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Topic: GPO4 Trumpet Samples for a Darker, Richer Sound

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  1. #1

    GPO4 Trumpet Samples for a Darker, Richer Sound


    Although I’ve studied and played several types of instruments from keyboards, percussion, woodwinds, and brass, my main instrument is the trumpet. I’ve held principal chair positions in ensembles such as orchestras, wind ensembles, jazz bands, brass ensembles, marching bands, and even trumpet choirs serving as both leader and soloist. Over the years and through countless lessons and advice from my trumpet teachers: Dr. Bill Jones, Mr. Joe Phelps, and Mr. Phil Smith; principal chair of the New York Philharmonic, all of them have said the same thing in regards to the overall trumpet sound, “Strive for a rich, open, and dark sound.” So when I compose with samples I still heed to their advice especially when working with solo passages. Over the few months that I have posted at this wonderful forum I have heard some absolute wonderful music, but I have always secretly said to myself, “The trumpet samples are way too bright which result in a synthetic, edgy sound instead of a pure natural sound to my ears.”

    I now confess that I am no Randy. He is awesome at advice, examples, and tutorials, but I am going to unpretentiously try to show you how I treat my trumpet samples from GPO4 to sound more natural and open. With soloists I always try to strive for a darker sound, and just so my own ears were not deceiving me I asked my best friend who also has a degree in music and majored in trumpet to listen to my samples also. The only trumpet that sounds better with brightness would be the piccolo trumpet, but the sound should still sound pure, light, and almost flute-like.

    I have provided the score so you could follow alone. The score will repeat 7 times each with a different trumpet ensemble or soloist. The stereo stage is turned on and set to 75% for all the trumpets, and the ambience is concert hall 1 with the send set to the next line past the halfway mark. I have only used the trumpet samples that I feel best suit a concert stage, principal soloist, or cinematic sound. If I moved the equalizer located in the controls to produce a darker or richer sound for the sample I have noted it.

    1. Piccolo Trumpet Solo Vibrato: low +5dB and high-6dB
    2. SAM Piccolo Trumpet Solo KS
    3. Trumpet 1 Solo KS: low +12dB and high -12dB
    4. Trumpet 1 Solo KS with Trumpet Player 1, 2, and 3 KS
    5. SAM Trumpet Solo KS: low +5dB and high -10dB
    6. SAM Trumpet Solo KS with Sam Trumpet Player 1, 2, and 3 KS
    7. SAM Trumpet Section KS

    I would love to hear your comments, and how the different samples sound different to you.
    ~Rodney
    https://www.box.com/s/a9c1cd77b2ceb7cbfc61
    Trumpet Test with Auto-Legato for the solos and SAM Trumpet Section +8dB and -3dB
    https://www.box.com/s/33cd8522b9ecf354ad6c

  2. #2

    Re: GPO4 Trumpet Samples for a Darker, Richer Sound

    This is super, Rodney! - It's perfectly clear, what you're demonstrating, and I think it will be very useful to all Garritan users.

    I'm such a miscreant though - I confess to liking brightness in MIDI trumpets, but I tend to like everything bright, having a fear of tracks getting muddy.

    That being said - I liked the sound of the demos very much. The warmer, darker tone you talk about in the text wasn't as pronounced as I was concerned it might be. It totally works.

    Here's something perhaps a bit odd - The SAM trumpets didn't fare as well in this test. For a long time, GPO didn't have any SAM brass instruments - those were added later in response to people wanting bolder, brassier sounding brass. I use them sometimes, but don't find the samples as malleable as the original GPO samples.

    --A note, actually a question. It sounded like you didn't have Auto Legato on--? That's the only way to get monophonic playing, like real instruments. On the trills, it sounded like I was hearing notes overlapping in a way they can't. But the recordings are very wet with reverb, and that blurs tones - so maybe I'm hearing that?

    But I get it - with ARIA's EQ controls, up the bass, lower the highs - instantly "darker." I like it - and like it a lot more than I thought I would.

    THANKS!

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: GPO4 Trumpet Samples for a Darker, Richer Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    This is super, Rodney! - It's perfectly clear, what you're demonstrating, and I think it will be very useful to all Garritan users.

    I'm such a miscreant though - I confess to liking brightness in MIDI trumpets, but I tend to like everything bright, having a fear of tracks getting muddy.

    That being said - I liked the sound of the demos very much. The warmer, darker tone you talk about in the text wasn't as pronounced as I was concerned it might be. It totally works.

    Here's something perhaps a bit odd - The SAM trumpets didn't fare as well in this test. For a long time, GPO didn't have any SAM brass instruments - those were added later in response to people wanting bolder, brassier sounding brass. I use them sometimes, but don't find the samples as malleable as the original GPO samples.

