The best and worst thing about composing in a digital audio workstation is the template. If you do it right, you can start with a new project without worrying about mixing and routing and setting up things, but go straight into composing and bring ideas to life. If you mess it up, you’re spending lots of hours without hitting a single key or writing a single note.
The problem is, templates these days have a lifespan of not years, not months, but weeks which means you’re constantly adapting your template, improving and adding things. DAWs are getting new features, new sample libraries are released, it’s endless and sometimes it also feels pointless trying to adapt a template.
Then why have I recently set my mind on creating a new template? Because:
- My DAW, Studio One, has great drag&drop features that I discovered recently (on Alex Pfeffer’s channel btw) which enable me to modularize (is this a word?) my template, using/importing only sections/instruments that I need and leaving others out which makes it easier to navigate within the project and also saves RAM and loading times.
- My last template was based on the VST host Vienna Ensemble Pro which is great if you don’t change a thing in your VSTs, but as soon as you start to jump between DAW and VSTs, it’s a layer in between that you have to navigate around which costs time. Apart from that midi some controller data (expression, sustain…) are not displayed correctly if you have VEP instances between your DAW and the VST. Hence, I returned to hosting everything directly in Studio One.
- Studio One has a great new feature called Sound Variations. You have to do some programming, but as soon as that’s done, you can change articulations (tremolo, trills, con sordino etc.) with a single mouse click within the instrument’s main track. That’s a gamechanger. It makes my template more clean and easy to navigate.
- Last but not least it’s about sound. As you know I’m a big fan of composer Robin Hoffmann’s and his insights that he regularly shares on Patreon. He moved to a new template recently and I decided to update mine according to his recommendations. I won’t go into detail too much because I want people to subscribe to his Patreon account, but suffice it to say that I changed a lot of mic positions and returned to my (for a long time neglected) Spitfire percussion library.
What can you expect from all this? Hopefully more music, as I should be able to finish my projects more quickly. Apart from that I’m re-arranging old projects of mine that I had done with VSL samples, for my new template resulting in a better mix and more convincing sounds. I’ve already re-arranged my album Don’t Forget My Name (expect it to be released soon), and I’m currently at updating The Dark Guardian and Day of the Falcon. With two more compositions to be released (Project Gold-NI and Thunder Island) there’s a LOT of music in the pipeline!