Virtual Playing Orchestra

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telover
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What about the VPO thread? Has it disappeared?
Anyways I have a curiosity for Michael, beside the huge praise for yesterday. Super help.
So. Is it possible to use a instrument from the set in a different project? I have a project in which I use the MDA Piano: if I want to use the piano of the VPO in place of MDA, can I do it?
Thank you again

Michael Willis
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Telover, yes, you can certainly use it. You'll need to learn about the LinuxSampler plugin, which isn't the easiest plugin to use.

You have to add the LinuxSampler plugin to a midi track, and then launch a separate program to configure it. You can either use QSampler or JSampler Fantasia:

https://qsampler.sourceforge.io/qsampler-index.html
http://jsampler.sourceforge.net/

Once you have one of those programs running, add an instrument row, pick GIG format, and find the Maestro Concert Grand that you downloaded for the orchestra template. If you want to use any other instruments from Virtual Playing Orchestra, they are SFZ format, instead of GIG format.

The LinuxSampler plugin has 32 audio outputs, which might seem confusing, but it's just to give you stereo output for all 16 midi input channels. Ardour assumes that it is some crazy surround-sound setup, so in the mixer disable the panner that shows a surround sound diagram.

Once you have your Ardour track working how you want, you can close QSampler or JSampler, save your Ardour project, and you don't have to open the sampler app again for subsequent times that you work on your project.

Alternatively, you might find it easier to import the tracks from your other project into a new project that you create from the template, and then delete the dozens of tracks/busses that you don't need.

telover
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Hi Mich. Damn, I just tried it, playing with the keyboard, and all the system got stuck.
There's something not working correctly. The notes of the various instruments played for seconds, like there's a enormous sustain, then Ardour crashed.

Michael Willis
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I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if the instruments cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

telover
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LOL.
Mich I recorded a pair instruments in the template. Now if I want to export to import them in one of my project, do I have to select cellos and violas (the two I used) and also master and violas bus and cellos bus? Or something else?
I guess I have to export them as wav files and import them in my project, right?

telover
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A couple, a couple. Damn dyslexia

telover
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@Michael: is there any particular manouvre to make to export a track from the template? I made a couple tracks I'd like to try in a project I already have. I saw that in the exporting windows, there are several tracks of each instruments, for example violas, viola pizzicatos, viola busses, and so on, beside master track, 1 row, 2 row...
Until now I only exported a whole project in a .wav and .flac file to check how it sounds.

Also, is the link where to dowload the template still around? I haven't seen it anymore.
Thank you

Michael Willis
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I don't have much experience with the audio side of things, as I'm primarily using ardour as a midi sequencer (after admitting that I would see myself out the door, except that the ardour community is so welcoming and refuses to drive people away)

In particular, I don't know much about the best way to export the audio from individual midi tracks. In this case there is rather elaborate routing (as I've said before, feel free to substitute "insane" for "elaborate") that gives stage presence to each instrument. There is panning and stereo width on the instrument audio busses. Each bus then feeds different volumes directly into the master bus, along with other volumes into a variety of delays and reverb plugins for forward/backward positioning (this is the purpose of the "row" busses).

So yes, you could capture audio from an instrument bus, but you'll lose most of its stage presence, only getting a dry sound with pan and stereo width. You could set a midi track to solo and then export the master, but you would have to repeat that procedure for each instrument that you want to export.

It might be easier to import tracks from your existing project, and then route them to the master and/or concert hall reverb as desired.

https://github.com/michaelwillis/virtual-playing-orchestra-ardour-template

telover
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Thanks Mich. I've noticed. I tried to export a couple tracks from the template, cellos and violas, but with no success. the .wav file is something like 40KB but there's nothing inside.
I say this because I already exported a project without any midi, and it perfectly worked. I made it in several formats, wav, flac, and it's ok.
Then I tried to export another project where I have all audio tracks and one mda piano and, as the one from the template, it didn't export either the audio tracks.
There's the usual wav file empty or so.
Actually i deleted all tracks from the template but violas, cellos, master, and busses.
I think importing the tracks I have in my projects inside the template would be a nonsense, in the way that probably not all the tracks would be needed. So it would be wiser export the needed track(s) time by time.
And I prefer the dry track so I can apply the effect I need in a particular project.

