More than once, I've experienced some strange behaviour of the GPO libraries in Notion when exporting a file to audio (realtime or bounced). To be complete: Garritan instruments work perfectly within Notion with the embedded presets. So it is very well possible to build a balanced score with GPO and other instruments. When performing directly from Notion, everything sounds well and in balance. But from the moment the Notion file is exported to audio, the balance gets disturbed for the GPO libraries. They become ways too loud and seem to lose the set balance (or get back to their initial settings?). That is very annoying. You can fiddle with the balance (reducing fiercely the GPO intsruments) and hope that the fink result will be OK, but that is only by trial and error, not by premeditated choices.
Has anybody had the same experience (or in another notation programme) and how can this be solved?
Max I am running Sonar X-1, using Aria ( 3 instances) and one Giga-player for my Giga samples, but never had the problem you describe.
One thing comes in my mind what Randy was telling us (re volume settings in Aria) that "hands off the volume sliders in Aria", let Sonar volume sliders control them. Until that good advise, I had weird behavior of Aria's volume sliders, jumping to very high settings as soon as playback started.
Let us hope Randy will look in on your question, he could explain better what I am trying to say. Of course I could be all wrong, I do not know Notion...
...from the moment the Notion file is exported to audio, the balance gets disturbed for the GPO libraries. They become ways too loud and seem to lose the set balance (or get back to their initial settings?). That is very annoying. You can fiddle with the balance (reducing fiercely the GPO intsruments) and hope that the fink result will be OK, but that is only by trial and error, not by premeditated choices...
Originally Posted by tedvanya
...One thing comes in my mind what Randy was telling us (re volume settings in Aria) that "hands off the volume sliders in Aria", let Sonar volume sliders control them. Until that good advise, I had weird behavior of Aria's volume sliders, jumping to very high settings as soon as playback started...
Yes, what Ted is referring to is the first thing that comes to my mind, Max. This has come up on several threads recently. The basic concept is simple - that a Host program (notation program or DAW software) will often (always?) control the mixer in ARIA by default. Those sliders in ARIA are controlled by MIDI Continuous Controller #7, and so are the sliders for MIDI tracks in my reference program, Sonar. When this situation holds true, if the user does all the mixing solely with ARIA's controls, those settings will be changed by whatever levels have been set by the host program--even if the user didn't purposely use the host programs controls. Whatever level they're at will take control. In Sonar, for instance, the default level for MIDI tracks if 101.
Not having used Notion, I don't know for sure if the same situation applies. Something you said, Max, that doesn't fit the scenario I've given is that apparently your playback is fine while working on the score, and it's only when exporting to audio that the levels jump to this high level. In situations I'm familiar with, the host's settings will take over the instant a project starts to play. So after pausing to do some work, when the user pushes Play again, the levels will jump up to the host levels - In other words, that happens way before bouncing to audio.
To see if I could get a better idea about Notion, I looked around online, but couldn't find anything that addresses what you're talking about, Max. I found a YouTube video about exporting audio from Notion, but he didn't make mention of levels changing. It took the video maker over 4 minutes just to show how to click Export in the menu - BUT, side note, it pretty much horrified me to see that he was exporting the mix of his score DIRECTLY to SoundCloud. Yikes. No wonder I hear so many things on SoundCloud that weren't ready for prime time - That's a horrible idea, to simply export and trust that all be well. I can't stress enough how people need to export a file, and then import the audio into a sound editor like Audacity, trim off silence at the beginning and end, and increase the volume until it's filling up the full range. One should also listen carefully for any glitches, some of which can be fixed with the audio editor. There's never a legitimate reason to say after posting music online, "Oh, I should have trimmed the silence" or "Gee, it sure came out soft."
So the jury's out, Max - Ted was right that you're describing having your ARIA levels changed by Notion - but I don't know why those aren't changing before you export. Odd. If you can't work on a mix there in Notion and trust that your finished product will sound like what you've worked on - it would be beyond maddening!
