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Topic: 1st attempt at using CoMB for brass band

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  1. #1

    1st attempt at using CoMB for brass band

    As a newbie, this is my first composition for large ensemble. It's a bit woolie I know, but I'm really trying to emulate the sound of traditional British brass band. Any tips or advice on this would be most welcome!!

    Called Temple of Dreams, it's the opening march of a Circus Suite and depicts the flurry of activity surrounding the building of the circus big top. Rising pentatonic chords signify the raising of the brightly coloured canvas, whilst the striking of an anvil is used to represent the banging-in of huge metal tent pegs.

    I've used the Concert and Marching Band library as a VST plug-in for Sibelius 6 and exported the tracks to Cubase 4 for mixing. You can hear the MP3 at http://www.box.net/shared/yimalo7i7g or see the "straight-from-Sibelius" version as a lo-res flash file at http://www.brassmusic.co.uk.

    Thank you for reading this post.

  2. #2

    Re: 1st attempt at using CoMB for brass band

    Hi Kevin & Welcome!

    A great introduction you have here for the forum!
    I have to say that I did enjoy your work. Your talent for brass writing is quite professional. Even though you say it's traditional British brass I find it very unique to my ears. Loved the circus theme and the playful movement of line with each instrument combined with your traditional formality.

    Can't wait to hear more from you!
    Thank for sharing this with the forum.

    M
    "...Wiktor's a Jekyll-Hyde personality..." - Lycos Music
    http://www.miserymadebeautiful.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member June-Bug-Dan's Avatar
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    Re: 1st attempt at using CoMB for brass band

    Very very nice!A great piece (being a brass band'er myself i would love to play this)
    You've really got a great sound from CoMB. I personaly find it hard to get a nice brass band sound, which you clearly have done

    if you have any tips on setting up a brass band multi then please tell

    Keep posting!

    Dan.
    Trumpet, cornet, flugel player. Composer and student.

  4. #4

    Re: 1st attempt at using CoMB for brass band

    Thank you Michael and Dan for your very supportive posts. I'm now determined to have a look at the rest of my Circus Suite with a view to discovering that elusive brass band sound!

    Dan... As a player would you agree that the cornet sounds in Garritan are perhaps not quite as 'sweet' as we're used to in the UK! I personally don't use the "Group" cornet sounds, preferring to make my own ensemble with the "Solo" sound plus a hint of chorus and lots of reverb (too much maybe?). The tenor horns and below are great though... especially the bass trombone

  5. #5
    Senior Member June-Bug-Dan's Avatar
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    Re: 1st attempt at using CoMB for brass band

    Quote Originally Posted by BrassMusic View Post
    Thank you Michael and Dan for your very supportive posts. I'm now determined to have a look at the rest of my Circus Suite with a view to discovering that elusive brass band sound!

    Dan... As a player would you agree that the cornet sounds in Garritan are perhaps not quite as 'sweet' as we're used to in the UK! I personally don't use the "Group" cornet sounds, preferring to make my own ensemble with the "Solo" sound plus a hint of chorus and lots of reverb (too much maybe?). The tenor horns and below are great though... especially the bass trombone
    I would agree with you on that one. I try to use 'Solo' sounds and build up from there. I dont think there is too much reverb. I liked the overall sound very much. (do you think maybe the tenor horn samples are a little loud at 'loaded volume'? or is that just me)

    I cant, no matter what i have tried, get the sop. cornet solo to murge in with the 'front/back row' cornets.

    I'm well inspired now! I think i'll fiddle with my brass multi's for a while.

    Dan.
    Trumpet, cornet, flugel player. Composer and student.

  6. #6

    Re: 1st attempt at using CoMB for brass band

    How exciting to see a newcomer post music, and such a talented one at that.

    BrassMusic, I really enjoyed your circus inspired piece. Such a big, full arrangement, and of such fun music. I love circuses, so was prepared to enjoy, but your composition is so unpredictable, that my enjoyment went far beyond just the scene it sets.

    I see you're using Cubase to finish the work you start in Sibelius. There's still more you can do in Cubase to amp up the dynamics of your work - This recording has a bit of that tame, rather flat quality typical of renderings done in notation programs.

    Let me show you one thing - This screen shot is of your MP3 in Sonar's track view. On top is your recording - its volume is very weak, using half of the available DB range. Below it is your file with its volume up to a more workable level. When you keep your audio as low as you did, detail is lost in the recording and the results are less clear than they could be.



    More volume work could be done with that second wave file, with volume envelopes. But it's detail work of that sort on the individual tracks before the mix down which could bring out much more clarity in your recording.

    In other words, I encourage you to go ahead and do even more in Cubase--A lot more could be wrung from the raw Sibelius data.

    Very nice work - I hope my post inspires you to go even deeper into your recordings.

