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Topic: Thinking about GPO....

  1. #1

    Thinking about GPO....

    Hi all,

    I\'ve been browsing through the GPO site and these forums, and been in communication with Gary, but thought I\'d see whether users thought that GPO would be what we\'re looking for.

    I\'m project director for a website that posts unheard/unrecorded/unpublished compositions of Beethoven in MIDI form. We\'ve got 300+ midis, totaling over 12 hours of such music right now, but we\'ve been looking for something that would produce more realistic sounds that are not dependent on the listener\'s soundcard--something that would readily convert from our MIDIs to whatever format and be realistic sounding, that we could then record and convert to mp3 format for upload.

    How has the GPO Standard MIDI File Translator worked out for people? I was pretty wowed by the demo pieces on this site, which I found fairly indistinguishable from the real thing except on very critical examination, but as I understand it they didn\'t run through that process, so I\'m wondering whether they\'re at all an accurate reflection of what we\'d end up with. The cautions on the MIDI File Translator page (\"Standard MIDI files are not necessrily the best match for GPO\") make me a shade dubious. I read the thread that used the Air on a G String as a test sample and that just raised more questions about the sound quality. Does using that translator allow you to continue to tinker with the sounds afterwards? For instance, could we add crescendos or fool with attack speed post-translation? A really key point for us is that since we have so many past MIDIs already in the can we\'d like to get an acceptable sound without making a ton of modifications, or at least not hugely time-consuming ones, since there\'s still more unpublished LvB out there that we need to get to. But that may just be an inherent limitation in what we\'re trying to do....And what about the other way round? If we produce future music using GPO is there a convenient way to convert it to MIDI? Or will I end up sequencing things twice? Please tell me that\'s not the case....there aren\'t enough hours in the day.

    Another point that concerns me is the apparent dependence of the program on the mod wheel. I\'ve always just used a manual sequencer (the long-defunct Digital Orchestrator Plus) and not a keyboard, so it\'s not clear to me in the least how that would work. Have others made such a transition without too much difficulty? I don\'t even know where to start on that, old dogs and such not up for new trickery (at least not without plenty of treats). Clearly I\'m looking at some additional hardware, though it\'s not at all clear to me how sophisticated a keyboard I\'d need beyond just the existence of a mod wheel in order to get good functionality out of the program. I think I do have enough computer hardware, with 1GB of RAM and running a 3.0 with an Audigy 2 soundcard, which supports ASIO, but if I don\'t I\'d sure like to hear about that too.

    I\'m presuming that I\'d have to learn a new sequencer in any event, since DOP doesn\'t support VST or any fancy plugins or much of anything really (it took some doing to get it to deal with smf, which always struck me as absurd for a sequencer), so what would be the suggestion for a sequencer that best works with GPO--optimally not too different from DOP though I hold out little hope for such a notion. Would the items bundled with GPO suffice for most of our needs? Saving money on a nonprofit endeavor is always a good thing. We\'re usually dealing with smallish ensembles, though we do have some symphonic works (symphony and concerto movements) in our repertoire.

    Given my unfamiliarity with the program, I\'m probably not asking the right questions, or not asking them correctly, but since folks here seem pretty civil I\'m taking the chance. Feel free to set me straight and tell me what I SHOULD be asking. Any assistance in figuring this out and making the assessment will be much appreciated. Thanks for the patience with a lower-than-newbie. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] It\'s neat to see a program that has such devoted followers, and ample support directly and through the forums, so if GPO would work for us I\'d certainly like to give it a whirl.

    I\'ve not linked to our site since even though it\'s nonprofit I don\'t want to violate forum rules, but if it\'s OK I can provide the link later. Thanks again,


  2. #2

    Re: Thinking about GPO....

    The demos of the Beethoven and Mozart works you\'ve heard here and on Gary\'s site are the result of many hours of intense work in a sequencer like SONAR or CUBASE or LOGIC. They were not derived from midi files except maybe the Beethoven, but even then it was completely re-worked, I believe.

