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Topic: Questions about GS3 Orchestra

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  1. #1

    Question Questions about GS3 Orchestra

    Hello guys,I'm matt H. I've been composing music for around six years and have just been getting into orchestration.I was first going to purchase a 32 track recorder and synthesizer for my orchestrated pieces.But after hearing all the wonderful things GS3 can do, I'm thinking about reconsidering my options.Now for the questions.
    (Please forgive me if my questions are to long,confusing,or just plain
    stupid. )

    (1) I've heard that GS3 crashes a lot and that it will act weird if there is another music program on the same PC as GS3. So if I have a dedicated PC for GS3 will I have fewer problems?

    (2) If my computer has a mic plug-in will I be able to record live instruments into GS3

    (3)I'm gussing that you use a synth to play the instruments on GS3.I only own an Alesis QS6 61 key synth. Is that good enough? Or do I need a synth with 88 keys?

    (4) How do I record the music in GS3 onto a CD? Will I need to buy a second computer?

    (5) (Really stupid question.) Does GS3 actuallyhave every instrument in an orchestra like timpanis, crash symbols, etc?

    (6)How many of you guys are just happy with just GS3?

    Well thats all folks. Sorry again for the length.

  2. #2

    Re: Questions about GS3 Orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by matt H
    (Please forgive me if my questions are to long,confusing,or just plain
    stupid. )
    They're not stupid questions. Even ground-level questions aren't stupid -- the first time around, anyways -- as long you you ask nicely

    Quote Originally Posted by matt H
    (1) I've heard that GS3 crashes a lot and that it will act weird if there is another music program on the same PC as GS3. So if I have a dedicated PC for GS3 will I have fewer problems?
    Giga crashes a lot for some people (like me) and not at all for others. Everyone (TASCAM included) seems to agree that Giga will be happier on a dedicated computer, but it is by no means necessary. If you have the money, and if music creation is sufficiently important to you, then spend it and relax...

    Quote Originally Posted by matt H
    (3)I'm gussing that you use a synth to play the instruments on GS3.I only own an Alesis QS6 61 key synth. Is that good enough? Or do I need a synth with 88 keys?
    You do not need a synth. There are plenty of synth-less keyboards (MIDI controllers), that will serve the same purpose. For example, I use a 61-key Fatar Studiologic SL-161 61-key MIDI controller keyboard and a 17-key Fatar MP-117 footpedal-keyboard -- they generate no sounds of their own, they merely send out MIDI commands depending upon which keys I hit and how hard I hit them.

    You do not need an 88-key keyboard. There are, primarily, two reasons why having an 88-key keyboard, as opposed to a smaller keyboard, can be better: (1) you'll be able to play all those really high and really low piano notes, in real time, if that's how you like to input your MIDI, and (2) more complex sample libraries use "key switches," which are keyboard keys that do not themselves produce sounds, but which you would use to switch between different sounds, or different articulations of the same sounds. Those are usually kept down in the lower register. If you don't have those keys on your keyboard, you can input them, manually, in a "sequencer" program like Cubase.

    In fact, you don't need a keyboard at all -- at least theoretically. You can mouse-click your MIDI data into a sequencer program without ever pressing a black or white key, but your hair may be gray by the start of the third movement...

    If you use a synth (as opposed to a MIDI controller keyboard) you may have to figure out a way to pass the MIDI instructions along to Giga without hearing the synth-sounds at the same time... that maybe as simple as lowering a volume knob or something, I'm not sure...

    Quote Originally Posted by matt H
    (4) How do I record the music in GS3 onto a CD? Will I need to buy a second computer?
    You will probably want to get another program for assembling tracks of audio and MIDI-generated sounds into songs, which can then be saved as audio files and burned onto CDs. I use Cubase, which lives on the same computer as Giga.

    In Cubase, you can record live instruments (electric guitar, hand-miked nose-whistle, etc.) directly into separate audio tracks, and store separate MIDI tracks for triggering samples (think of it as a collection of old-fashioned "piano rolls," one for each MIDI track, where each dot on each piano roll tells Giga which specific sample to play, and when, and for how long...). You can then take your audio and MIDI tracks, EQ, mix, and smoosh together into real songs...

