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How to balance Vienna Instruments volumes in Logic?
Last post Tue, Mar 25 2008 by stevesong, 15 replies.
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Posted on Sun, Mar 23 2008 07:21
by A.S.
Joined on Fri, Mar 30 2007, Posts 177
I have a exported a midi file from Finale 2008. This is a chamber orchestra piece with 16 instruments. Before exporting I applied the HP plugin to get all hairpins, trills, keyswitches etc. (I also made a new set of HP prefs since the default keyswitches are made for GPO). I also set the "Dynamic approach for sustaining instruments" to "Volume (CC#7) + Velocity".


I import this file into Logic 8, assign VI to each channel (16 instances of VI, I don't use VE so far in this project).


And voilĂ ! All the Vienna instruments plays just fine. But I have one little problem though:


Since volume is controlled by CC#7 (the volume slider) in VI, how do I set the balance between different instruments in Logic? Am I missing something very obvious here? (Btw, Volume is controlled by CC#1 in GPO so this is a little confusing...)



Albert
Posted on Sun, Mar 23 2008 11:37
by Conquer
Joined on Thu, Sep 28 2006, Posts 812

Hi Albert. Generally people use CC7 to set up an initial balance and then add CC11 (expression) data to create variations (crescendi etc.) As you probably know, Garritan's use of CC1 to control volume was done so that users could create volume swells and diminuendos using the mod wheel. I haven't come across this system elsewhere - it reflects the fact that GPO's samples are one-dynamic.

Posted on Sun, Mar 23 2008 16:12
by A.S.
Joined on Fri, Mar 30 2007, Posts 177
Ah, that makes more sense. There is actually a third option in the HP settings in Finale for "Dynamic approach for sustaining instruments", "Expression (CC#11) + Velocity". You mean that CC#11 affects the dynamic level for Vienna Instruments? I wasn't aware of this (I have very little knowledge of the different midi controllers). I'll try that one instead and see if I get this working in Logic. Thanks.
Posted on Sun, Mar 23 2008 16:39
by Conquer
Joined on Thu, Sep 28 2006, Posts 812

Albert S wrote:
You mean that CC#11 affects the dynamic level for Vienna Instruments?
Yes, most MIDI devices nowadays respond dynamically to CC11. The nice thing about having control over expression as well volume is that having set up a mix with CC7 and put in expression with CC11, you can turn an instrument up or down slightly in the mix without having to re-think all the CC11 data!

Posted on Sun, Mar 23 2008 16:44
by stevesong
Joined on Mon, Oct 18 2004, NYC, Posts 714

 Albert:

You are exactly right to choose CC11+ velocity. One important thing to be aware of is that if you use VE (which you did not) rather than VI as a plugin in Logic, you cannot use CC7 (MIDI Volume) on individual channels. One of Logic's quirks is that CC7 controller messages sent to any one channel of a multi-instrument plugin will be sent to all channels of the plugin. Thus if you wanted a diminuendo on one instrument and a crescendo on another and used CC7 for this, the result would be a kind of stuttering effect as Logic tried to deal with simultaneous contradictory messages. This does not happen when you are using Vienna Instruments each of which are instantiated in its own Audio Instrument, only with multi-channel plugins like VE or Kontakt. To avoid this problem, use CC 11 which Logic can read independently for each instrument of a multi-instrument plugin. CC 11 also gives somewhat finer control over volume because it divides the default MIDI volume setting is by 128 steps (e.g. the defalt volume setting in Logic is 90 so each of the steps in CC 11 is about .7 of a step in volume.)

Another thing that you might experiment with is turning Velocity Xfade on, mapping it to CC11 and trying various curves from the default linear straight line to  curves skewed in different ways. This enables you to approximate the timbral shifts that occur with changes in dynamic intensity in live performance. It works better, in my experience, with things like orchestral strings than with, for example, solo strings - - where phase shifts occuring during transitions from one sampled dynamic level to the next can be noticeable.

Stephen Siegel
New York City

MacPro (4.1) dual-quad Xeon @ 2.9.3 Ghz
24GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
2 960 GB OWC E2 Mercury Accelsior SSDs one dedicated to samples and the other partitioned into a partition for samples and a part ion for apps and files.
MOTU 2408 MK III (PCIe)

MacBook Pro with 2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo
4GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
MOTU 828
Firmtek/Seritek 2SM2-E Express Card SATA adapter.

