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Topic: Add New Instruments to Aria - Tutorial

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  1. #1

    Add New Instruments to Aria - Tutorial





    This is a tutorial that I created to help others implement new instruments into Aria through the menu and with full controls!

    Tested with: Garritan Instant Orchestra, Garritan Personal Orchestra, and Garritan World Instruments.

    *I will upload pictures soon.

    *If You have Garritan Personal Orchestra or World Instruments, I would recommend using the custom instruments with these libraries because the custom instrument category will be beside "Standard" rather then blended in with the instrument categories in Garritan Instant Orchestra.

    Required Files:
    http://www.save-tara.com/Aria-Custom...ment-Files.rar


    Step 1 - Converting to SFZ:
    You will need to get, Extreme Sample Converter, to convert your samples (GIG, FXP, etc…) to SFZ which Aria uses. Now make sure you select destination format as SFZ in the options and as wav files for best quality. Use the recommended settings (Layers). Then select the sample you want to convert and press the big convert button at the bottom and save it to a new folder. What I did was create a folder, “black_grand_piano_samples” Once the conversion is complete you will have a single folder with all of your samples and the sfz file for the instrument.


    *There may be other software that can do this.


    Step 2 - Creating the Custom Instruments Folder:
    Create a new directory called “Custom Instruments” inside the instrument folder of the garritan product you will be using to store the custom instruments.


    EX: C:\Program Files\Garritan\Personal Orchestra 4\Instruments\Custom Instruments


    Step 3 - Place Samples and Instrument into the Custom Instruments Folder:
    After creating the "Custom Instruments" folder you want to move the folder which holds the samples and the SFZ of the instrument you just converted to the "Custom Instruments" folder.


    EX: Mine was "black_grand_piano_samples"


    Once you have moved the instrument folder, move the SFZ file out of the sample folder and into the "Custom Instruments" folder.


    Step 4 - Replace Group Category inside SFZ File:
    After placing the SFZ file into the "Custom Instruments" folder open up the SFZ file with notepad and replace everything above the instrument's regions with the following code:


    <control>
    default_path=black_grand_piano_samples/


    #include "C:\Program Files\Garritan\Custom Instruments\Custom_Instrument_Setup.sfz"


    Step 5 - Define the Instrument Sample Path:
    Once you have placed the code in, go to the top part and rename the text, “black_grand_piano_samples,” to the name of the sample folder you created for your instrument.


    Step 6 - Placing Core Files in the Proper Directories:
    After defining the name of the sample path, you will need to extract the core files into a new folder.


    Create a new folder in the Garritan folder and name it "Custom Instruments".


    EX: C:\Program Files\Garritan\Custom Instruments


    The files you will be extracting will include:


    - custom_gui.xml
    - Custom_Instrument_controls.sfz
    - Custom_Instrument_global_fx.sfz
    - Custom_Instrument_Setup.sfz
    - Custom_pre_fx


    Step 7 - Copying the GUI File to the Garritan Libraries:
    After extracting everything into the folder you just created, you will need to copy "custom_gui.xml" into the GUI folder of each garritan product that you want to store custom instruments.


    Step 8 - Adding a New Instrument to the Aria Bank:
    Now, the next step will vary depending on which library you choose. Open one of the following banks in note pad:


    Garritan Instant Orchestra: "Instant Orchestra.bank.xml"
    Garritan Personal Orchestra "GPO.BSN.bank.xml"
    Garritan World Instruemnts: "World Instruments.Standard.bank.xml"


    Whichever bank you choose paste this at the bottom of the file just above “</AriaBank>”


    <AriaProgram name="01 - Custom Instruments/Black Grand Piano" gui="../../GUI/custom_gui.xml" category=""> <AriaElement id="0" path="../../Instruments/Custom Instruments/Black Grand Piano.sfz"/> </AriaProgram>


    Step 9 - Menu Selection and Control Interface:
    Now it’s time to get the proper naming for the menu display.


    AriaProgram name="01 - Custom Instruments/Black Grand Piano”


    Change "Black Grand Piano" to the name you want your instrument displayed as in the Aria menu.


    Next, you need to point to the actual SFZ file.


    path="../../Instruments/Custom Instruments/Black Grand Piano.sfz"/>


    Change "Black Grand Piano.sfz" to the exact name of the SFZ file of your instrument. After all is done save the file!

    Congratulations!!! You are all done!

