Friday, July 1, 2011

Fermata Friday: Make Your Orchestral Mock Ups Pop

Often times when using Finale (or other notation software for that matter) you’ll want to have some kind of audio mock up of whatever project you’re working on. Whether its to send to someone you’re working with, give your musicians something to listen to when learning the music or you just can’t afford to get a recording of your piece with a full orchestra. 

Problem is, how do you get your steller sounding piece to pop a little bit more then the dinky built in finale midi playback? One way would be to use Finales Play through audio units function. This allows you to use programs like Garritan, Aria, VSL and Kontact to generate the audio for your piece. While this can sound pretty good, there are still features missing that could give your mock-up a little extra shine, such more control over mixing, automation, plug-ins, humanization and adding any audio. 

A way to get a little more bang for your buck with your playback in Finale is to export the midi information in Finale and import it into another program, in this case we’re going to use logic. 

To export your midi information from Finale go to the save as... in the File menu and save as a Standard Midi File.

Once you’ve got your .mid file fire up Logic. Open up a new project and click on Import in the file menu. Find your .mid file and click Import. Heres where the fun begins. It’ll import all the midi tracks into Logic and try to assign them to the closest possible instrument in the Logic sample libraries. Depending on what AU generator you’re going to use what you do next will vary. If you’re planning on using different AU generators for different sounds then go track by track and assign the the AU generator you’d like to use on each track and then add plug-ins, quantize and do whatever else you’d do in a typical logic session.


If you’re planning on using the same AU generator for all your tracks however the procedure is going to be a little different. Its a little different depending on which plug-in you use, wether its Kontakt, Aria, VSL, East West etc etc, but the basic principal is the same. First import your .mid file like before but now instead of individually assigning generators create a new software instrument. Select multi-timbral (THIS IS IMPORTANT) and then tell Logic how many tracks you’d like it to create.

Now on the first track that Logic creates select your AU generator and assign each instrument to a separate midi channel (1,2,3...or 1-2,3-4,5-6 if you’re using stereo) in the AU interface. The next thing you want to do is go to mixer view and click on the plus sign at the bottom of the track that your AU is on. This creates aux tracks in your mixer so you can deal with each instrument inside the AU individually when you mix.

From there its Logic as usual.

-by LC Tech Blog contributor Marcus Bagala


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