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Topic: New SONAR approach - new thread from Hello Randy

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  1. #1

    New SONAR approach - new thread from Hello Randy

    Since some are asking for this new approach (finally), here some screenshots with short explanation.

    1. Normal setup. Instruments assigned to ARIA player. I won't let ARIA player determine the tracks (synth outputs etc.). Per instrument I myself tell SONAR to add audiotracks, which are converted into Midi-output as soon as you set the audio output coming from ARIA (e.g. ARIA player x: output stereo 3/4).



    Here you see the output to Midi track



    So, now comes the moment to add all sorts of CC's to the input midi track, where the notes actually are. I do it the easy way (at least for me). With CC7 for every midi track set to 64 the volume of every instrument is just the same and with CC10 I set all pans to center. Panning is coming later when the audio track will be processed for Altiver.



    When ready (I use CC1 for modulation/volume, CC21 for length, CC23 for timbre on short repeated notes, etc.) I select this track AND the out-instrument, go to edit and tell SONAR to fast bounce to a track called Mix-instrument (I manually assign those mix-tracks with their own names).



    This is how it looks in the "Console View"



    When having a bunch of ready bounced Wave outputs/Audio outputs you may start the balancing of those instruments using the trims at the top of your screen (not on the screenshot). This is just a start, with automation on the slider you can fine-tune this later (adding more drama, highlighting a solo-ed melody, etc.) Notice that the PANNING is done here.

    Since I have a very powerfull machine at this stage I can have a lot of microphone positions with Altiverb. This is your own decision of course. I want using mic's for left, right and for violas also in the middle.



    This is a project at hand, in other words, not yet finished. But I decided to split up the strings into various "moods" to get better control over:

    legato with CC64 and/or overlapping - reacts on modwheel - general KS patch
    pizzicato - reacts on velocity only - the pizzicato patch
    marcato - modwheel and CC16 - Short-AG patch
    détaché - modwheel - Short Sustain patch
    staccato - velocity - Short KS patch
    tremolos - of course the tremolo patch with CC22/CC23




    This whole thing is a "process on the run" so I don't exactly know how it turns out in the long run. But, when I am sure about the group of instruments (nothing can/must be changed at the midi track/notes track) then you can "Archive" those tracks in order not to occupy CPU and memory, giving more room for the "real tracks where it comes down to balancing, panning, slider automation, etc.) Of course you can "bounce" to the appropriate Mix-... tracks as often as you need (and altered the "source", your (notes) -midi tracks.

    Have fun, my conclusion is (and that is what Randy tried to tell me over and over again) it works FASTER!!!!!!! getting the right sound and balance.

    Raymond
    [you can download all screenshots here ]

  2. #2

    Re: New SONAR approach - new thread from Hello Randy

    LONG but I think important reply:
    --------------------
    You've been busy, Raymond, putting this post together with all the screen shots and descriptions. Nice!

    Especially since I seem to have inspired you to work more with audio in Sonar, I'd like to make some general observations in response to your post, and then a few specific ones.

    MAJOR POINT: I don't make any sort of claim that we're talking about any special, unique "Randy" way of working. How I work is really the basic, "normal" way that Sonar users generall work. If you visit the Sonar Forum, you'll see that most active users there are musicians using Sonar to
    record their music. Those who use MIDI usually bounce down to audio to make use of the main ingredients of Sonar - its sound mixing capabilities.

    I'm just pointing out that I don't make any claims to have arrived at some "new way" of working, so I'm not really comfortable being given credit for something I didn't invent.

    When I first got involved here at Gary's Forum, I had never seen so many musicians/composers who work primarily with MIDI, and I had never corresponded with people who only use notation programs. The two worlds do tend to be different - the world the musicians at Sonar live in, and the one many of us here live in.

    Some specific notes - What you've outlined here, Raymond, is the way you're adapting what we've discussed before, and though the main goal is the same (mixing audio) there are a number of things different from the way I work, and so for the sake of discussion and maybe clarification, I want to
    point out a few things.

