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Beethoven Symphony #5, Movement 1, recapitulation, BBC Core


mschiff
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Here is a comparison of multiple ways to work with the BBC Symphonic Orchestra Core library and Unify. Each mp3 is a short 1 minute excerpt.

It was all done on a Dell Precision Workstation with 12Gb ram, a Xeon processor, and all SSD Drives. Windows 10 PC using Cakewalk by Bandlab.

3 different ways follow with an mp3 file illustrating what I was able to do with that method. 

All of the examples use the same Waves reverb and mastering path, with any reverb or KlangFalter removed from Unify. 

The MIDI file came from Musescore.

#1 used 12 tracks of Unify, each loaded with a single instrument from CoreStation Instruments.

Pros: It was quick to set up. I just created 12 tracks of Unify by duplicating 11 more times (one command), and then dragging the midi, which had 12 tracks on to Cakewalk, and it loaded one track for each Unify instance. 

Cons: Once it was all set up, it was very slow to load. I had to wait several minutes or more for the instruments all to play. Also, it had problems with dropouts on occasion, as it was at the limits of my machine. So I was unable to add any more than 12 tracks without mixing down.

Big con: Apparently there is a bug in Corestation that causes the volume level of some instruments to double from 100%, to somewhere between 195% and 213%. As you can well imagine, this wreaks havoc on your mix, so you have to check it every time you load a project. Once it is set after load, it stays put.

The midi is attached.

This topic was modified 9 months ago by mschiff

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mschiff
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Method #2

Load all instruments directly using the Spitfire VST. This does not use Unify at all.

Pros: Simple to do.

Cons: Same as above. It's slow to load, and has dropouts. Not enough headroom to add a Unify track with more instruments.

Same problem with the Core instruments changing volume.


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mschiff
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Method #3 

Load the midi into 12 midi tracks, each on a different midi channel.

Load one instance of Unify, with instruments added from CoreStation by selecting the full sections Long, and loading them as separate tracks. In this case, I added the same 12 as above, but another 4 string instruments with spicatto attacks. Set the midi channels in Unify to match the midi tracks.

Pros: Also simple and fast to do. BIG pro. Performance was MUCH better. Far less CPU, and the sounds loaded in about 1/3 of the time compared to the other two methods, even though there were more instruments. Mixing was easier, because I could adjust it in the Unify interface.

Cons: I don't like that Klangfalter loads every time you load an instrument. I much prefer to use a bus for reverb and send all the instruments at once, and I am not a big fan of Klangfalter. However, I may just not be using it properly. The same instrument volume problem occurs with this setup. I have put in a support message to Spitfire and will see what they say. I have found other messages about this problem on the web. 

As far as I'm concerned, this is by far the best method.

I did my best to balance all three to be close together, but it was difficult given that I had to wait 5 minutes or so for the first two to load each time. 

 


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getdunne
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@mschiff

Thank you for sharing this knowledge!


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mschiff
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@getdunne

I heard back from Spitfire. Apparently there is a Volume CC event in my MIDI file that is set to 103% that is causing the problem.  I will look into this further and insure that it is actually the problem. I had it in two different MIDI files, and they only responded about one, so I will verify that they both have this problem.


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mschiff
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@getdunne

Here is the response from Angus at Spitfire. I sent him both this midi and my moonlight sonata midi.

"Thanks for sending the MIDI files over. The issue is on the
moonlight_sonata.mid file, you have Volume CC information at 103%, which equates to 213% in BBC SO. If you remove this MIDI Automation, and reset the volume in BBC SO, the volume will not be affected"

I checked, and CC#7 was indeed set to 103% for the entire midi file, and when I played it, the level in BBC went to 213%.

This makes no sense to me. If the CC#7 (volume) is set to 103%, then the volume level in the BBC plugin should also be at 103%. No? If I set it to 80%, then the BBC level shows at 100%.

How is the level setting in Unify being reflected in the plugins it is controlling?

This post was modified 9 months ago by mschiff

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mschiff
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I have been trying to make heads or tails of this for days now. I'm almost tempted to throw up my hands and use some other orchestral library.

I do not see how it could be the midi file causing this problem, since the exact same midi file works perfectly with the Discover version. The instruments all stay at 100% and are never changed by the midi file.


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getdunne
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@mschiff

Can you try loading your MIDI file and the BBCSO plug-in directly in your DAW (not using Unify at all), and see if there is any difference?

If there is, it may be due to Unify. If not, any issues must be related to the BBCSO plug-in (which is known to have a few issues).


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mschiff
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Posted by: @getdunne

@mschiff

Can you try loading your MIDI file and the BBCSO plug-in directly in your DAW (not using Unify at all), and see if there is any difference?

If there is, it may be due to Unify. If not, any issues must be related to the BBCSO plug-in (which is known to have a few issues).

I did that already, and the problem still occurs, so it is definitely with BBCSO Core. I do not have the problem with BBCSO Discover. I would be willing to believe that it is the midi files, except that I tried them last night with Garritan Personal Orchestra and had no problems, and also with Discover with no problems.


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getdunne
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@mschiff

This is consistent with our experience: BBCSO Discover is pretty solid, BBCSO Core can be a bit flaky. Spitfire will probably improve it over time.


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mschiff
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@getdunne

They will improve it only if they acknowledge that there is a problem. My emails so far with them have them deflecting the blame.


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mschiff
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@getdunne

Here is the latest from Spitfire. More useless information. I keep asking him why it works in Discover, and not in Core. He ignores that question.

 

Angus (Spitfire Audio)

Feb 4, 2021, 9:11 GMT

Hi Martin, 

Sorry that was my mistake in the previous email. The value is 103, on a MIDI CC scale of 0-127, so this is why the numbers do not actually match up. 

The plugin also uses a dB scale of -inf to 12dB. At 100%, this is at 0dB, 200% is +6dB, and 400% is +12dB. So there is no issue with how the plugin calculates volume here. 

When controlling dynamics with our libraries, I highly recommend you use CC1 (Modulation/ Dynamics) or CC11 (Expression/ Overall Volume). This means that the instrument will keep below its intended dB threshold. 

I will close this ticket now, but please feel free to reply to this message again if you require any further support.

All the best,
Angus


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mschiff
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@getdunne

Obviously Spitfire is not interested in helping customers. All they do is play the blame game. They need to take lessons from you.

 

Angus (Spitfire Audio)

Feb 5, 2021, 11:49 GMT

Hi Martin,

It is hard to say without looking at the MIDI you are using with BBC SO Discover. Certainly from my end, it does not appear there is an issue with the library, and this would definitely be how your DAW/ MIDI CC device are interacting with the plugin. 

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

All the best,
Angus


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getdunne
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Posted by: @mschiff

They need to take lessons from you.

❤️ You are very kind. Spitfire is on a much higher level in terms of fame and popularity. Providing good support at that level is very challenging.


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