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Topic: Panning: Audio vs. CC10?

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  1. #1

    Question Panning: Audio vs. CC10?

    I'm finally ready to start doing some heavy lifting with my GPO4 symphony project in Sonar 8.5 Studio. I'm about to start adding in all the necessary MIDI controller data, so as I do this I need to ask a question:

    I wanted to use CC10 to control panning, so I assigned the appropriate values to each instrument in my virtual orchestra. Then when I opened the MIDI file that I generated from Finale in Sonar, I checked and saw that the CC10 entries were missing on each instrument track. However, before I go blindly off with adding CC10 back in, I wanted to know if it would be better to do my panning through the audio channels in Sonar, or is it six of one, half a dozen of the other?

    By the way, I'm currently using ARIA's Ambience reverb, but I'll be going over to Altiverb soon. I don't know if this would make any difference on how panning should be handled, but I figured I should mention it just in case...

    Thanks!

    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

  2. #2

    Re: Panning: Audio vs. CC10?

    Hi, Steve

    There are more than a few ways of working at any aspect of recording, as you know. I can tell you how I work in Sonar:

    --I may do a bit of preliminary panning in Aria, but not with using CC10.

    --One issue is that Sonar's knobs and sliders are initially connected to Aria, so will over-ride settings you try to set in Aria.

    --I find it too "fiddley" to go to my MIDI tracks and change their controls so that they Don't control Aria, I just go ahead and use them - but without trying to set up any kind of final mix sound when I'm still working with just MIDI.

    --So what I'm basically doing is using Aria to get signals into Sonar at a good level, and often with only center panning, and often with recording mono instruments (many in GPO) on mono tracks panned to center.

    --The serious panning and volume balancing happens with my bounced audio tracks. The second half of my projects is entirely in the audio realm. I've turned off soft synths, I've hidden MIDI tracks with the Track Manager in Sonar, and on my screen I only have the audio tracks - and, as I'm saying, that's when I keep working with the best panning positions and volume levels.

    Randy B.

  3. #3

    Re: Panning: Audio vs. CC10?

    I think what Randy described is probably how most work with DAWs.

    One variation might be that you don't have to bounce tracks to audio. If you set up Aria to output it's slots to individual audio trakcs in Sonar, you theoretically wouldn't have to bounce audio. You could pan those audio tracks rather than midi tracks or Aria player slots. The downsides are possibly more processing power to run the VST along with Altiverb, etc. AND maybe in a sense it's a bit of a waste when you have mono instruments taking up a stereo track.

    So I hope that helps. It might give you some ideas to save some time if it's appropriate.
    Steve Winkler GPO4 JAAB3 Finale 2012 Reaper Windows 7 Pro 64-bit VSL SE+

  4. #4

    Re: Panning: Audio vs. CC10?

    Quote Originally Posted by swinkler View Post
    I think what Randy described is probably how most work with DAWs.

    One variation might be that you don't have to bounce tracks to audio. If you set up Aria to output it's slots to individual audio trakcs in Sonar, you theoretically wouldn't have to bounce audio. You could pan those audio tracks rather than midi tracks or Aria player slots. The downsides are possibly more processing power to run the VST along with Altiverb, etc. AND maybe in a sense it's a bit of a waste when you have mono instruments taking up a stereo track.

    So I hope that helps. It might give you some ideas to save some time if it's appropriate.
    HI, Steve - Good stuff, thanks for joining in. Quite a few people don't bounce to audio, and work as you described. Envelopes can be applied to those VST audio tracks the same as to bounced audio tracks, or if you have static settings, which is usually the case for panning, then the track controls accomplish what's needed.

    If tracks aren't bounced, besides needing more processing power, since the sample player is still loaded and triggering the instruments, there's also what I find to be the disadvantage of not seeing the details of the wave form. You can do fine tune editing when you can actually see the hills and valleys of volume fluctuations, how accurate the timing is etc.

    Randy

  5. #5

    Re: Panning: Audio vs. CC10?

