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Topic: Sonar, MIDI and audio tracks behaviour

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  1. #1
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
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    Sonar, MIDI and audio tracks behaviour

    I behaved myself, and did not ask for help for a month or so (just kidding).
    I got home to Canada and right away I got a nasty cold (because of the Petri-dish bacteria generator= plane). Recovered enough now that I wish to further my meager education in Sonar's mysteries.
    I am trying to set up my orchestra basic template (again), utilizing Randy's helping advises to me and others. So, I have all my strings in one instance of Aria. For each MIDI track I also set an audio track (automatic, as I load Aria). So far so good... (as the guy falling off from the tenth floor said as he passed the forth floor). My MIDI track 1 is Strings, track 2 is 1st violin, and I set the two audio tracks so, that the input to them is Aria 1-2 stereo and 3-4 stereo respectively. If I play MIDI track 1, the audio meter on the corresponding audio track nicely responding. When I play MIDI track 2, BOTH audio tracks meter is responding. This is not a problem, but I would love to know why? (I was in research, that's why I wish to know). Any instrument in the same instance of Aria behave that way?!?
    An other odd observation, unrelated to the above question, that I could not pan my oboe to where I wanted it, it was coming out from the right even if I set it far left in Sonar and Aria Mixer page indicated also what I set in Sonar. Is that because the oboe is set to stereo?
    So, as Randy said to me at one point that there are no silly questions only silly people ( like me,) here I am asking again...

    Ted

  2. #2

    Re: Sonar, MIDI and audio tracks behaviour

    I've never used Sonar, but not knowing anything about a subject has never stopped me from making up answers before.

    Actually it sounds to me as if both this issues are a consequence of how Aria behaves as a VST. If you are using the built in Aria convolution/ambiance reverb the results of the reverb processing for all 16 instruments slots is sent through audio channel 1/2. So even if you have an instrument in slot 16 sent to audio channel 31/32 the its reverb will be sent through audio channel 1/2.

    This isn't clear by any means in the GPO4 manual and it caught me off guard at first and found it quite frustrating as you would logically and intuitively expect the instrument's own reverb to route to the audio channel the instrument was assigned to. However, routing the reverb to one channel does make some sense from a software design/performance perspective. If each the reverb of each slot was computed independently then ARIA would have to run 16 processes for 16 seperate reverb units. Considering a project may use 3-6 instaces of aria or more, that would add up pretty fast. It does make sense to mix all the audio together and pass it through a single reverb for each instance of ARIA.

    It would be nice if you could reassign the channel the reverb goes out on. It would be even nicer if you could run ARIA an audio effects VST and decide yourself how many reverb units to route and run (I believe some players can be configured this way.)

    Ultimately, I myself have gotten into the habit of leaving slot one empty and leaving channel 1/2 tagged in the mixer as "Strings" reverb or "Brass Reverb" for whatever section the instance of Aria is dedicated to. This at least in my mind has been the best way to deal with this quirk. It's not a really big deal as a quirks go as it is nice that ARIA includes a serviceable reverb unit at all. By the time you reach the point that it's unacceptable you'd probably want to use a more advanced reverb unit anyhow. (I'm content with the built in convolution reverb myself for the moment and purposely avoiding looking any deeper at this really cool looking Vienna MIR thingy.)

    Anyhow, I think that probably answers your first issue. For the second issue, if you have either the reverb active or the "stereo stage" option active you will get some signal in the left speaker even if you have the instrument potted all the way to the right. Try deactivating both these options in Aria and you should get only the right or left channel sounding when potted to either side. If not, this is probably due to a setting or effect on Sonar's side.

  3. #3
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
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    Re: Sonar, MIDI and audio tracks behaviour

    Hello Daniel:

    Thanks a lot. You not only answered my questions but offered solutions, which I will try to do today.
    It is generous of you to spend this much time for my benefit.

    Thanks again

    Ted

  4. #4

    Re: Sonar, MIDI and audio tracks behaviour

    Good thread, thanks to you guys - Ted with the good questions, and Daniel for the expert advise in reply.

    I've pulled out quotes from both of you, and I'll add more comments below them:

    Quote Originally Posted by tedvanya View Post
    ...If I play MIDI track 1, the audio meter on the corresponding audio track nicely responding. When I play MIDI track 2, BOTH audio tracks meter is responding. This is not a problem, but I would love to know why...

