My interest in synthesizers goes back to the days when they were first being invented.

I couldn't wait to get one.

It cost $2500 which was enough to buy a pretty nice car, at the time.

I saved for years to buy it.

I used it to learn MIDI and subtractive synthesis, and I was then hooked for life.

One of the main controversies during that time, to which I have alluded previously, was exactly how to make a convincing sound of an orchestral instrument or the human voice.

It all started with taking actual frequencies and piling them on top of each other by means of tone generators, in what has come to be known as "additive synthesis".

It soon became obvious that if we had a huge pile of frequencies already, as could easily be provided by an oscillator, then we could carve it up using filters, in what came to be known as "subtractive synthesis".

At first every step forward required a new piece of multi-thousand dollar hardware, each with a small piece of software inside running everything.

But then, after about 30 years of progress, the age of the "soft synthesizer" had finally arrived.

No more hardware.

Instead, just use one very powerful computer.

Then more than one, hooking them together via ethernet cables using high-speed modems.

The computer became the equivalent of the hardware of yesteryear, as a sort of all purpose piece of hardware.

The only thing which was requiring constant modification now, was the software itself, which now began to grow seriously in terms of size and complexity.

During the creation of this series of innovations it was becoming very apparent that neither additive synthesis, nor subtractive synthesis were up to the job of imitating the human voice or a violin, or even a flute.

So, the idea of "sampling", something which had been used for various purposes for many years previous to this, suddenly became fully of age and all of the rage in the popular music field.

Along with this newfound interest in sampling came the advancement of the technology underlying and supporting the sample digital recording device (a sampler) and the sample player, which would typically decode a proprietary file (which unfortunately also became called a sampler).

First there were numerous and varied hardware configurations, filling up numerous racks of rack-mounted gear, for tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands per item on the rack.

And then, finally, it became an industry standard to focus on the  software configurations suitable to be integrated with the now very high speed computers, and multi-core processors which have taken the place of the mainly proprietary hardware of yesteryear.

So, now the fun really begins.

Because there is suddenly a market for various orchestral and rhythm and band samples, which can make a lot of money for someone.

All of a sudden "samples" and "sampling" became all the rage in pop music and in rap.

Numerous copyright actions were filed such that "sampling" was pushed to the top of things one should know about in the field of modern music as well as in law.

So, now, by use of sampling, instead of sound synthesis, instead of trying to figure out how to make a convincing voice sound through adding or subtracting frequencies, instead, I digitally record an actual choir.

I first have them sing the tone A440.

I then have them sing the tone A220, which is one octave below A440, for example.

Then I will have them sing each semitone in between, giving me one full octave of very realistic sounding choir singing.

As it has become more and more obvious over the years that this is the way to go, if we are ever to have the "orchestra in a box", so the technology has developed steadily in this direction.

But, it has done so in a very deep and dark hole, and in a very secretive and mysterious way.

Information is not just scarce, it is unbelievably scarce.

I often have to locate the actual engineers who are designing and inventing the various softwares and hardwares in order to figure out how to operate any given system.

There is no documentation and the bookstores are most definitely not full of useful information.

And there is typically little or nothing worth talking about on the internet, except for the most basic information.

The ad hype on any given product is more likely to have useful information than you are likely to find without going directly to the manufacturer of the product.

Welcome to the world of sound and sound sampling.

It is completely insane.

I do not recommend it to anyone!

I tell all of my children to avoid it like the plague, unless they are willing to lose their mind over and over again so many times that you did not believe that this was even possible.

Well, I said all of that to say this:

After years of fighting it out in the the marketplace one "sampling" company finally became the dominant player and began to set the standards by which all others would be compared.

One sample player became the most dominant product, by far.

And that is Kontakt.

It is made by a German company (Native Instruments) and has managed to dominate the market for enough years that I finally decided, several years ago, that I MUST learn it if I am to progress further in my MIDI orchestration lessons.

That has not been so easy to do, but as of tonight, I finally figured the program out enough in order to link it together with Pro Tools 10 and allow the sounds from Kontakt 4 to be used with the recording capabilities of Pro Tools 10  (note: Pro Tools is the worldwide standard in digital audio workstations, used in many major recording studios throughout the world)  .

I have been working on integrating the two programs during the past several nights.

And now, finally, tah dah!

It is done.

This means that the recording quality has just risen another notch or two and the realism of the instruments will have hopefully risen several notches.

Test recordings are good.

I started writing music again a couple of nights ago and have been practicing various different pieces from the classic repertoire which I am preparing for recording.

You cannot believe how many broken bones move when you do something as simple as playing a keyboard like a complete maniac.

It really slows me down, to say the least.

So, now, let the sound experiments begin.

I hope to have something to show for these most recent efforts before too long.

Must get to bed before I fall over, which I am about to do, I think.

So, goodnight to all.

And may the peace of God rest upon all of us.

w/love to all.


10:10 p.m.

Ventura, California, USA