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Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:47 pm
by JoelS
If $500 is too steep, there are still options that cost even less than that. ... kontakt-5/ - Kontakt 5. $399 The full version of the sampler comes with a massive 43GB library that spans orchestral, choral, rock, synth, world and other instruments. The orchestral fare is, to my ear, less suited to action music and has a more classical sound than other libraries. That said, it is a big step up from the Eridol unit. It also allows you to use many free and other low cost sound sets. The variety of instruments available for Kontakt is vast and varied. - Symphonic Orchestra. This one comes in several flavors, from the top end Platinum to the low end Silver. Silver costs $195, and has a full and attractive sound set. SoundsOnline often has big sales on their libraries, as well.

As someone who develops and sells sound libraries myself ( ), I'll always recommend finding a way to purchase what you use. Though there are some large companies developing library content (like Native Instruments and EastWest) a great many developers are, like me, one man shows or a small team of individuals. I want them to be around to develop more content, so I support them.

I certainly hope you guys continue to make music, though, and enjoy being creative in that way.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:18 pm
by IskatuMesk
Unfortunately the last time I touched music was in like... 2005 or 2006. I haven't had the resources or talent to bother trying to again since.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:14 am
by GnaReffotsirk
Thanks for that JoelS. Downloading your free stuff atm! :D

I think I'll wait for a more advanced players or vst that one can control per note. The users would be given direct control when to use articulations on a per note level. Allow doubling on the same key, for example, to control swells, automatic staccato when at a certain length or whatever system that may be.

I would personally fund a team to design this program if I had the resources, but yeah...

Anyway, that's what I'm really looking for. Just getting it out since you are a developer, and who knows you might be the first to ever create the most convenient digital instrument that is flexible enough and has both micro and macro levels of control.

Currently, I'm settling for free stuff and try to find a way to make sense of them or at least make them sound acceptable. I have much to learn and earn yet, so...

May you prosper for your generosity! :)

And thank you for the encouragement.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:16 pm
by JoelS
Unfortunately, you'd need the full version of Kontakt to use the freebies on my site, but the .wav files of the sounds are unlocked so you might find some use for them.

The features you're talking about when you mention wanting more advanced instruments are actually present in both Kontakt (and most of its competitors like EXS, Halion, Engine, Play, etc) and in sequencers that may be more full featured than FLStudio's.

I've never used FLStudio's sequencer, so I'm not aware of its limitations. It is likely that Sonar, Cubase, and Logic have significantly more control over the MIDI data. Of course, those are not free. But, there is a very inexpensive sequencer called Reaper ( ) which has a personal license for $60 and is highly regarded. I use Sonar, and generally like it. A good sequencer offers easy editing of MIDI note length, timing, velocity, and CC (Continuous Controller) data.

Articulation switching is usually handled from within the sampler software, and can be accomplished in several ways. One of the most common is with keyswitches. A group of keys will be assigned that are outside the range of the instrument and are used to select which articulation is currently active.

Another method of articulation switching is more automatic, like you were thinking of. VSL (Vienna Symphonic Library, ) has proprietary sampler software that allows users to define how articulations are switched, and can base that on velocity of the note struck, on the length of time between notes (how fast you play), on keyswitches, or via CC data. It is very flexible and powerful.

Some Kontakt instruments also have scripting that allows more automatic control. LA Scoring Strings ( ) has several methods to help achieve realistic playback through auto-articulation switching, for example. Personally, I like more direct control over when articulation switches occur but there are many valid approaches that have been tried and continue to be refined.

Another approach is to eliminate traditional sampled articulations and offer physically modeled instruments which react to CC data like the modwheel and/or breath control to shape their dynamics. Wallander Instruments' WIVI has been a pioneer in that field ( ) and they offer a pretty inexpensive set of basic instruments you could try, though they only cover brass and winds at present. I think they have a demo version too, which you could check out.

So, to wrap up this long post, a lot (and perhaps all) of the things you want do exist already. They come at varying degrees of expense, and they are continually being updated and refined. New ideas are always on the horizon, too. It's an evolving field of development and is really pretty exciting to follow and use. As you've shown, you don't need any of it to make good music, but better sounds can certainly enhance the quality of your productions and make them commercially viable if you ever wanted to try selling your music.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:51 pm
by GnaReffotsirk
Yeah, FL Studio has automations but it controls the entire midi channel. I think Vst 3 if I recall correctly which is featured in the newest Cubase does the per note thingy.

VSL looks interesting. I've watched the VSL video on youtube featuring certain things like cross-fading between articulations.

I'm so covetous of these things that sadness is coming over me...

