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Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

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chibear
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Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby chibear » Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:11 pm

NOTE: Microsoft has locked the account where many of the pics for this thread reside so they will eventually disappear. Videos and discussions should move to this thread


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 added
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STEP TWO is to assign each lane its own MIDI channel as illustrated below.

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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.
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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:

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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:
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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:
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Step Three: Configure Mixcraft for multi-channel as shown:
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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.
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Last edited by chibear on Tue Dec 01, 2015 10:28 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby clavguy » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:22 am

Hi Clyde....
Well done... I am going to try your MP example when I get home tonight. But I have a couple of questions.

1) Why do I need to use a different MIDI channel for each part of the VST to make it multi timbral. If I set them all for channel 1, I still hear the multi timbres that are there at the time.

which leads me to my next question.

2) I ask that because my keyboard only outputs on MIDI channel 1. In your write up you say:

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)


Your first lane is channel 1. So that would be the only lane that I could "record" to. Now, in my particular organ project, I am playing with a pre-recorded MIDI file so "recording" would not be an issue.

But what do I do if I want to "record" to lane 3, let's say, which has been set to respond to MIDI channel 3?

Thanks Clyde.....

Pierre
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chibear
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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby chibear » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:03 am

1) Why do I need to use a different MIDI channel for each part of the VST to make it multi timbral. If I set them all for channel 1, I still hear the multi timbres that are there at the time.


If I can remember right I tried that early on with MP. The result was all the instruments playing whenever data was entered in any of the lanes.

Your first lane is channel 1. So that would be the only lane that I could "record" to. Now, in my particular organ project, I am playing with a pre-recorded MIDI file so "recording" would not be an issue.

But what do I do if I want to "record" to lane 3, let's say, which has been set to respond to MIDI channel 3?


Ha! good question. What happens if you change lane 3 to channel 1, record whateverthen change it back to channels 3?? Offhand that's the only thing I can think of. Anyone else???
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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby Acoustica Dan » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:00 am

When you assign a lane to MIDI Channel 3, any MIDI data on that lane, regardless of what channel it was recorded on, will be played back on MIDI Channel 3. So, your recorded notes may all be assigned to MIDI Channel 1 but they'll get played back on Channel 3. Move the clip to Lane 2 and those same notes will be played by on Channel 2.

I hope that makes sense.

As for the previous question, you have to use different MIDI channels or else the virtual instrument will have no idea which sound you're trying to play.

Dan

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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby clavguy » Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:23 am

Acoustica Dan wrote:When you assign a lane to MIDI Channel 3, any MIDI data on that lane, regardless of what channel it was recorded on, will be played back on MIDI Channel 3. So, your recorded notes may all be assigned to MIDI Channel 1 but they'll get played back on Channel 3. Move the clip to Lane 2 and those same notes will be played by on Channel 2.

I hope that makes sense.

As for the previous question, you have to use different MIDI channels or else the virtual instrument will have no idea which sound you're trying to play.

Dan


Thanks Dan.... Clyde and I have been discussing this in-depth off line in emails. I got it to work just like he says last night.. And, like I told him in email... "Do what Dan and Clyde say" and don't try to understand it.... LOL

And, what is interesting, is the fact that it responds to live keyboard input in addition to pre-recorded MIDI file.

But I still have one minor hiccup in the logic... (keep in mind that it works as is) I thought the MIDI channel selection told that track/lane etc what MIDI channel to respond to. So my Alesis keyboard is outputting on channel 1. So how is it that that other 3 lanes (2,3 and 4) "hear it" and respond... I don't "see" the connection. But I am impressed that it works and tonight, I am going to try the multi channel part of Clyde's write up.

Cheers
Pierre
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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby clavguy » Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:36 pm

This is for Acoustica Dan.... or any of the Acoustica guys...

This is a question a posed to Chibear in email and he suggested I post it here...

I think I am suffering from "bleed through".

If I select the channel 1 lane and play notes on my keyboard, I hear sounds. When I mute the first child track, I dont hear anything... that's fine... But, here is the problem.. If I select the second lane and play notes, I hear sounds. When I mute the second child track, it mutes.. but I still hear faint sounds. I probably would not totally mute a child track. But, I most certainly, would apply some volume automation. This also happens if I lower the volume on any of the offending tracks. Also, as I mentioned. This only happens if I try to mute any child track other than the first one. There is no "bleed through" when I mute or lower the volume on the first track.

Thanks
Pierre
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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby clavguy » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:42 pm

Chibear asked me to post something about using the Aria Player in the same scenarios...

I used the Garritan Classic Pipe Organ library for this experiment.. I created the same instrument track as with the Miroslav Philharmonik and created the same 4 lanes...
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In the instance of Aria Player, I put in four organ voices or stops as shown with the same configuration as MP above
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At this point in time, you should be able to follow the same steps as MP above for recording multi timbral material

Have a great day
Pierre
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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby chibear » Sun Jul 21, 2013 2:30 pm

I've saved the most complicated for last. Kontakt is very popular and powerful yet I don't think anyone in the world totally understands the 'how' or 'why' things work except maybe some engineer NI has locked up somewhere.