    Midi files are a good starting point sometimes, but to achieve the level of quality you hear on those demos you will have to do alot of work with drawing controllers (like the \'mod wheel\' GPO uses) and editing midi data.

    I see from your intended purpose that you need to make MP3s from the midi files so I would get a good sequencer app like SONAR, which is great for detailed midi editing with it\'s multitrack piano roll view, etc. Another good one from Cakewalk is their Home Studio, which is just SONAR without the more esoteric functions and would work out very well for you. I have not used the bundled Cubasis program and I think though that it might not handle complicated midi files with many tracks. Once you have \'modified\' the files in say, SONAR or Home Studio, you then would save them in it\'s native format. You could save them again as midifiles, but then they would only make sense to GPO and not say, EWQLSO Silver or another similar library, and certainly not standard GM.

    But detailed editing of those midi files is going to be the only way you\'ll get results your happy with IMHO....

    P.S.: I don\'t think any of the demos you\'ve been hearing on the Garritan site were done with the Midifile Translator program, though it might be a good starting point. I have found it essential to do my own editing of midi files to get them to sound like anything worth while, though.

  3. #3

    Re: Thinking about GPO....

    Hi gardibolt

    Correct me if I\'m wrong, but basically what you are looking for is something to make your midis sound good, right? We\'re goin layman here. If that\'s what you want, then GPO is your library - especially considering you are doing Classical/Romantic mock ups! IMO, GPO handles classical music the best.

    Now, if you want a library that you can just \"plug\" your midi files into and get a good result... you\'re outa luck. These libraries are like instruments - believe it or not, they take lotsa time to learn. GPO is the most fun, easiest to use, most intuitive, most affordable, the list goes on and on. If you want an affordable library, that can produce quality reults, GPO is it. If you wish to spend 3000 or more, you can check out EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Platinum (I believe that\'s the highest one).

    It can get tricky, but you\'re gonna have to do the following on your own:

    <ul type=\"square\">[*] <font color=\"red\"> Demo some sequencers. </font> The big three in sequencing are Sonar, Cubase, and Logic. The majority or people here use Sonar or Cubase, but Logic is just as good. I\'m a Sonar guy, so here\'s the plug: http://www.cakewalk.com/download/download.asp?Action=DL&amp;PID=300. Click that and check out the demo. Take your time with it - sequencers take some time to learn. Try the other demos as well, and read about em, see what ya like.[*] <font color=\"red\"> Find a sample library. </font> I\'m going to be honest with you - for what you need, GPO is probably your best option. But you\'re still gonna have to do some work to get those pieces sounding realistic. Maybe some people on this site would assist in your work if you give them credit for it! *shrug, just a thought - might make your work load lighter.[*] <font color=\"red\"> Take time to learn your library/sequencer! </font> After you\'ve decided which library and sequencer to get, you\'re gonna have to invest some time in learning to use them. There\'s no workaround for this one![/list]

    If you like, you could post a midi of your song, and I would gladly \'GPO it up\' for you as a demonstration [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Maybe I can turn it into a tutorial! hehe BTW, I do not use the midi translator when I do midi-to-GPO conversions. I find it much easier to load an orchestral template, put the tracks in their place, fix velocities, then contour with the modwheel (you CAN draw the cc:1 envelopes yourself, but modwheel is much faster and more realistic).

    Let me know if you would like that!

    - Junk

  4. #4

    Re: Thinking about GPO....

    You are really opening a can of worms here...
    In order for you not to be too disappointet, you have to be aware of the fact that midi mockups of classical music is a craft - and a very time consuming one. There is no other library on the market with that many user demos showing the possibilities and constraints of the product. As you can hear: they sound good. What you should know: They have been made with sweat and tears.
    Having quite a number of the big libraries in my studio, I use GPO on my Laptop to compose on the road and do some quick mockups. GPO is NOT a better sounding GM-Library. If you learn the craft and take the time, you will get results far beyond all existing GM-sounds.

