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Topic: Scorewriter + sequencer

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  1. #1

    Scorewriter + sequencer

    1. I'm told that programs like Sibelius and Finale are not substitutes for real DAWs. Is that true?
    2. I need a score-writer and sequencer. I'm told that Cubase 6 is the best choice, are there any other programs/combinations that cost less?
    3. I don't know how VST works, it seems that certain software only supports specific libraries. Like Garritan Personal Orchestra only lists a few partner softwares on their site.
    4. I have a few AKAI CDs of audio samples. What can I do to import them to my library?
    5. I have a few "sound libraries" that comprise largely of raw WAV files. Can they be used as VST libraries as well?
    6. What's the simplest way to add expressions to your music? Cubase's Note Expression feature is exclusive to the new VST 3.5. Do libraries have to be of VST 3.5 compatibility or just the players?
    6b) If VST 3.5 is not an option for my old sample libraries, then is there any other program that have equivalents to the Note Expression feature?
    7. For the libraries that exist in multiple formats, like AKAI and WAV, are the akai files converted from the wavs or the other way around? Some wav files sound hissy.

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Scorewriter + sequencer

    Hi Goit

    From this and the other thread you started, I see you have big plans

    The craft you are getting into, might be really slow to master and implement right, so I`ll try to answer your questions as clear as possible

    1 - They come from different fields. People with scoring and printing needs have used Sib and Finale for ages, then, when tech improved, score playback capabilities came into picture, but still, "DAW" is mainly about recording, either audio or midi, editing, mixing etc. There is an example of a notation based program which focuses on playback, and even performance, and its called Notion. Try it, it works for some older 'pan and paper' users, who swim in notation and need playback.

    2 - I am not fluent with prices, but the big picture now is - major players like Cubase, Sonar etc. have notation capabilities. The word is, its not as comprehensive as Sib and Finale, so I would not expect printing complex and pro-level scores later on. All these features should be checked individually by the user, to match his needs, and most important - to check the option to combine a few dedicated programs, one for notation, and one DAW. As there are many alternatives out there, you might try this road.

    3 - Lets make a list on that one
    - VST is a technology, for the end user it means that plugins that use it, operate in host program. I guess every audio workstation on the market today does VST, and even the notation league - Sib and Finale, run VST plugins since latest versions.
    - "Library" is a term for content designation, its nothing to do with the technology. So your assumption that, for example, GPO would work only with some sequencers is untrue, since from technical point of view, GPO is a VST plugin, and as stated in previous part, 99% of programs work with VST.
    - "Plugin" - its the horse that carries the "library". So in terms of "which plugin runs which library" - they are indeed divided by developer etc. But again, once you purchase a library, in 90% of the cases, it comes in a plugin form, so you CAN run it in every host program you might have. I left the other 10% percent to draw your attention to sample libraries that come without a plugin, and require one to operate. Usually its about Kontakt based libraries, ( "Kontakt" - being a major VST plugin which runs dedicated libraries and more) but majority come in a "Kontakt player" plugin form. I guess if you consider a library, you will spot easily if it doesn`t provide a plugin, and requires you to own a full "Kontakt" to operate.

    4 - Some dedicated sampler plugins, as Kontakt for example, can import Akai discs, and run their contents. Another option is to use a converter program, that will open Akai cd, and convert it, but still - you will need a sampler to run the instrument you get.

    5 - The same - you need a sampler in a VST plugin form. Sampler as such, is a program that works with raw audio, patches etc. Just as akai hardware was, but in software VST version. Again, Kontakt is currently a major player in this regard, so even if you go with alternatives, you should know what it does and how, so you can place you expectations right.

    6 - Expression in the midi realm comes in different forms. Many DAW users tend to edit things manually, and recreate a "performance". Some like to record the needed expression data from their midi controllers (its a good one for long-time session musicians, as you can make countless additional "doubles" with midi, adding such a things as dynamics, vibrato, modulations etc. over the notes).
    Many today libraries accommodate the recording approach by using helpful scripts for performance - for example, trigger legato transitions, use different samples depending on your playing etc... Again, in any major DAW, you can easily edit the midi data you recorded, when things need to be precise..
    From the notation perspective - since notes are laid out and not preformed, there are different tools that try to "humanize" things, the oldest and the comprehensive is built in Finale, it tries to implement all your score marks correctly. There is also a new wave of interest in directly "conducting" your score, and both Sib and Finale offer their version of this feature. The program I`ve mentioned earlier - Notion, also relays heavily on this idea.

    6b - VST 3.5 have some features available only with compatible plugins (Halion being the only one I guess) BUT - there is more to it. If you really planning to buy Cubase, I would explain you some points, but otherwise, don`t mess your head with it.

