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Miroslav and Notion 3

A Forum to Discuss NOTION

Miroslav and Notion 3

Postby dcuny » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:03 pm

I'm attempting to use Miroslav with Notion 3, but I'm having a lot of difficulty.

Edit: I forgot to mention, I'm running on Windows Vista.

As a test, I tried changing the instruments in the "Chinese Dance" demo to Miroslav instruments. This was slow, and Notion crashed multiple times when I got to the last instrument (the contrabass). I finally rebooted my computer and turned off all applications, and was able to replace all the Notion instruments with Miroslav instruments (except for the bass clarinet, which appears to be missing from the Miroslav library).

I couldn't get realtime playback to work without gaps and stuttering, although I was able to create an offline render.

According to this thread, it appears that Notion creates a new instance of Miroslav for every instrument/staff. Based on my experience, even a handful on Miroslav instruments is too much for my machine (which can handle GPO with ease).

Am I doing something wrong, or is it impractical to expect Miroslav on anything less than an industrial strength machine? :oops:
Last edited by dcuny on Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Miroslav and Notion 3

Postby wcreed51 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:14 pm

The multiple instances should be sharing the same code and recourses, so there shouldn’t be an issue.

What are your system specs? Miroslav shouldn’t be anymore recourse intensive than the Notion instruments

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Re: Miroslav and Notion 3

Postby dcuny » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:31 pm

Memory: 3.0G, Processor 2100Mhz
I'm running the latest version of Notion.
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Re: Miroslav and Notion 3

Postby dcuny » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:36 pm

Looking at the video demos, it looks like using Sections is a less resource-intensive approach to using Miroslav.

That is, each Section is loaded with a bunch of instruments, which are then referenced via MIDI channel from other staffs, instead of having Notion setting up one instance per staff... :?

Is there some setting in Miroslav for sharing instances? Each new staff eats up more resources, and Miroslav is a lot heavier than Notion's instruments (or GPO).
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Re: Miroslav and Notion 3

Postby Surfwhammy » Sun May 01, 2011 3:27 am

dcuny wrote:Am I doing something wrong, or is it impractical to expect Miroslav on anything less than an industrial strength machine?





Observing (a) that I really am enjoying our discussion about guitar chords in the other topic, (b) that I have consumed huge quantities of Massimo Zanetti Master Chef coffee made in the ratio of 1/2 cup of ground coffee to 12 ounces of water at the ideal brewing temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit (hence have a vast coffee buzz), and (c) that I really enjoy touch-typing, these are a few thoughts regarding what I like to call the "big picture" . . .


(1) As a general rule, one can do anything that can be done on a personal computer in the Mac universe and in the Windows universe . . .

(2) For a variety of reasons, I do everything in the Mac universe, with the sole exception of the times when people pay me to do things in the Windows universe, and I do it this way primarily because in the Mac universe I can focus on doing music, since the computer nearly never bothers me with computer stuff, which is the way computers are supposed to interact with humans. However, this does not suggest or imply that one cannot do the same things in the Windows universe. So, while my observations generally are specific to the Mac, I think that it is reasonable to suggest that one can do the same things in the Windows universe--which is fine with me--but I cannot verify it, because I do not have any current Windows machines that are running anything newer than Windows XP Professional or some of the newer flavors of Windows Server.

(3) Based on doing a lot of experimenting and testing in the Mac universe over the past 10 months, which overall maps to somewhere in the range of 1,500 to 2,000 hours starting when I discovered IK Multimedia virtual instruments and Notion 3 (via beginning with Notion SLE for Miroslav Philharmonik and upgrading to Notion 3 about a week or two later), my current opinion is that the least expensive new 21.5" iMac is a sufficient "industrial strength" computer for doing all this digital music stuff, since it has an Intel Core i3 processor, which is a dual-core processor with 4-way multitasking capability, which as explained below is based primarily on observing for the most part that only two cores of the 2.8-GHz 8-core Mac Pro actually are used, which tends to suggest that at present having a fast dual-core machine is excellent. My strategy is to watch the pricing at starting about two weeks before Apple releases a new version of the iMac, since what soon will be the previous version typically is discounted, and I only get the minimal configuration, since memory modules from Other World Computing cost less than Apple memory and there are very fast external LaCie hard drives that make it practical to move all the slower stuff off the internal hard drive, which also saves money, although after a new model of the iMac becomes available, the price of the previous model tends to increase, so there only is a two-week opportunity (at most). You can do something similar in the Windows universe, but it is very important to focus on the word "comparable", which is the reason that I recommend doing everything in the Mac universe, because everything is there, so it does not require knowing a lot about it to be able to ensure that it actually is there, where the general rule is that a comparable Windows machine will cost the same, so from this perspective it does not matter so much whether you get a Mac or a Windows machine, provided the Windows machine has at least the same high-quality stuff . . .