One thing I noted it's if you export to audio files, you have all the tracks in the project, midi included.
But if you stem export the midi track(s) don't appear in the list.
I have to figure out this issue.

paul
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We don't do stem or other exports of MIDI data at present.

telover
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Does it mean that there's no way to export any midi track? If so, it's completely useless to use midi in a project if one can only have a incomplete final product.

paul
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Ardour uses Standard MIDI Format files to store MIDI data. That means that if you export/bounce a region, or just have a region as it was created, it is already in a format that can be used by any other MIDI software. At some point, we will make it easier to make a copy of the file outside the session itself.

There's no clear definition of what a "finished" version of a MIDI project might be. Possibly a multi-track SMF type 1 file, but that's not always what someone would want, and how to get it isn't clear either, especially if there are MIDI plugins in use.

Michael Willis
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If you're most interested in the dry audio from orchestral instruments, you would be way better off learning how to use the LinuxSampler plugin in your own project. Like I said on IRC, using the orchestra template just to get a couple of strings tracks that you can copy into a different project is like trying to trim your nails with a chainsaw. It's just not the right tool for the job!

telover
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In my case, it would be enough having the chance to export the MIDI track which has the mda piano plugin as audio track or anyways with the mda piano sound stored, together the other audio tracks to have the complete song.
Or, taking Michael's VPO, having the chance to export the track(s) with the actual instruments they contains.
In the case of parts played with the keyboard, I could use the signal as audio, instead MIDI, as written in another thread.
This is a major issue for me, I have to check if there's other software which allow me to have a complete product without any sort of limitations.

telover
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Mich your tool is more than useful. I won't always need a couple tracks, or one, or three. I might need a whole ensemble for a tune, and that's where your template comes in great help.
But all the talking is over if Ardour is not yet able to export MIDI tracks in a single tune.

paul
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@telover: you would just bounce the whole track; you'd end up with a single MIDI file, suitable for use anywhere. the only hard part is "finding" it.

paul
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@telover: remember that we don't currently see ardour primarily as a MIDI composition tool. You can use it to do composition, but the end goal is audio, not MIDI. That might change in the future. Or it might not.

telover
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I wonder what might be the use of Michael's work then, just to name one. Having all those stuff useless, at least somebody only wants to listen to them while being in a project.
I this way I should write the audio tracks of a song, record the in Ardour then export and import them inside another daw to write any part I need requesting MIDI. Then export everything as final product: a double work at least.

paul
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Sorry, we just don't see it that way. At least not at the moment.

telover
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Ardour is a great software, but I was wrong paying to support it because of your attitude. I've already read about it in the net, but I have to see things with my own eyes before to judge.
You one line answers are ridiculous. Unfortunately not all are born software or sound engineer and your way to answer clearly sounds bothered by the newbs' question.
Let's think about I have solved my issues following Michael's explanation the other day on irc, and your ten-words answers.
What I wrote in the topic above is logical, since I don't think there are people making music all but with no MIDI signal or whatever you call it.
So if I ask to the dumbs' dumbest "what can I do with some MIDI tracks resembling certain instruments if I cannot export them and use them?" he'd probably give me an articulate answer, explaining me if, what and how I can do it or not.
There are people who are born to teach others, it's a gift one has or hasn't: you might be the best and more god-blessed programmer-engineer-or-what-the-hell-is-it on the earth, but about explaining something you're not on the other page, but on anothe dimension.
My 2 cents.

Michael Willis
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Telover, Paul has put his heart and soul into developing this project for the last 15 years, and not only has he written hundreds of thousands of lines of code, he also manages to be extremely polite to folks who show up on this forum, some of which act rather belligerent and entitled about what features they think Ardour should have. Frankly, transferring tracks between projects isn't a basic use case, let alone doing so from a rather complex project like the orchestra template. Paul doesn't owe it to explain line-by-line everything to everybody showing up in this forum, the more time he spends doing that, the less time he has to manage the development of Ardour.

