Old 12-20-2017, 10:13 PM   #1
Chris Heinen
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Default MIDI Routing - best practices

I'm a noob to Reaper MIDI routing options but I've been reading a lot of the various forum posts about it and experimenting, and I'm slowly getting the hang of it... I had some questions for the "power users"...

I've been playing around with a MIDI instrument library called "Virtual Playing Orchestra" (VPO) in Reaper. It's a collection of sfz's and wav files that have been curated into a group of orchestral instruments with various articulations. The person that wrote the library has grouped the instruments such that for a given articulation (e.g. staccato) you can load it into an instance of an sfz player (I'm using sforzando). If you only want the sustain you only have to load the sustain articulation, if you also want pizzicato, you load a separate instance for that, etc.

I'm tweaking notes in the Notation view of the MIDI editor and assigning channels to individual notes so that they fire the corresponding articulations in the sforzando instances. I've even been able to set up some buttons and keyboard shortcuts to assign articulations more quickly.

Everything is working fine, but I had some noob questions about the "best practices" for how to route MIDI channels when working with these resources.

In the first scenario, track 1 is a simple MIDI track with a single MIDI item, and has MIDI routing to tracks 2, 3, 4, and 5. Track 2 contains an instance of sforzando with a VPO sustain patch, track 3 has a separate sforzando instance with a VPO staccato patch, track 4 has a VPO pizzicato patch and track 5 has a VPO accent patch. In the attached image, the MIDI routing from track 1 to the VSTi tracks is shown.

https://i.imgur.com/HBmirI4.png

Is this the "normal" way to set up a multi-VSTi configuration when you want separate MIDI channels for a given MIDI track/item? For some reason, to me, it seems like overkill to have 4 tracks just to get MIDI routing set up. Thoughts?

In the second scenario, track 1 is (again) a simple MIDI track, but this time instead of having 4 audio tracks, through experimentation with Reaper's "MIDI buss" settings, I was able to get all 4 audio VSTi's to run on track 2 "in parallel". I figured out how to assign each instance of sforzando to a specific MIDI buss, then set up track 1's send routing so it would route each of the 4 MIDI channels where they belonged. In the attached image I show the first instance of sforzando assigned to a MIDI buss and the channel routing to it from track 1.

https://i.imgur.com/GiE5LiM.png

I admit that the second scenario is kind of whacky since I'm now using up the MIDI busses just to get basic MIDI channel routing, but it is the only way I have yet to discover how to get MIDI channel assignments at the FX/VSTi level. Thoughts? Should I just abandon scenario two and stick with the first?

Thanks for any/all help you can provide...

CH
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Old 12-21-2017, 09:31 AM   #2
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I do not know sforzando (is it an ARIA Player?) but it only loads one instrument at a time, so is not really a "multi-VSTi". Kontakt, SampleTank, Garritan Perosnla Orchestra are multi-VSTis. They have multiple internal slots and you can load an instrument into each one; each slot can be set to receive a particular MIDI channel.

Using sforzando, your first approach is fine - you could put the 4 receiving track into a folder and collapse it to tidy up a bit. Or hide them in the Arranger, keeping them in the Mixer. Details of both are in the User Guide.

Your second scenario is an alternative that I was going to suggest. Yes, it is a bit wacky, but it does get round an odd omission in Reaper - the ability to set a VSTi to receive from one (or more) specific MIDI channels.

In your position I would stick with the first approach and hide the tracks.

In my position I would use CWITec's Tx16Wx
http://www.tx16wx.com/ (but support the developer and buy the Pro version)
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Old 12-21-2017, 01:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkStar View Post
In my position I would use CWITec's Tx16Wx
http://www.tx16wx.com/ (but support the developer and buy the Pro version)
I would do the same DS, except Sforzando has DFD and it works very well, just as good as Kontakt. I know you know this DS, With larger sample libraries, especially orchestral, that can make a big difference in RAM.
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Old 12-21-2017, 09:18 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback, DS and Tod.

DS, I'll check out the Tx16Wx sampler (at first glance the website for it does not claim it can read sfz config files, but maybe there is an import of some sort...). The guy that curates the VPO library looks like he spends a fair amount of time tweaking the instruments specifically for sfz-compatible samplers and I'm not sure how much of his tweaks would get cross-pollinated in a different sampler.

I agree with you, Tod, the DFD in sforzando is nice. Everything loads really fast, apparently because it only caches the first few hundred milliseconds of each of the samples and also allows the user to 'peg' how much RAM to allocate for all instances before the disk streaming kicks in. Very slick. And, since it's all an open format, there are a fair amount of sfz libraries on the net, if one has the time to look/audition them.

Anyway, thanks for the info on the (lack of) MIDI routing in Reaper for this scenario. Perhaps one day Reaper will allow for it...

CH
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:07 AM   #5
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Choices, choices ...
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