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Garritan right choice?

Postby EnumeratingW7 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:14 am

I've been strongly considering purchasing Garritan in the future but I'm a lot more familiar with music tracking. My question is, hypothetically, could I use/export samples in a way to work with a music tracker? If anything else I'll suck it up but basically I'd like to be able to have the music play with mikmod.
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Re: Garritan right choice?

Postby SysExJohn » Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:44 am

Afraid I'm not familiar with "music trackers" at all, although I understand they were a precursor to MIDI sequencers.

GPO5 is a sample library, the sounds of which are 'realised' by a sample player (included) called ARIA. The way the samples are played is controlled by an associated 'code' file which is 'marked up' using a specification known as SFZ. It is more usual to 'play' GPO5 from a MIDI sequencer or via notation software.
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Re: Garritan right choice?

Postby EnumeratingW7 » Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:39 pm

Sounds like the idea I have would be plausible. For a tracker you basically load a sample (usually .wav/raw) and assign it to an instrument. That instrument can have multiple samples. You could somewhat recreate a midi environment (make instrument 00 Acoustic Grand, 41 String Ensemble, etc.) but the main reason is the tracker workflow is a lot faster for me. Considering keyboard is anything but my primary instrument of choice.

TLDR: Thanks for the info!
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Re: Garritan right choice?

Postby Credo » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:54 am

EnumeratingW7 wrote:I've been strongly considering purchasing Garritan in the future but I'm a lot more familiar with music tracking. My question is, hypothetically, could I use/export samples in a way to work with a music tracker? If anything else I'll suck it up but basically I'd like to be able to have the music play with mikmod.


The answer is both yes and no.

First, keep in mind that many mod crafting suites only like 8 bit 'mono' samples. The stuff in today's plugin based samplers and synths are typically going to be stereo 16, 24, or even 32 bit samples. They're going to be pretty large, and you'll end up converting or 'resampling' them down to lower bit-rates in order to work in a MOD package anyway. For the record, when I say 'resample', I mean setting up things so that you can somehow 'trigger' the sound from its native plugin interface while 'recording' a new sample as it streams out of the plugin's software bus, or from an audio-card's output(s).

If your mod creation software does not have a way to trigger sounds via MIDI (or a plugin protocol such as VST), then you cannot directly play back the sounds in Garritan libraries. Most of the sound libraries these days rely on a 'plugin' interface (I.E. VSTi) to trigger its sounds. The sounds can be both sample, and synth based. A MIDI or VST DAW/Sequencer can take advantage of many plugin sub-routines besides simply playing back 'samples'. One can manipulate things like key velocity, after-touch, and continuous controller messages (wheels, breath sensors, voltage pedals, pots, faders, etc.) in order to change how the samples are played back 'in real time'. I.E. One could assign a filter in ARIA that reacts to a CC message that will apply a filter and adjust its resonance settings in real time (I.E. change the timber of a trumpet sample so it would be brighter if played at higher velocities, and more mellow if played at lower velocities).

While the 'samples' that Garritan libraries use are not 'heavily encrypted', they are altered enough in random places that it would be a major headache to try to extract them directly from your hard-drive and use them in other software and retain the full quality of the sample set. There are routines in the ARIA player itself to fix the sample distortions, and that is how Plogue chose to allow sound designers such as Garritan to protect their libraries. Once you drag the proper 'registration' card into the ARIA player...the corresponding SFZ markup is fully supported, and any morphing of the copy protected raw sample set is corrected live during playback (usually it's just minor things like intentional detuning, shifting some samples out of phase, etc, but you as the user will have no idea where to look and how to fix it manually in sample editor...plus it would take you ages to fix by hand even if you did). Of course ARIA can also play back 'unencrypted' instruments (WAV, AIF, mp3, flac, etc.)...but the stuff that comes with Garritan libraries will need a registration card/key.

Other 'plugin' based libraries, such as SAM, Vienna, East-West, etc...also tend to encrypt/lock down/alter the raw samples so it is difficult if not impossible to extract them directly from the disk-drive and use them elsewhere. Such libraries might rely on engines such as ARIA, Kontakt, Omsiphere, Mach, Halion, or even a custom proprietary plugin (such as SONiVOX). Like with ARIA/Garritan...you'd need to 'resample' their outputs and make your own samples for using in something like mlkmod.

It is possible to load up something like Garritan's ARIA player, Kontakt, Halion 5, Mach 2, Omsiphere, MPC Essentials, Groove Agent, Maschine, etc...and 'render' new samples directly from its audio output(s) into whatever wav, aif, mp3, ogg, or flac samples your mod creation software can use. You could then slice/dice and import these user created samples into a mod.

Having said all this, it's probably overkill to invest in plugin-centric sound libraries unless you intend to use them with a nice DAW, Scoring Application, MIDI sequencer, or play them live with MIDI controllers (key-boards, MPC units, Windjammers, etc.).

If you want to keep working with mod makers for fun, you might be better off looking for 'raw sample sets' (do a web search, there are still some providers out there of raw/unencrypted sample-sets), browsing the web for free/shared samples, and visiting musician friends who have nice plugins or keyboards to play with and build your own sample collection. You could grab 'demos' of plugin based libraries and see if the whole 'resampling' process that you'd need to go through to keep working with 'mod' containers is worth it. Also, don't underestimate your basic 'personal microphone and hand held recorder' for creating a personal sample library that can bring 'old school' MOD creating to life.

These days one can get into a nice DAW that is very stable and well supported for as little as $60. Reaper (Open and Powerful) and MixCraft (Nice sound libraries included + easy to learn and use) are good examples of low-cost suites that offer hard-core 'pro features' at entry level prices. There are also a number of relatively low cost suites targeted at mobile devices such as CuBasis by Steinberg (Lean DAW for mobile devices), and iMPC (Make your iPad or iPhone into a 'touch screen MPC') by AKAI. Again, they come with considerable sound libraries, aren't all that expensive, and may even provide some support for third-party plugins like ARIA. Getting grounded in a more modern platform also opens the doors to free speech/song morphing/cyber-deva-singing tools as well (Such as the ARIA based AlterEgo).

Also, since you've stated that 'keyboards' aren't exactly your cup of tea...you might be interested in looking at some of the MPC kits out there. AKAI has quite a number of low cost MPC kits that come with pretty good software for the money. Native Instruments has the award winning Maschine Series, and these are just a few examples. These MPC concept controllers are a good deal less expensive than a full 'keyboard' layout, yet you still get a responsive 'user interface' to play music right into your PC, and remotely control software.
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