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Using Large Sound Libraries

Author housekeeper Tue, 2015-11-17 - 17:57

This content is for an older version of Synfire. The current version is more streamlined and advanced, but most of the functionality shown here still exist.

Learn how to assign sounds to instruments in an arrangement quickly, by picking sound properties (ranges, category, custom controllers, articulations) from templates.

Modern sample libraries come with lots of articulations (key switches), custom controllers (CC) and often each sound also has a specific playing range. Templates are devices that include such sound properties, so you can browse, copy and use them where needed. Templates are most useful with large orchestral sound libraries, where you only need a few instruments at a time for use in a particular arrangement.

How To Create Templates

Templates are regular devices that only have the "Template" switch enabled. Thus, creating a template is identical to creating a regular device description. A new template is created in Audio & MIDI Setup under the Global Device Descriptions tab with the Plus (+) button. You can skip the Connectors & Channels tab, as templates only use the Programs tab, where you add all sounds according to the technical documentation of your sound library. For details on how to create and edit device descriptions, please refer to the user manual.

Please search the Online Repository inside the Audio & MIDI Setup window to check if a template for your sound library already exists. If so, you can download it for immediate use. If not, you will need to make the one-time effort of creating a new template device and add all (or selected) sound properties and articulations, according to the technical documentation of your sound library.

User Collaboration

Creating templates for large sound libraries, of which there are hundreds out there, is best managed in a collaborative effort. Once you have created a template, we encourage you to upload an share it with our Online Repository, so other users can download, use and also complete missing items and upload again.

Using Templates

Everywhere you see this crate or box icon, you can browse templates for sound properties to insert:

If you want to build an orchestral arrangement, for example, you load plug-ins into the arrangement's rack to host sounds, selectively picked from an orchestral sound library. In the Arrange window, there are two ways to do this: 

  1. Switch to the Sounds tab and build a rack module before you use it.
  2. Stay on the Arrangement tab and add sounds incrementally, as you need them, on the instrument inspector. 

Which way you prefer is a matter of taste. We will show the second way here, because it keeps the many distracting features of the Sounds tab out of our way for now:

Using Articulations

An articulation can be assigned to any segment of the Figure parameter, by selecting it from the menu on the parameter inspector:

Depending on the sound you have assigned to the instrument, different articulations are available. Articulations can be defined at device level (work for all sounds in the device), sound level (work for all instruments using that sound), or instrument level (work for the particular instrument only).