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Production Tutorial: Using Multiple Instruments With a Single VSTi Instance on FL Studio + Eliminating Errors When Using Hypersonic 2

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Here’s a video for some added visuals:

This particular entry has two main points:

  1. Show how to use multiple instruments on one instance of a VSTi (in this case, Hypersonic 2 is used as an example)
  2. Present workarounds that will prevent the user from getting errors that can halt productivity when using Hypersonic 2.

These two go hand-in-hand because #1 directly gives the workaround mentioned in #2.

Hypersonic 2 is a versatile VSTi that was discontinued by Steinberg some time ago, and one of the most sought after from our Production Vault.  For those who use Hypersonic who may have problems with it (those who obtained it from the vault have had issues) and use FL Studio, I have some workarounds on how to get rid of those pesky errors, including this one when opening your project:

Figure 2011-02-20/0: “There was an error loading the settings for the plugin ‘Hypersonic 2′”

Hypersonic 2 FL Studio Error Loading Settings

When this happens, Hypersonic 2 defaults to the “Welcome to the Matrix” preset, and if you don’t remember what preset you used, you’re dead in the water.  This can also get very frustrating when you try to save a project with Hypersonic 2 and FL Studio will freeze then crash, killing your progress, or automatically crashing when adding Hypersonic 2 to your project.

We will go over two different scenarios.  Starting a new project, and modifying one that exists (and you possibly getting the error pictured above).  Now I know these can be a pain, but unfortunately, it is a discontinued product, and we can only do workarounds.  Once you get into the habit of these workarounds (some are good practice anyway), it’ll become second nature.

Starting a New Project with Hypersonic 2 on FL Studio

Whether or not you use Hypersonic 2, make it a habit to open one up first before any other VSTi on a fresh session of FL Studio; meaning as soon as you double-click FL Studio, add Hypersonic 2 right away.  I’ve noticed it conflict with other VSTi’s and crash upon adding, so adding it first gets rid of that quirk.

Secondly, (and this is important):

DO NOT ASSIGN NOTE VALUES (STEP SEQUENCER OR PIANO ROLL) TO HYPERSONIC 2 ITSELF.

That may sound strange to you, especially if you haven’t been using FL Studio for that long.  The correct way however to assign notes on Hypersonic 2 is through MIDI Out Channels.

This way, you can use different multiple instruments and only ONE HYPERSONIC 2 INSTANCE.  This method works for the other big multi-instrument VSTi’s as well, including SampleTank and Kontakt instruments, albeit with slightly different methods due to the differences in interface.

To make this clearer, let’s take a look at the Hypersonic 2 interface.

Figure 2011-02-20/1: Hypersonic 2 Interface

Hypersonic 2 on FL Studio

The highlighted area is where you would pick your instruments.  I know some people simply pick one instrument for this instance of a VSTi, then open another instance to use another instrument preset.  It’s a waste of DSP power, and considering how many high quality VSTi’s are resource hogs, you need all the processing power/memory you can get.

The correct way would be to use MIDI Outs.  By linking a MIDI Out to each of the 16 available slots above (counting “Welcome to the Matrix” in the first slot), you can control up to 16 instruments off of one instance of Hypersonic 2.  As I’ve said earlier, this also goes for SampleTank, Kontakt VSTi’s, and others, so bear that in mind when using other VSTi’s as well.

How do you do that, you may ask.

Figure 2011-02-20/2: VSTi Settings Button

FL Studio VSTi Settings Button

First, we have to assign a MIDI Input Port on Hypersonic 2.  This can be done through the settings window by clicking on the gear icon on the upper left of the Hypersonic 2 window (other VSTi’s get this box as well).  Check the picture above for refernece.

Figure 2011-02-20/3: VSTi Settings Window

FL Studio VSTi MIDI Input Port

After clicking on the VSTi Settings Button, you get the window above.  Here, you will set the MIDI Input number to a number of your choice.  It’s defaulted with “–” and by changing this to a particular number you give the MIDI Out channels a port to reference when sending the input from the Step Sequencer or Piano Roll or from your MIDI Controller.  In this case, it’s set to 0.

