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Saturday, 19 May 2012

OrangeTreeSamples Products and Blogs

I came to know about OrangeTreeSamples from one of the virtual instruments forums.

OrangeTreeSamples Virtual Instruments
Their VI products seem to be very specialised, geared towards sampling world-instruments, and also electric/acoustic guitars and basses. Besides having about 5 products in each of the above categories (world & guits/basses), there is a Kontakt add-on script category too. (This is accurate at the time of this post).

In the Acoustic instruments section, we have the Acoustic Guitar and Acoustic Bass. In the Electric section there's also the Electric Guitar and Electric Bass counterparts.

I must say all their instruments sound very good! I also think that the prices are quite fair for the quality too.

All their products are running off Native Instrument's Kontakt engine, and most of them require the full version of Kontakt.

One product which I think is a very good deal, is the Core Bass Pear, which is an acoustic upright bass. This bass is as excellent sounding as the rest of their other products, but selling at only half the price, for some reason. I am guessing it's due to the size of the recorded samples (300mb). But that does not mean this is any less awesome sounding than the rest! It's really tempting :)

OrangeTreeSamples Kontakt Add-on Product: Mind Control
This is a very handy Kontakt add-on script that is selling for USD24.95. Very handy if you plan to assemble your own instruments from multiple sampled layers and takes.

Kontakt allows us to assemble our own instrument from different sample layers by dragging different samples into slots and then switching between them. The switching is triggered with midi program change messages. This can be unwieldy and counter-intuitive to set up at the sequencing end, and definitely does not allow us to play live, trigger with velocity thresholds or have the samples mapped to values from midi cc messages. This is working in a way we are not used to.

OrangeTreeSamples' solution is an elegant interface drag and drop that allows us to do the switching based on a whole set of conditions that can be configured. Some of these conditions are: note velocity, pitch wheel, midi controller messages, or note events (much like the key switching behaviours we are quite used to).

Each of these conditions would have a configurable value range that allows us to define the threshold within that range where that particular sample would be triggered and used. It allows us to define up to as many layers of samples as we want, and up to 5 conditions per layer.

Less talk, more show. Here's a video of how it works.

Besides having their shop-front and download areas, OrangeTreeSamples has a blog that talks about really interesting topics related to music and the sampling business. 

OrangeTreeSamples blog post: The Uncanny Valley
This blog post talks about sampling technology versus how the different samples and articulations are combined and strung together by the context of the passage of music being played, and how 'intelligent' or 'intent-aware' the sampler software is capable of. OrangeTree has been using Native Instruments' Kontakt for almost all their products. I must say they are really good at what they do, including the scripting and programming department.