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Topic: volume control

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  1. #1

    volume control

    i have been using GPO and sonar 4. I have variable sound. sometimes i can barely hear an instrument and other times i hear the full volume. i have tried to set every volume control to maximum to ensure that i will hear the instrument. sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. i try to set the GPO wheel to maximum also and sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. would i be better served by downloading the X-custom instruments as they default to maximum volume rather than the minimum? I fail to see the logic of setting GPO to minimum when i can only get sound randomly
    jgyoungmd

  2. #2

    Re: volume control

    Make sure when you are viewing controller data in the piano roll view that you are viewing the correct channel. Select view all channels and you should see everything. Be careful of the multiple layers that Cakewalk uses. I usually bounce to clips to ensure I see everything when I open a clip. Then just draw your controller curves under the modulation controller. Hope that helps.

  3. #3

    Re: volume control

    jgyoungmd,

    First of all (correct me if I'm wrong), it kind of sounds from your post like you are trying to manipulate the graphic mod wheel in the player. If you are - don't. That graphic wheel is an internal control of little value except for brief testing purposes. Mod wheel data needs to be received from an external source (either a hardware keyboard mod wheel or data residing in a MIDI track).

    Secondly, mod wheel data is a continuously expressive controller of volume/timbre. It is not a controller to be used as a static "set and forget" volume control. For wind instruments think of it as analogous to the air a player releases into an instrument. The player must start the airflow (bring up the mod wheel) to make a sound louder. Maximum airflow (maximum mod wheel position) gives the loudest, brightest sound. Minimum airflow (minimum mod wheel position) gives the softest, mellowest sound. The total variation in brightness depends upon the particular instrument. A real player is constantly adjusting airflow to give ebb and flow to a passage and mod wheel data should be changing accordingly in a good simulation. Thus mod wheel data is often constantly changing in a MIDI track.

    With strings, the mod wheel is analogous to bow pressure: greater bow pressure increases loudness (higher mod wheel settings.) Light bow pressure creates softer notes (lower mod wheel settings).

    For both, volume and timbre are almost constantly in flux - sometimes with subtlety and sometimes not, as in the case of a sustained note with a crescendo. Just keep in mind that the purpose of the mod wheel is dynamic.

    Once an instrument's dynamic changes in volume are present as mod wheel data then relative volume levels between instruments can be adjusted with either the volume control knob in the player (it's position will be saved with your song file) or by activating cc7 in the Options menu and sending cc7 data to set static instrument levels.

    Almost all sequencers have the ability to "draw" controller data into a track. If you don't use a keyboard then this is the best approach. Even if you do use a keyboard this is the best way to refine your data.

    Things make sense once you realize that the instruments in GPO are designed to be performed from a keyboard. Grab the mod wheel, move it up some, and start playing some notes while moving the mod wheel to "shape" your line. Use the sustain pedal for tongue/slur and legato mode and later, when you are more familiar with the way things are designed, start experimenting with the additional controllers. This gives you expressive aural feedback that is similar to actually performing an instrument. Of course, all controllers are also accessible as just MIDI data but it is less intuitive that way.

    Finally, if you decide to use the X-Custom instruments (they do load at full volume) remember that nothing really changes. Whether an instrument loads at minimum or maximum volume you still need to create constantly changing mod wheel data to “shape” your passages as designed. With instruments that load at minimum volume, like the standard Dry instruments, you usually need to bring the mod wheel up as you play. With instruments that load at maximum level, like the X-Custom instruments, you usually need to bring the mod wheel down. One other thing about loading at maximum volume for X-Custom instruments: They load at both maximum volume and maximum brightness. This means that they often sound unnaturally bright upon load (until you reduce the mod wheel data to a more moderate level).

    Tom

  4. #4

    Re: volume control

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hopkins
    jgyoungmd,

    First of all (correct me if I'm wrong), it kind of sounds from your post like you are trying to manipulate the graphic mod wheel in the player. If you are - don't. That graphic wheel is an internal control of little value except for brief testing purposes. Mod wheel data needs to be received from an external source (either a hardware keyboard mod wheel or data residing in a MIDI track).

