Need help with Dimension Pro, again!

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mlc
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2006/02/10 10:15:21 (permalink)

Need help with Dimension Pro, again!

I've been able to modify a lot of parameters and include CC commands for expression and modulation for several samples. Thanks B rock for the information!

But even after reading about envelopes and all the different things you can do, I cannot manage to do what I think is a simple thing: extend the duration or sustain of notes in some instruments. I'm talking about saxes and trumpets, the notes don't sustain long enough! I tried creating a loop in the amplitude envelope, all I get is a boxed area in the amplitude curve with a letter "L" but it doesn't change anything. Yes, the envelope is turned "ON". Also tried increasing the length of the flat portion of the amplitude curve (sustain) but I don't notice any difference whatsoever.

This is not related to DMPro, but are there any recommended settings for expression pedals? I just got one, and I set the controller to send CC11 low value=60 and high=127, because otherwise, I goes down to 0 and the sound disappears. The only thing is that I still feel that the transition in volume is kind of abrupt from very low to loud. If the pedal is all the way back the volume is 60, if I step on it just a little, it jumps to 90 or 100. It is not broken because if I move it very slowly it transitions nicely, but is kind of difficult to have this kind of control with your foot, I'm not that delicate. I may need to get use to it. I got a Yamaha FC7 pedal which feels very sturdy and heavy.

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    b rock
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/10 13:09:58 (permalink)
    Oh, I just saw this, Mike. I really can't go into sufficient detail right now, but let me post something to get you started. Let me know if this does or doesn't do it, and I'll expand on it later.

    You have to keep an eye on the time scale in Dimension's envelopes. The default window size is 1000 milliseconds. Just one second total for the entire envelope to complete. You may not be dragging your "flatline" sustain out long enough. Use your mouse scroll wheel (there's another shortcut method; I'm not in front of my DAW) to resize the scale over which the EG develops. Drag out the scale (the apparent size of the envelope will "shrink"), and then try extending the sustain level. I hope this does the trick for you.

    Expression pedals are fussy. I've got Roland EV-5's here, and I'm not exactly thrilled with the resolution. You see, the actual quality and taper of the potentiometer in the pedal is going to determine how the pedal acts on a "full sweep". By setting a minimum level (with an adjacent pot on the side, I assume), you're effectively reducing the "throw" of the main expression output. Try this: If your host program allows for MIDI FX loading, go to Tencrazy and download the MFX CC Map plugin. Then use your physical expression pedal at full throw, and set the high and low limits within the plugin. Expression is CC#11, so you can leave the plugin's input settings at full with that CC, and set the output limits in the output section (same CC#). Uncheck the Pass-Thru option.

    There's another possibilty: The MIDI message 'expression' is meant to act as a percentage of the main synth volume, which is determined by CC#7. The two act together: CC#7 for the main level, and CC#11 as a fine control of that main volume message. Let me check into this for the Dimension specifics when I get home. You could also limit the expression range within an .sfz file by editing the text, but I don't want to suggest that as a answer just yet. Let's try to keep the solution simple.
    HTH
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    mlc
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/10 14:20:11 (permalink)
    Thanks B, that's got to be the problem, I need to adjust the envelope window to extend beyond 1 second. However, the default sound lasts more than one second, so how can that be? And how do you loop a segment of the envelope? I am trying to do this in the amplitude envelope because that's what sounds logical to me, am I right?

    Regarding the pedal, it doesn't have a pot on the side to adjust, I adjusted the min and max in the Remote Template Editor. Would that MFX CC do anything different than this? I tried both CC7 and CC11 but they both seem to do the same thing.

    By the way, I've found more glitches in some of the instruments, for example the alto sax has a few notes that have a scratchy noise, I think is the low G, but I've found similar things in other instruments. I hope the 1.1 release fixes some of these issues. Where can I report this problems? Rene, do you have any information on this??

