LPX Quick Tip Tuesday - Routing PLAY & Kontakt
“So, you just got your Mac, you picked up some speakers, purchased some stellar audio interface, you hooked up your sweet semi-weighted 88 key MIDI Controller and just barely installed Logic Pro X. Then you think,”Oh yeah, I gotta get me some sample libraries.” So you swing on over to EWQL or Native Instruments, pick up a copy of their composer cloud or Kontakt Komplete, start the download… head off to grab something to eat…. Maybe play some Overwatch…. Come back, it’s all downloaded and you’re ready to rock because MAN you just can NOT wait to start writing some orchestral scores! You start off with some sweet melodic line that’s gonna hook your listeners, you like it so you wanna add in some other instruments. While writing you realize you need a trumpet crescendo - you load up that patch, play it in, love it… Oh but wait, the strings need some tremolo effect. You load up that patch, slap it in, it sounds fantastic! But we can’t forget some chimes. You load it up, pluck those notes on in and you’re on your way to writing some marvelous masterpiece until…
BAM! <System Overload>. ‘System overload?’ You ask yourself. You check your I/O settings - buffer is fine set at 512, cores are at max capacity, everything should be fine. You press the space bar and BAM! <System Overload>. You double check the specs, make sure your computer is all in accord with it… but it still keeps happening. So what the heck in the world is going on here? Well… that’s why we’re gonna learn this one little trick to fix this problem! Roll it!”
Well, you see… the problem with this picture is with 30 or 50 or 80 tracks, each with a single instance of PLAY or Kontakt for a SINGLE instrument, you’re gonna run into this issue… And it could get worst where your computer just stops running altogether because it has literally ran out of RAM to run anything! So how to do fix this issue? Well, it’s called ‘spreading the load.’ And I’m gonna show you in a few steps to help you avoid this problem altogether and get track counts up into the 150-200 without any hiccups.
HOW TO SET UP EWQL PLAY
Step 1: Normally when opening up Logic Pro and creating a new project, you’re prompted with this window, asking you if you wanna create a software instrument, a regular audio track, a drummer track, use an external MIDI controller like a Prophet 12 or something, or a guitar or bass. While using sample libraries, they usually got through some sort of sampler, like the PLAY Engine or Native Instrument’s KONTAKT. So what you’re gonna do is select Software Instrument. Under the Instrument there’s a tab. When that’s opened up, you’re greeted with ALL of your available samplers, instruments, etc. However, where we’re going we want to hit up the AU instruments. Now we’re gonna use PLAY because it’s the easier of the two to get set up right away and gives you a basic idea of the overall process before we hit up Kontakt.
Step 2: Now under the East West submenu, you’ll see some options - Stereo, 5.1, 9xstereo, etc. For our purposes we’re gonna use the 9xstereo. This means in this ONE instance of PLAY, we’re gonna load up 9 instruments that’ll be in stereo.
Step 3: So you select that, you hit create, and you get this. Ok… so now what? Well we gotta create some tracks that represent our 9 instruments! By simply hitting ‘x’ on your keyboard, it’ll pull up the mix window and you should have 3 tracks - inst. 1, Stereo Out, and your Master. Now if you notice on the Inst. 1 track, there’s a little ‘-/+’ symbol below your meters. This is how we create aux tracks where your instruments from PLAY will be routed to. Hit it as many times as you’d like and you’ll have this - 8 aux tracks, and 1 instrument track which equals 9 total instruments. However, they’re not showing up in your editing window.
Step 4: Well that’s an easy fix! When you select your Aux tracks, right click to reveal a little window with some options. What we’re looking for is ‘Create new track’ or Control - T. Once you do that, you’ll see them show up instantly in your editing window. This isn’t some MIDI track or some Output channel or something, it’s just an Aux track.
Step 5: So we’ve got everything taken care of in Logic… let’s dive into Play! Once you open up Play it’ll look like this with some knobs here, some faders here, some more knobs, some windows, blah blah blah. We don’t care about any of that stuff right now. We wanna hit the settings and click on the ‘Other’ tab. What we wanna click is the ‘Automatic Increment’ button. What this’ll do is while you’re selecting and loading your instruments, the MIDI channels will go in sequential order - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. So you don’t have to.
Step 6: Once you close out, click on the Browser button. Here you’ll find your instruments, whether in a hard drive or somewhere on your main computer system. You can even favorite your instruments so they’re readily available to sort through instead of going through numerous submenus.
Step 7: So once you start loading them up, the MIDI channels will go in sequential order, however the outputs won’t. You gotta change those. So 1 is 1-2, 2 is 3-4, 3 is 5-6, etc etc. Once that’s done, you’re done!
Step 8: If you go back to your mixer you’ll see that all the outputs are assigned automatically, all the tracks play something, all you do from this point on is rename the tracks and you’re ready to rock and roll!
So, that was Play… now what about Kontakt? Well here's the cliff notes version for you!
HOW TO SET UP KONTAKT
Step 1: Load up an instance of Kontakt with 16 x stereo
Step 2: Open it up and it should look somewhat like this
Step 3: On the top right there should be a floppy disk symbol, a gear symbol and then 3 shapes. The three shapes will allow you to view certain subwindows. In this case, we want the Outputs window.
Step 4: When you click on the Outputs, you’ll see above the keyboard a row of tracks (I guess in your case 2 tracks and probably some aux stuff). When you click on the ‘+’ sign that’s right of ‘Outputs’, this window will pop up.
Step 5: The only two boxes you need to worry about are the Quantity (how many tracks you want) and the Number of Channels (in this case for stereo, you only need two). And since you only have 1 output right now set to 1 and 2, you’ll need to make 15 more tracks, each with 2 channels. That way you’ll have 16 tracks total with 32 channels/outputs.
Step 6: Next, you’ll need to click on the ‘1|2’ which will give you this window. Since the first track is already set you can skip to Step 7.
Step 7: Now if you click on track 2, usually the st. 2 - 1 and 2 will be unassigned and you’ll need to assign the output to those found in step 8.
Step 8: When you click on either channel 1 or 2 it’ll bring up this window. These are your outputs. They’ll be labelled differently than mine but you can rename the channel name by simply select the 'St.' part and renaming it, and they’ll always be in combos of 2 when looking at the outputs. So in the picture above, 'st. 1' is channel 1 that has two outputs labeled as ' '. And since they're labeled (or will be labeled correctly by your doing) you can go through and they'll all be assigned in sequential order.
Step 9: Now like I said it won’t say exactly what I have screenshot on mine. It’ll probably say something like aux 5 or aux 6 or something. That doesn’t matter, you’re just reassigning it a different output and if it makes it easier for you, go ahead and rename the channel names. So go until you have all 16 tracks (channels) (and all 32 channels/outputs) done.
Step 10: NOW when you go to load up, you can then have 16 instruments and they’ll be routed accordingly. Now of course the MIDI channels will be correct, but as you can see in the photo the outputs are at st. 1. You’ll have to go and click on each output of each instrument and assign it to the right output. And that’s it!
Now of course like you did when we set up PLAY, there’s that ‘+’ sign that you’ll have to click on a bunch until you have 16 aux/instrument tracks. Then select all of them and hit ‘Control-T’ to create new tracks. And that’s pretty much ready to go!
IMPORTANT: I did forget to mention one thing - to avoid doing ALL of this again, I would recommend saving this output setup as a preset and set it for everything (there should be a selection for ‘All’ or something like that). This will just make your life easier and you’ll never have to do it again! Anyway, hope that helps! And happy composing!