Home Forums Pianobook When does a sample lose its original character?

  • This topic has 4 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by IceLocus.
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  • #1534

    Sorry if this is a bit philosophical, but I’ve been morphing some samples and have this unsettled thought in the back of my mind. At what point does a sample lose its original character or identity?

    I ask because after a few tweaks it seems like the resulting sound, though cool, is more of a result of the modifications and modulations, than the original sample. It’s like walking a fine line.

    Let me know your thoughts!

    Keith Theodosiou

    Well it depends what kind of sound you are trying to achieve. Say for instance, my Vax or Blender instruments, the original samples are dreadful and could not be used as instruments.

    So it was my intention to create playable tuned instruments from unplayable samples as was Christian’s idea for the Rusty Gate contest.

    If you sample a violin, it is the say, either you want it to stay as a violin or you decide you want it so sound more unique so you process that sample more.

    Is that what you mean?


    Yeah, but I feel like on certain samples, though not musical themselves, I want to leave a little bit of its original character in the morphed sound, so I can think, “Oh yeah, that was… <insert random sound>!”

    Darren Prescott

    By “character” and “identity” I presume you mean more specifically timbre, natural envelope (attack, decay etc) and EQ fingerprint of the sound? As I’m sure you are aware sound can be manipulated beyond all recognition and anything in between. It all depends on your goal. If you merely want to clean a piano note to remove hiss for example, then careful NR in good restoration software can retain the sound attributes of the note very transparently. If your goal is to do something interesting with the sound by taking it to new sonic areas (which is half the fun of sampling) then the attributes will obviously change and it is just a question of how drastically that change occurs. One way to have the best of both worlds is to allow the user a certain amount of control about how much the sound is manipulated in the UI with the original sound or close to it still being able to be played back.

    Of course, strictly speaking the sound is already compromised once it’s been recorded even if you are using the best equipment. It has already started its transformative journey so to speak. The ones and zeros on the hard drive are only a close approximation of the sound that happened in nature (or generated electronically).

    Interesting topic though.


    Darren, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. That’s an interesting idea about allowing some control to the user. I could possible set up the Mod wheel to do this for certain parameters.

    Though as Keith said, some sounds like his blender sample may be pleasing to the ear in its new morphed form! 🙂

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