    Secondly, mod wheel data is a continuously expressive controller of volume/timbre. It is not a controller to be used as a static "set and forget" volume control. For wind instruments think of it as analogous to the air a player releases into an instrument. The player must start the airflow (bring up the mod wheel) to make a sound louder. Maximum airflow (maximum mod wheel position) gives the loudest, brightest sound. Minimum airflow (minimum mod wheel position) gives the softest, mellowest sound. The total variation in brightness depends upon the particular instrument. A real player is constantly adjusting airflow to give ebb and flow to a passage and mod wheel data should be changing accordingly in a good simulation. Thus mod wheel data is often constantly changing in a MIDI track.

    With strings, the mod wheel is analogous to bow pressure: greater bow pressure increases loudness (higher mod wheel settings.) Light bow pressure creates softer notes (lower mod wheel settings).

    For both, volume and timbre are almost constantly in flux - sometimes with subtlety and sometimes not, as in the case of a sustained note with a crescendo. Just keep in mind that the purpose of the mod wheel is dynamic.

    Once an instrument's dynamic changes in volume are present as mod wheel data then relative volume levels between instruments can be adjusted with either the volume control knob in the player (it's position will be saved with your song file) or by activating cc7 in the Options menu and sending cc7 data to set static instrument levels.

    Almost all sequencers have the ability to "draw" controller data into a track. If you don't use a keyboard then this is the best approach. Even if you do use a keyboard this is the best way to refine your data.

    Things make sense once you realize that the instruments in GPO are designed to be performed from a keyboard. Grab the mod wheel, move it up some, and start playing some notes while moving the mod wheel to "shape" your line. Use the sustain pedal for tongue/slur and legato mode and later, when you are more familiar with the way things are designed, start experimenting with the additional controllers. This gives you expressive aural feedback that is similar to actually performing an instrument. Of course, all controllers are also accessible as just MIDI data but it is less intuitive that way.

    Finally, if you decide to use the X-Custom instruments (they do load at full volume) remember that nothing really changes. Whether an instrument loads at minimum or maximum volume you still need to create constantly changing mod wheel data to “shape” your passages as designed. With instruments that load at minimum volume, like the standard Dry instruments, you usually need to bring the mod wheel up as you play. With instruments that load at maximum level, like the X-Custom instruments, you usually need to bring the mod wheel down. One other thing about loading at maximum volume for X-Custom instruments: They load at both maximum volume and maximum brightness. This means that they often sound unnaturally bright upon load (until you reduce the mod wheel data to a more moderate level).

    Tom
    thanks for the full responses. it does clarify the differences with the mod wheel. i will try both of the above suggestions and see if i can get volume.

    when i take a midi line from another instrument and copy it to another track, i see the mod wheel is at zero, so that is why i tried to increase it.

    when i have trouble hearing the sound some of the time. i think it has to do with the volume controler in sonar 4, but i am still trying to figure out how to use the controllers pane so it works on a consistent basis..
    jgyoungmd

  5. #5

    Re: volume control

    Quote Originally Posted by jgyoungmd
    thanks for the full responses. it does clarify the differences with the mod wheel. i will try both of the above suggestions and see if i can get volume.

    when i take a midi line from another instrument and copy it to another track, i see the mod wheel is at zero, so that is why i tried to increase it.

    when i have trouble hearing the sound some of the time. i think it has to do with the volume controler in sonar 4, but i am still trying to figure out how to use the controllers pane so it works on a consistent basis..
    Hey, jgyoungmd.

    I do most of my composing via staff view, and a technique that I use that might help you when you copy instruments is as follows. First, I get the notes where I want them (copy the instrument, whatever). I put an initial mod value at the beginning of the track just so I have volume. Next, I play the piece and make a few passes at riding the mod wheel on my keyboard, pointing the data at the track I'm working on. When it's comfortable, I hit the Record button and save that mod wheel data.

    Since I'm not a keyboard player, it's easy to get "stiff" sounding stuff by writing via notation. Going back after the fact and riding the mod wheel on a separate pass allows me to focus just on the expressiveness and feel of the instrument without having to be concerned with hitting the right notes on a piano keyboard (trust me, I wouldn't). Hopefully, this will be a useful technique for you as well.
    Christopher Duncan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Author of
    Unite the Tribes and The Career Programmer
    www.PracticalUSA.com


  6. #6

    Re: volume control

    thanks for your reply,

    when you say "I put an initial mod value at the beginning of the track " which track do you mean, for example if i have 3 instruments that i am writing a score for, do you put the initial mod value at the beginning of each track, and if so, how or where do you do that?

