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Topic: Musical balance and other things

  1. #1

    Musical balance and other things

    Hi all,

    in fact I don't know how to call it, so I invented the closest "title" I had in mind. It deals with the overall loudness/balance (not in the technical sense, but musical sense) of instruments within GPO.

    I am writing a pianoconcerto with a notation program and use for immediate playback the synthesizer Roland JV-1010. This device is a bit poor on obeying the pp, p, mf, etc. but the overall result is satisfactory (not speaking about the quality of the sound -- that's the reason why I bought Garritan].

    The output of that notation program is always a Midi file! I never have some real performance. I mention this because many features described in most of the musical forums deal with real life performances and mostly only that.

    This midi file is read into Sonar and after the tedious job of assigning Dxi instruments I end up with a bunch of tracks all assigned to a particular GPO/Kontakt player and channel.

    I assign the instruments "per group" in one instance of the Kontakt Player[KP]. So all strings go to one of two, all woodwinds to another, percussion is another story, etc. I use the Tencrazy plugin for getting the velocity to the CC1.

    Per group I listen to the balance of volumes and set the volumes (knob on the KP) to the value I like. I do that for all groups, so what is left ´s to make to various groups in balance with each other.

    A long story to tell you how I do things. Now the question. I noticed that some instruments (in particular the Steinway!!) is far too loud. I adjust the volume knob in the KP, but somehow it jumps back to the original value when I go over the instruments to check again.

    How do you guys get that good sound balance of instrument groups, you demonstrated in the musical demo files? Are there any tips, techniques etc. known (and posted in this forum) to demonstrate making the soundbalance right. Don't mention Bob Katz, I have read that excellent book many times and learned a lot from it, but somehow I can't get Garritan the way I want it and what is possible.

    I've read the Sonar tutorial of Paul Giangregorio and he ends this writing with the words "I have templates......., to 197 track orchestral pieces (with 14 or 15 GPO players)". How is that possible? I have 1.5 Gb internal memory and with 4 GPO players the systems already complains about the possible dropouts. He must own a Cray computer :-)

    Please help. I know this is a bit complicated, but I really want to have my share of satisfaction of this GPO-product.

    Raymond - Gradus ad Parnassum (in other words: keep learning)

  2. #2

    Re: Musical balance and other things

    You've covered a lot of territory here. I'll take a shot at some of it:

    My preference is to control the midi volume and pan of the GPO instruments from SONAR, so I have enabled the player option of "Use Standard CC#7 / CC#10...". If you have this option turned on already, that would explain why your volume "knob" settings in the players are reset when you hit play in SONAR.

    The SONAR default volume of 101 is way too high for the GPO instruments as a whole. I find most of my volumes are set somewhere between about 50 and the high 80's, depending on the circumstances and the particular instrument.

    While Markleford's "Velocity to CC" is a convenient tool, the actual results with GPO are less than optimal. You will find the mod wheel jumping up and down with each note (assuming you have variable velocities, which you simply must have to get a good sound out of the GPO instruments). You must sculpt the passages of each expressive instrument (ones that respond to CC#1) with the mod wheel. The mod wheel movements can be recorded as a separate "take" in SONAR on the same track with each instrument.

    As far as the setup of the VSTi instruments in SONAR, there is another time-saving approach that i have used with Sibelius that involves the use of Midi Yoke. I have a SONAR template that I customize to match, track for track, instrument for instrument, the staves in Sibelius. I direct the output of each stave, via the Sib mixer, to SONAR via the Midi Yoke ports/channels. I set the inputs on the midi tracks in SONAR to receive on the corresponding Midi Yoke ports channels. This saves quite a bit of setup time and makes the eventual port of the midi file into the SONAR project very easy.

    There is a trick to getting the Sib midi file into the template/SONAR project that involves copy/paste in SONAR. Subject for another time.

    Others will have more or alternative suggestions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Chandler, Arizona

    Re: Musical balance and other things

    I actually uncheck the "Use Standard CC#7/CC#10" checkbox for GPO. Then I don't get volume changes being sent from Sonar. Many of the default values of the instruments are pretty close to a decent blend although I turn up some of the woodwinds. If you do use CC7 I would recommend not letting most instruments go over a value of 60 with a full orchestration as you will reach 0 db when all the parts are summed together.

    Always use the VSTi version of the plugin instead of DXi especially if you have any tempo changes in your piece. There is a nasty tempo change bug in the DXi version of all Kontakt/Kompakt players. It screws around with note lengths and it will make it sound like you have stuck notes.


  4. #4

    Re: Musical balance and other things

    Thanks Bill and Jim,

    I printed your replies for further studie and development.
    Think I will look at the Vsti versions to use within Sonar.
    And my notation program isn't Sibelius, it is Mozart [we are busy to get it compatible with Garritan].


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