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Topic: To Jon F, and others.

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  1. #1

    To Jon F, and others.

    This is directed to Jon Fairhurst, since I know that you have knowledge about Sibelius and GS3, and anyone else that could possibly help. Sorry for the following long post...

    I have a dilemma, have been coming here for quite a while for someone who hasn't purchased much lately, and I have a couple more questions. I'll try to ask it and make some statements that don't answer my own questions.

    I am a composer. My main interest is in giving customers my sheet music to be played at occasions, local symphony, etc. Obviously, everyone in the world doesn't read music, so I like to give them an approximation of what their piece will sound like when it's played by their organist, etc. I am very leary about giving them CDs using the sounds of soundfonts. As most of the sounds are quite horrible. Now, I do realize that Gigastudio and GPO aren't magic, and a person with patience can make a soundfont sound almost decent (maybe), but I am also a realist and I realize the difference in quality between soundfonts and samples. I don't want to insult anyone by discounting their abilities to make a great product sound even better.

    So, with that, I would like to take two things out of the equation here. Prices and learning curves. I am buying an engagement ring soon and am a poor bastard, and by the time I purchase these products, there may be something else out. But for now, I only want to think about the product itself. I don't want to consider the cost or the learning curve of either. Also, please assume that I know that notation programs are notation programs, samplers are samplers, and they are different tools. Also, please assume that I am not worried about the computer hardware or stability of either. Also, please assume that I will not switch from using Sibelius. I am also aware that I would probably be using something else for mixdown, etc.

    Although I don't particularly need to have high quality sound for my writing process, when I'm putting the notes on the staff, it's fun. I also love to hear my piece played back by something besides my brain when it is finished, before it goes to the organist, customer, etc. And like I said before, it's nice to be able to give the customer a "decent" approximation of what it might sound like. Also, with a quality sampler and a lot of practice, I'd be able to expand my business in to more than just providing the sheet music.

    I realize that GS3 and GPO are two totally separate tools, but here we go. (I know, buy both, right?)

    One of the main reasons that I am interested in GS3 is because of the variety of available samples for it. It seems to me like I can find samples of just about anything for it. I like that a lot. I would enjoy learning the complexities of it, and having all of that flexibility. Will Sibelius access GS3 in the way I want it to? Will the samples play while I am inputting notes on the staves?

    I like GPO too. It seems like there are a lot of happy customers, and it's nice to have Gary as an available resource. It seems like an incredibly good company with a good product and good service. I've listened to some demos, and they sound pretty darn good, especially compared to what I deal with in soundfonts. I know that their are other samples available, than just what comes with GPO, but it seems like there aren't many compared to what is out there for GS3, that can be converted, or whatever. I went to the "GPO and Sibelius users" web page. I read that there are 8 samples in 8 players for a total of 64 samples. Is 64 samples the limitation with GPO and Sibelius together? Am I interpreting that information correctly?

    I don't expect anybody to make a decision for me, but some questions I am asking myself are: Am I going to be disappointed that I wouldn't have access to many other versions of instruments if I go with just GPO? Should I buy both?

    My brain tells me to use GPO as a "quick" way of making an approximation of what a score will sound like, and that would be good for giving to prospective customers, etc. My brain also tells me that GS3 would be a good product if I want to do music for my friend who makes videos, expand my horizons and have access to more instruments, etc. If anybody has any suggestions, ideas, etc., please fire away.

    I didn't know exactly which forum to place this in. Thanks in advance, as always. Dan
    "They get what they vote for." PaulR

  2. #2

    Re: To Jon F, and others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Danimal
    My brain tells me to use GPO as a "quick" way of making an approximation of what a score will sound like, and that would be good for giving to prospective customers, etc. My brain also tells me that GS3 would be a good product if I want to do music for my friend who makes videos, expand my horizons and have access to more instruments, etc. If anybody has any suggestions, ideas, etc., please fire away.

    I didn't know exactly which forum to place this in. Thanks in advance, as always. Dan
    Hi Dan, first congratulations on your engagement!
    I understand you perfectly. And your statement "use GPO as a "quick" way of making an approximation of what a score will sound like," is right on!

    I just got into all this midi stuff last April, and up till about two months ago all I had was GPO, but I did get GS3 Orchestra so I could use GOS which I love!!!!! Both are incredible programs. I don't want to take away from other companies and their owners, but Gary is a wonderfully generous man with his time towards customers. He wants all of them to be happy! I'm one, can you tell?

