar that nobody else owns to be able to write a song or an album that's distinctively "you".

It's a problem when everyone's writing the same music. Which is IMO the far greater problem. The competition, as you say, is high, and everyone's trying to beat each other at the exact same, vapid game. I've never seen supposed artists be so much concerned about not standing out under any circumstances, and how much it has become valued to optimize everything one does towards being able to produce something that's as uniform, retort product, a rip-off of a rip-off, truly unremarkable and inherently disingenuous as humanly possible, in all thinkable facets.

This thinking of course also affects the choice of tools to a very high degree, and you can definitely hear this double effect in the music too.

Theoretically it's true that more choices can help towards a more unique expression, but to be honest, I'm under the impression that people who are really very uptight about having and maintaining some relative idea of success and doing everything "right" are truly doing everything in their might to prevent any kind of standout quality and have an almost panic fear of individuality - even if they think they're actually trying the opposite.
 
OP
Bluemount Score

Bluemount Score

Senior Member
Thanks for your comments - What I personally don't like is using pattern or phrase-based libraries like Action Strings and so on.
I liked the color analogy by @filipjonathan
That's just something that has been on my mind lately after seeing stuff like the "favourite string library" thread that has been up lately. I like and dislike that my favorite string library CSS is performing best.

I swear, as I heard it so often, I will recognize a D4 played by the CSSS Solo Chello anytime (in a not too busy mix). And for somehow I don't like the idea that listeners recognize the tools I used. Ark Strings are very recognizable as well, just as an example, because of the way the were recorded. Again, I would recognize the lowest note in Ark 1 Low Strings anytime.
 
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Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
It's always a weird feeling when you can exactly make out the samples used in a piece because you're listening to them all day yourself when you're writing. We spend so much time extremely closely and intensely listening to very short phrases, even single notes, because it's just part of what we do, and that just gets branded into the brain.

But the listener out there doesn't even have a 1000th of that experience. Also they don't perceive music in an analytical way to begin with, and rarely even hear such microscopic musical details - in my experience, most people I talk to, whether that's in everyday conversation or with a client, for the most part hear music as "one big sound". They don't consciously listen for individual parts or instruments much. And they shouldn't either. Contrary to that, I think for us, analytical listening is probably "on" 100% of the time or close. I very much doubt that any significant number of listeners would ever go "hm, I feel I heard that sound before".
 
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Bluemount Score

Bluemount Score

Senior Member
It's always a weird feeling when you can exactly make out the samples used in a piece because you're listening to them all day yourself when you're writing. We spend so much time extremely closely and intensely listening to very short phrases, even single notes, because it's just part of what we do, and that just gets branded into the brain.

But the listener out there doesn't even have a 1000th of that experience. Also they don't perceive music in an analytical way to begin with, and rarely even hear musical details - in my experience, most people I meet, whether that's in private conversation or with a client, for the most part hear music as "one big sound". They don't consciously listen for individual parts or instruments much. Contrary to that, I think for us, analytical listening is probably "on" 100% or close to that most of the time. I very much doubt that any significant number of listeners would ever go "hm, I feel I heard that sound before".
I like that. That really makes the difference between an active listening musician, and the big other percentage of average listeners. Not sure where I belong, but it probably depends on the genre. When it comes to composing - you are right - I tend to listen to every little note and round robin so often up to the point where it fits into the mix perfectly. Of course I know how my samples sound, even though it is unsure whether or not this makes an actual difference for the average listener in the final result.
 
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Bluemount Score

Bluemount Score

Senior Member
Is it a problem when many different composers use the LSO? Do their scores all sound the same?
I've heard too few LSO compositions and don't own the library myself, but I guess the answer you want to hear is no ;) (irony alert)

The thing is - a real orchestra has unlimited round robins and never plays exactly the same, even the same piece, even if they wanted too. Libraries consist of (a couple of) pre-recorded audio files that are repetitively used over and over.
 
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Arbee

Senior Member
I'm old enough to think things really haven't changed much to be honest. I can date music by hearing a DX7, Oberheim, gated snares etc. And a strat is a strat, a tele is a tele and a les paul is a les paul. The listening public are oblivious, only we know we're using the same tools in the same era.
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
There are numerous examples of the same synth sounds (ie. Yamaha DX7 & Roland JV series) from the 80's and 90's which were all over various hit songs (and non-hit songs). Same with the 50's & 60's with the popular electric guitar & amp combos which numerous bands used on their songs. Still didn't dilute the uniqueness IMHO.
 

Henning

Member
Doing music for games for about two decades now I worked with quite some audio directors that were also composers. Not even once heard from any of them I should not use a certain lib because everyone else is using them. Actually more the other way round. Working in a team with other composers some audio directors specify even the libs to use so the sound is more cohesive.
 

Saxer

Senior Member
We have a lot of very different libraries today of nearly every instrument or section. It‘s more the way how samples at all work and don‘t interact with each other like real musicians or the room that makes sample music different from “real music“. In the 80s people thought 16th quantized DX7 slap basses and Solina strings sounds modern and absolutely like the „real thing“. In the future todays sample music will be recognized as „early to mid 21th century music“ like we recognize 80s or 60s music. Not because we use the same libraries but because we use libraries at all.