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Topic: Some basic questions from a newbie!

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  1. #1

    Some basic questions from a newbie!

    Hi everyone! I've been browsing this forum for the past hour or so, and from what I've seen so far it looks like a really great forum!

    Someone sent me a link to the GPO website today, and I'm really glad they did. I've been looking to make some upgrades. Currently, I use Cakewalk Home Studio 2004, FL Studio, FINALE, soundfonts, and an SBLIve 5.1 card. I'm on a 2.53GHZ with 512MB RAM. My OS is Windows XP Home, on Service Pack 2. I am planning on buying the GPO this month, but I have a few questions before I do.

    1. I have been listening to the demos. They seem really good. I just wondered, what kind of tweaking would need to be done to get something of this quality: http://www.garritan.com/mp3/FindingMyWay.mp3 (A demo taken from the website). I am also buying the VST adapter for Cakewalk, so I will be able to use VST's/GPO in Cakewalk.

    I noticed that the GPO pack comes with Cubasis. Does this allow me to load a MIDI and assign the instruments to each track/channel? I could just use FL or Cakewalk but I want to check what Cubasis is like too.

    2. Should I replace my SBLive card? I have been getting some peaking with my recordings (using soundfonts), and overall I haven't been impressed with the quality. I can remove the peaking if I turn the volume right down. (Mainly happens when I have a lot of instruments playing at once). Is SBlive to blame for this? Would I be better off with another card? Also, is it possible for me to use two cards...(like swap between the two), as I may want to use a soundfont every now and then.

    EDIT: By the way, what kind of volume levels do you use for your tracks? For example, what would you set the volume of each section/instrument on for an orchestra?

    If someone could help me out here I would be very happy. Sorry for the newbie questions.

    -Chris

  2. #2
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: Some basic questions from a newbie!

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisHurn
    Hi everyone! I've been browsing this forum for the past hour or so, and from what I've seen so far it looks like a really great forum!

    Someone sent me a link to the GPO website today, and I'm really glad they did. I've been looking to make some upgrades. Currently, I use Cakewalk Home Studio 2004, FL Studio, FINALE, soundfonts, and an SBLIve 5.1 card. I'm on a 2.53GHZ with 512MB RAM. My OS is Windows XP Home, on Service Pack 2. I am planning on buying the GPO this month, but I have a few questions before I do.

    1. I have been listening to the demos. They seem really good. I just wondered, what kind of tweaking would need to be done to get something of this quality: http://www.garritan.com/mp3/FindingMyWay.mp3 (A demo taken from the website). I am also buying the VST adapter for Cakewalk, so I will be able to use VST's/GPO in Cakewalk.

    I noticed that the GPO pack comes with Cubasis. Does this allow me to load a MIDI and assign the instruments to each track/channel? I could just use FL or Cakewalk but I want to check what Cubasis is like too.

    2. Should I replace my SBLive card? I have been getting some peaking with my recordings (using soundfonts), and overall I haven't been impressed with the quality. I can remove the peaking if I turn the volume right down. (Mainly happens when I have a lot of instruments playing at once). Is SBlive to blame for this? Would I be better off with another card? Also, is it possible for me to use two cards...(like swap between the two), as I may want to use a soundfont every now and then.

    If someone could help me out here I would be very happy.

    -Chris
    Seems like Cakewalk Home Studio can handle DXi. I have not looked at mine in a while, because I have Sonar. If CWHS can handle DXi, I don't see any advantage in the extra expense of the VST Adapter. I bought it, and wonder why, because the DXi seems to do a good job with the latest version of GPO, and my experience with the adapter has been truly terrible. I am still working with Cakewalk on this one, but will not likely use the adapter again. There is a limit to the number of system wipeouts that I find acceptable.

    I replaced my Soundblaster Live with Soundblaster Audigy 2 Zs, and am pleased with the results. But if you do this, it is imperative that you go to the the Creative Labs web site and get the latest updates, especially the driver updates. The Audigy is good for sound fonts, which I use now and then.

