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Topic: Why won't other designers use ARIA?

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  1. #1

    Why won't other designers use ARIA?

    I really, really didn't like the NI engine, and have been very pleased with all aspects of the ARIA engine--its stability, its interface, its licensing procedure, and its overall ease of use (particularly in Sonar). From time to time I read about new virtual instruments, and its seems that the overwhelming majority of them are released on the NI engine. Maybe there's no good answer to this question, but why aren't designers licensing the ARIA engine instead? Does ARIA have an exclusive deal with Garritan, or is it simply that designers aren't aware there's a better engine available?

    If the latter, is there anything we users can do to help promote ARIA to software designers?
    Dean L. Surkin
    Steinway A104030
    Sonar X2 (professional), Finale 2011, JABB 3, GPO

  2. #2

    Re: Why won't other designers use ARIA?

    There's probably a few reasons, but the main one that pops into my head is that the Kontakt player is an incredibly powerful sampler and scripting program. Well the full version is at least. Aria seems to be more of a 'closed' engine, but maybe this is not accurate - perhaps I'm basing this on only seeing aria used with Garritan.

    Cant see project Sam or cine samples dumping it for aria or another engine. But I know you also mean the engine that was based on the Kontakt player, and not the standard player that's wildly shared amoung libraries now. I admit that kind of player was terrible.

    East west created their own bespoke player called the Play engine, after dumping Kontakt. But it's not a great engine at all. I prefer Kontakt in its raw form, but close second is aria.
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  3. #3

    Re: Why won't other designers use ARIA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Plowking View Post
    There's probably a few reasons, but the main one that pops into my head is that the Kontakt player is an incredibly powerful sampler and scripting program. Well the full version is at least. Aria seems to be more of a 'closed' engine, but maybe this is not accurate - perhaps I'm basing this on only seeing aria used with Garritan.[snip]
    From what I've read, ARIA has all the sampler and scripting power of Kontakt--or else the Garritan programs would not work as well as they do.

    I got turned off to Kontakt from the absolutely counterintuitive, graceless way JABB 2 worked with Cakewalk/Sonar. ARIA made it possible for me to get a working multi-track setup in seconds rather than futzing for up to half an hour, and still having random silence or worse yet, crashes. Not to mention Kontakt being a resource hog (though now, with Windows 7 64-bit and 16 GB RAM, I haven't run into any program that overwhelms my system's available resources).

    I hope that MakeMusic's involvement will help spread awareness of Garritan and ARIA. It occurs to me that notation programs don't have the same market as DAW programs, so maybe MakeMusic and Garritan will remain niche products, after all. Here's hoping somebody can prove me wrong.
    Dean L. Surkin
    Steinway A104030
    Sonar X2 (professional), Finale 2011, JABB 3, GPO

  4. #4

    Re: Why won't other designers use ARIA?

    .....Hoping not to get in trouble again with the guy up there in a long and sterile quarrel...... hallooooo plowwwww

    Dean,

    I understand you, I do not like at all Kontakt' s interface. Not the program itself, without doubt the most powerful sampler around (I never tried Motu Machfive, though, that seems to be a very interesting piece of software and a valuable alternative), but the interface is absurd. Lots of useless graphics... so lots of controllers get lost in way too many sub-menus. Plus, yes, resource hog but that's because it does a lot of things. For example: having convolution reverb built in is a very useful option. Convolution is not just a reverb, you can use it also to add a microphone impulse for ..say... a horn or an amp for a guitar. Or... I've been experimenting with body-modelling for solo string instrument using impulses trough convolution. Many developers do so, too. Kirk Hunter does it in his most recent string libraries (for Kontakt) though offering only three impulses. Also, Dan Dean does this and probably some more... ah, I think Cakawalk does it for its Dimension's pianos.
    This is an important feature... but they say convolution is finding its way into Aria, too, let's see.

    Anyway.

    In my humblest opinion, the main Kontakt's feature that third party developers like so much is the copy protection mechanism. Sfz, therefore Aria, is too open. Programs (the patches themselves) open with a text editor and samples are in open wav format (tough masked). You can pick up any single sample you want. Not much of a guarantee for someone who invested time, efforts and money to get the samples in the first place and arrange them in the relevant patches. Kontakt is like putting money in the bank. Some file formats have been broken in the past (nks, if I am not mistaken) but in general it is a very safe proprietary format.

