I am what you would call a beginner in the world of composing. I currently use Sibelius 5. I have written the attached for 2 violins. The sounds though on Sibelius are not the best and my piece sounds... well... not as good as it could.

Thing is I dont have lots of cash floating around so wondering if there was a good cheapish alternative software I could obtain to improve the sound. I have been looking at the photos of all your equipment and its VERY impressive! Unfortunately I am at the beginning of the road so each investment I make I want to be worthwhile.

Any suggestions? Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

Sonata for 2 violins.mp3

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  • Wow!!! $300,000???! I certainly dont have that lying about!

    I will have a budget of about $2000. From this though i would like to get a new computer(as mine is very slow at the moment), some notation software like Sibelius, and then I guess I will have to get a DAW - not sure which one yet though and then some sample libaries. I think this would be enough to keep me happy for a while.

    Thank you for your help though. I will have a look into these DAWs which looks like another problem in itself! :o)
  • Adam Drake said:
    some notation software like Sibelius


    But you already do have Sibelius, don't you? As far as I know Finale and Sibelius are the best when it comes to notating scores. Whether you use one or another is a matter of taste and familiary (i.e. learning curve); I'm quite certain that you needn't purchase any notation software for now. Especially since they do cost a lot (comparable to DAWs I think).
    My music sounds pants! Which programs can i use to get good sounds???
    I am what you would call a beginner in the world of composing. I currently use Sibelius 5. I have written the attached for 2 violins. The sounds thou…
  • Hello Adam! Don't let the experts discourage you!!! I found some lovely sounds at DSK Music and many vst instruments that you can download for free and have a lovely sound. Their latest is DSK Overture that uses a moderate amount of CPU. With DSK Overture you can have four layers and control your reverb. They have many downloads like DSK Brass (2 layers), sound font players etc.
    If you want to buy their sound fonts I think it is $ 20. Man you can afford this!
    http://dskmusic.blogspot.com/

    One note about vst plug ins: you must have a vst host. Mine is LMMS. Here is the link.

    http://lmms.sourceforge.net/

    Here is a link to a lovely saxohpone vst plug in. DVS Saxaphone by Dream Vortex Studio.
    http://www.vst4free.com/free_vst.php?plugin=Dvs_Saxophone&id=187
  • Hello Ann,

    Thank you very much for the tips! I will check them out. I do like the sound of these cheaper alternatives. :o) You guys are all very helpful. I'm glad I found this site. Thank you.

    Ann Rodela said:
    Hello Adam! Don't let the experts discourage you!!! I found some lovely sounds at DSK Music and many vst instruments that you can download for free and have a lovely sound. Their latest is DSK Overture that uses a moderate amount of CPU. With DSK Overture you can have four layers and control your reverb. They have many downloads like DSK Brass (2 layers), sound font players etc.
    If you want to buy their sound fonts I think it is $ 20. Man you can afford this!
    http://dskmusic.blogspot.com/

    One note about vst plug ins: you must have a vst host. Mine is LMMS. Here is the link.

    http://lmms.sourceforge.net/

    Here is a link to a lovely saxohpone vst plug in. DVS Saxaphone by Dream Vortex Studio.
    http://www.vst4free.com/free_vst.php?plugin=Dvs_Saxophone&id=187
    My music sounds pants! Which programs can i use to get good sounds???
    I am what you would call a beginner in the world of composing. I currently use Sibelius 5. I have written the attached for 2 violins. The sounds thou…
  • Hello Adam! I suggest you try LMMS first because it is free and they have two versions one for a 32 bit computer and one for a 64 bit computer. Mine is a 32 bit Windows Vista Basic. LMMS has a sound font2 player, it loads plug ins either .dll file or .wav and it is a sturdy and versatile software. LMMS comes loaded with many presets, and effects like amplifier, flanger, delay, chorus etc. Once you insert a virtual instrument you can display the plug in's GUI and adjust the controls then add effects. LMMS has it's own mixer and midi channels. The program is so user friendly and versatile I recommend that you try LMMS first. LMMS exports to a .wav file and if you install Audacity (and download LAME) you can compress to an mp3 file.

    *******

    Hey Ray! I agree that you must walk before running. There is so much to learn in a DAW! When I have specific questions I can ask you. By the way I tried Reaper it is powerful but kind of difficult for newbies. When I tried it I pressed something and my laptop turned into a siren with a ton of decibels screaming at me. I deleted that program.

    Ok..okay. I have a question. What is side chaining?