    "1. Normal setup. Instruments assigned to ARIA player. I won't let ARIA player determine the tracks (synth outputs etc.). Per instrument I myself tell
    SONAR to add audiotracks, which are converted into Midi-output as soon as you set the audio output coming from ARIA (e.g. ARIA player x: output stereo 3/4)."

    Note that the audio tracks carrying the signal from a soft synth don't actually become "converted." They are simply audio tracks,
    and can be used in several ways to carry a signal. In this case, they're carrying the signal from Aria. The icon on an audio track changes to indicate it's carrying soft synth audio, and it does that as a convenience to the user, to help keep things straight.

    I'm following how you set things up, but when I insert Aria or any multi-timbral synth in a Sonar project, I ask for all audio tracks to be automatically inserted along with the synth. That way they're already set up for me and connected to Aria's 16 stereo outputs.

    It's convenient for me to retain Aria's default MIDI channel assignment, since it provides a straight forward 1 through 16 to match the 16 instrument slots.
    What I do change is the default Aria audio assignment, since the default is for all slots to be coming out of the first stereo pair. Naturally I
    want each instrument to come out of its own audio channel so I can work with each instrument individually in Sonar. And as per the above,
    the matching Sonar channels were automatically set up for me when I inserted the synth.

    "So, now comes the moment to add all sorts of CC's to the input midi track, where the notes actually are. I do it the easy way (at least for me).
    With CC7 for every midi track set to 64 the volume of every instrument is just the same and with CC10 I set all pans to center.
    Panning is coming later when the audio track will be processed for Altiverb."


    Part of this step involves the way Sonar's MIDI channel strip knobs control Aria by default. The MIDI volume slider will move the sliders in Aria, and
    the Pan controls also control Aria. If you don't want that to happen, you can right click on the Sonar MIDI strips and disconnect the control. I feel it's just as convenient to use the controls in Sonar if I want to play with the default settings in Aria.

    BUT I would find it impossibly limiting to have the potential MIDI volume set at only 64 for all the instruments. That is HALF of the potential volume.
    You would just be needing to compensate later for those low volumes, and that's wasting bit depth quality (Google info on that if you want). I set my MIDI CC7 volumes to between 100 and 127, using the audio meters for each track as a guide. But the theory is wanting all Potential volume available to me. Then of course the actual volume of each instrument in the project is controlled by CC1 or CC11--until it's refined much more in the audio realm later on in the project.

    I highly recommend, Raymond, and everyone reading this, that you adjust your MIDI volumes as full as possible.

    "When ready (I use CC1 for modulation/volume, CC21 for length, CC23 for timbre on short repeated notes, etc.) I select this track AND the out-instrument, go to edit and tell SONAR to fast bounce to a track called Mix-instrument (I manually assign those mix-tracks with their own names)."

    You can name the soft synth audio outs after the instruments. I usually let Sonar create a new track automatically when I bounce, then the instrument name is part of the Sonar generated name. Easy to keep track of what's what because when you hover your mouse over the new track name, the full name is displayed. Click the name once to highlight it, and you can re-name it the shorter instrument name.

    By the way, due to different programming, Aria does indeed to be bounced in fast mode, while Kontakt Player tracks are usually best bounced with fast mode un-checked.

    "This is how it looks in the "Console View"

    I don't understand why you have all these instruments divided into separate tracks, "left horns" "right horns" etc. I remember when DPDAN was replying to you on the thread about Altiverb, I believe he was explaining how all that sort of panning work is done with Altiverb's position control - and that just needs a single source track. - I've never set a project up anything like what you're showing here, and I feel you're causing yourself extra, unnecessary work.

    "When having a bunch of ready bounced Wave outputs/Audio outputs you may start the balancing of those instruments using the trims at the top of your screen (not on the screenshot). This is just a start, with automation on the slider you can fine-tune this later (adding more drama, highlighting
    a solo-ed melody, etc.) Notice that the PANNING is done here."


