Kontakt and OAX MIDI Channels – Part3

The next chapter in our OAX / VST journey.  Overall, it is going EXTREMELY well!

Is there more to do and learn? — YEP!

Regarding our current implementation & configuration. Does it work and is it useable?  — YEP!

Can we make it better? — YEP!

Having said that, we do owe you a few things. Since we have been messing with this over the past few weeks we “assumed” a few things along the way. If this your first time setting things up and you have questions, please ask! We have a ton of very smart folks that follow along. If we don’t know the answer — 101% chance they do. 🙂

  1. Just how did we get the OAX Soundlist to show all of those ugly “Kontakt Names”?
    1. Let me go back and dig up that info and we will share that in a separate post.
      1. **** HERE’S that separate post ***** 
      2. DUH! We forgot all about showing that step and it will make a difference as you move forward.
  2. We only showed nine MIDI channels – Do I need more?
    1. Tough question to answer – Maybe?
    2. It really does depend on how you plan to use a VST and how dependent you are upon presets and having all of the needed user sounds in place vs. taking the time to set things up “per song” before you play whatever that song happens to be.
  3. We suggested using “K” as the first symbol in the name of an OAX User Sound. That is 100% up to you and you can use any naming convention that makes sense to you.

For now:

28 thoughts on “Kontakt and OAX MIDI Channels – Part3

  • 08/25/2017 at 14:25
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    Hi Jim,

    Yes, if you’re into authentic orchestral sounds, that’s the way to go. And if your interest is in creating the sound of a complete orchestra (as opposed to individual instruments) then one of the best libraries that I’ve come across for this is the Albion One library.

    https://www.spitfireaudio.com/shop/a-z/albion-one/

    You have all the various instrumental sections available separately but because they’re all recorded in the same environment (the superb acoustics of the Air Studios in London) they blend together very well when combined, just as a real orchestra would do. This isn’t always the case when instruments are taken from different libraries. I’ll be featuring this library in some upcoming demos on the Wersi HD Series web site.

    Before that though, just to whet your appetite we’ll be looking at the stunning sound of the grand piano from the Hans Zimmer collection. Here we have the classic Steinway Model D grand piano recorded in meticulous detail using over 60 high quality microphones in the Air Studios, London. Well known film composer Hans Zimmer contributed to its production.

    https://www.spitfireaudio.com/shop/instruments/pianos-and-keys/hans-zimmer-piano/

    It’s the Rolls Royce of sampled pianos with a mighty sample set size of 211GB (the Wersi grand piano is less than 1GB), so if you decide to have this on your Wersi, you’re going to need that extra SSD !

    Jeff

    Reply
  • 08/22/2017 at 07:04
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    Hi Guys,

    Just a general response to recent posts.

    First to Jim. Wersi OAS/X instruments produce their sounds by what is essentially a synthesis technology. Here we have a relatively small number of samples (typically two or three for each class of instrument), and these are combined together and electronically processed to produce the instruments in the sounds database. It’s a very efficient way of producing sounds, but it’s not the real thing. By contrast, modern technology samples the real instruments in all their variants and articulations. Sample sizes are much larger, but the sounds are far more realistic. A good way of assessing the difference is to perform ‘Jeff’s Eyes Closed Test’. Close your eyes and listen to an instrument being produced by an electronic keyboard. Does it sound like an electronic organ emulating the instrument, or does it sound like the real thing. Many of the orchestrations that you hear on films, TV, computer games, videos etc. are produced using this modern technology, but most people will be unaware that it’s not actually a real orchestra playing. So it’s not that the Wersi sounds are that bad, they’re not, it’s just that this new technology is so much better. As such it’s been a great disappointment to me and many others that Wersi did not elect to base their new model on this modern technology.

    Now to Ross. I completely agree with you Ross, the proportion of Wersi owners who would be faffing around with VSTs is vanishingly small. So to reiterate the point I made to Jim, if the Sonic was based on this new technology, it would be built into the central design of the instrument and ALL Wersi owners would then be able to benefit from these high quality sounds just as a matter of course. This is the approach that Bohm are taking with their products. They have a second processor option which is fully integrated into the instrument, and it comes with software pre-loaded and configured so that all you have to do is sit down and play. I doubt if Wersi will go down this route. They would argue that they already have this capability with their VST provision. Historically though, because of the low interest in VSTs, there hasn’t been any substantial effort in developing this provision, either by keeping it up to date or making available Wersi customised packages. That of course may change with competition from Bohm and others. We may see increased activity in the availability of these Wersi customised packages, which would be good because as you will have seen from Curt’s recent adventures in this area, doing this on your own is only for the bravest Wersiteers!