Setting up Kontakt as a Multi-Timbral

This part is easy. Set up your lanes in Mixcraft as explained above and load your instruments. Kontakt automatically increments your MIDI channels as it loads the instruments. Below I've loaded 4 horns as multi-timbral. You will notice that the MIDI channels are incremented by Kontakt.

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Setting up Kontakt for Multi-Channel

Now the fun begins. Step one is to add channels to Kontakt. Here I add 3 channels (#1 should point to 'output' rather than 'keyboard' but I don't feel like redoing the graphic):

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Step 2 is to assign the channels. Note you have to assign each channel in the stereo pair. Here I am assigning the last 2 channels I added:

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Step 3 is to relate the channels (you have created and assigned) to the Kontakt instruments.

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Step 4 is to Set up Mixcraft for a multi-channel VST

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In the end this is how it should look. Remember you now set any automations related to the individual lanes in the appropriate child tracks.

Image



EDIT: A Totally Different Way

So if you are able to make the above work and pretty much understand it, HERE is a video (courtesy of clavguy) describing a totally different way of doing it where you do all the routing and apply all the effects inside Kontakt. I'll stick with what I know but it might be of interest to someone.

In playing around with this method I found some enhancements worthy of mention, Of course they are still governed by the NI's user-unfriendly set of rules. I'll post here when I discover all the quirks I can find.
Last edited by chibear on Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby Mark Bliss » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:05 pm

Kontakt-"I don't think anyone in the world totally understands the 'how' or 'why' things work except maybe some engineer NI has locked up somewhere"

Well someone should be!

I really appreciate this effort, and in honor of the work put into it I will try once again to figure out a Kontakt simple multi channel drum setup. Next weekend maybe. I dont even know why, I guess I just hate to give up. But here are perfectly acceptable solutions that actually are far simpler, and make sense....
But honestly, there were traces of blood coming from my ears by the time I read step two and I fear my head will explode!
Ch1/2aux[2]St3midiinput[4]child what???????
*note to self-Arm a track and sit next to a mic Mark, your going to want to capture this epic moment.
Begins with a sound like sizzling bacon........ or is it a lit fuse? I blame tinnitus. Yeah, definitly tinnitus.
Stay in tune, Mark

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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby Mark Bliss » Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:00 pm

Ok, I have survived to return to this....
Having thrown in the towel on Kontakt, I am trying now to get some use out of Sampletank and Miroslav instead. Its slow going for this old fart. I now have a huge collection of great samples and can hear sounds I want to use, but........
I followed all the above step by step to create a multi-channel session. Created and assigned lanes, assigned channels, double checked everything. I have it set up just as described. When I go to the piano roll editor for each lane, I can play and hear the instruments I assigned. So far so good and I feel like I am getting somewhere!
But when I insert some Midi notes and attempt playback......no sound. Oops, arm the track dummy.......
Ok, now I am getting close.
But I have severe Midi note hangs nearly all the time. Any suggestions?

Edit: seems to be only in loop mode, which I use to hear what I am programming in.

I must say my already high degree of respect for those of you who compose and work this way is spiking way up. This isn't easy.
Stay in tune, Mark

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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby outteh » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:10 pm

Holy Graphics Batman! You guys are really getting good at this. :lol: Great info, now let's hear the sounds! :wink:

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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby chibear » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:56 pm

But I have severe Midi note hangs nearly all the time. Any suggestions?


Hi Mark. I get a few of those. One way I found to get rid of them is to let the track play all the way through (usually in EWQLSO). Second is to hi MIDI Reset and ignore it (what I do most of the time lol). Third way is to go into the MIDI and shorten the note slightly (change beginning AND end) and see if that works. There was a thread on it in the EWQL forums. I'll try to find it and post it.

Edit: You have to be a member of the EWQL forums to read support posts so no go there. The gist of my limited research aside from the above is issues with CC64 inside the VST or buffer settings.

@ outeh: All my soundcloud stuff is multi-timbral; usually to change articulations but sometimes to layer articultations to form a new attack. I'm not using multi-channel all that much except as stated above. It is very useful in conserving RAM IF the player accommodates it, but right now the most RAM I've used in a real project is <>25 GB (of my 64).
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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby kiran » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:13 am

Hi Great Thanks a lot I will study this
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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby Mrs. Late Bloomer » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:49 am

I'm not sure what I am doing wrong. I am following the steps outlined for a multi-channel setup with Philharmonik as a percussion group. I am unable to change the output assignments for Philharmonik within Mixcraft. As a standalone I am able to do so.

Any ideas?

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Re: Setting up Multi-Timbral & Multi-Channel VSTs

Postby chibear » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:45 pm

Odd. For me all I have to do is left click over the output and move the mouse up or down to change the output channel pair #.
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