    --A note, actually a question. It sounded like you didn't have Auto Legato on--? That's the only way to get monophonic playing, like real instruments. On the trills, it sounded like I was hearing notes overlapping in a way they can't. But the recordings are very wet with reverb, and that blurs tones - so maybe I'm hearing that?

    But I get it - with ARIA's EQ controls, up the bass, lower the highs - instantly "darker." I like it - and like it a lot more than I thought I would.

    THANKS!

    Randy
    Hello Randy! Thank you so much for your response and comments. The only reason I wanted to post this was that in real world trumpet playing very, very rarely have I been asked to produce a brighter sound. Even in "Latin-jazz in your face music" I am asked to mellow the sound out a little.

    You are so correct with the SAM trumpet sounds with the demo. They did not do as well as the original Garritan tones maybe due to this passage being in the lighter concert nature. The SAM sounds tend to be darker "out of the box" but they have a more pronounce attack and less movement on the tone. I do like how the crescendos sound on the SAM sounds though, but you can still hear the brightness of the sound toward the ends of each line that gets louder. The Garritan Piccolo Trumpet in my humble opinion works so much better than the SAM Piccolo. The Sam Piccolo is too dark for me and a bit too heavy.

    I believe what you were hearing with the blurring and overlapping of the notes was probably the fought of being a brass player. Brass players love a concert hall so they can fill the room with their sound reverberating on the walls. If you ever wanted to kill a brass player, like most people do, force him to do a concert in a practice room. Large halls are normally where we hear brass instruments, and my friends, this is funny btw, are always bragging when they find a venue like a church that they can play chords by themselves, LOL.

    Randy, I'm glad you liked it better than you thought you would. Now I feel like I accomplished something, HEHE.
    ~Rodney

  4. #4

    Re: GPO4 Trumpet Samples for a Darker, Richer Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by composingatnight View Post
    ...Brass players love a concert hall so they can fill the room with their sound reverberating on the walls...my friends...are always bragging when they find a venue like a church that they can play chords by themselves, LOL...
    Ha! I love it.

    These sound really fine, Rodney. The large space, and distance between audience and instruments works perfectly for these demos. I didn't mention the wet signals as a criticism, I understand and appreciate the choice.

    This is such excellent advice - You completely justify the goal, to get the "darker" sound that can be preferred, and the method you show about getting that is simplicity itself. So elegant - turn those ARIA EQ knobs!

    Everyone should try this. All of us will benefit - so thanks again, Rodney.

    Randy

  5. #5

    Re: GPO4 Trumpet Samples for a Darker, Richer Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Ha! I love it.

    These sound really fine, Rodney. The large space, and distance between audience and instruments works perfectly for these demos. I didn't mention the wet signals as a criticism, I understand and appreciate the choice.

    This is such excellent advice - You completely justify the goal, to get the "darker" sound that can be preferred, and the method you show about getting that is simplicity itself. So elegant - turn those ARIA EQ knobs!

    Everyone should try this. All of us will benefit - so thanks again, Rodney.

    Randy
    Randy! Thank you so much for the advice. Please check out the new link for the Auto-Legato in the solo instruments. I choose not to use the auto-legato for the trumpet choir selections due to the fact that in real life they would not play the trills together anyways. I also played with the panning more in the choirs. I did want the SAM Trumpet Section to be a tad bit darker so I changed the settings to +8dB and -3dB. Please let me know your thoughts on the changes if you have time.
    ~Rodney
    https://www.box.com/s/33cd8522b9ecf354ad6c

  6. #6

    Re: GPO4 Trumpet Samples for a Darker, Richer Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Ha! I love it.

    These sound really fine, Rodney. The large space, and distance between audience and instruments works perfectly for these demos. I didn't mention the wet signals as a criticism, I understand and appreciate the choice.

    Randy
    Oh I know you didn't mean it as criticism, but I thought it would just be fun to tell you why I used such a wet signal; crazy brass players, LOL.
    ~Rodney

  7. #7

    Re: GPO4 Trumpet Samples for a Darker, Richer Sound

    May I make a suggestion for when you edit the velocities and automate volume,... the Bb that is at the beginning of these phrases is way too loud and literally sounds like someone else played those Bb notes. Listen to this again.

    Just an observation and be careful to not excessively and un-naturally create so much expression (volume difference)

    EQ is our friend if it is used judiciously.

    Dan

  8. #8

    Re: GPO4 Trumpet Samples for a Darker, Richer Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN View Post
    May I make a suggestion for when you edit the velocities and automate volume,... the Bb that is at the beginning of these phrases is way too loud and literally sounds like someone else played those Bb notes. Listen to this again.

    Just an observation and be careful to not excessively and un-naturally create so much expression (volume difference)

    EQ is our friend if it is used judiciously.

    Dan
    Thank you Dan, I was just noticing the same thing right now. Let me see if I can fix it somehow.
    ~Rodney

  9. #9

    Re: GPO4 Trumpet Samples for a Darker, Richer Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN View Post
    May I make a suggestion for when you edit the velocities and automate volume,... the Bb that is at the beginning of these phrases is way too loud and literally sounds like someone else played those Bb notes. Listen to this again.

