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Introducing the Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Lite

Introducing the Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Lite

The CFX Concert Grand

In 2014 we released the most detailed and advanced Garritan project ever: the CFX Concert Grand. It began with Yamaha’s remarkable nine foot concert piano, the development of which took more than 18 years. We placed this no-holds-barred instrument in the most legendary recording space in the world: Studio One at Abbey Road Studios. Once there, world-class engineers used the most regarded mics and outboard gear to capture the magic.

The resulting CFX Concert Grand set new standards for virtual pianos.

The CFX Lite

Today we’re carrying on the Garritan tradition of democratizing music making by releasing the CFX Lite, a downloadable subset of the full CFX that is more affordable, portable, and is compatible with more modest computer systems.

“When we set out to make a more accessible version of the CFX Concert Grand, we didn’t want it to be ‘watered-down’ in any way,” said Fred Flowerday, MakeMusic senior vice president of product strategy. “Instead of making any compromise in sonic quality, we provided a single, classic microphone perspective in all of its richness and depth.”

Where the full CFX offers close and ambient mic placement for three perspectives (Classic, Contemporary, and Player), CFX Lite offers simply the close-mic’d Classic perspective, provided in all of its full-bandwidth, remarkable grandeur. The CFX Lite includes all 20 layers of detail from the original. This includes separate sample sets for pedals-up, sustain pedal down and soft pedaling.


Not sure what we mean by the three perspectives? These are a combination of mics and mic placement designed to create a specific result.

  • Classic – most faithfully captures the natural tonal character, clarity and nuance of the CFX
  • Contemporary – bright and hard with lots of attack from the hammers, while maintaining warmth with intimate ambience
  • Player – offers the experience of playing the CFX in Studio One, particularly when used with headphones

Also, each perspective also offers close and ambient mics. For the CFX Lite, we used the close mics of the Classic perspective.

“I really love the Lite version of the Abbey Road CFX,” said Mirek Stiles, head of audio products at Abbey Road Studios. “It’s great having the Abbey Road engineers’ favourite mic array from the original CFX release, with the same beautiful tones of the CFX in the most famous recording studio in the world, but in a more accessible, downloadable package.”

The CFX Lite also adds new features not found in the original CFX Concert Grand. These include partial and re-pedaling functionality and 20 additional impulses captured from Abbey Road Studios’ legendary outboard reverb equipment. Also newly added is a Timbre effect that simulates the change in tone that occurs when instruments are recorded at one tape speed and played back at another. Today these enhancements are also available to owners of the full CFX too, via this free-of-charge download for Mac and Windows.

But enough talk. To really get a sense of what the CFX Lite offers, you have to hear it. 

Hear the CFX Lite in action


Best of all, you can own the CFX Lite today for only $79.95!

buy nowLearn More

Additional Strings in Garritan Personal Orchestra 5


As a string player I am most excited about the new strings in Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 (GPO 5). With multiple bowing samples for each instrument, a fluid live-friendly playback engine, and the choice between individual, chamber and section string sounds, GPO 5 has a lot to offer those of us who focus on strings.

Take a Bow

Bowing is too often overlooked in orchestral sound libraries. There’s a noticeable sonic difference between the many techniques a string player uses performing. Listen to the differences in this short example:


What you’re hearing is a violin playing a major scale – first as slow, sustained notes, followed by martellato, spiccato, staccato, and finally col legno. Notice how each technique has its own unique articulation and tone. Many composers use these bowing techniques in their scores, but can’t always use them in their MIDI demos. Thankfully, GPO 5 delivers these without the hassle of huge load times or an over-complicated interface.

While on the topic of ease-of-use, let’s take a look at how I created this sample.

An Instrument of Change(s)

One of my favorite things about the GPO product line is how natural it feels to play on a MIDI keyboard. GPO 5 is no exception. Using a combination of low-octave key-switches and control change messages, writers and performers alike can evoke a huge range of tonal colors.

