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Topic: Suggestions for next JABB update

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  1. #1

    Suggestions for next JABB update

    I hope this isn't too premature, but I've been working with JABB for the past week or so on a nonet (2trpts, 1trbn, atb saxes + rhythm) and have formed a brief wishlist for the next version of JABB, be it an update or a full Version 2.

    Before I get into my suggestions, let me first say I'm absolutely loving the flugel horns, and the cymbals are very musical, although some are limited in their dynamic range, requiring a fair amount of velocity editing to get them to really "play". The drums are really good, too, very authentic sounding and playable, but I'm missing a snare drum press roll and a "crush" or short buzz roll like what would be played with the drummer's left hand as an accent or filler.

    Unless I'm missing something, there needs to be a much broader variety of attacks via velocity. Hitting a sax note at 127 produces nothing more than a mf attack when it should be a brutal marcato worthy of a Tower of Power hit. I will qualify this by saying that I am a professional sax player and teacher with about 30yrs experience, and I think you're really missing a broad area of expression with such a limited range. Your instruments don't replicate the mechanics of the real thing. It sounds like you started with a medium attack and applied a reducing volume envelope for the lower velocities. Perhaps this is a limitation of the Kontakt Player or the product specs (size, price point)?

    Second, the warmth control seems to be totally backwards in its implementation. Using cc26, the higher the value, the darker the sound. When volume increases via the mod wheel, I'm supposed to decrease the warmth correspondingly? That really seems backward to me. I'd like to just be able to copy the mod wheel controllers and reassign them as cc26 and be done with it. With the current system, I would have to invert (at the very least) or re-edit everything entirely. This is harder than it should be. Because of this, I'm inclined not to use cc26 at all and deal with a reduced level of realism, which is a shame.

    Please think of it in terms of "brightness" instead of "warmth", and please find a way to easily tie brightness and volume together, rather than have them independent by default. Every wind instrument gets brighter as it gets louder and higher, but JABB requires two separate controllers to be edited when it should just be one.

    My suggestion is to 1) control the attack and the brightness with velocity 2) use cc11 (Expression) to control the brightness after the attack or have it tied to the mod wheel if you want to keep using it (the mod wheel) to control volume. Otherwise, let cc7 control the volume as it usually does. Doesn't this acomplish the same results?

    My next suggestion would be to improve the quality of saxes sampled. Again, as a 30 yr veteran player, I've never seen a Buffet alto on a gig, and a real bari player wouldn't be caught dead with a Bundy, except as a backup horn. For variety in altos, look to pro-level horns from Yamaha and Yanigasawa for starters, possibly Couf or Cannonball. For bari's, it's MK VI all the way, or an older Conn or Couf. A recent Yamaha would work, too. I was also surprised at your selection of sopranos - not a Selmer, Yamaha, or even a Yanigasawa?

    There are also some obviously out of tune notes in the sax samples, particularly with the tenors. Contrary to popular belief, they do NOT contribute to realism or authenticity. Players have been working to overcome bad scales in saxes for decades. This is one aspect that does NOT need faithful reproduction

    The trumpets sound thin, with the exception of the Bach which practically sounds symphonic compared to the King and Calicchio. They sound great in the big band demos, but I'd be hard pressed to use any of them as a solo instrument, with any combination of controller settings. Where's the nice Miles Davis full trumpet sound? Please prove me wrong and post an mp3 with the settings used

    This product is off to a great start. Please give it the attention it deserves and make it fulfill its potential. I'm sure that, since JABB has been such a success, other companies are going to be offering some competition soon, and it would be a shame to be outpaced. If you were to really go all out and make this library first class all the way, I'm sure people would be happy to pay for that level of quality as they will with GPOA.

    Thanks for the opportunity to present my case. I'm looking forward to whatever updates are in the future.
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA
    www.bakersjazzandmore.com

  2. #2

    Re: Suggestions for next JABB update

    Thanks for the suggestions, Paul. These will be added (for consideration) to other suggestions that we have received. Anything that involves the actual recording of additional instruments will need to wait for a future product and we have no immediate plans for a version 2 of JABB. Could happen, but will be a ways off - lots of things on our plate right now. I'll make a few specific comments below.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmdaustin
    The drums are really good, too, very authentic sounding and playable, but I'm missing a snare drum press roll and a "crush" or short buzz roll like what would be played with the drummer's left hand as an accent or filler.
    Sounds like another area that could use a tutorial. Take advantage of the separate right and left hand samples to simulate these techniques (even though, in reality, these aren't accomplished with separate hands - the goal is differentiation to avoid the "machine gun" effect.)

