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Michel R. E.
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   Posted 11/30/2005 7:08 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I understand the principal of polyphony in a synth/sound-module, and I guess it applies more or less the same way when using a soundcard? I'm jut not sure about some of the specifications I'm seeing on soundcards. The SB Audigy 2 says it has 64 note polyphony, which just doesn't seem all that much.

Does the polyphony of a soundcard affect how many notes Finale will play at once?
Does the polyphony of a soundcard affect how many notes GPO can play at once?

Is ASIO 2 compliant ABSOLUTELY necessary for GPO full?

I've been shopping soundcards and it's all QUITE confusing, especialy when the sales people in computer stores have absolutely no freaking idea what they're talking about!
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Fritz Meissner
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   Posted 12/1/2005 3:56 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
The polyphony of the soundcard limits how many notes Finale will play at once, if you are using the soundcard as your midi out device. If you are using the softsynth then the soundcard has no effect. I'm not sure what the softsynth's limitations are.

GPO also uses a software player, rather than soundcard hardware, so the soundcard polyphony will not affect it - the main limitation seems to be the amount of memory available.

The Garritan website says "Standard DirectSound, MME or ASIO drivers required"; presumably if ASIO 2 were specifically needed, then they would say so - but you should check that with someone who knows about it - I'm making deductions here which may be incorrect.

Fritz


PrintMusic 2004 and bug-free 2006, Windows XP Pro, Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS, P4 2.6 GHz + 1 GB

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Brad H
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   Posted 12/1/2005 7:21 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I'm just starting to explore the issues of playback with Finale and I 'm pretty sure the best solution is exporting your MIDI files to some other program that is designed for playback. That being said, going to a computer store to buy a soundcard for a musician is like buying condoms from the pope. Go to a pro music store, you have a reasonable chance of speaking with someone who understands what you are trying to do.


Brad Hufft
Finale 2006, 2005, 2004
Lecturer of Music
California State University, Fresno
 

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Fritz Meissner
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   Posted 12/2/2005 5:52 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Brad, I'd agree that for ultimate quality the best solution is to tweak the midi files by hand in a sequencer, but the 80-20 principle applies. You can get 80% of the quality for 20% of the effort in Finale; the last 20% of the quality that you add in the sequencer is a lot more work.

I've noticed that Human Playback is quite sensitive to changes in the midi output device - if you don't use the softsynth then you may have to do quite a lot of playing to find HP settings that sound good. And if you do use the softsynth, then quite frankly the only significant thing about the soundcard is its signal to noise ratio - i.e. if you can't hear any audible hiss in the soft passages, then it's good enough. In short, if you really want ultimate quality and are prepared to spend money and a lot of work to polish things, then go for a sequencer and midi hardware with really superb sounds; otherwise get an adequate mid-range soundcard, use GPO and play back from Finale - you'll get pretty good results for a reasonable amount of effort.

Please note, I'm simplifying the position somewhat for dramatic effect - there are more factors at work, but I think the main point is as I have said.

Fritz


PrintMusic 2004 and bug-free 2006, Windows XP Pro, Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS, P4 2.6 GHz + 1 GB

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Brad H
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   Posted 12/2/2005 9:55 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Fritz, I understand what you are saying and for my purposes the .wav files Finale makes are generally OK. The one thing I don't understand, however, is there a way to increase the gain on those .wav files. I made a CD of the sketches of the new big piece I'm working on, and in my car that CD had about half the volume of the radio.


Brad Hufft
Finale 2006, 2005, 2004
Lecturer of Music
California State University, Fresno
 

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Michel R. E.
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   Posted 12/2/2005 10:04 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
obviously I HAVE attained SoftSynth's maximim.. or at least my computer's maximum using SoftSynth since I'm getting note drop off in larger passages. I assumed that it would be able to handle at least 40-50-ish notes simultaneously (a standard large symphony orchestra in a tutti passage), but I get drop-off of any sustained notes (which usually end up being bass notes!... very annoying).

