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Ralph L. Bowers Jr.
Polymathist



Click to send Ralph L. Bowers Jr. email.Personal Homepage Not AvailableSend a Private Message to Ralph L. Bowers Jr.AIM Not AvailableICQ Not AvailableY! Not AvailableMSN Not Available
Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 883
 
   Posted 7/21/2016 2:35 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
This extremely cheap (cost), but powerful DAW is getting better all the time (movie window capabilities) . and with the forthcoming rewire in the New 64bit Finale I'd recommend this over ProTools or Digital Performer.

/youtu.be/QLppbRmFWYg?t=556

/www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFtapqvN9-M


Finale 2010b, 2011b, 2012c, 2014d, 2014.5 TGTools Pro, Patterson plugins, JW plugins (current for each Finale Instalation)
Sibelius 6.2, 7.1.3, 7.5.1, 8.4.1, Write Score Sound Sets, TMT Publisher Bundle Plugins, Bob Zawalich plugins, Dolet 6.6
Print Music 2004, 2010a, 2011a, 2014a
Progression, Progression 2, Progression 3, Notion 4, [Notion 5, (bought but not installed)update finally installed]
Pro Tools 9.5, Reaper
Kontakt 5
GPO4, GPO5, World Instruments
SmartScore X Pro, SmartScore X2 Pro, PhotoScore Ultimate 6 & 7 & 8.04 ( 7 has some utility----best of those available, 8 has some issues that need fixing)
M-Audio "Oxygen 25" Midi input keyboard (recent addition 2014)
Systems (5) // Windows XP Pro (32bit), [email protected] Windows 7 Pro, 8.1 Pro, Windows 10 64 bit, 4GB - 16GB RAM
Paper & Pencil

BMus, MM (Musicology)

Post Edited (Ralph L. Bowers Jr.) : 7/21/2016 2:11:10 PM (GMT-5)

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Fritz Meissner
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   Posted 7/23/2016 4:49 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Seconded. I use it all the time - write in PrintMusic, export midi to Reaper and do final tweaks before rendering the final audio file.


PrintMusic 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010 Windows 7 Home Premium, Pentium i5 750 quad core + 4 GB; Cakewalk UA-101
2nd Tenor Cape Town Male Voice Choir.
Use the Finale Knowledgebase first ! :-)

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Credo
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   Posted 7/24/2016 12:37 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Love the free ReaPlugs!

These come in handy, even inside Finale itself. One can get a bit more polished sound out of Finale thanks to these great EQ and Compression plugins!

I'm blown away that the folks behind Reaper give this really nice set of plugins away. With the EQ and Multi band compressor one can really pull SmartSynth and ARIA mixes 'out of the can' so they sound good even on crappy computer speakers and ear-buds.
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sesqui
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   Posted 7/26/2016 1:53 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
On a related note, I've been finding it difficult to get any information on whether a WAV or even MIDI file delivers such elements as crescendos and decrescendos (especially those 2!). It doesn't seem that when I create these files that this particular element is preserved. I can definitely hear it in Finale when I render HP. Any thoughts on this? Suggestions? I'd like to be able to give the listener this critical effect when attempting to sell my music.

Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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sesqui
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   Posted 7/26/2016 2:00 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Also, if a person downloads the free ReaPlugs, where does that option to use these Plugs appear once you are in Finale working on a document?

Thanks,
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Credo
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   Posted 7/26/2016 2:41 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
sesqui said...
Also, if a person downloads the free ReaPlugs, where does that option to use these Plugs appear once you are in Finale working on a document?

Thanks,


First, realize that for Finale you need the 32bit versions.

Install it to where ever you want to put the plugins. A common spot is "C:\Program Files (x86)\VSTplugins"

Start Finale with a blank score and go to "Audio/MIDI//Device Set Up//Manage VST plug-in directories..."
Make sure the directory you've installed the ReaPlugs is included in the list of directories that Finale will scan looking for VST plugins.

If the directory with your ReaPlugs was not already in the list then quit Finale and restart it (or rescan the VST plugins).

