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Advice on mixing piano, strings and pads into a New Agey piece needed!

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Re: Advice on mixing piano, strings and pads into a New Agey piece needed!

Postby ulrichburke » Sun May 31, 2020 7:46 pm

Dear Everyone.

OK, here's the result of 2 days work. It sure doesn't sound like it. Everything's SLIGHTLY outta synch with everything else soundwise, even though it's all perfectly lined up on the screen. The strings have a ghastly habit of not starting at the start of the note, if you follow me, they start a FRACTION of a second AFTER where the note is on the screen which means you're constantly teasing the notes back and forth so the SOUNDS are lined up aurally, not just the notes visually. In self-defence that seems to be a MIDI thing, not a DAW thing, the one and only time I tried to use Logic I hit exactly the same problem with Logic notation - the notes can be lined up perfectly but the sounds are a tiny fraction out. (Same plugins as I use in Quick Score Elite, mainly Edirol Orchestral, a ton of soundfonts, Proteus VX, Chrysalis VST Synth, Korg M1 and Korg Wavestation Emulators.)

I tried quantization but it just sounds like the gears aint quite meshing. I don't know why.

My DAW's Quick Score Elite Level 2. The one the world's not heard of! I know it's not one of the big boy ones but honestly, all notation packages seem to share these problems. Even the notation parts of Cubase and Logic. Don't know why. They're all absolute nightmares to line up sounds in, as opposed to visually where the notes start. Every so often quantization works like a dream and those are the ones I keep. But quantization's far more miss than hit.

I've forgotten who asked me to rewrite the string parts - please, can I just leave them as they are for now, till I've learned how to line up what I've got accurately?

If anyone knows the secret of making a sound start WHERE the note is as opposed to a tiny fraction of a second AFTER where the note is so you're not forever teasing notes back and forth on staves to try to line the sounds up, I'd love to know. For the record, you're right, this try does still suck elephant eggs through pipettes. They all do. I've got a truckload of tracks with these problems, composition aside. I'd be happy if it was Three Blind Mice with all the sounds lined up accurately, sounding OK to send off to a kids' album somewhere.

My computer's a PC but I don't think that's the problem because soundfonts line up fine, the Korg M1 and Wavestation are easy to line up (they're a LEETLE out but I know how to handle it) Edirol's OK with its piano, it's the strings that are the problem - but I don't know how to make any other strings sound as good as Edirol's outta the box.

If anyone knows Edirol and knows what I've missed seeing in how to use it/set sounds up in it, tell me. I'm open to all suggestions about everything right now. I like to think my compositions are passable on the whole, it's the sounds/mixing that's the nightmare.

Yet every so often, one golden piece goes right. And it's the memory of those that keeps me going.

The new effort's HERE....

https://soundcloud.com/ulrichburke/wher ... -here-mk-2

Feel free to laugh at it, I sure have been, it's either that or you cry, isn't it!

Yours respectfully and hopefully, with thanks to all in advance,

Chris.
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Re: Advice on mixing piano, strings and pads into a New Agey piece needed!

Postby ulrichburke » Sun May 31, 2020 7:48 pm

Sorry - forgot this sentence - I like writing my own pieces from scratch, not using loops and stuff. I know how to line up loops but I just don't like 'em, I'd sooner do everything the old fashioned way, blobs on sticks on staves. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe modern VSTs just aren't designed to be used like that. I dunno.

Yours respectfully (again!)

Chris.
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Re: Advice on mixing piano, strings and pads into a New Agey piece needed!

Postby Logarhythm » Sun May 31, 2020 8:30 pm

It's a long time since I've used Orchestral, but I think there is a little "Edit" button next to each voice? If you go into there you can adjust the attack, release etc for the instruments individually.
To me it sounds like the strings start on the note, but they have a relatively slow attack so they reach full volume a bit afterwards, and as a result it sounds like they're slightly offset. If you reduce the attack time through the edit panel you should be able to sort this fairly easily :thumbup:
You may find that sometimes you end up using two (or more) copies of string sounds; one you've tweaked like this to give a faster attack, and another with a slower attack for more gentle chord backing etc. Take a bit of fiddling but I remain of the opinion that it's not a bad bit of software for its age.
From memory when you go to the menu where you can choose the type of ensemble you want (symphony orchestra, piano concerto, string quartet etc) each one has a short demo to show you what it can do if you spend a long time getting to know it! (Opening bars of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, and possibly Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 are in there somewhere, IIRC).
I don't know of you saw the link that I posted earlier for a free copy of the Spitfire BBC Symphony Orchestra thing - that would give you some slightly more modern orchestral type sounds at no cost too.
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Re: Advice on mixing piano, strings and pads into a New Agey piece needed!

Postby ulrichburke » Sun May 31, 2020 10:23 pm

Dear Logarhythm.

