was founded in 2003 by Nicolay Ketterer and is based in Karlsruhe, Germany. Our company specialises in large sample libraries, providing authentic virtual realisations of acoustic instruments.
In 2007, realsamples started the Edition Beurmann featuring historical harpsichords, spinets and pianos. Subsequently, we released a virtual version of the Luthéal, residing at the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) in Brussels.
Recording session at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg, 2013 (photo by Nicolay Ketterer)
"With the samples, I like to capture the elusive thing that moves people about the instrument, the emotion it evokes, its beauty." says Nicolay Ketterer, head of realsamples.
"Some sample companies shoot for 'neutral' sounding recordings. This is not what I'm after. I feel that seemingly 'neutral' audio equipment and recordings mostly sound boring and flat. The acoustic reality of the instruments is far from boring." It's a general problem inherent to audio recordings, he contnues. "By default, reducing real, 3-dimensional audio events to stereo is anything but neutral. By choosing the appropriate equipment, I strive for 3-dimensional essence and impact of an instrument."
Nicolay Ketterer - photo by Joy Dana
Why not going for 'neutral' and shaping the result later? "Once captured, a signal is very limited in what can be done to it. Missing dimension cannot be overcome after the fact. Personally, I think ' The Medium Is The Message' by Marshall McLuhan applies here: The way the samples are recorded, that’s the message. So I try to ask myself: What’s the message of the instrument? How would it sound in a performance? And I try to capture that in a flattering, immediate way. Hopefully, it strikes you as a player and inspires you in a similar fashion like an original instrument would. When playing the samples, my goal is that you're part of the original playing experience."
To keep track of that goal, I keep monitoring the audio market for the appropriate recording equipment and update my equipment when necessary. Recent additions include equipment by DS-audioservice.
"I handle the recording duties myself, as well as the editing of every single sample. This ensures that the guy who actually heard and played the instrument may realize his vision until the end." The editing includes selection of the right samples to convey the emotional impact of the instrument, along with fitting "noises" such as key release sounds. Post production is kept to a minimum, in a way it fits the overall sound.