    7 - No ordinary format conversion I know, should introduce hiss or degradation. 99.99% it was the actual sound of the samples as recorded.


    CHEERS

  3. #3

    Re: Scorewriter + sequencer

    thank you for the extensive help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vladzakr View Post
    Hi Goit

    1 - They come from different field. People with scoring and printing needs have used Sib and Finale for ages, then, when tech improved, score playback capabilities came into picture, but still, "DAW" is mainly about recording, either audio or midi, editing, mixing etc. There is an example of a notation based program which focuses on playback, and even performance, and its called Notion. Try it, it works for some older 'pan and paper' users, who swim in notation and need playback.
    I'll look into it, but I'm not going to buy it because I already bought Finale.

    to check the option to combine a few dedicated programs, one for notation, and one DAW. As there are many alternatives out there, you might try this road.
    That's what I'm trying to do, but I don't which DAW can fill my needs.

    4 - Some dedicated sampler plugins, as Kontakt for example, can import Akai discs, and run their contents. Another option is to use a converter program, that will open Akai cd, and convert it, but still - you will need a sampler to run the instrument you get.
    What is the "instrument" if the AKAI files are converted to wav files?

    5 - The same - you need a sampler in a VST plugin form. Sampler as such, is a program that works with raw audio, patches etc. Just as akai hardware was, but in software VST version. Again, Kontakt is currently a major player in this regard, so even if you go with alternatives, you should know what it does and how, so you can place you expectations right.
    Is kontakt becoming obscelete since it won't update to VST 3+?

    From the notation perspective - since notes are laid out and not preformed, there are different tools that try to "humanize" things, the oldest and the comprehensive is built in Finale, it tries to implement all your score marks correctly. There is also a new wave of interest in directly "conducting" your score, and both Sib and Finale offer their version of this feature. The program I`ve mentioned earlier - Notion, also relays heavily on this idea.
    Looking into Finale, I can't find the features you are talking about.

    6b - VST 3.5 have some features available only with compatible plugins (Halion being the only one I guess) BUT - there is more to it. If you really planning to buy Cubase, I would explain you some points, but otherwise, don`t mess your head with it.
    I don't want cubase. but I'm not good at editing MIDI channels. If there are only 16 channels, how can you do a 40 voice work like Spem in Alium (a theoretical example, I'm not going to do it).

    Thanks.

  4. #4

    Re: Scorewriter + sequencer

    You can get great, and very human results out of finale with a little work. No, it won't be as good as through a DAW of some kind, but it can be good.

    The only thing you might want is some software (free/cheap if possible) that lets you add reverb to your tracks/mix them other than Finale.

    Here are 2 tracks that I sequenced in finale, and then added external reverb with another program.

    To give you an idea of the various styles you can get from it...

    Fast track, with lots of accents/dynamic changes

    http://soundcloud.com/michael-m-1/02-allegro-agitato

    Slower more expressive track

    http://soundcloud.com/michael-m-1/town-theme-3

    Here's a track that I'm working on that is 100% done in Finale, including the reverb

    http://soundcloud.com/michael-m-1/guitar

    This is only a small sampling of what you can do in Finale, but what ever it is, you can get some really good results out of it. I've only had Finale for about a year, and it wasn't overly hard to learn the tricks to getting stuff to sound good in it. I'm a music comp student, and relatively clueless about DAWS/midi editing, so I'm hardly a professional mixer of any kind.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I'll be more than happy to help you learn your way around Finale.

  5. #5

    Re: Scorewriter + sequencer

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael135 View Post
    You can get great, and very human results out of finale with a little work. No, it won't be as good as through a DAW of some kind, but it can be good.

    The only thing you might want is some software (free/cheap if possible) that lets you add reverb to your tracks/mix them other than Finale.

    Here are 2 tracks that I sequenced in finale, and then added external reverb with another program.

    To give you an idea of the various styles you can get from it...

    Fast track, with lots of accents/dynamic changes

    http://soundcloud.com/michael-m-1/02-allegro-agitato

    Slower more expressive track

    http://soundcloud.com/michael-m-1/town-theme-3

    Here's a track that I'm working on that is 100% done in Finale, including the reverb

    http://soundcloud.com/michael-m-1/guitar

    This is only a small sampling of what you can do in Finale, but what ever it is, you can get some really good results out of it. I've only had Finale for about a year, and it wasn't overly hard to learn the tricks to getting stuff to sound good in it. I'm a music comp student, and relatively clueless about DAWS/midi editing, so I'm hardly a professional mixer of any kind.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I'll be more than happy to help you learn your way around Finale.
    Early music demands high musicianship, the viola da gamba, recorders etc... all require at least some kind of phrasing. So I guess monotonal midis won't work. I don't know how to work with the technical aspects of MIDIs, so that's why I was interested in Cubase6's Note Expression feature. But I don't want to use Steinberg products (because of their price and dongle requirement), so I was wondering if the same types of functions can be simulated in VST 2.4 by programs like the Aria Player, Finale 2011, or Fruity Loops can do the trick. I already bought Finale 2011, I'm not going to buy another scorewriter like NOTION.


    http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=4396807

    Apparently these guys aren't too happy about the VST3 series.