I created the previous scale example by simply playing a major scale multiple times, and using keys in an octave below the instrument’s range to choose a new bowing technique. That’s it! No loading new samples, no switching between multiple channels and tracks. In a word – no fuss.


As you can see in the image above, the red keys on the ARIA player’s on-screen keyboard represent available key switches, and if I press one of these keys while playing, it will highlight yellow. This makes it really easy to use multiple sounds at the same time, even while playing live. To my fingers, using a MIDI keyboard feels similar to using preset keys on a Hammond organ.

Control change messages are also a common way to change the sound of the instrument you’re playing. These are usually controlled by programmable knobs and faders on the face of the keyboard as well as by your keyboard’s pedals. These messages can control volume, pitch, tone as well as additional techniques like flutter-tonguing and keyboard pedaling. With Orchestral Strings however, these controls are a little simpler. You have basic envelope controls (known as ADSR), a tone control, and my favorite feature: legato controls, including automatic legato.

Legato and Automatic Legato

How do the legato features work? In the Orchestral Strings patches your keyboard’s sustain pedal can be used to restrict the instrument to only one note. When you play another note, the instrument seamlessly moves to that new note with a legato effect. This makes it very easy to simulate slurs and slides on the fly, even while playing a keyboard in a live setting. Automatic legato is a setting which causes GPO 5 to automatically press the pedal for you.

Go Big or… Go Small

Suppose you’re writing a beautiful piece for a small ensemble. While working, you decide you want the closer, more personal effect of a chamber ensemble but your string samples sound like a full-blown symphony. Normally this would leave you with a tough compromise – until now.

GPO 5 includes full instrumentation for solo instruments, as well as both large and small string sections. This makes it easy to move from small quartet to big Sinatra-style string sections, and everywhere in between.

In this example, I’ve started with a basic string quartet, built into a small sectional, and finish with a full orchestra.

Add It All Together – One Piece at a Time

A common technique in making MIDI mock-ups is to layer string patches with individual samples as well. It takes up a few extra spaces in the ARIA Player, but I think you’ll find the end result to be very rewarding. Here’s one of my favorite compositions from Antonin Dvorak, played by the Garritan Personal Orchestra:


I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief tour of some of the string features that I find most interesting in GPO 5. If you’d like to hear more of this library, be sure to check out the audio samples on the GPO 5 audio demos page.

Peter FlomPeter Flom is the Production Manager of Repertoire Development at MakeMusic. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Peter has previously worked at KMA Studios in New York City, and in MakeMusic’s Customer Support department. He now spends most of his days developing new content for Finale and SmartMusic.

Peter is also a freelance arranger and engraver, and plays a mean guitar when nobody’s watching.

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Garritan Libraries with Cubase

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Garritan Libraries with Cubase (1)

The world of digital audio workstations (DAWs) can be a bit intimidating for newcomers. With a seemingly infinite number to choose from, it can be difficult to even know where to start. Today I’ll share some tips to help you get started using a Garritan library with my favorite DAW, Cubase.

There’s no shortage of DAWs out there, with their own unique workflows and layouts. I would highly recommend trying a few out for yourself to see which one fits you best. As someone who does a lot of production work, Cubase is a great option for me.  It offers a wealth of creative tools that you won’t necessarily find in more recording-oriented programs like Pro Tools or Logic. Although I’ll be covering Cubase in this article, many of the concepts can be applied to any DAW.

Setting Up a Garritan Instrument

To get started, we’ll first need to open an instance of a Garritan library in Cubase. With a new Cubase project open, go to Devices > VST Instruments and select the Garritan library from the Instrument menu – in this case I’ve selected the CFX Concert Grand.

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Garritan Libraries with Cubase (2)

Click Add Track and the CFX Player will display along with a new MIDI track ready to record the selected Garritan instrument.

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Garritan Libraries with Cubase (3)

Recording, Entering and Editing MIDI

Click the record and and play buttons from the transport at the top of the screen. A new MIDI track will record your performance from the ARIA Player.