    I see. You're using the trim pots somewhat in the way people do with hardware mixers.

    This isn't the way to balance your instruments however.

    Trim pots are intended for getting all tracks to be at the same volume, part of the "unity gain" theory. And then you should do the the actual balancing and mixing with the volume faders and automation.

    You benefit greatly by having a visual display of what the balances are when you look at all the tracks together as a group in the Console view. To sweep your eyes over all the tracks (on narrow display to avoid too much horizontal scrolling)--you want to be able to the relative volume differences between instruments, and you wouldn't if you were setting the basic balance with the trim knobs.

    One thing about the trim knobs is that they are pre-fader, so that when you move those, you're changing the balance of sends, if you're using sends in a project. I know you don't use sends anymore, Raymond, since you're using Altiverb, but I wanted to mention it.

    Here's a use of Trim knobs which I need to do at times, though it isn't highly approved of by Sonar users, since it changes the balance of the sends. I may have done a lot of automation work on a track, but on another day of mixing, the whole instrument is seeming either too soft or too loud for me. I don't want to throw out all that automation work, so I do a quick-and-dirty adjustment by using the Trim knob. It re-balances things without losing all the volume envelopes.

    The "real" way to do this is to use Offset in Sonar - I have always found that tricky, overly complicated and confusing, but it's there for these kind of small volume adjustments. You can look up info on that in the Sonar Help file.

    I urge you to not touch the Trim pots unless needed.

    "Since I have a very powerfull machine at this stage I can have a lot of microphone positions with Altiverb. This is your own decision of course. I want using mic's for left, right and for violas also in the middle.

    This is a project at hand, in other words, not yet finished. But I decided to split up the strings into various "moods" to get better control over:

    legato with CC64 and/or overlapping - reacts on modwheel - general KS patch
    pizzicato - reacts on velocity only - the pizzicato patch
    marcato - modwheel and CC16 - Short-AG patch
    détaché - modwheel - Short Sustain patch
    staccato - velocity - Short KS patch
    tremolos - of course the tremolo patch with CC22/CC23"


    I was a little confused when I came to this part of your post, because you were talking about now working with Audio, but this last example is of MIDI tracks. It's OK, we just jumped back to the pre-bounce part of the project. Interesting that you use so many tracks for the strings, to accommodate the different articulations. Whatever makes things as clear and easy to work with. I've always managed with those varying passages being on one track, I don't know why it hasn't confused me, it just hasn't somehow.

    "This whole thing is a "process on the run" so I don't exactly know how it turns out in the long run. But, when I am sure about the group of instruments (nothing can/must be changed at the midi track/notes track) then you can "Archive" those tracks in order not to occupy CPU and memory, giving more room for the "real tracks where it comes down to balancing, panning, slider automation, etc.) Of course you can "bounce" to the appropriate Mix-... tracks as often as you need (and altered the "source", your (notes) -midi tracks.

    Have fun, my conclusion is (and that is what Randy tried to tell me over and over again) it works FASTER!!!!!!! getting the right sound and balance."


    That is indeed the bottom line. It Is a faster, easier, more intuitive way to get more precise control over your mixes. You can do things that you really couldn't do at all if you were only recording MIDI data and then exporting it as a "finished" product. When one has finished working the MIDI data as much as possible, a project is only half done. Then comes the intriguing part of actually making an audio mix.

    Thanks for this, Raymond. I wrote a detailed response because there are a few details you need to study some more, and I didn't want this thread to be misleading to newcomers. AND I certainly want to make sure it's understood that I take NO personal claim in offering any "new" way of working with Sonar and MIDI - I've just been passing on what I've learned over the years and with the help of some MIDI brainiacs over at the Sonar Forum.

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: New SONAR approach - new thread from Hello Randy

    Long story, must print that to read it carefully. Do this tomorrow morning.
    About the panning. I don't remember what DPDAN said, but my idea is that within a Stage position in Altiverb the individual instruments have each their own panning.