    And finally, don’t worry guys if you don’t know what I’m talking about, neither do I !!

    Jeff

    Reply
    • 08/22/2017 at 09:23
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      HI Jeff
      Correction, the Wersi OAX (And OAS) does use samples for its sounds, (The new piano has almost 1GB of them) however, they are stored in a compressed format and uncompressed when required, (Uncompressing the sound is almost instantaneous even for large samples since moving to a 64 bit system) the sound engine also allows creation of instruments using synthesis. (The sound engine used is Steinberg’s Hypersonic, which has been replaced by Steinberg with their more advanced Halion sound engine which allows disk streaming; (No need to compress the samples) it also has new synthesis engines on-board)
      That Wersi did not license the Halion sound engine from Steinberg (Rather than sticking with Hypersonic) was a surprise; however, the capabilities of OAX and Win 10 do not preclude this in the future. (We will have to wait and see)
      As to Bohm, if you want to spend an extra €5000 to get an integrated VST engine fine, but you would be better off going for the Wersi HD version that you are promoting, which will be more flexible and a hell of a lot cheaper. (As OAX is a VST, (Combined in a user friendly package) with the latest VST Host for 3rd party plug-ins, it is still the most flexible out there, apart from possibly the Bemore Genesis.
      Bill

      Reply
    • 08/22/2017 at 17:27
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      Hi Jeff
      I am an audiophile and enjoy the quality of good sound and totally agree with your comments. I am as keen as anything to step into the world of VST’s but we need the KISS principle (keep it simple). Curt is doing a great job and it is in a lingo I understand so I hope this is appreciated amongst Wersi owners. I am sure the feedback he is getting from the Techos is very helpful but I am getting a bit lost in this department. ( Too many marmite words.)
      My stock organ is sold and I am waiting delivery so I can not get into it to follow the daily updates and the posts are now all over the show.
      Keep up the good work guys and hopefully it will all come out in the wash.

      Reply
    • 08/23/2017 at 14:11
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      I think most wersi owners just didn’t have the knowledge or ability to explore vst usage. What is happening here is the world of vst’s is being opened up to all who want that better sound. Having people who are willing to take their time to explain all this and how to use it in layman term is just amazing and the rest of us can’t thank you enough.

      Reply
      • 08/24/2017 at 14:38
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        Jim – Just like you we are learning more everyday. Spent most of today working with Kontakt on a stand-alone P/C setup that we have but now that I understand a few more things a little better we will be going back to apply what we learned to our OAX / Kontakt setup and share with everyone.

        Are you thinking about taking the “VST-Journey” with the rest of us?

        Reply
  • 08/21/2017 at 17:45
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    knowing very little about vst, just a question. Your opinion on getting komplete 11 at $599.00 which includes kontakt 5 as compared to just kontakt k. I purchased a OAX 800 and anxiously am waiting for its arrival and would like to get high quality sounds for it.
    For Jeff. you seem to have a low opinion of Wersi sounds. Would it make sense to just get a high quality
    midi keyboard and run vst’s through it?

    Reply
    • 08/21/2017 at 18:46
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      Komplete 11 is one of the best value packs you can get, (There is even an ultimate version) and will cover virtually everything you want.

      If you look in studios they have Midi keyboard controllers plugged into the computers with the DAW software controlling the VST’s, however, it’s a pain to set up and makes playing live difficult.
      If you do want to go down this route I suggest you have a look at vArranger https://www.varranger.com/ which can host VST’s.
      Have fun
      Bill

      Reply
      • 08/22/2017 at 17:04
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        Thanks Bill.

        Should have my OAX 800 next month.
        Will be visiting web site often but thanks to all many of my questions have answers.

