Insight from A Library Owner

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cosmicdolphin
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Insight from A Library Owner

Post by cosmicdolphin » Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:17 pm

I like Dan Graham , owner of a well know UK music Library. He shares a lot of about what goes on in the background of running it and wrote a series of good articles in Sound On Sound and has a book as well ....but something he shared in this month'a write up struck a chord with me....

________________
4 S**T THINGS ABOUT YOUR MUSIC

Oops, sorry to strike you to your imposter syndrome core. I don’t mean *YOUR* music, you’re amazing. But here’s 4 reasons why I reject tracks or ask for changes:

1. S**t sounds
2. S**t mix
3. S**t master
4. S**t music

In more detail:

S**t sounds: samples that sound like cheap samples. Thin pathetic factory sounds. Crappy out of phase piano samples. Out of date drum, guitar and synth sounds that probably sounded just as bad when they weren’t out of date. Solo string samples with gigantic awful fake legato transitions that you think sound expressive and real. Ordinary boring string and piano sounds with no special character.

S**t mix:

Random parts of the mix way too loud, such as hi hats, piano, cello. Low and mid mess of sounds interfering with each other.

S**t master:

Distorted and over compressed, full of pumping booms and impossible to know what’s going on enough to know whether it’s good or bad.

S**t music:

Feel-good grooves that feel bad (clunky and lacking finesse and nuances of accenting and timing). Too many overlapping ideas. No gaps for dialogue to come though (have nice melodies but have long gaps between them so people can speak between bits, or have nice melodies with very slow notes you can talk over without getting confused). Disappointing melodies and chord sequences that don’t do what you were hoping they would. Or melodies and chord sequences that do only what you thought they would instead of something better and unexpected.

So: great music is just music with all its s**tness removed.

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Re: Insight from A Library Owner

Post by MBantle » Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:31 pm

Yes, and whenever I hear the argument of good and contemporary sounds I can't help being upset looking at people who use pirate versions of all the great yet expensive stuff... The stuff that sounds good is usually expensive (yes there are exceptions) and it will take a substantial amount of time to amortise some of the investment involved (just do the maths as to how many placements you need to buy e.g. Omnisphere...). Some people say that Hans Zimmer only became that successful because at the time he was a rich kid with synthesisers that back then no well educated = 'poor' musician could ever afford. A palette of great sounds makes a huge difference and even more so in today's world where the actual music is rather simplistic (in terms of chords etc.). So, whilst I obviously fully agree with the library person saying that great sounds are a must have I would say they are to a certain extent rather a question of budget than talent (unless you have unlimited time to create your own samples, synths patches and tweak the Bejesus out of the stuff... but I doubt you can do an instrumental in 3-4 hours with the effort that involves).
I hope my post came out controversional enough to have an interesting chat about this topic :D
Cheers,
Matt

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Re: Insight from A Library Owner

Post by cosmicdolphin » Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:22 pm

MBantle wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:31 pm
The stuff that sounds good is usually expensive
I would say that's genre dependant. An EDM producer can get great sounds on a much lower budget, often with a lot of stock tools like you find within DAWs ..plus a lot of stuff can be gotten on a month by month basis such as Splice rent to own etc.

Making Trailer or big sounding Orchestral tracks OTH can understanderbly be a much more expensive proposition. But a skilled writer/producer can make a cheaper orchestral soundset still sound good, but yes there are levels to it. And levels within those levels.

My best paying cue to date used pretty stock sounds ..piano..subby bass ..and some ticking samples, some of which I made myself with a handheld recorder recording things around the house.

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Re: Insight from A Library Owner

Post by Susanstunes » Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:40 pm

Good one- Thanks!
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Re: Insight from A Library Owner

Post by andygabrys » Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:50 pm

Yes, and whenever I hear the argument of good and contemporary sounds I can't help being upset looking at people who use pirate versions of all the great yet expensive stuff...

You can't worry too much about people like that - if they are really that talented, they will get placements and likely end up buying all the stuff anyways. If they are hacks, they won't get those placements. Pirated sounds or not.

