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Topic: Building Ensembles if possible with Keyswitches

  1. #1

    Building Ensembles if possible with Keyswitches

    Hi alltogether!

    I recently upgraded my four year old Garritan Library, which i never really played around with because i didn't get either Cubase or Kontakt at the time, to GPO 4. I must say, i love the whole new ARIA interface and how easy it is to add reverb... Something that took me hours to make in Cubase. Sure, the Pro's would of course use the Reverbs in the Sequencer or even an Altiverb, but for me i think its perfect and very easy to use and control.

    Now i'm a little confused with building Ensembles. For example a 1st Violin Section. Theres this old Tutorial on the Web about how to build such a Section with Solo Strings and a Section Strings Patch in Sonar. But it requires several Tracks in the Sequencer. Now in my perfect World i would only need one Track per Instruments and Control all the Articulation using Keyswitches. But of course then i cannot move the different Samples around a few ticks to make it sound more realistic. Maybe a suggestion for ARIA here: a "Humanize" Buttone like in Kontakt would be great, if there isn't something comparable already and i haven't found it yet.

    Sorry, i'm rambling. Anyway my Problem is that the Manual suggests that i use the "Plr" Patches to create Ensembles. But these Patches only have one Articulation. How do you Build Ensembles for a large Orchestra? I thought about just one Section and throwing a few Solo Strings in it (which do have the same Keyswitches) and routing it all to the same Midichannel. And of course some mixing in ARIA so that they dont have the same volume ;-)

    How do you approach the whole Ensemble Building Thing for the different Sections of an Orchestra? Maybe a Screenshot of your Setup in your Sequencer would be cool too if you guys got the time :-)

    Anyway i think Garritan GPO 4 is great and exactly what i always wanted an Orchestra Library to be. It would be soooo great if there was a kind of "Advanced Version" which you could upgrade too and would have more Sounds and Sampling. But i like the Library very much as it is ;-)

    Thanks for your help and have a nice day!


  2. #2

    Re: Building Ensembles if possible with Keyswitches

    It's difficult to play with ensembles without a sequencer, I think. It's a bit like trying to play different sections on the same keyboard. Perhaps you can put some kind of MIDI processing application before Aria player and do some routing or humanizing there? Something like MAX or AuReality?

  3. #3

    Re: Building Ensembles if possible with Keyswitches

    Hey thanks for the answer!

    It's a bit like trying to play different sections on the same keyboard.
    How do you mean that?

    Midi Processing hmm... Well i could look at it but since i'm not that much of a techie it's probably easier for me to just move the notes from the different instruments around.

    I was referring to this tutorial by the way : http://www.garritan.info/index.php/G...lding_Tutorial

    How's your workflow then when it comes to Ensemble Building? Different tracks that are somehow "Grouped"?

    Thanks again!

  4. #4

    Re: Building Ensembles if possible with Keyswitches

    One of the key phrases in that document is "The key element of this approach lies in the ability to weave each individual's volume, intonation and start times--which creates a more realistic line". It's pretty difficult to do that with just two hands for e.g. 3 players (that's why I compared it to playing different sections, BTW). That's also why I suggested having a piece of software to do some of the work for you.

    The only ensembles I used were strings sections plus one or two solo instruments, that duplicated the line, with small variations, but I did so in a sequencer (random offsets to note start and velocity). I don't think it can be done directly from a keyboard with satisfactory results. You can layer instruments (as you know), but the effect won't be the same.

    Why do you need to set it up outside a sequencer?

  5. #5

    Re: Building Ensembles if possible with Keyswitches

    Oh sorry, there was a misunderstanding. I dont want to set it up outside a Sequencer, i work with Cubase 5. I just tend to be minimalistic and wondered if there was a way to really work with One Track per Instrument

    But ironically, the Way you described is exyctly the thing i played around with in the first place. I just was a little confused because of the prl Instruments. The Manual always mentions them when it comes to Ensemble Building. Whats so special about them? Are they like 6 Violins or something? But as i said i want to have Keyswitches so one Ensemble and on-two Solo Instruments is probably the thing to go... I'll probably basically follow the Tutorial

    A completely different Question, but what kind of effects do you use for your tracks? Of course a good reverb. Eq's... Are there good tutorial on Orchestra Sample mixing?

    I looked at the IK Multimedia CSR as a possible Reverb Plugin in Case i grow tired of the built in ARIA Reverb or the Steinberg Roomworks Stuff.

    Well you helped me very much with your answer! Now i'll get to do some music ;-)


  6. #6

    Re: Building Ensembles if possible with Keyswitches

    One ingredient of good sounding samples is expressiveness and variation, that much I know after all these years of sample playback instruments. But I also know it's hard to obtain. If you want to keep it minimalistic, don't start fine-tuning the sound before your composition is (largely) finished. Keep it simple at first, then if you have a complete track for say Violins I, add some extra instruments and fine-tune their performance.

    The effects I used are minimal: reverb (there are some decent freeware convolution plug-ins), eq (mainly on the strings), a bit of compression, depending on the style of the song. But I also use weird effects from time to time, just for the heck of it...

  7. #7

    Re: Building Ensembles if possible with Keyswitches

    I use the string player ensembles a lot in my sequencer (Logic Pro 8). I'm assuming that most sequencers have similar tools and features as used in the following steps.

    When I'm starting out with my project, I create an individual track for each player instrument then I create midi region aliases of the first chair of each instrument section on all the player instruments so it looks like this: Region Aliases

    Then after I'm finished writing dynamics and velocity and other things, I convert them to region copies (example) and I use Logic's transform tool's humanize function to randomize note velocity, position, and length (example). The screenshot show's the tool's default values which are much too dramatic for my tastes. I tune it down to much smaller values and apply the tool to the notes multiple times until I find what I like. After you do this, be sure to correct for overlapping repeated notes. Sometimes, if you have a part that has repeating full value notes, applying randomizing may cause the some of the notes to overlap over one another and some of the notes won't sound. You'll also need to add some variance to the cc1 data of each track. I don't know how to get the humanize function in my sequencer to randomize cc data so I do it by hand but your sequencer may be able to do it.

    I also draw out my instrument positions and measure the distance of each instrument from the center and use something like this to calculate the instruments volume based on its distance. Here's an example of how I draw the positions: http://skitch.com/spock/b6xrn/binaur...r-vector-draft

    As for effects, I use to apply EQ to all the instruments but it just sounded distorted and the original sound of GPO's string player instruments sounds much better without EQ to me now. I only apply EQ to the double bass for a bass boost because I felt after comparing GPO's double bass to other different recordings of double bass parts, that GPO's double bass was kinda weak in the lower frequencies. Other than that, and a little reverb, I don't use any effects.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8

    Re: Building Ensembles if possible with Keyswitches

    Sheridan: there are tools in logic to help you. You can set up your own Transform tool to randomize the modulation, e.g. like this .. eh, the upload function doesn't work. Well, set everything to all and thru, and then status to = controller / thru, data byte 1 = 1 / thru, and data byte 2 all / +- Rand. The odd thing is, it randomizes all data, but the controller lane still shows a straight line. WRT overlap, there is a function (Function > Notes) where you can correct overlap on subsequent notes.

  9. #9

    Re: Building Ensembles if possible with Keyswitches


    Thanks. I tried what you said and it works. It seems that you have to switch views (switching to another track then switching back worked for me) though before you can see the changes to cc1. I came across this problem in both the hyper editor and the hyper draw panel. Oh, and I love the note overlap function. Been using that for a while.

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