Logic 9.1.6.; Finale 2011
Posted on Sun, Mar 23 2008 17:24
by skylerf85
Joined on Wed, Aug 01 2007, Petaluma, CA, Posts 23
How does one do these sort of things?

"I have a exported a midi file from Finale 2008. This is a chamber orchestra piece with 16 instruments. Before exporting I applied the HP plugin to get all hairpins, trills, keyswitches etc. (I also made a new set of HP prefs since the default keyswitches are made for GPO). I also set the "Dynamic approach for sustaining instruments" to "Volume (CC#7) + Velocity"."

I've never heard of this HP plugin, where can I get more information?

iMac 21.5" 3.06GHz/8GB Ram
Logic Pro 9
VSL Special Edition / Vienna Ensemble PRO
M-Audio FireWire 410
Skylerfuhrman.com
Posted on Sun, Mar 23 2008 18:49
by stevesong
Joined on Mon, Oct 18 2004, NYC, Posts 714

 

skylerf85 wrote:
How does one do these sort of things?

"I have a exported a midi file from Finale 2008. This is a chamber orchestra piece with 16 instruments. Before exporting I applied the HP plugin to get all hairpins, trills, keyswitches etc. (I also made a new set of HP prefs since the default keyswitches are made for GPO). I also set the "Dynamic approach for sustaining instruments" to "Volume (CC#7) + Velocity"."
I've never heard of this HP plugin, where can I get more information?

Skyler:

I'm not sure what you're asking. If you've already applied the HP plugin, made a new set of HP prefs, etc. it would appear that you know quite a bit. For more info on the HP plugin check the Finale manual under "Human Playback." 

As I noted above, if you plan to export to Logic and use VE as a plugin within Logic then substitute "CC#11 + Velocity" for "CC#7 + Velocity" as the "Dynamic approach for sustaining instruments" in Finale before exporting.

Stephen Siegel
New York City

MacPro (4.1) dual-quad Xeon @ 2.9.3 Ghz
24GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
2 960 GB OWC E2 Mercury Accelsior SSDs one dedicated to samples and the other partitioned into a partition for samples and a part ion for apps and files.
MOTU 2408 MK III (PCIe)

MacBook Pro with 2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo
4GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
MOTU 828
Firmtek/Seritek 2SM2-E Express Card SATA adapter.

Logic 9.1.6.; Finale 2011
Posted on Sun, Mar 23 2008 19:03
by skylerf85
Joined on Wed, Aug 01 2007, Petaluma, CA, Posts 23
I was just wondering what you were referring to when you mentioned HP (Human Playback). I didn't know that plug-in could do those sorts of things. I'll be taking a look. Thanks

iMac 21.5" 3.06GHz/8GB Ram
Logic Pro 9
VSL Special Edition / Vienna Ensemble PRO
M-Audio FireWire 410
Skylerfuhrman.com
Posted on Sun, Mar 23 2008 20:17
by A.S.
Joined on Fri, Mar 30 2007, Posts 177
Thanks Conquer and Stephen for additional information regarding VI and VE.


I have some more questions:
1. When I import a midi file Logic automatically loads EXS24 sounds for every channel. I have searched every possible menu but I haven't found any option to turn this off. Is it possible?
2. Can I make a VI template in Logic with a specific orchestra/ensemble and then import a midi file "into" these pre-assigned channels? (That way I don't have to go through every channel and assign Vienna Instruments for every new project.)

3. Are there any specific advantages with using VE as a plugin compared to assigning VI for each channel?
Posted on Mon, Mar 24 2008 09:50
by Conquer
Joined on Thu, Sep 28 2006, Posts 812

Hi Albert. I run VI / VE on a PC so can't comment on 1 and 2*, but the advantage of using VE is that all your VI's will be accessible in one place and it's therefore much quicker to add instruments etc. People have complained about having to laboriously open and shut individual VI UI's in Logic but with VE you can see everything in one window. It also has very good controls over levels, panning and stereo width for each VI and you can of course set each one's MIDI channel.

(* Apple's programmers obviously thought this would be a helpful addition to Logic 8, ignoring the fact that some of us don't need to be "helped" in that way. You could try dragging the MIDI file from the desktop onto a MIDI track rather than importing it. By the way, when you import a MIDI file nto Logic 8, does it retain all its tempo and time signature data?)

