The state of sample players on Linux

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TheSafePlaces
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby TheSafePlaces » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:09 am

tux99 wrote:Granted I didn't mean literally everyone can do it, but anyone who either has a decent home recording setup for recording music that he/she plays on acoustic instruments or anyone who has access to a recording studio can definitely do it, it's not something where you need $$$$$ of equipment.

I don't know...does sampling done on cheap gear get you professional results? O_o

About the 'co-op distributed sampling' idea.
Had an IRC discussion last night. Concerns raised with the idea were -
Inconsistency between libraries due to different equipment.
Proposed solution - My earlier idea of one studio being decided upon, providing specific equipment, and musicians coming there. But transportation and accommodation (centralized method) will always be more expensive than total costs at local studios (distributed method). I really don't see why stringent recording guidelines won't achieve a modicum of uniformity.

Orchestral libraries might not work, because the costs are huge compared to the amount the small-in-comparison userbase can pay.
Proposed solution - I say we create a longer term donation drive for that. If the co-op profits, we could put in small regular portions of it into said fund, too. In the meantime we could do cheap hacks for orchestral works, like layering solo instruments and later perhaps quartets, while first establishing ourselves with good, pro-quality, CC-licensed solo instruments.

I'm game for this, but I need people to volunteer for co-op sample-evaluator and musician positions. In any case, I'm going to do some further research. Namely, I might make a library of my own soon, to better understand the specifics of sampling - I'm considering -
classical guitar (my el-cheapo Yamaha C70)
with
-scripting for realism (seeing notes before and on the same beat as the current note to see what strings are currently in use, and use samples accordingly. Some modes like 'campanella', 'prefer higher frets', etc could be provided. If it detects something impossible to play on a guitar, it could warn the user.),
-different velocities (I should be able to manage about 9 levels),
-different RH hand positions (about five should be good),
-nail angles (3),
-apoyando/tirando,
-articulations - legato, staccato, pizzicato, tremolo (Maybe! Mine isn't perfect.),
-slurs and slides,
-shift sounds
-3 to 6 note chords with thumb-flesh/fingers, thumb-nail/fingers, and rasgueado patterns
-...it might even need a custom GUI...
-CC-BY-SA licensed - use it in music, SA not applicable; anything else, SA applies.

Well, basically, while I learn, I will also see how much this will cost me, and it will let me see if specific guidelines can govern the process. If it comes out well, I'll do a release-date-bounty (that's what it's called right? The OpenAV Productions' system?) and see if I can reimburse myself. If it works out, I will try to find people willing to take on evaluator and musician roles, and start it off on a small experimental scale. That will be the real test of the idea.
Last edited by TheSafePlaces on Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Looking for the ideal distro. NixOS?
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tux99
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby tux99 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:41 am

I don't know...does sampling done on cheap gear get you professional results? O_o

I guess it depends what you mean by cheap gear, a skype mic is obviously not suitable... :wink:

TheSafePlaces wrote:I will also see how much this will cost me


What do you expect to make up the costs if you are sampling your own guitar?
Your time?
Or are you booking a studio slot?

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AnthonyCFox
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby AnthonyCFox » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:09 pm

TheSafePlaces wrote: I really don't see why stringent recording guidelines won't achieve a modicum of uniformity.


The NI library wasn't all recorded in the same studio with the same equipment; I think you are right about this. Another approach is to have suggested guidelines but give the community a way to rate the samples.

:!: I just realized something, freesounds.org could host the samples! They would need to be asked to accept a new format but with a sampler and a half-decent number of samples to go along with it they might be interested. They already have this figured out and they have a cross-platform user base so it would work as promotion. That would take care of a lot of the work and expense for a project like this too. :D

TheSafePlaces wrote:Orchestral libraries might not work, because the costs are huge compared to the amount the small-in-comparison userbase can pay.
Proposed solution - I say we create a longer term donation drive for that. If the co-op profits, we could put in small regular portions of it into said fund, too. In the meantime we could do cheap hacks for orchestral works, like layering solo instruments and later perhaps quartets, while first establishing ourselves with good, pro-quality, CC-licensed solo instruments.


I believe that most symphonic orchestra's are non-profit organizations and might be willing to help with a project like this if it was presented as helping with musical education for the underprivileged.
War, crime, disease, starvation, extreme poverty; these are serious things.
Music? Not so serious. Have some fun! :D

StudioDave
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby StudioDave » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:50 pm

Another SF2 editor:

http://www.polyphone.fr/index.php?lang=en&page=home

Maybe someone's already mentioned it ?

It looks nice, but AFAICT there's no support for SFZ.