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Garritan Libraries with Cubase (4)

If, like me, you’re not much of a pianist, you can also import a MIDI file to be played back by your Garritan library.  To do so, simply drag the MIDI file onto the empty track.

Once you’ve recorded your performance, or imported a MIDI file, you can easily quantize playback or customize individual notes. To access the quantization settings, select the track by clicking on it and go to Edit > Quantize Panel. Finale users should be familiar with most of the settings here. Select the smallest note value from your performance and click Quantize.

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Garritan Libraries with Cubase (5)

You can also edit each note pitch, length and key velocity by opening the Key Editor from the Edit menu. This can be helpful to quickly correct a wrong note or change the dynamics of a single note or section.

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Garritan Libraries with Cubase (6)

Using Audio Effects

Although Cubase offers many tools to edit MIDI, where the program really shines is the large library of audio effects. We can take advantage of these with our Garritan track by first bouncing it to audio. This is easily done. Open the File menu and choose to Export > Audio Mixdown. Next, select the Garritan library from the left menu to make sure that we’re not bouncing the entire project. Under Import into Project, select Audio Track to ensure that the exported audio file is added to a new track in your project.

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Garritan Libraries with Cubase (7)

Once you’ve exported the track to audio, you’ll have access to all of Cubase’s audio effects. Select the new audio track and click Inserts from the Inspector. Click one of the open spaces to see all available effects. Once you select an effect, its control window will appear. Here you can select a preset, or dig a bit deeper and experiment with each parameter.

(For time-based effects (reverb, delay, etc.) it’s generally preferable to use Sends, rather than Inserts. This will preserve the integrity of the original track and give an extra level of control in the mixer.)

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Garritan Libraries with Cubase (8)

Hopefully, this basic guide will help to give you a starting point and the confidence to jump into Cubase (or your DAW of choice) and start experimenting. The best way to learn any DAW is to simply spend some time with it and start exploring each feature. Once you have your basic file started following the steps above, I’d recommend hitting Save As, giving the file a new name and just having fun trying everything out for yourself. This way you can always return to your starting point and experiment some more.

Jon CielinskiJon Cielinski joined MakeMusic’s technical support department in 2011. Today he’s a SmartMusic product specialist, answering SmartMusic questions for MakeMusic employees (including assisting customer support representatives) and collaborating with developers on future versions of SmartMusic.

Jon also works as a music producer and recording engineer. When not on the job he enjoys exploring the trails around Boulder and taking in local shows.


Choir Tips in Garritan Personal Orchestra 5


I’m really excited about the new choir sounds in Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 (GPO 5). In the past I’d typically write choral music on the piano (because I didn’t have access to a lot of vocal samples), so these additions are really welcome. 

GPO 5 breaks the choir down into Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass, and adds a Boys Choir, Children’s Choir, and a Full Choir. Every choir patch also includes additional controls and keyswitches. Plus, the new ARIA Player interface makes it quicker and easier to select the sound you want. Rather than navigating tricky submenus with a shaky mouse, you simply choose the sound you want from a list:


Today I’d like to share some tips to help you get started with these new choir sounds.


Keyswitches turn specific keys on your MIDI keyboard into on/off switches. In Garritan products you press a keyswitch to change between different sounds from within the same loaded patch. Typically keyswitches are placed at the bottom of the MIDI keyboard beyond the pitch range of the loaded patch.

Check out the ARIA Player screenshot at the top of this post. Look for the two keyswitches, which allow you to choose between Ohs and Aahs in the Full Choir. The Ahs keyswitch is selected (indicated by the peach color) while the Ohs key is not (it’s pink). Press either key and it will stay selected until another keyswitch is pressed; there is no need to hold a keyswitch down. Note that the Children’s Choir and Boys Choir also include a third keyswitch for an “Eeh” sound, and that Sopranos also have a Solo NV (No Vibrato) and Solo Vibrato sound.

