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Topic: GPO work in progress - Any advice?

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  1. #1
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    GPO work in progress - Any advice?

    I'm trying to get the hang of using GPO to do mock ups, with the intent of eventually making demos of my own material. To start with, though, I thought I'd fix up a little John Williams, since he's always been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me.

    This recording doesn't have any percussion or harp added in yet, and I haven't quite made it to the end, but I'd like to get some comments on mix, balance, technique, etc. before I develop any majorly bad habits.

    In short, what needs to be improved? Thanks in advance!

    http://www.soundclick.com/player/sin...d=6984841&q=hi

    PS-I know the current last note is way too long...I promise that won't stay like that...

  2. #2

    Re: GPO work in progress - Any advice?

    I think this is very nice,
    the real thing it lacks is emotion with regard to rubato,
    You can improve the strings' legato by overlapping the notes, it sounds like you understand how to properly use (cc64) sustain pedal for the wind instruments.

    Is this not a gorgeous piece of writing by John? WOW!
    Was this a midi file you obtained from the internet somewhere, the voicings seem very accurate.
    Thanks for posting, we're here to help.
    Dan

  3. #3

    Re: GPO work in progress - Any advice?

    The link just takes me to soundclick.com. Can you post it to your page and just tell us the tune to listen to? I love John Williams, so I'd really like to hear this. Thanks.
    -Keith Fuller

    http://keithfullermusic.com
    ---
    iMac Quad i7 * MacBook Pro * Logic Studio 9 * WD 320GB & 1TB Externals@7,200RPM * Presonus Firebox * M-Audio Axiom 25 & Keystation 61 * Rode NT1-A * Epiphone Hollowbody * Fender Amp * KRK Rokit 8's

  4. #4
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    Re: GPO work in progress - Any advice?

    Thanks for the feedback! I have to adjust to the particulars of sample use, such as the overlapping notes and such. One thing I really like about this library is the Mod wheel integration. In my opinion it's a far superior method to using CC7 for dynamics. Regarding rubato, I'll go back and fuss with tempi once the more general aspects are finished.

    Another area I'm pretty sketchy on is the Brass overlays. I'm hesitant to use them since I don't want my 4 Horn section to start sounding like 8 Horns in the middle of a piece. I guess in small doses the overlays are good for adding just a little edginess to the timbre?

    I have to suck it up and admit that I have the Star Wars Suite score at home, so that's why the voicings are accurate...

    Keith, I only have this one track on the page at the moment:

    http://www.soundclick.com/melkor246

    Hope that one works!

    Thanks for the responses!

  5. #5

    Re: GPO work in progress - Any advice?

    Hi ccar,
    I agree, the modwheel is such a musical approach to creating life with the samples.

    Are you using a notation program, or are you using a sequencing program of some kind?

    As far as the overlay sounds in GPO, here's what I do,,, first, I never get uptight about how many instruments are playing within a particular voice, such as french horns. For instance, I automate the level of every instrument to my liking, and during the mixing process, I "bring up" the overlay along with the individual instruments to augment the sound. I don't fuss about how many horns are in the overlay sound.

    Dan

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    Re: GPO work in progress - Any advice?

    Dan,

    I used Finale to create a MIDI file, then spruced it up in Sonar by adding CC1, CC64, reverb and some mixing. I added some basic tempo changes, but like you said earlier, it needs more.

    I know a lot of people record their MIDIs using a keyboard, but mine is not of an appropriate caliber for really doing a good job of that since it only has two octaves, no weighting, and no aftertouch. Hopefully, that will be remedied in the not too distant future, but for now I have to make do...

    Dan, I understand where you're coming from in your remarks about instrumentation. GPO is like in instrument in and of itself, and should be approached as such, making use of its strengths and compensating for its weaknesses. I guess I just assumed that the most realistic results would come from trying to make each individual instrument sound like its real life counterpart. It seems like this is an attitude that will change with experience!

    One thing I'm a little curious about is the original volume levels of the samples. It seems like the clarinets are really loud compared to other instruments, while the celesta is really quiet. In general this makes me a little nervous about my mix, since I'm not sure that what sounds good on my speakers will sound good for anyone else.

  7. #7

    Re: GPO work in progress - Any advice?

    I am glad to hear that you use a sequencing program for your editing and mixing.

    When GPO was created, Tom Hopkins did his best to set each instruments' default volume and pan so that it gets you in the ballpark, this was done for people who choose to not get into an intricate mixing process.

    Quite some time ago, I created this mono/stereo status list of all the instruments in GPO so I could record each instrument to it's own audio track for better mixing flexibility.

    Here is that list of the patches (sounds) in GPO and their status as to whether the sound is mono or stereo.

    Since most Digital Audio Workstations allow mono and stereo audio tracks, it would be far less stressful for your computer resources to load the mono instruments into a mono track, and the stereo sounds into a stereo track.

    The instruments in GPO, like JABB, have a pan setting that is already set to place that instrument onto the stereo field, (stage).

    If the instruments you are recording are mono, then you should set the pan in the Kontakt player to "center", then select the appropriate stereo audio group that communicates to your recording track. Once the audio is recorded, the pan in your DAW mixer will be dialed in (by you) to determine the "spacial" location of the instrument.