Every sound library isn't necessarily big bucks. And while something like Omnisphere seems expensive, the range of sounds, and the number of devices it rendered obsolete and unneeded is really something. Like the whole hardware synth module inside Omnisphere. Amazing.

Do the pirates drive up the prices of software? Yes. Absolutely - a lot of companies like Waves who were hugely burned in the mid 2000's when pirated copies of their Diamond libraries were used by a huge amount of reputable NY based music houses have since gone to other methods to continue to draw revenue such as their WUP. Whether you like their model is another thing, and whether its fair, blah blah.

There are an increasing number of companies doing a month to month subscription model. Its removing some of the appeal of cracked software, as it can be had for a month for a pretty low cost.


The stuff that sounds good is usually expensive (yes there are exceptions) ........ A palette of great sounds makes a huge difference.........


Good is relative. Great amazing libraries can still sound s%^t if they are used without a deft hand and ear.

Its also relative to the market - if you buy all the latest orchestral stuff, you are likely targeting trailer music - which has much larger sync fees than typical TV music. its competitive and there are a lot of people out there doing it, but winning a few spots is going to make those expenditures not much of a big deal as the typical fees can be 10s of thousands.

Some people say that Hans Zimmer only became that successful because at the time he was a rich kid with synthesisers that back then no well educated = 'poor' musician could ever afford........

Maybe - but he was adept with synthesizers at a time when vintage synths were all that there was - was he rich at that time? IDK, probably not. Maybe his contributions to hits like "video killed the radio star" bought him a bunch of nice hardware at the time.

So, whilst I obviously fully agree with the library person saying that great sounds are a must have I would say they are to a certain extent rather a question of budget than talent.......

Not sure I agree with the interpretation.

I hear it as "great sounds are important but I don't care if it comes from the latest high budget library or from you inventing a new way to do it".

Rather than "you will only get signed if I can tell you used the latest Heavyocity orchestral bundle and spent $1,500 getting it".

Besides - he hit on the next points as well. You can take any great sound and either make it sound great, or poor in the way you use it (compose and produce with it) and mix it, and then eventually master it.

Case in point - a synth pad that just sits there. In the old age somebody would have twisted a knob while performing to give it some life. In todays, there are tons of plugins that give motion and life to sounds that otherwise would just sit there. So in a lot of ways, inventiveness counts for as much as the price of your sounds.

Check out the series of videos that Heavyocity has put out on epic type cues in 2 hrs. Obviously its a commercial for their products, but its not impossible.

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Re: Insight from A Library Owner

Post by MBantle » Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:42 pm

andygabrys wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:50 pm
Yes, and whenever I hear the argument of good and contemporary sounds I can't help being upset looking at people who use pirate versions of all the great yet expensive stuff...

You can't worry too much about people like that - if they are really that talented, they will get placements and likely end up buying all the stuff anyways. If they are hacks, they won't get those placements. Pirated sounds or not.

Every sound library isn't necessarily big bucks. And while something like Omnisphere seems expensive, the range of sounds, and the number of devices it rendered obsolete and unneeded is really something. Like the whole hardware synth module inside Omnisphere. Amazing.

Do the pirates drive up the prices of software? Yes. Absolutely - a lot of companies like Waves who were hugely burned in the mid 2000's when pirated copies of their Diamond libraries were used by a huge amount of reputable NY based music houses have since gone to other methods to continue to draw revenue such as their WUP. Whether you like their model is another thing, and whether its fair, blah blah.

There are an increasing number of companies doing a month to month subscription model. Its removing some of the appeal of cracked software, as it can be had for a month for a pretty low cost.


The stuff that sounds good is usually expensive (yes there are exceptions) ........ A palette of great sounds makes a huge difference.........


Good is relative. Great amazing libraries can still sound s%^t if they are used without a deft hand and ear.

Its also relative to the market - if you buy all the latest orchestral stuff, you are likely targeting trailer music - which has much larger sync fees than typical TV music. its competitive and there are a lot of people out there doing it, but winning a few spots is going to make those expenditures not much of a big deal as the typical fees can be 10s of thousands.

