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Topic: How many instruments in GPO do you use?

  1. #1

    How many instruments in GPO do you use?

    Hi, how many instruments of GPO do you use when you compose for full orchestra? I use Finale and I have only one staff (or 2) for one instrument, but to assign only one sample to one instruments sounds to me like only one player playing (not for example four oboes). So how many instruments (samples) do you use for each instrument to create a sound of full orchestra (how many do you load to GPO)? There are in GPO also "section strings" - so I think it is enough to assign only one section strings sample (for example violins sample to violins) - I don't know - please, give me an advice. How do I create "section brass"? Thanks

  2. #2

    Re: How many instruments in GPO do you use?

    Are you using the "Finale GPO," or do you have the full version of GPO / GPO studio?

    I compose in SONAR -- My default GPO Orchestra Template (in SONAR) has 6 full instances, or 48 instruments.

    My Violin 1 Section is comprised of 3 layered "ensemble" solo patches and one "Section" patch ("lush" or "Sus+Short" or "KS Combo). This way I get the definition of indifidual instruments + the mass-strings sound of the section patch. I generally assign all 4 patches to one channel for simplicity in composing, but sometimes I go back and tweak them all individually when the piece is finished.

    Violin 2s, violas, celli, and basses are all set up similarly.

    If you have GPO Studio, you can do this by assigning multiple instruments to the same channel. I'm not sure if it's possible with GPO Finale, because I've never used that.


  3. #3

    Re: How many instruments in GPO do you use?

    A decent setup, Chris. Out of curiosity, what's your setup? (Hardware, samplers, memory, hard disk, etc.)
    Steve A. Gallant


  4. #4

    Re: How many instruments in GPO do you use?

    Thanks for the answer. I own both GPO Finale edition and full GPO. How do you create such a "big" sound also for other instruments except the strings, because there are no "section brass" instruments. Would it be possible to send me your GPO template in order that I can learn which instruments to use for full orchestra?

  5. #5

    Re: How many instruments in GPO do you use?

    I use Sonar as well. I've used a number of different string setups, though lately I'm most partial to having one instance of GPO for each string section, and load lush, short, pizz, trill, mute, etc into that single instance as needed, up to a maximum of 40 instruments for the strings (though usually fewer).

    The brass and woodwind instruments should be one instrument per human needed in a real orchestra. For the brass, I often also use the "overlay" patches in addition to the solos. If you have JAAB, I recommend trying some of the trumpet and trombone patches from there along side of some of the GPO.

    Typical setup for brass using just GPO:
    hn I = solo horn 2 (personal preference)
    hn II = solo horn 1
    hn III = solo horn 1, "player 1" (set polyphony to 1)
    hn IV = solo horn 2, "player 1" (set polyphony to 1)
    Add polyphonic "horn overly forte" patch to loud passages

    tpt I = solo tpt 1
    tpt II = solo tpt 2
    tpt III = solo tpt 1, "player 1" (polyphony=1)
    Add polyphonic "trumpet overlay forte" to loud passages

    tbn I = tenor tbn solo
    tbn II = bass tbn 2 solo (sometimes I swap bass 1 and 2, depending on range needed)
    tbn II = bass tbn 1 solo
    Add polyphonic "tbn overlay forte" to loud passages
    tuba = solo tuba 1 or 2, depending on which fits in better for my piece
    Add tuba overlay forte for loud passages

    I also randomly set the "var 1" and "var 2" controls usually between 4 and 8 for each instrument. Then I pan each instrument by hand until it sits where the player would sit on stage.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  6. #6

    Re: How many instruments in GPO do you use?

    Is it necessary to load so many instruments from GPO? I have only 768MB RAM, so if I want to load strings section, brass section, woodwind section and some percussion I think my computer will not be able to play it. When i use solo trumpet + trumpet overlay, solo trombone + trombone overlay etc. will it be enough to get a good sound?
    And I have one more question. I think I don't really understand what does it mean Trumpet 1 "Ensemble 1". I've thought that "ensemble" means more players, so when I load an instrument called "Trumpet 1 Ensemble1" it will sound like more players playing what I have notated in trumpet staff.

