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Topic: Tip Of The Week: Customizing your Garritan instruments

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  1. #1

    Tip Of The Week: Customizing your Garritan instruments

    UPDATE 7/3/12 - Forum member Bjorn was having trouble customizing the JABB Accordion. He wanted to stretch the range of the instrument's top note. In reply #7 on a thread originally about Garritan World, I gave Bjorn the additional info he needed to successfully stretch the range. That thread and added detail about customization can be found here:

    MORE INFO ON EDITING GARRITAN SFZ FILES

    (below is this thread's original starter post)
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    New Forum member, Connor Helms, inspired this tip when he posted a question this morning:

    World Instruments, couple questions


    (note this is the same thread linked in my update above)

    One thing he asked was if it's possible to extend the range of Garritan instruments. With the important caveat that stretching samples too far can result in an unnatural sound, I told him it's easy to make that kind of change.

    IMPORTANT NOTE - I also cautioned him, as I do all of you, to retain a copy of the original SFZ files before you make changes.

    Here are the steps I outlined for Connor:

    "...Go to Program Files>Garritan>World>Instruments to find the particular SFZ file you want to look at and edit. It's always a good idea to drag a copy of the original on to your desk top in case you make mistakes in your edit and need to start over.

    Using your example of the Di-zi, open the China folder, click its SFZ. It will open in your computer's Notepad. Scroll down until you get to the data for the regions. You'll see <region>. Each sample has been programmed for a "lokey" and "hikey," and the numbers used to designate those low and high keys are the MIDI note numbers. For a point of reference, middle C is "60."

    Simply change the values the way you want. When you save the edit, you need to change the "Save as type" in the pop-up from "Text Documents" to "All Files." That will retain the .sfz extension..."


    Here's another example of customizing a Garritan instrument:

    This weekend I was working on a piece where I layered trumpets from several different Garritan Libraries. I wanted to include "Trumpets Attack" from Instant Orchestra. But I needed each of the three trumpet lines (each on a different MIDI channel) to be played monophonically, the way all brass instruments are actually played. Unlike in GPO, "Auto Legato" isn't available in Instant Orchestra, so true monophonic playback isn't possible. The difference can be subtle, but it's still an important difference.

    When using a patch which is polyphonic, any overlapping of notes results in a momentary blur - there's that moment of overlap which results in two pitches playing at the same time. The solution isn't to shorten all the notes so there's no overlap, because the results wouldn't be legato.

    When an instrument has Auto Legato available, that automatically makes the instrument play only one note at a time, and in the scenario I'm describing, that's what I needed since I was layering some monophonic instruments with polyphonic instruments.

    I opened the SFZ file for Trumpets attack, and in the very first block of data, I found the global setting for polyphony. I've set that section in bold in this paste from the file:

    $sample_dir/Brassy Samples\Attack Trumps Samples\$expression_sw//Control Presets
    #include "../include/brass_controls.sfz"//Effects and MIDI
    #include "../include/pre_fx.sfz"

    <global>
    pan_law=no_law
    pan_oncc10=100 pan_curvecc10=1
    lovel=1 hivel=127
    lokey=0 hikey=127

    group=0
    polyphony=32
    off_mode=time
    off_time=0.01
    off_shape=0
    off_curve=10

    //Library Specific LFOs, Filters, EQ, Envelope Controls#include "../include/brass_global_fx.sfz"

    Simply changing polyphony to "1" got me the monophonic playback I needed. The trumpet lines instantly sounded more natural.

    I REPEAT, VERY IMPORTANT
    - You must save a copy of the original SFZ file when you do edits like this, so you can revert back to it if your edits mess things up. Something that helps me is to include a Notepad note in the Instrument file making note of what edits I did.

    You may find it helpful to do any number of customizations to your Garritan instruments so they behave the way you need for a particular project. The more you find out about the codes available in SFZ files, the more you can do.