Figure 2011-02-20/4: MIDI Out

MIDI Out on FL Studio

Next, add a MIDI Out Channel, which is done similarly to how you add a sampler, or audio clip channel.

Figure 2011-02-20/5: MIDI Out Settings

FL Studio MIDI Out Settings

Notice above how on the MIDI Out Settings there is a Channel setting (number), and a Port setting (number).  The Port should match the number you chose for your VSTi.  For example, if you selected MIDI Input Port 0 on your VSTi settings, your Port setting on the MIDI Out should be 0 as well.  The Channel setting corresponds to the number instrument you chose on Hypersonic 2.

Figure 2011-02-20/6: Multiple Instruments, Multiple MIDI Outs

Using the instructions above, we can use multiple MIDI Outs to control multiple instruments off of one instance of a VSTi.  In the example above, Hypersonic 2 was assigned a MIDI Input port of 0, and the “Soft Grand Piano” is on channel 1, and the “Brassy Orchestra XXL” is on channel 2.  The two MIDI Out channels, labeled “MIDI 1 – Piano” and “MIDI 2 – Orch” are set to play those instruments by setting their Port settings to 0, and their channels 1 and 2 respectively to correspond how they are assigned in Hypersonic 2.  You can test this out by clicking on either of the MIDI channels and play using your keyboard or MIDI controller, and you will notice that the MIDI Out channels are playing the instruments from Hypersonic (or whatever VSTi) as assigned and you no longer have to assign note values to the step sequencer or piano roll of Hypersonic.  All note and other settings can be done through the MIDI Outs.

PLEASE NOTE: Although you can assign notes and other MIDI values to MIDI Outs, you cannot assign MIDI Outs to go to effects.  Only the VSTi itself can be assigned to an effects channel in this case.

Modifying an Existing Project that uses Hypersonic 2 and Gives Errors

If you get errors, such as the one shown in Figure 0, the workaround is as follows.  Once you do this for your project, you won’t get these errors again provided you do not assign note values to Hypersonic 2 itself.

  1. Upon opening FL Studio, add a Hypersonic 2 VSTi channel.  Make sure it loads properly.  This will prevent FL Studio from crashing when Hypersonic 2 opens in your project.
  2. Open your project.
  3. Assign the MIDI Input Port in the existing Hypersonic 2 instance (refer to figures 2011-02-20/2 and 2011-02-20/3 above) to a number of your choosing.  If you have multiple instances of Hypersonic 2 open, write down what instrument presets you used, and mark all Hypersonic 2 instances (except for one, which will be the main one we will use for the project).  Assign the instruments you had written down to the one instance of Hypersonic 2 (see figure 2011-02-20/6 above).  Assign the MIDI Input Port to the one Hypersonic 2 instance remaining.
  4. Add as many MIDI Out channels as you have Hypersonic 2 instruments.  If you have three instruments on your once instance of Hypersonic 2, then have three MIDI Out channels.
  5. Assign the Port setting in those MIDI Out channels to the MIDI Input Port number you used for Hypersonic 2.
  6. Assign the Channel settings in those MIDI Out channels to correspond to the instrument you wish for it to control.  For example, if instrument #2 on Hypersonic 2 (assigned MIDI Input Port 0, for example) is “Lead Guitar Licks,” and you want one of your MIDI Outs to control it, the MIDI Out Settings should show Port 0, Channel 2.
  7. Copy/paste your step sequencer and piano roll settings to the corresponding MIDI Out Channel so that the note values, velocity values, etc. will no longer be on a Hypersonic 2 instance.  They will be on the MIDI Out Channel instead. See below for an example.