Now you can add the ReaPlug effects in the "AUDIO/MIDI//VST Banks and Effects" dialogue of Finale.

You'll notice that Finale lets you put one Effect plugin for each VSTi instance, and you can run up to three of them in a series on the Mains.

The main two that'll come in handy for Finale are the Equalizer (ReaEQ), and Multi Compressor (ReaXcomp) plugins. Typically you'll want these effects on the Mains. Reaplugs offers a couple of interesting EQs to choose from...parabolic stereo, and a free draw curve type. For compression you get a straight single band compressor, and a Multi Compressor.

You'll also find some other stuff in Reaplugs that might or might not be useful to you. I.E. ReaStream can send audio/midi over your LAN to another computer that's also running ReaStream.

Sometimes it's nice to separate different sections or instrument families in Finale so they'll each get their own 'instance" of ARIA. By splitting each instrument family into a separate instance, you can give them independent reverb settings in ARIA if and when needed. In that case, it's nice to also drop an EQ on each instance so you can shape the frequency curve(s) to something appropriate for each instrument family.

In my experience, where the compression really helps is with mixing something that sounds worth a hoot in typical cheap computer speakers, so called home theatre speakers, and ear buds. Speakers and sound cards in PC's these days have very poor dynamic response...plus they tend to on purposely boost and color the bass while pulling everything else to levels that just don't sound right. I.E. I can have a nice warm mix on my flat studio monitors and in my Sennheiser 280 cans...but the same thing sounds like garbage on my regular computer speakers. A little compression in the right bands can help balance out the mix so I can hear all the parts...even on cheap speakers with 'colored' frequency boosts built in (they think everyone wants to listen to RAP so the lows are boosted and colored, and the mids are pretty much stripped).

Note with compression, you can lose some of the natural dynamics, so it's a trade off vs dynamics and being able to hear all the parts clearly. Use sparingly in classical mixes....explore and practice. For Jazz and pop....crank it up and compress the mess out of it :)

Post Edited (Credo) : 7/26/2016 11:11:57 PM (GMT-5)

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Credo
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   Posted 7/26/2016 3:09 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
sesqui said...
On a related note, I've been finding it difficult to get any information on whether a WAV or even MIDI file delivers such elements as crescendos and decrescendos (especially those 2!). It doesn't seem that when I create these files that this particular element is preserved. I can definitely hear it in Finale when I render HP. Any thoughts on this? Suggestions? I'd like to be able to give the listener this critical effect when attempting to sell my music.

Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yes, Finale will render MIDI with dynamics. Definitely does it in real time (when using MIDI mode instead of VST mode), and my understanding is that if you 'export MIDI' it will create a MIDI file compatible with what ever instrument(s) you have loaded at the time you render. Of course this is dependent upon your having Human Playback active, and an appropriate Human Playback profile for the instrument(s) in question.

I.E. I like to pull stuff from Finale into my DAW. If I know I'm going to use the Garritan GPO5 Library in my DAW as well, then I'd set it up in Finale to use GPO5, then export the MIDI. I'd save my ARIA instances so I could easily pull them up in my DAW exactly as I had them in Finale. From there, I can pick up where I left off, sync to video if desired, and tweak things out even further in my DAW.

I.E. If were going to release a score in a General MIDI format to go into some archive where many people will download it, and play it back in all sorts of different instruments, then I'd set the score to play properly in SmartSynth, or the native Microsoft GS synth that comes with Windows first, then export the score.

So, if you've got Finale Sounds via the ARIA player loaded when you render to MIDI, then the MIDI file is going to have all the controller and key-switch information for Finale Sounds. In the case of Finale and Garritan sound libraries, dynamics will be done via CC1 controller. Wind instruments will induce 'legato' style playing with a CC68 event (bowed string instruments do the same to introduce portamento), and this is typically assigned to 'slur marks' in the score. If you have JABB3, then you might also see several other CC messages assigned for things like shakes, bends, kisses, glisses, falls, doits, wah-wah-mute effects, etc....plus even more CC messages to change the filter settings to emulate different 'articulations' for brass and saxes.

