Virtual vs Real Instruments
Old 27th January 2010
  #1
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Virtual vs Real Instruments

Real vs Virtual Instruments

I have been recording, mixing, and sequencing music for the past two years (still a rookie but intelligent enough to talk about music) and have wondered if it is more cost efficient to make music using real instruments or just to sequence them using virtual instruments. I have even heard a sample of a virtual composition compared to the actual recording on a big budget movie and I could not tell the difference. So I am wondering, are real instruments going to be replaced by virtual and does it actually save time and money?

Here are a couple pros and cons for both:

Pro Virtual:

1. Can only take one person to get the job done.

2. Cheaper! - No need for musicians, microphones, space, studio, instruments, hardware (compressors, pre amps, etc),
composer, hd rig. All you need is a keyboard and a computer with Logic Pro, Reason, Cubase, etc.

3. If you are good - you can be as dynamic as a real instrument.

Con Virtual:

1. Very music savvy individuals can pick up on real vs fake.

2. Sequencing is very time consuming and takes a lot of practice to be seasoned.

3. You still need to know some music theory.

Pro Real:
1. The recording of a song with a full band is an EXPERIENCE in itself. It fun and emotional to be apart of the recording
process.

2. Real instruments will always sound more authentic and dynamic.

3. Keeping real instruments in the music process will keep musicianship alive and give reason for them to play.

Con Real:

1. Can be very expensive like a said earlier in pro virtual.

2. If your musicians aren't that good at what they do, then your job has just begun! You have to edit things to be on time and
in tune in order for you to have your name on it (if you even want your name on it).

3. Sometimes the recording experience is not so fun: like your artists are very difficult to work with or they need the perfect
conditions to be artistic. Or someone have have forgot to press record instead of play and you missed the best take.

Since I don't know how to play an instrument, I am a sequencer and I also prefer virtual over real. But if I was an amazing
acoustic guitar player I would probably prefer the real deal. If anyone has a take on this please post something!
Old 28th January 2010
  #2
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Absolute's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MR JOSH B View Post
Real vs Virtual Instruments

Since I don't know how to play an instrument, I am a sequencer and I also prefer virtual over real. But if I was an amazing
acoustic guitar player I would probably prefer the real deal. If anyone has a take on this please post something!
Your last sentence hit the nail on the head.

If we are talking about a pad synth then it just doesnt matter if its real or not. But there should be no virtuoso performance programmed--thats just lame.

Anything that takes advanced skill to play should not be programmed. Part of the joy of listening to such a thing is knowing how hard it is---how much work the performer put into it. Backings for Rap or pop IMO dont matter musically at all. I play 6 instruments and It wouldnt bother me one bit to program those backings--they are basically no talent parts that are not even enjoyable to play.

So I hope that answers some of it--from My perspective of course.
Old 28th January 2010
  #3
Gear addict
 

With virtual instruments I always spend a great deal of time to make them sound real, mostly by dynamic variations (timing variations mostly count in piano music or jazz). They seem to work best with pop or dance styles where you mostly want accuracy.

I don't have much trouble using virtual drums, but I'm never satisfied with faked guitars of any kind. Depends a lot on the instrument really.
Old 28th January 2010
  #4
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Lenzo's Avatar
We live in a time of wonderful tools. If you have a desire to be creative, use whatever works for you. Make music that you like and don't worry about what will be or what others think will or won't work. Ask 20 people and you'll get 20 different answers most of the time. Have fun and make some noise.
L.
Old 28th January 2010
  #5
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The MPCist's Avatar
 

Quote:
3. If you are good - you can be as dynamic as a real instrument.
Depends on the instrument -- you can probably get away with an acceptable piano performance but it's impossible for some things like acoustic guitar.

Quote:
1. Can be very expensive like a said earlier in pro virtual.
Not if you play yourself. Lots of us are multi-instrumentalists... practice make perfect!
AND: you don't save money per se. Buying VI's are pretty expensive... I've spend over 10 grand on them alone recently....
Old 4th February 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The MPCist View Post
Depends on the instrument -- you can probably get away with an acceptable piano performance but it's impossible for some things like acoustic guitar.



Not if you play yourself. Lots of us are multi-instrumentalists... practice make perfect!
AND: you don't save money per se. Buying VI's are pretty expensive... I've spend over 10 grand on them alone recently....
Booyah. You got that right. An initial SMALL investment in VI's seems like a major money saver, but if you get good at it, your ears improve, and you start to realize it's going to cost a TON more to have a top-level VI of EVERYTHING. Vienna strings cost a lot for a reason - they're worth it to folks who need orchestral realism. $400-$1000 for a piano VI?!!! They're worth it once you can tell the Logic included pianos aren't QUITE there.

I will say that one area that's affordable and everystudio should have is Amplitube 2 and their Hendrix/AmpegSVX addons. Amazingly useful and dirt cheap compared to even one of the amps modeled. SVX is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

-Matt
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