I do everything on a 2.8-GHz 8-core Mac Pro with 8GB of memory (8x1GB) and plenty of very fast hard drive storage, so I cannot provide specific information about Windows machines, but I think that most of my observations probably apply in one way or another to the way things work in the Windows universe . . .

So, with the caveat that I use Notion 3 and the various IK Multimedia virtual instruments (Miroslav Philharmonik, SampleMoog, SampleTank 2.5 XL, Sonik Synth 2, and most of the Xpansion Tank 2 Multi-Sampled Instrument libraries) on the Mac, my experience is that all the IK Multimedia virtual instruments are "heavy" in the sense of doing a lot of highly-intensive computing, which maps to using a lot of computer resources . . .

Everything being constrained to a 32-bit application workspace is part of the problem, but it is not simply a matter of making everything 64-bit compatible, which for the most part simply maps to changing the definitions of variables that should have been defined generically and in some instances to using 64-bit functions, classes, methods, or whatever when there is no readily available and generally easy way to switch everything via a code generator or conversion tool . . .

For example, Digital Performer 7 is a 32-bit application on the Mac, and even when it is doing a lot of intensive real-time processing with a virtual festival of "heavy" VST effects plug-ins, the activity levels of the 8 cores on the Mac Pro is perhaps 10 to 15 percent on average, although occasionally it might jump to 25 percent for a while, which is the same with Notion 3, which also is a 32-bit application on the Mac, as are all the IK Multimedia virtual instruments . . .

This is a snapshot of the Mac OS X 10.6.7 Activity Monitor showing the utilization of the 8 cores while Notion 3 is playing the basic rhythm section for "(Baby You Were) Only Dreaming" (The Surf Whammys), and 2 of the 8 cores are averaging around 40 percent utilization, while the other 6 cores are pegged around 5 to 10 percent. The spread over two of the cores varies over time, but the average of the two cores is consistent with this snapshot, which basically indicates that everything pretty much is single-threaded, since Mac OS X 10.6.7 tends to use one of the two cores when Notion 3 is paused and all I am doing on the computer is typing this sentence in Firefox with six or so YouTube tabs open but also doing nothing, which is fine with me, since I am thrilled to be able to do everything this way, but from the perspective of Computer Science it indicates that there are a lot of possibilities with respect to being able to do a lot more, except that doing a lot more by changing the architecture of the software is a lot of work that in some respects is so complex that nobody has the time to do it, even if they understand intimately how to do it . . .

Activity Monitor ~ CPU Utilization (Snapshot)

In fact, when all of it is very busy, the utilization of the 8 cores (two quad-core Intel Xeon processors) typically is in the range of 10 to 15 percent, which makes it abundantly clear that none of these applications is specifically programmed for multicore processing in any significant way, which is the key to being able to do a huge amount of processing . . .

And since Mac computers use Intel processors and Windows machines use Intel and AMD processors (and any other flavors of Intel-based processors, if there are any), there is the possibility of some of the multicore work being done by predictive firmware algorithms or whatever rather than via specific application coding, but there are limitations to what processors can do with respect to determining how best to do what essentially is parallel computing in one flavor or another, at least some of the time, but so what . . .

So what!

The short version is that going exclusively 64-bits can provide some useful and perhaps significant improvements, especially with respect to anything that requires a large address space, but the more the work is spread over multiple cores, the faster the basic computing will happen, which is a bit of dilemma, since requiring everything to be 64-bits also requires everyone who expects to use the software applications (a) to get new versions of the software and (b) to get new computers, which in the grand scheme of everything maps to requiring customers to spend a lot of money on upgrades, which makes the succinct version the fact that it makes more sense to discover how to work within the constraints of the hardware and software as it exists in the real-world today, which probably will be the way it exists in a practical sense at least for another year or so, if not longer, because nearly nobody wants to be the first to abandon all their 32-bit customers and to force everyone to go completely and totally 64-bits . . .

In other words, on the Mac and in the WIndows universe you can create superb songs using Notion 3, IK Multimedia virtual instruments, and a sophisticated DAW application, as well as other types of virtual instruments and VST effects, vocal processing, mixing, and mastering plug-ins where you can have as many as 500 to 1,000 instrument and vocal tracks, but (a) you need to do it in small sets of instruments and vocal tracks and (b) you need to build the songs in layers by combining and merging the small sets of instruments and vocal tracks, which is the way it has been done since soon after it became possible to record audio and someone realized that it was possible to play an already recorded Edison wax cylinder on one machine while singing or playing an instrument and recording both the new stuff and the already recorded stuff on a second machine . . .

It works and while it is a bit complex the first few times you do it, once you do about five or so songs you begin developing techniques, strategies, and procedures that make it much easier and considerably faster, for sure . . .

For sure!