Best,

dp

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AnthonyCFox
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby AnthonyCFox » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:09 pm

StudioDave wrote:Another SF2 editor:

http://www.polyphone.fr/index.php?lang=en&page=home

Maybe someone's already mentioned it ?

It looks nice, but AFAICT there's no support for SFZ.

Best,

dp


I've seen a few posts where people ask about SFZ editors and the response is that a text editor is the best solution. Looking at SFZ files that seems reasonable. I'm no coder, but they look fairly straightforward, even to me. I might need to reference some of the opcodes, but most of them are pretty obvious.
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tux99
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby tux99 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:32 pm

StudioDave wrote:Another SF2 editor:

http://www.polyphone.fr/index.php?lang=en&page=home

Maybe someone's already mentioned it ?

It looks nice, but AFAICT there's no support for SFZ.


Very nice, thanks for the link, I'm packaging it up for my Centos/SL6 repo.

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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby tux99 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:42 am

tux99 wrote:Very nice, thanks for the link, I'm packaging it up for my Centos/SL6 repo.


I have packaged it up now (it's available in the Linuxtech-testing repo for Centos/SL6) and played around a bit with it and I must say I'm impressed, for a project that started in January this year it looks very mature already, loads of features. I guess what would make it perfect is SFZ support...

@FalkTX & GMaq: you might want to add this to your repos too, it's well worth it.

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Mezzo
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby Mezzo » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:54 am

tux99 wrote:I have packaged it up now (it's available in the Linuxtech-testing repo for Centos/SL6)

Hello, I'm the developer of Polyphone and I just saw this thread. Thank you very much for creating rpms for CentOS.

I have several questions:
- does it make sense to make said packages available on sourceforge and on http://www.polyphone.fr, so that everybody may see it?
- I don't know well CentOS (I'm in the debian branch), but are these packages also installable under RedHat? Fedora?
- is it easy for me to create a rpm under debian so that I can update them?
- if users find issues with a rpm package present in a repository, who's informed?

I'm currently considering adding .deb in debian repository as well, I think Polyphone is stable enough to be spread this way.

Thank you anyway for using Polyphone, I hope it will help you to create nice instruments :wink:. Feel free to raise any remarks.
Davy

tux99
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby tux99 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:16 am

Mezzo wrote:Hello, I'm the developer of Polyphone and I just saw this thread. Thank you very much for creating rpms for CentOS.
Hi and welcome!

I have several questions:
- does it make sense to make said packages available on sourceforge and on http://www.polyphone.fr, so that everybody may see it?
It's probably best if you put a link to my repo as otherwise everytime I update the package you would have to download the updated package too. My repo is listed on the Centos third party repos wiki page and is quite well known among many Centos/SL users, approx. 9300 people use it regularly (including 100+ workstations of two Universities and people at CERN and NASA) and many more do downloads of single packages.

The direct links to the polyphone files are:
http://pkgrepo.linuxtech.net/el6/testin ... 6.i686.rpm (32 bit package)
http://pkgrepo.linuxtech.net/el6/testin ... x86_64.rpm (64 bit package)
http://pkgrepo.linuxtech.net/el6/testin ... l6.src.rpm (source RPM)
http://pkgrepo.linuxtech.net/el6/testin ... phone.spec (RPM spec file)
(these links will break when I move the package from the testing repo to the release repo in a week or two)

- I don't know well CentOS (I'm in the debian branch), but are these packages also installable under RedHat? Fedora?
Yes, they are compatible with RHEL 6.x, Scientific Linux 6.x and Centos 6.x. It should also be possible to rebuild the source RPM for Fedora (and Mageia and OpenSuse) but I'm not a Fedora/Mageia/OpenSuse user so I can't test that.

- is it easy for me to create a rpm under debian so that I can update them?
I have no idea, I have next to no experience with Debian.

- if users find issues with a rpm package present in a repository, who's informed?
I would suppose they contact me as my email address is in the package info (when I get contacted by users about a problem with a package I check if it's a packaging problem or an upstream problem, if it's an upstream problem then I tell the user to contact the software developers), but some might also contact you directly.

I'm currently considering adding .deb in debian repository as well, I think Polyphone is stable enough to be spread this way.
Sure, you might also want to contact Mageia, Fedora, OpenSuse and Arch packagers so they could add it to their distros.

Thank you anyway for using Polyphone, I hope it will help you to create nice instruments :wink:. Feel free to raise any remarks.
Davy
Thank you for writing this useful software and for making it available as opensource!