    In Conclusion:
    I have fully tested this method in each of my Garritan libraries, "GIO, GPO. and GWI," and it works perfectly and you get all of the controls. If you want to add instruments repeat steps: 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9. In my personal view, Aria is the most reliable and convenient player I have used, and the efforts above are well worth it!

    I tackled this because I wanted to get my baby in there! THE BLACK GRAND PIANO!!!

    If you have any questions feel free to reply or even PM me.

  2. #2

    Re: Add New Instruments to Aria - Tutorial

    This is --wow!--Richard - You've been a busy beaver! - What would be great is if you could get all of this into a folder, put it online somewhere, and maybe have a link to it in your signature or something. You know how threads come and go, and too many things get lost.

    If you had the link handy, you could re-post it once in awhile or something.

    I have a few questions and comments coming me as from someone who has so far only used the kinds of files ARIA handles automatically, SFZ instruments(whether or not they're from Garritan) and SoundFont SF2 files - I've never converted an instrument with a different format and tried to make an SFZ instrument out of it:

    --Are you sure your converted SFZ instruments need to be associated with a Garritan Library? Like you're saying here it's best suited for IO, but can be adapted to work with GPO. I guess putting these in one of those existing Libraries is the only way to get ARIA to recognize them. - There is the option, of course, of dragging and dropping or importing, the way I load my Autoharp into ARIA. If you do that, it doesn't matter where the SFZ instrument is stored. But I understand you want your stuff in the ARIA menu. So, have you tried another location, or maybe the master XML file could be edited to point to a location?

    --If you keep the SFZ file inside the same folder as the samples, then you don't need to include a specific location in the file patch name for the samples. It's assumed the associated audio files will be found in that same folder.

    --You know that ARIA automatically converts some things to SFZ format, right? Have you tried making your folder of newly converted samples and then dragging them on to ARIA? I'm curious if it would come up with at least a rudimentary SFZ file that would trigger the instruments according to the original pitches of the samples--?

    --I've never noticed an SFZ instrument using three separate SFZ files the way you're doing here. Are you sure all of that can't be in one monolithic file? That's the only way I've ever done it.

    This is a LOT - yikes - It's great that it works though! Thanks for posting it all, Richard.

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: Add New Instruments to Aria - Tutorial

    You are right I should put it on my signature. I have tried draging and dropping SFZ files from dimension into Aria, but again the problem comes with the release! After converting my black grand to sfz and just importing it I had that basic piano with no release or options... I was destined to get that release on, and then I figured out how to get all of in. Does your auto-harp have the same controls such as the release and attack when you drop it in the player?

    I think I could probably do a master file actually. I never thought of it until you brang it up! Thanks! I was just interested in getting that darn release and controls in. Basically, all I have to do is put all for files into a directory and then figure out how to make Aria read it as it's own separate library, but again... the problem here is... I would have to take aria's graphics and set them in a separate folder for a custom Instruments Library. If I have permission to do this, then by all means this would be the best way to tackle this. Right now, things are legit because they are in the folders of the libraries and using the graphics of the library.

    So basically this is how it would work with granted permission. I would take the UI graphics and then store them into a custom library called, "Garritan Custom Library," and this would be the library where people store there instruments. However, adjustments to custom SFZ files are mandatory if you want those controls. Creating an SFZ and dragging it will only leave you with bare minimum... I am fussy LOL I wanted it all for my black grand and my soloist. With those 4 files that will basically tell ARIA to read the custom instruments with the UI. I would create a custom bank where people can add the instruments as needed like showed in my tutorial.

    Thanks for the reply and questions. I didn't know aria can read other formats besides SFZ!

    Please let me know what you think, and then this can be my next big project if permission is granted.

    Regards,

    Richard


    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    This is --wow!--Richard - You've been a busy beaver! - What would be great is if you could get all of this into a folder, put it online somewhere, and maybe have a link to it in your signature or something. You know how threads come and go, and too many things get lost.

    If you had the link handy, you could re-post it once in awhile or something.

    I have a few questions and comments coming me as from someone who has so far only used the kinds of files ARIA handles automatically, SFZ instruments(whether or not they're from Garritan) and SoundFont SF2 files - I've never converted an instrument with a different format and tried to make an SFZ instrument out of it:

    --Are you sure your converted SFZ instruments need to be associated with a Garritan Library? Like you're saying here it's best suited for IO, but can be adapted to work with GPO. I guess putting these in one of those existing Libraries is the only way to get ARIA to recognize them. - There is the option, of course, of dragging and dropping or importing, the way I load my Autoharp into ARIA. If you do that, it doesn't matter where the SFZ instrument is stored. But I understand you want your stuff in the ARIA menu. So, have you tried another location, or maybe the master XML file could be edited to point to a location?

