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  Making sounds LOUD, yet SOFT, using music sampler software  ulrichburke at 06:22 on 22 February 2008

Dear Sir.

I've got Reason and Kontakt, but this question's so basic I'm pretty sure it's non-software specific. I get the same problems whichever software I use.

I'm a wannabe New Age composer - piano'n'strings, flute'n'strings, general orchestration, soft pads backing everything up. So I bought Reason 3 because everyone told me it was the best software package for making music. And I've been stuck on this one point ever since, if you can tell me how to get past this, you'll be an absolute godsend!

I have an M-Audio Audiophile 2496 soundcard, 1 gig RAM, AMD Sempron system, about 200gig hard drive spare. I know it's not the world's fastest system but I'm happy to stick to 2 or 3 instruments for the moment. Now here's the prob. I'm having.

I want to make a piano, for example, sound soft. I have this identical problem with all sounds. So I whack the volume on 120-ish, set the external volume on my monitor speakers to the level I'd be listening to a CD at (turning the knob on the speakers themselves, not using software!!) and import the piano MIDI file I've created using Voyetra Music Write, my notation package. I'm disabled, have to use notation, can't play a keyboard. Anyway.

As always, it sounds like the piano's being played with sledgehammers. So I turn the velocity/attack down and it gets softer - it also gets QUIETER! Not forgetting the volume itself is on 127, I'm not touching the volume, just attack and velocity. By the time I've got it sounding anything like soft, it's so quiet I can't hear it any more unless I turn the physical monitor speakers up full blast. And then, of course, if I want to back it with another sound I have to make that sound quieter still. By the time I get the second sound soft - attack and velocity turned down, volume on high - I genuinely can't hear it at all, hardly. If I turn down the velocity in Music Write, the package I've created the MIDI file in, before importing it into Reason, I get exactly the same problem. It's too quiet to work with. Yet I know that Velocity is just how hard the keys are struck, Volume is how loud you're listening to the keys being struck. When pianists play a key gently, it's still perfectly audible to the audience, because the volume on the mike's still high, am I right in this? So why isn't the same thing happening here?

How do you make a sound soft, yet keep its volume up? Think of every New Age/ Relaxation track you've heard. How, technically, are they keeping the sound soft without the volume going down? Are there parameters other than velocity/ attack I should be changing? I don't know, you see. All I know is where things are in Reason. I don't know which combinations of parameters to change to get the softness I'm after - I've tried loads of combinations, got really weird results, never got close to softness with volume. Can you tell me how to do it?

Yours hopefully

Christopher Burke

  Re: Making sounds LOUD, yet SOFT, using music sampler software  Gary Green at 10:53 on 24 February 2008

Hello Christopher
In theory you are doing the right thing to get the results you want. ie. reducing the midi velocity, but keeping the midi volume high for that track.

Have you adjusted the volume of the sound actually in Kontakt itself, rather than just in your sequencer? I use Cubase and Garriton orchestra, which uses Kontakt as the front end. Adjusting the volume in my midi sequencer page has no effect. However, if I change it using the volume dial in Kontakt (above the keyboard image on the right) it does affect the volume.

Also, in my software sequencer (Cubase) I have a mixer page, which also has a seperate master volume affecting all the tracks, which I also adjust. Does Reason have a master volume too for all of the tracks, not just each individual one?

Also, you can adjust the volume of your sound card output too. I have an Audiophile 2496 card as well and if you open it up (mine appears in the box at the bottom right of the screen - if you hover over the icons there one will say something like 'M audio delta'. One of the tabs at the top will allow you to go into what looks like a mixer - the master volume is on the left. It has quite a big range, so I think you need to be careful if you don't want your speakers to blow.

I hope this helps. Gary