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Release Awareness

When I listen to various sample libraries, ROMpler factory content, and sometimes finished mixes, I have noticed that some sound-designers just don't seem to notice all the important stuff that happens when you release a key.

Many acoustic instruments have quite a bit more sound before the resonant energy of the note dissipates.

Some sample developers let the note slam shut on release, which is unforgivable-- especially on a piano. Sounds hilariously fake, even if the samples are excellent. Some will add a little release time so it doesn't sound like a switch, but they keep the release time the same across the entire keyboard. On a piano, you want the low notes to have progressively longer release times.

As an aside, notes of the top octave or so (varies depending on the piano) don't have dampers because there isn't room for them on the short strings, and the notes don't ring all that long. But I don't mind if a sample developer ignores this and puts dampers there. Those notes don't get used much anyway, and it is reasonable to make this particular improvement on a piano.

I was just listening to a demo of a new orchestral sample library and this guy was bragging about this amazing realism of this library. He played this gorgeous chord with these string players, and he let go of the chord and it sounded like a someone yanked my headphones out of the jack. Ooooph. So dumb.

The good news is that MANY sample developers are NOT release-deaf. And when they get it right, it's a lovely thing. You lift your hands from the keys and the note finishes it's little story.
January 21, 2020  | favorite_border stub

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