    --If you keep the SFZ file inside the same folder as the samples, then you don't need to include a specific location in the file patch name for the samples. It's assumed the associated audio files will be found in that same folder.

    --You know that ARIA automatically converts some things to SFZ format, right? Have you tried making your folder of newly converted samples and then dragging them on to ARIA? I'm curious if it would come up with at least a rudimentary SFZ file that would trigger the instruments according to the original pitches of the samples--?

    --I've never noticed an SFZ instrument using three separate SFZ files the way you're doing here. Are you sure all of that can't be in one monolithic file? That's the only way I've ever done it.

    This is a LOT - yikes - It's great that it works though! Thanks for posting it all, Richard.

    Randy

  4. #4

    Re: Add New Instruments to Aria - Tutorial

    Hey, Rich - Something just occurred to me. There's that new category in ARIA's menu that appears once you've converted an SF2 file - "Converted" which appears at the bottom. I looked around on my computer and couldn't find where those things are stored - but if you could find that, it could be a place for these instruments you're doing. That would make them universal to ARIA and not dependent on a particular Library's folder. I dunno--A thought. Dinner time!
    Randy

  5. #5

    Re: Add New Instruments to Aria - Tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by sururick View Post
    ...I have tried draging and dropping SFZ files from dimension into Aria, but again the problem comes with the release!
    If you have Dim Pro, it shows up automatically in ARIA, with no need to drag and drop. They've made it so it shows up as a menu item. I haven't had a problem with the release time of the samples - But I guess what you mean, mentioning the release in Dim and in your piano, is that you need that control to do that super long dreamy release, which is usually not what's needed, but is a special effect. I think that's what you mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by sururick View Post
    Does your auto-harp have the same controls such as the release and attack when you drop it in the player?
    I programmed my Autoharp to be an SFZ instrument which specifically works as intended in both ARIA and Dim Pro. It works perfectly, but doesn't have controls in ARIA's Controls window because I didn't program those to show up. For the way that instrument works, the controls wouldn't be needed. The user just uses a ton of MIDI Controllers and keyswitches as shown in a chart in the user's manual. As Jim described, there are some parameters that show up in the Controls tab, reflecting the default levels, like 0% for CC1. But trying to control my instrument with those little boxes wouldn't help. The user just needs to play the instrument from a keyboard, or draw controllers in a PRV. There is no option for slow-mo release like you're talking about for your piano, for instance. I designed the Autoharp to sound like the real instrument which doesn't do special effects.

    As for the rest in your post, you don't need special permission to do what you want personally with ARIA - It's just that if you screw up the programming for Garritan Libraries, you would likely not get a lot of help, kind of like the warning to not open up the box an electronic device comes in which voids the warranty. But really, make things work however you want!

    But sharing a file that re-writes the programming - yes, now that wouldn't be a thing you could get permission to distribute, I wouldn't imagine. It's best if you leave it to users to do what they want - You're showing them how to convert things other than SoundFont SF2 files which ARIA does perfectly already. But I don't think you should be distributing programming which changes the structure of ARIA the way it's distributed by MM. They could end up with a lot of users having screwed up their programming, and that wouldn't be too swell.
    Quote Originally Posted by sururick View Post
    ...Creating an SFZ and dragging it will only leave you with bare minimum...
    That's not quite right. You can write a totally ARIA compatible SFZ instrument on your own, like I have with Autoharp and several other things, and they function completely. It's the instant SFZ files that ARIA cooks up which can use some tweaking to get everything you want going on.

    Randy

  6. #6

    Re: Add New Instruments to Aria - Tutorial

    Okay, I think I have an idea. I just looked in the actual aria player folder and all the graphics are in there. So I can just point everything to that directory! As for the actual bank, I definitely don't want to interrupt the main programming. I want to make something that will work without disturbing the regular files. Kind of like how I wrote this tutorial, but it being able to read the same thing no matter what library you place it into. So if you place it into GPO, IO, WI it will just show up as a separate category! That will work fine too. The key is just to get all libraries to read the same thing. The best option would be to just make it read from the actual aria player directory. Create folder "Custom Instruments" and put the files which I have shared already into that. and the sample directories and SFZ can all go into there.Then the custom bank will work with either library and just point to there.

