I'm sure you have discussed this a thousand times, so let's discuss it 1,001!
Do you prefer the sequencer or notation route? What other software/hardware programs do you think work well with GPO?
So far, what works for me is to use a couple of GPO DXi instances in Cakewalk HS 2004 XL, maybe work on a section at a time. I will work on a 4, 8, 16 bar section until I roughly get what I want. then I will render it to a stereo audio track.
From there, I will either go on to building other sections with GPO or consult my trusty Edirol Orchestral Plug-In and Reason 2.5 to either make up for some missing articulations or just experiment with layering different samples from different programs.
I'm glad to say that GPO has broken me of the, dare I say it, bad habit of programming sterile ensemble patches. One instrument with lots of MIDI manipulation is the only way to go.
Currently, I am working on use of distortion/overdrive/saturation with the GPO string samples. I like the sound of overtones and things breaking up during a climax. I learned about this from Craig Anderton. A couple years ago, he was on a chat session and he was talking about how distortion is a powerful sound-shaping tool even if your flavor of music doesn't fall into the rock category. He said (I'm paraphrasing here) that while EQ and filtering tend to subtract or amplify frequencies that are already there, distortion will add frequencies that aren't. I generally stick to using distortion to get more aggressive attacks and emphasize instrumental noises present in the sample.
I am a strong believer in using unorthodox strategies to get results. I really honed in on this idea from this article
Hey, by the way (or any way you can get it) I tried several time including tonight to render my finished file in 2004XL to wav or mp3. Have you done this and if so how is it done de done done ... done de done done DONE!
If you are going to render cakewalk tracks to a .wav file, well here is the help file tip that explains it better than I can:
To Export Audio to Wave File Format
1. Set all volume, pan, effects, and automation settings just as you want them.
2. If you only want to mix down parts of tracks, select those clips now.
3. If you are using effects on the tracks and want to mix the effects down at this time, select the whole length of the longest track or clip plus an extra measure for the reverb or effects "tail."
4. Choose File-Export-Audio to open the Export Audio dialog box.
5. Select a destination folder using the Look In field.
6. Enter a file name.
7. Choose Wave from the Files of type dropdown list.
8. In the Format field, select one of the following options:
9. Export to Stereo File(s)--All exported tracks and clips are mixed down to a single stereo file.
10. Export to Separate Left and Right File(s)--All exported tracks and clips are mixed down to two separate mono files, left and right.
11. Export to Mono File(s)--All exported tracks and clips are mixed down to a single mono file.
12. Select the bit depth that you want the exported file to use. If your source file is 16 and you export to 24, you get more precision for any audio effects in the mix (and a larger file). If your source file is 24 and you export to 16, you lose some sound definition, but you get some of it back if the Apply Dither option is checked in the Audio Options dialog box.
13. Select a source bus or buses. If more than one is selected, the mixdown takes into account the levels of all virtual main buses, mixing the outputs of each selected bus. If you want to keep the output from each different source separate, check the Each Source to Separate Submix option.
14. In the Mix Enables field, choose the elements you want to include in the mixdown. If you want to exclude muted tracks and/or include only soloed tracks, make sure Track Mute/Solo is checked.
CLEAR AS MUD?
It's not really too difficult to follow, even if it is a little awkward.
As far as MP3s, you can't mixdown to MP3 format from Cakewalk unless you buy their MP3 encoder add-on. I have never used it. Of course you can mixdown to a .wav and use any one of the hundreds of .wav to MP3 converters available on the net. Quality may vary. I use the Cakewalk Pyro CD ripper that came as part of the HS2004 special.
Fer da krips sake, isn't there more? What ever happened to placing a button on the tool bar that does it all? Say like, render to wav or mp3 or what ever.
Anywho, Cakewalk should take a lesson from Magix and Sony. Regardless, I appreciate you going through the trouble.
You bring up an interesting point about Cakewalk. Their marketing strategy for Home Studio vs. Sonar seems to be giving the most essential features in both programs while reserving all of the time-saving features for Sonar. I have heard other Cakewalk users complain about that.