Friday, June 20, 2008

Subcouncious Drinking - Vibraphone Sampling

I’ve been craving and drinking seltzer water. It used to be soda, but I stopped drinking super sugar-filled sodas. Now when I drink a soda, I get a headache (hmmm, maybe I was better off before). Anyway, I love seltzer water now. As I was drinking it today, I suddenly had this flashback of being a kid. In that memory, I realized that my dad used to drink seltzer water when I was young. I remember tasting it and thinking, “why does dad like this stuff? Its disgusting.” At the same time, I thought it was cool he drank it. Well, for some reason, I guess I haven’t seen him with a seltzer water since my child-hood. But do you think that had some subconscious influence in me craving it?


I took on the tedious side of music making today by sampling the vibraphone. I have a new appreciation for samples that I use without thinking about how much work it took to go into them.
Samples are short recordings of the individual notes of an instrument. In this case, I had to record 48 vibraphone notes on my vibraphone which includes all sharps and flats of 4 octaves. You can buy samples recorded by other guys, but a 4 octave vibraphone is super rare, so I’m pretty privileged. For each note that I record, I have to record that note at different velocities. In other words, I have to hit the note soft, medium soft, medium hard, and hard. A good piano sample will have 8 different velocities for every note! This makes 192 recordings. Too bad I can’t get each one on the radio and collect royalties for each one.

This was as boring as heck. And after recording the notes, I had to chop them up and import them into Kontakt (yes, this is spelled right for the Germans). This was a lot easier than I thought. I found out you can just grab all four samples at once and drag them into the note you want. It automatically puts the velocities in for you. (for specs on equipment go to bottom of page)

This keyboard looking thing is called a MalletKat. It’s basically triggers, the individual samples I recorded.


Why did I do all this? For one reason…so you people out beyond the west coast can hear the new sound of Future of Forestry. We have a bunch of events we are flying to instead of driving, and you can’t put a 4 octave vibraphone in your overhead compartment. I’m bring the sound of my vibraphone everywhere now, even to Düsseldorf Germany this December!

Specs for the vibraphone sampling and playing:
royer 121 ribbon mics with chandler LTD-1preamps
DI - Avalon 2020 preamp
Controller - Malletkat
Software - Kontakt 2
Abletone Live – to run the program and control things live on labtop

1 comment:

stever said...

MIDI Vibraphone! AWESOME!!
even more awesome you recorded it yourself! dang i love your blog more and more! and you use ableton live! i thought you guys did protools only.

do you have any advice for me? i am just venturing out into the world of computer music and midid and all that. i've been thinking of getting either ableton live7, or reason4, or logic pro 8.