    EDIT: Also interesting how the aria player points to dimension pro, something like that would be good. Still trying to figure out how aria has pointed to dimension.

  7. #7

    Re: Add New Instruments to Aria - Tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by sururick View Post
    ...The best option would be to just make it read from the actual aria player directory. Create folder "Custom Instruments" and put the files which I have shared already into that. and the sample directories and SFZ can all go into there.Then the custom bank will work with either library and just point to there...
    Right, if the goal just Has to be getting a custom instrument in ARIA's menu, then it really would be best not to have it a sub-category of one of the Libraries. I still can't find where the "Converted" stuff is kept - But there is the other new menu item in ARIA, "Free Sounds." If you have those from Plogue, they show up as a new menu item, and all the data for them is kept in the Plogue folder in Program Files. The master Plogue folder has ARIA, Free Sounds, and mine also has Sforzando, the free Plogue SFZ Player. So if a user had the Free Sounds, maybe new instruments could be added there and show up in ARIA's master folder.

    Hmmm - but these instruments make Registry entries when they're installed.----

    For me, it's not an issue to have extra instruments Not in the menu, to simply use the Import or Drag functions. I have all my extra SFZ instruments in one folder, so when I click Import, it's always pointed to that master SFZ instruments folder and I can easily load them. It's just one more click to get to them than if they'd be listed in ARIA's menu. If the programming for the knobs has been done in the SFZ file, all that will still show up when the instrument is loaded, even with it not being in the menu.-- Just sayin'--!

    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: Add New Instruments to Aria - Tutorial

    Ahhh! Thanks Randy!!! That might be the key! Free Sounds directory. It might be the registry indeed. I checked a bit into that, but I still couldn't find dimension so I gave up on the registry. The problem is, the UI won't load unless it is placed into the bank file. That is where all the UI is loaded from. I also think some special commands as well. I tried without the banks earlier yesterday and no knobs... once I placed the stuff into the banks is when everything appeared including the built in eq which is very important. I needed that to balance my Black Grand. If it weren't for that reason, I wouldn't mind the file import myself. The key is to just figure out how to get that directory. LOL! I love this kind of challenge Randy, it is how I build my foundation on programming LOE. I will give one of those options a try. But how did they point to dimension... lol that really bugs me that I can't figure it out lol. As long as there is a directory everything will be great because I can just create that instrument template to point to those 4 files I shared, and I can create that custom bank pointing to the GUI right from the Aria folder.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Right, if the goal just Has to be getting a custom instrument in ARIA's menu, then it really would be best not to have it a sub-category of one of the Libraries. I still can't find where the "Converted" stuff is kept - But there is the other new menu item in ARIA, "Free Sounds." If you have those from Plogue, they show up as a new menu item, and all the data for them is kept in the Plogue folder in Program Files. The master Plogue folder has ARIA, Free Sounds, and mine also has Sforzando, the free Plogue SFZ Player. So if a user had the Free Sounds, maybe new instruments could be added there and show up in ARIA's master folder.

    Hmmm - but these instruments make Registry entries when they're installed.----

    For me, it's not an issue to have extra instruments Not in the menu, to simply use the Import or Drag functions. I have all my extra SFZ instruments in one folder, so when I click Import, it's always pointed to that master SFZ instruments folder and I can easily load them. It's just one more click to get to them than if they'd be listed in ARIA's menu. If the programming for the knobs has been done in the SFZ file, all that will still show up when the instrument is loaded, even with it not being in the menu.-- Just sayin'--!

    Randy

  9. #9

    Re: Add New Instruments to Aria - Tutorial

    Wow! Well done sururick.

    What a great job you've done so far. And thank you so much for the tutorial.
    I came across your ecstatic earlier post yesterday, it must have been just after you'd added it as there were no replies at that time. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to pen a response.

    Since then the long correspondence with Randy has revealed much more, plus your tutorial, I shall be working my way through that, you can be sure. I've already done a cut and paste job to a Notepad file. Hope that's okay?

    Strange, unlike Randy, I never got the impression that anything was being pirated or plagiarised, not that it matters (the impression, not the implied piracy (I need to make sure I don't dig myself into a hole here ) piracy does matter).

    The Extreme Sample Converter software received a good review in the Sound on Sound magazine in June 2010 http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun10/articles/esc.htm , a magazine whose articles I tend to trust through many years of subscription.