    Randy and Steve,

    Thanks for your responses. I'm still a newbie with all this, so I appreciate what I'm learning here. Just to give you some background, the workflow I had to use on my old computer (32-bit Win XP and 1 GB of RAM) with Cubasis VST 4 (limited to 16 mixer channels) was just horrendous, so basically I'm trying to figure out how to take best advantage of improving my workflow with a much more powerful computer and a DAW (Sonar, of course) that can do so much more than what I had with the ancient version of Cubasis I was using.

    My original inquiry was actually with Altiverb in mind. I'm sticking with Ambience for the time being, but that's only so that I can replace my GPO2 rendering of the symphony-in-progress I have up on my Virtual Concert Hall with a new version I'm doing with GPO4. Once that's complete, I'll install Altiverb and start learning how to use it. From there I'll turn off Ambience in ARIA, then redo my GPO4 rendering with Altiverb.

    Now, my only experience with reverb has been using whatever came with the sampler/sample player (never cared for the reverbs that came with Cubasis). Using an external reverb program is new territory for me. Plus Altiverb is a completely different animal compared to the reverbs I've had experience with.

    From what I've gathered so far, it looks like I'll have to bounce my MIDI tracks to audio first, then set up the audio tracks in Sonar to go through Altiverb. This where I'm a little hazy about what I should do in the audio bounce process.

    Randy, you said that you record mono instruments on mono tracks panned to center. By "mono instruments" are you referring to monophonic as opposed to polyphonic? If you are, I just want to make sure that I understand what you mean here. Let's say, for example, you have a piece that includes 3 flutes. Instead of having all 3 on the same track, you would have each flute on its own track. Am I correct in thinking that's what you meant by mono instruments? (If so, I'm in good shape because I'm already doing it that way.)

    The part about recording (and I guess that's what bouncing is) on mono tracks panned to center has me a tad confused. Here's a screenshot I just took of my symphony project in Sonar. This is what I see in Console View when I click on the top of an output strip:



    I see that for every stereo output pair I also have a left mono and right mono. Is that what I would use to make a mono bounce? If so, what would determine whether I select left or right for each track bounce? If not, then I assume there's a setting somewhere in Sonar that would allow me to select between mono and stereo for my audio bounces. That one I could probably find on my own, but any guidance would be appreciated so I don't have to spend a lot of time trying to wade through Sonar's help documentation.

    Thanks for putting up with what I'm sure are "no duh" questions, and I do appreciate your help!

    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

  6. #6

    Re: Panning: Audio vs. CC10?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Johnson View Post
    Randy and Steve,

    Thanks for your responses. I'm still a newbie with all this, so I appreciate what I'm learning here. Just to give you some background, the workflow I had to use on my old computer (32-bit Win XP and 1 GB of RAM) with Cubasis VST 4 (limited to 16 mixer channels) was just horrendous, so basically I'm trying to figure out how to take best advantage of improving my workflow with a much more powerful computer and a DAW (Sonar, of course) that can do so much more than what I had with the ancient version of Cubasis I was using.

    My original inquiry was actually with Altiverb in mind. I'm sticking with Ambience for the time being, but that's only so that I can replace my GPO2 rendering of the symphony-in-progress I have up on my Virtual Concert Hall with a new version I'm doing with GPO4. Once that's complete, I'll install Altiverb and start learning how to use it. From there I'll turn off Ambience in ARIA, then redo my GPO4 rendering with Altiverb.

    Now, my only experience with reverb has been using whatever came with the sampler/sample player (never cared for the reverbs that came with Cubasis). Using an external reverb program is new territory for me. Plus Altiverb is a completely different animal compared to the reverbs I've had experience with.

    From what I've gathered so far, it looks like I'll have to bounce my MIDI tracks to audio first, then set up the audio tracks in Sonar to go through Altiverb. This where I'm a little hazy about what I should do in the audio bounce process.

    Randy, you said that you record mono instruments on mono tracks panned to center. By "mono instruments" are you referring to monophonic as opposed to polyphonic? If you are, I just want to make sure that I understand what you mean here. Let's say, for example, you have a piece that includes 3 flutes. Instead of having all 3 on the same track, you would have each flute on its own track. Am I correct in thinking that's what you meant by mono instruments? (If so, I'm in good shape because I'm already doing it that way.)