    I think you should get GPO, and use that first like I did. Then if you feel you could use even more articulations and have the time to dedicate to polishing up your work, you could get GOS and Giga.

    This is all GPO, in fact, it is the first midi production I have ever done. I copied this by ear for the singer for her new CD. The score and master license was not available for Alabaster Box so I made this track for her.

    This is one of the Christmas songs I arranged and played with all GPO for Gary Garritan's Christmas CD. Come, Oh Come Emmanuel

    And this last thing is a demo I call "compare and save" I am crossfading between me (GOS/GPO) and the audio CD recording of a real orchestra that I had to duplicate for a client.

    Contact Gary at Gary@harps.com he will answer your email if you have any questions, and I assume you have been to his website www.garritan.com

    Good luck with whatever program or library you choose.
    dpDan

  3. #3

    Re: To Jon F, and others.

    Hi Danimal,

    I've got Sibelius 3, Cake/Sonar, GS3 and GPO, and I can happily say that they all work well and can get the job done nicely.

    If your work is mainly for people who will play scores on orchestral instruments, GPO is the right solution. Your audience probably doesn't require The Hollywood Sound (tm), and, in fact, may be well served by the more modest sound of GPO. You don't want to make the chamber group disappointed that they don't sound like a Wagnerian throng.

    I've had some disappointments working with GPO from Sibelius though. Sibelius uses a pretty traditional MIDI setup. Patch changes change sounds, velocity sets dynamics, and the CC7 or CC11 sets expression (in the hairpin plugin). GPO doesn't do patch changes, velocity sets attack and the mod-wheel sets the dynamics/expression.

    GigaStudio can be used more directly with Sibelius. It accepts patch changes and lots of instruments use traditional MIDI setups. Giga instruments tend to want articulation changes, and it's easy to do these from Sibelius with hidden MIDI messages.

    I had used Sibelius with Giga for swome time before getting GPO, so I was fairly disappointed with GPO/Sibelius compatibility when I first got GPO. These days I think the right way to work is to get things kinda close from Sibelius, then export to MIDI and tweak the perfromance in the sequencer.

    GPO really shines when you play the expression with the mod wheel. You can record the mod-wheel only on top of the exported MIDI tracks. You can also copy/paste, say, your violin tracks in the sequencer and get arco/pizz to sound properly in the sequencer. (The notation wants them on one line, but GPO requries them on separate patches.) It's pretty easy to then mouse in the right velocities to handle fast/slow attacks.

    The other approach is to export everything to the sequencer, and then just re-play some of the key lines yourself, if you're a good sightreader/player. That will give the most human performances.

    With Sibelius playing GS3 you can get there more directly, and you can mix and match other instruments. If you want a bigger sound, or want to mix violins, electric guitars and middle eastern percussion, then this is the way to go. You can make a template in GS3 that has your instruments on certain patch numbers, and you can then make instruments in Sibelius that use the same patch numbers. So when you call up your violin in Sibelius and have your template loaded, the violin just plays.

    Faster/slower attacks and other articulations like pizz/arco, tremolo and trills are generally done in GS3 with patch changes or keyswitches, and these are easy to add in Sibelius as hidden messages. And when you add dynamics in Sibelius, you get them to play in GS3.

    It's still good to export your MIDI to a sequencer and add expression control in the sequencer for sustain instruments. You can use the hairpin plugin in Sibelius. It works, but may not give the feel that you really want.

    I've heard some human playback stuff from Finale playing Giga that sounds really good, but you will probably want to stick with Sibelius for its human interface and to avoid a notation learning curve.

    A good way to set this up is to have Sibelius and GPO on one computer. It will need to be reasonable strong have lots of RAM and a good ASIO sound card. Then use MIDIoverLAN or a MIDI output to feed a GS3 machine. The GS3 machine should be VERY strong to offer lots of GigaPulse power, should have lots of RAM and a GSIF soundcard. A cheap mixer (for monitoring only) will blend the sounds.

    So, what to buy? It's hard to say. GPO is very complete for traditional instruments, and the price is excellent. GS3 is reasonably complete for orchestral stuff, and adds drums, guitar, B3 organ, bass and such. You can get a number of free gigs from the internet. Westgate is a cheap way to add a full collection of woodwinds.