  7. #7

    Re: How many instruments in GPO do you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by kavis
    How do you create such a "big" sound also for other instruments except the strings, because there are no "section brass" instruments.
    Well, a BIG sound is really going to require more than just one family of instruments, and in more than one register. Adding extra octaves of the melody is not going to suffice.

    Brass is tough. I really break the rules on this one to get as good a sound as possible.
    For that blaring Hans Zimmer type ensemble around middle C I use:
    (these instruments doubled in the same octave)
    French Horns FF
    Trombone Overlay
    Bass trombone 2 solo
    Trumpet Overlay

    Now, with a real orchestra I would be nuts to double these instruments in the same register, but sometimes with sampled instruments there are exeptions.
    We are all using a fake orchestra becasue we can't afford a real one. With this in mind, I usually just pick the best sounding instrument I can, even if it is technically not supposed to play there. Of course, when I get a real orchestra I will have to reform my cheating arranging ways.
    To Cellist: "I changed my mind, you can play the piccolo's part."

    GPO is great with most instrument families but the woodwinds are really EXCEPTIONAL!
    I really recommend the online Principles of Orchestration by Rimsky-Korsakov--the texts on doubling woodwinds and building woodwind ensembles are magnificent!
    The harp is also really sampled well. (I wonder why? ) Both of my sisters are excellent harpists and they say the harp sounds very very close to the real thing.

    Also, application of reverb is really one of the keys to a realistic sounding performance. Most demos I hear (from any sample package) have either:
    1. Way too much reverb
    2. No reverb

    I am sequencing GPO in Cubase, which is primarily a midi editor, not notation software.
    When applying reverb to a part, I used to use Garritan's Ambience tool only--which I must mention is a great tool-- but I have found that I get a more realistic sound with a generic reverb plugin on TOP of GA, pulling most of the reverbic weight, and GA providing mostly the atmospheric room sound. (My favorite is the Concert hall1)
    I usually use reverb about like this:
    Generic reverb: 5.50
    GA: 2.50

    This is what I used for a string ensemble playing melody, but not all samples require the same level of reverb, so really it takes a lot of playing around to discern what samples are the best sounding with what on top of them and best fit the needs of you and your sequencer. (Cubase, Sonar, Protools, Finale, whatever.)

  8. #8

    Re: How many instruments in GPO do you use?

    I can't understand how people are able to load more than 2 instances...!? Loading 16 voices completely buckles my system.

    Using Cubase on a Pentium 3.4

    I'll load up numerous voices (Dry) in two Kontakt instances. ie piano, string sections, violas, cellos, flutes.. etc... and assign each to their own midi channel (keeping the default settings)
    ... and my system chugs! crackling all over the place.... This is prior to adding tons of modulation wheel data to each voice for articulations... And wouldn't even consider adding Reverb.

    Are you guys freezing your tracks?

    What's your methodology?

    ...sorry, didn't mean to ambush your thread.


  9. #9

    Re: How many instruments in GPO do you use?

    As many as I can till I start overloading my CPU or run out of slots (64).
    Colton J. Provias
    Film Score Composer, Location Sound Mixer, and Sound Editor
    Full-stack Web Developer

  10. #10

    Re: How many instruments in GPO do you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by jsp2
    I can't understand how people are able to load more than 2 instances...!? Loading 16 voices completely buckles my system.

    I'm running a system with AMD 3000+ 2gb ram, and I am usually running 4 full instances of GPO in Cubase4, with real-time effects/reverb --no problem.
    I never have to freeze my tracks. If I have too much action at one time, I will just mute a few unecessary tracks, and that takes some load off my CPU, but does not change my RAM usage, because all my instruments are already loaded.
    Having a lot of intruments loaded takes RAM, and a lot of action, (tracks, notes, mod wheel, volume etc.) takes CPU.

    How much RAM do you have? If you have under 1GB that is probably the answer to your problems.
    What soundcard do you use, and what samplerate is it running at? You might want to try cranking it back. I've found that half the sample rate will give you half the latency, but this means you can only have half as many instruments before is runs outta juice.

    Also, samples like the piano and harp (esp piano) take up a lot of RAM, so think about what instruments you are loading.

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