Raw wav files for portability?

Hi all,

Given the nature or the library and the wonderful opportunity it represents, I’m surprised that more of the submitted samples are for specific players.

I’m fairly new to the world of electronic music production and I’m trying to bootstrap everything all at once and there’s therefore a pretty significant chance that I just misunderstand some of the basics, but I would have thought that more of the library instruments would have the raw WAV files available so that the community could provide support in building for a range specific instruments (Kontact, EXS24, or what-have-you).

I think that it might just be that I’ve hugely underestimated the effort to build an instrument from the samples, but I purchased Logic Pro a couple of weeks ago and was very excited to try out some of the instruments here, but as most of them seem to have been built for Kontact, no joy.

Christian’s original ‘how to sample’ page (https://www.pianobook.co.uk/how-to-sample) seems to suggest that he was thinking along similar lines, but as the library matures, dedicated Kontact instruments seem to becoming more prevalent.

If the raw samples were available, it doesn’t seem a huge step to provide a ‘supported instruments’ section for each set of samples so that the community could pile in and fill the gaps.

Could one of the more seasoned community members comment on whether the lack of raw samples is by design or accident, and whether it would be beneficial to encourage upload of the raw samples with every submission?

Also, it seems like the underlying .ncw files can be converted to WAV files by anyone with a Kontact license - would there be a benefit in backfilling all the instruments that only have Kontact support?

Hmm… most of the instruments on here already do include the raw files

When someone uploads a “kontakt” instrument it usually just means that they have supplied the samples as well as a kontakt instrument file (.nki) to which they are mapped and already usable, so that other may adapt the sample set to other formats should they desire.

Great, I must have been unlucky with the random sample that I looked at.
Maybe a manifest of the zipped documents would be useful to indicate what’s there.

I downloaded the latest Tape Delay Experiment instrument and, right enough, the raw samples are there.

That gives me an opportunity to contribute back by trying to create a EXS24 version of the instrument!
Right, off to learn how that’s done…

That’s fair, perhaps not everyone has provided RAW samples with their instrument. It is sort of the general guideline though and fortunately with formats like EXS and sfz and sometimes kontakt usually the samples can be pretty easily accessed.

I was actually just thinking about this recently, a pianobook project I have been developing for a while now had accidentally been saved as .ncw samples (since I’m developing mainly for kontakt). Fortunately I noticed and kontakt will let you re-save the compressed files back down to wavs, so there was no trouble.

Anyway I agree with your sentiment, each instrument should provide a little more info about the package (like what version of kontakt, or what kind of samples, etc) in the info text. That way if someone uploads an awesome instrument that doesn’t have the samples available, it may prevent someone the loss of time on a download who intended to convert the instrument. (Of course these are all free so it’s a commodity thing)

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Yes, the compressed proprietary file formats (like Kontakt’s .ncw) should be avoided. I think that many people are not aware that many of the “Kontakt libraries” on Pianobook have the raw samples included.

Ideally, we should differentiate between a) mapping (for a specific sampler instrument eg Kontakt, tells the sampler instrument which sample to play at the press of a specific key and at a certain velocity strength) and b) the samples which the mapping corresponds too.

By the way, I wish more .sfz mappings of Pianobook instruments that are currently Kontakt only could be made. There is a discussion group for the .sfz format on Discord and one member mentioned a tool that could automatically create mappings if the samples follow a consistent naming convention.

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In a lot of cases it’s not as simple as that. If someone has created an instrument in Kontakt and has used scripting or other builtin tools to create an instrument, you can’t just use those samples in another format and expect the same results. In effect you’re breaking the artistic vision that the creator had for that instrument.

There’s also the technical aspect to consider. Compressed .ncw perform a lot better that .wav files.

I think for the most part submitted instruments are in Kontakt because it is the most universally excepted format. It also allows for anyone to use the instrument with the free Kontakt player if that don’t own the full version, so in that regard it’s also very equitable.

Ah, that makes sense.
I had thought Kontact was a straightforward sampler (I told you I was new to this… :-)).
Yup, if the sample is just the base material for a more complex vision, I totally get that folks might not really want bastardised versions of their vision being backported. Thanks for the wider context.

It depends, many Kontakt-format libraries on Pianobook don’t make use of elaborate scripting. Kontakt Player runs in demo mode and quits after 15 minutes, so it’s not usable for composition.

@IkeHayes Yup - tried Kontact Player today and just too frustrating with the free licence constraints.
I’m going to have a little play with a couple of the instruments which have WAV files, but no EXS24 support to learn a little more.

I imagine that a fair number of the instruments are straightforward audio samples directly mapped to midi even lookup tables and don’t have anything fancy in the way of sound processing layered on top. If so, it should be possible to build player support where it’s missing and add to the breadth of supported players.

If there’s sufficient interest, I’ll pull together a list of instruments along with their associated assets and supported players. That way, individuals could chip in and start to fill in the gaps.

As mentioned, I’m just getting started with electronic music, so I’m banking on a few false starts before I know enough to comment meaningfully…

Ok, so 20 minutes into my adventure, I’ve learned that EXS24 isn’t multi-timbral, so that’ll rule out a smooth porting of something like the Tape Delay Experiment which blends samples from multiple processed sources so isn’t going to fly.

Still, might be useful to have 4 separate instruments (Pedals, Portastudio, Echo Fix and Modular) rather than nothing, right?

Something that’s been touched on a little bit elsewhere around here is that EXS24, even though only found within logic, is a pretty good format to share built instruments in too since many of the other samplers on the market will import the exs format. Kontakt used to until recent versions in fact

To work with exs you can I believe use the sample select feature in the modulation tab to map certain midi cc events to the volume of groups that you can assign within the exs sample editor.

I personally like the .sfz format in conjunction with the free Sforzando plugin. The .sfz format is an open format (not proprietary like Kontakt) structured in such a manner, that you can literally use a simple text editor to create the mappings, if you have access to the raw audio files. @Sid created some mappings here on Pianobook. There is also a variety of dedicated tools and a small community of people taking care of the further development of this open standard. You can find out all about the format here.

@Pierce The free TX16wx is supposed to play EXS24 formatted libraries, but I’m not certain it translates / imports them well.