        Thanks again to all hep put this site on top

        Reply
      • 08/22/2017 at 17:36
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        Hi Bill
        Varranger looks pretty impressive can this be used on the OAX? I would love to get some of the Ketron and Yamaha sounds. I have ordered the Ketron SD40 with my new OAX800 – maybe I have jumped the gun.

        Reply
        • 08/22/2017 at 18:01
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          Hi Ross
          You wouldn’t be able to use vArranger in tandem with OAX, but you could probably use it in place of OAX, (Just choose which one to load at start-up) however, you will need to assign all the controls on the Wersi to vArranger. (Users with the Pegasus Wing have done it successfully so it should be possible on OAX)
          SD40 is a great little arranger module, however, if you connected an SD1000 to the Sonic via Midi you would have most of the sounds of the SD40; it would then be a case of converting the Ketron styles to the Yamaha format and using the voices from the SD1000 for them. (Or for real flexibility sounds from OAX, SD1000 & VST)
          The possibilities are endless, but while Wersi provides all these features they unfortunately never tell you how best to use them. (Something they really need to get sorted)
          Note: You cannot get any Yamaha sounds unless you connect a Yamaha to the Wersi via Midi, however, a lot of the voices in Steinberg’s Halion Sonic VST have been programmed by Yamaha, (Yamaha bought up Steinberg a number of years ago) so that is another option.
          Bill

          Reply
          • 08/23/2017 at 17:42
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            Thanks Bill, I only discovered the SD1000 on yesterdays post, it looks like a great little module. However whilst the SD40 while is a bit more expensive as I understand it (please correct me if I am wrong) it is just plug in and play and the registrations can be saved to the OAX.
            For me this is a lot less messing around that having to convert files.
            We have a problem living at the bottom of the world, non of this gear is available here and I hate buying anything without seeing -touching and trying it, so I rely on Youtube and the internet. Thank heavens for social media.

      • 08/23/2017 at 07:29
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        Check out the picture gallery on the varranger site that Bill mentioned above. Some really interesting setups.

        Reply
    • 08/23/2017 at 07:02
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      Hey Jim,

      We looked at Komplete a couple of times and decided to go with individual packages targeted at instruments we are most interested in. Komplete has some great stuff in it along with a number of instruments we felt we would probably never use. Either way it’s a great package for the money.

      Reply
  • 08/21/2017 at 17:06
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    Hi Chris,

    I have multiple instrument banks installed festooned with a number of different string, brass, woodwind and percussion sounds from the Albion One library. These are also layered together in different combinations on the manuals and pedals, and I’ve never had a problem with the CPU getting anywhere near meltdown. I do have one thought however that might be relevant to your problem. My previous reference to the Kontakt instrument banks being “not particularly well developed” wasn’t to suggest that they don’t work, they work fine, but they do have a number of ‘quirks’ and ‘idiosyncrasies’. One is related to how they manage the replacement of instruments in their entries. I discovered that if you simply drag a new instrument or a modified version of the same instrument into an instrument bank entry, rather than replace the existing entry it adds to it. So if you do this a number of times you can produce a sort of ‘mini-multi’ in the entry. What you have to do is delete the entry before loading in a new instrument. Right click on the entry, a ‘Delete’ option pops up which you can then select. Having said that, even before I discovered this and was firmly in ‘idiosyncratic mode’ I still didn’t have a CPU issue, but it’s possible that running a number of these ‘phantom’ instruments concurrently might be the cause of the problem. Just a thought.

    Jeff

    Reply
    • 08/21/2017 at 18:09
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      Chris / Jeff,

      I am not near my Sonic at the moment to check how Wersi have set up, but out of interest are you running your processors with Hyperthreading on or off? Not VST related, however we have seen some interesting behaviour with CPU intensive web workloads performing significantly better with Hyperthreading turned off vs being turned on, i.e. Usable vs unusable – probably a total red herring, but who knows. Similarly we later moved a non-Hyperthreaded environment into AWS, where at the time Hyperthreading was on and could not be turned off. We had to increased CPU core count at peak time to 384 to achieve the same level of performance/response time that we had previously with 64, so a material difference. Obviously App related, but who knows how these VST apps and indeed OAX have been written.