The reality is that if you have a peppy Mac Pro or Windows notebook, Notion 3, IK Multimedia virtual instruments and T-RackS 3 Deluxe, a high-end DAW application like Cubase, DIgital Performer, Logic, Sonar, or whatever, and a virtual festival of other VST effects plug-ins, including the Melodyne Editor (Celemony), along with a high-end digital audio interface like the MOTU 828mk3 for getting real instruments and microphones digitized so the DAW application can use it, then you have a better quality recording, mixing, and mastering system than the Beatles had when they recorded "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and Pink Floyd had when they recorded "The Dark Side of the Moon", and all of it will fit inside a standard briefcase, including two condenser or hybrid microphones and the required cables to connect the real hardware to the computer, which truly is mind-boggling . . .


And as best as I have been able to determine based on a lot of experimenting and testing over the past year, if you do your homework and take the time to learn some new and complex stuff, then you have the reasonable expectation of being able to do songs that sound just as good as songs done by anybody on this planet, no matter what type of recording system they might be using, at least with respect to the way the songs sound when they get to the iTunes Store and YouTube, which are the primary music delivery platforms at the dawn of the early-21st century for hit songs, which also includes FM and satellite radio, as well as CDs and whatever . . .


For example, listen with studio-quality headphones like the SONY MDR-7506 (a personal favorite) to the basic rhythm section for "(Baby You Were) Only Dreaming" (The Surf Whammys) using the link provided later in this post, and while it is a headphone mix rather than a loudspeaker mix, I think it is at least somewhat "ballpark" in terms of the way hit songs sound, and everything in the basic rhythm section is done with music notation and IK Multimedia virtual instruments and VST effects plug-ins in Notion 3, where for reference this basic rhythm section only has 25 instruments with only a minimal amount of "sparkling", so although it is the foundation for the song, it is the primitive foundation without all the extra stuff that I do in layers in the next phase of developing the song, which for this song is likely to map to another 300 instruments, most of which will be elaborate "sparkles", since the lyrics are based on a vastly silly and quite surreal bit of reimagining "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (Beatles) combined with being "inspired by" Christina Aguilera's "Not Myself Tonight"--an especially naughty song that earns Christina a big metaphorical spanking--where this is the current version of the first verse, which is sufficient until I actually sing it a few times, since I need to hear it after singing into heavily cascaded echo several times to determine whether each word is correct, because singing into heavily cascaded echo units is an excellent way to determine the correct words for lyrics, really . . .

All in camera
Sailing the seas
In search of grape jelly beans
And citrus whirled peas

The telephone rings
But nobody is home
A distracted young lady
Sits there all alone

Velvet chrysanthemums of orange and rose
Are impressively tall but mostly just fine
The telephone operator tells you
To insert another dime if you want more time . . .

©2011 RAE Multimedia


The music business is one of the most difficult businesses on this planet, and there are no guarantees, but so what . . .

So what!

Getting at least to a "ballpark" level maps to significant progress, and being able to do it in a sound isolation studio that is 7' by 12' by 7' on a Mac Pro is simply amazing . . .


Lots of things might be nice, but in the music business where everything nearly always is controlled by big fish, being able to do stuff at least to a "ballpark" level when one is a tiny fish is a big deal, especially when one's total budget for everything is less than the big fish spend for one high-end microphone . . .

Perhaps most importantly, even if it requires 500 hours of highly focused work per song, then 10 songs requires 5,000 hours of highly focused work, and since there are 8,760 hours in a year (365 days at 24 hours per day), this maps to having 3,760 hours a year for sleeping and all the other stuff one does, which on average maps to 10 hours a day for all that stuff, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :)


Basically, after a lot of experimenting and testing, I limit Notion 3 scores to a maximum of 25 instruments, since I use "heavy" VSTi instruments, and sometimes I have to limit it to 20 instruments . . .

This can appear to be a major problem or whatever, but the reality is that Notion 3 is doing a lot of controlling and processing, and I am quite amazed that Notion 3 is able to do everything with such remarkable accuracy in real-time, so I do not consider this to be a problem . . .

I have a Computer Science degree and among other activities I have done advanced Windows software engineering since the first version of Windows, although I switched to the Mac about a decade ago, so do not have much experience with Windows Vista and Windows 7 . . .

And while I do not know every detail of all the stuff that Notion 3 and IK Multimedia virtual instruments and VST plug-ins are doing in the background, I know that the virtual instruments and VST plug-ins are doing a lot of highly resource-intensive computing, as is Notion 3, which for Notion 3 includes all the work required to put the notes into motion visually, which by itself is a major software engineering activity, and this is the reason that I have no problems with working on a song by dividing it into instrument sections and working on each instrument section as a separate but synchronized Notion 3 score . . .

As explained below, this same thing happens with Digital Performer 7, and the reality is that there are limits to the amount of stuff that an application can do when real-time processing is required in a way that has very specific timing considerations, which is the case with digital music . . .