  6. #6

    Re: Scorewriter + sequencer

    Finale does most, if not all the work for you if you add in the correct dynamics and stuff. I think you'll find it works quite well on it's own. You might want to invest in a DAW of some sort for further tweaking once you do all your stuff in Finale, but this might not even be needed.

    BTW, what kind of sound libraries are you interested in?

    So far I have used EastWest and Garritan software in Finale, and both work great, so I know you would be safe with either of those.

  7. #7

    Re: Scorewriter + sequencer

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael135 View Post
    Finale does most, if not all the work for you if you add in the correct dynamics and stuff. I think you'll find it works quite well on it's own. You might want to invest in a DAW of some sort for further tweaking once you do all your stuff in Finale, but this might not even be needed.

    BTW, what kind of sound libraries are you interested in?

    So far I have used EastWest and Garritan software in Finale, and both work great, so I know you would be safe with either of those.
    I want to use GPO4 as my main library. However, I played around with the Aria plugin of Finale2011, and the sounds that came out of it was horrible. The synthetic sounds of Finale 2011 sounded much better. The garritan sounded all washed out and mellow, it gives you a drowning sensation when listening to it. I closed the ambience feature, and it was a bit better, but not by much. I'm seriously doubting my original ambition about this, is this something that requires professional traning to do properly? If so I might just get FL studio and use the synthetic sounds there (it seems that synthetic sounds are easier to control).

  8. #8

    Re: Scorewriter + sequencer

    Quote Originally Posted by Goit View Post
    I want to use GPO4 as my main library. However, I played around with the Aria plugin of Finale2011, and the sounds that came out of it was horrible. The synthetic sounds of Finale 2011 sounded much better. The garritan sounded all washed out and mellow, it gives you a drowning sensation when listening to it. I closed the ambience feature, and it was a bit better, but not by much. I'm seriously doubting my original ambition about this, is this something that requires professional traning to do properly? If so I might just get FL studio and use the synthetic sounds there (it seems that synthetic sounds are easier to control).
    By default when you play sounds through VST instruments, the reverb "wet" level is waaaayyyy too high. That's a common complaint on the makemusic forum. So you need to open up the ambience reverb and move the "dry" slider up to around +3.0 and the "wet" slider down to say -3.0. This will be a starting point to produce a much better sound with the garritan sounds or whatever VST instruments you decide on.
    Steve Winkler GPO4 JAAB3 Finale 2012 Reaper Windows 7 Pro 64-bit VSL SE+

  9. #9

    Re: Scorewriter + sequencer

    You don't need to be a professional. The stuff I put up to give you an idea of what you can get out of the finale play back is anything BUT professional. Do what Steve said, and fix the reverb. The Garritan sounds I usually have a little more reverb, and the EastWest ones I usually use almost none.

    Also, samples are FAR better than synth sounds. They're also far easier to use, as the synth sounds tend to be very flat, and fake... no matter what you do to them.

  10. #10

    Re: Scorewriter + sequencer

    Quote Originally Posted by swinkler View Post
    By default when you play sounds through VST instruments, the reverb "wet" level is waaaayyyy too high. That's a common complaint on the makemusic forum. So you need to open up the ambience reverb and move the "dry" slider up to around +3.0 and the "wet" slider down to say -3.0. This will be a starting point to produce a much better sound with the garritan sounds or whatever VST instruments you decide on.
    The problem is that I have disabled the ambience processing.

    I'm very disappointed with Finale, it's almost impossible to use and the user guide is written in a very counter-intuitive way. If I had paid the full 600 for it I would be filing a complaint with the BBB.

    The Garritan sounds I usually have a little more reverb, and the EastWest ones I usually use almost none.
    The Gold and Silver editions of EWQL only does distant miking. Doesn't that introduce even more reverb? Can you recommend a library that is suited to chamber works (closely miked, directly projected sounds)? How is the VSL? The thing is that Garritan has a harpsichord, Oboe d'amore and a "classical oboe" in there. I don't think the VSL has anything except for a harpsichord.

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