    Figure 2011-02-20/7: Multiple Instruments, Multiple MIDI OutsMultiple Instruments on Hypersonic 2 on FL Studio

  8. Once you’ve got everything moved properly, write down the instruments you used on Hypersonic 2, along with what number were they on Hypersonic.  In the example above, “Lead Guitar Licks” is 1, “Classic B” is 2, etc.
  9. Once you’ve noted everything down and you are certain everything is moved over properly (notes and all), delete the last Hypersonic 2 instance, so that there are no Hypersonic instances whatsoever in your project.  All your notes and velocities etc. are all moved over to MIDI Outs so they will be preserved.
  10. Save your project.  Your project should save with no errors.
  11. Exit out of FL Studio.
  12. Re-open FL Studio.
  13. Add a Hypersonic 2 VSTi instance.
  14. Open your project.
  15. Add a Hypersonic 2 VSTi instance.
  16. Reassign the instruments on Hypersonic 2 the same way you have written down.  All the MIDI Outs still have their port and channel settings, so your notes, velocities, etc. will still correspond to the same instruments as long as you have them assigned the same way.  You will not need to re-enter any notes or other information anywhere.
  17. Save your project.  You should get no errors.
  18. From here on in, all changes to notes, velocities, etc. will be made to the Piano Roll’s or Step Sequencers of the MIDI Outs and not on Hypersonic 2 itself.  You may also add instruments to Hypersonic 2 now, provided that you use a MIDI Out for each new instrument you use.  Remember: NO NOTES ON HYPERSONIC 2 ITSELF, ONLY ON THE MIDI OUTS.  I can’t stress that enough.
  19. That’s it.  If you ever open up your project from here on in and get an error about loading the settings, just do steps 11-14 above, and only those steps ONLY.  Your settings will load normally, and you won’t have to reassign anything.

So that should do it.  I’ll be making a video to outline everything later, so look out for that if anything is unclear about these instructions.  As always, hit me up at moonshyne@moonshizzleproductions.com if you have any questions for me.

More to come soon!

-mnshyn

    Production Tutorial: How to Add a Simple DLL based VSTi to FLStudio

    Thursday, November 18th, 2010

    With the growing popularity of the Production Vault and a few people asking me about adding VSTi’s and VST Effects to FLStudio ( FL Studio was also formerly known as Fruity Loops), I figured, why not put a tutorial up?

    BY THE WAY: All figures can be enlarged by clicking on them so you can see them in full view.

    So for the first go around, we’re going to show you how to add a simple DLL based VSTi.  To clarify, a DLL based VSTi is as self-explanatory as it sounds like.  It’s a VSTi in the form of a .dll file.  For example, reFX’s Vanguard is one file, Vanguard.dll.

    Now for some Windows users, you may not see the .dll at the end, because your settings may not show them.  There are ways to set it so you can see it, but that’s beyond the scope of this tutorial.  In any case, if the icon of the file is similar to what you see in the figure below, then it’s more than likely a .dll.

    Figure 2010-11-18/0: A .dll file

    A VST DLL file.

    First thing you’ll need to do after extracting the file from .RAR file (http://www.rarlabs.com/download.htm if you need it. =]) is check where FL is looking for it’s VST’s.  I believe the default is C:\Program Files\VstPlugins, but just to be sure, we can check FL’s file settings to find out the correct folder.

    So let’s start the show!

    1. Start FLStudio.
    2. Click on the “Options menu,” then click “File Settings.”Figure 2010-11-18/1: Getting to your File Settings

      Getting to your File Options in FLStudio.

    3. Check the path listed for VST plugins extra search folder.  In the case of the figure below, it’s C:\Program Files\VstPlugins.Figure 2010-11-18/2: The folder path to your VST’s.

      The path to your VST Plugins in FLStudio.

    4. Copy the .dll into that folder using Windows explorer.
    5. Close the Settings window in FLStudio where you saw the folder path.
    6. Click on the “Channels” menu, hover over “Add one.”  You will notice that the plugin you just moved in to the folder is not listed yet.  At that point, click on “More…”Figure 2010-11-18/3: Adding a newly installed VSTi into FLStudio.

