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Unwanted tremolo effect in GPO and IO

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Unwanted tremolo effect in GPO and IO

Postby G. Randy Brown » Thu Feb 12, 2015 3:14 pm

I opened a 2 year old project recently done in Sonar and at some point I started hearing a strange "tremolo effect" (amplitude change of the signal... modulating the volume up and down in a cyclical manner) going on...not on all tracks but just on Garritan products (Garritan Personal Orchestra and Instant Orchestra).
I thought it must be some kind of FX somewhere but it still happens when disabling all fx (by hitting E) but no luck....and freezing the synths doesn't help.
This project has over 30 synths but it is only 6 (of 7) Garritan tracks affected.
Maybe it is an Aria issue (or maybe nothing to do with Aria or anything Garritan) but wanted to start here and see what feedback I may get (I've already posted in the Sonar forum and got many replies but no solution).
Thanks very much,
Randy
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Re: Unwanted tremolo effect in GPO and IO

Postby Credo » Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:10 am

G. Randy Brown wrote:I opened a 2 year old project recently done in Sonar and at some point I started hearing a strange "tremolo effect" (amplitude change of the signal... modulating the volume up and down in a cyclical manner) going on...not on all tracks but just on Garritan products (Garritan Personal Orchestra and Instant Orchestra).
I thought it must be some kind of FX somewhere but it still happens when disabling all fx (by hitting E) but no luck....and freezing the synths doesn't help.
This project has over 30 synths but it is only 6 (of 7) Garritan tracks affected.
Maybe it is an Aria issue (or maybe nothing to do with Aria or anything Garritan) but wanted to start here and see what feedback I may get (I've already posted in the Sonar forum and got many replies but no solution).
Thanks very much,
Randy


Some questions...
Are you using Aria as rack instrument, with several MIDI tracks communicating with a single instance of Aria? OR...Are you treating it as track instruments where you have several different instances of Aria going?

If you're treating it as a single rack instrument with several MIDI tracks directed to it....what happens if you mute the problem tracks and just make a test track with a simple melody or harmony directed to play in the problem instrument channels? Does your test track have the unwanted 'tremolo effect' as well?

If the problem goes away with your test track, chances are you might have invoked a tremolo key switch in the tracks communicating with your Aria instrument(s), or may have enabled one of the CC controllers that can cause such effects with some instruments.

Quite a few instruments have key switches at the left hand end of the keyboard that can enable such effects as tremolo. These will usually have "KS" somewhere in the instrument/patch name. If you're using the notation version of instruments (prefixed with n-), such switches will always start at midi note 0 (or C-2). Regular versions of the key switched instruments will usually be in the octave just below the normal/realistic range of the actual acoustic version of said instrument.

Just after the unwanted effect happens, stop the sequencer and look at the instrument(s) in Aria. If it is a key-switched instrument....make sure the proper key switch for the sound you want is active. If the wrong key switch is active...fix it and play your sequence again. If it stays put, you're good to go. If it keeps 'changing back to the wrong key-switch' then look for that corresponding midi note in your sequenced track(s) and remove it or change it to the right key-switch.

Some instruments can also have tremolo effects enabled via hidden MIDI controllers.
For an example see page 38 of the GPO4 owner manual.
Hidden Playable Trills/Wider Interval Tremolo Controller, CC#15 (Strings): The Solo String Keyswitch instruments use CC#15 to control an alternative switching system for trills on Keyswitch notes G# and A. The standard Keyswitches (G# thru B) give you control over half-step and whole-step trills, plus their muted counterparts. The CC#15 controller extends trill intervals from a half-step to as wide as a major third using the following:
0-32 = half step
33-64 = whole step
65-96 = minor third
97-127 = major third
There are advanced controls for the various instruments detailed in the following sections.


So...have a look at the problem tracks...
1. Check for unusually low notes in the track which could be serving as an unwanted key switch.
2. Check for CC messages such as CC15 (An optional Garritan Trill/Tremolo switch), or an abnormal amount of rising and falling CC1 (mod wheel, which changes instrument volume with many Garritan instruments), CC11 (expression volume) or CC7 (channel volume) events.