    Just be careful!

    Randy

  2. #2

    Re: Tip Of The Week: Customizing your Garritan instruments

    Randy ,

    A thought:-

    Would it not be better to add the amended instrument as a new instrument?

    I have a pdf saved " 'Adding a new SFZ Sounds to the Atia Player' by Jim Snyder 12/22/2010 " - at the moment I can't find where I got it from!

    This would avoid messing up the originals which could be made read-only for safety.

    I am presuming that the samples would still be accessible

    Martin Lord

  3. #3

    Re: Tip Of The Week: Customizing your Garritan instruments

    Quote Originally Posted by mlord View Post
    Randy ,

    A thought:-

    Would it not be better to add the amended instrument as a new instrument?

    I have a pdf saved " 'Adding a new SFZ Sounds to the Atia Player' by Jim Snyder 12/22/2010 " - at the moment I can't find where I got it from!

    This would avoid messing up the originals which could be made read-only for safety.

    I am presuming that the samples would still be accessible

    Martin Lord
    Hi, Martin - I'm glad you've had a look at this week's Tip, and responded.

    I suppose by following Jim's instructions one could add a new instrument, and that would be another way to go about this. But just making an alternate SFZ file and parking it in the Instruments folder doesn't work - it isn't accessible. I haven't looked at Jim's notes, but he must show how to do that. It must involve editing an XML file in addition to the SFZ file or something.

    I'm glad you're taking the disclaimers seriously, but really, it's no hassle to keep alternate versions, do quick edits, swap things around. That's all I've ever done and it works fine.

    Randy

  4. #4

    Re: Tip Of The Week: Customizing your Garritan instruments

    Quote Originally Posted by mlord View Post
    Randy ,

    A thought:-

    Would it not be better to add the amended instrument as a new instrument?

    I have a pdf saved " 'Adding a new SFZ Sounds to the Atia Player' by Jim Snyder 12/22/2010 " - at the moment I can't find where I got it from!

    This would avoid messing up the originals which could be made read-only for safety.

    I am presuming that the samples would still be accessible

    Martin Lord
    There is a post here in the forum with a link to the ZIP file for how to do things like this here. While they are related to each other, the tutorial I put together has a much steeper learning curve. What Randy is talking about are straight forward tweaks to an existing sound and this is nice to be able to do. A classic example of this is tweaking an SFZ file from Dimension Pro for use in Aria.

    The much harder thing I wrote up was to create a whole other sound bank that shows up in the Aria menus as well as adds UI controls to your SF2/SFZ sounds. Going through this effort is only worth it if you plan to use a sound A LOT. Otherwise a simple SFZ import might do just fine.

    Jim

  5. #5

    Re: Tip Of The Week: Customizing your Garritan instruments

    Another excellent tip, Randy.
    Thank you.
    I shall experiment.

    Thank you too Jim Synder. I have downloaded the zip file and intend to have a go at it.
    I didn't know that was available so thank you for posting the url.

    As a general point, maybe a few tips (occasionally) on getting to grips with the sfz format might be useful for some of us eager to experiment. No, I won't forget to make a backup copy first. I stared programming in assembler in the late 60s, so have learnt most of the lessons. We used to keep three generations of past batch processed files logged as grandfather, father and son.

    The problem is that, as one gets older, one's memory isn't what it once was (along with other parts of the anatomy!).

    Keep 'em coming, Randy!
    Thanks again,
    SXJohn.

    P.S. I've had a closer look at the Aria SFZ tutorial, Jim, and can't say how delighted I am to find that I can convert Dimension Pro instruments over to Aria. When the extra libraries were available on special offer, a while back, I picked up one or two. If some of those can be 'converted' it would be great. I shall print out the pdf right away.

    Thank you so much for this.

  6. #6

    Re: Tip Of The Week: Customizing your Garritan instruments

    A popular Tip!