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    b rock
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/10 15:18:54 (permalink)
    Gee, Mike: I just thought of something else. If you don't have an amplitude envelope set, the "hidden" A-EG takes over. Read some more about it [here]. More specific information on the Release portion of an EG can be found [here].

    Tell you what: give me the names of a few specific default programs that you're adjusting, and let me see what I can dig up when I arrive home. The EG might be overridden in the .sfz file, or controlled by velocity; I don't know. We'll have a look. Here's something to also consider: The Note On is transmitted when you press a key on the KB, and that starts the envelope. A Note Off (of one kind or another) is transmitted when you let go of a keyboard key. That's the point where the "release" portion of an envelope begins.

    In between, it can be longer than a second, because you're still holding on to a key. Depending on a combination of settings, you can override this behavior in many synths, and have the envelope "triggered". That is, play through its entirety no matter what you do after a Note On. I'm at a disadvantage without having everything right in front of me, so you're getting the the answer from memory.

    No, I don't think that adding the MIDI FX plugin will do anything differently than your Remote Template Editor. I should've caught that (forgot about your Remote already!). Once again, let this one simmer with me, and I'll see what shakes out.

    As for 'erratic' samples, you could report your findings [here] to Cakewalk's Feature Request line, or perhaps write to Support at RGC:Audio [here]. But, believe me, if it has anything to do with Dimension, Rene has already read the thread and made mental note of the contents. A couple of things that I mentioned in the original Dimension were corrected in DimPro, and I'm sure that process continued with the 1.1 update.

    Hey, man: you just went Bronze on your post count.
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    Paradroid
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/10 15:34:55 (permalink)
    The EG might be overridden in the .sfz file

    AFAIK, it's the other way. It would make sense for the settings on the GUI to override any inbuilt ampeg_attack / ampeg_release, etc. (or eg01_time0, if you're brave enough!) definitions in the sfz file. This way, Dimension can default to whatever is in the sfz until the user takes over with the GUI. I could be wrong of course 'cause this is an area where my homework book isn't up to date.
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    Paradroid
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/10 15:39:06 (permalink)
    I've got Roland EV-5's here, and I'm not exactly thrilled with the resolution.

    Double take… Got any “get off the computer and pick up a solder iron” tips then, B? My chiropractor doesn't like what my manual, foot-controlled, curve-compensation technique is doing to my spine…
    post edited by Paradroid - 2006/02/11 06:35:47
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    b rock
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/10 16:30:55 (permalink)
    AFAIK, it's the other way
    You're probably right, Dale. That's why I hate to post "answers" without being able to check them back first. Grasping at straws for any possible cause.
    Got any “get off the computer and pick up a solder iron” tips then, B?

    Theere's the schematic. There's *a little* background info [here]. I don't see why you couldn't replace that linear-taper pot with a log. Maybe even a "hotter" one with an audio taper. It's about time that I solved this myself, too. How hard can it be? I've got a collection of potentiometers at home that I can weed through. For critical work at the moment, I use an ancient Anatek Pocket Pedal inline with MIDI, and control it from a cast-iron volume pedal that I customized (salvaged) for this purpose.

    They used to have a metal version of the EV-5. Hmm ... EV-10? I know that there's an EV-7 out there with a "30% greater throw". Better taper for expression? I'll never find out at a $150 US street price. C'mon. It's a freakin' pot and a lever.
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    b rock
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/10 16:41:04 (permalink)
    Why are we driving ourselves crazy here? Why can't we just use a CC#11 as a Source in the MIDI Matrix and let it control an appropriate level parameter in a program? Set the Depth where you need it (positive or negative), and use the Smooth function to control the "taper" of the pedal.

    Once again, I'm away, and shooting this one from the hip. It'll be a while before I can verify whether or not something's amiss with this approach, but I could kick just myself. This is a variation on the "Leslie" answer that I gave to Mike earlier.

    Can't see the forest for the trees, sometimes ...
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    mlc
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/10 16:43:51 (permalink)
    Hey, man: you just went Bronze on your post count.


