The TCC theme I've been working on is a fanfare, and I've made use of the ff and overlays and ag patches to get that bright, brassy, aggressive, "procession of kings" kinda feel.
If found that after mixing in a small section (trumpets, trombones, French horns) that the ensemble sound comes across as a bit distorted, moreso the louder the passage. This effect is even more pronounced when I convert from .wav to the final 56k mp3, but it's very present even at 16/44.1 wav format.
The overall output volume itself is not going into clipping, so it appears that this is an effect of the ff brass in general. I'm sure there's some tricks and techniques to avoid this, and would be most grateful for any of you who could share your ideas on how to tame the distortion so that my brass section can take people's heads off without losing clarity.
Wow Christopher, I really don't know. Without sounding too elementary, since I've started using GPO I've discovered that there are several ways to overdrive the inputs to my soundcard - the WamiRack24.
I use Sonar, and have learned the hard way that CC7 (Volume), CC11 (Expression), along with GPO's use of CC1 (normally MOD) are all very much alive and when they get together, they can produce a cacophony of noise, distorted and all. On most of my original works, I have to set Sonar's built-in control, which is linked to CC7, to "40" or less. That usually gives me a setting that I can vary sufficiently with CC1 (MOD) to get good, expressive output. Wish I had more..
In my experience, it is Kontakt player who can easily distort its outputs when mixing loud sounds, especially brass. This is clearly shown in FH chords. But this usuallly happens when Volume/Pan control is activated on the GPO player options. The default level settings made by Tom do not show this problem.
GPO default level settings make a very balaced orchestra, and should not be touched unless you need to. The only case you need to touch the level is when working in the ppp/pp range (below 30 in the mod wheel). In this range, MIDI steppy resolution can be heard as a crispy sound. The way to workaround this is to use CC#7 (main volume) in combination with the mod wheel to increase the effective MIDI controller resolution.
Then, my advise is: If your cue needs the CC#7 manual control, then setup their initial level so it matches the original levels at GPO. Consider this level as the max level, and work on it only for the softer passages.
Appreciate all the help, guys. Based on what I've heard, I'm guessing that whatever my CC7 default is in Sonar is too hot for the heavy brass I'm using. I never thought to even check it since I've been fixated on CC1 values.
Sounds like checking the defaults in the Kontakt player and then making sure the CC7 settings in Sonar don't exceed them will take care of the problem. I'll let you know if it doesn't resolve it, but I've a hunch it will.
I'd thought about going the rendering route, but by varying the volume via cc1, we get the different timbres that they've programmed in, so I figured if I rendered it all, even if the volume on an instrument changed, the timbre wouldn't. The ensemble approach sounds cool though, kinda like stem mixes, eh?