P.S. How's this for useless: https://instaud.io/KFi#0:00.0 (my first full-length orchestra project, still unfinished and rough draft)

Ilaw
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Ardour is a great software and we must support this project. Left ALL proprietary daws
(as samplitude studio one even reaper) bought for Ardour And mixbus. I have everything i need, PTX import sesions, video, audio of course; Great daw really. Thx for your work Ardour is a mature daw. Works perfectlty on my win10 and Linux.

Ilaw
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For AUDIO, for video, ardour is a GREAT tool. For midi take another one as rosegarden, cubase, logic. As we know them, all daws are specific: some of them are great for audio (samplitude protools) others are better for midi (cubase logic)

Michael Willis
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Funny, after trying several different apps on Linux for midi sequencing, I've found that I'm by far the most happy with Ardour. For a project that purportedly specializes in audio over midi, I still think it's fantastic despite a few hangups and bugs that I've experienced here and there.

telover
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Michael, you should know me by now. I'm far from be belligerant and I never post up any kind of problems.
I was trying to understand how to use your "useless" masterpiece and I've got that answer by Paul. Since it's not the first time, I have the right to be someway annoyed, do I?
Parts of the manual are not yet written, other parts tells you how to do something but don't explain why, how and what.
I love Ardour and I woulnd't like to go to other daws or whatever they are, and I haven't said Paul is obliged to explain everrything to everybody, but it should be decided if Ardour has to be a software for everybody or for just few advanced people.
I think is more than normal if people ask questions, expecially about something which is not so easy. I'm not talking of Ardour in particular, but of all the softwares like it.
For example, for me the greatest characteristic of Ardour is not being forced to use jack. If I open up jack, I'll start to have problems. The machine slows down and at a certain point I have to kill the jackdbus. With Ardour it doesn't happen. I don't know why but it's in this way.
So, since there are these damn MIDIs around, they must be useful for a hypothetic application. For my personal case, they would be useful to write some orchestra parts or piano or whatever it is.
That's why I'm trying to understand how to put up together all the audio parts with the damn midis. And since Ardour doesn't do this, I was asking if I should write and play the midi parts with another software, export as audio and import in Ardour to put them together the other tracks.
Having said all this, I guess you made that track with Ardour using the teplate. How did you do it? I mean exporting. Is it a wav or flac or mp3 or other?

paul
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it should be decided if Ardour has to be a software for everybody or for just few advanced people.

@telover: you have a very specific use-case. I know that from your perspective it seems entirely obvious that want you want do is simple, straightforward and common. That's fair enough. But it is absolutely NOT the case that Ardour is only for "a few advanced people". It just doesn't happen to do the thing that you want to do. That's unfortunate but it doesn't mean that the program is focused on only the needs of a few. You have a legitimate feature request, but generalizing this particular deficit into a broader complaint about Ardour really doesn't seem justified to me.

Michael Willis
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Telover, I think we might not be understanding each other. You mention exporting a midi track, but I think what you are actually asking is how to export the audio. You should be able to do this will a STEM export. Go to the Session Menu, Export, STEM Export. In the STEM Export dialog, choose "Cellos Bus" and "Violas Bus", and export them. The files will end up in your project under the /export directory.

I actually haven't tried STEM exporting an audio bus, but I'm assuming that it will work.

telover
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Hi Mich. No, not this time. I asked what did you do to put your piece on the net. Did you export the whole section? I don't mean as midi, I mean as audio. I guess the file you put online is audio, right?

Michael Willis
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Yes, I did a session export. I'm wondering if you set a track to solo, and then did a session export, if it would only capture the solo?

telover
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It should. Until now I've only exported the whole song. The other time I tried to export a couple tracks, but it was MIDI so it didn't export anything.
I guess there should be a way to putting together audio and midi tracks: creating a single audio track inside the template with a rythmic something, or a drum, then writing the part for the orchestra. In the end exporting the tracks as audio and importing them inside the audio project or, if the song is completed, in Audacity just to name one.
The problem importing the orchestra part in the song it would be the volume, it wouldn't be too easy to set ii up accordingly with the rest of the tracks.
By other hand, importing the tracks in Audacity it means creating two stereo tracks, beside the two having been exported from Ardour, to put the orchestra in it.
Well I have to make some tries.

Michael Willis
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When doing the STEM export, did you pick the "Violas" midi track, or "Violas Bus" audio bus? You need to pick the audio bus in order to capture the audio.