General MIDI files typically do all this 'dynamics stuff' a bit differently. Attack dynamics are done by 'key velocity', and hair pin dynamics are done via CC7 (main channel volume) or CC11 (expression volume). General MIDI instruments tend to be relatively limited in terms of the articulation options offered, although there are some playing techniques to attempt to 'emulate' them. I.E. Legato passages might 'overlap' notes a tiny bit. Accents might increase the velocity and back off on CC7 a tiny bit over time. Changing from arco strings to pizzicato would require sending a MIDI program change (or using a separate MIDI channel that has pizz. strings loaded).

If you want to render a General MIDI file, one simple method is to load and push SmartSynth to the top of the VST instrument priority list, tell Finale to 'reassign instruments' play a bit of the score to insure it's using the proper instruments (change any manually with the Score Manager that require it), and then render the file. You'll then get a General MIDI file.

Of course you can make your own human playback rules and activate/deactivate them as needed, and tweak it out so your chosen instrument(s) respond to marks in the score exactly the way you want. In Edit/Preferences, you'll find a "Human Playback" section. Here you can set rules of your own. I.E. If you have some third party sample library, or maybe even an external workstation keyboard that you'd like to use with Finale...then you can build all your own playback rules to go with those instruments.

My understanding is that Finale renders MIDI for what ever human playback rules you've got in effect.

As for rendering to audio...Finale will render whatever you hear when playing the score, so yes, dynamics will be included.

Post Edited (Credo) : 7/26/2016 10:50:10 PM (GMT-5)

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Credo
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   Posted 7/26/2016 5:54 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Just a little comparison of rendering one of the Finale Demo tunes with and without compression. These are wav file renderings directly from Finale 2015.5.6359, and converted to mp3 using Nero's lame encoder.

This take is how it sounds out of the box using the default Finale sounds. Only thing I did was set Studio for Convolution and Parlor for Ambient reverbs.
Rasmussen Take 1

For this one I split ARIA into 5 instances.
1. Saxes
2. Brass
3. Guitar and Piano
4. Bass
5. Drums

I did not 'remix' anything...I left everything just like in the demo but added some compression....

I gave all the instances the same reverb presets, but I tweaked the ambient reverbs a bit for each instance to better suit the instrument family.

I threw Multi-band compression (from the ReaPlugs set) on each instance and tweaked each section in an attempt to bring out the parts better.

In the Master Effects I added one more instance of that same Multi Band Compressor to give it a little more polish, and ended up with this.
Rasmussen Take 2

It took about 5 minutes....Not as good as it 'could be' with a little more time and care, but it should suffice to show what a difference some compression can make.

Post Edited (Credo) : 7/26/2016 10:51:04 PM (GMT-5)

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sesqui
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   Posted 7/26/2016 10:30 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Credo: Your information is awesome thanks so much. I don't have a problem with the realization of the dynamics as much as the crescendos/descrendos. In both Midi and Wav files I don't hear the difference, so I'm not convinced that either format captures that information. Any thoughts on why the hairpins don't seem to register. I would think that MIDI does a better job at capturing this information, but on any of my audio output files this is just not happening.

Thanks again!
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Credo
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   Posted 7/26/2016 11:33 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
sesqui said...
Credo: Your information is awesome thanks so much. I don't have a problem with the realization of the dynamics as much as the crescendos/descrendos. In both Midi and Wav files I don't hear the difference, so I'm not convinced that either format captures that information. Any thoughts on why the hairpins don't seem to register. I would think that MIDI does a better job at capturing this information, but on any of my audio output files this is just not happening.

Thanks again!


Let me test a few things and I'll get back to you with some examples and such.

Meanwhile I need to ask...

What are you using for playback in Finale? Finale/Garritan sounds? Are you hearing your dynamics when you play the score in Finale?

What are you playing the 'exported' MIDI files back in that is missing your hair pin dynamics?