    Second, the warmth control seems to be totally backwards in its implementation. Using cc26, the higher the value, the darker the sound. When volume increases via the mod wheel, I'm supposed to decrease the warmth correspondingly? That really seems backward to me. I'd like to just be able to copy the mod wheel controllers and reassign them as cc26 and be done with it. With the current system, I would have to invert (at the very least) or re-edit everything entirely. This is harder than it should be. Because of this, I'm inclined not to use cc26 at all and deal with a reduced level of realism, which is a shame. Please think of it in terms of "brightness" instead of "warmth", and please find a way to easily tie brightness and volume together, rather than have them independent by default. Every wind instrument gets brighter as it gets louder and higher, but JABB requires two separate controllers to be edited when it should just be one.
    You are misinterpreting the purpose of the cc26 tone control. It is not intended to be tied to changes in volume, as such. Changes in timbre with volume are already handled automatically. Mod wheel data controls both volume and filter brightness. How much depends on the instrument - e.g. brass have greater brightness changes than saxes. But it is already done automatically. cc26, on the other hand, is a task-specific controller that can be used to modify tone quality during a held note, or, in general modification of a specific passage. I've used it to modify the tone quality of a rapidly ascending triplet figure that I judged to be too "thin" in quality, while surrounding notes were untouched. Think of it as a surgical tool. Now, if you wish to make more drastic changes I would suggest using the EQ automation tools in your workstation. These can be applied to individual instruments or to sections of instruments grouped by buses. I used both techniques in the latest big band demos and I will be creating an "advanced techniques" tutorial to show how.

    My suggestion is to 1) control the attack and the brightness with velocity 2) use cc11 (Expression) to control the brightness after the attack or have it tied to the mod wheel if you want to keep using it (the mod wheel) to control volume. Otherwise, let cc7 control the volume as it usually does. Doesn't this acomplish the same results?
    No, it does not. Mod wheel was chosen in GPO because it is one of the "common denominator" controllers for most users. Most users have a keyboard with pitch wheel, mod wheel, and sustain pedal. Those are the only ones we can count on and so we have built our model to take advantage of that situation. Mod wheel handles the MIDI spec function of cc11 (expression.) cc7 was never intended, in the MIDI spec, to be used for dynamic volume changes; that's the job of cc11. cc7 is intended to be a relative level setting device between instruments. cc11 controls dynamic volume changes within tracks. This has the intended advantage of allowing the user to make relative balance changes between instruments without disturbing the expressive volume changes within the track. Unfortunately, cc7 has been commonly misused to control dynamic volume by many hardware manufacturers. A good example is the volume pedal - it should be used to control cc11 but most (inappropriately) control cc7. In GPO (and now JABB) the cc11 job is handled by the mod wheel with the additional function of brightness changes tied to volume. While we have no intention of changing our approach there is the future possibility of users being able to choose their preferred controller (mod wheel, cc2, cc11.) This is already available in GPO using the X-Custom instruments and something similar, or possibly something quite different, may become available for JABB in the future.

    My next suggestion would be to improve the quality of saxes sampled. Again, as a 30 yr veteran player, I've never seen a Buffet alto on a gig, and a real bari player wouldn't be caught dead with a Bundy, except as a backup horn. For variety in altos, look to pro-level horns from Yamaha and Yanigasawa for starters, possibly Couf or Cannonball. For bari's, it's MK VI all the way, or an older Conn or Couf. A recent Yamaha would work, too. I was also surprised at your selection of sopranos - not a Selmer, Yamaha, or even a Yanigasawa?
    Well, I certainly respect your experience and your opinion but I also respect the opinions of the players we chose to record who have equally long experience and equally strong preferences. Look at it this way: The instruments in JABB are intended to be "generic" representations of instruments. We decided early on that we had no intention of trying for specific "sounds" beyond a suitable range of tone qualities that (combined with the advanced tools available in most DAWs today) could be adjusted to function in a variety of compositional situations. We have written about the purposes of JABB before but I will reiterate: It has two primary purposes - as a writer's tool to give the composer, teacher, or student reasonable feedback on instrumental timbre combinations, section interplay, articulation choices, etc. during the writing process and, if the user wishes to invest the time, to do mockups of compositions that are capable of communicating the essence of the chart for promotional purposes. I believe the big band demo recordings succeed in achieving this latter goal. Notice that I didn't include, as a purpose, instruments in a solo context or using the library as a substitute for real players. Unlike other sample libraries (especially orchestral ones) this was not one of the purposes of the library, from our perspective.