    Strangely, though I too have Dim Pro and many add on libraries to it, unlike yours and Randy's, it doesn't show up in my copy of Aria. Perhaps some sort of scan is needed by Sforzando? I'm rather keen to have a few of those instruments included in my Aria libraries. So I shall try to make use of your work.

    I concur with Randy's opinion that the samples perhaps shouldn't be put in an existing library sets, e.g. IO, but in a separate library structure.

    The Windows Registry entries for Plogue are well worth exploring for links of known libraries, I believe.

    Can't wait to try this out!
    Thanks again.
    Regards,
    John.
    Author of MIDI tutorials at http://midi-tutor.proboards.com/index.cgi

  10. #10

    Re: Add New Instruments to Aria - Tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by sururick View Post
    ...Ahhh! Thanks Randy!!! That might be the key! Free Sounds directory. It might be the registry indeed. I checked a bit into that, but I still couldn't find dimension so I gave up on the registry. The problem is, the UI won't load unless it is placed into the bank file...
    I did a little experiment this morning, trying to place a small SFZ instrument I put together into the Free Sounds directory which is in the Plogue folder in Program Files. I edited the master XML file to include the test instrument - But as I expected, it didn't show up in ARIA. Anything new would have to have a computer registry entry - and getting into that always spooks me. I don't think you'd find that daunting though, Richard.

    Some of those Free Sounds have UIs with controls and special graphics on the Controls window. All of that stuff is parked in the master folder for Free Sounds which has this structure:

    GUI
    Programs
    Samples
    Free Sounds. Vol1.bank.xml

    -And those first three are folders.

    But maybe you could make a whole new category show up in ARIA's menu if you edited the master XML file and create registry entries that are formatted like the Garritan Libraries.

    Quote Originally Posted by SysExJohn View Post
    ...unlike Randy, I never got the impression that anything was being pirated or plagiarised...
    You do understand now, I hope, that I completely misunderstood. I thought Richard was saying that he had swiped the piano samples from a demo copy. One of those instances of reading something online totally incorrectly. My bad!

    Quote Originally Posted by SysExJohn View Post
    ...Strangely, though I too have Dim Pro and many add on libraries to it, unlike yours and Randy's, it doesn't show up in my copy of Aria. Perhaps some sort of scan is needed by Sforzando?
    Hmmm, I thought Dim Pro was showing up after one of last year's ARIA updates - But maybe having Sforzando also is part of the trick?

    Make sure you have the current ARIA, John, v.1.626.

    HOWEVER, I'm not sure how thrilled you would be with how the Dim instruments open in ARIA. They're very bare bones, with nothing on the Controls page like Richard is wanting with his converted instruments. The Dim SFZ programming is extremely simple, so without all the controls in the Dim GUI, here's all you get when opening, for instance, Trombone 1 Chromatic in ARIA, as shown by clicking "Open in ARIA's text editor-

    //-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    // sfz Definition File
    // Version 2
    //
    // © 2005 Cakewalk Music Software
    // All Rights Reserved
    //-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    <control>
    default_path=Trombone 1\

    <group>
    <region> sample=F - 001.flac key=40
    <region> sample=F - 002.flac key=41
    <region> sample=F - 003.flac key=42
    <region> sample=F - 004.flac key=43
    <region> sample=F - 005.flac key=44
    <region> sample=F - 006.flac key=45
    <region> sample=F - 007.flac key=46
    <region> sample=F - 008.flac key=47
    <region> sample=F - 009.flac key=48
    <region> sample=F - 010.flac key=49
    <region> sample=F - 011.flac key=50
    <region> sample=F - 012.flac key=51
    <region> sample=F - 013.flac key=52
    <region> sample=F - 014.flac key=53
    <region> sample=F - 015.flac key=54
    <region> sample=F - 016.flac key=55
    <region> sample=F - 017.flac key=56
    <region> sample=F - 018.flac key=57
    <region> sample=F - 019.flac key=58
    <region> sample=F - 020.flac key=59
    <region> sample=F - 021.flac key=60 hikey=63

    It's kinda cool that the Dim patches open in ARIA, and a couple of times now I've used them as-is alongside Garritan. The advantage of having them there in ARIA is that you can work with multiple Dim instruments, unlike in the Dim GUI which limits you to one sound at a time. BUT, the major advantage of just using Dim patches in its own GUI is you have tons of controls to manipulate those extremely stark SFZ files.

    Keep having fun with all of this, Richard!

    Randy

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