I get asked all the time about MIDI orchestration, what sound sets to buy, how to make things more realistic, and so on. But Graham’s really the one with a lot of those answers, and he orchestrates with sound sets for a living. He’s got great, clearly written advice on how to make the most out of your MIDI orchestrations, accompanied by a healthy respect for the source sounds as played by real orchestras. Addressing some of the problems associated with sound sets, he writes:
“For realism of sound, obey the laws of each instrument. A bass or cello can not achieve the same rapid bow movements that say, a violin can. And when plucking strings, they can only be plucked about 4 times a second, roughly, and fast repeated notes can sound very fake (known as the machine gun effect) unless your library has ‘Round Robin’ samples, or other ways to vary repeated notes. This means that in rapid succession, the sample of the same note changes, so as not to repeat the exact same sound every instance. Vital in keeping the instrument sounding real.”
Like Ben Newhouse, Graham is not the most prolific blogger, but he’s got enough advice to keep you busy for a few days, checking over your work and improving it with his suggestions.