It would be nice if I could have 100 "heavy" VSTi instruments in a single Notion 3 score, and it would be nice if I could have 100 tracks in a Digital Performer 7 project, as well as having perhaps 5 "heavy" VST plug-ins per instrument track, but everything is 32-bit, and the reality is that it cannot be done, because there is too much highly-intensive computing required to do it, so the key is to develop a system that does the work in a logical way using smaller and more practical units or whatever . . .

This requires more arranging, composing, and planning, but there are benefits to doing it this way, and one of the benefits is that the resulting songs are much better, since they are done logically in a way that focuses on both high-level and low-level architecture, which tends to be the best way to build something . . .

Yet, there is flexibility in this type of system, where the key is defining Notion 3 as the foundation or anchor for the song, which is very important when one is constructing a song in layers, since something needs to be the foundation or anchor, and Notion 3 is the best foundation or anchor, because among other things when Notion 3 is the foundation or anchor, it becomes both possible and practical to switch easily from (a) working with sounds using music notation and virtual instruments to (b) working with sounds played on real instruments or sung by real singers . . .

This is a bit different from the way everything is done when only real instruments and voices are used, in which case the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) application is the foundation or anchor, which is fine, except that if you later decide that the song needs a violin section or an orchestra, it is not so easy to switch to Notion 3, since the real instruments and voices were recorded using click tracks provided by the DAW application and reference tuning pitches provided perhaps by a real keyboard synthesizer or whatever . . .

So, even if initially I have no plans to do anything in Notion 3, I do a "click" track (typically a pair of kick drums) and a reference tuning track in Notion 3 and record about 20 minutes of it via ReWire into Digital Performer 7, which then makes Notion 3 the foundation or anchor for the song, and while the 20 minutes of Notion 3 generated audio is being recorded via ReWire into Digital Performer 7 as a set of soundbites, I take a break and drink a pot of coffee or a Mexican Coca-Cola made with pure cane sugar . . .

In other words, all the real instruments are tuned to Notion 3 generated reference tuning pitches, and everything is played to the Notion 3 generated kick drum "click" tracks . . .

Later, if I decide that I want to add elaborate orchestration or instruments that I do not have here in the sound isolation studio, all I need to do is save and exit Digital Performer 7 and start Notion 3 (which is necessary to avoid starting Notion 3 as a ReWire slave), and then I can do instrumentation in Notion 3 using music notation and virtual instruments . . .

If there are real instruments and voices already recorded in Digital Performer 7, I do a "bounce to disk" of a quick mix and then export the resulting soundbite, which I import to Notion 3, so that I can hear the real instruments in Notion 3, which works nicely for setting reference points and so forth, although to hear the imported audio you have to start the Notion 3 transport before the start of the imported audio clip, which is not a big deal, since by that time you know enough about the song to work within the playback constraints, although it is much better to do what I call a "basic rhythm section" in Notion 3 first, so that all the real instruments are playing to the Notion 3 "basic rhythm section", which avoids the imported audio constraint, since you provide enough instrumentation in the "basic rhythm section" to know exactly where you are in the song and what you need to do, without needing to hear any of the already-recorded real instruments and singing . . .

It might require doing a few songs this way before it makes sense, but it is a producing activity, and as a producer you need to be able to manage all the instruments and singing from both a high level and a low level without needing to hear every thing all the time, and this is something that most musicians can learn how to do with a bit of practice, if they do not already know how to do it . . .

Producing is an entirely different activity from composing and performing, and it is a very important activity, for sure . . .

For sure!


When I first started using Notion SLE for Miroslav Philharmonik and then very quickly upgraded to Notion 3--so that I could use more virtual instruments--one of the first things I realized is that using the predefined templates for LSO (N2 and N3) orchestras and so forth generally is not a good strategy when you need to use very specific IK Multimedia virtual instruments, which as best as I can determine has something to do with the way everything is mapped for predefined templates, although this only is a guess . . .

At first, I had no idea how to create an instrument staff, so I started with a predefined orchestra template and then changed a lot of its predefined instruments, which worked in a sense but not so well, really . . .


After doing a bit more reading and experimenting, I switched to starting with a blank score and then populating it with instruments, one at a time, which works very nicely, and a few months ago fabiolcati made this all the easier by explaining how to use a Notion 3 score as a predefined template in such a way that it appears in the drop-down list of templates in Notion 3, which is stellar . . .

Observing that I am not entirely certain about every aspect of Notion 3 and the IK Multimedia virtual instruments, my general perspective at present is that there are ways to have as many as 16 "instruments" loaded into what appears to be a single instance of an IK Multimedia virtual instrument, although I am more comfortable calling them "voices" or "articulations" . . .

For example, if you start the standalone user interface for Miroslav Philharmonik, you will notice that there are 8 lines for instruments and that there is a button you can click to show the next 8 lines for instruments, for a total of 16 instruments, where the terminology actually is "Instrument", and I think this is called a "COMBI", which is great . . .