Regardless, IF I ever become good enough to produce for local TV here, I certainly will grab the best stuff out in the market. These things are so expensive for a mere handyman like myself, but I'm sure if the local producers here are using digital instruments, it wouldn't be a problem.

I wish there was a way to "borrow" these stuff. :D
(Must not be exposed. Lavvz, have mercy!)

For now, Layering and hours of EQ tweaking will have to suffice.

edit: Mesk, I read Kontakt can load gig files, and there is ESC -- a converter that can convert samples from one format to another.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 5:53 am
by IskatuMesk
I tried using kontakt a while ago (like 2009 or earlier) but could never get it to work with... either sonar or cakewalk, was one of the two. I just figured it was too advanced for me and gave up.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:26 am
by GnaReffotsirk
Yeah, I'm looking around to see how this can be done. So far, conversion is the easiest, but they say that would reduce quality.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:44 am
by IskatuMesk
From what I understand, Kontakt is basically the sampler (much like Gigastudio was) and you still use cakewalk/sonar for the sequencing. I never understood enough of either in the past to do much besides push buttons and hope something works, but I remembered channels being very important to getting stuff to actually make sounds in cakewalk. Unfortunately, my past experiments got me nowhere in linking the programs together. Kontakt worked, but I couldn't make music with it. Not that the garbage I made constituted as music to begin with.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:56 pm
by JoelS
Here's a basic (and by basic I mean 'maybe wordier than you hoped for' ) guide on how to get things going.

Kontakt is indeed a sampler like Gigastudio was. In fact, Kontakt supplanted Gigastudio as the dominant softsampler in the market, and then Tascam bought Gigastudio from Nemesys, and they drove it into the ground like a tent stake, rendering it a footnote in the annals of music tech. That is neither here nor there, though, but hey, history!

Anyway, your sampler needs to be able to communicate with your sequencer and it does so through various channels. You have MIDI channels and audio channels to contend with.

Audio channels are pretty easy, they are just the conduit through which audio is directed to the correct output, or to another channel / 'bus'. It is somewhat unfortunate that the terminology for all this stuff is largely derived from the analog hardware days and spun out of people who are used to that jargon, making it kind of impenetrable to someone who is new to the process.

Kontakt can support numerous audio channels, in mono, stereo, or various surround configurations. Why, you ask, would anyone want to use mono? Well, there are reasons. Accept it and move on. Stereo outputs can be assigned as a pair to a single audio channel, and by default you have one stereo output available to you when you start up an instance of Kontakt. In Sonar, at least, that output is linked to the input of the audio channel that Sonar creates for your instance of Kontakt. The audio channel's output is usually linked to the Master audio bus, which is the thing that sends audio to your soundcard, from which it issues forth from speakers and into your ears.

Now, we move on to looking at MIDI channels. Under the VST2 standard, which is what Sonar is limited to (one of my key gripes with Cakewalk is that they will not support VST3 for reasons too lengthy to go into here), each instance of Kontakt that you load is capable of handling 16 MIDI channels. What this means is that you can have 16 different instruments, each occupying one MIDI channel, loaded into an instance of Kontakt. Technically, Kontakt supports 64 MIDI channels, but again under VST2 you only get 16. What this means practically is that you usually will just use 16, but you can stack instruments on the same channel in the extra slots, which can be cool for making ensemble or multi percussion setups all triggered from the same MIDI data. That's delving into a bit more complexity than perhaps we need, though.

So, when you tell Sonar to Insert a VST instrument (which is what Kontakt qualifies as), it gives you a dialog that asks you whether you want to assign an initial Audio channel (which you do) an initial MIDI channel (also, yes) and some other stuff which you can largely ignore. It pops your new channels into the interface, and you're all set to go! ... for one instrument. For if you look at the details of the MIDI channel it has made, it is set to MIDI channel 1, with that instance of Kontakt's first MIDI channel as its output. So, whatever instruments you assign to MIDI channel 1 inside Kontakt will play when you select that track and hit some keys. You want more than that, though. Much more.

To get more MIDI tracks and take advantage of Kontakt's 16 available channels, you can just clone that initial MIDI track and incrementally set its channel output to send data to Kontakt's 2nd, 3rd and so on MIDI channels. Then eventually you will have 16 MIDI tracks set up, and one Audio track, which together handle the output from Kontakt and grant you the ability to make music out of thin air like a wizard. To avoid having to do that all every time you want an instance of Kontakt, Sonar allows you to create folders from tracks and save them as a template, so I just go click my 'Kontakt 5 16ch.' template and it drops an instance into the project, ready to go. I usually set mine up with two audio channels available, so that I can direct some instruments to a different reverb or effects setup if I want to.

