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EastWest PLAY -- Articulations, Purging Samples, etc

Discussion in 'Template Balancing' started by Rohann van Rensburg, May 16, 2019.

  1. Hey all,

    Is there any way to optimize PLAY beyond the EW recommended setting adjustments? Wondering if there's a way to purge samples like in Kontakt so I can load up the template but only use what I need, rather than having all EW articulations loaded. The lack of keyswitching is a real pain.

    Also wondering if there's a "recommended articulations" list anywhere. Strings is more obvious to me, brass and winds less so.
  2. PLAY isn't as flexible as Kontakt in the memory department. You can't play from a fully purged instrument like with Kontakt. There are a handful of ways to minimize RAM usage: stream more from disk by changing the sample cache (SSDs required), reduce total number of loaded Microphones, reduce loaded articulations (like unused articulations in a keyswitch patch), "purge" unused samples after they're flagged, or disable PLAY as an instrument in your DAW (or in VEPro). As far as I know, PLAY doesn't support playing purged samples on the fly Kontakt-style. Finally, it is cumbersome, but if you can "freeze/render/bounce in place" a track in your DAW, it is possible to save the audio and unload the instrument which frees up system resources. This is a pain to edit, because if you want to make an edit to the underlying MIDI, you need to reload the instrument. Severely slows down the creative process.

    As for keyswitching, EW has some keyswitch patches, but you can also use expression map capabilities if your DAW supports them. It is because of this lack of memory flexibility that I have been moving more to Kontakt-based libraries (even though I own the full Hollywood Diamond suite). If you have a specific situation, then I can try to provide you more tailored advice.
  3. Thank you!
    Re: RAM. Using SSD's so changed the cache, but it seems to affect CPU which is somewhat concerning. Do you find HWB and HWW to be as heavy as HWS? Good idea unloading unused keyswitch articulations. It's a shame they have no purge ability the way Kontakt does, it's extremely convenient. Freezing is certainly a last-resort option, but as you say it can be frustrating creatively. That said, I'm mostly writing on piano and orchestrating on notation, so I should have a solid idea about what I want before I get to the MIDI performance.

    Haven't looked into expression mapping, will have to do so. What libraries do you find yourself using now?

    Something else that drives me nuts are how many patches are velocity trigger in other libraries. It makes libraries like SO, Ra, Silk, Ghostwriter, etc considerably less useful.
  4. No DAW has as full featured an articulation mapping system as Cubase, but Logic and Reaper (with Reaticulate) can do quite well. It is indispensable for people like me who don't like excessive track counts.
    I still use HWSO a fair amount (disabled template), but the major Kontakt libraries are better for me with a purged setup. By major libraries, I mean the flagship developers like: Orchestral Tools, Cinesamples, and Spitfire Audio. I have a mishmash of libraries from each of those developers.

    Yes, the inconsistencies of articulation controls in EW are a pain, but I like Spitfire's flexible approach best (UACC, keyswitch, CC1 is velocity, etc.). I suppose you get to know a library better the more you work with it, just like an instrument. You should also checkout some of the playable libraries too if you're a keyboardist - some have been developed by members on this board.
  5. Studio One is what I'm using, and is unfortunately still quite young, so no expression mapping currently unfortunately. Highly requested feature, though, and they've been pretty good with updates. If they actually add it I'll happily upgrade to the newest version.

    That makes sense. There are a lot of things that irritate me about Kontakt but it's a more full-fledged interface than PLAY.

    All my EW stuff is "rented" currently, albeit at student pricing. $240CAD a year, which isn't bad, but I'd eventually like to own things as EW doesn't meaningfully update their libraries. Convenient that Mike uses HWS for his Template Balancing video so I may as well get used to it for the time being. Really interested in Aaron's brass library though, and a good woodwinds library. Those seem more difficult to come by.
  6. #6 Rohann van Rensburg, Jun 4, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
    @Bradley Boone : I just noticed there are "Master Keyswitch" patches in Hollywood Strings. Did these not used to exist? I imagine one would just balance them within the mixer window, but I wonder if this would be more efficient? It's curious that Mike doesn't use them, not sure if he explained why in the class.
  7. I don't know what you mean by "master keyswitch" patches. There are finger position keyswitch patches that have KSFP in the name, and the sustain keyswitch patches which just have KS. The brass and winds have sustain/short keyswitch patches as well.

    You balance them in the articulation section of the player window (not the mixer window). The level control isn't very precise, you click on a knob and drag up or down to set the output volume for the articulation sample (or release tail which has RT in the name). I think the volumes go from -60dB to 12db, but it is a challenge to hit an arbitrary number precisely like -3.31dB. All of the sound gets routed to the mixer, where you can mix outputs and mic positions, but articulation balancing is only available in the Player window.

    If you're looking to save RAM with the keyswitch patches, you can unload unused articulations by clicking the 2nd check box next to the level knob. For instance, if the piece doesn't call for trills or tremolo, feel free to dump them. Hope this helps, and if anyone else has a different approach, I'd love to hear it.
  8. #8 Rohann van Rensburg, Jun 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
    My mistake. They're just "Sus" keyswitch patches. Doesn't seem like most people use them?

    Thanks though, that does help. Will see what this template looks like when finished and will go from there.

    If you have time, would love to know how you balance Spitfire samples within Kontakt. Haven't really ventured there yet.

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