I'm a new GPO user, very excited about the new potential my music has with the use of this incredible program. Deep bows to GPO's creators.
It will be great to compose new material from start to finish using GPO, but presently I have a fully orchestrated musical theatre piece which I need to translate into GPO parameters.
In other words, I'm "working backwards," as any musician would who already has honed and detailed MIDI files to work from.
I find it quite a challenge, wrapping my head around software synths and samplers, after years of using hardware MIDI equipment--and it's also a challenge adapting to GPO's use of CC1 instead of CC7 for volume.
I've used the various MIDI file translators, as well as changed my thick CC7 files to CC1, so am on the road to tweaking my files so the volumes work. Dealing with the piano separately is of course the thing to do, I can see, in order to work around the issue of there being one global setting in the Kontact player for using or ignoring CC7 and pan.
I'm a bit frustrated, however, that when working with the piano track, with the Kontact player set to read traditional CC7, that the dynamic range is greatly reduced. I mean that there's no way I can go all the way to a value of 127. Beyond 100 and the sound peaks out. The result is a piano track that doesn't have as broad a volume-dynamic range as previously. Trade off is the excellent Steinway sound in GPO.
BIG ISSUE though, is how there are now two versions of the Kontact player in my PC, but I can't access both of them. I did the upgrade, so the stand alone has the upgraded Kontact, with the option for direct drive streaming (if needed) and use of the X file parameters.
But the GPO Studio doesn't access this new upgraded Kontact--it still loads the original stripped down player, without the CC controller slider etc.
One limitation of my set up is that I'm using Cakewalk Pro Audio 9. My music studio budget has been stretched as far as I can manage at present, so upgrading to Sonar isn't an option.
I can get Cakewalk 9 to utilize the GPO Studio, but it won't access the stand alone and improved Kontact player.
Does anyone know if there's a work-around? Do I have some files in the wrong location perhaps? For those who don't know, Pro Audio 9 doesn't use either DXi or VSTi directly. Using a VST wrapper doesn't work in this situation, because in this program, VST is only for audio tracks, not MIDI tracks.
Great Forum here--I've been searching for a couple days now for topics that can help me, and at least I've found that adapting to GPO's volume system is a challenge for other folks.
Perhaps some computer music folks more experienced and/or technically minded than I am have some ideas for me to try, or info about how I'm approaching these issues incorrectly?
First of all, in Cakwalk I'm pretty sure you can use the GPO DXi and/or VST. Just insert it into an audio track and point your MIDI track to it. When the GPO player appears there will be PersonalOrchestraVST 1 or something on the output dropdown list. Just point your MIDI tracks to it.
The Steinway responds to velocity for dynamics, not CC1 or 7. However, there is an issue that I haven't been able to solve reguarding pedaling with the steinway. The pedal is either set to sustain the note or legato mode. You can't have them all legato and just the piano sustain, apparently. When you set Kontakt to respond to CC7, that's making it change the actual volume, not the dynamic. The mod wheel (velocity on percussive instruments) changes the dynamic (volume and timbre). You don't want to control dynamics with CC7. That's bad. I'd highly advise you to keep this option off. The default load values give me a nice well-balanced orchestra, but that really depends on your taste.
GPO studio should have upgraded to the newer player. Maybe the just the DXi upgraded but not the VSTi? I really don't know for that one.
We all know it can be difficult to communicate solely through typed words--but we gotta keep trying, because Forums like this and email can be great tools, despite the difficulties.
I can see I wasn't totally clear in my first post--I understand the GPO system using CC1 so extensively. As I've seen in other posts, it seems the best way to get a real piano performance quality is to have the Kontact set at "normal" pedaling and "normal" CC7 control. All the dynamics of muted tones to brassy hammered-on tones are there in my playback, from the velocity sensitive playing already in my tracks.
The sustain pedal is working correctly for me for the piano in "normal" mode--sounds exactly as the synth module I've been using for piano up until now.
For the vast majority of the other GPO instruments, I understand that I want to have the pedal as a legato tool and for CC1 to provide dynamics--that's why I translated my MIDI tracks to feed data to GPO that it understands.