This is essentially the same standalone user interface for all IK Multimedia virtual instruments, but the most current and complete standalone user interface is the one for SampleTank, which is available in its entirety in SampleTank FREE and has more controls and parameters than the standalone user interface for Miroslav Philharmonik, and the SampleTank FREE standalone user interface is the full version but with a smaller set of free sound samples (500MB of virtual instrument samples) . . .

[NOTE: Since I had SampleTank 2.5 XL before IK Multimedia released SampleTank FREE, it is a bit difficult for me to verify easily that the SampleTank FREE version is the same engine and user interface as SampleTank 2.5 XL, but I am reasonably certain that it is, and it certainly has the same controls and so forth, so I think that it is the full version, where I think the logic at IK Multimedia is that providing the full version of the user interface and engine will encourage folks to purchase the sound libraries, as well as being a smart thing to do in terms of managing a product, since it is easier to manage when there is one engine for everything . . . ]

There is a way to have multiple voices on a single staff in Notion 3 (up to four voices), which I suppose can be useful, but it tends to make the staff a bit visually busy, so I do not use it . . .

And there probably are ways to switch among "instruments" using MIDI instructions, sequencing, or something, but I do not use that, either, because keeping everything as simple as possible is the preferred strategy here in the sound isolation studio . . .

In fact, while I can have several drums on the same staff, since all the IK Multimedia virtual drumkits have a different note for each drum or cymbal in the drumkit, I avoid doing this, because it is too complex visually, which makes it more difficult for me to recognize rhythm patterns quickly . . .

[NOTE: I am reasonably proficient in music notation, but I never did much with music notation until about a year ago, so what is difficult for me might not be so difficult for folks who have looked at elaborate music notation for decades, but so what . . . ]

In other words, if there are 10 drums and cymbals, then I have 10 separate staves--one for each individual drum and cymbal--and in some instances I might have as many as 8 separate staves for one drum or cymbal, which happens when I am doing what I call "sparkling", where I spread the notes of a single instrument over as many as 8 clones of the instrument, where each clone is panned to a specific location, which is a way to put the notes of an instrument into motion in a very precisely controlled way . . .

For example, Notion 3 divides the panning "rainbow" into distinct locations for the Left and Right ranging from -1.0 to +1.0 for each, where the increments are in units of one-tenth and apply separately to the Left and Right sides of the panning "spread" . . .

[NOTE: The minus sign is used, but the plus sign does [i]not appear. However, I include the plus sign when writing, since it avoids confusion. You can double-click on the tiny dot, and a date entry field appears, where you can input a specific numeric value for the panning position . . . [/i]]

The complete panning "rainbow" is "-1.0 pan L" for the left dot and "+1.0 pan R" for the right dot, and from this perspective "far-left" maps to (-1.0 pan L, -1.0 pan R), while "far-right" maps to (+1.0 pan L, +1.0 pan R) . . .

If you have a bit of formal mathematical training, then it is not so difficult to determine the various permutations, but for practical purposes I limit the possibilities to eight and use a modified clock metaphor, where far-left is 9:00, top-center is 12:00, and far-right is 3:00, except that I use this set, since it works nicely and maps to eight positions on the panning "rainbow":

{9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 11:30, 12:30, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00}

So, consider that one has a single instrument playing an ascending major scale {C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C} and wants to put the scale into motion, which is what I call "sparkling" the instrument . . .

One way to do this is to create seven more instrument staffs (for a total of eight instruments staves, counting the original staff) and then to copy all the notes of the original instrument to each of the seven clones . . .

Each staff is given a specific panning location via the Notion 3 Mixer and about five minutes of work if you are quick with keyboard and mouse, and then you do the actual motion work by replacing notes with equal-valued rests on the eight staves in a pattern that matches the way you want the instrument notes to move within the panning "rainbow", and for a three to five minute song where everything is quarter or eighth notes, this can take 15 minutes to an hour or so, where it gets easier and faster after you do it a few times and develop a set of techniques, but so what . . .

So what!

It is very precise, and it works wonderfully, so I like it a LOT, since I really like notes to be in motion, for sure . . .

For sure!

There are ways to do something similar in the DAW application (for example, Digital Performer 7 [MOTU]), but it is not so precise and it takes vastly longer, which tends to make it less practical . . .

Another stellar aspect of "sparkling" is that there are some truly fascinating rules that make it all the more powerful, where for example if you have spread the notes of a snare drum over two staves (one panned far-left and one panned far-right), when a note appears on both staves at the same time, you hear it top-center when listening with headphones, which adds a new dimension to "sparkling", which is fabulous . . .

