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Topic: Laptop capability

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  1. #1

    Laptop capability

    Hello, I'm currently trying to make a decision about music software. I'm currently in college studying composition, so I'm pretty serious about music and as of now only have Sibelius 2.1 running on plain old midi. I am very interested in GPO, however I know it requires a great deal of power to run. My current computer is a G4 iBook 1.33 Ghz 512 MB RAM, and I know with these specs I won't be able to run GPO at much capacity (and I hardly have the resources to get a new computer anytime soon). I'm curious if anyone has an idea of how much I'd be able to do with GPO... would it still function on some level? Could I use it to create mp3s with a full orchestra, even if it takes several seperate takes? Would I have to purchase a sequencer to manipulate the midi once it leaves sibelius, or can GPO do that? My other option is upgrading sibelius to 4 and purchasing Kontakt Player Gold along with it, which would cost about as much as GPO. However, I know GPO sounds far better. The only advantage to Kontakt Gold I can think of is it might run better with a slower system, and it has extras like chorus, saxes, and lots of percussion toys. Any suggestions? Much appreciated,
    -Jared Cowing

  2. #2
    Senior Member rpearl's Avatar
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    Re: Laptop capability

    Quote Originally Posted by JaredC
    Hello, I'm currently trying to make a decision about music software. I'm currently in college studying composition, so I'm pretty serious about music and as of now only have Sibelius 2.1 running on plain old midi. I am very interested in GPO, however I know it requires a great deal of power to run. My current computer is a G4 iBook 1.33 Ghz 512 MB RAM, and I know with these specs I won't be able to run GPO at much capacity (and I hardly have the resources to get a new computer anytime soon). I'm curious if anyone has an idea of how much I'd be able to do with GPO... would it still function on some level? Could I use it to create mp3s with a full orchestra, even if it takes several seperate takes? Would I have to purchase a sequencer to manipulate the midi once it leaves sibelius, or can GPO do that? My other option is upgrading sibelius to 4 and purchasing Kontakt Player Gold along with it, which would cost about as much as GPO. However, I know GPO sounds far better. The only advantage to Kontakt Gold I can think of is it might run better with a slower system, and it has extras like chorus, saxes, and lots of percussion toys. Any suggestions? Much appreciated,
    -Jared Cowing
    Jared,

    I can't advice on your system - it seems like it would be a problem. Someone else can be more specific.

    As to Kontakt gold - check the Sibelius forum. I have used Silver, and it is pretty resource hungry - very demanding on the CPU.

    You can manipulate the MIDI data from Sibelius, or save it as a MIDI file and import ito Overture (which comes with GPO) and fool with it there.

    Any chance your school can spring for some GPO installations on their machines?

    Good luck.

    R. Pearl

  3. #3

    Re: Laptop capability

    Jared,

    I feel your pain

    I have a Titanium G4 Powerbook 667 mhz with 512 mb of Ram.

    You will HAVE to get more ram if you want much polyphony, BUT, that being said, .....


    I have two workarounds that allow me to use GPO on my little pony-powered laptop.

    1. In GPO Studio (which is a stand-alone VST host that allows you to load up to 64 GPO instruments in it at once), I increase the buffer to the highest, and I reduce the sample rate from the default down to 19,200 or sometimes lower. This does affect sound quality, but not that bad. It allows me to have many more than just a few instruments playing before I start getting warnings and being cussed at by my mac! I use GPO Studio with Notation software. (Finale, Overture)

    2. I use Tracktion as my sequencer. Tracktion is one of the lowest CPU/Ram demanding apps available and it is pretty inexpensive to boot. ($175 or something) It allows "freezing" of tracks which is an absolute MUST for us low-power guys. I was using Finale a lot, but it just runs too slow on my laptop - so I switched to Overture SE 3.6 (which comes free with GPO). But I am anxiously awaiting the relase of Ove. 4 for Mac - if it runs as smoothly as Ov 3.6 SE does, I will be a happy camper. I see that the new version of Finale is faster, but I'll wait and see after they release some maintenance updates. I TRIED Sibelius DEMO and it appeared to run just fine (as far as speed goes) on my powerbook.