      Thanks
      Mark

      Reply
      • 08/21/2017 at 18:38
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        Early versions of OAS (Including some versions of OAS 7) had to have Hyper threading turned off as it caused problems, (As did Dual Core CPU) however, since about 2007 it’s been fine. (So is OAX)
        Bill

        Reply
  • 08/20/2017 at 09:12
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    Hi there all you Wersiteers,

    I figured that we needed a particular term for all those Wersi owners who have an interest in exploring and developing the technology associated with Wersi instruments, so how about ‘Wersiteer’.

    I very much enjoyed your demo of the Hammersmith Piano Curt, a very convincing demonstration of the substantial difference in quality between these High Definition (HD) sounds and the standard Wersi sounds. Having had these HD sounds on the Scala for some time now, I can confidently predict that two things will happen to you. The first is that once you have an equivalent HD sound you will never again want to use the Wersi sound, and the second is that you will almost certainly develop an addiction known as ‘Library Creep’. This is a condition whereby once you have acquired one library you just have to have another and another and another. As a consequence your SSD will fill and your wallet will empty!

    Some suggestions for further work/videos on Kontakt.

    1) Initialisation of the Kontakt Multi.
    I think it would be useful to show how the default Kontakt Multi (or any other equivalent) containing the Instrument Banks is set as a VST Preset and thus loaded at boot-up. For maximum flexibility I would recommend instantiating all 16 Instrument Banks. Also since you now have a sizeable library (the Hammersmith Piano) you will be able to quantify the effect on the boot-up time of having multiple copies of something of this size.

    2) Editing of Kontakt Sounds
    Users will want to make changes to the default Kontakt sounds, and there are two ways to do this. My initial method was the same as Chris was detailing in his post. Here we make the necessary changes to the library copy, save this as a new version and then load this into the appropriate slot in the Instrument Banks. [Incidentally Chris, I don’t know whether you picked this up in one of my previous posts but on OAX there’s no need to hard code external sounds with a particular MIDI channel, we can use the ‘sys’ (system) option with the sound. This activates the dynamic allocation of MIDI channels by the OAX, so the process is just the same as that for the internal VSTs]. The second method is to use the MIDI Continuous Controllers (CCs). On OAS we have a bank of these available on the external MIDI system for each MIDI channel. OAS owners will recognise these as ‘Reverb’, ‘Chorus’, Delay’, ‘Panorama’ etc. These can be mapped to any of the controls in the Kontakt sound using the ‘MIDI Learn’ feature in Kontakt. So in this method we use the default settings for the sound in the Instrument Bank and the CCs in the Total Preset to make the required adjustments.

    Bill has pointed out that we have a similar bank of general purpose CCs available for VSTs, so it would be good to demonstrate how this method of editing can be implemented. Overall I think it’s a better method as it doesn’t involve continually having to modify the contents of the Instrument Banks. One thing to check though, it would be preferable to have dedicated CCs available for each MIDI channel (as in OAS) so that if we have more than one instance of the same Kontakt sound on the manuals and pedals, we can adjust these independently.

    3) Alternative way of Accessing Kontakt Sounds
    The Instrument Bank feature in Kontakt is not a particularly well developed feature. There’s hardly any reference to it in the manual, the preferred method for assembling sounds being the multi. So in this method we throw away the Instrument Banks and assemble our sounds together in the multi, not in the OAX. We have an initial multi that contains all the sounds we need for the first Total Preset of a song. Then we construct additional multis for the subsequent Total Presets, again with the required sounds. Kontakt has a facility for sequencing through consecutive multis (it’s an arrow in the Kontakt toolbar) which enables us to sequence through the Total Presets as the song progresses. In the OAX we only need one preset, loaded at the same time as the initial Kontakt multi. This contains the MIDI codes for the MIDI channels we are using in the multi. So our Kontakt VST sound Program Numbers are not now addressing sounds, they are defining MIDI channels. (All this presupposes that we can attach a prescribed MIDI channel to a VST sound). We therefore require only 16 of these sounds (one for each MIDI channel) to access any Kontakt sound or combination of sounds, as opposed to up to the128 required when using Instrument Banks. The advantage of this method is that we have a direct access to the Kontakt sounds in the multi, whereas using Instrument Banks adds an additional layer to the access process and can sometimes produce aberrations in the sounds. I think it’s worth giving it a try, some users might prefer this method.

