Jump to content
Randall Petty

Best starting point to learn midi instrument replacement

Recommended Posts

You really changed from audio+MIDI tracks in 2008 to instrument+MIDI tracks when working with soft synths? I know many like to keep MIDI tracks together but do not recall ever reading a post where one regularly used instrument tracks in the manner you describe. Please explain the advantages of using instrument+MIDI track over audio+MIDI tracks (the only solution available for years in SONAR)? I have been using this stuff for a few years myself but am always eager to learn something new.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use instrument tracks almost exclusively.

Even if a VSTi is multi-timbral, I'll usually opt for having separate instrument tracks and accept the overhead of having more than once instance of the VSTi running.

My reasons are:

  • I can easily swap out one synth for another on a per track basis
  •  I only have to worry about one track instead of two and I can freeze them separately if needed.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use various combinations of instrument, audio+MIDI and instrument+MIDI for soft synths depending on the circumstances. But cannot say I have ever used or read about one using one for the sole purpose of playing MIDI data in another track. Are you using a separate MIDI track to feed the instrument track like @abacab suggest? It does not seem so because of

29 minutes ago, msmcleod said:
  •  I only have to worry about one track instead of two

AFAIK, the reasons cited are the some of the reasons for using instrument tracks but are not reasons for using separate MIDI tracks to drive instrument tracks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it's going to take me an hour just to go through this morning's posts and digest them.  I really appreciate the help.   I retired as a Sql Server Database Admin last year so you'd think technical work would come naturally.  Well, it does, but the DAW world sure seems to have it's own little place in heaven.  :-)

Hopefully this link shows my Cakewalk screen better.   I believe the version provided by BandLab is the platinum version

My Cakewalk Screen

 

Release Notes (2019.01)

Hotfix 1-23-2019

Address an issue in which Mix Recall was not applying presets

This hotfix increments CbB to version 25.01.0.27

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, scook said:

I use various combinations of instrument, audio+MIDI and instrument+MIDI for soft synths depending on the circumstances. But cannot say I have ever used or read about one using one for the sole purpose of playing MIDI data in another track. Are you using a separate MIDI track to feed the instrument track like @abacab suggest? It does not seem so because of

AFAIK, the reasons cited are the some of the reasons for using instrument tracks but are not reasons for using separate MIDI tracks to drive instrument tracks.

I have done that, but usually as a means to an end.

By that I mean, say I've got a MIDI part in an old project that was originally written for a hardware synth, I might feed that to an existing instrument track. But I'd usually just end up dragging the MIDI on to the instrument track if I'm happy it fits in.

For other projects that were exclusively written using my old Yamaha XG module, I'll use a single instrument track with an XG VSTi, and feed all the MIDI parts to it.

Again, this is usually because they're unfinished and it's easier to pick out the parts and use them in other projects if needed.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Randall Petty said:

Hopefully this link shows my Cakewalk screen better.   I believe the version provided by BandLab is the platinum version
My Cakewalk Screen

Yeah, the image is easier to read but it was pretty obvious from the uploaded image what was going on by the track icons.

The MIDI track is currently pointing to the MS GS Wavetable synth. That was the only part that I could not make out.

You need to get the MIDI data in that track pointed to the soft synth. There are several solutions provided in my first reply and the reply immediately below mine.

If you find yourself working with a lot of MIDI files and do not use hardware synths, you may want to disable all MIDI output devices. Then opening MIDI files in CbB will automatically use TTS-1 the GM soft synth bundled with CbB. As a rule, avoiding the MS GS Wavetable synth is a good idea. You still need to add an additional audio tracks when replacing one of instruments in TTS-1 with a different synth but the routing will be a little more obvious.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, msmcleod said:

By that I mean, say I've got a MIDI part in an old project that was originally written for a hardware synth, I might feed that to an existing instrument track. But I'd usually just end up dragging the MIDI on to the instrument track if I'm happy it fits in.

Understood and that is the point I was trying to make.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll go back through all replies now.   But I think this guitar instrument I downloaded may not be ready for prime time.    Cakewalk is scanning for VSTs and is looking in the correct folder but all that's there is a DLL and a readme file, no "sem" files.   Clicking through seems to load the vst but Cakewalk may be locking up at that point.

image.png.3b92ce195fa46935fa653aba6320c19f.png

 

 

https://www.dskmusic.com/dsk-electrik-guitarz/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Randall Petty said:

Hopefully this link shows my Cakewalk screen better.   I believe the version provided by BandLab is the platinum version

My Cakewalk Screen

Yep, for track #4 if you just click on that little downwards facing triangle in the output port settings box that is currently showing "1McrsftG...", you should see another entry available for the "DSK Electrik Guitar" instrument. If you choose that, then all MIDI output from track #4 will be routed to that guitar.

