This is a question I was asked during lockdown following my previous newsletter.
Buying sound banks, certainly, but which one or which ones?
The market offers…
- Spitfire Audio
- Native instruments, Looploft et Sounds
- East West
- vienna symphonic library
- et bien plus encore…
And your faithful servant in a very modest way…
If you look at the list above, there are sound banks and virtual synthesizers.
Explanation of the concept of sound banks.
We talk about sound banks when the sound source comes from a recording.
This sound source is called a sample so that most of the time the wave audio format predominates or a proprietary format in order to avoid piracy.
These samples in most cases require a sample reader or sampler according to some manufacturers.
Understanding the difference between a sample reader and a sampler?
The sample reader simply reads the bank made by the manufacturer.
The sampler reads the bank made by the manufacturer and nevertheless allows you to create your own sound banks.
A sampler offers the possibility to record a sound source. In the digital age this notion is disappearing in favour of the Daws which offer extremely advanced editing functions.
This leads to a new generation where the frontier between sampler and reader no longer exists. Welcome to the 21st century!
It brings back many memories when I was recording samples in my S950 Akaï.
It took a long time to build a bank in these times…
Explanation of the concept of virtual synthesizers.
The virtual synthesizer, unlike the player or sampler, produces these sounds using sound synthesis and computer algorithms that do not require the use of any samples. But then…
What is Omnisphere from Spectrasonics
Spectrasonics has understood very well the stakes of computer-assisted music in these conditions, with increasingly powerful computers, which allow more and more advanced modes of sound synthesis. Why not create a hybrid between virtual synthesizer and sampler?
Atmosphere was the first draft to lead to a current version called Omnisphere, which is fearsome for its simplicity and sound quality. A must in my musical creation process.
Why buy sound banks?
Depending on your musical style, you will be required to use a variety of sounds.
The software you use will require the use of banks that it does not provide you with when you purchase it.
The way you compose will require certain types of banks.
Please note, for those who compose from audio loops, that because of this mode of creation Native Instruments bought the LoopLoft platform and created Sounds.
Sell loops and one shot to users of their stations such as Maschine and Komplete Kontrol.
There are no rules, only affinities between your personality, your Daw, and your musical style.
I suggest you read the article I wrote about Native Instruments KOMPLETE 12 ULTIMATE Collector’s Edition.
In many tutorials on YouTube, we see the trainer composing in a software by taking the banks of another tool, which concretely translates into the use of Maschine Expansion samples in tutorials on Ableton.
The reason, to have sounds in a style (Trap for example) directly in the software you master without wasting time on the creation process.
Why buy when there are free sound banks?
Yes, that’s a very good question! To date, for me, the best sound bank offered by a manufacturer is Spitifire Audio’s LABS.
The free soundbanks are a call to make you discover the manufacturer’s universe and to inspire you to buy the high-end versions . There is a lot of them even at the biggest manufacturers…
Can we compose with free sound banks?
Of course, because you’re the composer, not the sound bank.
Pay attention to one thing, the quality of the bank and your ability to appropriate it to build a hit.
In the March newsletter, I talked about artists using Apple Loops to compose an international hit.
Note this: in general in free soundbanks, there is not necessarily what you are looking for. Therefore you will have to buy or make your own sound banks.
Is there anything to worry about before buying a sound bank?
Yes, of course: the financial, technical and operational aspects. For example, I use the East West sound banks:
- Rental bank which requires a subscription every month. This can be a financial concern.
- Quality of the bank? Honestly at this level nothing to say…
- Installation which requires a fiber internet connection because it is long to download during the first installation.
- Capacity of the computer to operate this type of bank. Indeed you will need a powerful computer.
- Storage of the bank. For information the Composer cloud is installed on a 2Tb SSD hard disk.
- Ability of the composer to use this type of bank .
- Compatibility with your software. We never think about it because it’s 2020!
I invite you to look in the Studio page the list of the sound banks I use apart from the one I make for myself…
Like a painter, you will, depending on the type of composition and style, need a sound bank.
I’ll give you four tips before you buy:
- Ease of use, quality and compatibility with your software.
- The purchase should not put your bank account in the red.
- The bank’s exploitation over the long term
- Goal of this purchase
- Out of pleasure, be careful not to indulge yourself too much because point n°2 could suffer from it…
- To discover, understand, learn and develop your creative process
- Produce an album, a single, or get a contract to earn money
These are the guidelines I use to build my sound banks and make them financially accessible and easy to use.
This article is intended to help you in your purchasing decisions. Soon I will write more articles to develop the banks of the manufacturers mentioned in this blog. I wish you good purchases…