    Meanwhile keep up the good work you Wersiteers, who would have thought that an obscure article some time ago now on how to upgrade a Wersi by some bloke in the UK would have led to all of this !!

    Jeff

    Reply
    • 08/21/2017 at 09:41
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      Jeff – Since this discussion could go on and on and… I’m going to save your comments and cut them up into 3 separate posts. I’m thinking that will make it a little easier to follow along. Of course I suppose each of those threads could also go on and on and… 🙂

      I’m still not to sure exactly how I want to set things up at this point. For the next few days a little trial and error and see what I learn. We do have the Hammersmith installed on the Sonic and we will be adding a couple of Guitars very soon.

      That gets into the whole discussion regarding adding new samples into whatever the current config is.

      Stay tuned for more “VST Fun”!

      Reply
    • 08/21/2017 at 14:45
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      Hi Jeff

      First problem that I have now encountered since loading up the Alibion library is that as soon as I try to load more than 3 instrument banks (these do contain the full edited samples of all Strings, Brass and Woodwind) the CPU indicator goes RED 100% and either freezes or gives me a VST unable to host error. I am assuming that maybe this is due to the large sample sizes?

      With just one instrument bank loaded and playing say one of the largest string samples the CPU indicator hardly changes just 2-5%.

      Other than reaching for more Ale, has anyone got any thoughts on the above ?

      Maybe the Multi option maybe the best way to go forward, having possibly got carried away with the technology perhaps it’s actually time to step back and say ” how do I want to use these sounds in practical playing terms! Any advice greatfully received.

      Chris

      Reply
      • 08/21/2017 at 18:36
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        You haven’t accidently turned off DFD (Direct from Disk) have you, as if you have, the complete samples would need to be loaded into Ram (Like Hauptwerk) to work, and you would quickly run out of Ram.
        Bill

        Reply
    • 08/21/2017 at 19:58
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      Wow this is getting a bit technical now, I am a techy but have no idea what Jeffs discussion is about.
      Me, I just want to play, I just want to sit down and pick quality registrations and play them – not spend my life sorting out libraries and tweeking sounds. I hope this is not putting people off.

      Reply
  • 08/19/2017 at 13:42
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    Hi Chris, Curt
    When you load large sample library’s you are normally asked where you want load the program and where you want to load the samples, always load the program on the primary drive and the samples on the external drive for best results.
    NOTE: If you have already loaded the samples onto your primary drive, most VST’s allow you to move the samples and choose a new storage position, However, there are a few that don’t, so check before moving anything.
    BTW: If you have the same program (That contains a sample library) on your main computer and the Sonic, save your multi’s etc. on the external drive along with the sample sets and you will be able to use and edit all your multi’s etc. on both.
    Bill

    Reply
  • 08/19/2017 at 09:53
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    Hi Curt
    Thought I would just let you know that following your video examples I have now also loaded Kontact on to my Sonic and tested with the factory samples and works as expected. There is no doubt that OAX handles the midi/channel allocation far better and more efficiently than working on external PC and having to manually allocate all the channels, therefore I have now ordered a external SSD drive and intend to transfer my Albion One Library from the PC to the external drive and try running it directly from the Sonic.

    Possible tip for anyone interested wIthin Albion (and I assume other packages) you can edit the samples for mic position, reverb etc., so I have adjusted all the individual sample patches and resaved them into a separate folder, so that when I load then into the instrument bank most of the editing has already been done.

    Will let you know how I get on in due course, I have learned so much from you, Bill and Jeff so grateful to you all sharing your knowledge and experience.

    Regards Chris

    Reply
    • 08/19/2017 at 10:25
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      EXCELLENT news Chris! Glad to help. Perfect timing on your comment. I just opened the box on a new external SSD. Arrived yesterday. Just plugged it into my primary P/C to check it out and also to copy the Hammersmith Piano to it. That one is currently our “big” sample library weighing in at a little over 50GB. That will be much quicker vs. transferring over our LAN.

      I should have the SSD plugged into the Sonic later today. As part of that I’ll be re- doing our current setup to get all of our samples on the external SSD vs. the drive in the Sonic. I’ll share how that goes.

      Reply

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