An issue that I often contemplate is, when is it acceptable to use factory presets and samples? I tend not to use them most of the time in favor of inventing new sounds and sampling from my own recordings and instruments. However, sometimes I make exceptions, such as using presets for classic keyboard sounds like pianos and organs, or individual drum samples for programming beats. Personally I have an aversion to using them, but I don’t doubt that lots of excellent music is produced using unchanged samples and factory presets. So the question remains, when is it a good idea and when is it a bad idea to rely on what has been painstakingly produced for us by industry professionals?
When I use presets I usually make some adjustments to in order to get closer to what I’m after sonically. In the piece Rihaku that I wrote with Nils Westdal for our album Truth is Stranger I used the factory sampled piano on the Yamaha A3000. I would have preferred to use an acoustic piano, but opted to give the sampler a go for budgetary reasons. In order to get a bit more sustain out of the sound I made some subtle but effective changes to the patch including manipulating the envelope, adjusting the velocity sensitivity, and slightly compressing the output.
Rihaku by Keston and Westdal