    ... could not pan my oboe to where I wanted it, it was coming out from the right even if I set it far left in Sonar and Aria Mixer page indicated also what I set in Sonar. Is that because the oboe is set to stereo?...
    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Bendshadler View Post
    ...If you are using the built in Aria convolution/ambiance reverb the results of the reverb processing for all 16 instruments slots is sent through audio channel 1/2. So even if you have an instrument in slot 16 sent to audio channel 31/32 the its reverb will be sent through audio channel 1/2.

    ...routing the reverb to one channel does make some sense from a software design/performance perspective

    ...I myself have gotten into the habit of leaving slot one empty

    ...if you have either the reverb active or the "stereo stage" option active you will get some signal in the left speaker even if you have the instrument potted all the way to the right...
    Daniel explained perfectly how the reverberant signals from all ARIA slots emerge from that first 1/2 stereo out. I asked the ARIA developers about that once, and they explained that it wouldn't be completely impractical to have the effected signal coming from separate outs along with the dry instrument signals. So it's just as Daniel said, that this architecture makes sense from a software design perspective.

    The practice of leaving ARIA's first slot empty works great for people using the reverbs in ARIA. That corresponding audio track in your recording program will have the exclusive job of piping out the reverb for the entire ARIA instance. Balance of reverb amounts are still controlled with the individual Send pots in ARIA, and the summed signal for the whole mix can be controlled, if one wants, with the volume slider of that audio track.

    BUT - Ted, please check to see if all of that info fixes your issue. Turn the reverbs off, and make sure you're getting the instrument signals from their individual tracks. Your description of what's happening could be due to a different problem of having your MIDI tracks responding in Omni mode - That's probably not the case, but check on that.

    The second issue was also covered perfectly by Daniel. As soon as we have stereo FX engaged, like reverb, and the ARIA "Stereo Stage" then the signal from a single instrument is bouncing around the entire stereo field. Panning becomes blurred, because no matter where we try to place the instrument, we'll hear significant signal coming from all directions. I think it's the first Oboe solo in GPO which has a stereo sample set, making directional panning even more difficult.

    As mentioned on another current thread, in Sonar, you always have the option to click the Interleave button on an audio track, and change it from Stereo to Mono - Once it's been forced to send out a Mono signal, you can get precise with your panning - And that doesn't hurt the sum effect of a project's mix.

    Randy

  5. #5
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
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    Re: Sonar, MIDI and audio tracks behaviour

    Thanks Randy, BUT-BUT you made me worried also.
    On each MIDI track I set as Input my keyboard controller and select MIDI OMNI!
    Is that a problem? If I click on the input of a track, my M-Audio Keystation controller shows up with 16 MIDI tracks, but I always used MIDI OMNI. Wrong? What is confusing for me, is that the keyboard is showing up as Input3-Keystation 61e (1) on ALL my three instances of Aria the same way, on all the tracks.



    And, thanks for the oboe help, yes, it works that way, no problem...

    Ted

  6. #6

    Re: Sonar, MIDI and audio tracks behaviour

    Quote Originally Posted by tedvanya View Post
    ...On each MIDI track I set as Input my keyboard controller and select MIDI OMNI!
    Is that a problem? ...
    No, that's not a problem, Ted. And if you're getting the results you expect, with each MIDI track playing what you think it should, then that's proof that everything's fine. Sounds like I confused you with my earlier reply, sorry about that, if that's the case, and I can see why my brief note could have been confusing.

    Earlier I meant to refer to the OUTs on your MIDI tracks, not the Ins. In the tracker header, the Inspector, if you don't select a MIDI channel, then it's not going to trigger the specific instrument you want in ARIA. But I think you have all that set up correctly - you Are getting each track to play the separate instruments in ARIA.

    Here's a tip though - You don't need to specify your keyboard as the input in the In field. The default is "All Inputs-Omni" and that will work because you only have your keyboard as a MIDI input device. One can do as you are doing, click the menu and choose the keyboard, but the results are the same. So, good news - It's easier than you thought. Your keyboard will send out on MIDI channel 1 by default, and Sonar by default will be on All Inputs, and you're set, as long as you specify which soft synth to go to in the Out field, and in the last slot, set the MIDI channel of the instrument you want to play. What's happening is that while the data will be labeled (Chan: 1) when you look at the controller panes in the PRV, or in the Event List, Sonar is sending out the data the channel you selected in that track header.

    I'm sure you have all that going on correctly - Now you know you can leave the default setting for the input.

    Randy

  7. #7
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
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    Re: Sonar, MIDI and audio tracks behaviour

    Thank you.
    You did not react to my story of the guy falling and saying so far so good. With your and Daniels help I landed softly, did not have a scratch on me...

    Thanks

    Ted

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