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Topic: Composer who needs advice on recording software.

  1. #1

    Composer who needs advice on recording software.

    I'm a composer who is looking into using more professional virtual instruments to make my recordings.

    I already use Finale as my notation software and am wondering what other software will I need to make recordings with professional sample libraries.

    I'm thinking that I might need a sampler and/or a DAW, but I'm not sure about the process.

    What I want to do is to take my MIDI file from Finale and Import it into a program (whatever I will need) and have it record my song using sound libraries like Symphobia or EQLSO. I am not sure about exactly what I should use.

    I would greatly appreciate your advice.


    Piano 1

  2. #2

    Re: Composer who needs advice on recording software.

    Hi Piano 1,

    Are you on a PC or a mac? If you are on a Mac, you can check out Digital Performer, and also Logic and Cubase, as well as Pro tools.
    For PC, you have Cubase, Sonar, Samplitude, and more - if you don't care much for notation in the DAW, then you could also look into something like Reaper for a cheap option.

    EWQL comes with "PLAY" which is their own sampler/player, which means you just load it up as a VST in your DAW and you won't need any additional samplers etc. As far as I can tell, Symphobia comes with a Kontakt 4 player so you'll be fine there also to get started.

    At the end of the day it really comes down to what product you like the most. Some of them have demos, unfortunately in the case of Cubase you have to purchase a dongle (about $30) to try it out, but you may find it is worth it. There are also plenty of tutorials and videos on youtube, and it may be worth spending some time on that to help you decide.

    When you do mockups like this, the basic idea is very simple - if you already have a MIDI file, you will load it up in your DAW, then load up your VST instruments and set them to your various channels. From there you can get to work - with samples you do a lot of messing around with parts, unlike in Finale where you may have just 1 track/line for the 1st violins, in a DAW you may have 5, 10, or more, as different samples give differing performances. So for example part of a phrase may be played with "legato vln1" or whatever patch it is, then you may have something more suited to a different sample, so you'd have that on a different track. And of course you'd then use your DAW to apply all your dynamics and such - done using the DAW's piano roll tool and CC controllers which you'll learn all about as you go into this.

    Personally I notate in the DAW as I like to control the dynamics as I go along and find it easier to just notate straight in without having to switch between programs, but either way works perfectly fine.

    You may aslo want to look into some mastering plugins such as Waves or Ozone Izotope, which are VST plugins that can be applied to your master track.

    Keep in mind you will need to take note of your RAM and computer specs when you start getting into this - modern samples such as the new EWQL libraries (Hollywood Strings, etc) take up a hell of a lot of RAM and it is not uncommon to go through 16-24+ Gigs on one project. With EWQL a good starting point is EWQL gold and the composers collection, from there you can decide what you want - there are plenty of other good samples out there and it just comes down to the sound you want and how you like to work, etc.

    Hope that helps a little.

  3. #3

    Re: Composer who needs advice on recording software.

    That answers most of my questions to get started. Thank you very much Mr. Hurn for your advice.

    One more question though, what is the role of a sampler/player in the process of using a sound library in a DAW? Are the instruments their own VST plug-ins or do you use a sampler/player to use them?

  4. #4

    Re: Composer who needs advice on recording software.

    Chris you are the man.

    That answered some of my questions too...

    I am just starting on the sample library use in ProTools (PT8LE). I have a Digi002Rack, Mac Pro, 2.8ghz quad core, 6gb ram....

    I have the older COMB2 and JABB2 for work. If I can find the $$ we will upgrade the JABB (I use it most...)

    All of the DAW programs have a learning curve. I looked at how many production houses used which package most. I started on DigitalPerformer and HAD to migrate to ProTools because of work. I am still dealing with several of the things I used to use but it is going well.

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