    Woohoo! what's that? more than 50 posts?

    Thanks B rock, I think I understand very well now the ADSR components thanks to the links you sent me. I'm not talking about extending the release time. As you said, with most sounds the sound starts when you press the key (note on) and stops when you release (note off). However, some sounds in Dimension stop before releasing the key, this is completely acceptable for percussive instruments, piano, guitar, etc. But for winds... I know that most people cannot blow for more than 30 to 60 seconds (although some can with the circular breathing technique). However, this sounds only lasts I guess about 10-15 seconds.
    Just try the alto sax solo program (the same happens with the tenor sax and trumpets). The sound plays for a few seconds and stops before you release the key. I just want the sound to stop when I release the key, not before.

    Thanks for all your help, it's a steep learning curve for me, but some things are starting to sink in.

    Mike



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    Paradroid
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/10 19:28:29 (permalink)
    There's the schematic.

    Never fails to deliver, does B.I soldered some proper Nuetrik plugs and Canare cable into mine ages ago but never tweaked the pots. I'll do some reading… Thanks for the link. Didn't know there was a metal EV-5 variant. That creaky piece of plastic was more expensive than any kids toy I ever bought (and less fun in many ways, too.)

    Your second suggestion sounds good, too. That smooth function is good un, esp. on volume changes.
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    b rock
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/10 20:32:44 (permalink)
    Just try the alto sax solo program
    OK, I'm with you on this one, Mike. (BTW: Call me Tom if you'd like. That forum tag is just a variation on my last name. My friends call me either one; I'll answer to both.)

    Mark this on the calendar, Mike, but I'm stuck. I can't seem to get the overall envelope to lengthen no matter what I try. I keep feeling like I'm missing something. Couldn't get it to Sustain/Loop Point, or lengthen the envelope, or use the "hidden" A-EG as a workaround, Nothing in the .sfz indicates an "override" to me (as I speculated wrongly earlier).

    What I haven't tried yet is to open it up in an audio editor, and see if anything peculiar pops up. Like some set loop points in the .wav file itself that might explain things. Here's two reasons why I think that this is 'locked' into the samples themselves. If you play middle C, and transpose up *almost* two octaves, the sample length will shorten. I haven't measured exactly, but transposing down *almost* one octave (there's limits in range set in the .sfz file) doesn't seem to lengthen the sample greatly, if at all.

    The other thing is that if you swap out just the sax multisample, but leave all of the Element settings in place (including the envelope), the program plays through as you would expect. That is, no arbitrary limit on sustain time. Try one of the Wavetable or Organ .sfz's (loaded from the second slot down: Multisample), and you'll see what I mean. This one has me stumped, but that just makes me all the more determined to find the answer. Hey, Ive been wrong before.

    Edit: One more piece of evidence. You can try this on the Remote. One of my 'extreme testing' procedures is to change MIDI transmit channels in the middle of an note in progress. You hit a note (Note On), and hold it. When you change to another MIDI channel, this 'severs' the Note Off from the the Note On(s) that's playing. It *should* result in a stuck note. It doesn't here; the sax still dies off. Using a sustain pedal message (CC#64) effectively extends the Note Off until you release the foot-controlled switch. That doesn't work here, either.

    Listen, man, I have a real tendency to overload these answers in order to cover everything completely, so don't be hesitant to tell me to back it off a notch, or slow down. Hey, there is a real learning curve involved, especially when you're trying to absorb it all at once, and figure out how this thing affects that. I've just been doing this for a while, and I'm no different than you are. Give it a little while & effort, and you'll be answering the next question here with what you've learned.