There is no way I'm going to be making files in Finale then "tweaking" them in another program. I have neither the time nor the interest, besides, my Finale files ARE the finished product. Recordings are demos for me, not final products. I need presentable scores, and acceptable recordings. So far, HP seems to playback rather nicely since my scores are detailed enough.
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Fritz Meissner
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   Posted 12/2/2005 10:53 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
In Finale 2006 you can adjust the volume of the instruments to make it louder; there is also the overall output volume setting in the midi controls. It can be quite tricky getting the gain just right, because it also depends on the number of notes being sounded simultaneously. I find it is quite useful to open the .wav files in an audio editing application like Audacity where you can see the whole file as a waveform at a glance. I can then look to see if the volume is low, or if it is clipping in places from excessive volume - this is much quicker than trying to tell what is happening by listening as clipping is not always that audible. Audacity also has a normalise function which will automatically scale the overall volume of the file so that the peaks are at max; it's a free download from Audacity Home page .

Fritz


PrintMusic 2004 and bug-free 2006, Windows XP Pro, Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS, P4 2.6 GHz + 1 GB

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Ron.
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   Posted 12/2/2005 10:54 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
about one of your concerns, Mike: I used to get the occassional drop out too when using F2004 and softsynths. I have not had that problem with GPO. However, it can get overloaded and crackling sounds appear. The first step is to lower the individual master volumes to a more reasonable level than the default. If still there, I can fix it by lowering the polyphony setting for individual instruments (which you can easily do in the Kontakt player). However, even though I have many times more than the minimum as far as hardware goes, I think these overload probems are directly related to my sound card (a very old audigy that does not have an ASIO, so I have to use a software emulator.)

I suspect that a modern card that does support ASIO, like the latest from Creative Labs or an M-audio card, will alleviate these problems, but I am not 100% sure until I try it, or others testify to it.

As for going to a music store for info about sound cards: the time I did it I was told, "Forget about all the add ons. All you need is a card that will pump through signals as fast as it receives them." He then started to talk gobbelgook, but at least he seemed to know what he was talking about, even if I didn't. Even I could see that the computer stores clerks didn't have a clue what they were talking about.

There have been many discussions on the topic of sound cards, so maybe a search will give you good information.


Ron
Finale 2006a and  full GPO
XP/Pro, P4 2.6 MHz, 2 GB RAM, Audigy
Composer
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Michel R. E.
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   Posted 12/2/2005 11:09 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
oy oy oy... I just called the big music store here (pretty much the only place to get music-computer hardware), and got SO much attitude for not knowing anything about it that I nearly hung up on the guy.
Actually, the only question so far for which I have NOT been able to get a decent answer is the soundcard polyphony question! So far, the computer store people have been the BEST at answering in simple language and not sounding all snooty. I'm not talking "Futureshop/The Source/Circuit City" computer stores... these are small places that build ground up for you. And I got a LOT of good solid explanation yesterday while shopping (I got me a new P4-2.8, 2gigs ram).

The guy from the music store recommended an M-audio card (that store "doesn't carry Soundblaster products"... you could just hear the disdain oozing from every syllable). I've found one that seems to be in my price range, ASIO-2 compliant. I just hope I'm not making a monumental mistake! LOL
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Brad H
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   Posted 12/2/2005 12:34 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I guess you just got to go wherever you can avoid technohumiliation. The little computer store in my neighborhood actually sent me to Guitar Center for sound card issues. Everybody there has always been extremely helpful no matter how blank my stare gets. On my question of volume on CDs, I have Sound Forge, that should be able to bump up the volume like Audacity, right? I'm going to try that this weekend. Sorry if I gave bad advice, I know how horrifying it can be to be tortured by geeks.


Brad Hufft
Finale 2006, 2005, 2004
Lecturer of Music
California State University, Fresno
 

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