    Quote Originally Posted by jdsnyderii View Post
    There is a post here in the forum with a link to the ZIP file for how to do things like this here. While they are related to each other, the tutorial I put together has a much steeper learning curve. What Randy is talking about are straight forward tweaks to an existing sound and this is nice to be able to do. A classic example of this is tweaking an SFZ file from Dimension Pro for use in Aria.

    The much harder thing I wrote up was to create a whole other sound bank that shows up in the Aria menus as well as adds UI controls to your SF2/SFZ sounds. Going through this effort is only worth it if you plan to use a sound A LOT. Otherwise a simple SFZ import might do just fine.

    Jim
    Excellent, Jim! I knew that tutorial was around somewhere, but couldn't find it. Thanks for getting the link up again for us.

    Yes - my tip on the starter post of this thread was about the very simplest, quick-n-dirty way to make tweaks to Garritan Instruments, aimed at the less tweak-minded of us, and that includes me!-- I like getting the most out of what I have, but there's a definite limit to the amount of digging in and programming I usually want to do. But with some patience, it certainly would be worthwhile to customize SFZ instruments like the Cakewalk Dimension patches so they're more integrated in ARIA.

    I should probably go through what you've put together to make my Autoharp even more complete in its ARIA programming.

    Quote Originally Posted by SysExJohn View Post
    Another excellent tip, Randy. Thank you. I shall experiment.

    Thank you too Jim Synder. I have downloaded the zip file and intend to have a go at it.
    I didn't know that was available so thank you for posting the url.

    As a general point, maybe a few tips (occasionally) on getting to grips with the sfz format might be useful for some of us eager to experiment...
    Hi, John - It really is great the way the SFZ format makes it much easier to do adaptations than was possible previously. It's such a simple, elegant concept - a folder of samples, a fully editable text file to control them.

    Here's the ARIA opcode list I referred to often while putting together the Autoharp:

    SFZ OPCODES AND INFO

    And on a previous "Tip Of The Week" thread I posted the download link for the free SFZ editor, "sfZed" which is really useful. As mentioned on that thread, you can instantly adapt old SoundFont instruments to the SFZ format, and with a slick little "point and click" editing system, sfZed helps you put together instruments from scratch also:

    sfZed Free SFZ Editor

    Randy

  7. #7
    Senior Member caher's Avatar
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    Re: Tip Of The Week: Customizing your Garritan instruments

    John,

    Since you've done assembler, you'll likely have a sense of deja vu when working with the sfz format! There are some similarities for sure.

    Chris



    Quote Originally Posted by SysExJohn View Post
    Another excellent tip, Randy.
    Thank you.
    I shall experiment.

    Thank you too Jim Synder. I have downloaded the zip file and intend to have a go at it.
    I didn't know that was available so thank you for posting the url.

    As a general point, maybe a few tips (occasionally) on getting to grips with the sfz format might be useful for some of us eager to experiment. No, I won't forget to make a backup copy first. I stared programming in assembler in the late 60s, so have learnt most of the lessons. We used to keep three generations of past batch processed files logged as grandfather, father and son.

    The problem is that, as one gets older, one's memory isn't what it once was (along with other parts of the anatomy!).

    Keep 'em coming, Randy!
    Thanks again,
    SXJohn.

    P.S. I've had a closer look at the Aria SFZ tutorial, Jim, and can't say how delighted I am to find that I can convert Dimension Pro instruments over to Aria. When the extra libraries were available on special offer, a while back, I picked up one or two. If some of those can be 'converted' it would be great. I shall print out the pdf right away.

    Thank you so much for this.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: Tip Of The Week: Customizing your Garritan instruments

    Hi Randy!

    I'm really lovin' your weekly tips ... these are all fantastic and they've been so varied in subject matter that there's got to be something of interest in this series for everyone (sorry for not commenting sooner!).