In many of my compositions, I will use one or two instances of PLAY, one or two instances of Kontakt 5, and maybe an instance of Omnisphere or some other synth that suits the track. Some of my denser compositions use an even bigger template, but in general I find that the setup above gives me enough room to have proper instrumentation for a two-minute-or-so long bit of music.

I will try to answer any questions on the subjects detailed above (or whatever else) to clarify how it all works.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:07 pm
by JoelS
Oh, and regarding Giga conversion...

I will doublecheck on this but I think that from within the Kontakt browser, it will show Giga instruments and you can click to load them as if they were Kontakt instruments. It will probably then run through a small (or large, depending on the instrument) conversion process, and you can re-save it as a Kontakt instrument for better future performance.

Simple giga instruments convert pretty faithfully, but any that had more complex setups run the risk of having errors when they are converted. Fortunately, Kontakt lets you dig right into the guts of the instrument files and fix things, which encourages one to learn what all the stuff under the hood does.

Kontakt's instrument editor is really robust and pretty easy to figure out if you set your mind to it. I am not a very math or programming savvy person (beyond HTML and CSS) and I was able to make simple scripts and figure out the ins and outs of assembling sound files into an instrument. If I can, you can. Most other samplers do not allow you to dig into the instruments, or offer limited editability. It is one of Kontakt's great strengths.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:57 pm
by IskatuMesk
A lot of the giga instruments I had were actually converted from other sources using CDXtract. Unfortunately, AFAIK, many did not retain names and I don't know what many are. I know I'm in possession of stuff like hans zimmer guitars and (I think it was called) Garritan gigaharp and some others. I lost a few during a failed backup process a time back that I'm sure are impossible for me to "acquire" again.

It has been an extremely long time since I tried to do anything with this and don't have any software on me that I would need to set up to try to get it to work again, but I had some kind of convoluted way of using a USB to midi converter for my ancient keyboard to get it to work in Cakewalk. Indeed, I had a intern-killing giant keyboard I used at points during my old compositing days, which I would have a hard time getting to work in win7 I imagine. Anyways, I tried doing the channels stuff back then, and I remember it not working no matter what I tried.

If I ever consider attempting modding or custom content again it's possible I will try to set up the software again and get it working. I don't think that will happen though. I've been trying too long without any progress on anything, there's no reason to believe music (which is probably the hardest thing in modding except for maybe programming or organic characters/modeling) would be possible for me to do when basic stuff isn't.

In either case I can tell you I have absolutely zero interest in selling anything. I've already turned down indie companies and commission offers for other stuff.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:17 am
by GnaReffotsirk
JoelS, is there a way I can make Kontakt play two notes on a single key?

Say I have cello on midi 1, and I stack a shorter note over a longer note. The Shorter one would start at the middle and end at 3/4 of the longer one.

The problem I get with this is that the longer note will turn off with the shorter note. I've read they say, "well, you couldn't do that in real life anyway" but that's just absurd.

I wish to be able to stack stuff on each other without cutting things off. I'm using Kontakt 5 not the player only, but the one where you can program stuff.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:07 am
by Pr0nogo
I toyed around with Reason and I never had a problem with one note turning off at the same time as another, but I'm in no place to even discuss this kind of stuff, it's so over my head. Do you have some kind of BPM equaliser setting active?

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:31 am
by JoelS

I am a bit confused by the terminology you're using and can't quite figure out what you're doing, so let's try to clear that up first.

You say you are trying to play two notes on a single key. Which of the following does that mean:
  • You are triggering a C on your keyboard and you want to have it play a C and a shorter E at the time you specified while you only hold down the C.
  • You are triggering a C and later midway through the C also hit E (on the same MIDI channel), and it cuts the C off and just plays the E
Some instruments are set up to play monophonically (that is, only one note can sound at a time) to enhance the ability of that instrument to play legato lines where a transition sample is played that helps 'connect' the two notes and sound smoother. Depending on the instrument in question, you may be able to turn this feature on or off.

Most instruments are polyphonic, which means that you can play chords or stacked notes in the way that you are expecting to.

What cello instrument are you using? There is a good chance I probably have it and can offer specific comments on its use.

Re: [orchestral] Made Some

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:52 pm
by GnaReffotsirk
No, no. It's all C. Example:

Cello Instrument [Ch. 1]
[C2] .......................**********************************.....................

asterisk is another C2 where the dots are also C2. Both are in Ch.1 and using only one patch. Not 2 patches of the same or other assigned to Ch.1. What happens with kontakt is as the asterisk line goes off, the dot line also turns off.

I do this a lot in edirol orchestral, which allows me to create thick sound and crescendos or other useful stuff.