    So when I tell Altiverb to set in the stage position the left speaker in the middle and the right speaker near the edge at the right and I assign all brass to it, then all brass is coming from the area. You then can't determine that the trumpets are more in the middle than the trombones and tubas. Thus within that Stage-space the panning is there to distinct the various instruments seats (where they are on the stage).



    Why I don't let ARIA making the tracks is just a personal flavour. When I assign an ARIA player I never fill it up to the max. It is just growing, mostly with the same group of instruments (ARIA for woodwinds, ARIA for brass, ARIA for violins1 and -2, etc.......). During those years of struggling with this material I find this more convenient.

    .... and I hope Plogue will alter the GUI one day to make those channels assignments and output numbers a bit more readable!!!!

    So far... just a quick one, by the way I set all CC7 to 110!!! and disabled already the SONAR volume and pans as you suggested (did that at first before adding anything else to the Midi tracks).


    Raymond

  4. #4

    Re: New SONAR approach - new thread from Hello Randy

    Hi, Raymond - I did write a lot, probably my longest post here ever--and that's saying a lot since I'm not known for short posts!

    I don't have Altiverb, so it's still a bit mysterious to me. I would need to have some hands-on time to get what's going on with it. What's confusing to me is that it's apparently not only doing reverb, but working with the panning of instruments. -?

    Your example of having all the brass come from one stage location --yes, that's why I thought with Altiverb you still had to pan your instruments in Sonar's mixer. Or not use the same reverb for all those instruments. I still do reverb the "old fashioned" way, and it's what I understand. A different amount of reverb for each instrument, and the stage position is totally controlled with the pan pot--very easy to understand.

    I should see if there's a demo of Altiverb I can try out just so I can understand how it works, and whatever I say about it will make sense.

    Right now I still don't understand why you're using L and R versions of the same instrument. I'm pretty sure this is something DPDAN was telling you wasn't correct. Right now without having tried Altiverb, I don't understand why you don't just set up your reverb and then pan as usual in Sonar, and that only requires one track of an instrument, never two.

    MIDI channel volume - I'm confused here also, because just now you said you set all channels to 110, but in your original post you said, "...With CC7 for every midi track set to 64 the volume of every instrument is just the same..." I was just responding to the info you typed in your first message.

    Randy

  5. #5

    Re: New SONAR approach - new thread from Hello Randy

    I've looked again at the Altiverb demos at You Tube, and that calls for another post rather than just updating my last one.

    It's clearly demonstrated in part two of the official Audioease demo, that the idea is to use a new instance of Altiverb on, I quote "Every instrument or group of instruments." The narrator adds this is much better than traditional panning.

    It's as I remember DPDAN explaining - If you're using Altiverb the way it's designed, you should basically bypass your pan pots in Sonar. They should just stay at center. Your panning is done in Altiverb. And of course that's done with one track per instrument, whether it's stereo or mono.

    So, Raymond, since you have a high powered set up now, as you point out in your first post on this thread, you should be adding an Altiverb instance to every track you want to have in a different stage position from the other instruments. You aren't achieving anything with having L and R tracks of each instrument, and you're defeating one of the main purposes of Altiverb with the panning you're still doing in Sonar.

    Even though I haven't worked with Altiverb yet, I just saw for myself how it works - so, there it is.

    Randy

  6. #6

    Re: New SONAR approach - new thread from Hello Randy

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post

    Right now I still don't understand why you're using L and R versions of the same instrument.

    Randy
    You did NOT look, Randy. It is not the same instrument at L and R but the same GROUP of instruments. It is woodwinds left and woodwinds right, brass left and brass right!! etc......

    And about that CC7, I corrected those after reading your message. I googled for bit depth........ as you suggested I should do.

    Raymond

  7. #7

    Re: New SONAR approach - new thread from Hello Randy

    Great thread guys

  8. #8

    Re: New SONAR approach - new thread from Hello Randy

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanPerkins View Post
    Great thread guys
    Good you spelled this right... with a "t" at the end? Who knows!!! what happens then.



