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Topic: ARIA Player and Sonar - MIDI and Audio Levels

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  1. #1

    ARIA Player and Sonar - MIDI and Audio Levels

    Randy's recent post on ambience tips in Aria has prompted me to post my own experiences with Sonar X1.

    When I first started out I worked entirely through MIDI in Sonar and only exported as an audio file when my project was complete.

    Then I changed to working with audio files having bounced my Aria MIDI tracks to individual audio tracks and worked on these to craft my performances. Now I seem to have encountered a problem working this way with my present project.

    My present score has thirty tracks (audio) and I judiciously set all my individual volume and panning levels. For my ambience I use the superlative 'Altiverb'. I added three stereo buses and loaded an instance of Altiverb into each bus.

    I need the three buses for various instrumental grouping and effects reasons including using the superb speaker placement feature of my beloved Altiverb.

    Then ….. then ….. arghhhh … all my careful, judicious panning flew out the window. It was as if my score was plunged into mono .. everything dead centre.

    Then I realised that each bus had its own panning dial and that this overrides the individual panning of every instrument/track routed through the bus. I deleted the buses and voilà my panning returned and I had my stereo score back … er .. but no effects .. no Altiverb.

    It makes no difference if the tracks are stereo or mono. They can be panned fine but as each bus has its own panning every track routed through that bus loses whatever panning is applied to the individual tracks.

    It seems I have two choices:

    1. Either add Altiverb to every track .. which would be OK with a small score but thirty tracks is not really an option.
    2. Re-record each audio track with Altiverb added.

    I tried my second option above and re-recorded every audio track and reset my volume and panning levels.

    The result! Well, I could then place my instruments as I wanted them add my effects and I had my ambience but .. . Well I felt that the result lacked the overall feel of unity and as of an orchestra. Instead I felt it was thirty individual musicians .. which of course it is .. but lacking the unity and of working together as a group of musicians .. as an orchestra.

    My solution .. well .. my response was to return to the MIDI workflow.

    I've now completely reworked my score in Sonar and setup MIDI tracks. Now I have three instances of Aria each with 'Stereo Stage' and 'Ambience' disabled. I've loaded Altiverb into each of the Aria 'FX' strips and setup Sonar to control Aria's instrument 'faders'.

    Now I can position each instrument/track effortlessly and now I have my orchestra back. Wonderful!

    However, I think most people work through audio tracks so where did I go wrong? I must have missed something somewhere. How do folk use buses and still manage to achieve the panning they want?
    Michael
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  2. #2

    Re: ARIA Player and Sonar - MIDI and Audio Levels

    I hope you hear from the Forum's Altiverb King - DPDAN on this, Michael. As I recall him saying in the past, he uses multiple instances of Altiverb, AND does his panning entirely in those instances. Tracks are centered, and he controls position through the plug-in.

    I also recall him saying he feels the complete signal from tracks should go through Altiverb, so that balance levels are also accomplished in Altiverb, and nowhere else in the mixer.

    Meanwhile--Most people use Buses so they can send just percentages of signal to them, controlled by the Send control on each track module.

    It sounds to me as if you were having the output of your tracks going to those Altiverb buses, instead of to your Master- and that you didn't use Sends. Is that the case?

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: ARIA Player and Sonar - MIDI and Audio Levels

    Something else, Michael - I do know that when you choose an impulse response to load in Altiverb, you have the choice between stereo and mono reverb samples.

    Randy

  4. #4

    Re: ARIA Player and Sonar - MIDI and Audio Levels

    Hello Randy,

    Many thanks for replying.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    It sounds to me as if you were having the output of your tracks going to those Altiverb buses, instead of to your Master- and that you didn't use Sends. Is that the case?

    Randy
    You are spot on Randy. I routed my tracks directly to the appropriate buses then routed the buses directly to my output.

    I went back to my Sonar audio score and changed the tracks so they're now routed to my output. I then went to the 'sends' for each track and linked these to the appropriate buses. As mentioned in my first post, each bus has an instance of Altiverb.

    My score is now playing beautifully with the panning just as I set it for each track.

    Many thanks again Randy.
    Michael
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  5. #5

    Re: ARIA Player and Sonar - MIDI and Audio Levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael_uk View Post
    ...You are spot on Randy. I routed my tracks directly to the appropriate buses then routed the buses directly to my output.

    I went back to my Sonar audio score and changed the tracks so they're now routed to my output. I then went to the 'sends' for each track and linked these to the appropriate buses...My score is now playing beautifully with the panning just as I set it for each track...
    That's great, Michael. Thanks for letting me know I sussed out the error you'd made.