By still using my Cakewalk 9 Pro Audio software, I seem to really be in the pre-historic era, but like I said in my first post, it's not an option to upgrade at present.
So, with what I have, what you described doesn't seem to be possible. On CW9 there are audio tracks and then there are MIDI tracks--never shall the twain meet. Yes, I can create a blank track intended for audio, and I can insert GPO as you described, and it does show up--but there's no way to "point my MIDI track to it." As a result, I can get no sound from it/through it. That MIDI info is on another track and needs an output it can recognize--I can't point it to another track. The Kontact player doesn't show up as an option in the instrument list, but the GPO Studio does--all 8 ports.
So with what I understand about my system, my only choice is to use the GPO Studio, which is fine I guess, but I feel like there'd be greater flexibility being able to use the Kontact player directly. That's what posts on this Forum seem to indicate. I'd at least like to try it.
As far as the GPO upgrading to the newer player--it just didn't. Apparently the VST version, the stand alone player accessed from the direct GPO desk icon--it's the upgraded one. But the instances that appear in the Studio are the old ones.
I've spent many--Too many hours since Friday trying everything I can think of, with many system crashes during the period, trying to get this all configured the way I'd like.
Perhaps there's a Cakewalk 9 Pro Audio user out there who is hip to some solutions specific to that sequencer.
AH--There was one more thing I wanted to respond to.
You said you like the balances of the GPO instruments as they come up when first loaded--I do too! But the volumes instantly change as soon as files are played, because of the various CC1 levels.---Am I doing something incorrectly?--Say I need the strings to start a very low volume, but with a solo trumpet at full volume--I want to do that kind of mixing in MIDI terms, not with a mixer, even a MIDI mixer---So now that my relative balances between the instruments are changed because of sonic needs, whatever balance there was when the instruments were first loaded have been obliterated---, right?
That's why I'm still finding it an EXTreme challenge to keep sounds balanced the way I want. I'm so accustomed to there being an absolute top volume potential for each instrument--like in a synth module, you set your loudest instruments to 127. Another instrument you never want above a certain level, so you set it at say, 90. That lower volume instrument will ALways be in the correct proportion with the louder instrument, even when played at full velocity and with CC7 up to the max.
See what I mean?----There doesn't seem to be a way to have the GPO instruments set at these maximum potential volumes which keep things correctly in balance--it's a constant juggling game. --?
However, there is an issue that I haven't been able to solve reguarding pedaling with the steinway. The pedal is either set to sustain the note or legato mode. You can't have them all legato and just the piano sustain, apparently.
If you use the latest update of GPO, have a loot at the "Notation" folder: legato operations are processed using CC68, allowing normal piano pedaling (cc64) at the same time. You must set Sustain to "Normal", of course.
You can make a copy of the dll file that's in your VST folder (PersonalOrchestra.dll) and rename it (PersonalOrchestraPiano.dll) and copy it back into your VST folder. Set the pedal response in this new version to "Normal sustain" and use it as your dedicated piano player. Sequencer programs like Sonar or Cubase will allow you to have these multiple versions of GPO open. This will not work with GPO Studio which uses only one version. Search this forum for more threads about this if you need more info or if my explanation wasn't clear enough.
You guys are great. So nice to have a Forum where people actually respond.
Appreciate the tip about copying the dll to have a permanently available version of the piano with the regular sustain pedal. Now if my sequencer would only let me use VST instruments that way. But no dice. Not that I'm aware of anyway---VST wrapper for adding effects, but only with pre-existing audio tracks. Cakewalk 9 doesn't see and use a VST instrument the way Sonar does.
Cakewalk 9 users out there? Am I wrong? Lemme know if I am!
With GPO, you always want to have that CC7 and volume controls turned off on the player. Turning sensativity to them on will mess up the balances and make them like they are in Cakewalk. If you have the volume all the way up, the sound will be terrible because it will distort. You REALLY should have this option turned off and just tweak the volumes and pans in the player to the way you like.