Directing Your Choir

The new choir patches respond well to traditional velocity data from MIDI keyboards, but I find the choir works best with the ARIA Player’s mod wheel-volume configuration. If you’re new to this, no worries. You don’t need to need to configure anything to make your mod wheel functionit just works. Every mod wheel transmits a very specific piece of data called CC1, the on screen mod wheel will automatically receive this CC1 data.  

Additionally, you are given full Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release (ADSR envelope) controls, which can be  automated. With the ADSR section, you’ll be able to shape how your choir sings their oohs and ahs. For instance, if you want your choir to sound more staccato, leave the Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release values at 0. If you want the choir to sound more dramatic, set Decay and Sustain to 100, and increase the Attack and Release.

If you increase the Attack too much, your choir will always begin too late. Also, if you increase the Release too much, you’ll wait longer for the choir to stop singing. I like to think of Release as a natural reverb. While the look of these knobs and wheels may be a bit intimidating at first, a little experimentation will reap big benefits. You’ll get the hang of it in no time.

One of the most important things to take away is that the Mod Wheel and ADSR controls are completely independent of each other. The former is strictly volume and the latter is an envelope for shaping a sound.

Additional Controls

While volume and envelope controls play a major part of any sampler or synthesizer, there are other controls that are less common but can also be found on many other samplers and synthesizers.

  • Auto-Legato is an on/off switch that makes your choir sing the following note on the same breath (monophonic per patch).
  • The Offset knob controls the amount of delay that occurs between when each note begins and when when you hear the corresponding sound.
  • Porta (portamento) is an interesting parameter, allowing one note to slide into another. With Porta set to 100, the note you are holding down will slide up or down to , the next note you play. Auto-Legato must be enabled for Porta to have an effect.
  • The Tone knob is a low-pass filter. At a low value, you will hear only low frequencies; increasing the value will add back progressively higher frequencies.

If you don’t already own GPO 5, expanded choirs and controls are not the only highlights. There are many new features as well as a host of additional sounds; check out these audio demos. GPO 5 is now available for $149 directly through MakeMusic or via your favorite music retailer.

I find myself using GPO 5 more and more in my own music projects, and you probably will too. I hope these tips inspire you to experiment with the choir (and other) sounds in GPO 5.

Nick MorrisNick Morris is part of the MakeMusic Customer Success team, originally from Minnesota and now relocated to Colorado. He graduated from McNally Smith College of Music, receiving his B.S. in Music Production.

Nick enjoys finding new music to listen to and designing sound patches in his free time.


Meet Garritan Director of Programming Chad Beckwith


Where do Garritan sound libraries come from? Does Gary Garritan create them all by himself in a secret laboratory hidden somewhere in the Pacific Northwest? Is the Yeti involved? No one has ever known – until now.

Starting today we’re going public and introducing the people behind the virtual instruments, starting with Chad Beckwith (pictured at left, above).

What is your title or role? 

Director of Programming, but I usually describe my role as a technical sound designer.  The team roles usually shift from project to project so I’ve always enjoyed that aspect of working with Garritan.

What prepared your for your work with Garritan? Are you a schooled musician? Engineer? Sorcerer?

I studied music at Northeastern University in Boston.  NEU has an amazing music technology program that focuses half on composition/orchestration as well as covering in-depth audio technology and engineering.

When and how did you first join the Garritan team?

I had previously worked with Gary on projects at Cakewalk as product manager of their virtual instruments.  The pocket version of Garritan Personal Orchestra (GPO) is included in the Dimension Pro sample library.  A couple years later I had seen Gary and the team at their NAMM booth after their release of the Authorized Steinway.  Gary followed up later if I’d be interested in programming more libraries for their new ARIA Player.  Coincidentally I was visiting friends in Oregon and was able to be interviewed in Portland on my way home.  The interview was at Coffeehouse Northwest, Portland has the best coffee.

Have any influential mentors that assisted you along the way?

René Ceballos was very influential to me early on.  He is the founder and developer of the SFZ open sample format.  He taught me the guiding principles of solid technical sound design.  We have a running joke about the time intensiveness of sound design work, “Three am is always a good time to be experimenting with EQ settings.”