    Ray Kemp said:
    Well Adam,

    You are able to make the first steps towards getting a better sound simply by hearing the deficiencies in what you have now. Many prefer to either ignore that fact or block out the sound of the audio file while imagining some world famous ensembles playing in their head. :-)
    The piece you present here would benefit from simply panning the two violins a little left and right. Then a little reverb would create some space for them.
    You really need to use a Digital Audio Workstation where you will find it easier to manipulate the virtual instruments you use.
    Check out Reaper for starters. An inexpensive option but a pretty powerful piece of software. Using this allows all sorts of midi note manipulation.
    Your notation app will have an "export midi" function which saves a file that can be imported into the sequencer program.
    You've got to walk before you can run with this stuff. Keep asking the questions here and we'll see what we can do to assist.
  • Mr alpiar?

    I'd like to start that I agree with you about "loops". That it tricks you into thinking that you are composing, and its really a mashup of some kind. Its actually gotten to the point that if I tell someone I am composing, they instantly say "oh, your making beats... my kid does that". I try to explain the difference, but its pretty hard to explain the difference to a layman. Typically, if I am going to be around the person a bit, I wait. Eventually they get to hear a 6 minute piece I made, and I usually get one of two responses "where did you find an orchestra? The high school" or, more usually "that sounds almost like soundtrack music". I usually follow it up with "is that the kind of music your kid makes?" (I've never heard a "yes" yet...LMAO)

    My "sound" seems to be limited to my software. I started this out using the standard samples, but... they were laughable. i ended up with a compromise VST add on instrument... Edirol. Its not perfect, but, it tides me over till i can afford to get "The Grand" for the piano, a good choir, and a more comprehensive orchestra instrument/library.

    I can assign my effects to individual tracks(instruments), or place them on lines and send individual effects to them, and I have final output where I can assign again. When I now and again compare my digital mixing desk to a "big real one" I dont see much difference, it seems to have the same arrangement of tracks, buses, lines out, etc etc...

    I don't use "loops", I pick every individual note for every instrument (track) on a long piano roll. Its not a staff, but, the piano keyboard graphic lets me know what notes I am picking. If its a 6 minute piece, each track has a 6 minute piano roll. The instrument does not speak until I pick pitch and duration throughout.

    Other than how much money I save up to improve my digital instruments... (a compromise now, but... I will upgrade slowly) what is unprofessional about what I am doing? I'm not being accusatory... I'm actually curious. I was under the impression my main limitation now was my composition technique, and buying better digital instruments. Mixing is... well, mixing, LMAO. I wont pretend to be anything other than a rank amateur at that.

    But, I agree with you completely about using "loops". I never used them. Thats not "composing" to me... thats.. something else.
  • I guess I compose on Sibelius and I always will(for the foreseeable future). I am not looking to create a wonderfully sounding recordings, I am looking to create interesting pieces but I would like to improve the current sound I get. Sibelius is good for me because it's a lot quicker than writing the notes in pencil (which I was doing before) and it looks a lot neater. I guess I would just like to hear my pieces in a bit better quality.

    I will definetely try this LMMS (as its free! :o)) and I may also try this Reaper - $40 is very affordable.

    My question is, if i buy a DAW - for example Cubase, and then a sound library - for example EastWest Orchestral Sounds:

    a) Could I transfer Midi tracks from Sibelius to Cubase and then just change the instruments to improve the sound
    or
    b) Would i have to manually enter each note into Cubase and assign the chosen instrument from the EastWest library?

    I really would prefer to compose on Sibelius - and then I am just looking for the quickest way to improve the sound as the Sibelius basic sounds aren't great. At this stage I would rather concentrate on composition rather than getting the ultimate sounding recording because from what I've heard you could spend a looooooooong time trying to do that. :o)

    Thank you all again.
    Adam
  • Super! :o) I will do this then. Thank you very much!
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnWdjCvDrA&feature=related

    The above link is a YouTube demonstration of Edirol orch, at least th first 2:45 of it is...

    the "sound" you make, i think anyways, is primarily two things... one, your skill as a composer writing the score in MIDI, two, your digital instruments. The above link, well, the first half anyways, gives you an idea of how good that software instrument can sound in the right hands.

    Its not perfect, and can be outdone by other stuff, but... its pretty good, and its no longer "cutting edge" and can be had amazingly cheap... (well under a hundred bucks, I believe?)

    a THIRD thing is your skill as a mixer. Mr Kemp and Mr Alpiar are professional mixers, and well... naturally they can do things the home guy cant appreciate. That basic edirol orch link demonstrated above, is a low cost way to get a half decent sound out of anything you use to compose the midi notes on...

    any high end composer is I think going to out-do a newb, even using more primitive tools, within reason. If me and Mr Alpiar were to suddenly switch "studios" for a week for some reality TV show... I'm pretty sure I would look at all the "stuff" he has at his disposal and not know where to START to use it all... I'm also fairly convinced one he got over his initial disgust at my "cave man" basic stuff on a small PC, he would sit down and compose something that would FRY me even with me having all his stuff in front of me...

    the same comparison could likely be made with straight mixing... again, if me and Mr Alpiar were to switch studios for a week for some reality TV show... I dont think i could "mix" trax any better even given all his "stuff" at my disposal... and, once again, I think once he got over his initial disdain for my "caveman" tools... he would employ his basic mixing skills and again FRY me, if we were both given the same raw tracks to mix a demo with...