However, the mod wheel should be used for dynamics. If you want to keep that perfect balance, keep all the mod levels exactly the same. Making the volumes the same level will mess up the balance. The default volume level shouldn't be messed with unless you need to bring out a solo in a concerto or something or just feel the the strings are just a bit too loud or something.
If Cakewalk supports DXi, then there should be a way to control that DXi, otherwise there is not point. I am a Sonar/Music Creator 2002 user, and they both support DXi. If it supports DXi, it should allow you to point your MIDI track's output to it. Check your manuel for Cakewalk for it. It should be in there. Trust me. Using GPO studio, IMO, is more of a pain than having the DXi/VST.
Again, you DON'T WANT THE PAN AND VOLUME CONTROL OPTION ON! For me this has been nothing but trouble. It uses Cakewalk's volumes, not GPO's making all of the sounds distort at full volume. You don't want GPO at full volume. It'll sound TERRIBLE with all the distortion!
Once again it seems I misled you. I am NOT using CC7 and CC10 with the GPO instruments. I am using the GPO system of mod wheel for dynamics/levels.
I accidentally had that option once and am now quite familiar with the terrible distortion you're talking about. That was a one time mistake though.
I'm only using "standard 7 and 10" for when I work on and then record the piano. Woods, Brass and the rest, I reset the GPO Studio's parameters.
Without using the CC7 option turned on for the Piano, I would have a one level performance that indeed has flashes of brassy sound driven by the way GPO reads velocity of notes, but all at the same actual volume level. I just can't allow CC7 to go above 100 or distortion comes in.
I would use CC68 for the special pedal-as-legato feature, as I've seen people mention---but that isn't working with the upgrade I downloaded. The "old" Kontact player is still in the Studio, as I mentioned before. I wish all that worked, then I wouldn't have to worry about two different settings for orchestra and another for piano.
In my last post, I was using the ANalogy of traditional MIDI usage, where the absolute potential volume for a given sound is set in the module. Play something at full velocity of 127 and it will still be soft if in the module you have it turned down to something below 100. I didn't mean that's what I'm attempting in GPO.
I'm still finding keeping a balance of all the instruments very difficult. All that mod wheel expressively working away on all the sounds--suddenly a flute can sound as loud as the entire rest of the band.
"If you want to keep that perfect balance, keep all the mod levels exactly the same."----and lose all the dynamics of a piece? I don't think so. Might as well use a non-velocity sensitive keyboard.
I'm also saying that the levels set in the GPO studio are Fine when first loaded, but that volume controller doesn't stay put-it changes as soon as I start working with a given instrument's mod wheel. See what I mean?
I wish I could say "Flute---you can never be over 75% of your potential volume"--etc.
GPO Studio is the only Kontacts I have available in the sequencer. Even though Cakewalk 9 does use DX, the stand-alone Kontact keyboard is not appearing there as an instrument option.
I have two manuals for Cakewalk 9---this sequencer was developed prior to the "virtual instrument" revolution, and so use of them isn't covered at all in the manuals.
Using the Studio is my only option. I work on a group of instruments, then have to record them through the sound card into an audio track in the sequencer. I can't use an "instant import to audio" thing.
BUT I'm thinking >shudder< that I may need to un-install GPO and all associated programs and updates-and start again. It IS squirrely that my stand-alone Kontact (the one I can't access through Cakewalk) upgraded when I used the new download, and yet the Kontact in Studio didn't upgrade. Maybe starting fresh will clear that up.
I understand what you mean now. The piano's velocity isn't giving any dynamic contrast but only timbral contrast. I guess something was wrong in the X-custom slider you don't seem to have. A reinstall might help, but when I did it due to a couple of little problems adding up everything smoothed out so that could be an option.
What I ment with keeping the mod levels the same was that was that you keep the whole orchestra on the same general level, you can make them go up and down over time for expressiveness, but not have the flute at 127 and the violins at 10 or anything like that. I even read in a orchestration booklet thing that it's usually not good to have parts of the orchestra at different dynamics than the rest, unless a solo or something just needs to come up.
I have to run off to school now but when I come back I'll reply again.
Maybe we could discuss this during the chat session today?