    When you get the GPO installed and registered, be sure to get the update, unless the currently shipping version includes the updates. Get version 1.2 of GPO Studio, very handy.

    GPO should work fine with Finale, so I keep reading here. I don't use Finale, but it works well with Sibelius, although nearly all of my use of it has been and will be with Sonar.

    I strongly recommend upgrading memory to at least 1 Gigabyte! The Steinway grand eats us plenty of memory.

    There is a midi plug in which can be used to map velocity to modulation, very important, and is easier to use than the midi file translator. Later, I can provide the link (on the Garritan site).

    Considering all factors, including price, GPO is very good buy,a fine product, and I have not been at all disappointed with it. It will take a little practice and some frustration to use it well, but it is easier to learn than most software that I have seen.

    Heavy rain and high winds here in the Redwood country. I love it!

    Richard

  3. #3

    Re: Some basic questions from a newbie!

    Hi Chris

    One of the best things about GPO is that it is so easy to use. The programming is such that you do not constantly have to use a myriad of different articulations. I find that I can very quickly sketch out a piece that sounds good. Of course, if you want it to sound great then you need to spend some time tweaking the volumes (cc1) and velocities, and also adding specific articulations and overlays.

    I agree with Richard that 1gig of memory would be a good idea, although the latest update of the kontakt player includes streaming direct from disc.

    All in all, you will not be disappointed.

    David

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Re: Some basic questions from a newbie!

    GPO’s strength is its playability. It is easy to make it sound real. On the other hand, if you want it to be ultra-realistic it will take quite a bit of tweaking.

    I haven’t used any of the Cakewalk products so I don’t know how they compare with the Cubase products. You can play around with Cubasis, as it will do a lot of what the full version will do, just to satisfy your curiosity, but I’ve found with most software that if you are used to doing things one way (and are happy with it), there is very little reason to change.

    I second Richards comment about memory – put as much memory as you can afford and can fit into the computer. You might also search for articles on optimizing your computer for music – I don’t mean hardware, I mean getting all of the junk out of memory that the computer manufacturers think you need but which really just eat resources.

    Don’t have much of an opinion on the sound card, but moving to the Audigy would most likely be a good idea.

    You shouldn’t have to play around with the volume much in GPO – the defaults are pretty good. If you make a different size ensemble, then you can play with it (this is done in the Kontact player), but for orchestral work I don’t really do much.

    I haven’t really used many other sample set so I can’t compare, but I’ve really enjoyed GPO. I’ll go further and say it has changed the way I play, write and even think about music more than any other product I’ve ever used. At this price (remember it wasn’t long ago you would have to shell out $1000 or more for new hardware when you wanted to change sounds) you can’t lose.

    Have fun in whatever you choose.
    Trent P. McDonald

  5. #5

    Re: Some basic questions from a newbie!

    Chris,

    See my answer in a similar post here:

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ad.php?t=27996

    And I will add that you do not have to set the volume for the instruments in normal situations. The instruments are preset to a volume based on placement and ideal sound in an orchestral setting and you control the timbre of the instrument with the mod wheel or modulation controller. This keeps instruments from peaking in an orchestral setting. Keep in mind that some volume adjustments may need to be made, but this is accomplished by just turning a knob on the affected instrument. GPO is set to ignore volume commands from a sequencer/notation program by default, since the timbre/volume of the instrument is controlled via the mod wheel.

    Hope that makes sense.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Some basic questions from a newbie!

    Chris,
    Welcome to the show that never ends! <Sounds familiar?> Here you will find many answers by some of the most knowledgeable musicians, techs, and overall nicest people to answer many (if any) of your questions.
    Good to have you and to make sure you stay; we request your first demo using GPO ASAP!
    Styxx

  7. #7

    Re: Some basic questions from a newbie!

    Thanks a lot for your replies! I will go and buy the GPO soon. I will also upgrade my RAM and clean up my computer a bit. I will defenately stick around and I'll post my first demo soon.

    -Chris

  8. #8

    Re: Some basic questions from a newbie!

    I look forward to your first demo!
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

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