    The trumpets sound thin, with the exception of the Bach which practically sounds symphonic compared to the King and Calicchio. They sound great in the big band demos, but I'd be hard pressed to use any of them as a solo instrument, with any combination of controller settings. Where's the nice Miles Davis full trumpet sound? Please prove me wrong and post an mp3 with the settings used
    Once again, there was no attempt to offer a "Miles Davis trumpet," or a "John Coltrane tenor" or a "Cannonball Adderley alto" or any other specific, individual sound. That's a bottomless pit that we considered impractical in the extreme - and unnecessary for our purposes. For solo trumpet, I suggest that you avoid the brightest of the instruments and also make sure that any instrument you choose is not used at too high average mod wheel settings. High average mod wheel settings will give very bright results. Modest settings will give less-bright results. The horns are all recorded dry so the tone quality of the instrument in a mix will depend as much on the choice of placement in an acoustic environment as it does on the instrument itself (perhaps more.) The "Margot's Mood" Chuck Israels big band demo used a solo trumpet/tenor sax out front and I had no trouble getting a reasonable sound in that context using the Tpt 5 instrument. As with all attempts to use these instruments in an exposed solo context, it will require a great deal of time-consuming, detailed controller manipulation to get good results. In due time, I will create a number of solo instrument tutorials to spell out the best ways of applying the necessary controllers if one wishes to invest the time. But I will always include the strong recommendation that the user hire a real player if solo work is required.

    I'm looking forward to whatever updates are in the future.
    There will be another programming update in the not-too-distant future. It will have some programming fixes as well as the addition of some new features. Thanks again for taking the time to make comments and suggestions.

    Tom

  3. #3

    Re: Suggestions for next JABB update

    Tom,

    Unless I am totally missing something, there is no vibrato available for the Basses in JABB.

    Would this be a possible addition for any future updates?
    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

  4. #4

    Re: Suggestions for next JABB update

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard N.
    Tom,

    Unless I am totally missing something, there is no vibrato available for the Basses in JABB.

    Would this be a possible addition for any future updates?
    It will go on the list.

    Tom

  5. #5

    Re: Suggestions for next JABB update

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hopkins
    It will go on the list.

    Tom
    Thanks
    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

  6. #6

    Re: Suggestions for next JABB update

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hopkins

    You are misinterpreting the purpose of the cc26 tone control.
    Thank you, Tom for such a patient and thorough explanation. You're right, I'm apparently not grasping the techniques as you intended them. Mea Culpa. I'll do more studying up and practice to see if can get a hold of the "Garritan Way".

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hopkins
    Well, I certainly respect your experience and your opinion but I also respect the opinions of the players we chose to record who have equally long experience and equally strong preferences.
    I mean't no disrespect to the players you chose. For some of your other products, I'd noticed that you would refer to specific instruments, i.e. Stradivariius violin, Haynes, flute, etc. I guess I assumed that for JABB you would be choosing the instrumetns to sample (like you would a piano ) instead of choosing the player and recording his personal horns. My mistake. That's what I get for making assumptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hopkins
    Once again, there was no attempt to offer a "Miles Davis trumpet," or a "John Coltrane tenor" or a "Cannonball Adderley alto" or any other specific, individual sound.
    I wasn't looking for a specific player's sound, rather a warm full-bodied melodic trumpet - something to fall in love with as much as the flugel horns. I agree it would be pointless to try and imitate or recreate a singular sound such as Coltrane's or whoever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hopkins
    For solo trumpet, I suggest that you avoid the brightest of the instruments and also make sure that any instrument you choose is not used at too high average mod wheel settings. High average mod wheel settings will give very bright results. Modest settings will give less-bright results.

    In due time, I will create a number of solo instrument tutorials to spell out the best ways of applying the necessary controllers if one wishes to invest the time.
    Thanks for the tips. I'll look forward to those tutorials.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hopkins
    There will be another programming update in the not-too-distant future. It will have some programming fixes as well as the addition of some new features.
    Great news.
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA
    www.bakersjazzandmore.com

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