    Raymond

  9. #9

    Re: New SONAR approach - new thread from Hello Randy

    Raymond, Pardon me - I didn't see your screen shot correctly. I misinterpreted what I was seeing - and I see now that you've mixed individual instruments down to L and R groups.

    Now, with the continued interest in helping you get your projects set up in the most effective way, I've spent some time this morning looking up information on Altiverb, since you're using it.

    Previously, back in August of last year, DPDAN posted very thorough video tutorials on how to use Altiverb. I've watched them this morning. With that information, and what I found on the Altiverb site - it's been confirmed that you are currently not using Altiverb to its best advantage.

    In brief: You are supposed to use Altiverb's stage positioning feature to set the panning of your instruments, and the wet/dry control has to be set to full wet in order for that feature to be used properly. Otherwise you'll have a double audio image - a dry instrument "at the tip of your nose," as Dan says in one of his tutes, and a doubled, reverberant copy of that same instrument in the background.

    Here's Dan's list of Altiverb tutes again:

    WINDOWS VIDEOS

    Altiverb Introduction 27mb
    Altiverb Test Buttons 11mb
    Altiverb Big Knob 29mb
    Altiverb Damping 32mb
    Altiverb Stage Position 32mb
    Altiverb Dry or Wet? 23mb
    Altiverb Automation 55mb
    Altiverb It's a Wrap! 10mb

    And here's info from Altiverb's own site, describing a demonstration of using the app to create an orchestral emulation:

    "...First thing to do was insert an Altiverb in each of the 15 instrument tracks. Each Altiverb loaded with the same microphone setup..."

    "...Then the Altiverbs were switched to their Stage positions tabs (as shown above in threefold).The previous picture shows that the direct gain control becomes disabled, as the Stage positions control takes over the gain of the direct sound.

    Stage positions were selected, by dragging the speaker for mono instrument tracks, or by dragging both speakers for placement of stereo mixdowns of instrument groups. Classic Orchestral Positions were selected, with percussion in the far back of the stage..."


    "...With all of the instruments placed properly (Maarten's positionings are available in the preset menu under "/Orchestral/Orchestral Positioning track inserts/") a final Altiverb was put in the master channel to take care of the reverb tail..."

    I hope that's useful for you, Raymond. Right now you're over-complicating your project set up since you're using pans in Sonar and yet you're using Altiverb's stage positioning.

    I would also suggest that you not bounce your instrument groups to mixed tracks. You're losing flexibility that you could be maintaining all the way through your mixing process. If your track view gets too cluttered, don't forget that Sonar has folders so that you can consolidate the use of space.

    Randy

  10. #10

    Re: New SONAR approach - new thread from Hello Randy

    Hi everyone,
    I have no desire to enter into yet another wasted thread about mixing and Altiverb, but I must say this one more time as if it is not clear with all the tutorials I have done. If a user wants to take valuable time out of his life to go through all this crap just to make a trumpet sound as though it is four feet further back than the trombones,,,, so be it. Inserting an instance of Altiverb into every single audio track, and using the stage positioning feature to determine location is fine, then of course your pan in the DAW's mixer would be centered, ideally. But, if all "like" family instruments (woodwinds) are grouped together, (far more sensible and convenient) and share a single instance of Altiverb, the stage positioning feature can still be used to place all of the woodwinds into a general area of the stage, front, back, left, right etc., but the pan setting of every single woodwind "audio track" still determines the extreme left to right position, within the bounds of the chosen stage position.

    I too want to make it known that any time I post about how I do something is just that, how I do it. There are so many ways to make a crappy recording, as well as a good one, and whatever ways one chooses to work is best for them, but I have to reiterate...

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser
    Raymond, I feel you're causing yourself extra, unnecessary work.
    Thank you Randy for your tireless devotion of helping others in this forum!!!!

    Dan

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