Gary and David Viens from Plogue have also been very helpful mentors over the past seven years.

What was the first Garritan project you worked on?

Garritan World Instruments.  That was an intense project, over 300 new instruments each with their own unique playing style had to be programmed from scratch.  I would love to revisit and expand that library now with all of ARIA Player’s new features, body resonances, and sonic morphing.

Have any memorable Garritan-related stories?

Taking part in the recording sessions at Skywalker Sound was unforgettable.  I stood in the middle of the sound stage clapping my hands while the engineers changed the configuration of the studio walls and cut the decay time from 3 seconds to about .5 seconds.  It was incredible.  It’s clearly one of the best places to record in the world.

What Garritan accomplishments are you most proud of?

The development, along with Robert Davis, of Instant Orchestra. I’m very happy with the results from Instant Orchestra, the ensemble presets from IO are some of my favorite ARIA Player presets to play.

What aspects of GPO 5 are you proudest of?

I’m very happy with the shear amount of new instruments we were able to include for the update.  It is the largest update to the GPO library since the initial 1.0 release.

What aspect of your work on GPO 5 was the most rewarding?

The most rewarding aspect is when the library is finally finished.  I love hearing user demos within the first couple days after a library has been released.  Over the years listening to the activity of the Northern Sounds listening room has been wonderful; they are a group of super talented and active composers.

Check out the great sounds possible with Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 thanks to the hard work of Chad (and others) on the GPO 5 audio demos page. Would you like to meet other members of the team, or read about something entirely different? Please let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 Made Even Better

Garritan Personal Orchestra Box

In just the few weeks since Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 was released, we’re received some incredible feedback on the new library, and have seen glowing video reviews from Todd Urban, Tony Cliff, and Time+Space, the latter having also interviewed Garritan founder Gary Garritan about the new virtual instrument library.

You’d think the Garritan development team would all be enjoying a much deserved break on a southern Canadian beach, but they’ve been very busy, too.

Earlier this week they updated the Personal Orchestra 5 download at This update is available, for free, to all owners of GPO 5.

It offers several improvements to the instrument definitions, as well as addresses issues we’ve heard about from users. Highlights include:

  • Default volume levels for new brass and string instruments have been optimized to create a better blend across the library
  • Brass keyswitch instruments have been fine-tuned to create a better balance across the keyswitches within the patches
  • Loop points were adjusted for violins 1 and violins 2 harmonics patches
  • Stereo Stage controls were added for all new brass instruments

We also addressed some bugs:

  • Ensemble presets are now loading all of the instruments properly
  • Ensemble presets are now loading with enough default memory
  • ARIA Player AAX plugin is now recognized as valid in Pro Tools
  • An outdated ARIA Player user manual PDF has been removed from new installations in favor of the comprehensive online ARIA Player User Manual
  • GPO 5 now appears in the Programs and Features control panel on Windows

Finally, the Personal Orchestra 5 User Manual has also been updated.

If you already own GPO 5, download the update for free by logging in at  If you don’t own it yet, check out the audio samples and more at the Personal Orchestra home.

Want to share your GPO 5 review with others? Reach out via Garritan’s home on Facebook and Twitter.

Todd Urban Reviews Garritan Personal Orchestra 5

Good news travels fast! Just last week we released Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 (GPO 5), and already this week Todd Urban, of Urban Sound Studio, has released a YouTube video review of GPO 5. Todd’s review offers a great glimpse inside of GPO 5, relevant both for those new to GPO as well as those who own previous versions.

Please let us know what you think, about the video or GPO 5, on Facebook or Twitter.

Introducing Personal Orchestra 5

Now Available: Garritan Personal Orchestra 5

Today we launched Personal Orchestra 5, a major update to the acclaimed sound library.

Garritan Personal Orchestra (GPO) democratized the creation of orchestral music by making a comprehensive collection of virtual orchestral instruments both accessible and affordable.

