How to create extra Layers in Sample Libraries

Leandro Gardini

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Going Beyond of the boundaries of Sample Libraries

After more than two decades of experience and development of the sampling technology, it's easy to believe that most modern libraries would be enough for everything you need. However, the opposite is true!

From the oldest to the newest, all sample libraries have their strengths and weaknesses. But curiously, many current releases come with one or more elementary  weaknesses. And believe it or not, this lack of fundamental features is present in almost all of them.

One of the basic features that virtual instruments must have is enough dynamic layers.

Usually, for strings and woodwinds, four dynamic layers (pp, p, f, ff) are enough for almost everything we do. A fifth dynamic layer would be necessary for brass instruments. On the other hand, a percussion instrument requires eight layers or even more.

These numbers are not rules but are good starting points when recording new samples. However, too many layers can be a problem when programming crossfades on instruments that sustain long notes. That is why some companies remain releasing instruments/patches with only two dynamic layers (p, f).

Few layers can be a problem for a midi orchestrator when he or she wants, for example, to have sul ponticelo at pp on the violin or a breathy sforzando at ff on the flute.

Today, I would like to show you how to create realistic extra dynamic layers in sample libraries by using one tool that everybody has at their hand - the equalizer.
I am glad that when I started using sample libraries, the sampling technology was way simpler than today. With the limits of the old tools, I created a series of tricks that could stretch their boundaries, and today, I put all of them and much more available for Scoring Tools Masterclass students.

It then taught me that:
"The limitation is just a way to set my imagination to freedom."
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