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Topic: Multiple Fluegelhorns

  1. #1

    Multiple Fluegelhorns

    Hello all.

    In the last three months all I am doing is to get as familiarized with JABB as I can. I came to appreciate Kontakt's internal mixer and outputs with its effects and the possibility to correlate them with the DAW's mixer and effects. This is all well and good, and I think I made some headway.

    What's not so good is that when I add one more Fluegelhorn to the 3 already in (each with its own track), the group starts buzzing. I tried to tweak the sound with Kontakt, the DAW, as well as other external effets to no avail. They're buzzing and they also sounds too fused together. It's hard to hear each one separately, though I took utmost care when placing them in the stereo field. This does not happen with the trombones, contrabass tuba and the saxes.

    Anyone ideas?

    Thanks, Sylva.

  2. #2

    Re: Multiple Fluegelhorns

    Hi, Sylva

    I can't tell positively from your post, but it sounds like you're talking about using the Flugels as a section playing the same line. I don't think you mean they're playing different parts?

    "...they also sounds too fused together..."

    That's my clue to how you must be having them play the same line, so you have a group of players who are beefing up one of your piece's melodies or harmonies. Is that right?

    You tried tweaking in several ways - but did you do something to make sure the MIDI file, the line they're playing, isn't precisely the same? if those are the same, then basically all you're doing is creating a chorusing effect. And considering that they're all playing the same sample, you will probably also get a phasing effect.

    If I'm correct, and they're playing the same line, then you need to change each track so they're all slightly different. It sounds quick-and-down-dirty-easy, but using a tool which randomizes the start time of the notes works wonders. It introduces the slight timing differences that live musicians will naturally have, and with MIDI, you've instantly gotten rid of the problem of the sample's details playing at exactly the same time-which causes phasing or chorusing.

    In Sonar, one of the most useful CAL scripts (accessed by pressing CTRL and F1) is Random Time. Tell it how random the shift can be, and it goes through your selection, shifting the start times early and late. I do that all the time to each of the instruments which are doubling the same line.

    The first, original version of a line I leave the same - It's only the duplicated added players that I tweak like this so they're are not exact duplicates.

    The Garritan instruments also have the extremely useful Var 1 and Var 2, which when used sparingly - NOT a "set and forget" kind of way, can introduce variations in pitch (Var 1) and intonation (Var 2).

    You should also go through the doubled parts and randomly change their velocities and lengths. MIDI parts can actually look pretty sloppy when they're approaching the kind of organic feel which is just part of even the most precisely performed live music.

    All this adds up to MIDI tracks of the same notes which are just slightly different enough to simulate the differences one hears when live musicians are playing the same score line.

    Try all the above - I guarantee you'll hear your Flugels not "fused together" anymore. You can go ahead and move them closer together in the stereo field, the way a real group would be, with no danger of lessening the effect.

    Randy B.

  3. #3

    Re: Multiple Fluegelhorns

    Thank you, Randy for the many useful tips. I apologize for the delay. The reason is that I lost no less than 3 hard drives almost simultaneously. Of course, I had all my projects backed up on a 4th. Maybe it was time to replace those old drives, which I did with a RAID 1 array. Boy, everything is soooo much faster! Even though, I don't boot off the array, but another big drive and have another external backup drive. Anyway, only now I can take to my projects after reinstalling the OS and applications, a huge job. I still remain to do the backup on the new array. I'll come back later. FYI, I already did somewhat better with the Fluegels buy reducing their volume, though there was no distortion anywhere in the channel. And, by the way, all of the Fluegels were on separate tracks from the very get go. Immediately, as everything runs normally again, I'll take to implementing your suggestions. The main reason for the Fluegels and not trumpets is that no matter what I do to the trumpets, they remain quite weak.

    Thanks again, I remain sincerely yours, John.

  4. #4

    Re: Multiple Fluegelhorns


    You might comment a bit further about what you mean by the trumpets' being weak. Low volume? (curable by upping the modwheel setting) Weak attacks? (curable by upping velocity) Something else?

    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  5. #5

    Smile Re: Multiple Fluegelhorns


    After loosing 3 hard drives and completely rebuilding 2 of my computers and adding a RAID to another (hope you understand why ), I got back my online capabilities as well. So I apologize for the delay.

    My answer to your question stems from my inexperience. I am doing sample composition since January 2009. My main problem with the Garritan libraries' samples is homogeneity. That is, they are not (or I don't hear them) equally of the same timbre. For example, invariably, C5 sounds more like a weakened key on a real piano (when the hammer is loose in its hinges touching only one string of the targeted note and slightly one other string of a note in its vicinity). Eb6 is way too low for an Eb6 and F6 sounds more like a very strident Oboe. Though this is valid for Trumpets as well as Fluegelhorns, I am finding that it's easier to overcome when using Fluegels in stead of Trumpets. To manage this, I recur to regionalizing the four Fluegels I use in my arrangements by limiting each instrument's range. In this way, a shorter range, say of 10-12 notes, will not affect timbre throughout their span when modifying any of the region's notes. Too, Kontakt Player's paragraphic equalizer's 3 frequencies simply are insufficient in configuring compensation for some of the samples' shortcomings throughout an instrument's range. Even Sonitus' 6 frequencies are limiting such endeavors. This is why I break up the range into 3 or 4 (or more) regions. The higher I go the more I have to work on the notes.