I know you did and it's very kind of you and I'll give them a go when I've got a LEETLE more confidence about these pieces of mega-software with ten thousand buttons on which expect you to understand the function of each and every one before you can get a decent note out of them!

Thanks to you, I've discovered something I've never understood before - Attack works in reverse for some extraordinary reason, doesn't it. I mean I'd been moving it in the plus direction because, logically, you'd think that attacking something more would be hitting it harder (I know it's strings but you know what I mean!) which would mean the sound started earlier. It doesn't, does it. It works the other ways around. Turning it to the MINUS makes the sound start earlier....

Why!?! Where's my logic gone wrong? Surely if you attack something MORE you hit it harder, no? Not LESS!

Now all I've got to do (HAH!!) is to re-align all the strings properly that I've been tweaking about all day and see if I can actually get accurate start times out of them. For the first time in all the years I've been using that thing!

If I do that, and put up a new version, would you feel able to criticise the mix and tell me what else I need to do to it? Once I understand it for this, surely I'll be able to use the same knowledge for all the other pieces I've done using Edirol? No? There's enough of them!

It's 11pm here now so I'm calling it a night - I've been having a Grand Sulk for the last couple of hours before seeing your post. I'm no stranger to Grand Sulks over software that sits there laughing at me!

Fancy MINUS attack being MORE accurate. I'd never have thought of it that ways around. Whoever invented THAT backwards!?!

Yours respectfully

Chris.
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Re: Advice on mixing piano, strings and pads into a New Agey piece needed!

Postby ulrichburke » Sun May 31, 2020 10:44 pm

Dear Logarhythm.

Have just been to the site and filled in the questionnaire, they'll be sending my link for the orchestra in 2 weeks.

Will post my next effort at this piece in the morning, for your (and others'!) hilarity. Er - delectation!

Yours respectfully - still don't get why 'attack' is backwards but at least I understand it now -

Chris.
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Re: Advice on mixing piano, strings and pads into a New Agey piece needed!

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun May 31, 2020 11:15 pm

Rather than think of the +/- as an 'attack' thing, think of it as a 'time' thing, minus moves the attack forward in time, + makes it later?
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Re: Advice on mixing piano, strings and pads into a New Agey piece needed!

Postby ulrichburke » Sun May 31, 2020 11:36 pm

I'm glad I found this site. You're right, Sam Spoons, that IS the way to look at it. I just hadn't thought of it like that before.

If I 'ad a brane, I'd be Dangermouse....!!

New version in the morning - got a neighbour with 'I Luv my Mum' and a big heart easily fitting on the SAME BICEP to think about at this time of night!

Yours respectfully

Chris.
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Re: Advice on mixing piano, strings and pads into a New Agey piece needed!

Postby ulrichburke » Mon Jun 01, 2020 2:37 pm

Dear Sam Spoons and everyone else.

OK. I've redone the piece following the info. about the strings I got given and I think it's sounding better, thanks to you guys.

Not perfect, but definitely better. Thanks to you, it's the best I've gotten anything for awhile.

If any of you are still feeling able to help with my quest for knowledge(!) the new version's here....

https://soundcloud.com/ulrichburke/one- ... -you-smile

and I'd LOVE to know what to do to it next. I've left it as it is because I wanted to take it step-by-step, from what people here tell me, and once I understand how to get this one right I'll be able to visit the on-hard-drive graveyard where lieth my last 150 efforts - if not more - and start getting some of them right too!

That's the dream, anyway.

So if anyone tells me what to do next, it will be done. I'm not saying it's perfect, it's not, but I think it's a couple of paces better than it was, thanks to all of you.

Hopefully I'll hear back from someone

Looking forwards to it

Yours respectfully

Chris.
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Re: Advice on mixing piano, strings and pads into a New Agey piece needed!

Postby ulrichburke » Mon Jun 01, 2020 2:42 pm

Sorry, forgot to say.

Went to the site for the free strings software. Filled in a questionnaire and now I have to wait 2 weeks(!!) to get the E_mail with the download link in. So I WILL be getting them - thanks for the head's up on that - then of course I'll have to learn how to use them. And if my efforts at learning East West are anything to go by.....

I just hope this package is easier than East West. Which now sits on a spare hard drive in disgrace, it spent 4 months giving me the horse laugh whenever I tried to make ANY instrument sound the way I wanted it and I put hours into trying to get them sounding right. Couldn't do it. Loads of others online could, me - nope. Haven't given up on East West, just waiting for the lockdown to finish so I can have a teacher over (if I can find one in my locale) to hopefully show me how to use the package.

Why can't they all be like Edirol? I mean at the end of the day we're composers, not computer scientists, no?

Yours respectfully (again)

Chris.
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