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Topic: Some help with expressiveness

  1. #1

    Some help with expressiveness

    Hi All,

    I have a few questions about running GPO on with SONAR. I sent an email to Gary but I figured it would be good to post it here as well.

    I first had GPO configured to be on its own machine running as Personal Orchestra Studio. Then, after chatting last week on these forums I put Sonar on the same box as Personal Orchestra Studio and ran Sonar with GPO as a VST pluggin. It took hours to set it up and with the wet samples it ended up draining the CPU. So I did it over with dry samples and though it was better it is still draining the CPU. I have a 3 gig P4 with 2 Gigs of ram and a 250 Gig hard drive.

    I think Iíd rather have it running on a separate machine but I need some help in making it sound more dynamic. Below is an example of the stuff Iím working on and done on two different machines. Studio on one and Sonar on the other:


    This uses about 30 instruments. As you can hear by the piece the dynamics leave a bit to be desired for my tastes. Iím completely confused about how the controllers interact with GPO. Iím used to using just the velocity of the notes plus the volume (using envelopes) to also give dynamics. Iím finding that the velocity isnít as robust as those on my hardware synths. What I mean by that is that if I have 20 notes that start at a velocity of 10 and go to a velocity of 127 on the hardware synths the difference is huge. Itís not the same with Personal Orchestra Studio. Playing around with it today I found that the velocity (running Sonar on a separate machine than GPO) does effect the attack and not the total loudness of the note (is this correct?). I also was playing around with it and found that by either drawing the volume controller in the note pane or creating a track envelope will give me the articulation and expression I think Iím looking for. Is this right as well? I should also add that in Kontakt on the GPS machine I have the General Options set for 1. use std. CC#7 / CC#10 Volume and Pan. Also I have the entry that says sustain / sustenuto pedan mode set at pedal+midi SW.

    As I said above, what Iíve done is also to have the sustain pedal active in Kontakt so I can have good legatos. However I find that in certain cases I have to have a pedal on and pedal off with each note that is played during those passages. Is this also right?

    Sorry for the long post but when Iím in a learning curve I try to ask all questions in front. Again, I love this product but I need to find out how to better use it.

    Steve Lewis

  2. #2

    Re: Some help with expressiveness


    Expression - loudness and timbre - is controlled in GPO with the Mod Wheel (except for percussive instruments like piano, percussion etc., ).

    In Sonar, I use dry patches on individual tracks and then bus them through one instance of GPO ambience.
    Richard N.

    Finale 2003 to 2007 ~ Garritan GPO, JABB & Strad ~ Sonar 6PE ~ Kontakt 2 ~ WinXP Home SP2

    Athlon XP 2200 ~ 1.5 Gb RAM ~ M-Audio Sound Card ~ M-Audio 88ES MIDI keyboard ~ Evolution MK-461C

    Bach Strad LT16MG, LT36G, 42B + B&H Sovereign Studio Tenor Trombones ~ Holton 181 Bass Trombone ~ Getzen Bass Trumpet ~ Yamaha TR4335G Trumpet ~ B&H Euphonium

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Chandler, Arizona

    Re: Some help with expressiveness

    I use GPO in Sonar straight without using the GPO Studio. This will save tremendously on resources.

    Most sounds use CC1 for controlling volume and timbre. Velocity with most sounds using CC1 changes how fast the attack is. Hitting lighter will cause slower attacks.

    Percussion sounds, Staccato strings and Pizzicato strings use velocity only for controller volume and don't use CC1.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Salisbury, UK

    Re: Some help with expressiveness

    Steve - the dynamic shading sounding fine to me. The feel towards the end of the clip was that a big orchestra sound had weighed in. I have noticed the issue of loudness, or lack of it, crops up from time to time in this forum. For some tastes, maybe the only solutio is to hook up a couple of 1000 watt amplifiers to the machine then blow the hapless listener out of his chair. But another way of looking at loudness might be to use the analogy which the 18th century painter Turner on the subject of paint. He famously remarked, the brightest highlight in any canvas can never be more than a dot of white paint. What makes it bright is context. If this approach is valid in the sound world, then a solution would be to identify your climax moment and make everything else proportionately softer. In my experience, the ear will get the message with no trouble.

  5. #5

    Re: Some help with expressiveness

    Hi Again,

    Thanks for your input. I've pretty much made up my mind that I will have a separate machine for Sonar and for GPO. It works out easier to manage for me and since I have 4 machines with many midi inputs and outputs the utilization of other computers isnít an issue. I'm still a little confused with Mod Wheel vs CC1. Does this affect the sound and/or the versatility of GPO? Somehow I donít think it will but I leave it to all of your experiences and expertise to help me go the right route.