    NOW... if we were to severely handicap Mr Alpiar? Lets say, give him a 80 dollar "casio" keyboard and a 80 dollar battery powered 4 track bottom of the line entry level Behringer mixer? And let me have my software and Edirol Orch I am used to using?

    Then, I might have a decent chance to out do him... but it would have to be very unbalanced with our tools for me to have a chance...

    and even then... a "pro" would likely sit and listen critically to our scores... ignoring sound quality... and might well say that his score was technically superior to mine...

    Edirol Orch basic (link above) is under a 100 bucks, and will instantly give you a half decent orchestral sound.

    When I hear a track and am just blown away? I keep hearing "east west" a LOT when I ask what they used, as well as a few others. Piano in particular, to get that "jaw dropping effect" the piano instrument alone is a couple hundred or more, just to get a good sound... Steinberg "the grand" and "Akoustik" (sp?) come to mind immediately... some of the best high end software out there, has horrible "built in" sounds... you need to use an add-on VST instrument to sound decent...

    but, always be mindful of SKILL and experience... a really good sculptor skilled in the use of a CHAINSAW, will make something prettier to look at sculpture-wise... then ME even if you gave me all the tools someone like Michaelangelo used to make "david" statue...

    but, for under a 100 bucks, Edirol orch (above link) is a half decent start... a couple hundred dollar computer with a couple hundred dollar DAW software will activate it fine... leaving you with over a THOUSAND bucks to decide what VST/Luibraries you want to spend the rest on...
    - YouTube
    Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.
  • well, at least I didnt get "flamed", lol... that's some small success for me...

    I guess everyone has to define their own version of "success". Outside of how much money and accolades you get publicly...
    you are left with...

    1) are you impressing yourself? Do you sit back and saw "wow, i cant believe I made that?" every now and again?
    2) when you play it for the "new listener", do they seem "moderately" impressed?
    3) do you every now and then "fool" someone that they think they heard the real thing? (a layman, but still...)

    what do I "expect" to get to? I'm not real sure, but I know what my long term goals are...

    1) I may not be able to compose anything the whatever philharmonic wants to play live, but, there's a part of me that thinks that "failed" classical composers are where "really good" pop producers come from, you know, the guy that adds the "rest" of the pop track...

    2) One of my buddies brought me over and had me listen to the music in his hunting video... it was terrible... I understood perfectly, that I *might* possibly aspire to making better quality hunting video music than they were accustomed to having... (laugh all you want, I dont care)

    3) have you ever noticed how HORRIBLE most porn music is? LMAO... my one buddy said I could be the worst classical composer ever, yet still might become an "award winning" porn music guy... LMAO... again, laugh all you want, I know its funny...

    4) low budget game music.

    5) what i call "-isms". I will watch real forensic programs on A&E and stuff, and i started realizing I heard, like, 40 or 50 different 10 to 30 second "spots" of music... when I watched the credits to see who DID those things, they had at least 40 different "musicians" listed... I have NO IDEA how to be one of the listed musicians, but... a lot of its pretty basic stuff...

    6) the humble toothpaste commercial on the radio... 15 "exciting" seconds and your golden...

    7) when I watch a B-grade DVD... I hear (sometimes) really bad boring music for the "menu"...

    This is a nice, fun hobby and all... I mean, making music from scratch is like, the ultimate crossword puzzle to me. BUT, i try too nevberf lose sight of the fact that what a lot of people would call "failing" as a composer... all I know, is that I would LOVE to get paid a mere minimum wage, 40 hours a week wage... to sit at home for "work", set my own hours, and pet my cats inbetween "shifts" of work, doing what I seem to love as a hobby anyways.

    PS - Alpiar said: "And because of working with samples, and the inherant nature of sampled instruments and available articulations, and specifically how those articulations are played by various libraries I have to bend my writing to fit_the_samples and *not* make the samples play_my_composition."

    Thank you sir, I thought it was just ME, LMAO.... nice to know that even the paid professionals are going thru "that", LMAO... that always "bugged" me...

    My expectations? Just ONCE before I go to the clearing at the end of the path, as it were... I should like to be able to point to a listed credit somewhere, with my name on it... I dont care WHAT it is... I only half jokingly say "I wanna make porn music and hunting videos"...

    I have no shame about it... i will take ANYthing as a credit, if i can get it...
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