Posted on Mon, Mar 24 2008 16:36
by stevesong
Joined on Mon, Oct 18 2004, NYC, Posts 714

 Unfortunately, as Conquer notes, Logic is designed to "think' for you - - and as one might predict this "thinking" makes certain simple operations more difficult.

First, I'd suggest reading pages 632-633 of the manual where the difference between "opening" and "importing" a MIDI file is described.

When you open a MIDI file, all the data concerning meter and tempo are retained.

When you import a MIDI file data concerning meter and tempo are lost.

In the unlikely event that you don't care about retaining meter and tempo data, the simplest thing is to drag the MIDI file into the Arrange page of your template. If this method gave you the option of retaining meter and tempo data, it would accomplish just what we'd all like -  - a simple way of moving a MIDI file into a Logic template... I suggest writing to Apple with this suggestion. You can do this by going to the feedback page of the Apple website:

http://www.apple.com/feedback/logicpro.html 

If you want to retain meter and tempo data then you can open the MIDI file while holding the option key down.

This eliminates the loading of the EXS instruments Logic has decided are appropriate for your MIDI file.

However, when you go to the mixr page, you discover that you cannot create "software instrument" Channel Strips because they are grayed-out on the channel strip menu.

To fix this, you need to import the Mixer layer of the Logic template you've created for VE. You do this by looking under the "import Environment" selection in the Options menu of the current environment.

You then import the Mixer level of the Environment of your Logic VE template. (This template should have a 16 channel MIDI instrument wired to Audio Instrument 1.)

This will give you two mixer levels in the environment - - and the imported one will lack some important elements such as Output 1-2, Master, Click and PreListen.

To move these to new Mixer page select them all, hold down the option key and switch to new Mixer page. They will move to the new mixer page. Return to the now empty original Mixer page and use the "delete layer" command available under the flip menu on the upper left corner of the window. 

Then you can reassign the tracks in the arrange page to the appropriate channels. (e.g VE 1 1, VE 1-2, etc.) However, the assignment menu does look a litle funky, since, in my experience, there are two VE 1-1s, VE1-2s etc.

The advantage of using VE is, as Conquer points out, you can have a pre-existing VE Template with all your instruments loaded in it and save it. Thus if you were working with a VE Standalone as the playback device for Finale or Sibelius and you save it, you can, after instantiating VE as a software instrument in Logic, open it and it will have all your settings. 

There are other alternatives - - you can open the Logic for VE Template you've made and then - - without closing the template - - open the MIDI file. This will result in a dialog box asking if you want a new Environment or to copy the Environment of the file that is already open. If you do this you will get a result similar to what I've described above, but it will be a little weird in certain ways - - which you can clean up to a greater or lesser extent. 

If only things were more simple: Ars Longa, Vita Brevis, I guess.

In the final analysis, at the present time, the most direct way to get a MIDI file into Logic with all its data intact, is simply to "open" it (not import it!) and then get rid of all the extraneous instruments that Logic's "brain" has decided would be what the user really wants. All the other methods described above involve more complex procedures and give somewhat baroque (although functional) results. The easiest way to get rid of the virtual instruments, EQ and whatnot that Logic has decided you want (down deep, of course) is to use the "Reset Channel Strip" command for the channels that have EXS + EQ + who knows what in them. This command clears everything out. The only thing is that its hard to get it to work - - on my computer, at least, to access this menu, you need to use the Inspector view, then click and hold on the top panel of the channel strip.  

Do write to Apple at the webpage given above. 

Stephen Siegel
New York City

MacPro (4.1) dual-quad Xeon @ 2.9.3 Ghz
24GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
2 960 GB OWC E2 Mercury Accelsior SSDs one dedicated to samples and the other partitioned into a partition for samples and a part ion for apps and files.
MOTU 2408 MK III (PCIe)

MacBook Pro with 2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo
4GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
MOTU 828
Firmtek/Seritek 2SM2-E Express Card SATA adapter.

Logic 9.1.6.; Finale 2011
Posted on Tue, Mar 25 2008 08:12
by A.S.
Joined on Fri, Mar 30 2007, Posts 177

Oh dear... And I thought Finale took decades to learn... Smile

Stephen:

I wasn't aware of the difference between importing and opening in Logic. Thanks for pointing out the difference. Now both tempo and meter are retained and this is very helpful when I try to navigate in the project since all my midi files comes from a notated score.