TheSafePlaces
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby TheSafePlaces » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:24 am

TheSafePlaces wrote:What do you expect to make up the costs if you are sampling your own guitar?
Your time?
Or are you booking a studio slot?

Yeah, I'm going for a studio. I have never needed to record audio so far. And I'm under the impression that no budget-built bedroom studio can stand up to a dedicated studio, and that having a recording engineer around will be a great help as opposed to working with an average musician's modest recording experience and knowledge. If I'm mistaken about any part of this, I'm about to find out soon. ;)

Right now I'm on a film scoring job. Once I'm back in my hometown (give it about twenty days) I'll undertake this and make a blog to track progress and post results.

AnthonyCFox wrote:The NI library wasn't all recorded in the same studio with the same equipment;

Wow, I never knew. If this is true then perhaps the idea wouldn't be as difficult to implement as I had feared. Nevertheless, the guidelines will give recommendations for gear (mics et cetera) and for tolerable noise levels, that sort of thing, too. I had considered community rating and approval, but no, really, I want the co-op evaluators to be a small team of highly experienced musicians and/or sample-producers with experienced ears (I don't qualify, btw) and with experience in sampling. Should make the co-op more...agile...and effective...in decision-making...I hope.
Looking for the ideal distro. NixOS?
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AnthonyCFox
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby AnthonyCFox » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:47 pm

TheSafePlaces wrote:I want the co-op evaluators to be a small team of highly experienced musicians and/or sample-producers with experienced ears (I don't qualify, btw) and with experience in sampling. Should make the co-op more...agile...and effective...in decision-making...I hope.


That sounds great. I would like that too. So, either: A) You have the money to hire a team to do this work. B) You are well known enough that you'll be taken seriously when you ask people with the skills and equipment to do it for free. C) You buy the equipment and take the time and effort to gain the skills to do it yourself. Or, D) Find practical intermediate steps to achieve either (A) and, or (B).

I believe that utilizing freesounds.org would be eminently practical and with very little effort take care of a number of the steps toward achieving (A) and, or (B).
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Mezzo
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby Mezzo » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:50 pm

tux99 wrote:It's probably best if you put a link to my repo as otherwise everytime I update the package you would have to download the updated package too.

It seems to be the easiest way.

tux99 wrote:Sure, you might also want to contact Mageia, Fedora, OpenSuse and Arch packagers so they could add it to their distros.

It's all new to me but I'll try ;-)

Regards,
Davy

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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby TheSafePlaces » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:56 pm

AnthonyCFox wrote:
TheSafePlaces wrote:I want the co-op evaluators to be a small team of highly experienced musicians and/or sample-producers with experienced ears (I don't qualify, btw) and with experience in sampling. Should make the co-op more...agile...and effective...in decision-making...I hope.


That sounds great. I would like that too. So, either: A) You have the money to hire a team to do this work. B) You are well known enough that you'll be taken seriously when you ask people with the skills and equipment to do it for free. C) You buy the equipment and take the time and effort to gain the skills to do it yourself. Or, D) Find practical intermediate steps to achieve either (A) and, or (B).

Please keep in mind that one of the core ideas of this co-op is that everyone in the creation-process can make back cost, if not profit - no-one should have to work for free.

I believe that utilizing freesounds.org would be eminently practical and with very little effort take care of a number of the steps toward achieving (A) and, or (B).

Thanks, I'll look into hosting once the feasibility of this idea is established through practical testing. So far it's all been theoretical.

The plan now looks like -
[Experience gathering]
I sample my classical guitar in a local studio (I calculate the time taken, the learning curve for an average musician, and the money required, in a professional-/near-professional-level library.)
If the personal-time-cost and studio-cost is too much to ask of people to reimburse through the release-date-bounty system OR through Kickstarter, the whole model fails.
There is bound to be a learning curve, like with everything. I put down how-tos, good practices, and optional-recommendations in a document - the how-tos should help people new to sampling, and the parts which I feel are non-optional for the requisite quality, form the Guidelines.
If the library turns out alright and usable, if not great (it'll be my first attempt) - I offer it for release under CC via release-date-bounty or Kickstarter.

[Small-scale testing the co-op]
There's no good CC-licensed solo strings library. We look for musicians who play the violin, viola, cello, and contrabass, and for 1-2 sample evaluators, who are amiable to our idea (success at the previous step could make this easier), give them the Guidelines, wait for the sample submissions, accept or reject for correction as necessary, assemble the accepted ones into SFZs, and release under CC via release-date-bounty/Kickstarter.