    Randy

  7. #7

    Re: 1st attempt at using CoMB for brass band

    Thanks for your advice Randy. I've just normalised my individual audio tracks from Sibelius... and what a difference! There's so much detail in the cornet section. I need to add more RAM before delving deeper into Cubase effects, but it's on order!

    One further question, if you'd be so kind.
    Regarding reverb, would you (or anyone else) recommend exporting "dry" or "wet" from Sibelius. Also, if adding Garritan Ambience in Cubase, is it best to treat each track seperately (more CPU drain), or add this effect to the final stereo output?

    Many thanks
    Kevin Austin (BrassMusic)

  8. #8

    Re: 1st attempt at using CoMB for brass band

    Hello, Kevin - Thanks for the reply. Now I'm inspired to listen to your track again, I really like it a lot.

    I'm glad you discovered how much more volume you can get out of the tracks. I do need to note that some people feel it's not a good practice to normalize tracks - but I don't have the same issue with it. I don't feel any damage is done, one is just getting the recording level up to where it should be. Naturally, one should try to get a mixer's output way up there to the top of the scale.


    Quote Originally Posted by BrassMusic View Post
    Thanks for your advice Randy. I've just normalised my individual audio tracks from Sibelius... and what a difference! There's so much detail in the cornet section. I need to add more RAM before delving deeper into Cubase effects, but it's on order!

    One further question, if you'd be so kind.
    Regarding reverb, would you (or anyone else) recommend exporting "dry" or "wet" from Sibelius. Also, if adding Garritan Ambience in Cubase, is it best to treat each track seperately (more CPU drain), or add this effect to the final stereo output?

    Many thanks
    Kevin Austin (BrassMusic)
    There's no question about it--You MUST export DRY tracks from Sibelius, if you really want to keep recording the tracks in Sibelius. You want just the raw audio data so you have the most flexibility once you're working in Cubase.

    But this isn't the way most people who use both notation programs and sequencers work. They may do their orchestrations in notation, but when they want to make a good recording in a sequencer, they just export the MIDI tracks - That's a much more flexible way to work. With the MIDI tracks in Cubase, then you have all the tools available in that app, MIDI as well as Audio. You'd be able to use the more sophisticated mixer in Cubase, getting the levels up to where you want them.

    The answer to the second part of your question is - Neither.

    But there's something I'm not understanding from the way you asked the question. Adding Ambience in Cubase? You mean you have Ambience as a separate plugin outside of Aria? If so--you do realize that the Ambience in Aria is available with very little CPU drain, because Aria has the built in mixer with Sends to add a different amount of reverb to each track. So if you would just export your MIDI files from Sibelius, you'd be using Aria inside Cubase, and use Ambience that way if you want.

    However, since you're working in Cubase, my recommendation is to pump the sound out of Aria dry, and use a Cubase reverb - or if you really do have Ambience as a separate plugin, use that if you want.

    You definitely don't want to strap a reverb plugin on to each track--huge waste of CPU power. In that good Cubase mixer, you want to add a reverb plugin to a Bus, and then using Sends on the mixer, add some signal from each track directed to that Bus - That's the same as if you were doing this reverb routing inside Aria, it's just more sophisticated.

    --because--I know, this is a lot of info--But if you're using Ambience and the Sends inside Aria - the wet signals ALL come out of the first stereo pair. It was designed that way to assist people working only in notation programs. And that's why the developers do NOT recommend for people using sequencers to work that way.

    Final answer - you do NOT want to add the reverb plugin to the master's effects bin - That would add one level of reverb to the entire mix. A few people like to do that, but most people don't have very good success working that way. It's much easier to get a good sounding recording when you use Sends to vary the amount of reverb being added.--less on Bass instruments, more on percussion which is in the back row - etc.

    Randy

  9. #9

    Re: 1st attempt at using CoMB for brass band

    Gosh, so much REALLY useful information. I can't thank you enough.

    At the risk of pushing my luck though, you speak of ARIA, which I have used for GPO4. However, the majority of my sounds are from the Concert and Marching Band library, is it still possible to use them in ARIA?

    I predict no work and lots of play over the next few weeks!

    Kevin

  10. #10

    Re: 1st attempt at using CoMB for brass band

    Hello again, Kevin - I'm glad my long-winded post is helpful. A good editor could have organized that more - I just let my fingers fly on the keyboard as I wrote it.

    AH Of course - I kept talking about Aria, forgetting that you're using CMB for the most part. - No, that Library isn't available in Aria yet. Gary and his team are working on moving all the Garritan Libraries into the new Aria Player. GPO was in first, JABB is currently being adapted to Aria, and then CMB will be moved in.

    So for now you need to keep using KP2 for CMB. - But the bulk of what I talked about in the long post still applies.

    Randy

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