    You would then export your songs as audio files (.wav files, on a PC) which you can then burn to a CD using a program like Nero... it has been recommended that you keep Nero (or, at least, some of its component apps) off of the computer that you are using for Giga, but I can't say whether that's necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by matt H
    (5) (Really stupid question.) Does GS3 actuallyhave every instrument in an orchestra like timpanis, crash symbols, etc?
    Giga isn't a sample library or a synth... it is just a "sample player," if you will. Like a tape deck for samples. You can record samples with it, and you can play back samples that you've purchased elsewhere and stuck in it, but Giga (as all of the other sample players) does nothing without something (either audio or a sample) thet you put into it.

    You will have to get samples, separately (grease up that wallet...), which you can then "play" using Giga. GS3 Orchestra comes with several DVDs worth of "sample samples," but these are generally demos or smaller subsets of larger sample libraries. Some of them are quite good, but you will likely feel the strong need to get "the right piano," and "the right drums" and "the right string section," and "the right flugelhorn," and "the right....."

    Sample libraries can cost anywhere between $30 and $15,000. No joke. Some libraries come in giga format... others come in Kontakt (competitor to Giga) format... others come as standalone units with their own built-in sample engine... Many come in multiple formats...

    Some sound great... some even sound great when you string together different articulations of the same instrument to emulate legato playing (open that wallet a little wider, here)... many sound so-so but will still be useful for putting together "scratchpad" or "sketchbook"-type renderings of your work... some just sound bloody awful...

    Quote Originally Posted by matt H
    (6)How many of you guys are just happy with just GS3?
    Well, as I said, you'll probably need more than just Giga. You'll need some sample libraries, and you'll probably want a program like Cubase for recording and mixing multiple tracks into songs, and exporting the results into adudio files. As a composer, you will appreciate that Cubase lets you "compose" your MIDI parts using standard music notation, but there are other standalone programs out there that probably handle that aspect better (I am not familiar with them, so I cannot comment)...

    Giga is a relatively finicky program. It is written to run at the Windows kernel level. The good thing about that is that it reduces latency between what you play on the keyboard and what comes out of the speakers. The bad thing about that is the tiniest perturbation can send the program -- and the computer -- crashing.

    As I said before, there are plenty of people who have no problems with Giga (how I wish I was one of them...), and many who do have recurring or occasional problems with Giga. I suspect that you'll find a lot of grumblers on the Kontakt forums as well.

    There are a lot of very smart people, both here and on the VSL Giga forum (http://vsl.co.at/en-us/69/128/33.vsl) who are very generous with their time and their Giga knowledge.

    TASCAM is aware that folks have been grumbling about their tech support in the past (again, I'm sure that you'll find comparable grumbling regarding their competitors' tech support as well), and they are working to remedy that... The Giga support pages on the TASCAM website (see below) have just started being revamped, and they are working (in conjunction with producer Larry Seyer) on a separate site, http://www.learngigastudio.com/ which, whenever it finally goes online, will (hopefully) have video tutorials and the like.

    Giga is capable of doing fantastic things -- run searches on this site for things like "iMIDI" and the "dynamic expression filter" and you'll start to get an idea of some of its power. The included GigaPulse convolution reverb is a wonderful addition... You will have to work hard, but you should be nicely rewarded in the end.

    Two more things to keep in mind:

    (1) you will spend a lot more money than you thought you would... this is true regardless of whether you go Giga, or Kontakt, or whatever. Faster hard drives, more RAM, more and better sample libraries... possibly a soundcard upgrade -- for Giga you'll want to make sure that your sound card supports GSIF (look at http://tascamgiga.com/support.html and be sure to check the GigaStudio 3.X Compatible Hardware List to make sure that your sound card is up to snuff)... you will generally be best-served by keeping your samples on a separate hard drive... how are your studio monitors... that ratty old chair isn't all that comfortable any more, now is it... you got enough fans or air conditioning to cool all that gear down?...and so on:

    (2) there are learning curves involved here that you might not expect to have to climb... Giga is a serious program that does incredible things... you will have to "read the manual" for this program far more than you have had to in the past -- even with what you thought were "complex" programs... ... the more detailed sample libraries have fairly steep learning curves of their own... get ready to do a lot of reading and tweaking at first, before all the fun music-making happens...

    Hope this helps. I'm sure that others will chime in, too -- pointing out my mistakes, misstatements and missed marks, and adding wisdom of their own!!

    Good luck... and welcome to the Wonderful and Frightening World of Sample-Based Music. . .