    Dale, I didn't get to the "pot" collection yet, but I'd guess that taper is going to play a larger role than exact resistance. Within reasonable tolerance, anyway. I wonder if the controller plays a role. I mean, it's expression, so all controllers' output jacks *should* be three lug, but now I think twice about it. I'll get back to you on that. In the meantime, though, that Smooth thing (detailed above) really does the trick.
    post edited by b rock - 2006/02/10 21:33:33
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    mlc
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/10 21:50:12 (permalink)
    Mark this on the calendar, Mike, but I'm stuck. I can't seem to get the overall envelope to lengthen no matter what I try. I keep feeling like I'm missing something. Couldn't get it to Sustain/Loop Point, or lengthen the envelope, or use the "hidden" A-EG as a workaround, Nothing in the .sfz indicates an "override" to me (as I speculated wrongly earlier).


    Thanks for checking Tom, I don't know much but I usually can figure out this kind of things. That makes me feel a little better, I was starting to think I was the only one experiencing this. But I got you on this one You always have an answer for everything. I'll keep trying but my knowledge is limited. Please let me know if you find a solution.

    I hope Rene is taking notes as you said

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    lfm
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 05:46:13 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: mlc
    However, this sounds only lasts I guess about 10-15 seconds.


    Well, are you really playing the sax like a sax then, if 10 seconds is not enough. I don't think I ever heard 10 second single notes from a sax.

    It sounds a bit like you try to play it like an organ.

    There are ways to fool the system by setting loop points for the sample, making it repeat forever as long as you hold down your key. But they have to be set precise not to be noticed that it's a repeat. And it's difficult to do as the tone fluctuates and decays, but it can be done.
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    mlc
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 06:37:34 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: lfm


    ORIGINAL: mlc
    However, this sounds only lasts I guess about 10-15 seconds.


    Well, are you really playing the sax like a sax then, if 10 seconds is not enough. I don't think I ever heard 10 second single notes from a sax.

    It sounds a bit like you try to play it like an organ.

    There are ways to fool the system by setting loop points for the sample, making it repeat forever as long as you hold down your key. But they have to be set precise not to be noticed that it's a repeat. And it's difficult to do as the tone fluctuates and decays, but it can be done.



    Well, I was in my office when I typed that, but now I tried it at home and is more like 5 seconds. You are probably right 10 or 15 seconds should be long enough, but 5 seems to short. Believe me I'm not trying to play like an organ, I listen to a lot of jazz and when I try to play sax parts from standard jazz tunes, mainly slow tempo tunes, the sound gets cut off too early.

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    techead
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 07:46:56 (permalink)
    I don't think you'll be able to lengthen sustain on the sax patches because the actual sax multisamples do not have any loop points defined. The waveforms are strictly "one-shot" and play from beginning to end then stop. I checked on this by loading some of the multisamples individually into Sony Sound Forge.

    You could attempt to create loop points using a tool like Sound Forge and save the resulting .wav file back over the original (or better yet, copy the .sfz file and make new .wav files and modify your new .sfz file to reference the new looped .wav files).

    -Techead
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    mlc
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 08:51:41 (permalink)
    Thanks Techhead,

    I don't have SoundForge or any other wave editing tool. I just have Sonar 5 PE. Anyway, that sounds more complicated than what I wanted to do. I'll probably set the loop points incorrectly and make it sound unnatural. Also, I presume that there is a lot of wave files for each instrument. That's too much time, I shoud get back to playing music instead of tweaking software... But thanks for checking!


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    René
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 08:54:08 (permalink)
    Why are we driving ourselves crazy here? Why can't we just use a CC#11 as a Source in the MIDI Matrix and let it control an appropriate level parameter in a program? Set the Depth where you need it (positive or negative), and use the Smooth function to control the "taper" of the pedal.


    This is not needed. CC7 (Volume) and CC11 (Expression) are 'hardwired', so they work without any MIDI Matrix assignment in Dimenison Pro.


    But even after reading about envelopes and all the different things you can do, I cannot manage to do what I think is a simple thing: extend the duration or sustain of notes in some instruments.


    You can't extend samples using EGs. You can extend how long they play once you release the key, or cut those to an 'early' point, but you cannot 'create' new information in samples, assuming they are unlooped.

