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1313 posts since 20 Sep, 2013, from Poland

Postby DSmolken; Mon May 14, 2018 2:32 am Sampling old vs. new instruments

I'm just kind of thinking outloud about how developers who want to sample, say, a drum kit for a particular sound end up sometimes sampling a new kit, and sometimes an older one.

With bowed strings, obviously older instruments are desirable. Some instruments were only manufactured for some short period of time, and there are no new ones, and others are relatively recent inventions, so old ones don't exist. So, in those cases the decision is obvious.

But what seems odd is that guitarists are firmly convinced that older guitars sound better, yet it seems like most sampled guitars are recent (with some exceptions like the Prominy Hummingbird). On the other hand, a whole lot of drum kit samples are 60s or 70s kits (though I can also think of samples of recent high-end kits - Nashville Sampling Co did a Craviotto kit, for example). It might just be that the really desirable old guitars are much more expensive than desirable vintage drum kits, but there might be other reasons.

Any opinions or hypotheses?
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10478 posts since 8 Mar, 2005, from Utrecht, Holland

Postby BertKoor; Mon May 14, 2018 2:47 am Re: Sampling old vs. new instruments

The thing with old instruments is that most of the crappy stuff has been weeded out. This gives people a certain bias in their perception that vintage instruments are inherently better than new ones. But the new stuff of today is tomorrow's vintage.
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Tj Shredder
780 posts since 6 Jan, 2017, from Outer Space

Postby Tj Shredder; Mon May 14, 2018 6:15 am Re: Sampling old vs. new instruments

With acoustic instruments, and also electric, wooden instruments there is a problem to find good material. Wood needs ages to dry, old instruments are dry...
So, yes, old instruments might sound better. It also makes a difference if an instrument is played or if its sitting in a shelf without being played.
Of course there is probably more old crap around than new crap...; - )

In most cases I would assume its marketing and for a sampled instrument most likely does not make a big difference. As musician, you will never be connected to a sample as you get connected to the real instrument. Most users of sampled instruments are constructing music versus playing it... I have a real bass sitting here, my bass playing is mediocre at best, but I would never consider using a sampled bass ever, even if its a sampled 10000$ bass...
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6227 posts since 8 Feb, 2003, from London, UK

Postby pljones; Mon May 14, 2018 10:11 am Re: Sampling old vs. new instruments

I play sampled (acoustic) drums and real drums. I'd love to be able to play whenever I like but I kind of imagine that it might not go down so well - even the four hours I play my TrapKAT tends to get my wife a little irritated, shall we say. I'd not survive that long on a real kit. Of course, the TrapKAT plays differently from a real kit - but there's a selection of kits at the studios where I play and I need to adapt to each of them, too. And to whoever's played them before's ideas about moving stuff, if I can't be bother to waste my time moving it back :). I know where I am with my TrapKAT, so I find I feel more comfortable with it.

But to address the actual topic... Mass production and the wider spread of music education has probably seen a vast increase in the amount of lower quality instruments of all types from the 20th century onward. That's what I think puts the cut off on what's considered "vintage". Would you call a 1975 clarinet a vintage instrument? If you knew it had been handed down from child to child over generation of school orchestra use? No, it's just old... and probably decrepit. So, like wines, there's more to it than that...
1313 posts since 20 Sep, 2013, from Poland

Postby DSmolken; Mon May 14, 2018 11:17 pm Re: Sampling old vs. new instruments

Thanks for the comments, some interesting thoughts in there. It does get fuzzy and messy.

What really got me thinking about this is that there are quite a few sampled classic Ludwig and Gretsch drum kits from the 1960s, but barely any acoustic or electric guitars from that era. It might be just that those really desirable guitars are worth a lot of money and not a lot of studio players who might be hired for a sampling session own them. Sure, a dev could theoretically buy one, record it, and resell it a few months later with little or no loss, but that's still a lot of capital to have tied up for a while, and risk that selling it won't go well.
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14855 posts since 20 Oct, 2007, from No Location

Postby jancivil; Wed May 16, 2018 12:01 am Re: Sampling old vs. new instruments

I think with wood, particularly with guitars (I have never thought about a clarinet) a quality wood improves with being used, the vibration of it may improve its response. Up to a point and then, in my experience older guitars may become dull. I'd love to see some science, and even be proven mistaken but that's my impression.
You can make an electric guitar out of anything, it's not quite the same issue.

I have seen it refuted that the old Strads or Guarneris are all that superior to recent vintages, that it's kind of a myth. IE: that this 'broken in so well' argument doesn't hold water really. But with the nylon-string classical or spanish guitar I have found older instruments that are just dead. There may well be reasons for that having to do with not having cared properly for it - dried out? - but I wouldn't care for spending money behind aged instruments per se.
727 posts since 18 Mar, 2008, from germany

Postby enroe; Wed May 16, 2018 4:20 am Re: Sampling old vs. new instruments

DSmolken wrote:... but barely any acoustic or electric guitars from that era ...

I wouldn't differentiate between "new" and "old vintage" but rather between
"good" and "bad". I would do this differentiation always in respect of "does
this guitar fit to the song or not?
". :D
free mp3s + info: andy-enroe.de songs + weird stuff: enroe.de
9 posts since 21 May, 2018

Postby Kiiryu; Mon May 21, 2018 2:35 pm Re: Sampling old vs. new instruments

I think it's difficult to achieve a vintage vibe with many instruments through samples, since a lot of it comes down to playstyle.

For example I was trying to emulate a certain disco style string section, and it was simply impossible because the articulation used just doesn't exist in any library. Could emulate the instrument, the mic, the reverb, but without the playing style, we're out of luck.

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