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Topic: out of curiosity, what "exactly" does the mod wheel do?

  1. #1

    Re: out of curiosity, what "exactly" does the mod wheel do?

    I think Gary\'s leaving that to other/bigger libraries for now. GPO was, from the ground up, only meant to be a sketch-pad, one hell of a great sounding sketch-pad, but non-the-less I don\'t think Gary meant to put that much content into it on purpose.

    GPO is capable of running on a laptop now, if you added multiple velocity layers for every instrument this would no longer be the case and none of us could compose on the beach anymore (unless you still compose to manuscript I guess...)

    I like GPO as it is and I would put a vote in for Garritan Orchestral Brass and Garritan Orchestral Woodwinds to go with GOS before I would want to change GPO...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Chandler, Arizona

    Re: out of curiosity, what "exactly" does the mod wheel do?

    The mod wheel controls timbre as well as volume. As it gets louder, the sound gets brighter.

    The library had certain design specifications such as being to load an orchestra in 1 GB of RAM on a laptop. This led to certain design decisions being made.

    There are plans as Gary has mentioned to do add-ons to the library more articulations, instruments, etc.

  3. #3

    Re: out of curiosity, what "exactly" does the mod wheel do?


    The mod wheel controls a combination of volume and dynamic EQ. The exact nature of the EQ depends upon the instrument. The EQ is designed to emulate the timbre changes (relative to volume) specific to an instrument type. For example, the timbre of brass instruments changes more dramatically from soft to loud than for most woodwinds. This is reflected in the design of the dynamic EQ for those instruments.

    You are quite right that most instruments are, by deliberate design, single layered. As I’ve stated on several occasions, GPO is designed to use programming techniques in place of separate samples, wherever possible. This is a Core Concept of GPO. This approach has many advantages when the tools are as sophisticated as the ones available in Kontakt. On the subject of dynamic EQ and the mod wheel: One of the advantages over separate sample layers is much smoother continuous change from soft to loud than can be easily achieved with separate sample layers, unless you have many sample layers with fine gradations of change from layer to layer. Two layers are generally not sufficient. Two layers that are similar enough to create a seamless transition do not supply enough contrast with one another to provide much benefit. Two layers that supply enough contrast to provide a real dynamic change will usually create a significant discontinuity at the transition between layers. Instead, when using dynamic EQ for this function, as in GPO, a wide contrast can be applied with smooth, continuous change, free of any discontinuities. This approach also provides the pathway to create the important VAR2 function which is an offshoot of the dynamic EQ, but that’s another story.

    These are just a couple of the advantages. More important, perhaps, is the general goal of efficiency, and, specifically, RAM usage. Adding even a second sample layer to all the instruments would have reduced by half the number of instruments that could be loaded into a given amount of RAM. Had we chosen to do that our goal of being able to load a reasonably complete orchestra into a PC with one gig of RAM would have been unattainable and GPO would no longer have been a practical orchestral sketch pad for the kind of machines people can easily purchase right now.

    We also wanted to avoid streaming as an alternative - for many reasons - mostly, because our tests had proven that GPO performed significantly better in RAM in almost every respect: Double the polyphony, greater stability, far fewer glitches in the audio, etc. It worked much better in RAM and we found we could design it to fit into RAM. Win-win.

    GPO is on a different path than most libraries. I will continue to lobby hard for it to remain on that path even with the add-ons.


  4. #4

    Re: out of curiosity, what "exactly" does the mod wheel do?

    Originally posted by Haydn:
    The mod wheel controls timbre as well as volume. As it gets louder, the sound gets brighter.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Haydn,

    That is my understanding, but...

    I ran a test where I repeated a single note on a string instrument increasing the ModWheel while simultaneously decreasing the channel volume to maintain a constant resulting volume. All notes sounded identical to my ear.

    If I\'m supposed to get a timbre change with ModWheel change I just don\'t hear it.

  5. #5

    Re: out of curiosity, what "exactly" does the mod wheel do?


    One other critical point that I failed to mention is that GPO is largely based on solo and derived separate ensemble instruments. If we had tried to use crossfades between different sample layers to approximate smooth dynamic transitions we would have encountered the inevitable phasing and doubling issues that occur with solo instruments. Using dynamic EQ side-steps the problem entirely.


  6. #6

    Re: out of curiosity, what "exactly" does the mod wheel do?