Edited by abacab
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Randall Petty said:

I'll go back through all replies now.   But I think this guitar instrument I downloaded may not be ready for prime time.    Cakewalk is scanning for VSTs and is looking in the correct folder but all that's there is a DLL and a readme file, no "sem" files.   Clicking through seems to load the vst but Cakewalk may be locking up at that point.

image.png.3b92ce195fa46935fa653aba6320c19f.png

Looks like a plug-ins made with synthedit. It may require running CbB as administrator. Personally, I avoid using 32bit plug-ins whenever possible. This includes plug-ins made with synthedit.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, scook said:

Looks like a plug-ins made with synthedit. It may require running CbB as administrator. Personally, I would avoid using 32bit plug-ins whenever possible. This includes plug-ins made with synthedit.

Running as admin did work better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Randall Petty said:

Running as admin did work better.

Anything under C:\Program Files requires admin rights.

I put all my 32-bit VST's  in a separate directory, and add this to the VST folder list in preferences.

In other words:

  • create a directory C:\VST
  • Copy the DSK Electrik GuitarZ directory there
  • Add C:\VST to your VST folder list in the VST Settings area in CbB preferences
  • Rescan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I run CbB without running as administrator and all my VST plug-ins are installed in the default "C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Vstplugins" directory. The problem with DSK Electrik GuitarZ is that it is trying to write into its folder. This is another reason to avoid synthedit plug-ins. Not only are they stuck at 32bit but they perform operations like this. All the plug-ins I have that write to disk do so without forcing the plug-in binary be installed outside of the CbB default location or VST3 specified location which is also in "C:\Program Files."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found a free sampled guitar instrument named "Shinyguitar" among the available Plogue sforzando SFZ player banks. It's a sampled shiny black archtop electric, with pickup and mic samples, with a control you can blend between them with on the sforzando UI.  Samples have four velocity layers and 4 round robins. In all, there are 11 controls that you can adjust such as tone, vibrato, mutes, etc. 

It's clean and dry, but you can amp it up with the included Overloud TH-3 amp sim in Cakewalk!  https://www.cakewalk.com/Documentation?product=Cakewalk&language=3&help=Plug-ins.2.html#1813385

Get sforzando for free here, standalone or VST, 32/64-bit: https://www.plogue.com/products/sforzando.html

Find sforzando banks here: https://www.plogue.com/products/sforzando-banks.html

Shinyguitar download page: https://www.karoryfer.com/karoryfer-samples/wydawnictwa/shinyguitar

I tried it out in this project and it sounds good with TH-3 cranked up. :D

Note: to install the guitar sample library in sforzando, after you unzip it to your sforzando user files path, just drag and drop the included "Shinyguitar.bank.xml" file onto the sforzando UI to register it for use. This will automatically add "Shinyguitar" to the instrument menu in sforzando.

 

 

Edited by abacab
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, msmcleod said:

I use instrument tracks almost exclusively.

Even if a VSTi is multi-timbral, I'll usually opt for having separate instrument tracks and accept the overhead of having more than once instance of the VSTi running.

My reasons are:

  • I can easily swap out one synth for another on a per track basis
  •  I only have to worry about one track instead of two and I can freeze them separately if needed.

Are you me in disguise?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I might have a go at this tomorrow morning, tried opening a .mid file in Cakewalk before and got a bit confused. I think it was the different way Cakewalk has both midi tracks and instrument tracks. I don't understand the point of midi tracks.

Midi tracks cannot be routed to the synth rack, correct? They have to be routed to an instrument track (to main out) in order to get sound. Why would you want 2 tracks to play one instrument? I suppose you could route 2 or more midi tracks to an instrument track, but other than for opening a midi file what would be the point? You can't bounce midi files separately can you?

However, I can see the use for something like this, opening a .mid file.

I'll take it from the basics to be sure the OP and myself understand what is happening. My plan for opening this .mid file and transferring instruments would be:

1. Open the file in Cakewalk

As the file is GM, Cakewalk will open the tracks to midi tracks as per GM specification with, in this case, 6 tracks for 6  instruments and the drums.  Cakewalk will also assign the TTS General midi player as an instrument on an instrument track. Cakewalk assigns all the midi tracks to the instrument track which the TTS instrument is on so that the midi data can play through the TTS instrument.