[NOTE: This what I call the "basic rhythm section" for a new Surf Whammys song, where all the instruments are IK Multimedia virtual instruments and everything is done in Notion 3 with music notation and the Notion 3 Mixer, although I enhance some of the instruments with various specific VST plug-ins from T-RackS 3 Deluxe (IK Multimedia). The overall structure is not finished, and at present it basically is this pattern {PABACABACABAE}, where "P" is the prologue or "intro" and "E" is the epilogue or "end", while "A" is the chord pattern, "B" is the synthesizer and guitar line, and "C" is the Dubstep or whatever section that is similar to the prologue. The song is flowing better now, but I need to do some changes to the "A" and "B" sections, since they currently are identical, which tends to be a bit repetitive. Once that is done, which included composing the primary vocal melody, I switch to focusing on "sparkles" and additional instrumentation, which requires getting the "basic rhythm section" into Digital Performer 7 and switching focus on doing the arranging and mixing in the DAW, since the Notion 3 file for this "basic rhythm section" already is maxed, hence I cannot add more instruments, which maps to additional instruments requiring another Notion 3 score, hence the need to get the "basic rhythm section" completed, since it is the basis for everything that follows. If you listen with headphones and focus on the snare drums, it is easy to hear the far-left and far-right bits, and it is easy to hear what happens with a far-left snare drum rimshot is played at the same time as a far-right snare drum rimshot is played, which causes a single but louder snare drum rimshot to be heard approximately at top-center, which is quite fascinating. The title of the song is "Baby You Were) Born To Do It", and it is in some respects "inspired by" the Christina Aguilera song "Not Myself Tonight" and the fact that the music video is so off-the-wall that Christina needs to be spanked metaphorically, which is one of the ways I avoid becoming bored silly while making sense of music notation and everything else . . . ]


So, what does this have to do with Miroslav Philharmonik and Notion 3?

Great question!

If everything works essentially the same way on a Windows machine as it does on a Mac, then the fact of the matter is that there is a finite limit to the number of "heavy" VSTi instruments you can have in a single Notion 3 score, which also is the case with "heavy" VST effects, and after doing extensive experimenting and testing on a 2.8-GHz 8-core Mac Pro with 8GB of memory (8x1GB) running Mac OS X 10.6.7 (Snow Leopard), this limit is approximately 25 "heavy" instruments and 10 "heavy" VST effects plug-ins, which is fine with me, because the solution is to have a bunch of Notion 3 scores for a song, where each section has its own separate but synchronized Notion 3 score and each such score has perhaps five "common instruments" that are the same for every score and are there to provide aural and visual reference points for such things as tempo, rhythm pattern, chords, and basic melody and harmony, which is necessary here in the sound isolation studio, because for all practical purposes I "sparkle" everything, which overall maps to the potential for a song to have 500 to 1,000 instruments, which is fine with me . . .

It might take as much as 250 to 500 hours to do the basic instrumentation for a three-minute song, but it is faster than doing it with real musicians when you consider from the perspective of "person hours" and include composing time, arranging time, practicing time, playing time, recording time, and so forth and so on . . .


While it can appear that being limited in a practical way to 25 "heavy" VSTi instruments is a big constraint, this is not the way I view it, because the fact of the matter is that a lot of stuff is happening behind the scenes and from a Computer Science perspective it is quite amazing that Notion 3 is able to manage and control everything in real-time in such a way that the audio is generated correctly and can be fed accurately to a DAW via ReWire. Each instance of a IK Multimedia instrument is doing a lot of "heavy" computing, and the results are excellent, so it is fine with me to work with everything in 25-instrument scores, since the same thing occurs in Digital Performer 7, where to get beyond approximately the same limitation on tracks I create merged soundbites where a set of instrument tracks are combined and "bounced" to disk, and from that point forward I use the single stereo soundbite instead of the individual tracks, which then frees the individual tracks for another 25 or so instruments, where this essentially is the same technique used by Phil Spector for his "Wall of Sound" and by George Martin to record the Beatles at a time when only two-track and four-track magnetic tape machines were available, where for example Abbey Road Studios was using four-track magnetic tape machines during the time when "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (Beatles) was recorded, so everything was done in small increments with elaborate layering of parts done by "bouncing" tracks from one four-track machine to another while recording new tracks on the "bounce-to" four-track machine, where the four tracks on the "bounce-from" tape machine were mixed via the mixing console and sent to one or two tracks on the "bounce-to" machine while two more tracks were recording new material, and at some point the audio engineers devised a way to synchronize the machines, which allowed more elaborate stuff to be done. The only caveat or rule to doing things this way is that it requires as much advance planning as possible, although if you follow the rule that Notion 3 always is the foundation, then if you decide to add a new section to a song, it mostly is a matter of doing a bit of bar or measure inserting and then doing some copying and pasting, which also works nicely in the DAW application, even when you already have recorded real instruments and voices, since everything in the DAW is synchronized with the Notion 3 scores when you do it this way . . .