      Adding a newly installed VSTi into FLStudio.

    7. In this “Select Generator Plugin”  box, scroll down to the “VST plugins” section, and with the list being in alphabetical order, you can check to see if your plugin is listed.  It most likely isn’t.Figure 2010-11-18/4: Checking what VST Plugins you have on your system.

      Checking what VST Plugins you have on your system.

    8. Click on the “Refresh” button, then click on the “Fast Scan (recommended)” option.Figure 2010-11-18/5: Scanning for new VST’s.

      Scanning for new VST's.

    9. It should show you that it found 1 or more plugins. Find the plugin you want to enable.  Since it is a new one, it is in a red font to make it easier for you to see.  Click on the box next to it to enable it.Figure 2010-11-18/6: Enabling the new VST(s).

      Enabling the new VST(s).

    10. Close out of the Select Generator Plugin box.
    11. The VSTi will now be ready for use as a regular channel.  Click on the “Channels” menu, then find the VSTi you just installed.  In this case, it’s the TPS_module.Figure 2010-11-18/7: Adding the new VST(s) into the sequencer.

      Adding the new VST(s) into the sequencer.

    12. And with that, your VSTi is ready to be played!Figure 2010-11-18/8: The new VST ready for use.

      The new VST ready for use.

    That wasn’t difficult, was it?  So now that you know, you can head into the Production Vault and get yourself some VSTi’s!

    More to come, as always!

    -mnshyn

    Windows 7 Troubles with the E-MU 0404 PCI Card And How To Fix

    Friday, March 5th, 2010

    So after my nice little escapade with Pro Tools M-Powered 7.4, and finally being able to get a fix for it (see here for more information), I felt that I no longer needed Windows XP, and decided to make the jump to Windows 7 on my main studio computer.  I’ve been running Windows 7 on my laptop, and was reluctant to upgrade the studio computer in case I needed to run Pro Tools to mix someone else’s stuff.  I currently use Adobe Audition 3.0 right now for all MsP recording needs.

    E-MU has the PatchMix system, which is a little app that runs that handles your ASIO.  On Windows XP, there used to be two different visible devices in Windows; one ASIO, and the other a standard wave device.  Usually, most non-audio production stuff would run on the standard wave device E-MU driver, and I would run Audition and FL Studio on ASIO.

    However, after installing 7, I ran into an issue: there was only one device, and only ASIO would work, meaning that only my audio production apps had sound.  Everything else, Google Chrome, Media Player, iTunes, etc. would not play.

    I thought it was an issue with the driver, but after doing some investigating, I found that Windows itself has a selector for sampling rate.  You need to match this rate with PatchMix.

    Here’s a quick screenshot, in case you run into the problem.  Click on it to see it fullsize:

    Figure 2010-03-05/1 – PatchMix and Windows 7 Sound Control Panel

    Patch Mix and Windows Sound for Windows 7

    Notice how both PatchMix and Windows 7 are running on the same sampling rate.  This will allow other Windows apps to use sound.

    To get to the Windows 7 Panel you see above:

    1. Take note of what sampling rate PatchMix is using.  If you’re using 44.1K, you will need to set Windows to 44100, i.e.
    2. Hit the Window Logo (The nice circular logo at the bottom left)
    3. Click on Control Panel (On the second column)
    4. Click on Hardware and Sound
    5. Click on Manage Audio Devices
    6. Click on the device that says Speakers, E-MU E-DSP, then click Properties
    7. Click on the Advanced Tab
    8. Choose the appropriate sample rate to match with PatchMix, then hit Apply.
    9. Test by hitting the test button to hear a sound.  If you hear the sound and do not get a “this device is being used by another application” or similar message, you’re good to go.

    Growing pains, I tell you.  But at least it’s working!

    By the way, thanks to the people who have so far bought tracks from Phase 3 – L.Y.R.I.C.A.L. Without Fear!