    Here\'s the midi file I used for my ModWheel test I mentioned previously. It contains MW changes and Channel Volume changes. Key Velocity = 64.


  7. #7

    Re: out of curiosity, what "exactly" does the mod wheel do?

    Adam, I understand what you are saying, and I would not attempt to explain it any better than Tom and the others here.

    I believe what you are expecting to hear from the strings is the increase in bow noise that shows up in so many string samples at a soft dynamic.

    Even GOS has this and it can satisfy the ear to hear softly played strings with this characteristic bow noise.

    GPO represents a whole new way of doing orchestral samples. I have been clammouring for this approach for years, as I have never liked dealing with layers of samples which never match very well no matter what, and which are plagued with phasing problems. A horn section for instance which has a crossfaded layer. We hear four horns which suddenly become eight horns for the duration of the crossfade. This has always been a dead give away that one is hearing a sampled orchestra.

    The problem I mentioned above gets totally impossible when you use that technique for solo winds and brass, as Tom stated in his reply. The crossfade technique really only works for section string samples but is still hard to pull off.

    Even with my SAM brass I have often thrown away the softer layers and just kept the hard ff stuff when I\'ve imported them into Kontakt.

    Kontakt is the best sampler ever made to use these \"GPO\" techniques on. It\'s filters are the very best of any sampler yet made. They are particularily adept at quite accurately mimmicing what happens when a brass or woodwinds plays softer. The envelopes are the most sophisticated of any sampler too, and equally contribute to an accurate simulation without the need for multiple sample layers.

    I tried to do similar programming in my EMU E4 years ago. The \"Z-Plane\" filters and simple envelopes were ideal for synth work but not for realistic instrument response. And the E4 was the most sophisticated of the hardware samplers.

    I also tried these concepts on a K-2000. The \"VAST\" really wasn\'t so \'vast\'.

    Technology has caught up with the concepts now and with the properly tailored instrument samples (which I never was able to find in my own efforts!) we can finally be free of \'old concepts\' like layers and keyswitches.

    As has been pointed out on this forum before, GPO still needs to be expanded to cover more unconventional techniques, particularily in the strings. Current Kontakt possibilities won\'t produce these needed styles of playing.

    I\'ve seen many people responding on this forum with puzzled comments and questions about the GPO concepts because the old way of doing things got so ingrained with the GIGA studio that people just can\'t grasp how it can be done any other way.

    At the risk of \'fauning\' as I\'ve been accused of once or twice here(!), I think GPO is a paradigm shift in orchestral synthesis. What a joy it is to just grab a modwheel and a pedal and make the samples expressive. The technical aspect of GPO is quite irrelevant, really. It\'s a great time to be composing!

  8. #8

    Re: out of curiosity, what "exactly" does the mod wheel do?

    I use GPO instruments live and have an expression pedal setup to handle the MOD wheel value. It has been amazing how much better it is for controlling dynamics this way. It really makes me think more about what I am playing and how it sounds to the listener. Plus, I can play with both hands! BTW, if you want a midi controller that has a decent MOD wheel for GPO, I would stay away from the Roland A-37. The MOD \"stick\" is terrible for GPO since it is spring loaded and has very little movement. That\'s why I use the pedal [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

  9. #9

    Re: out of curiosity, what "exactly" does the mod wheel do?

    I\'m actually one of those GPO users who was wondering why all of my instruments were always quiet. THEN I read the manual, and realized the MOD Wheel controls Volume/EQ. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Very nice product, Gary and Tom!

  10. #10

    out of curiosity, what "exactly" does the mod wheel do?

    I\'ve recently had the time to spend alot of time with GPO, and my strings are sounding much more expressive than before. As I worked out to master the bowing through mod wheel, I began to wonder what exactly the mod wheel does. It changes the volume. That\'s the obvious part. But does it do anything else?

    What I\'m getting to is this. I\'m convinced that most instruments in GPO are single layered. They might have an attack sample controlled by velocity, but most are just single layered sampled equally through out the scale. My question is.. why not more layers? Is this a price/hardware limitation? Or is it part of a fundamental design concept?

    Obviously, multi layerd samples will have a more direct hit on price. Furthermore, users would need DFD streaming to play back the huge samples. So, these may be some drawbacks.. But is there a plan to do something like this? Like an \"ultimate\" version of GPO? It would be interesting to hear some opinions on this.

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