[NOTE: Since my sole focus is on popular music and discovering how to create hit songs, this has pretty much nothing to do with Classical music and traditional orchestra and symphony stuff, but so what . . . ]

Notion 3 is heavy-duty professional software, and it is accurate, reliable, and repeatable, but it is doing so much highly-intensive computing behind the scenes that there are finite limits to the amount of work it can do in a single score, so the key is to use what I call the "Divide and Conquer" rule, where instead of trying to fit everything into a single Notion 3 score, you work on instrument sections where each instrument section is a Notion 3 score . . .

Doing it this way makes the ReWire work vastly easier, and it also makes the DAW application work vastly easier, since ReWIre cannot handle 500 channels, and the DAW application essentially has the same or similar track constraints as Notion 3, so the key to doing very elaborately orchestrated songs is to do it the way Phil Spector did it for his "Wall of Sound" and the way George Martin did it for the Beatles, which is to work in layers . . .

To put this into perspective, listen to the European Single for "Who Owns My Heart" (Miley Cyrus), where if you listen carefully with studio-quality headphones like the SONY MDR-7506, it should be obvious that there are at least 100 to 250 instrument tracks and 100 to 250 vocal tracks, where some of the vocal tracks might be as simple as having Miley make "ich-ich-ich-ich-ich", "tah", "tcuh", "kuh", and other sibilants, fricatives, aspirants, gutturals, uvular trills, or whatever every once in a while in very specific places, and some of the instrument tracks might be focused on a particular custom-designed echo that appears for one measure or just a few seconds . . .

"Who Owns My Heart" (Miley Cyrus) -- European Single-- YouTube music video

Miley Cyrus and her musical group play the song in concerts, but they play a caricature or simplified version of the song in concerts, which works nicely primarily because the sound system is at such a high volume that all the subtle bits blur, which is great, but so what . . .

So what!

People listen to the hit song, and the fact of the matter is that the hit song has a bunch of extraordinarily subtle but complex instrumentation and a virtual festival of custom-designed vocal enhancements, echoes, and so forth and so on, and the only way to do all that stuff is to do it in layers, which simply takes a while, but is a lot of FUN to be able to do it, which is where Notion 3 provides the opportunity for folks who cannot afford multi-million dollar recording studios and on call studio musicians, audio engineers, instrument producers, vocal producers, arrangers, and so forth and so on, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :)

P. S. As a bit of follow-up to the importance of focused listening, an excellent example comes to mind, which is that after listening to "Hound Dog" (Elvis Presley) about a billion times over at least half a century, it was only a few weeks ago that I heard a particularly stellar uvular trill in an immediately conscious way, which occurs on the "h" of "hound" that Elvis sings at 1:59, which is simply mind-boggling . . .

[NOTE: For this particular "h", it took me several hours to determine precisely what Elvis was doing, since I had never heard of a "uvular trill", and at first I thought it was something done with a rapidly clipping limiter or a very rapid echo, but although it is a bit unusual to do a uvular trill on an "h", this is what Elvis did, and it sounds more like a very rapid drum roll, but it is there, and you can hear it. And I verified that it is on the official version of the song, so it is not something added by the person who did the YouTube video. It is easy to hear the uvular trills he was doing on the "r' of "crocking", so I think that the uvular trill on the "h" just happened naturally in a moment of serendipity . . . ]

"Hound Dog" (Elvis Presley) -- YouTube record


The fact of the matter is that no matter how skilled you are at listening to music, the more you listen to a song, the more stuff you hear and, as an example, one of the songs I am studying is "Aserejé" (Las Ketchup), and so far I have listened to it 645 times in iTunes, which is pretty strange, but the official YouTube video has 30 million views, and it has great potential for "inspiring" a Surf Whammys song about ladies underpants in three-part harmony, which is fabulous . . .

"Aserejé" (Las Ketchup) -- YouTube music video

Fabulous! :D

P. P. S. I did a bit of proofreading, but not so much, so I will check everything for accuracy, spelling, and grammar, later . . .
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Re: Miroslav and Notion 3

Postby dcuny » Sun May 01, 2011 7:37 pm

Let me ask the question a different way, because I've yet to get a clear answer.

I'm running a 32 bit Vista machine with 3Gig of memory and a 2100Mhz processor. I'm unable to run the "Chinese Dance" demo by simply replacing the staff instruments with Miroslav instruments without stuttering and crashing.

Am I doing something wrong, or is Miroslav simply that memory/processor heavy? If so, is there a standard workaround to get this to work without resorting splitting the score into parts?