    The bottom line might be that GS3 will give a more accurate representation of your notation than GPO. It will reflect the dynamic markings. It will change from pizz to arco. You can add the articulation changes in hidden MIDI text right alongside any notation markings (stacatto, marcato...) that you add. The only thing that you will want to add in the sequencer is the expression (crescendos, descrescendos), if the hairpin plugin doesn't do the trick. You can add other polish as well, but it's optional.

    The good news is that you can't go wrong. GPO is an awesome value. GS3 Orchestra is a really capable tool. I tend to work in the GS3 domain, but I still go for GPO for its harps and celesta. If I had another good computer/soundcard/RAM for GPO, I'd probably use it more, but I prefer the range that I can get from GS3, as well as its user interface and general process.

    I hope this is helpful. If you want to dig deeper, just ask...

    -JF

  4. #4

    Re: To Jon F, and others.

    Thanks guys. You all are incredibly helpful, as usual.

    It seems like my current needs will be met by GPO when I consider what will be best/adequate for most of my customers. I can tweak the final sound in the sequencer and spend some time compensating for any perceived short comings. I'll probably wait for GPO Advanced.

    I'm sure that I'm going to want GS3, or whatever comes after it. I want that flexibility, availability of different samples, etc. So I think my answer is "both", but GPO first.

    Jon,
    Is my reference to "64 samples" in my original post an accurate way of thinking about polyphony in GPO, or am I missing something and being incorrect in my thinking? I guess what I might be asking is: With the separate changes I'll need to make in GPO for dynamics, etc., will that be getting me closer to that 64 mark, and limiting me? Am I totally off in my understanding here?
    "They get what they vote for." PaulR

  5. #5

    Re: To Jon F, and others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Danimal
    Jon,
    Is my reference to "64 samples" in my original post an accurate way of thinking about polyphony in GPO, or am I missing something and being incorrect in my thinking? I guess what I might be asking is: With the separate changes I'll need to make in GPO for dynamics, etc., will that be getting me closer to that 64 mark, and limiting me? Am I totally off in my understanding here?
    You're off. The limit is 64 instruments, rather than samples.

    Each instance of the Kotakt player can hold eight instruments, and you can load and play eight instances at once. Everything is held in RAM, so the polyphony is actually really good. I found that I've never been able to load all that much in GPO, and things load slowly for me, but apparently I have something wrong in my setup. Others have much better capacities and load times.

    GPO is different from the usual big libs in that it has few articulations and uses filtering and attack control to vary the sounds, rather than a "sample farm". So it doesn't need lots of samples to get good, expressive sound. That's one reason that Gary was able to keep the costs down.

    My favorite thing about GPO is how "playable" it is. If you're a good sight reader, playing the lines in while using the mod-wheel for expression and the pedal for legato gives really nice results.

    -JF

  6. #6

    Re: To Jon F, and others.

    Ok, understood. Believe it or not.

    My next question is: With Sibelius and GPO (and not using a mod wheel), if I want to change an articulation, expression, etc., do I need to use yet another one of those 64 instruments? In other words, do I have to clone another violin in order to change the articulation, expression, etc., and then change back again? Or do I do this in the sequencer?
    I understand that I can change things by using the "C" commands in Sibelius, but does that mean I'll need at least two instruments for every staff in Sibelius? I'm normally not so stupid and uninformed, but asking questions is the only way for me to learn about this particular program. Thanks, again.
    "They get what they vote for." PaulR

  7. #7

    Re: To Jon F, and others.

    > "With Sibelius and GPO (and not using a mod wheel), if I want to change an articulation, expression, etc., do I need to use yet another one of those 64 instruments?"

    Not usually. The big libs work that way, but not GPO. For GPO if you want a faster or slower attack, you vary the velocity of the note. Sibelius has a "Live Playback" feature, and you can use that for the attack variation. It uses pedal down for legato - you can add that as a MIDI message. And it uses the mod wheel for dynamics - yet another MIDI message.

    But some articulations, like pizz, tremolo and trills do need different sample sets. Unfortunately, the Kontakt player doesn't support program changes, and Sibelius doesn't allow channel changes on one staff. (I fault the player, not Sib.)

    With some changes there are keyswitches available. You can add a MIDI note OFF event to trigger keyswitches. In the case that the keyswitch that you want isn't available in GPO, you have to use separate staves in Sibelius - or separate tracks in the sequencer.

    -JF

  8. #8

    Re: To Jon F, and others.

    Excellent! That's exactly what I wanted to know. I think that's about it for now. Thanks so much.
    "They get what they vote for." PaulR

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