    The part about recording (and I guess that's what bouncing is) on mono tracks panned to center has me a tad confused. Here's a screenshot I just took of my symphony project in Sonar. This is what I see in Console View when I click on the top of an output strip:



    I see that for every stereo output pair I also have a left mono and right mono. Is that what I would use to make a mono bounce? If so, what would determine whether I select left or right for each track bounce? If not, then I assume there's a setting somewhere in Sonar that would allow me to select between mono and stereo for my audio bounces. That one I could probably find on my own, but any guidance would be appreciated so I don't have to spend a lot of time trying to wade through Sonar's help documentation.

    Thanks for putting up with what I'm sure are "no duh" questions, and I do appreciate your help!

    Steve
    When we say mono we're talking mono vs. stereo. DPDAN provided us at one point with a list of GPO instruments and how they were recorded (again mono vs. stereo). I made a copy of the list so here it is as Dan presented it to the forum on some thread a long time ago. He refers to "WET" instruments. You can disregard this as it doesn't apply any longer.



    I made this a long time ago.
    It is ideal to not waste stereo audio tracks for mono instruments, since ideally these instruments will be panned by the user to wherever He/She wants them.


    This is a list of the GPO instruments and their STEREO / MONO status.
    This stereo / mono status list pertains to the dry folder. Any instruments used from the WET folder will be stereo, but only because of the Ambience reverb.

    All Flutes MONO

    All English Horns MONO

    All Oboes MONO except...
    Oboe 2 Modern Solo and Oboe 3 Modern Solo (STEREO)

    All Clarinets MONO
    All Bassoons MONO
    All French Horns MONO except...
    Overlay F, Overlay F AG, and Overlay FF (STEREO)

    All Trumpets MONO except...
    Overlay, Overlay AG, TPT Piccolo NV Solo and TPT Piccolo V Solo (STEREO)

    All Trombones MONO except...
    Overlay and Overlay AG (STEREO)

    All Tubas MONO except...
    Overlay and Overlay AG (STEREO)

    All Percussion Instruments STEREO except Snares KS (MONO)
    All Harps STEREO
    All Pianos STEREO
    All Pipe Organs STEREO
    All solo Violins MONO except... Violin 2 Strad Pizz Solo (STEREO)
    All solo Violas MONO
    All solo Cellos MONO
    All solo Basses MONO
    All section Strings STEREO
    Steve Winkler GPO4 JAAB3 Finale 2012 Reaper Windows 7 Pro 64-bit VSL SE+

  7. #7

    Re: Panning: Audio vs. CC10?

    Swinkler--Excellent, digging up the mono/stereo list.

    Steve Johnson - I was going to reply this morning, but the Forum was on the fritz.

    Here's more on mono and stereo tracks, and what you see in Sonar as per your screen shot:

    There are 32 monophonic channels in Aria. When they're all paired up as stereo channels, then that makes 16 stereo channels.

    When you bounce your tracks, you have a choice of bouncing to mono or stereo. Take note of that option in the bounce dialogue pop-up. If you're bouncing more than one track at a time, you need to make all the tracks the same. So often it's good to do several bounces, doing some mono, doing some stereo as needed.

    As in the chart Steve Winkler posted, you can choose which instruments you want to record in mono and which in stereo.

    Use the track header to determine how the soft synth audio tracks are set up in Sonar, not the input in the Console view as in your screen shot.

    --what else--Well, those are the items I wanted to pass on after reading your most recent post.

    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: Panning: Audio vs. CC10?

    Some of the best advice Randy Bowser (and DPDAN) ever gave me on this board was the advice about making some instruments mono. I have found that you can really focus in and "place" those instruments in a mix's stereo space very, very clearly. So two cents for the mono vs stereo thing!
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  9. #9

    Re: Panning: Audio vs. CC10?

    Gentlemen,

    I think I'm starting to get the gist of how all this works, and I suspect things will fall into place more once I start using Altiverb. I've bookmarked this thread for reference, so between what I'm learning here and DPDan's excellent video tutes, I expect my learning curve will be not horribly time-consuming when I bring Altiverb into the equation.

    Thank you, my friends!

    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

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