Clarification for the new guy

o.k, first of all here are my p.c. specs;  2 gb ram, 250gb hard-drive, intel 2 duo processor, sib 4, VDL2, audacity (free downlad), korg k-49 midi. 

I just read Jesse Mattsons ";Multi-Track Softward Tutorial"; and thanks Jesse.  I have also been spending some time on the forum trying to learn several things about the workings of VDL2 and Sibelius.  I have a couple of questions and I know they may seem stock, but like it was stated in another forum discussion 'it's not going to be learned overnight'.  I'm new and virtually illiterate when it comes to new software use.  Sibelius/VDL2/Audacity are new programs for me.

1.  As a general statement, the recordings of VDL2 on tapspace are dynamically/musically altered through multi-track recording software, not the use of markings (hairpins etc..) in Sibelius.  True or False?

2.  I understand that Kontakt 2 is b.a.  But I do not understand the how the concept of loading more then one sound into a channel bank works as far as composition and playback. (I do not own Kontakt2 yet, but thinking of investing in it)  First, for our purposes of this question let's use channel one for marimba/concert snare drum/crash cymbals.  How does one use Kontakt or VDL2 to change sounds that are loaded into a sound bank and have it be clear playback while your writing in Sibelius?  Do you click on something, yell at it a lot, what happens?

3.  Within a college budget, what would be an ideal audio playback set up?  Would I need a mixing board and professional speakers?  This may be a lame question but I see diagrams of midi, to computer, to mixer, to women on the street, to whatever.  I just have crappy Altec speaker with a small subwoofer and I want to try to optimize this as best as possible. 

I know these questions may be a joke for some people, but I just want to learn and get better with the technology that we have for percussion arranging.  Some fo the other forum posts seem greek to me.  Please help and thanks.  Sorry for such a long winded post, I hope I was specific enough. 

Hi Jeremy,

I'll do my best to answer what I can of your questions.

1) I can't speak for Jim and the crew, but I do know that they probably implement hairpins/dynamics/etc. in addition to tweaking in some form of pro audio recording/editting software (namely Logic, if I am not mistaken).  You can achieve similar results using Audacity by just recording individual staves and mixing/mastering them once they've been recorded. I'm sure Jim or Bill will be able to offer more here.

2) [b]Instrument Banks[/b] are essentially containers that can hold up to 128 other instruments. Using your example, you would

[li]Load your marimba/snare/cymbals into a bank (on Channel 1 for instance)[/li]
[li]Assign a track/staff in Sibelius to Channel 1[/li]
[li]Change between the three instruments loaded into the instrument bank using the midi command ~p1 ~p2 or ~p3 depending on which instruments are loaded into which slots in the bank.[/li]
[li]Sibelius enables you to notate music that will correspond with sampled sounds using [b]Staff Types[/b], so you could have separate staves for each instrument. Templates (which I'm sure you have already found) have alreday been created for VDL2 that correnspond with most instruments in the library.[/li][/list]

3) Normally an upgraded sound card would be the best way to start if you want to improve the quality of your playback.  I have been using the same pair of $100 Harmon Kardon speakers with a sub for 5 years and they have done the job for my purposes.

Be sure to also read the Tapspace FAQs at [url][/url] for more infomation.


First, it looks like you have a great system to do some work. Now, to address your questions, please see below.

1. The answer to this is True and False. It depends. The information you are referring to can be entered in the notation software and most software programs will do a good job of replicating the composers intent. However, multi track recording software offers a much wider array of options regarding the sound quality. You can alter every aspect of the recording much easier in a program like Cubase. However, I have found that for general use, notation software can replicate the sounds fairly well. It is a matter of taste and time. To get recordings that sound as great as what you find at Tapspace, you have to spend a great deal of time tweaking the MIDI data in Cubase. Or, with the recent advancements in notation software, you can get some of the same effects without going the multi-track recording route. Maybe someone with greater understating of this topic will chime in and help clarify.

2. I am sure everyone has a method for what you are describing. I typically load the instruments I need in Kontakt and then create channel changes within the score. In Finale 2007, you simply make an expression, title it what you want (in your case snare or cymbal) and then change the channel on the expression. When you are finished with that instrument, you can set a blank expression with a channel change to return to your marimba. There may be an easier way to do this, but I have used this method with great results. However, I am using Finale. I am sure Sibelius has a much easier method of getting this result.

3. The best thing to do is to update your sound card. With a little research, you can find great cards that are pretty cheap. Shoot, you can find them available for sale on this site (shameful plug). Then update to some better computer speakers. Maybe get some monitor speakers designed for digital audio recording. If you really want to save some money, invest in the sound card and buy the best set of headphones you can find. It is amazing what a composition will sound like with a great set of headphones. ��

Thanks and good luck!


Thanks for the responses.  I will play around with the suggestions and get used to it. 

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