GPO 5 continues in this tradition by vastly expanding the number of included instruments (it’s 5 times bigger) and offering new techniques, performance spaces and reverbs, and instrument body resonances. GPO 5 can help you produce truly inspiring symphonic sounds with a much higher level of realism.

The Garritan website now hosts GPO 5 audio samples, features, system requirements, and details on the GPO 5-specific changes in the ARIA Player.

GPO 5 is available for download today for just $149.95; owners of GPO 4 can upgrade for just $49.95.

Please share your thoughts with us and the entire Garritan community on Facebook and Twitter.

Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 Coming Soon

GPO 5 is Coming Soon

At the 2016 NAMM show, we announced that Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 (GPO 5) would be coming soon, and simultaneously placed a “Coming in February 2016” message at We’ve been delighted with the volume of interest (and questions) this advance information has produced. While we will release GPO 5 before the end of February, we hope to answer some of those questions in this post.

Personal Orchestra is the virtual instrument library that democratized the creation of orchestral music by making access to great sounds affordable. Scheduled for release in February 2016, GPO 5 takes Personal Orchestra to the next level.

GPO 5 is five times larger than GPO 4 and offers more than 500 instruments. Some of the additions include:

  • New Orchestral Strings including 94 section string patches, 33 small sections, and 28 solo strings in a wide range of bow strokes and techniques.
  • Seven additional choir groups with 23 patches, including boys’ and children’s choirs as well as sopranos, altos, tenors and basses.
  • Updated brass instruments from the renowned ProjectSAM’s “Orchestral Brass Classic.”
  • Two new concert grand pianos: a legendary 9’ Model D and a 7’ Model B.
  • Completely new harp instruments with harp pedaling emulation, a custom organ console for expanded pipe organ control, more than 16 new impulse response presets, and much more.

New instruments are just part of the GPO 5 package, with many advances also made in new techniques, performance spaces and reverbs, and instrument body resonances. The result empowers musicians to produce truly inspiring symphonic sounds with a much higher level of realism.

Want to hear it in action? Take a listen to the full orchestral demos, brass and woodwind examples, several short string techniques, and some choir and organ excerpts.

Also included will be an updated ARIA Player, with additional controls, and a tree view making it easier than ever to load virtual instrument sounds.

GPO 5 will have a list price of $149.95, and registered owners of GPO 4 will be able to upgrade for just $49.95.

We’ll share more details (including a complete patch list) in the next few weeks as we release GPO 5 and the updated website, and we’ll send an email to owners of Garritan products upon launch. If you have questions in the meantime, please let us know by clicking on “Comments” below.

Using Your Tablet to Control the ARIA Player


Do you use Garritan sounds and the ARIA Player in your music? What if you could control various parameters in ARIA, in real-time, using your hands on your tablet (instead of clicking with your mouse)? 

There are many options available on the market for MIDI controller applications for iPad/iPhone, Android, Chrome OS, and Mac/PC, and many of them are inexpensive or even free. A few that come to mind include Augmented MIDI (free, supports Android/iOS), MIDI Controller Pro (free, supports iOS), and TB MIDI Stuff ($2.99, supports iOS).

The MIDI controller application that we’re going to be taking a look at today is Lemur. It allows you to create and customize MIDI controls in virtually any way you can imagine, and you can even create your own MIDI device. Lemur is available for both iPad and Android devices for $24.99. 

In a previous post, “Introduction to Reverb in the ARIA Player,” we identified some basic controls and settings in ARIA you can adjust to enhance your compositions and arrangements. With this app and a tablet you can easily control these parameters to great effect.

Meet Nick Morris

Nick Morris is a Garritan support expert who has created his own interface using the Lemur app to control the ARIA Player. Nick is also a skilled musician and composer with a focus in electronic/dance music, and is one of our resident experts on MIDI/DAWs. 

Michelle: What does using a tablet-based controller offer you?

Nick: It allows me to interact with music I am creating, in real-time, and to record this interaction for further refinement. In my home studio I use Logic Pro in real-time to create ideas and brainstorm. When I find something I like, I’ll record it live and Logic captures all of my MIDI data. Then I’ll go back with my mouse and refine the data.