    Will update soon with a vid or two, MsP news, plus a review on the EastWest Quantum Leap Choir VSTi, as promised!

    -mnshyn

    Flying hybrid on “Wind Beneath My Wings”

    Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

    For Destiny Soprano, she requested to make a cover of the Bette Midler classic, “Wind Beneath My Wings.”  This is my third try at it (the first covered in the blog), and so far I’m pleased with the results.  The drums are not totally studio quality considering my lack of microphones and recording inputs, but we’ll manage.

    Both previous attempts involved me using FL Studio fully as a sequencer and using VST’s.  Sampled drums were used, as well as Nexus for various instrumentation including strings and piano.  First try came out too overdramatic, and the second iteration was too loose and modern pop/R&B.  I felt if I strayed too far, I’d be doing the original an injustice.

    So this time, I figured I would rely on a hybrid of acoustic and synthesized instruments, using the same key and arrangement of the original.

    The drums are a mix of sampled drums and live drums.  The live acoustic drums I have here at Lunar Base Studio are from a 5-piece Ludwig drum set I bought off of Brian Bullion a few months ago.  The sampled drums come from a batch of different drum sounds supplied by a DJ in one of the rap boards I frequent.  Since I only have two inputs on my E-MU 0404 card, I was restrained to recording the kick (Shure Beta 52) and a mic that encompassed all the other drums and cymbals (Audio Technica 2020, overhead, through a Studio Projects VTB1 preamp and a Samson CCom16 Compressor).  I have a Samson MDR6 mixer I use sometimes to get multiple signals that feed into a mono signal, but Cocoa has my other boom stand and PG58.   I do have an Audio Technica PRO37 that I use to record acoustic guitar sometimes, but I don’t have a spare mic stand.

    The electric guitar used was an Epiphone Les Paul Special II (cheapest Les Paul they make. lol) recorded direct through the VTB1 and Compressor.  It was then fed into the free Amplitube plugin (only had two different amp sets because it was free via Tunecore).

    The bass used was an Epiphone Viola Bass.  This bass is in the similar shape of Paul McCartney’s bass which was a Hofner.  This was plugged into an Acoustic B20 amp, then recorded with the Shure Beta 52 through the same preamp and compressor.

    Piano was reFX Nexus, Ballad Grand Piano.

    The result came out very juicy, with a good mix of live and sample.  It’s nowhere near completed, since it’s just the first verse and chorus.  I will post this one as a single however when this is done, so you can refer back to these notes once you’ve heard the final project (free because it’s a cover. =])

    Destiny can really kill songs like these, as her best asset is her powerful voice.  Out of the four MsP girls, she has the  most power in her voice.  I don’t necessarily mean volume, but more along the lines of a presence that just commands attention in the best way.  DiMpLeZ is very soft, acoustic singer style.  CoCoa’s voice is smooth and soul-like.  Harmony’s very technical with her singing and covers a slightly lower range, with a well-rounded vocal quality for different genres and harmonies (hence the name).

    So the style we’re looking at for this is almost like the original, but I would like to shy away a bit from the ballad-y over-reverberated atmosphere.  I want it to be a little more dry in terms of spacing, but rich in instrumental sound.  I’ve read from different sources that on ballads you should give the singer a decent amount of reverb to give that solo feel of being in a room singing.  I’m going to go against the norm on this one and try to be more dry on this one.  I don’t necessarily mean NO reverb, but definitely less than what was on the original.

    I also refuse to use any kind of synth-like instrument for this one, and will stick to real instruments or VST’s that simulate real instruments.  I would like to take some of the lead parts of the piano over in the second verse with a smooth slightly-blues distorted guitar to give it a small edge to the instrumental.

    Considering this is the first live recording of drums I’m doing here in Lunar Base, I’m quite happy with the results so far.  Let’s see where this goes from here.

    More coming soon!

    -mnshyn

    Project Inhaler (name pro tempore), Wind Beneath My Wings, and.. you guessed it.. Bomb Squad!