    Just an observation and be careful to not excessively and un-naturally create so much expression (volume difference)

    EQ is our friend if it is used judiciously.

    Dan
    I lowered the velocities in the Bb's but if they still stand out then it’s just the leaps of the m7ths of the melodic contour.
    ~Rodney
    https://www.box.com/s/33cd8522b9ecf354ad6c

  10. #10

    Re: GPO4 Trumpet Samples for a Darker, Richer Sound

    What an interesting thread!

    The central point is that sampled trumpets tend to sound more consistently bright than they do in real life when a good musician is striving, as Rodney quotes Phil Smith as saying, "...for a rich, open, and dark sound."

    I love this tip to simply use ARIA's handy EQ controls to bring more of that darkness to the Garritan trumpets. Like I said earlier, it's a very useful tip we can all use.

    So as other sub-topics are discussed, we don't want to lose track of the main point of this thread - getting a more mellow trumpet sound.

    About Auto Legato - I understand now, Rodney, that you don't turn AL on as a matter of course. I thought it was generally understood and agreed upon that soloists in GPO had to have AL on in order to sound natural. But now I see that really isn't the case. Interesting!

    Thanks for doing an AL version of these:

    --The difference is very subtle, much more than I thought it would be. The heavy reverb is the bigger factor here, because I did a side-by-side comparison of the 2 MP3s, and really the difference is so subtle as to not matter. Here and there are trills which sound more like trills in the AL version, like the one at 1:58. But most of the trills blur together even with AL on, sounding like overlapping notes because of the reverb. With a smaller reverb, at a lower percentage, the way I would more often work, and the difference between AL and non-AL would be more distinct. Thanks for running that experiment.

    A SHORT HISTORY OF MONOPHONIC INSTRUMENTS IN GARRITAN


    In the original GPO, and for quite a few years, all the soloists were monophonic. They behaved the way real world instruments do.

    There was one shortcoming in the programming though - even though the instruments were monophonic, a polyphony of "1," you couldn't perform actual trills. If you held one note down and rapidly played a neighboring note - no trill.

    Now, with AL, true trills are possible. Hold a note down, play the neighboring note while still holding down the first note - trill. In DAW software when you look at a properly done trill, you'll see one long note, and on top of it, a dotted row of short notes.

    With the introduction of ARIA, suddenly all these instruments became polyphonic. I theorize that this was bending to pressure from users who often would complain, "Hey! I can't play chords! What's going on?" - And the response had to be, over and over, that the instruments play one note at a time, just like their real world counterparts. To play chords with an instrument patch was totally contrary to the concept of GPO, which was to give users a way to realistically build orchestral emulations - and you can't ever get that by just playing a keyboard pianistically.

    There also used to be only one way to do legato passages successfully. You needed to use the pedal, CC64 - An On event right after the start of the opening note in a legato phrase, and then at the end of the phrase, you would bookend it with a CC64 off event.

    All the notes had to be slightly overlapping, velocities kept low. That method still works, and as it says in the GPO manual, one can actually achieve the best results that way. Special and clever programming truncates the beginning of samples when CC64 is engaged, helping to achieve the legato - avoiding the On On On On synth style sound where the whole opening envelope of a sound is played over and over.

    With ARIA came Auto Legato, which achieves basically the same thing, except with the flip of a switch, controlled by CC102. When AL is on, there's the added benefit of returning the instruments to proper monophonic playback.

    By default, unfortunately, in my opinion, instruments are set with AL off - Now people can indeed play any instrument like a piano, and getting a natural solo performance is much harder than when monohphonic playback was the only choice.

    AL isn't totally satisfactory to me, so I change polyphony settings to "1" in the SFZ files, so I can have back the more natural sounding instruments as they were programmed in the original GPO.

    Something slick about AL, though, is that since it's turned on and off with CC102, the user can put together that alternates between the two modes, turning AL on for good trills, for instance.

    HOWEVER - This thread gives a new insight - That when I thought there was no question that solo instruments like a trumpet HAD to be played with a polyphony of 1 note - now I see that this isn't really universally agreed on. It seems to be more a matter of choice than I ever realized. I do think a lot of users just aren't aware any more that they can get more realistic results with a truly monophonic setting.

    And the other things talked about on the thread I believe definitely get into the areas of personal taste, personal opinion. I don't hear the opening notes as too loud, nor do I hear anything approaching "excessive" use of volume expression. To find those faults, or not to find them is completely a subjective thing. Neither Dan or I could claim that the way we hear these is The Only Correct Way. 8-)

    So - several interesting things here on this thread.

    THANKS AGAIN for the tip, Rodney. It's excellent, and your demos illustrate your point clearly.

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