If the results and response are what I expect -
we go on a full-scale musician and sample-evaluator recruitment drive,
look for a graphic artist and web dev for logo, GUIs, and site,
look at mass-distribution channels (download.linuxaudio.org, ccmixter, freesound, torrents, etc),
and...wait for it...formally establish The Open Sampling Co-operative. :)

If at any step I fail but see that it could work with some improvements, I redo it.

This is like, big stuff. I've never quite done anything like this. Here's hoping!
Looking for the ideal distro. NixOS?
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AnthonyCFox
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby AnthonyCFox » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:42 am

TheSafePlaces wrote:This is like, big stuff. I've never quite done anything like this. Here's hoping!

That sounds great. I hope it works out. :D

Meanwhile, I'm back to investigating evil proprietary software :twisted:

Analogue Drums sells kits that include wav files and there's a guy who has made SFZ maps for them. I tried the freebie kit and it sounds great. The kits they sell are reasonably priced (unlike Addictive Drums :shock: ) and I got it running in Sforzando, a free SFZ player. Right now I'm downloading/installing Independence Free, a sampler that comes with 2G of free sounds. Their for pay models look reasonably priced also; the biggest is 70G for $330. It does come with an orchestral library but I can't find any music samples to judge how it sounds.
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plgDavid
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Re: The state of sample players on Linux

Postby plgDavid » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:05 pm

Hello

(blame it on google alerts) :)

AnthonyCFox wrote:Both Plogue and Camel Audio advertise a "Free SFZ Player" and I assumed that meant the samples they sell are SFZ samples. It seems that they are "based" on the SFZ format. So what they are actually doing is introducing another proprietary format and using the term SFZ as a marketing tool. Crap. Bastards.


I can assure you that this, at least for Plogue is far from the intent.

Here are a few points from our perspective:

Although 1.0 is on-line and 2.0 is in that Cakewalk book, the SFZ "spec" is currently very loosely defined, as much of the subtleties are missing. Its only when you actually try to implement SFZ support in an engine (Note ARIA is built ON SFZ and has no other native format)) that you realize there are _lots_ of edge cases, and questions left un-answered:

What happens if you mix opcode X and Y?
What are the expected default values of all parameters upon load?
Why is opcode Z's behavior different between Drop Zone, Dimension and SFZ.dll?
Why does this sub opcode exists for this target but not this OTHER target?
(lots more, these are OTOH)

In order to raise our compatibility with sfz.dll and Dimension Pro's SFZ files (which sometimes are incompatible BTW) we had to do months of pretty extensive reverse engineering. The cross fade curves on CC, and polyphony management comes to mind.

Still like this was effectively mentioned in this thread, no two engine will ever sound exactly the same, and however well defined SFZ becomes in the future (I sure hope it will), you will never get 100% exact audio output from one engine to the other, nor the same user experience and workflow, and this is often a matter of taste.

About locking down SFZ extensions:

Most early products we have worked on were enhanced "ports" of Kontakt 2.x instruments. Since we were the ones working on these ports we rapidly found we needed to add quite a few opcodes that were missing to get the same functionality as in Kontakt. With lack of a better name we dubbed these "ARIA Extensions" and far from obfuscating them, we have tried our best to document them here: http://ariaengine.com/forums/index.php?p=/discussion/4389/arias-custom-opcodes/p1

Note, ARIA also supports custom plugins which process audio and MIDI, this allows us to expand our SFZ instruments without 'polluting' the SFZ player layer with product-specific needs. Most of that DSP is proprietary of course. As you have figured out, effectively supporting both open and DRM'ed content, especially in a cross platform and cross engine manner is very complex, if you find the magical solution, please I'm all ears.

Many commercial sample developers want to at least lock down their sound assets in order to protect their investment, so thats why we offer various forms of audio encryption, but its NOT a mandatory feature of ARIA libraries:

The ARIA Free bank uses straight FLAC files:
http://ariaengine.com/forums/index.php? ... -engine/p1

Shreddage Guitar/Bass (SFZ version) use straight wave files http://www.shreddage.com.
(and has no custom ARIA DSP or MIDI proc, it all works though SFZ 2.x, which we think is a great example of what you can do
with the spec alone!)

AnthonyCFox wrote:Maybe developing a relationship with Plogue or Camel Audio and work with them to ensure that their samplers continue to work with Wine? Well, Camel Audio needs to get theirs working in Wine first...


Better yet, given time, I wish we could release a native Linux version!

In other notes. If you follow our company's history and products you would see that that we contributed to portaudio and libsndfile, - and not just by bug reporting - and a few other things. On a personal note I've also contributed to MAME/MESS and hope to do more in the future.

What I'm trying to say is that for me there is no good/bad or clear divide between open source and commercial ventures.


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