    Monday, January 11th, 2010

    To start off, I wanted to say that this past week was very productive in getting this Bomb Squad project finished with Cocoa, DiMpLeZ and ADM all supplying their much needed vocals.  This means that only Harmony Speaks, Destiny Soprano (re-recording) and I are the last ones left.  Hopefully, this week will be just as productive.

    Some interesting tidbits about the ADM recording; ADM voice-acts pretty well, and I’m guessing this has to do with some of the work he has done on radio and his video/movie classes.   As he put it:

    “This sounds like an episode of 24.” – ADM

    That should give you some insight on the song. =]

    On to Project Inhaler.  Project Inhaler is the project that ADM and I will be working on.  It is geared to be a Prodigy style song, so pretty close to Drum-N-Bass.  We originally thought it would be classified as Jungle until we re-evaluated the speed of the beats and realized that it was WAY too slow to be jungle.  We were able to clock “Breathe” (The Prodigy song) in at about 127bpm, whereas Jungle is typically in the upper 100’s, upwards of 150bpm, I believe, if not faster.

    Based on the research ADM had done, he found that a handful of producers suggested using breakbeat templates on the FPC in FL Studio to create the breakbeat needed for this type of project.  Some suggested layering the breakbeats as well.

    We were lazy though, so after going through the kicks and changing each sample to a more suitable kick drum from stock, we nixed that process and decided to make our own breakbeat using regular sequencing methods.

    A welcome addition here is the use of the Glitch plugin.  Boy Gnyus and Brian Bullion both suggested Glitch (or something similar) to me as it was the same plugin that Timbaland used in his songs to do his mid-bar reverse effects (Listen to ending of Jay-Z – Dirt Off Your Shoulder, and The Game – Put You In The Game for reference).  ADM suggested we try it after he had downloaded it a few days prior, and so we downloaded it and put it into use.  We haven’t gotten the total benefit of using it yet, though we used the Gater and Crusher in different parts of the break as well as the rhythm synth we used and the results were very gritty and we’re definitely looking to extend the use of the plugin.  For you producers out there, you can find Glitch here.

    For anyone who is familiar with the song “Breathe” or other songs from Prodigy (more notably, the Fat of the Land album), then you know vocals are involved.  We are looking to have K-Maculate drop some vocals on this one, and I will try to as well.  I felt the British accents of both the people in “Breathe” helped that track, so I don’t know if our voices will make the cut.  We always make do with what we have though, and I’m sure we can figure something out to make it nice and greezy.

    We employed Sylenth (or was it Vanguard?  I’ll have to re-open the project) as the ryhthm synth; using a distorted guitar type of synth preset.  Coupled with Glitch, it came out pretty juicy.  We don’t plan for this song to be too melodic as we want it to have that really aggressive feel.  The song does have a nice sounding base (foundation or low octave?  see what I did there? lol) in B minor, and we won’t be using too many notes to keep the aggressive tone.

    With that foundation, we finished this phase of work on the project with some next steps being outlined:

    – Map out the song arrangement, and what to break each section with
    – Gather ideas for lead synths or instruments.  “Breathe” used a non-descript plucking of something as well as some guitar usage; both clean and distorted
    – Come up with an actual name for the song
    – Bring K in for some vocal input

    I’m actually starting to wonder now what Harmony Speaks would sound like on something like this.  Maybe for a 1 or 2 bar break?  It would serve as part of the separation of sequences in the song.  I’ll run that through with ADM and see what he says.

    I’ve also re-commenced work on Destiny Soprano’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” cover.  I’ve gone through two different iterations of it and through both I haven’t been comfortable.  I do feel however with the addition of the acoustic drumset in the studio, it may open some things up.  I’m thinking of now giving it a more rock feel in the recording (low to almost dry reverb with more guitars compared to the rich reverb-filled original with synths/keyboarding), and maybe some R&B elements in the arrangement.

    Exciting time in the MsP world.  Keep checking in for more updates!

    -mnshyn

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