    I can't say it bothers me too much, since it makes me learn a lot about working the samples and adapting them to my needs, well the music's needs that is.

    Another thing, I still can't seem to wield Mike's scripts during recording. They work for awhile, then, suddenly the sound becomes flat and I have to again stimulate vibrato from my keyboard controller, even though each track of interest has CC77 and CC17 inserted. Any comment?

    Thanks for your expert advice. It always helps and puts me to think even deeper about the issues.


  6. #6

    Re: Multiple Fluegelhorns

    Hello again, Sylva - Glad you're up and running again.

    What you're talking about is somewhat of a mystery to me though. I'm sure you understand that there are thousands of Garritan instrument users who don't have the struggles you're having. It still sounds like you're saying you're fixated on how the samples sound and spending much of your time struggling with EQ, limiting your range etc - instead of just working with your music.

    Why are you working with Kontakt's equalizer when you're working with a DAW? And why are you working with this Sonitus EQ which you said only has 6 bands? You can't do very accurate equalization work with plugins that have pre-set frequencies. You should be able to sweep through and choose any you want. BUT this is how you're trying to "fix" the samples--and as I said, I really feel you're not hearing the samples accurately, but that you would if you'd start hearing them in the context of some good music projects.

    Your last question--I think you were saying there's a drop in volume because you said, "... even though each track of interest has CC77 and CC17 inserted..." - Most of the instruments use CC1 for their volume control, not the traditional MIDI volume controllers.

    I feel you should NOT "think deeper about the issues." I think you should start playing and writing music. What's not sounding good now Will sound good once you start actually using the instruments and treating them musically inside some projects.


  7. #7

    Re: Multiple Fluegelhorns

    Hello, Randy.

    It's not the volume drop I was mentioning but vibrato. Vibrato used to function for awhile, than drop out altogether, that is, the rest of the line remaining without any vibrato, just flat sound. Volume was unchanged. I managed to overcome this.

    As to samples: I probably don't have good enough musical hearing because, for example, the alto, tenor and baritone saxes in their upper registers sound to me like kazoos. This may be either due to my lack of good hearing and/or to my lack of knowledge as to how saxophones should sound. I used Kontakt Player's effects as well as Sonitus to overcome this perceived deficiency and managed to obtain a closer to real saxophone sound. I tried to arrange my composition without tweaking the samples, but they didn't sound very well to my unadvised ears. It looks as though I'll need more ear training and acquire more knowledge about instruments.

    For now, the instruments' ranges remain divided into regions because when tweaking the samples, they won't sound with even timbre throughout. If I manage to obtain good sound in the upper registers (no more kazoos), then the middle becomes uneven. This is valid (for my purpose) for all of the instruments mentioned above. The Bass saxes are different, they need little (though some) tweaking. Sound pretty well throughout, at least to my ears anyway.

    I'm now almost finished with the piece, entirely played by 14 saxophones, a Contrabass Tuba (borrowed from GPO), an arco string base and 4 percussion groups. I had many problems with this large group of saxes becuase when two of them close (such as a minor third) they started to either buzz or emit a fuzzy sound. Now, at least, I learned how to separate them by either moving them around in the stereo field or change their timbre (all saxes are different, no clones).

    The same piece will also come out in a version with 14 brass instruments in stead of saxophones and another where saxes will be mixed with brass.

    Yeah, I know, it's triple trouble, but I want to see which version sounds best. With each version I'll learn more about JABB and combining sampled instruments.

    I think some people don't regard this endeavor as highly technical besides the musical. I do. I am a technical person and I am ready to use every technical mean to get better sound. I am also a very patient person when it comes to discovery, being self taught in many ways. For me experimentation is the key to successful computer music composition. But, probably, I am preaching to the choir. You guys must have done the same things in your heady days as beginners. To me the whole thing remains utterly fascinating and, hopefully, will never cease to be so.



  8. #8

    Re: Multiple Fluegelhorns

    Good to hear from you again, Sylva.

    Answering your new question about string vibrato in GPO - you can't control the vibrato rate of the strings.

    Your experiment of doing 3 different versions of your piece is a really good idea. Indeed, since you've been unsure about the sounds of various instruments, your experiment will give you the chance to settle on whatever combination you decided sounds best.