    I don't want to bump last weeks tip, but wanted to let you know you completely rekindled my interest in CoMB ... even experimenting with combining it w/ GPO and JaBB. I've always used select solo instruments from CoMB (I've used the CoMB mellophones to simulate the mellophoniums used in some of the mega-big bands of Stan Kenton, as well as some of the low clarinets), but never really played around with the 'groups' of instruments available. Fun stuff!

    Keep up the great service you've been providing all of us ... THANKS!!

    Frank

  9. #9

    Re: Tip Of The Week: Customizing your Garritan instruments

    Hi Randy,

    Thanks for the urls to the various 'useful' sites. I availed myself of the sfz opcodes a while back but haven't had more than a cursory glance at them ... so far. I have now acquired sfZed editor and loaded a coupe of files. It looks very useful.

    When I think back to the days of assembler programming, entering the commands on a form and having it punched onto 80 column cards, then amending mispunches or hanging chad using a hand punch, we have certainly come a long way since then!

    80 column 12 row hand punch from ICT.

    Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

    Just imagine being able to type the code straight in, what a revolution!

    Hi Chris,

    Yes, deja vu rules! Sometimes it can be fun going back to one's roots!
    Defining constants, variables etc.
    What's missing is moving stuff into and out of registers, and ANDs and ORs and other logical operations.
    Most of the stuff I learnt then is clearer than things I did last week!

    Back to Jim's pdf.
    John.

  10. #10

    Re: Tip Of The Week: Customizing your Garritan instruments

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank D View Post
    Hi Randy!

    I'm really lovin' your weekly tips...wanted to let you know you completely rekindled my interest in CoMB ... even experimenting with combining it w/ GPO and JaBB. I've always used select solo instruments from CoMB (I've used the CoMB mellophones to simulate the mellophoniums used in some of the mega-big bands of Stan Kenton, as well as some of the low clarinets), but never really played around with the 'groups' of instruments available. Fun stuff!

    Keep up the great service you've been providing all of us ... THANKS!!

    Frank
    Quote Originally Posted by SysExJohn View Post
    Hi Randy,

    Thanks for the urls to the various 'useful' sites. I availed myself of the sfz opcodes a while back but haven't had more than a cursory glance at them ... so far. I have now acquired sfZed editor and loaded a coupe of files. It looks very useful.

    When I think back to the days of assembler programming, entering the commands on a form and having it punched onto 80 column cards, then amending mispunches or hanging chad using a hand punch, we have certainly come a long way since then!...Sometimes it can be fun going back to one's roots!...
    John.
    Good morning, gents, and thanks for the posts.

    I'm glad I came up with the idea awhile back to have an all-purpose Garritan oriented topic I could turn to each week, and I'm glad the Tips are being looked at and inspiring investigation. More like the good ol' days of the Forum when there was more of this kind of give-and-take.

    Frank, your post zoomed me back in time back to the mid-'60's.

    A brilliant friend of mine in High School had access to one of the local university's computers, since his father was a professor there. One night he invited me to come see his programming experiments in action. The computer took up a whole room. He sat down at a console and started feeding in this thick stack of punch cards, explaining that he was loading his program into the computer's memory. - I had No idea what he was either talking about or doing - but I was very impressed. The computer made cool mechanical noises as the cards went in, sounding like the big machines sometimes featured on TV shows of the period like "The Outer Limits" or "Twilight Zone."

    What my friend's program was I have no idea - I don't think I understood at the time what it was. All I knew was that, as impressive as the whole thing was, I had no inclination to figure it out for myself. Too much math, too much geeky complicated stuff that had Zero appeal to me at the time. There's no way I could have understood at the time that what I was seeing in action what would develop into the compact, powerful computers that most of use every day, both in our homes, and while on the go. Such a notion would have been out-of-control science fiction to me back then.

    Thanks again for the replies - I'm sure between now and next Monday a new Tip will occur to me as I go about my daily work with the Garritan Libraries.

    Randy

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