I currently use Sibelius and Gigastudio, and would like to begin incorporating some synth instruments in composing. From what I can gather, most people are using some sort of VST like Atmosphere to generate these sounds.
Could someone please tell me how this works? I use a reverb VST within Gigastudio, but that just applies an effect to the .gig instrument. Do synth VSTs do the same thing, or do they contain their own synth instruments... and if they include their own instruments, how would you control them? It seems like only a .gig file will load into a specific channel.
If someone could please explain the process and suggest some synth libraries or VSTs, I would greatly appreciate it.
When people mention VSTs, there are really two categories:
- VST (virtual effects)
- VSTi (virtual instruments)
GigaStudio currently only supports VSTs (effects), and there is no stated timetable for VSTi support.
"Virtual Instruments" are actually created for a number of different platforms:
- VST, VSTi (Steinberg, on PC or Mac; really the defacto standard)
- DX,DXi (Microsoft, supported on PC for Cakewalk)
- MAS (for MOTU, Mac)
- RTAS (ProTools, Mac and PC)
- AU (Audio Units, a new Mac standard)
Many people use these "instruments" with sequencer/digital audio recording programs like Sonar, Cubase, DP4, and ProTools. In these applications one can create "midi tracks", then "insert" the virtual instrument into the track. What this really means is the instrument can be assigned to a midi track, causing the midi data to be routed to that instrument, where audio is generated.
Finally, there are some programs that just provide a "host" (shell) for running VSTs. I am not very familiar with these at all, but one example is Brainspawn Forte: http://www.brainspawn.com/products/forte/
It depends on what you want to do. There are three basic approaches to composing on the computer:
1) Use Sibelius or Finale and write the notes in. This creates great notation, and allows you to "see the notes and harmonies" well. The end music will generally sound mechanical.
2) Use a sequencer to record yourself as you play the music in. You can then massage the notes, draw expression curves, edit the velocities and so on. If you are good at playing live, or good at editing the piano roll with a mouse, the results can sound very human and real.
3) Use Sibelius or Finale for the composition. Export the midi file to the sequencer. Add the expression curves and edit in other humanization tricks.
I've done each of the above. These days I go with 2 or 3.
The instrument sounds are a separate question. You can go with GPO, or GigaStudio or EWQLSO or Kontakt or a bunch of other samplers, synths or sound modules. You can use any of these with Sibelius, Finale or your sequencer of choice (Sonar, Cubase, Logic...).