    Also...Aria has the power to let you program quite a lot of things, you are right, but has a big limitation in its interface, letting you draw only 12 instrument control knobs (plus eq, stereo stage and auto legato). A modern patch by an average "sampling freak" (joking) for an average vst instrument uses way more controls than that. My last buy for Kontakt is Chris Hein's Basses... I completely got lost into the sub-menus. Pretty impossible to learn everything...
    Infact, I still prefer to use my own basses' patches.
    So... Aria does have quite a lot of power, but the way its GUI is designed lets you access only a fraction of it for real time tweaking of any said patch.

    But I agree with you. Aria is nice and efficient to use because it is simple and straightforward. It invites you to play, not to tweak. I mean.... how to use 100 controls if you only have a few mappable controllers, 10 fingers and just one brain?

    But this is only my opinion... and only focused on a small fraction of the whole problem.
    Humbly...

    Fabry

  5. #5

    Re: Why won't other designers use ARIA?

    From information at the Plogue sites (Plogue and AriaEngine), it does seem like ARIA is available for developers in need of a sample playback engine. ARIA was originally developed through a partnership between Plogue and Garritan, initially as the player for The Authorized Steinway - and then later, all the Garritan Libraries were ported into ARIA.

    But there's confusion on this thread between the Kontakt Player and the full Kontakt. ARIA and the full Kontakt can't really be compared fairly because ARIA and KP are both "just" sample playback engines. But the full Kontakt is a full sampling program with deep editing available to the user. It's still considered by many as the most thorough and powerful sampler available.

    It is too bad that NI made both KP and Kontakt so cluttered and unfriendly to use. All of us used to struggle with KP just to get a template set up that gave us access to all of the audio outs. The default in KP was just two faders - which was a crazy/bad decision, since most users need all available outs. But once that issue was licked, KP did have a lot of controls available - a whole set of very good FX, including convolution reverb.

    The simplicity of the SFZ system is one of the appeals of ARIA. It's great that once we have ARIA, we can load and use any SFZ instruments available to us, including ones we put together ourselves.

    BUT it's not correct, as was said on this list, that the simplicity of SFZ automatically makes SFZ instruments vulnerable to theft. The basic SFZ design is a text file accompanied by a folder of samples. When we put these together ourselves, we're using .wav files. But a company can have their audio samples in a proprietary format to avoid theft. That's the case with Garritan Libraries. Samples are in the "audio" format which is a non-standard audio format which can't be opened without the use of ARIA. Like anything else, a hacker could probably crack these files - But the point is, the Garritan instruments aren't more vulnerable to theft than the samples in NI instruments.

    Randy

  6. #6

    Re: Why won't other designers use ARIA?

    99% of the time I'm using kontakt because that is what the main libraries I have use.

    Aria has less overhead which is great - and it does invite you play more and feels more intuitive.

    If everyone switched over to Aria instead of kontakt, you would't hear a compliant from me - it's a fine engine - if it could host my patches, I'd load them into it.

    Also, for me, a 3rd party reverb plugin is preferable to any of the engine reverbs. I've never used the kontakt convolution reverb, never will.

    I didn't like that I had to buy the full version of kontakt though as some libraries didn't support the player only version. But more and more libraries are converting to player support, so new users at least would not have to buy kontakt.
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  7. #7

    Re: Why won't other designers use ARIA?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post

    ....
    BUT it's not correct, as was said on this list, that the simplicity of SFZ automatically makes SFZ instruments vulnerable to theft. The basic SFZ design is a text file accompanied by a folder of samples. When we put these together ourselves, we're using .wav files. But a company can have their audio samples in a proprietary format to avoid theft. That's the case with Garritan Libraries. Samples are in the "audio" format which is a non-standard audio format which can't be opened without the use of ARIA. Like anything else, a hacker could probably crack these files - But the point is, the Garritan instruments aren't more vulnerable to theft than the samples in NI instruments.
    ....
    Randy
    Randy, pm

    Fab

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