    I count myself among the Forum members here who are very wrapped up with the technical aspects of recording music. I work slowly and always do everything I can do make the most from the tools that I have. So I understand your desire to also come up with the best recordings possible.

    We all have our individual preferences, tastes, concerns, perceptions, and so which technical aspects we focus on of course varies widely.

    At the other extreme, there are people who are happy just getting a rough idea of what their compositions could sound like with a live band/orchestra. They tend to use notation programs and spend very little time on the technical aspects of using audio tools and mixing their music - their interest doesn't lie there. So their recordings will be more mechanical and artificial sounding, but that isn't their concern. You're in the same group I'm in though - you Do want to make your recordings to sound as good as possible - and that's a very worthy goal.

    I do have idea of what you mean concerning the highest notes on some of the Saxes. A Sax playing friend of mine explained that those high notes do indeed have a very different timbre, more thin and perhaps "Kazoo-like." Those higher notes aren't typical of the instruments, are just touched on in good arrangements. If you stay up there in the highest octaves, then you're not writing characteristically for the instruments. It's the easiest way to see if the right Sax is being used for a piece - If you realize you're forcing the Tenor to stay up in the stratosphere, squeaking and honking along up there--well, then obviously it's time the same melody is tried on a Soprano Sax.

    So what you're mentioning about the different sound in those higher ranges - yes, that's basically right, and the nature of the instrument. That's why all these struggles with EQ are the kind of technical side-trips which I don't spend my time on. I find that when I keep the instruments in their normal ranges, I don't need to spend any time on "correcting" what I may find "off" in the samples - I spend my time arranging my music, then I lavish it with as much expertise as I can muster when it comes to mixing it all.

    As I said, we all have our own priorities.

    I'm looking forward to hearing this piece you've been working on!


  9. #9

    Smile Re: Multiple Fluegelhorns

    Thank you, Randy.

    Too bad about lack of vibrato control of GPO's strings. Sometimes my sounds get intense (well, in my opinion. Some others might find them closer to operetta, who knows, music is so subjective). Notwithstanding, I'll need another package. As usual, the problem is money. How about a moderately priced one that you know of?

    Getting back to the subject, I do not stretch the range of instruments, unless writing some pointilistic music. There one has to in order to obtain a certain effect. But for JABB saxophones I don't and won't. For example, the in all voices of the upper registers I use altos. The tenors only go into their upper registers at the high point of the piece, but in no case do they wind up where it's unnatural for them to play. In general, all of the instruments remain in registers where they can sing (cantabile) and have a more or less velvety sound. I am still at a beta stage, number 14 that is, but the final contours are shaping up. It's already listenable. But my technical level as far as DAW and sample software is not high enough to enable me to do a really good master. That remains for the future, hope not a very distant one. Most of the problems I now have are tied to convolution usage. Simply put, I don't know how to use the one offered by Kontact Player. True, I didn't delve enough into it, still...

    I understand people who only want a generic sound out of their DAW, but in my case the solutions offered by the DAW/sample technology came as a savior. Simply put, I will never have the money to pay real musicians to do a reading of my music. Come and think of a symphony orchestra, it would really turn into an impossibility, even if I am the one to conduct it. I am a stickler as to instrumental color and articulation in real life, and my personal limitations as far as technical prowess bother me quite a bit. But the learning curve needs time and I am willing to reckon.

    Withal, when I was talking about the saxophones' high notes, I was specifically alluding to the ones in JABB, which don't sound like kazoos because of the instruments' specifics. I was talking about registers that are absolutely within the playable range, where the sound quality of the samples should be normal. In my opinion, it is not, and this is why I spent a lot of time with the necessary corrections. It's not the frequencies that generate the problems, those are fixed and I didn't even think about correcting them. It's timbre that had to be adjusted, sometimes quite a bit, especially the altos beyond C5 and the baritones beyond E4. These notes are very far from the uppermost registers. But vibrato and reverb also helped a lot, of course. I used Sonitus as a general tweaker, reducing especially some overbearing middle ranges which thickened the texture too much. I am still working at this chapter, but there are limits to what one can do before voices start to weaken too much and are not audible anymore harmonically, which in this piece is absolutely essential. Even so, no matter what I do, all of the voices cannot be heard distinctly all the time. Oh well, the nature of the beast.

    OK, I took enough of your time, so I sign off for now.


  10. #10

    Re: Multiple Fluegelhorns

    Sylva, there are some very impressive demos using Garritan libraries at the company's main site:


    I think you've been there, but I don't see how a lot of those demos could fail to impress.

    A new member recently posted the string back up to a song on its own, to show us what he'd done. Here's that thread:


    It's a simple string arrangement for a pop song, but he's taken some care in the recording. I don't see how his results could possibly be found unacceptable.

    I'd save your money on buying yet more software and get more down to the business of making good music with what you have. Maybe it's a trait of your personality to not be satisfied, but I can see from your posts that you really seem to still be missing the boat.


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