    I find i can turn up the mod wheel on the GPO graphics for each instrument to get the initial sound, but i have a feeling that is not the way to go.

    when i record the midi if i turn the keyboard mod wheel, i get sound.

    but when i just try to play the score on sonar 4, i may or may not get sound. i want to hear how the three instruments will sound together before i add anything more. is there a way to do that without recording it as you do.

    you say you alter the controller and record it afterwards, do you do that on the instrument midi track or create a separate controller track?
    jgyoungmd

  7. #7

    Re: volume control

    Quote Originally Posted by jgyoungmd
    is there a way to do that without recording it as you do.

    you say you alter the controller and record it afterwards, do you do that on the instrument midi track or create a separate controller track?
    Hey, man.

    Happy to help. Here's a quick and easy way to get your initial sound going before you tweak it for musical expression. In Sonar, select a track you'd like to add an initial mod value to and then bring up the Event view (which I lovingly refer to as Geek View). This shows you all the events, of all kinds, in this track. Hit the insert key to add an event. Set the time of this event to be before any note on events for your instrument. Then, set the event type to controller, and then the controller type to 1, Modulation. Set the value to something moderate, say 80. This means that the mod event will fire first with a value of 80, and then the rest of your notes that play after that will be heard at that volume, until another modulation event is encountered.

    This sounds complicated, but it's extremely easy. After you've inserted the event, these settings are all just data entry cells or drop down lists on the same line. (One note: when you change the time on an event, it will move to be in the correct position. That means you have to chase it down to continue editing it. An easy workaround is to modify the time value last, after you've done these other things.)

    As for your question about which track, when I ride the mod wheel in real time and record it, I do it on the same track as the instument I'm working on. You don't have to worry about overwriting your musical notes in this scenario like you would if you were overwriting an audio recording. Your pitch data is in the form of MIDI note on and off events, and the mod wheel generates another batch of controller events. They all coexist side by side. Of course, they do tend to argue about who has to pay for the next round of drinks from time to time, but MIDI data is like that sometimes...

    Hope this helps!
    Christopher Duncan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Author of
    Unite the Tribes and The Career Programmer
    www.PracticalUSA.com


  8. #8

    Re: volume control

    i tried putting mod wheel action at the beginning of each track, and i heard sound on the staff view for each of the instruments
    thanks
    jgyoungmd

  9. #9

    Re: volume control

    Quote Originally Posted by jgyoungmd
    i tried putting mod wheel action at the beginning of each track, and i heard sound on the staff view for each of the instruments
    thanks
    Cool, man. Looking forward to hearing your stuff!
    Christopher Duncan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Author of
    Unite the Tribes and The Career Programmer
    www.PracticalUSA.com


  10. #10

    Re: volume control

    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Duncan
    Hey, man.

    Happy to help. Here's a quick and easy way to get your initial sound going before you tweak it for musical expression. In Sonar, select a track you'd like to add an initial mod value to and then bring up the Event view (which I lovingly refer to as Geek View). This shows you all the events, of all kinds, in this track. Hit the insert key to add an event. Set the time of this event to be before any note on events for your instrument. Then, set the event type to controller, and then the controller type to 1, Modulation. Set the value to something moderate, say 80. This means that the mod event will fire first with a value of 80, and then the rest of your notes that play after that will be heard at that volume, until another modulation event is encountered.

    This sounds complicated, but it's extremely easy. After you've inserted the event, these settings are all just data entry cells or drop down lists on the same line. (One note: when you change the time on an event, it will move to be in the correct position. That means you have to chase it down to continue editing it. An easy workaround is to modify the time value last, after you've done these other things.)

    As for your question about which track, when I ride the mod wheel in real time and record it, I do it on the same track as the instument I'm working on. You don't have to worry about overwriting your musical notes in this scenario like you would if you were overwriting an audio recording. Your pitch data is in the form of MIDI note on and off events, and the mod wheel generates another batch of controller events. They all coexist side by side. Of course, they do tend to argue about who has to pay for the next round of drinks from time to time, but MIDI data is like that sometimes...

    Hope this helps!
    it is helping, thanks
    in the geek view, i have been able to insert using the inset*star graphic. and i have changed the note to controller. How do you set the "controller type to 1, Modulation."?
    jgyoungmd

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