    Several samples in Dimension Pro (sax samples, for instance), are unlooped. they last as long as the real sax player could resist breathing and keeping the pitch on a note. This gives you long samples, which make a lot for increased realism. As the wave files are external, it is still possible to create a looped version of any instrument, using a wave editor and... patience.



    -René
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    b rock
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 09:00:23 (permalink)
    This is not needed. CC7 (Volume) and CC11 (Expression) are 'hardwired', so they work without any MIDI Matrix assignment in Dimenison Pro.
    I did realize that, Rene, but what we were after was a way to effectively change the "response" or "taper" of what the physical expression pedal was sending. As if it were a velocity message, and modified by a tracking generator or a set of velocity curves. That's where the MIDI Matrix came in, so that we could use the Smooth function for modification.
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    mlc
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 11:01:11 (permalink)
    Thanks for explaining Rene,

    Please don't think I'm criticizing the sax sounds, they sound very natural and is probably because they are not looped, I love the velocity layers too. I just wanted to extend the length of the notes a little bit.

    By the way, any idea when the other Garritan libraries for Dimension will come out? first or second half of the year?

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    René
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 13:33:24 (permalink)
    I did realize that, Rene, but what we were after was a way to effectively change the "response" or "taper" of what the physical expression pedal was sending.


    Ah uh sorry. I see it now. Tweaking a performance control set can be tricky, I have done it for many artists. There's no global solution, but based on what I've seen I can offer the following two tricks. Note that #1 is sfz-intermediate grade, but #2 is meganerd hypertweaker only.

    #1 Expression volume range is too high.
    I think this might be all you need to do. As per default, the expression pedal has a range from -inf to 0dB. That's too much for most applications: in general, the Expression pedal isn't used to totally nuke the sound, but to lower the volume by N dB. Here's the first trick you need to do:

    1- Locate a file called DefaultRegion.sfz in your installation folder.
    2- Backup it. As we'll edit it, we might cause some gacky things if we touch the wrong lines.
    3- Locate the following snippet:

    ...
    volume_oncc127=9
    volume_oncc139=24 / 139 = keyboard scaling (0 ~ 1)
    volume_curvecc139=5
    ...

    4- Add the following line after:

    volume=-36 volume_oncc25=36

    5- Save the file
    6- Move your Expression pedal to CC25, don't touch the mod matrix at all. This would give you an ever-present 36dB expression control on CC25.


    #2 Range is ok, but still need curve tweaking.

    NOTE: I'm over 18 and I'm a meganerd hypertweaker soul. Yes.

    sfz allows you to define curves which deal with how a physical MIDI CC relates to a parameter. Those curves are generated as follows:

    <curve> v000=0 v001=0.01 v002= ..... v127=1

    You have to enter the parameter value (in 0~1 range) for each MIDI value node. Note that you don't have to enter all values, as DP will interpolate between the ones you enter. So

    <curve> v000=0 v0064=0 v127=1

    gives you a zero variation of the parameter in the first 64 MIDI values, and then it grows linearly till full depth. Now, how this adds to the expression control issue:

    1- Locate a file called DefaultEffects.sfz
    2- Locate the following snippet
    ...
    // curves
    <curve> v000=0 v127=0
    <curve> v000=0 v127=0
    <curve> v000=0 v127=0
    <curve> v000=0 v127=0
    <curve> v000=0 v127=0
    <curve> v000=-1 v064=0 v127=1
    ...

    3- Add the following snippet after the last line in the snippet (order is important here, as curves are numbered consecutively)

    <curve> v000=0 v060=0 v127=1

    4- Save the file
    5- Repeat the procedure in #1, but now the line is


    volume=-36 volume_oncc25=36 volume_curvecc25=7

    This attaches the curve we defined to the expression control in CC25.


    Hope this helps. If things go wrong, just reinstate the backups. Remember that you have to reload the Dimension Pro patch after saving the files.
    Happy tweaking.

