Scoring Central
To loop or not to loop? - Printable Version

+- Scoring Central (http://scoringcentral.mattiaswestlund.net)
+-- Forum: Technology (http://scoringcentral.mattiaswestlund.net/forumdisplay.php?fid=5)
+--- Forum: Recording & Sampling (http://scoringcentral.mattiaswestlund.net/forumdisplay.php?fid=9)
+--- Thread: To loop or not to loop? (/showthread.php?tid=144)

Pages: 1 2


To loop or not to loop? - Paul Battersby - 11-24-2016

I'm working towards looping all the sustain samples in my orchestral library. Some loops are surprisingly easy to create, others are very challenging. Solo Trombone samples are proving to be a nightmare but I'm slowly defeating each trombone sample, one at at time.

It occurs to me to wonder if I'm making a mistake. At the very least, I know I want to extend the length of some of the samples. Doing that is sometimes slower than looping, sometimes not but I'm confident I can transparently lengthen the samples that I want to lengthen. Often I find myself necessarily extending the length of a sample first and then looping the lengthened version.

Some samples loop quite well, others, if you don't let the samples loop more than 2 times, it should still sound good even in isolation so it should be fine in a mix.

What do professional libraries provide? Are the woodwind and brass sustain samples looped? Are the samples simply held as long as a real player could hold a note but the samples are never looped?


RE: To loop or not to loop? - Samulis - 11-24-2016

It's pretty heavily debated. I think most libraries tend towards "loop ALL the things!"

For example, VSCO 2 Pro is virtually entirely looped up, while the CE is not. I guess the idea on that is that people using the Pro edition *should* know better than having an instrument sustain an impossible length, while the CE wouldn't know or would not be familiar with the fact that quiet notes can be sustained much longer on brass than loud notes (orders of magnitude almost).

If you're having trouble creating loops, I recommend using a waveform editor such as Audition that allows you to see each sample and also set the locking to "zero-crossings" so that it will automatically seek such points. Zoom in until you can see individual cycles, then identify a point after the pitch stabilizes after the start, and select from the start of that cycle, and then drag until the end of a cycle with another zero crossing near the end. Audition can be configured to output in samples (which I believe is the measurement SFZ takes for looping). All you then have to do is input the selection start and selection end values into SFZ. If there's a crossfade loop option, then looping is quite a bit easier (particularly if samples are phaselocked, then all you have to do is line up so your looping area starts and ends at the conclusion of cycles), but I don't remember such an opcode.


RE: To loop or not to loop? - Paul Battersby - 11-24-2016

Sam,

Thanks for the tips. I already have some tools that sometimes make a seamless loop as easy as 2 mouse clicks. It literally takes me seconds to loop some samples. Where I struggle, but eventually succeed with much trial and error, is with non symmetric samples, (big waveform lumps above zero, small lumps below - completely normal for some sounds apparently), samples that don't have a stable volume or stable waveform anywhere, or I've recently learned, not a stable pitch throughout ("auto tune" to the rescue), samples that stubbornly sound out of phase when cross faded (even where I've carefully matched the wave forms as best I can) or where there is a volume difference at the central cross over point that just won't go away no matter what cross fade shape I choose (a little volume automation sometimes helps). I've learned ways to deal with all these things but it takes time to find the right combination of tricks. Time I'm willing to spend, I just didn't want to find out afterwards, that it degrades the library in some way and I would have been better off simply making short samples longer. I'm on the fence at the moment. I can't go too far wrong if the samples generally only play as long as a live musician could actually hold a note, so perhaps that's all I should provide. I'm not sure.


RE: To loop or not to loop? - bigcat1969 - 11-25-2016

What tools make a seamless loop in 2 clicks? I'd love to have some of that!


RE: To loop or not to loop? - Paul Battersby - 11-25-2016

(11-25-2016, 06:19 PM)bigcat1969 Wrote: What tools make a seamless loop in 2 clicks? I'd love to have some of that!

I was planning to write a blog post about it after I was finished all my looping but since you asked, I went ahead and created a blog post today where you can read about and follow a link to download the free software here:

Endless Wave - Blog Post

It has worked best with high pitched wave forms that are in tune and have a stable volume. I figured a complex waveform like tremolo in stereo would pose a challenge for the software to line up start and end points but the software has made easy work of looping those samples so far. Solo Trombone and French Horn samples have required pre-proccessing outside the tool before I can use the software to get good loop points but eventually I've been able to get the loops I want.


RE: To loop or not to loop? - Samulis - 11-26-2016

I guess the answer to your question, Paul, is then one of creator vs. audience...

You CAN force your audience to obey the rules of biology by instating a total sustain possible or only looping strings, but some less-knowledgeable audience members will complain and fuss about there being a "bug" in the samples or the sustains being too short or "gosh, this isn't looped like that GM soundfont I use!" You will from time to time have to deal with people complaining about your artistic choice.

On the other hand, you can HOPE your audience will have a brain and write realistic sustains, but again, some of the less-knowledgeable audience members will no doubt use your library to create impossible things (I cringe whenever I hear one of those impossible piano things with a gajillion notes- not because of the music, but for whoever made the original samples used on the piano). In this case, you will have to from time to time deal with other people making horrible artistic choices with your library.


RE: To loop or not to loop? - Paul Battersby - 11-26-2016

(11-24-2016, 05:06 PM)Samulis Wrote: It's pretty heavily debated. I think most libraries tend towards "loop ALL the things!"

I just watched a short demo of CineBrass, and did a quick search for CineWinds looped samples and it does seem like forcing realism is not a goal. The note range of the CineBrass French Horns has been programmatically extended beyond what can actually be played on a French Horn and apparently, someone said specifically that Flute trills are looped in CineWinds, which likely extends to other things as well. A reviewer of EWQL indicates Woodwinds and Brass samples are looped,  so it seems I should loop my samples if I can.

(11-24-2016, 05:06 PM)Samulis Wrote: you will have to from time to time deal with other people making horrible artistic choices with your library.

I think that will happen no matter what sample library is being used. I suspect there is a way to make anything sound bad and unrealistic since virtual players can always do things that real players can't. Even if the samples are realistic, take a solo horn sample, create never ending 16th note double forte staccato with sudden multi octave jumps. That will sound fake with the best library because no actual  horn player is going to be able to keep up with that.


RE: To loop or not to loop? - bigcat1969 - 11-27-2016

"Horrible Artistic Choices" Thanks I have the name for my new band!

Thanks for your blog entry about the endless wave. I'll try it out.


RE: To loop or not to loop? - tonaliszt - 11-27-2016

Go with your ears! Try to loop if you can, but if it sounds bad, leave it unlooped.

I don't remember much about .sfz, but if you highpass poorly looped samples, it can mask some of the effects.


RE: To loop or not to loop? - Paul Battersby - 11-27-2016

(11-27-2016, 02:39 PM)tonaliszt Wrote: Go with your ears!  Try to loop if you can, but if it sounds bad, leave it unlooped.  

My mission is to be able to play back the sample, watch the play cursor so I know exactly when it is going to loop, and still not be able to hear it even though I know exactly when it's going to happen.

But, I want to be consistent within the library. I either want looped samples or not looped samples. I don't really want some instruments looped and others not. I can live with non looped samples that are a realistic length which is plan B if I can't loop everything convincingly.