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The subject of multi-timbrals and multi-channel VST setup comes up quite often and can be quite confusing until you get the hang of it. While most of this information is in the manual, I find it fairly hard to find so have set an instance of a multi-timbral VST and an instance of multi-channel VST set up in IK's Miroslave Philharmonik (looks almost the same the same in Sample Tank) with lots of pics, circles, and arrows.Miroslav Philharmonik (Sample Tank) as a Multi-Timbral
Multi-timbrals are quite useful to users of VSTs like Play, Sample Tank, Philharmonik, Aria, Kontakt and many others that are capable of directing input from different MIDI channels via lanes and outputting to a single stero channel.
I find them very useful as an alternative to keyswitches when changing articulations in orchestra instrument samples. Another use (via clavguy) would be to change stops on an organ.
One must remember that automation controls control ALL lanes. To control each lane's automation you must use a multi-channel setup which I will discuss below.
To begin with I will set up a multi-timbral solo horn track consisting of 4 lanes each with a different articulation (instruments). These steps can be performed in any order so long as you end up in the same place. Quite often I will add a lane and articulation to an instrument mid project.STEP ONE is to add lanes to your track after loading your VST. Right click on the track header as below or highlight the track and press alt-L for each lane to be addedSTEP TWO is to assign each lane its own MIDI channel as illustrated below.STEP THREE is to set up your VST as a multi-timbral, Make sure each instrument receives from a different MIDI channel BUT that all outputs are to the same channel. Also make sure that the MIDI channels you use in your instrument correspond to the MIDI channels in your lanes.
Examples of uses: You will notice that my Solo French Horn VST has 4 different articulations: French Horn (actually legato), Portato 1, Portato 2, and Stacatto. Using these lanes I can:
1. Record to an individual lane and have the corresponding articulation played back.
2. Record to 1 lane and copy the clip to the rest of the lanes. By splitting and muting parts of clips I can very quickly change between articulations in a passage (faster than with keyswitching)
3. Layer articulations by recording to one track then copying the clip to one or more other tracks. By splitting off individual notes I can create new articulations for those notes. An example would be I am using s legato articulation but want an accent on a certain note. I add the stacatto articulation only on that note and it gives me an accented effect. Multi-Timbral without lanes
There is a way to run a VST as a multi-timbral without using lanes. You do not get the visual feedback of what MIDI channel is applied to what section of the track and layering is impossible since only 1 MIDI channel can be applied to a note at a time. However it is possible to speed up workflow if the above are not needed in your project.
In the piano roll there is an option to assign MIDI channels to individual notes. So you would set up your VST for multi-timbral and then assign your articulations via the piano roll as below:Miroslav Philharmonik (Sample Tank) as a Multi-Channel
Multi-channel setups are even more powerful than multi-timbrals in that you are able to control the volume envelope and other automations in each lane. This method is employed by many users who like to pack individual instances of a VST with every instrument they can. My preferred use is a percussion section in an orchestra where I have related instruments but would like to control th volume envelope of each. You will see that in a multi-channel setup the more lanes you use the more confusing it can get. Setting up Miroslav Philharmonik as a Multi-Channel VST:
again the order of the steps is not important as long as you end up with everything done. A multi-channel setup requires a couple more steps than multi-timbrals.Step One: Load your VST and set up five lanes each with its own channel.
It should look like this:
If not review how to set up lanes and assign channels to lanes either in the manual or above.Step Two: Set up your VST for multichannel output.
In the example I have set up a percussion section. Each Instrument has a MIDI channel AND a pair of output channels. The Timpani has 2 lanes: 1 for hits and 1 for rolls. Looks lie this:Step Three: Configure Mixcraft for multi-channel
You are now ready to use your multi-channels VST. You will note that if you expand your track you will see 5 child tracks (I collapsed 3 of them to conserve space). Each child track is connected to a lane as shown and is used to control the volume envelope, fx, and any other automation you use in that lane. As you can also see the setup becomes visually confusing the more lanes are used.