    -René




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    Paradroid
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 15:53:49 (permalink)
    volume_curvecc25=7

    Thanks for finally touching down on the <curve> section of the spec, René. I did some experiments ages ago and pretty much worked out what was going on. However, I got distracted with all things belonging to <effect> and didn't revisit or confirm my findings.

    So, each curve is enumerated as they're defined, which means since there's 6 curves in DefaultRegion.sfz, the 1st user defined curve starts at 7? Correct?
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    René
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 16:09:02 (permalink)
    So, each curve is enumerated as they're defined, which means since there's 6 curves in DefaultRegion.sfz, the 1st user defined curve starts at 7? Correct?


    Uhuh (ice-cream full mouth).




    -René
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    Paradroid
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 17:44:15 (permalink)
    …and, if you really felt like being an 8-bit control freak, you could plug in a node for all 0 - 127 control values, yeah? And that would mean Dimension doesn't interpolate any values (since they'd all be made explicit by the user)?
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    René
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 17:50:15 (permalink)
    Certainly. A 7-bit control freak that is


    -René
    post edited by René - 2006/02/11 18:14:58
    #24
    Paradroid
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 18:13:15 (permalink)
    Certainly

    Okay, B, where's that graphics tablet? And, fac, how about a .bmp to .sfz convertor?
    #25
    Paradroid
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 18:15:23 (permalink)
    A 7-bit control freak that is

    What's one measly little bit between friends? I guess I have to give back my meganerd club card for that one…
    #26
    b rock
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 20:42:17 (permalink)
    NOTE: I'm over 18 and I'm a meganerd hypertweaker soul. Yes.
    What in the name of Sam Hill happened here while I was out? Here comes this broadside, and I was 7-bits too late for a direct hit.
    Oh, sorry. I meant seven hours.

    As an aside to Mic and his original question: Se what I mean, Mike? You ask a question, people start tossing around answers, the topic gets side-tracked just a bit, and we struggle with some partial solutions. Rene reads it, decides it's time to drop the bomb and give a complete solution, and everyone reaps the benefits. Maybe this .sfz stuff doesn't mean too much to you at the moment, but I know that you're going to come back to this soon and smile.

    Thanks, Rene. The mysterious, alluring <curves>. I'm a great admirer of all types of <curve>s myself. Better than ice cream.
    Still, great food for thought. I assume that you reassigned the expression at the controller level to avoid any potential 'downstream' conflict.
    What's one measly little bit between friends?
    Exactly $0.125 US, Dale. Put it with 1,671 more of them, and you get Rapture delivered to your door (in the US). That, and a couple thousand more ($$$) for a Wacom Cintiq, and I'll be good to go for a while.

    Man, I love upgrade/new release time. That's when all the "leaks" start springing up everywhere.
    #27
    mlc
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 21:28:14 (permalink)
    This thread got way over my head! I'm gonna print it and keep it for future reference.

    Right now, I'm just having too much fun with the presets. This synth is very CPU efficient! I have like 10 instances open with a bunch percussion instruments and other sounds. CPU usage stays very low. Really nice!

    Hey Rene, are you from Argentina? The reason I'm asking is because there were some instruments that I've never heard before like bombo leguero and pezunero and after a Google search I found that they are Argentinean. Coincidence?

    Mike

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    #28
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/11 22:36:41 (permalink)
    Coincidence?

    Not at all.
    #29
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    RE: Need help with Dimension Pro, again! 2006/02/12 06:07:40 (permalink)
    a couple thousand more ($$$) for a Wacom Cintiq

    Mmm, do I really need the >$k version or can I just nab my GFs Wacom Intuous 3 next time she skips town for the weekend? (Also, I assume you've seen this:Tablet 2 MIDI) But, really, I don't plan on drawing anything if I all I need to do is plug in a few nips… er, nodes… to have Dimension interpolate the <curve>s of my dreams…
    #30
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