    Here is an example....
    If I use the JABB Steinway piano in an orchestral setting, I would want to place the piano to the left, especially since the given piece of music is not a piano concerto. If you pan the stereo piano pretty far left, then you will be missing about half the sound of the piano, mostly high notes. The high notes, or "upper register" are predominately heard in the right channel since the piano was (reasonably close mic'd). In this case, you will want to insert a plugin of some type that will allow you to "combine" or blend the left and right information. Then the pan can be set where you want it to be in the DAW mixer.

    In the case of a piano concerto, you will want the piano center stage, HOWEVER!!!!! you will still want to "blend" or combine "considerably" the left and right channels to NOT allow the listener to hear the separation of high and low notes. Hearing this (stereo spread) would not at all be natural, or even possible if the recording was made with traditionally placed stereo overhead microphones in a real concert hall.


    This information should allow a bogged down computer, to respond a little faster for those bigger projects.
    Happy mixing!
    dpDan

    This stereo/mono status list pertains to the DRY folder. Any instruments used from the WET folder (in older versions of GPO) will be stereo.

    All Flutes MONO

    All English Horns MONO

    All Oboes MONO except...
    Oboe 2 Modern Solo and Oboe 3 Modern Solo (STEREO)

    All Clarinets MONO
    All Bassoons MONO
    All French Horns MONO except...
    Overlay F, Overlay F AG, and Overlay FF (STEREO)

    All Trumpets MONO except...
    Overlay, Overlay AG, TPT Piccolo NV Solo and TPT Piccolo V Solo (STEREO)

    All Trombones MONO except...
    Overlay and Overlay AG (STEREO)

    All Tubas MONO except...
    Overlay and Overlay AG (STEREO)

    All Percussion Instruments STEREO except Snares KS (MONO)
    All Harps STEREO
    All Pianos STEREO
    All Pipe Organs STEREO
    All solo Violins MONO except... Violin 2 Strad Pizz Solo (STEREO)
    All solo Violas MONO
    All solo Cellos MONO
    All solo Basses MONO
    All section Strings STEREO

  8. #8

    Re: GPO work in progress - Any advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by ccarr View Post
    In general this makes me a little nervous about my mix, since I'm not sure that what sounds good on my speakers will sound good for anyone else.

    This is why monitors are a must i think. I personally haven't used them, but the more and more i try and mix my own things i am coming to realize it. When my budget allows for it I think that i'm going to have to buy some.
    -Keith Fuller

    http://keithfullermusic.com
    ---
    iMac Quad i7 * MacBook Pro * Logic Studio 9 * WD 320GB & 1TB Externals@7,200RPM * Presonus Firebox * M-Audio Axiom 25 & Keystation 61 * Rode NT1-A * Epiphone Hollowbody * Fender Amp * KRK Rokit 8's

  9. #9
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    Re: GPO work in progress - Any advice?

    Keith,

    I agree that monitors do seem to be necessary. Is there a particular brand or model that you've been looking at?


    Dan,

    On the DAW side of things, I've noticed that the audio I export from Sonar isn't quite as vibrant as what I hear within the program. I also lose some volume on the way. I can only assume that I'm screwing something up during the export process, but I'm not sure where or why. If I understand correctly, GPO's instruments are sampled at 48kH, so I should export at this sample rate since using a higher one would actually diminish quality. Is this correct?

    Out of curiosity, would you consider Sonar a sufficient choice for this sort of work, or would you recommend something different? I went to school for music, not audio engineering, so I'm learning as I go here...

  10. #10

    Re: GPO work in progress - Any advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by ccarr
    Dan,

    On the DAW side of things, I've noticed that the audio I export from Sonar isn't quite as vibrant as what I hear within the program. I also lose some volume on the way. I can only assume that I'm screwing something up during the export process, but I'm not sure where or why.
    hmm, I don't use Sonar, so I am not sure why your exported audio file doesn't sound exactly the same. I use Digital Performer on a Mac and I always export my master mix at 44.1., this way the pitch won't get mixed up when someone on the internet listens to it on other systems/devices. Sample rate does mess with pitch if the file is not played back at the same rate it was recorded at.

    Quote Originally Posted by ccar
    If I understand correctly, GPO's instruments are sampled at 48kH, so I should export at this sample rate since using a higher one would actually diminish quality. Is this correct?
    Actually I think GPO's samples are 44.1, but I could be wrong on this.
    Good question about higher sample rate.... Higher sample rates always allow for a more precise sound quality, however, converting a 44.1 file to a 48khz file would actually not technically be as good as the original 44.1 file.
    The reason is the computer has to do a lot of number crunching in the conversion, and quite simply put... 48khz does not devide into 44.1khz as evenly easily as 44.1 devides into 88.2, that is just an example of what the computer has to do with all those zeros and ones.

    CD quality is 44.1. If Philips and Sony knew back in the seventies what they know now, CD sample rate would be higher, but always remember a sample recorded @ 96khz is well over twice the amount of data.

    Do yourself a favor and always record your final mix in real time,
    don't use the bounce to disc option.

    Quote Originally Posted by ccar
    Out of curiosity, would you consider Sonar a sufficient choice for this sort of work, or would you recommend something different? I went to school for music, not audio engineering, so I'm learning as I go here...
    Sonar is fine, although I have never used it.
    Engineering is an art, just like becoming a great musician, it takes a long long time to get really good at it, and with technology flying like it is, you will continue to learn new things.

    Dan

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