    There are two things you absolutely need in a sequencer (for expression):
    1. Possibility to draw controller data (like mod-wheel)
    2. Possibility to draw Tempo maps

    Let me end with a positive experience with GPO and LvB: I spent some time to find the right tempi for the Pathetique piano sonata using the GPO-Piano. The result was so good, that I dont even feel like redoing it with \"better\" libraries in the studio...

    There are no wrong questions - only bad answers

  5. #5

    Re: Thinking about GPO....

    Interesting point fm!

    But I\'ll have to disagree with the tempo track being absolutely necessary. They aren\'t that important to the final product. They are very convenient, I agree. But \"humanly\" sequenced midi data will always sound better than quantized data and a temp track ( The Sorcerer\'s Apprentice demo has VERY little tempo track modulation [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]).

    I understand your points though, as I use Sonar and occassionaly use the tempo grid if I need to make adjustments to my works.

    You know, it\'s funny. Lately, not only have I not been using a tempo track, I haven\'t even been using time signatures either. On my last few pieces, I\'ve been recording the basic \'feel\' of the piece via the keyboard, then I pencil in the notes (unquantized) on my other tracks! Sure, it\'d be a pain in the crap to have to notate - but who notates?? hehe

    - Junk

  6. #6

    Re: Thinking about GPO....

    Yes junkmonkey
    Most of my own work is played live - all rubato - no quantize. But since Mark seems not to use a keyboard and for shure wants LvB\'s partitions look good in notation, his tracks will sound very static without tempo track.

  7. #7

    Re: Thinking about GPO....

    Many thanks for the comments thus far; much food for thought. Junk asked for a sample midi from the site, and this one isn\'t too huge but features different voices throughout so I thought it might make a decent specimen to tinker with:


    What is a tempo track and what is it used for? I\'m still back in the Dark Ages.

  8. #8

    Re: Thinking about GPO....

    Ahhh, Digital Orchestrator Plus, I\'m getting all misty eyed. Those were the days...

    GPO should work just fine with this sequencer when using GPO Studio. You will have to manually draw in mod wheel data, but since you aren\'t using a keyboard you\'re drawing in data anyway (like velocity changes) and the like. Personally, I\'ve had better performence out of Studio no matter what the CPU meter says, than as a VST in something like Cubase. If you like notation you can use Overture which can be made to automatically assign some mod wheel data when using expressions (this is what I do) and then tweak it in your sequencer.

  9. #9

    Re: Thinking about GPO....

    [ QUOTE ]
    If you wish to spend 3000 or more, you can check out EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Platinum (I believe that\'s the highest one).

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Nope. EWQL SO is far from being \'big\' compared to VSL. SO is a mere 68 gigs compared to 230+ gigs for VSL. VSL also has a LOT more percussion than SO, which was my intial draw to it. Anyway, off topic...

    ANY orchestration is born of blood, sweat and tears, period. A few mere notes in a mid sequence does not make it good, it\'s the time spent shaping those notes, otherwise it sounds very mechanical. You\'ll get faster the longer you work with it though, for sure, but there is going to be somewhat of a learning curve, but that goes for any library. Least GPO has a shorter learning curve, I feel. Still, a library is born of tricks, and it\'s learning those tricks. At least you have a huge support community behind you here to help you.

    A library is an instrument, you need to learn to work it if you want the best out of it.


  10. #10

    Re: Thinking about GPO....


    Did you say VSL is 230 gigs??? Isn\'t that like... 50 DVDs?

    Other than that, your point is well made and I agree. Blood, sweat, and tears - indeed!

    MY blood, sweat, and tears notwithstanding, here is the GPO conversion of that midi file you linked me to, gardibolt:


    I couldn\'t find an mp3 of the song, so if some of the cresc/dims are wrong, my apologies. I went with what I thought would sound right! hehe

    Total editing time was: 00:33:52. It would\'ve been a bit quicker if the midi tracks were ... more informative! 4 tracks labelled \"strings,\" oboe tracks with nothing on em but cc events, some tracks unnamed, etc. Slowed it down a bit, but otherwise, it\'s a 30 minute job. I hope you enjoy the sounds [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    - Junk

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