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Topic: A couple of very basic VSTi questions

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  1. #1
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    A couple of very basic VSTi questions

    Hi folks. I originally bought Sonar PE and Giga 3 Orchestra (18 months ago), along with a very powerful PC which has already been upgraded to a dual core processor, to put together something to use for live playing only. I do not compose; I play in a 7 piece show band.

    Then I realized that I really didn't need Sonar because I was not really composing anything and didn't need to create projects or do sequencing, which I have done for years, but not in this band.

    Now keep in mind that I have never put any of this into use. I still own a very powerful rack mount PC but have never taken the time to get started converting from my use of samples in my hardware work stations (i.e. Korg Triton, etc) to the use of the PC for sounds when out gigging.

    Then GVI came out and I immediately ran out and bought it. I have decided that it probably makes more sense to use that, either standalone or as a VSTi, for live use than GS 3.2.

    However I have some questions. I know that GS 3.2 supports multiple ports. But there are only 16 actual midi channels. So to use multiple ports in GS 3.2,
    do I need more than 1 harwdare midi port and then I assign a hardware (or USB logical port) to each GS port? Is that how that works?

    OK, here's the real question. On my Korg Triton, when I build a patch, in addition to establishing which midi channel each track is going to use, I also have the ability to define a bank and program for that track. So the question is not do I relate that to GVI and other VSTi's, since I want to buy other VSTi's as well? Meaning, can I set up GVI or other VSTi's such that within one midi channel, I can reference lots of different instruments by changing what bank/program I set to?

    I know I may not have described the question eloquently but I think you probably all get the meaning of the question. I have two keyboards that I use when I'm gigging. I do not have time to load anything in between songs. I know that GVI and other VSTi's probably work a little differently than each other. So I want to understand how many different things I can load at one time (RAM limits notwithstanding) and then access programatically without the need for pauses to load stuff.

    Ideally I would want one channel say dedicated to piano and then I would want to select programmatically different pianos through different bank/program setting in my patches. Then I might want one channel dedicated to strings but select different patches, again through bank/channel settings, for different patches. Is this the way it works or do I need a midi channel for each instrument and then need to do some kind of reloads every time it changes?

    Can someone please give me an explanation of how accessing various instruments works with one or more VSTi's being used. I plan to use something like Chainer or Brainspawn Forte to organize the VSTi's in my rig (although I realize that some of these products can run standalone as well).

    I sure would appreciate some clarification on this issue because I am having trouble deciding whether this type of setup is really going to work for me playing live, with one tune running right into the next and just enough time to change the patch on my keyboards.

    Thanks everyone ......... Rob

  2. #2
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    Re: A couple of very basic VSTi questions

    Nobody's going to help me out here?

  3. #3

    Re: A couple of very basic VSTi questions

    I don't know if I understand your question, which is why I waited to see what happened here<G>...

    but I'll guess - playing live you want to set up several VSTi synthesizers and samplers on the computer so that you can access them by simply changing MIDI channels from your master keyboard?

    If that's it, then Forte does that well. Each slot in their rack can be assigned pretty much any MIDI criteria you can imagine.

    I would load everything into Forte, as I think using the stand-alone versions of some and VSTi versions of others might be confusing.

    If they all have stand-alone versions then you might be able to use them, every synth I own allows me to pick a channel in the stand-alone version...

    There used to be a download-able demo version of Forte, I'd grab it and give it a try.
    Bill Thompson
    Audio Enterprise
    KB3KJF

  4. #4

    Re: A couple of very basic VSTi questions

    I started to write but all that came out was nasty ways of saying "maybe you should make the checkbook the last one you open." Not my place. Decided to wait till I could be more polite.