    Hope this helps give you an idea. In Tracktion, I can pretty much run up to 7-12 instruments without a hiccup before having to freeze tracks. (depends upon what instruments they are too)

    Jerry Wickham
    MacBook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5ghz 4GB Ram OSX 10.5.8
    Korg TritonLe & MAudio Oxygen 8
    T3, Logic 9, DP7, K2, GPO4, Strad, Gofriller, C&MB, Finale 2010

    My Website!
    New Film Scores!
    Also, Ever think about having your very own personal documentary? See my new Website!
    http://www.mylegacyfilm.com


  4. #4

    Re: Laptop capability

    Jared:

    Allow me to be just plain honest because I've been through it with my Mac G4 1.5 Ghz and 1 GB of RAM.

    My laptop CPU speed is a little greater than yours, but not that much; however, the 1 GB of RAM is the "secret" of running GPO on my laptop. Everyone will tell you that a MINIMUM RAM is 1 GB, so if you can afford to buy an extra 512, please do it. I think it is the biggest reason for success in using GPO anywhere.

    Now, with my hardware, I have been able to do the following:

    I use Digital Performer for GPO and it is a magnificent program, but I can only "play" about 6-7 instruments (no piano or harp included) at one time before I get crackles and pops. Notice I didn't say load instruments, I said "play" simultaneously.

    To increase my instrument inventory, I "freeze" instrument tracks as soon as they are fairly well edited. Actually, I record the MIDI tracks to audio. When they are frozen, they become audio tracks and do not lean on the CPU like they did in the MIDI domain. So, to make a long story short, I can get about 14-16 instruments to play in a small orchestra by using this method.

    IMPORTANT: I have been advised by some real pros about using special tracks to record to audio so that my system won't become overloaded. That is, record most MIDI tracks to MONO audio tracks instead of using the STEREO route. Most instruments in GPO are MONO. There is a list somewhere on the Forum. Please make a "Grab" pic of this list. Make sure that the pan in the MONO track is at "0" (center) when you record to audio so you get the full sound of the instrument, then when you get it in the audio domain, you can pan to your heart's content.

    These few measures only scratch the surface about using GPO with a Mac and especially a laptop. I haven't had any problems with my laptop HD speed (5400 vs 7200 for desktop) to date. Yes, I had a 5400 rpm HD installed instead of using the 4200 that normally comes with laptops. Maybe that is the reason I have not had too much trouble. But, I'm sure that if I had a 7200 rpm drive, my CPU might take a little more than it does now.

    The PC is much more friendly with GPO. The Kontakt player runs so much better and many, many more instruments can be loaded and played back. But, that, too, is another story..........And, by the way, there a some demos on the Forum that have been done with Sibelius. They are really good so don't despair regarding your notation program. I use Sib and Finale, but not with GPO. I will be using Overture 4 though when the boxed version comes out in about a month.

    Hope this helps.

    Jack Cannon
    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 2014.5, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.5, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  5. #5

    Re: Laptop capability

    Thanks, that's all helpful information. I'll look around for those Sibelius demos. Just so I know (I'm not very familiar with music technology beyond Sibelius), can I still create mp3s with a large orchestra, so long as I do it a few instruments at a time? Appreciate the feedback,
    -JaredC

  6. #6

    Re: Laptop capability

    Quote Originally Posted by JaredC
    can I still create mp3s with a large orchestra, so long as I do it a few instruments at a time? Appreciate the feedback,
    -JaredC
    Not without a sequencer. If you do the "few at a time" method, you wil still need a sequencer to assemble them all together. But you won't need to do "just a few together" if you reduce sample rate size. You don't have to be a whiz to do this. It will really help you.

    In GPO Studio,
    under the "Settings" menu
    select "Preferences"
    Sample rate default is 44,100 hz or something.
    Reduce it to something like 22050 (My current setting)
    and raise up the buffer to 512

    That will make a WORLD of difference when using Sibelius with GPO Studio.