    In your new post, you say that now your tracks are routed to your output. If you mean directly to your interface/sound card, I highly recommend that you direct them, and all buses (all tracks in the project) to a Master Bus, and then that Master is directed to the Output. If you ever try any of the Sonar project templates, they always include a Master Bus already set up for you.

    By using a Master, you can much more easily control peaking-out problems. The Interface/Sound card bus shouldn't ever be touched. There are volume controls on it in the Sonar mixer, but they shouldn't be touched. Even the volume slider for the Master should rarely be used, but you may find it necessary to automate its level slightly down some on loud passages, and when used in subtle degrees, it can help you create more dynamic volume changes over the course of a project. In other words, by automating it down a bit, you can help your soft passages be even softer, and your loud passages even louder. I usually have my Master set at no more than 3/4 up so I have plenty of headroom to play with when a lot more volume is needed during a certain area of a project. It's also a convenient way to accomplish fade outs if you ever need those at the end of a piece.

    Randy

  6. #6

    Re: ARIA Player and Sonar - MIDI and Audio Levels

    Hello Randy,

    All done. Master bus added and all outputs routed to this. The Master bus is routed to my M-Audio Audiophile 192 sound card and everything working and sounding great here.

    Thanks for the tips Randy, it's much appreciated.
    Michael
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  7. #7

    Re: ARIA Player and Sonar - MIDI and Audio Levels

    Hi guys!

    I read all your posts, so instead of quoting several things I will just speak of how I mix orchestral music with Altiverb.
    I only use individual sends on individual audio tracks to feed Altiverb when I am NOT trying to imitate a concert hall performance. When I mix other genres of music with Altiverb, much of the time I use individual aux sends as in traditional "old school" mixing.

    When I want a concert hall recording sound, I assign (route) all the woodwinds into a stereo group fader named woods, then that group's output is assigned to yet another stereo group where Altiverb is inserted. I then set the stage positioning for my desired spacial setting for front to back, and how wide or narrow I want the sound to be. This is repeated for brass, percussion and strings with of course, different IRs and stage positioning. When I say different IRs, I mean the same IR collection, (room or space) but different mic positions.

    You could insert the Altiverb right into the woodwinds group fader, but when you automate that fader and make quick, sudden movements, you will mess up the breathing of Altiverb, because it is part of the sound IN THAT GROUP. If you do as I suggest,... you can freely automate the dickens out of the group fader, and THAT sound will flow into the group where Altiverb resides.

    Randy mentioned Altiverb having stereo and mono reverb choices.
    All IR's in Altiverb produce stereo sound. I believe what he meant to be sure of was
    to choose the stereo input option when loading the IR of your choice,... if you use a mono input IR,
    your stereo panning of all your audio tracks will be disregarded.

    Here is a video describing this way of routing and mixing.
    When you do it this way, you will always want the "mix" set to full on (wet).
    This tutorial uses an older version of Altiverb.

    Windows 14mb

    Quicktime 14mb

    Dan

  8. #8

    Re: ARIA Player and Sonar - MIDI and Audio Levels

    Hello Dan,

    Thanks for your reply, very interesting.

    I'll study your method and your video and try a few things here.

    Thanks again.
    Michael
    Patience is a virtue, sensitivity is a gift

  9. #9

    Re: ARIA Player and Sonar - MIDI and Audio Levels

    You could insert the Altiverb right into the woodwinds group fader, but when you automate that fader and make quick, sudden movements, you will mess up the breathing of Altiverb, because it is part of the sound IN THAT GROUP. If you do as I suggest,... you can freely automate the dickens out of the group fader, and THAT sound will flow into the group where Altiverb resides.
    Dan, what do you mean by this, I don't understand it. OK I am using buses for almost everything, so my Alitverb is separated from anything else, but this puzzles me.

    Raymond

  10. #10

    Re: ARIA Player and Sonar - MIDI and Audio Levels

    Hi Raymond,,,
    a flute audio track is assigned (routed) to a stereo group named woodwinds.

    The flutes' audio track pan is positioned to where you want the flute on the stage,... left/right etc.

    The output of the woodwinds stereo group would NOT be assigned to the master output, instead....
    it is assigned to another stereo group named woodverb. This group has Altiverb inserted in it.

    This routing allows you to not only automate the volume fader of the flute audio track, but you can also automate the woodwinds group fader. While you create fader automation for all the woodwinds, you could choose to abruptly lower all the woodwinds significantly, and the reverb tail of the previous notes still sounding would not be affected.

    If this is still confusing, it is probably because you are not using any fader automation. That would be like directing an orchestra but without the ability to raise or lower the musician's dynamics.

    Do you use fader automation?
    Dan

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