    [cue evil-sounding tritone cluster] . . .

    Muahahahahahahahahah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    — alanb

    ...........................

    http://alanb.org

    http://www.myspace.com/arsperspicuus

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Re: Questions about GS3 Orchestra

    Listen to alanb,

    He's more accurate than most of us want to remember.

    jamiha

  4. #4

    Re: Questions about GS3 Orchestra

    matt H said: Hello guys,I'm matt H. I've been composing music for around six years and have just been getting into orchestration.I was first going to purchase a 32 track recorder and synthesizer for my orchestrated pieces.But after hearing all the wonderful things GS3 can do, I'm thinking about reconsidering my options.Now for the questions.
    (Please forgive me if my questions are to long,confusing,or just plain
    stupid. )
    [craig] Remember that what you are mostly hearing is the sample lib, purchased separately, not GS3 (I said mostly)

    (1) I've heard that GS3 crashes a lot and that it will act weird if there is another music program on the same PC as GS3. So if I have a dedicated PC for GS3 will I have fewer problems?
    [craig] I have run GS2.5 and GS3 on plain old P4 Dells and have always has good stability and performance. I run both on a separate PC and with a sequencer on the same PC depending on what I am doing. No problems either way. I often wonder if there is a common thread between the systems that have problems?

    (2) If my computer has a mic plug-in will I be able to record live instruments into GS3
    [craig] ... only if you have a sound card with GS3 drivers installed. I personally don't create my own samples.

    (3)I'm gussing that you use a synth to play the instruments on GS3.I only own an Alesis QS6 61 key synth. Is that good enough? Or do I need a synth with 88 keys?
    [craig] Any midi KB will do. Some libs take advantage of mod wheel and other controllers. I put away my 88 key controllers, for a while, and got an inexpensive 48 key Evolution KB just to save space. The action is not what my 88 key is but mostly, I don't need the good feel for non-piano music.

    (4) How do I record the music in GS3 onto a CD? Will I need to buy a second computer?
    [cd] In GS3 you simply select Record on the Output Master fader(s) then click record. GS3 will then record, digitally, into a file (.wav format). It will also synchronize with your sequencer i.e. sequencers tells it when to start recording. You'll find it pretty straight forward. After you capture a performance with GS3 you can either write the .wav file it creates to a CD, convert it to an mp3 (using Razor or some other converter), or use other SW to convert your wave file to ther CD audio format. GS3 only give you a .wav file.

    Alanb is saying to record each track, in GS3, one at a time (mute all but the track you want to record), then import them into another program (Sonar, Cubase, ...) for mixing. I mix in GS3 now that it has Gigapulse. The advantage is that it is quicker. The disadvantage may be in quality/control but think my quality is better now with GigaPulse than when I imported into Sonar. I will say that many are much better at mixing than I. Mixing is a deep art/science in itself. If you are just starting, out you may which to do all of your mixing control via Midi (in your sequencer) and GS3 DSP adjustments.

    (5) (Really stupid question.) Does GS3 actuallyhave every instrument in an orchestra like timpanis, crash symbols, etc?
    [cd] I can't remember what comes with GS3. Most of use buy additional libraries.

    (6)How many of you guys are just happy with just GS3?
    [craig] I am happy though I want more IR samples for GigaPulse.

    Well thats all folks. Sorry again for the length.
    [craig] What else have we all to do ;-)
    Craig Duke

  5. #5

    Re: Questions about GS3 Orchestra

    Regarding crashing, GS3 works great on some systems, and not at all on others.

    The key is having known componets that work together with Giga. And making sure that your system is rock solid.

    Giga is written to be efficient. And efficiency means doing things fast and simple. You can add code to make things more robust - error checking ten times for every real line of code, but that really slows things down.

    So, if your hardware has flaky RAM that yields bad data, don't expect Giga to provide a safety net. It's busy trying to process music as efficiently as possible.

    That said, when your PC has compatible hardware and is solid, Giga is 100% solid and bug free.

    Giga is definitely not buggy. It's streamlined. And it's demanding.

    Check out this thread to find some good GS3 hardware...

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ad.php?t=25063

    As far as running it with other software... Last week I was running it with ACID 6 and Sonar 3 on the same machine with no problems whatsoever.

    It really comes down to running good, compatible, solid hardware with good drivers.

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