I tried your different suggestions but I will probably stick with your easiest suggestion for now, namely open(!) the file and then reset all channel strips. When I feel I have some control over this setup I will try with VE as well. (I have used VE stand alone with midi from Finale via IAC. This setup works, but with the "tiny" problem that Finale consumes all my processing power... But that is another problem both you and I have discussed many times!)

Thanks

Albert

PS. Btw, I agree about "Ars Longa.." Am I the only one who never seems to have time to learn all my new programs or equipment properly?? I really try hard to read all manuals, buy tutorial dvd's etc but there is always som darn symphony that has to be written or parts to extract and suddenly there's very little time left... Maybe I should take a sabbatical year from composing and just concentrate on my gears? Smile

Posted on Tue, Mar 25 2008 10:19
by Conquer
Joined on Thu, Sep 28 2006, Posts 812

Thanks Stephen for that very helpful explanation.

Albert S wrote:
Btw, I agree about "Ars Longa.." Am I the only one who never seems to have time to learn all my new programs or equipment properly??
No, many of us feel the same way. For me the problem has always been that by the time I get my head round something it's generally considered obsolete, and that syndrome has been aggravated by the culture of software "upgrades" which sometimes create more problems than they solve.
Albert S wrote:
Maybe I should take a sabbatical year from composing and just concentrate on my gears?
You'd feel a lot better if you took a sabbatical year from learning your gear and just concentrated on composing!Wink

Posted on Tue, Mar 25 2008 13:05
by A.S.
Joined on Fri, Mar 30 2007, Posts 177

Conquer wrote:
You'd feel a lot better if you took a sabbatical year from learning your gear and just concentrated on composing!Wink

Hmm, that's pretty much what I did during my studies at the conservatory...Embarrassed I was probably the worst student ever in Electroacustic music! And now, 8 years after graduating, I have to pay the price for being such a lazy student...Well well, I'm learning new things every day so maybe there's still hope for me... Smile

Posted on Tue, Mar 25 2008 14:48
by stevesong
Joined on Mon, Oct 18 2004, NYC, Posts 714
Albert S wrote:

PS. Btw, I agree about "Ars Longa.." Am I the only one who never seems to have time to learn all my new programs or equipment properly?? I really try hard to read all manuals, buy tutorial dvd's etc but there is always som darn symphony that has to be written or parts to extract and suddenly there's very little time left... Maybe I should take a sabbatical year from composing and just concentrate on my gears? Smile

 

I'm glad I ws able to be helpful. Now, everyone to whom this is even vaguely important, please, please access Apple's feedback page for Logic and tell them that you'd like the option of dragging a MIDI file to the Arrange page of an open file and having it retain metric and tempo data. For anyone who works with notation software and then transports the music to Logic via MIDI files, this would put an end to many hours per year of extraneous work and hair-pulling. The difficulties Logic imposes on users in this regard remind me of the line from Kafka's The Trial, where a  character says, "They are always sending me on these long, useless errands." Super Angry

Again the webpage is: http://www.apple.com/feedback/logicpro.html 

P.S. I suspect we'd all love to have problems like having "some darn symphony to write" (assuming that someone asked us to write it.) Smile

Parts are another story. BTW a tip I learned from sad and bitter experience: if you've used independent time signatures in a Finale score and extract the parts (in the old fashioned way - - as separate files - - be sure to turn off "allow independent time signatures" in each extracted part. If you don't, Finale may behave oddly in regard to spacing - - e.g., say you've perfected page 2 and gone on editing for a few pages and then take another look at pg.2- - you may or may not find that your careful work has been undone by Finale's undocumented "Random Chaos Generator" Confusedso that notes are jammed into each other, here and there - - but not everywhere.. If you turn off "allow independent time signatures" in the individual parts after they've been extracted, this doesn't seem to happen. 

Stephen Siegel
New York City

MacPro (4.1) dual-quad Xeon @ 2.9.3 Ghz
24GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
2 960 GB OWC E2 Mercury Accelsior SSDs one dedicated to samples and the other partitioned into a partition for samples and a part ion for apps and files.
MOTU 2408 MK III (PCIe)

MacBook Pro with 2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo
4GB RAM; OS 10.8.5
MOTU 828
Firmtek/Seritek 2SM2-E Express Card SATA adapter.

Logic 9.1.6.; Finale 2011
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