2. Say for the pick bass on track 3:

Open an instrument track with my selection of bass, say kontakt jay bass. Drag midi from track 3 onto the new instrument track, delete original midi track. This gives me 1 instrument track with the bass midi file on it. I can add synths to the rack and change the instrument if I wish. Why would I want to direct the midi track to the instrument track of the new bass and end up with 2 tracks for bass?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tezza said:

I might have a go at this tomorrow morning, tried opening a .mid file in Cakewalk before and got a bit confused. I think it was the different way Cakewalk has both midi tracks and instrument tracks. I don't understand the point of midi tracks.

Midi tracks cannot be routed to the synth rack, correct? They have to be routed to an instrument track (to main out) in order to get sound. Why would you want 2 tracks to play one instrument? I suppose you could route 2 or more midi tracks to an instrument track, but other than for opening a midi file what would be the point? You can't bounce midi files separately can you?

However, I can see the use for something like this, opening a .mid file.

I'll take it from the basics to be sure the OP and myself understand what is happening. My plan for opening this .mid file and transferring instruments would be:

1. Open the file in Cakewalk

As the file is GM, Cakewalk will open the tracks to midi tracks as per GM specification with, in this case, 6 tracks for 6  instruments and the drums.  Cakewalk will also assign the TTS General midi player as an instrument on an instrument track. Cakewalk assigns all the midi tracks to the instrument track which the TTS instrument is on so that the midi data can play through the TTS instrument.

2. Say for the pick bass on track 3:

Open an instrument track with my selection of bass, say kontakt jay bass. Drag midi from track 3 onto the new instrument track, delete original midi track. This gives me 1 instrument track with the bass midi file on it. I can add synths to the rack and change the instrument if I wish. Why would I want to direct the midi track to the instrument track of the new bass and end up with 2 tracks for bass?

MIDI tracks CAN be routed to the synth rack.

Some soft synths can have multiple audio outputs, because they are multi-timbral (including TTS-1).  Multi-timbral means they can play more than one sound at once, by listening in on more than one MIDI channel.

When you insert a simple instrument track, it always gives the synth a single stereo output.

However, when you insert it with:

  • Simple Instrument Track unchecked; and
  • either: All synth outputs (mono) or All synth outputs (stereo) checked

This will create separate audio tracks for all the outputs available.

In this case, you can route MIDI tracks to the synth on the rack using the MIDI channel on the MIDI track to determine which sound it will play, and which audio output it'll end up on.

The advantages are:

  • You only have one instance of the synth loaded, saving resources
  • You can apply effects separately on each audio track 

The downside is the instrument's audio tracks & MIDI tracks are now separate, which means you've twice as many tracks to wade through, and you need to be aware of which MIDI track is associated with which audio track.

This multi-timbral behaviour still works even if you insert it as a simple instrument track. The only difference with an instrument track is that you've now only got a stereo output, so you can add different audio effects separately to the different instruments.

So for your example in Kontakt, you could load Jay bass and it'll be assigned MIDI channel 1. But if you then also load "The Gentleman" piano, it'll be assigned MIDI channel 2.

If you insert a MIDI track outputting to channel 1, it'll play the bass. If it's set to channel 2, it'll play the piano.

 

Edited by msmcleod

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Craig Anderton wrote a post on his tips blog, explaining the pros/cons from a resource view when using a single synth in the synth rack vs separate instrument tracks:

http://www.craiganderton.com/tips.html  (scroll up from the bottom to the "180713 Multi-Timbral Instrument vs. Multiple Instances—Which is Better?" article).

The general gist of the article is (for Kontakt anyhow):

Multiple instrument tracks:

  • CPU processing is spread evenly across the CPU cores
  • Memory usage is higher than a single instance

A single instance of a synth with multiple MIDI tracks feeding it:

  • All processing is done on a single CPU core
  • Memory usage is lower

Some VSTi's can make use of more than one core (e.g. Omnisphere), so these pros/cons might not always apply.

Note that CbB's internal "Plugin load balancing" only applies to VST effects, not VSTi instruments, so this setting won't make a difference here.

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks mate, all good stuff, I usually just use 1 instrument per track, even with Kontakt, just open up multiple instances of Kontakt each with 1 instrument, then bounce when finished. I know it's not the most efficient use of Kontakt and I have tried loading multiple instruments up in Kontakt in other DAW's and assigning midi channels and audio outputs etc but I didn't enjoy the workflow. Could give it a whirl with Cakewalk, see what it's like, thanks for your helpful advice.

So in cakewalk, I can load a synth in the synth rack and assign it midi channel 3 and then just create a midi track put some notes on it make sure it's transmitting on midi channel 3 and it will trigger the synth, without any instrument track, is this how it works?

With the midi files, what happens when it comes to bouncing down the tracks to audio, for example, with the example you have given of jay bass and the gentleman piano, will the midi tracks bounce down to audio? or does it end up somewhere else.

 

Edited by Tezza

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...