Many DAWs these days also support 'expression maps' for their 'score editing' modes. Such maps can allow you to assign key switches and/or MIDI CC# messages to score symbols. I.E. Dropping a tremolo marking on the score might send a key-switch along with some CC Data. Check for this, and maybe try temporarily disabling any expression maps in your project as a trouble shooting measure.

If things still don't seem right.......try a fresh project with a fresh instance of Aria Player. If you can't duplicate the problem there....chances are there is something set wrong in Sonar, or maybe a corrupted VST preset relative to Aria.

You might consider trying saving a copy of the problem project, and working from a back-up. Take note of your Aria set-up.....close all instance of Aria in the project, save the project, reopen it, and then rebuild your Aria instruments and try it then. I've had it happen before when updating my DAW (CuBase)...some of the VST Presets and templates I was using for Aria were quite old and no longer worked properly after various updates (actually, I've had it happen with VST plugins besides Aria after major updates to my DAW). Rebuilding fresh Aria instances for the project took only a minute and fixed it every time. Just take notes of how you had Aria set up...work from a copy of your project in case you need to go back to the original for reference.

Beyond these suggestions...if none of them help may I suggest you consider making some screen shots of your situation and providing some short rendered/mixed down audio files of what your problem sounds like (use a drop box like google or msn live to build a public link and share it here)? Such information might help the community spot a problem.

Good luck...
Credo
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Re: Unwanted tremolo effect in GPO and IO

Postby G. Randy Brown » Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:15 pm

Thanks so much for your in-depth reply Credo.
I went through all affected tracks looking for any unintended keystrokes and/or controllers but couldn't find any.
I later added new instances of each and copied the older tracks to the new instances and was VERY relieved to hear them all play back fine.
I have no clue what happened but I guess all's well that ends well.
Thanks again for your support,
Randy
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Re: Unwanted tremolo effect in GPO and IO

Postby Credo » Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:47 pm

G. Randy Brown wrote:Thanks so much for your in-depth reply Credo.
I went through all affected tracks looking for any unintended keystrokes and/or controllers but couldn't find any.
I later added new instances of each and copied the older tracks to the new instances and was VERY relieved to hear them all play back fine.
I have no clue what happened but I guess all's well that ends well.
Thanks again for your support,
Randy


Glad it worked out for you.

Now that I think of it...similar has happened to me a few times when opening older projects. It hasn't been something isolated to Aria either...some other VST plugins have suffered a similar fate. It's also interesting that it's happened to me in more than one brand of DAW. So from now on I guess it will save users a bunch of trouble to simply try rebuilding their Aria instances as the first step...then go hunting for key-switches and cc problems in the tracks if that didn't work.

I think that maybe sometimes we apply updates and patches to our DAW systems, or sometimes even to the VST plugin engines themselves, and there might be minor changes or corruptions in the VST Presets that can get scattered all over our hard drive. Typically update installers will scan our systems and 'correct' all the 'changes or corruptions' they can....but things can get missed....particularly with 'project sets' that can also have VST presets embedded in them, and might not even be connected to our systems (I.E. projects stored on an external USB drive) at the time we run the update installer.

So I guess that in the future, should such a problem arise again, it might pay off to try closing plugins and rebuilding them as the first step instead of the last.

Credo
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Re: Unwanted tremolo effect in GPO and IO

Postby G. Randy Brown » Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:41 pm

So I guess that in the future, should such a problem arise again, it might pay off to try closing plugins and rebuilding them as the first step instead of the last.

Good advice Credo...before posting here I had been messing with this for many hours...why it didn't occur to me to try to replace the instances sooner (before I read your post) I don't know...but I'll bet next time it's the first thing I'll try!
That said, after this simple fix I found another issue but this time with Z3ta 2...the patch was changed and for the life of me I couldn't find the same sound as the original recording (may have been a custom patch I made that is stored somewhere on my 4 hard drives)...but maybe it was meant to be because I now own Alchemy and getting some interesting results :lol:
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Re: Unwanted tremolo effect in GPO and IO

Postby G. Randy Brown » Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:42 pm

BTW, THANKS AGAIN!!!!
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