Here is something to consider...
If you're playing back or exporting MIDI while you've got Finale/Garritan sounds assigned in the score, Finale is going to go down the Human Playback rule list for those Garritan instruments (assuming you have them installed and activated). Garritan uses CC1 for doing the dynamics. If you were to try to play that file back in any random run of the mill general MIDI player...it's simply going to ignore those CC1 events, or worse yet, think they are meant to be 'vibrato/lfo' events.

If you've got SmartSynth loaded and all the instruments in the Score Manager are pointing to SmartSynth instruments, then Finale will go through the SmartSynth set of playback rules as it plays back or exports MIDI....which is a heck of lot closer to standard General MIDI files. In this case, it's going to vary note-on velocity for general dynamic changes, and send CC7, or CC11 channel volume events for the hair pins.

I'm fairly new to Finale in terms of trying to 'export' MIDI files. I'm currently led to believe this is how it works, but I'll run some tests to make sure and come back and post up my results.

I'm a bit zonked right now, but I'll try to sit down (perhaps tomorrow) and make some screen shots or a video charting out how it all works.

I do believe that the secret sauce in what and how a score gets 'translated' into 'MIDI' lay in the 'Human Playback' configuration(s) you have set up and active in "Edit/Preferences/Human Playback". These configurations are also tied into the "Score Manager" to some degree.

Post Edited (Credo) : 7/26/2016 10:56:25 PM (GMT-5)

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sesqui
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   Posted 7/27/2016 1:40 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I am actually using an older sound bank that I culled from the internet a while back. Therefore I am NOT using Garritan. I feel that although the winds are realistic sounding, the brass is subpar and borderline horrible. When I play back using HP in Finale, I definitely hear the crescendos, etc. I find that when I do save as a MIDI file, I have to tweak the file a lot more than I would if I simply saved and export as a .WAV file. I've listed the HP playback as "standard" in both instances where I've saved as Midi and Wav files. I've tried a custom HP setting to the same effect and no difference.
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sesqui
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   Posted 7/27/2016 1:33 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I have noticed a couple of things as I investigate this further. If you use the Garritan voices, upon creating a WAV file and playing back you do get a better sense of hairpins. However, when I use a sound bank of my choice through SmartSynth, this effect is not realized. So, can the SmartSynth be tweaked in a way that it recognizes this information or the soundbank itself? I prefer not to use Garritan voices as I really do not think they are very realistic especially with the brass voices, unless I can be pointed to a tweaked Garritan voice package that contains more realistic sounding instruments.
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Credo
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   Posted 7/27/2016 3:55 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I ran a quick test.
Finale is definitely exporting the dynamics to MIDI files.

Here you can see a quick little fanfare I threw together (still in concert keys) for this test. It uses sfz style attacks, accents, and hair pin crescendo/decrescendo markings, as well as a trill. No, I would never score dynamics for a jazz combo this way...it's just a method of exploring different 'play back' responses for the markings! Before giving this score to real musicians I'd hide most of this stuff and put markings that make sense for real jazz players (Fp with an accent rather than all the redundant and at times conflicting looking sfz + accented markings seen here)...
Dynamics Test PDF

Here's a rough rendering straight from Finale (then converted to mp3) of what it sounds like. While it's not a very good mix without some work, the dynamics are definitely there...
Dynamics Test MP3

I did this with the Garritan JABB3 library loaded and active. When I exported it and looked at it in Cubase it came out like this:


As you can see in the first trumpet part above, there are tons of CC1 events. There is a leading CC7 event that sets the master channel volume. There are varying velocities for each note. Pan and legato/slur CC68 are also present. This is all exactly as it should be for a Garritan instrument.

My sax parts also got the real note events for the 'trill' score marking.


Yes, it is possible to get better dynamics out of the non Garritan instruments.
First, you'll want to research how the instrument likes to get dynamics. It's pretty common for instruments to accept CC11 for expression volume. If they can't do that, then you'll need to use CC7 which is the main channel volume level.

You can control how Finale will interpret the score in Human Playback.

Have a look at the Entries in the Finale Manual for "Human Playback".