Some people say that Hans Zimmer only became that successful because at the time he was a rich kid with synthesisers that back then no well educated = 'poor' musician could ever afford........

Maybe - but he was adept with synthesizers at a time when vintage synths were all that there was - was he rich at that time? IDK, probably not. Maybe his contributions to hits like "video killed the radio star" bought him a bunch of nice hardware at the time.

So, whilst I obviously fully agree with the library person saying that great sounds are a must have I would say they are to a certain extent rather a question of budget than talent.......

Not sure I agree with the interpretation.

I hear it as "great sounds are important but I don't care if it comes from the latest high budget library or from you inventing a new way to do it".

Rather than "you will only get signed if I can tell you used the latest Heavyocity orchestral bundle and spent $1,500 getting it".

Besides - he hit on the next points as well. You can take any great sound and either make it sound great, or poor in the way you use it (compose and produce with it) and mix it, and then eventually master it.

Case in point - a synth pad that just sits there. In the old age somebody would have twisted a knob while performing to give it some life. In todays, there are tons of plugins that give motion and life to sounds that otherwise would just sit there. So in a lot of ways, inventiveness counts for as much as the price of your sounds.

Check out the series of videos that Heavyocity has put out on epic type cues in 2 hrs. Obviously its a commercial for their products, but its not impossible.
Thanks so much for your thoughts! Hans Zimmer actually comes from a rich German family (just read his bio on Wikipedia) but obviously without talent he would not be where he is right now... I absolutely agree that spending time using 'normal' gear can give you great results and with a decent mic and sampling the sky is the limit but if you want to be efficient I think a good palette of instruments is just a must have. I had a forward last week with vocal chops that I recorded live and manipulated etc. - took a good 1,5 hours to do just that! If I had e.g. Exhale from Output I would have been able to find a great genre-typical sound within a couple of minutes and would have played it in on my midi keyboard in seconds. The 199 USD to buy it unfortunately were not in my budget this month but perhaps in two months time I will have it... I am just saying life is more fun when you have the great sounds at your fingertips and I get angry (and I understand we agree on that one) when I see people who just don't care and use pirate versions...
Cheers,
Matt

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Re: Insight from A Library Owner

Post by Kolstad » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:19 pm

I like Dan Graham too, but writeups like that looks like the heat from an overworked publisher. The shi* they have to put up with, sure.

It is a responsibility to get things to sound good, yeah, but you know when you are doing music every day, you do some experiements in between, and you get used to like a lot of different things.

Sometimes that turns out bad, and sometimes it works. It's how we roll.

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Re: Insight from A Library Owner

Post by cosmicdolphin » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:27 pm

Kolstad wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:19 pm
Sometimes that turns out bad, and sometimes it works. It's how we roll.
So don't send the s##t stuff that turned out bad or change it so it isn't..I think that's what he's saying

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Re: Insight from A Library Owner

Post by Kolstad » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:23 am

cosmicdolphin wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:27 pm
Kolstad wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:19 pm
Sometimes that turns out bad, and sometimes it works. It's how we roll.
So don't send the s##t stuff that turned out bad or change it so it isn't..I think that's what he's saying
Yeah it sounds simple, but we sometimes are so involved in our own work, that we lose perspective and dont listen with the same criteria the publisher(s) do.

Thats why we use Taxi, isnt it? Here we can safely submit shi* :lol: :D

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Re: Insight from A Library Owner

Post by Paulie » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:39 pm

Excellent advice and feedback of sure. But, we are in the entertainment industry, a highly subjective industry where quality is not always required. There is a LOT of crappy music out there that is being use regularly. Yes, there is a ton of great music as well, but sometimes I find myself cringing at some of the stuff out there. I wish a pox on anyone using a sax sample these days! ;)

All we can do is take all the feedback we hear and do our best to create quality, relevant. music. We cannot be lazy, we cannot think we know it all. Ours is an industry where we constantly need to listen to new music, listen to what is getting used, and listen to the sounds and styles being requested by libraries. We can't just coast... things change fast, we have to keep up.

Get writing!

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