    I don't know about Chainer but Forte turns your computer into a midi module. You set up "scenes" which are likened to "Multi's" and can be selected via patch change. Each scene contains midi routing (layers or splits), the parameters for each VSTI and effects. There's a learning curve to setting it all up - you'll forget to save scene's when you change them and forget to set some VSTI's to "don't load if no change" - so plan on a couple iterations before you get the "module" you want. I was able to get a basic usable structure using B4, Sampletank LE, Akoustik Piano, Key Rig and rudimentary Kontakt within one sitting. What I really like about it is the low latency VST handling. The only time I have been able to mess it up was when I rapidly used up/down patch select keys on the AX-7. Note that I'm using some pretty large samplesets. Direct patch select has not been a problem.

    As I've mentioned many times, my AMD 2700+ with dedicated sample drive, M-Audio 2496 and 2 gigs of RAM works great at 64 samples (1.5ms) ASIO. It's set to boot up into Forte' so I don't need monitor, mouse or QWERTY keyboard. If you'd like you can set up a remote link with your laptop and carry a crossover cable - just in case. The first month is the worst, once you get everything stabilised you won't need it. I even went so far as to mount a midi-in jack and two insulated 1/4" audio out connectors on the mini-ATX case so the computer really is a large midi module. I would recommend you do the same as the typical audio interface connectors are made for studio use and will break with the constant connecting / disconnecting of gigging.

    Only thing I haven't done is put a handle on the box.

    And as long as I'm prattling - it's been dropped (power off) from about chair height. Had to push a bit on one corner to make it "square" again but it still works.

    My guess is your question was way too general. Specific questions work best on any forum so you may want to download and read the Forte/Chainer pdf manual before proceeding.

    Ernie

  5. #5
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    Re: A couple of very basic VSTi questions

    Thanks for the responses. Let me try one more time to ask my specific question:

    Suppose I have some VSTi for pop brass. Can I set that VSTi to use a certain midi channel and then change patches (trumpet, trombone, brass section, etc) using my midi keyboard just with bank/program changes? And then similarly with one midi channel dedicated to keys, one to strings, one to brass, etc? Or do I need to set up separate scenes in Forte for every combination I want to use of instruments?

    I would like to be able to change a patch dynamically during a song for one instrument while continuing to play other instruments on other midi channels.

    When you change scenes in Forte and the new scene uses instruments not used in the last scene, how long can it take to load the new instruments? My band does not take any time between songs. It is almost non stop dance music. How do I strategically minimize any load times and still be able to use a large assortment of instruments in different songs?

  6. #6
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    Re: A couple of very basic VSTi questions

    ..."Suppose I have some VSTi for pop brass. Can I set that VSTi to use a certain midi channel and then change patches (trumpet, trombone, brass section, etc) using my midi keyboard just with bank/program changes?..."

    With V-stack loaded with vsti's and a keyboard attached, yes. With your setup, I'm not sure.

  7. #7
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    Re: A couple of very basic VSTi questions

    Other opinions? Users of Forte?

    Thanks ........ Rob

  8. #8

    Re: A couple of very basic VSTi questions

    I'd email Brainspawn or ask on their forum.

    One small thing I want to add: If you are presuming that because softsynths have larger samples they will sound better live than hardware synths you are in for a major disappointment. As always, the ear, not the resources, rulez. The advantage of softsynths is their extensibility. Unfortunately that extensibility does not mean quality or suitability to the live environment. Finding sounds that work live is an expensive proposition and unlike hardware, you can't or at least aren't supposed to, resell most sonic software when it doesn't work out for you. I've got over a grand invested (wasted?) in piano's that I can't use live, from converted ones to Ebay specials to Ivory, including several that were raved about here. I settled on Akoustik for normal and KeyRig for bright, but my most commonly used piano sample these days is the relatively cheap $100 K-Sounds one I purchased for my Motif. You don't know how a sample is going to work live until you buy it and use it, but then it's too late to return it. Good luck.

    Ernie

  9. #9

    Re: A couple of very basic VSTi questions

    I don't know the answer to your question, but I hope you won't mind if I make a suggetion that may help you to find the answer: You might try reposting it and asking it (if you can compress it) in the title of the topic for the forum post. (The title now--A couple of very basic VSTI questions--may make people skip over it, thinking you are only asking about how to load a VSTI, etc.) Hope this helps...

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