Tell us a little bit about yourself and your sample libraries?
I am Jesús Ginard, I’m a spanish musician based on the beautiful island of Mallorca (come and visit it if you still haven’t!). I created Wavesfactory on March, 2010 because I was frustrated on the prices of the sample libraries out there. Since the day we started we’ve had the same concept in our minds: develop very usable high quality sample libraries and price them as low as possible. Usually, low price means “low quality”, but that’s not the case. “Why are you selling this amazing library for only €9.95? Are you mad? You could charge €70 or €80!”. It’s something we are used to hear :)
In 2012 we released an audio plugin called “TrackSpacer” that was nominated for the SOS Awards at the “Best Plugin of the Year” category and it’s been used by hundreds of professional mixers and producers, very well known DJs and one of the biggest bands in the world, Coldplay.
How do you prepare or should we say, how does one start making sample libraries?
There are several reasons. One of them is the necessity of one particular library when composing, if it hasn’t been done yet, or the price of the existing is very high, or we think we can do it better, then we do it. Also there are some cases where you hear a certain sound and something clicks on your mind, like it happened with the song “Lost and found” from Elliott Smith. That piano sound just amazed me, I found that it was one of the classic pianos on Abbey Road Studios called “the Mrs Mills piano”. Obviously, I couldn’t afford going to London and hire Abbey Road to sample it, so I replicated that special sound recording, an upright piano from a music school and mix it with a synth sound like a hammer a little bit detuned. And it was perfect, it’s called “W-Honky”. Of course, we take suggestions that people send, add them to a wish-list and produce them when we find that particular instrument.
How long does it take to make a sample library? (recording, mixing, programming etc.)
It really depends on the project. For example, for DrumCircle there was a preproduction work, hiring the drummers and the recording studio. 1 day for the recording, 2 weeks for editing the samples and programming, 1 week for the script and 1 more week for audio demos and video. So, maybe it took about 2 months. A simple library can take about 2 or 3 weeks.
Can you give us a little insight on your creative process? (microphone placement, equipment used, vst software)
Again, it really depends on the instrument I want to sample, but generally I use AKG 414s, I love them! If the instrument is sharp on high frequencies (like a glockenspiel or a trumpet) I use the sweetness of a ribbon microphone, Coles 4038. For drums I use all sorts of microphones…
For preamps, I have two options. For a clean transparent signal I use the Audient ASP008. For a more driven and coloured sound I use a UA Twinfinity 4-710 D preamp which is great because you can control the amount of distortion, choose between Tube and Transistor and it also has a LA2A compressor circuit built in. I really like it.
For recording and editing I use Logic, it’s not better or worse than any other DAW, it’s the one I’m used to. I use it basically for cutting samples. Then I use the great Keymap Pro from Redmatica, which Apple bought a few years ago. It’s such a pity for us sample developers because we no longer have updates for the new OS (it stopped working for Mavericks). I don’t know what we’ll do when we’re forced to move to a new OS and leave Keymap behind. That’s an SOS sign to all software developers! Of course, for bigger projects we hire a recording studio and use its equipment. For DrumCircle we used Millennia and Avalon preamps and Neumann, AKG and Sennheiser microphones.
How much sound design is involved in making sample libraries?
Basically tuning and de-noising. We don’t do anything other than that.
What inspires you to make such amazing products?
I get inspiration from a lot of sources. There are a lot of things that can inspire you to make a sample library. A sound, a song, a composer, a company, an instrument, a software, a feeling, a dream, a movie… and the list goes on and on. What’s really important for me is the aim to get better and better on each library or audio plugin. Never go back in terms of quality.
Any specific “lessons learned” on a project that you could share?
Well, certainly it’s been a process of learning through failure. First of all, never release something you’re not 100% happy with. Always work with professionals, get surrounded by creative people with a very good musical sense. If you are recording a musician who doesn’t control the instrument very well, you better press the ‘stop’ button. You will know that in the first 3 minutes of the recording. I’ve lost a lot of time for this! And the most important thing: customers are always right, the best thing to do is to listen to them all the time.
How can a composer approach you to become a demo writer for your sample library? (Do you accept demo reels from composers?)
Of course, we are opened to new demo writers for our libraries. Simply drop us an e-mail to info at wavesfactory.com with your portfolio.
What are your plans for the future?
We have a lot of projects going on right now. We plan to release three more libraries for the StrumGTR collection, as well as two big libraries that I can’t talk about yet. Also, we will be updating older instruments with new custom GUI and new scripting. We are now deep in the development of a plugin that will change the way we record and mix acoustic guitars.
Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?
Don’t loose your mind with pricing, ‘expensive libraries’ doesn’t mean necessarily ‘good libraries’, decide for yourself. When playing, recording, mixing, composing or producing, try to hear your music with a 3rd person perspective. Is what you’re hearing any good? What would you expect if it was done by any other person? Then take decisions based on the MUSIC, based on the song, based on the context. Remember that the most important thing is the feeling, the music; not the sample library, not the audio plugin, not that truly amazing compressor, but the song itself. Remember, perspective. That’s the key.