I've gone ahead and added sections (WWI, WWII, Strings I, Strings II, Brass I, Brass II), and replaced the instruments as follows:

Woodwinds I
Midi Channel 1: Piccolo
Midi Channel 3: Flute
Midi Channel 9: Oboe
Midi Channel 15: English Horn

Woodwinds II
Midi Channel 1: Clarinet
Midi Channel 7: Bass Clarinet
Midi Channel 9: Bassoon
Midi Channel 15: Contrabassoon

Strings I
Midi Channel 1: Violins

Strings II
Midi Channel 1: Violas
Midi Channel 7: Cellos
Midi Channel 12: Basses

Brass I
Midi Channel 1: French Horn
Midi Channel 13: Trumpet

Brass II
Midi Channel 1: Trumpet
Midi Channel 5: Trombone
Midi Channel 13: Tuba

This appears to work, and runs fine on my machine. However, it's a bit of a PITA. For one thing, NOTION overwrites all the staff information (name, transposition, clef) when the clef is assigned as a "Basic Staff". The name is overwritten yet again when the instrument is assigned from the group. I suppose I could have created Basic Staffs under all the staffs to be replaced, and then cut and pasted the instrument data from the originals...

What I'm most interested in finding is where the documentation for this process is. I ran across a video in the NOTION SLE section which described the process, but don't see anything in the NOTION 3 manual on this, or the various group settings for Miroslav. Is there a place this is documented? :|

I'm also not sure if the groups support things like Violins I and Violins II as separate patches.

Is there default scores that use the Miroslav groups, or do I need to set these up manually? It's great that NOTION has the flexibility to support this sort of thing, but from the perspective of hiding complexity from the user... Not so much.

Last edited by dcuny on Sun May 01, 2011 8:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Miroslav and Notion 3

Postby wcreed51 » Sun May 01, 2011 7:51 pm

I don't know anything about the Chinese Dance, but I know I can load the full orchestra template without issue.

Why don't you just try to start something new and see how that works. Miroslav is NOT resource intensive. The instruments load in the blink of an eye. With EWQL you sit watching the progress bar creep along.
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Re: Miroslav and Notion 3

Postby dcuny » Mon May 02, 2011 2:18 am

Thanks, but again, my experience is different. From a blank score, if I add a new instrument from Notion, it happens almost instantly.

From GPO, it takes about 6 seconds to create the staff. Adding additional GPO instruments takes a second or two, depending on the number of samples in the instruments. It's very lightweight, and I don't have any problems with multiple instruments.

From Miroslav, it takes about 6-7 seconds to load a new score, and doesn't get faster with additional instruments.

On my machine, I can run perhaps two EWQL instruments (I've got a demo version). More than that, and it's not practical. I've not tried running them from within NOTION.

I guess I've just got an underpowered machine. I'm not sure where the bottleneck is, though: CPU or RAM? I guess it doesn't matter, since I don't have the budget to upgrade it in the near future.

It looks like I'll be using Miroslav rather sparingly, or sticking with Sections... :|
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Re: Miroslav and Notion 3

Postby wcreed51 » Mon May 02, 2011 9:56 am

What happens when you use Miroslav in standalone mode?

With 32bit software, you really can't use much more than 3GB of RAM, so that's not the issue.
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Re: Miroslav and Notion 3

Postby Brian » Mon May 02, 2011 11:22 am

Hi Guys,

Brian here from NOTION Music. It sounds like you have two separate problems going on here.

1. Miroslav handles VSTi a little differently than does GPO. You are most definately running out of resources and this is why the program is crashing. You can only use about 3-3.5 GB of Ram on a 32 bit machine/OS. If you are using Windows 7 (which has a different memory manager than does XP) and 4 GB of RAM, you can load about 12-14 Miroslav instruments without crashing the program. Due to the way Miroslav is designed, I'm afraid that we cannot do anything differently. You can however unload any sounds that you are not using in a score. To do this, create a score with some Miroslav instruments. Each time you add an instrument, exit Score Setup, click on the instrument that you just added, and press "ctrl i." This will open the Miroslav VSTi. You can then choose any of the loaded instruments that you are not going to use and press the "<" symbol in the delete column to unload that particular instrument. I often here people claim that other programs use less resources with Miroslav than does NOTION3. This is because NOTION3 is loading a preset that loads about 16 instruments for each individual instrument. This is why when you write staccatos into your score in NOTION3, it plays a staccato. It is because this patch is loaded as part of a preset. If you unload what you don't need for each instrument as you add them, you should be able to load much more without the program crashing. Once you set everything up and save your score, you will not have to do this each time. That being said, on to your other problem.

2. So whenever you export your file to an audio format from NOTION using Miroslav, you are hearing pops, clicks, dropouts, etc. It sounds like your audio buffer size is set too low. If you are going to make such a powerful move on your system, you will want to make sure that everything is set to do so. I recommend setting your audio buffer size to something like 1024 if you are working with VST and audio export. On a Mac, this can be done from the NOTION>Preferences, Audio window. On Windows, you will have to change the buffer size in the driver for your sound card. If you are not using a sound card that is advanced enough to have this setting, you might have better luck installing a free program called asio4all. Once installed you can go to File>Preferences, Audio and set this to be your ASIO driver. Once set, you can double-click the new icon at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen next to your clock and set the buffer size.

I hope this helps. :D


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