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Topic: Full orchestra setup with GPO Studio--ideas?

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  1. #1

    Full orchestra setup with GPO Studio--ideas?

    This isn't so much of a question but rather fishing for better solutions, but here's my setup...

    I use GPO Studio exclusively with Sonar with each loaded on its own PC. Both PC's are fairly new and have plenty of HP. My sequencer/DAW doubles as my all-purpose computer. Obviously I cannot load an entire orchestra in memory with the complexity I'm looking for (i.e. lush strings, ensemble players, solo instruments, brass overlays, full percussion battery, with the piano and harp). I don't consider the disk streaming as an option though honestly I haven't tried it.

    But at the same time, I want to be able to hear all the instruments as I work. So I came up with a full orchestra "lite" template which uses the low-memory Plr and lite versions of the instruments... This occupies about 30-40 MIDI channels with a little memory to spare (2GB total). When I go to record the full version, I have to record each section independantly (as much as my RAM will hold), and each section itself could use 10-30 channels depending on how many players and different sounds I need. So needless to say, even if they would load in memory, I still wouldn't have enough slots in GPO Studio to hold this setup.

    I was wondering if anyone else has a similar setup. For doing these grand orchestral pieces, how do you split up the instruments to record them? Or do you even do that? I think I once read where DPDAN suggested recording by the actual sections of the orchestra so that you can apply different amounts of reverb for a more realistic sound. I liked that idea.

    Just thought I throw that out there. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

    Schroeder
    "You know, Lois, I'm really not comfortable talking about this amelodically." - Brian the Dog

  2. #2

    Re: Full orchestra setup with GPO Studio--ideas?

    Hi Schroeder, I record every instrument to it's own audio track and then set up three or four groups as masters for the different sections, Strings, Woods, Brass and Percussion. The last project I did, Dvorak New World Symphony, I chose not to use any AUX sends from individual instruments like I almost always do. Instead, I only used a stereo AUX send from each of the sections "group" master. I then used a separate reverb for each of these sections. Ideally an impulse response type reverb could be used to portray more distance from front to rear. Strings close impulse, woods farther, brass considerably farther and percussion way way back there.

    Even without separate impulse responses, a single reverb could still render a very realistic environment. In this case, simply use more level on the instruments that are near the back, as apposed to the instruments in the front.

    dpDan

  3. #3

    Re: Full orchestra setup with GPO Studio--ideas?

    I use dfd even though I have 2Gig of RAM, and I can load a FULL orchestra. Ignore the "use at your own risk" warning posted by Gary regarding dfd.
    http://hopkins.composerarts.com

  4. #4

    Re: Full orchestra setup with GPO Studio--ideas?

    Jesse, you've had success using DFD? That's encouraging. Have you had all instruments playing together and what was your CPU usage at? Without DFD, I often will max out my CPU if I have 50-60 instruments loaded. I don't think I ever come close to maxing out my memory, it's the CPU that can't handle it. I have a P4 3.2GHz with 2GB RAM. I have a ATA-133 with GPO and the libraries on it, but I also have a 2x RAID SATA-150 setup with my Giga stuff on it. I wonder if I would get greater benefit using DFD if I put my GPO library on that same drive (although I've heard that's not recommended)?

    DpDan, thanks for your comments. Your New World Symphony rendition was absolutely amazing! What a masterful job you did! One of my favorite things to do with these synth libraries is doing realistic mock-ups. I think I could learn a lot from you.

    I am new to digital audio recording--my experience is limited to bouncing tracks to waves, mixing them my simply adjusting levels/pan and then adding reverb to the mix down. I really don't quite understanding the what you mean when you say "aux sends" and buses (I think I've read the audio tutorial on Gary's site a couple times, but didn't get a real comfort level). To me, it just sounds like they're just channels to separate audio for different effects.

    I've used programs like Cool Edit Pro since like '98. I find it has plenty of options and features for me to get what I want. I admit I'm a little impatient--I try to avoid recording each track individually, especially for full orchestra setups. Why not just use the volume and modulation controls to acheive the right mix first, then record a group of tracks into one audio track and apply the reverb last? Or are there other advantages to recording individually?

    Schroeder
    "You know, Lois, I'm really not comfortable talking about this amelodically." - Brian the Dog

  5. #5

    Re: Full orchestra setup with GPO Studio--ideas?

    My typical orchestra fits comfortably into 1 gb RAM:

    Piccolo V
    Flute V
    Flute plr 2
    Flute plr 3
    Oboe 1 plr 1
    Oboe 1 plr 2
    Oboe 1 plr 3
    English horn 2
    Bb Clarinet plr 1
    Bb Clarinet plr 2
    Bb Clarinet plr 3
    Bb Bass clarinet plr1
    Bassoon 2 plr 1
    Bassoon 2 plr 2
    Bassoon 2 plr 3
    Contrabassoon 2
    Horn 1 plr 1
    Horn 2 plr 1
    Horn 1 plr 2
    Horn 2 plr 2
    Trumpet plr 1
    Trumpet plr 2
    Trumpet plr 3
    Trombone plr 1
    Trombone plr 2
    Trombone plr 3
    Bass trombone 1
    Contratuba
    (overlays if needed)
    (whatever percussion needed)
    (whatever keyboards/harps needed)
    Violin I KS
    Violin II KS
    Viola KS
    Cello KS
    Bass KS

    It works great! My cpu (1.8 ghz P4) can't quite handle it, but I can deal with the popping, crackling, and pitch shifting in the tuttis. Actually, if you put too much percussion or harps/keyboards you start running shy on RAM. I usually just have the harp 2, basic orch perc combo and percussion toys loaded. Maybe chimes or glock.

    That's my setup. Pretty much all of my compositions use this orchestra.

    -Chris

  6. #6

    Re: Full orchestra setup with GPO Studio--ideas?

    Chris, are those solo or ensemble strings? Seems like you'd also want to have some lush or sus+short strings coupled with a few of the plr instruments. If I'm doing a full orchestra arrangement, I would want to use the highest quality instruments for the final recording. And if I want to inlcude the Steinway, I pretty much have to record it on its own track separately. But I haven't tried DFD yet on my machine.

    Schroeder
    "You know, Lois, I'm really not comfortable talking about this amelodically." - Brian the Dog

  7. #7

    Re: Full orchestra setup with GPO Studio--ideas?

    Quote Originally Posted by Schroeder
    Chris, are those solo or ensemble strings? Seems like you'd also want to have some lush or sus+short strings coupled with a few of the plr instruments. If I'm doing a full orchestra arrangement, I would want to use the highest quality instruments for the final recording. And if I want to inlcude the Steinway, I pretty much have to record it on its own track separately. But I haven't tried DFD yet on my machine.

    Schroeder
    Well, that's all I can cram into my 1 gb, so I have to sacrifice the lush strings and use mostly plr instruments. The steinway is out of the question for me...I just use my Cakewalk TTS-1 piano--it's not bad once you eq it to be warmer sounding. Yes, the lush strings would offer many more possibilities, but the KS has enough in it to get a pretty good sound. Yes, the KS strings are enseamble patches and not solo. The sus+short strings are part of the KS. I find that the solo strings are more work to layer with the section strings than they're worth. The section strings sound very good alone. For the final product, I break up my project into two files: a strings file, and an everything else file. That way I can devote my whole gig of RAM to strings, loading every strings patch there is and every solo string. Then I take the time to really make it sound great.

    So that's my twisted logic.

    -Chris

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