Finally, there are a few tricks to get brass to sound better in case you ever need it in the future. The Garritan samples are really dry and strident so that you can tweak them to fit different types of music and mixes. They were made in a sound-proof room...with as little natural room ambiance as possible. If one unfurls a Garritan Library in a DAW and applies some nice EQ and the right set of reverbs these inexpensive little libraries really can sing. A little dotting on a controller lane for virtual 'player attitude' can make them even more convincing.

Why so strident/harish, and why no room ambiance in the raw sample? It's easier to lower or even take away (filter) harmonics than it is to add them, and with dry samples you can set them in your own acoustical context (room type/shape/materials and placement). You can also emulate using different types of microphones. These are things you simply can NOT do well with 'wet' samples that were recorded directly from a symphonic setting/room/placement. Two of your best friends for Brass are reverb and compression.

1. Put the brass in an ARIA instance/bank of its own. If you've got room, it doesn't hurt to give each section a dedicated ARIA instance. The reason for this is so you can tweak the included reverbs in the ARIA plugin to best suit each family or section of instruments. It also allows you to throw your ReaPlugs EQ or Compression independently on each instance.

2. Activate the EQ for each brass instrument in the controls tab of ARIA. Roll the high frequencies down a bit if you want to get rid of the wind hiss. Fiddle with the mid-range controls to find the sweet spot for that part.

3. Solo the brass parts and play with the reverb units in ARIA until you hear the harmonics blend. Not too much, but enough to make the harmonics 'meld' or be placed within the context of a 'virtual room'.

4. Use a little compression (ReaXcomp) to squash your favorite harmonics into a dynamic range that'll be more audible in the mix. In classical mixes you might prefer EQ over compression...just enough to bring out the frequencies you want to sing and pull down the frequencies that aren't 'blending'.

5. Spend a little time exploring the mic choices and depth/staging settings offered in ARIA (for patches that have it, it'll be in the control panel of each individual instrument).

It does take a little practice at first...but like most things you start to get a feel for the instrument. You learn the weak and strong points, and before long you can anticipate what is needed and just know what to do, and get it done rather quickly.

Post Edited (Credo) : 7/30/2016 1:05:40 AM (GMT-5)

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sesqui
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   Posted 7/29/2016 3:32 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Just out of curiosity, is there a way to boost the bass voices using ReaPlugs? Although my main focus is composition, I'd like to learn some basics from ReaPlug that is not too terribly complicated but would still improve the quality of a WAV or MP3 file without having a PH.D. in audiology. All of your information is greatly appreciated. It's just a matter of how much time I have to spend tweaking an audio file versus working on actual printed music.

I am also convinced that the old sound bank that I'm using is the limiting factor that does not translate to dynamically realized hairpins. I wonder if there is a way that that information can be inserted? And with this prospect, I have absolutely no clue!

Thanks
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Credo
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   Posted 7/29/2016 9:37 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
sesqui said...
Just out of curiosity, is there a way to boost the bass voices using ReaPlugs? Although my main focus is composition, I'd like to learn some basics from ReaPlug that is not too terribly complicated but would still improve the quality of a WAV or MP3 file without having a PH.D. in audiology. All of your information is greatly appreciated. It's just a matter of how much time I have to spend tweaking an audio file versus working on actual printed music.

I am also convinced that the old sound bank that I'm using is the limiting factor that does not translate to dynamically realized hairpins. I wonder if there is a way that that information can be inserted? And with this prospect, I have absolutely no clue!

Thanks


It may well be possible to get more dynamics out of your alternative sound bank. I'd need to know more about what it is in order to give any step by step process. Is it a VSTi plugin, or is it something you must use Finale's MIDI mode to get sounds out of?

I'd start by making a copy of the SmartSynth settings in Preferences/Human Playback. Rename your copy, then go into it and change the filters so they match up with whatever is playing your sounds. Try setting it to use Velocity and CC11 for the master dynamics at first. If that doesn't work try comparing 'Velocity, CC7, and CC11', and 'Velocity and CC7' only modes.

