Why include convolution with instruments?

This is an answer that I gave on the Northern Sounds Forum to the above question:

First off, it's not only about reverbs... it's about making instruments sound more real and making life easier for the end user.

How does convolution improve the way an instrument sounds and why offer it as part of the sample player?

Basically because you can integrate the impulses and their settings ( tweaks ) as part of the delivered instrument...  When the end user loads the instrument, they get the settings for the instrument and the settings for the convolution and any other 'tweaks' necessary to make that instrument sound it's best.

Understand that convolution is not only about reverbs... Anything that can provide interesting 'colors' can be impulsed...  

Such as:  Vintage recording gear impulses, microphone coloration impulses, 'air', and other geeky stuff... They are all now being used in convolution settings to make sampled instruments sound better.

Simply managing large amounts of impulses in most stand alone convolution plug-ins is a daunting task... (i.e. "just where DID I put that left channel surround impulse for the church in pew #64?").

Not to mention the fact that once you've loaded the impulse, invariably those impulses have to be 'tweaked' to sound correct for the sample that is loaded.

Having the convolution and sample integrated into one seemless easy to load instrument makes life much easier on the end user.

When convolution settings and impulses are integrated into the finished instrument with the samples in a sample player ( as GigaStudio 3 does )...   The end user simply loads the 'instrument' and all of the impluses, settings, and other tweaks which have been adjusted for that particular instrument are loaded automatically.

How does convlution help in making instruments sound better  (not counting the obvious Reverb stuff)?

Let's take snare drums for an example...

When you change the pitch of a drum component in a standard drum library without convolution, you change the pitch of the drum, the microphone coloration that was used to record the drum, the room reflections that bleed into the microphones when the drum was sampled, and any reverb that was added to that drum sample in order for that drum to sound the way that the designer intended for that drum to sound...

Everything is built in and cannot easily be changed... (Except for maybe pitch and ADSR characteristics)

But changing the pitch of the finished product on a traditional drum sample library changes things that don't necessarily need to be changed... (Or SHOULDN'T be changed i.e. The room, the microphone color, any reverb or EQ that may have been added etc)

However, if you add convolution AFTER the pitch of the drum is changed, the result is a MUCH more realistic sounding drum component.

This is because the only thing being changed by the pitch change is the actual original drum sound... all other factors that determine the sound of the drum are left unchanged. (As they should be)

This is one of the reasons why the "Larry Seyer Acoustic Drums" drum kits sound so real... As you change the pitch of any of the drum components (snare for example), it is more like tuning the snare drum than it is a computer changing the pitch of a drum sample.

Check out the drum library video demonstration on the website ( /lsl  ) to see exactly what I'm talking about here. There is a section near the middle of the video that shows exactly what this sounds like...

As the video shows, you can almost hear the drummer tightening or loosening the drum tuning key to get the pitch of the snare up or down... It's not like pitching a sample up or down at all.

As I change the pitch of the snare drum, you can hear that it is very similar to actually tuning the snare... the room, the microphone coloration etc, stay the same... only the pitch of the snare changes.

This allows for an almost infinite variety in snare drum tones that sound totally real... Multiply this by the number of kicks, snares, hats, etc in the library and you can quickly see how a sampler with convolution integrated into the environment (such as what GS3 has) offers an extremely wide variety of drums sounds to build real sounding drum kits from.

It makes our drum library more like a drum system instead of a simple sample playback library.

Convolution is the future of sampled instruments.

You can bet that sample developers are hard at work creating new instruments with integrated impulses.

There is even a new Violin library coming out that allows the end user to pick which body the violin has...   Want a baroque body? no problem... Want a Strat body? no problem...  Want a viola body with violin strings?  no problem.

I predict that there will even be piano libraries that use a common string sample set and allow the end user to choose the type of sound board and dampers.

All of this is possible using impulses and convolution...     

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