I've been using GPO for Sibelius for about a year now and really love it. The thing I haven't been able to figure out though is how to make my compositions best resemble the music demos that are posted by the pros. I know that they mix the sounds, but I don't know where to start. Isn't Sibelius' Kontakt Player enough? It has a modwheel and has several knobs, but again, I don't know how to begin.
I've looked through the Intro to Mixing, but I got lost pretty quick. Can anyone dumb things down for me?
When you said how much fun working with GPO is, I could certainly relate. What a fabulous tool it is indeed.
My first question is if you're using Sibelius because your primary goal is to produce printed scores? I haven't used notation programs like yours or Finale, being most concerned with producing recordings of my music. I use Sonar, and have used Cubase. All the audio/MIDI sequencer programs are of course extremely similar, so brands don't really matter.
But what programs like Sonar provide are the tools for what you seem to be wanting and needing--the ability to really mix your music.
You asked if the Kontact player for GPO wasn't enough for mixing--and in a word, No, it isn't. The mod wheel in the Kontact player is only for auditioning sounds really--one doesn't record its settings. All the controls which bring life to the library's samples need to be manipulated via MIDI control.
There's so much one can do, using all the MIDI controllers which have been so cleverly programmed in the Garritan programs. Using those in combination with the audio mixing tools in programs like Sonar will bring you much closer to the quality you hear in the Garritan demos which you admire.
Some software programs that will do everything you need are fairly modestly priced. If something under a $100 price tag is in your budget, I encourage you to make the purchase.
This is all to say that I notice a similar situation with other people who use notation programs to make music rather than full blooded DAW sequencers--The music tends to come out rather unbending, and not as musical as it could be. Often we're hearing the quantized files people have created for the purposes of printing scores---and that just isn't the same as creating music more for the purpose of hearing rather than seeing. To print out the MIDI tracks I create in Sonar, for instance, would produce a mess since it hasn't been rounded off, quantized, to make good legible sense on paper. When I'm interested in printing, I need to make a strict version of the same music, so it can make sense on paper.
This is the main ingredient you're missing---a true sequencer program.