Some articulations you might just have to work out and add on your own into the human play-back list, as these General MIDI settings are not going to be as complete and involved as those for the Garritan instruments.


Yes, you can boost the bass by simply loading an EQ in the Master series of effects and pulling up the bass frequencies. Better yet, roll off the high frequencies and then bring up the master volume.

You can also compress everything else to a similar db range as the bass, then bring up everything together as high as possible until you get clipping...then back off so it doesn't clip anymore. Compression is a cheap and easy trick to get the 'loud mixes' people are used to hearing these days. Loud mixes are gaining popularity because modern speakers are often smaller and less dynamic these days (trade off for portability, lower energy consumption/longer battery life, and lower manufacturing costs). One very different thing about music coming from loud-speakers vs a real acoustical symphony...is that your run of the mill consumer grade speakers just can't do it all...so we've got to use an assortment of psycho-acoustic mind-tricks to fool people into 'thinking' many of the missing frequencies and dynamics are really there...despite the limitations of our technology.

Your first few renderings with stuff that is new to you are going to take a little time and practice. I'm afraid there's not much way around this; however, once you get a feel for what EQ and compression can do, and how, it does become a fairly quick process. Think of it as learning a new lick or scale on your major instrument. At first you'll have to put a little time and effort into it...but once you've got it mastered it's a nearly effortless second nature process to 'make it happen'.

Start out with ReaEQ in the top Master effects slot. Play with that a bit. It's super simple, as it starts out as a basic parabolic Equalizer with a low shelf, two mid bands, and a high shelf by default, but you can add as many extra frequency bands and/or notches (narrow band filters) as you like.



When using shelves and bands, the EQ uses curves to shape the db levels of given frequency ranges. This is quite a flexible EQ though, so you can also make it work more like a graphics equalizer by changing the node types.

When you first load ReaEQ it has 'flat' settings, and you will not notice any change in the sound at all. To boost or reduce a frequency range you simply grab the dots on the graph (click, hold, and drag).

For learning a bit about ReaXcomp, I'd recommend limiting that one to percussion at first. I.E. Load something with a trap drum part that has bass drum, snare, and some overhead grooves going on (I.E. some of the jazz demo charts that come with Finale). Give this drum set his every own ARIA instance on a bank all his own, and load the ReaXcomp plugin in the VSTi instance slot. Solo the trap set on the mixer and start the groove playing. Play around with the settings in ReaXcomp to get an idea of how it can be used to isolate and compress bands of frequencies by 'frequency range'.



Naturally, you can get a much better mix if you take hours to sit there and play with the volume levels of every instrument, take extra care in panning everything out to a realistic settings, go into the synth itself and polish off the individual instrument sounds themselves, and insert tons of MIDI Controller events into the score to get everything 'just right' in terms of master volume for every voice in every phrase, and the list goes on. It would take many hours to get a well polished Mix out of Finale this way.

This is WHY it's worth it to spend a little time playing with EQ and Compression plugins. Once you master some basics, it really will add some polish to your renderings that you've never had before, while saving you scads of time in the future roughing in decent mixes in 'a hurry'. If you aren't much interested in pulling your composition into a DAW (where getting a polished mix is much easier) you can just throw in some of these plugins and get a quick and rough mix where one can at least 'hear all the parts' come through the mix.

The ReaPlugs save me a ton of time when it comes to using Finale and Sibelius for educational purposes. Most of my students are going to be playing things back on cheap lap-top speakers, ear-buds, or even over smart phone phone speakers, so I'll usually take a couple of minutes to EQ and compress everything so the students using these sorts of playback systems can hear what I intend them to hear.

Here are a couple of primers worth reading if the concepts of Equalization and Compression are fresh on your mind.

How to Use a Parametric Equalizer

How to Use Multi-band Compression in Mixing and Mastering

This chart showing the frequency bands of common instruments can certainly come in handy as well.

All the EQ Information You’ll Ever Need in One Handy Chart

Post Edited (Credo) : 7/29/2016 10:45:44 PM (GMT-5)

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