EDIT: I'm sure you've been to the Notion Forum, Max, but for handy reference here's the link. I've been looking around, and I think some info you need could possibly already be posted there:
Max - Since writing earlier, I found this info in Notion's FAQ:
"Notion’s brand new, professional audio mixer is unlike anything you have ever seen in a notation product. Notion’s mixer is complete with multiple channel outputs, faders and meters, stereo panning, solo and mute, and sends and busses for integrating with your VSTs and VSTi software plugins. Check out details on the mixer at the Notion page."
And here's that spiffy looking mixer:
I think you must not be using that mixer, and the default levels of those sliders are controlling your export, as I described earlier.
Thank you all for your advice, specially Randy for his thorough inquiry. With Notion, you simply have to use the mixer, since the standard setting is for most sample just too loud or most samples. Moreover, It would be very difficult to use all sample mixers from different applications together and build a uniform volume level. Maybe I should leave the ARIA mixer alone in its initial settings.
My second recording has a somewhat different overall sound image. It still needs some more tweaking in the reverb convolution (MIR works with IR), but it gives a fair example of what it is finally going to be.
And I'm still in touch with the Notion people to examine the exact cause of this flaw.
1)...With Notion, you simply have to use the mixer, since the standard setting is for most sample just too loud or most samples...
2) Maybe I should leave the ARIA mixer alone in its initial settings...
3) I'm still in touch with the Notion people to examine the exact cause of this flaw...
Hi, Max - Responses to your 3 points as I numbered them:
1) - Good! As it should be - And for precisely the reason you gave. Instruments are from various sources and Have to be mixed to get the balance you want. Even instruments from the same source aren't going to be balanced the way you want. Never rely on default levels.
I'll add that the levels are always too high because the default setting for all mixer sliders is up there at "zero DB"--with extra headroom above that. That's just the default, NEVER to be used as-is. A good rule of thumb is to begin by pulling all faders in a mixer down to 1/2 way. Then push and pull up and down as needed. The volume level from layers of instruments gets loud very quickly.
2) YES! You need to do your mixing there in Notion, NOT in ARIA. I was being circumspect in my earlier reply, since I've never used Notion, but now that I've looked into it, and checked out the mixer - I can see it's exactly the same situation as what I'm familiar with in Sonar. You've proven that yourself - Trying to balance things with ARIA's sliders doesn't work, because that mixer in Notion is going to take control. Those are the only ones you should use.
3) Well, it really isn't a flaw. It's just the logic of MIDI. Those sliders in Notion's mixer use CC7 to control volume - and so do the ones in ARIA. But you can't expect to use two sets of mixer controls on the same source - One Must take precedence, and it only makes sense for the Host program to be in control.
It makes sense what you've explained here, but one is always tempted to use both mixers.
As you have noticed, the Notion mixer is some kind of small DAW, with all kinds of inserts and together with the Notion sequencer view, there is plenty of possibility to tweak and influence the sound of any note or instrument. So, it isn't that strange that some people (the demonstrator in the tutorial as well) send their product directly to the SoundCloud, assumed that all the reverb settings, panning and tweaking have been performed in Notion...
But you're right again, the raw music data are not designed and fit for publication.
And once it's understood that using two mixers makes for a collision of the same controllers trying to take charge, then it's clear why that can't work.
Originally Posted by Max Hamburg
...it isn't that strange that some people (the demonstrator in the tutorial as well) send their product directly to the SoundCloud...
I wouldn't say it's "strange," and not to be argumentative, but I'm just saying it's very bad practice. A number of music programs have made it easy for users to upload to the web straight from the software, Cakewalk has that too, and in theory it sounds appealing. As you point out, they'll even show that in video tutorials.
But I've used Sonar for years, knowing that my mix as I finally have it there in Sonar is sounding pretty good - but I've never been tempted to bypass the opportunity to take a critical listen to the actual Master audio file before sharing. To me that's crazy talk!
We hear the bad results of this all the time - uploaded music that has silence for the first several seconds, has in-the-red distortion, or is too soft, any number of other glitches, all because people mistakenly assume it has to be right just because the program they're using seems sophisticated.
The point is obvious, that our music deserves the best presentation possible, and when you export a mix from whatever program you're using, that's just the first step in producing an actual Master to make MP3s from.