    What Iím used to doing in Sonar is controlling volume and velocity. Where does this differ from Mod Wheel and CC1 and what difference does it make in the playing of an instrument. I hate to take up too much of your time as well as taking up too much of my own time with technical things rather than composing but I know I have to get the technical stuff right to make my music sound better.

    As Dermod said, the end of the piece was like a big orchestra sounding in and that is what I was looking for. However, is the way Iím doing it, or can I do it differently to make it sound even more robust? Thanks again

  6. #6

    Re: Some help with expressiveness


    I suggest you take one hour off composing and dwell a bit into the well-written GPO manual. The bottom-line is: GPO is quite different from the other sample libraries you may have come across.

    * Modwheel controls the volume
    * Attack controls the accent
    * There are also a lot of special controllers which control the sound and make your life a lot easier

    This may sound confusing but after a while you will get the hang of it and be able to create very realistic ensembles. Just try playing around with it for a while. In the end you will play the melodic lines like we all do: Using the modwheel for the veliocity, attack for the accent and pedal for legatos. And soon you will ask yourself why nobody thought about that before Gary did.
    Greetings from Vienna!
    My website: Above the staff.net

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Chandler, Arizona

    Re: Some help with expressiveness

    Modwheel and CC1 is the same thing.

    I think you would get better performance by using Sonar and GPO on the same machine. I get tight timing versus going over LAN or MIDI interfaces. It's also quicker normally bouncing to audio to finish your project.

    My system has multiple machines but most of the time I only use the one machine and only turn on the others if I want to load other libraries and use Giga 3.

  8. #8

    Re: Some help with expressiveness

    The MOD wheel / CC1 (same thing) is *THE KEY* to expressiveness in GPO.

    The volume control (CC7) simply controls the amplitude of SAMPLE playback. Essentially, you're hitting a note and turning up the volume dial, like on a radio. The tone of the instrument isn't affected, just how loudly it's pumped through your speakers.

    But, as you know, real instruments don't simply get louder when you blow/bow/strike harder, they also change in timbre (some blare, some get more piercing, some aquire more overtones, some distort, some get more brittle, etc.)

    GPO captures most of these characteristics very realistically, and you control this with the mod wheel. When you hit a note and turn the mod wheel, you're actually crossfading through a series of samples at increasing dynamics, with all the accompanying timbral characteristics.

    Essentially, these are the timbre changes that you're accustomed to getting from velocity on most sample libraries--GPO's technique is an improvement, because you can actually change the color smoothly WITHIN a note, like on a real instrument. Swells, crescendos, phrasing, and even slight nuances of color are very easy and realistic with GPO. Try mod-crescendoing some low bass clarinet notes and you'll hear exactly what I mean. Compare this to crescendoing with cc7 and you'll find there really is no comparison.

    If you're not using the MOD wheel, you are missing out on 90% of GPO's power. There is little need for the volume control at all--I rarely even touch the volume on GPO, except in a set-it-once-and-forget-it sort of way in order to get a good initial blend (even this is rarely nnecessary, because GPO's initial volume settings are pretty good).

    Last edited by CallMeZoot; 05-16-2005 at 06:35 PM. Reason: I spelled "Affected" incorrectly "Effected," and this annoyed me.

  9. #9
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Out of my Mind

    Re: Some help with expressiveness

    Also, I might add that slightly varied use of the mod wheel spread out over the individual elements of the sections (i.e. Violin 1, Player 2,3 etc) can give very dramatic results. Also, at the risk of being flamed , I always work at 48k, 24 bit (set in Sonar). Even though you mix down to 41/16, you still have more headroom when recording, and therefore, a seemingly greater dynamic range even after dither down to 16 bit. But yea, Mod Wheel (CC 1) is your friend. (And it is also easily drawn and varied in Sonar for more variation).

    "So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap." -- Neil Peart
    Hint:1.6180339887498948482 Φ

  10. #10

    Re: Some help with expressiveness

    Hi All,

    Thanks for the responses. I'm going to play around with the program today and tomorrow (My only days off to do so). There is still a question I have. If I use the mod wheel how do I actually use a mod wheel type controller to get trombone slides? I'm unsure how this is done. I have a lot to learn about this.

    Thanks for your help,

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