    Regards,

    Jerry
    MacBook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5ghz 4GB Ram OSX 10.5.8
    Korg TritonLe & MAudio Oxygen 8
    T3, Logic 9, DP7, K2, GPO4, Strad, Gofriller, C&MB, Finale 2010

    My Website!
    New Film Scores!
    Also, Ever think about having your very own personal documentary? See my new Website!
    http://www.mylegacyfilm.com


  7. #7

    Re: Laptop capability

    Hi Jerry:

    I know you are a very capable pianist and can "play in" your instrument parts without difficulty. Do you do that with your current set up with Sibelius? Sounds like your parameters are only good for "step-time" note input as you might incur disturbing latency with your present buffer and other settings.

    Glad you can handle things with such a low CPU speed. Have you posted anything with the 22xxx frequency setting lately?

    I would like to hear it as I could get many more instruments on my Mac laptop if it didn't reduce the quality of GPO too much.

    Regards,

    Jack
    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 2014.5, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.5, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  8. #8

    Re: Laptop capability

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhap2
    Hi Jerry:

    I know you are a very capable pianist and can "play in" your instrument parts without difficulty. Do you do that with your current set up with Sibelius? Sounds like your parameters are only good for "step-time" note input as you might incur disturbing latency with your present buffer and other settings.

    Glad you can handle things with such a low CPU speed. Have you posted anything with the 22xxx frequency setting lately?

    I would like to hear it as I could get many more instruments on my Mac laptop if it didn't reduce the quality of GPO too much.

    Regards,

    Jack
    Jack,

    Actually, when it comes to recording, I don't encounter ANY disturbing latency at all - the 512 buffer is just fine - I don't notice any delay at all between my keyboard and the sound coming out. The combination of the lower sample rate and the upped buffer make things instantaneous. And the sound quality is not bad until you get below 16xxx. Then the cymbals, and other high frequency harmonics in instruments (like glockenspieil) become kind of "digital" sounding.

    While I do produce MOST of my music via playback from Finale (and then tweaked in Tracktion), I do occasionally "play in" the parts live. I do that when i am not happy with the way the score or sequenced part sounds to me. If I had the patience it would require, i would play in ALL the parts to my music, giving it a completely human feel all around. But I do not do that.

    As far as any RECENT recordings at 22xxx sample rate, My best example is my contest entry from last year. It was produced FIRST on Finale, exported as a MIDI file, and then tweaked the CC data (a lot) in CubaseSX 2 (which I no longer use) playing through GPO Studio at 22xxxx. I played in "live" the timpani parts and some other parts I found "not quite right" when played back straight through the Finale -based file. but, the recording was entirely 22xxx sample rate. And it sounded good enough to get into the top 20.
    Here is a link to that music: Scenes From Island Lake

    I did it both on my laptop (most of the tweaking) and my iMac for the rendering.

    Admitedly, I had to record "sections" of it at a time - the strings and brass were on a couple of tracks, the percussion another, etc. CubaseSX is NOT a very CPU friendly sequencer, and that is why I switched to Tracktion, which is a very friendly DAW to my low powered stuff. (and easier to work with, to boot)

    I don't actually RECORD using the lower sample rate anymore, now that I have Tracktion. But I HAD to do it before because I could only play 3-4 instruments at a time without reverb or anything at full sample rate. The lower sample rate was done out of of neccessity, and I still have GPO Studio as low as it can go without sounding bad so I can listen to my notation software.

    I do most of my "grunt work" on my laptop and then do most of the final work on my iMac - which has more CPU and Ram, (but not much). Tracktion and GPO Studio DO NOT play nicely together, so I just use GPO as a VST in it. I do have to freeze some tracks, etc., but the sample rate is the 44100 on it.

    But for LISTENING and hearing my notation playback, which I like because it gives me a nice feel of what things will sound like eventually, I use the GPO Studio and the lowered sample rate. I find it is a nice compromise - I get to hear more instruments at a time.

    Hope this helps. My advice is to try it out - if you don't like the way something sounds at a lower sample rate, up the sample size to the next size, but in lieu of getting more RAM and a faster CPU, this has been my only successful REAL-TIME workaround.

    Jerry Wickham
    MacBook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5ghz 4GB Ram OSX 10.5.8
    Korg TritonLe & MAudio Oxygen 8
    T3, Logic 9, DP7, K2, GPO4, Strad, Gofriller, C&MB, Finale 2010

    My Website!
    New Film Scores!
    Also, Ever think about having your very own personal documentary? See my new Website!
    http://www.mylegacyfilm.com


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