Michelle: Why Lemur?

Nick: Lemur has an interesting history. It used to be a hardware touchscreen MIDI controller, but was discontinued. I’ve seen it go for $1,300 on Ebay. But Liine picked it up and was able to make it available on iPad. I chose the Lemur app for its versatility and freedom in control setup.

Michelle: What is your favorite patch in the Garritan Instant Orchestra library to utilize with a MIDI controller?

Nick: Probably the Big Brass Agg patch. By adjusting the attack time and vibration settings, you can make the patch sound more synth and string-like. Once you add other instruments and reverb to the equation, the sound morphs into something unlike you’ve ever heard – it’s awesome!

Michelle: What is the advantage of using a real-time MIDI controller for the ARIA player with Garritan sounds?

Nick: The biggest advantage is not having to use the mouse to click and adjust the various Aria controls. Instead you can adjust them evenly with your hands, even when the screen is not visible. It’s faster, more fun and more ergonomic. Also, if you’re using DAWs such as Logic or Ableton, doing a live automation recording makes it easy to personalize performances in unique ways. Another benefit concerns effects. For example, if you load a percussion patch in the ARIA player and adjust the Low Pass knob, you can create the illusion that the sound is being heard from a distance.

Michelle: How did you create your own MIDI controller using this app, and how can others do the same?

Nick: It wasn’t that hard. The ARIA Player itself lists what MIDI CC messages are mapped to a specific control. So when I designed the layout, I programmed the knobs to transmit the specific MIDI CC messages. For instance, because the ARIA Player’s Attack knob is CC 20 (at least for Instant Orchestra), Lemur’s Attack knob must transmit MIDI CC 20.

Let’s look into this in some more detail.

The Lemur Interface

The interface shown below is designed specifically for Garritan Instant Orchestra. However, with Lemur you can create you very own MIDI controller for any of our Garritan libraries, and many other software plugins. This was also designed mainly for the controls view, to be used with another external MIDI keyboard:

Lemur 1
Most patches in Instant Orchestra will have these parameters. You may or may not see these controls, based on the patch you have selected.

  • Attack – the time from silence to peak volume
  • Decay – the time from the attack peak to the sustain level
  • Sustain – the sustaining level of the sound’s duration
  • Release – the time from the sustain level to zero after the key is released
  • LPass – allows more low frequencies to pass and reduces high frequencies
  • HPass – allows more high frequencies to pass and reduces low frequencies
  • VibSpd – controls the speed of vibrato
  • VibAmt – controls the depth of vibrato using aftertouch
  • Saturation – adds harmonic richness
  • Bright – adds brightness, particularly for brass
  • Blend (1,2,3) – adjusts the volume of the various textures in the Blending Textures patches
  • Delay – adds a small delay to percussion instruments
  • Offset – offsets the actual sample start of percussion instruments (removes from the attack)

As an added bonus, an onscreen keyboard is included in this example. The keyboard is a great way to control the ARIA Player keyboard if you don’t have a MIDI keyboard handy. The octave switches are located above the keyboard. The All Notes Off button sends a MIDI message to stop all notes from sounding.

Keyboard 2

Configuring the app with the ARIA Player

Now that we’ve taken a look at the app, let’s get it set up. To start:

Lemur 2
1. Register with

2. Download the Lemur Daemon (seen at left) on your computer:

3. Connect your iPad and Lemur Daemon to the same WiFi network – the Daemon will recognize    
the connection and link the devices.

Now open the ARIA Player, and:


1. In the ARIA Player choose Tools > Preferences (ARIA Player > Preferences on Mac).

2. Next to MIDI Devices select Daemon Input 0 (in).

3. Click OK.

4. Load your Instant Orchestra patches as desired.

Next, open the Lemur app on your device:

1. Select Settings > More Settings.

2. Tap ‘From:’ in the MIDI Targets and find your computer.

3. Tap Daemon Output 0.

4. Repeat for the ‘To:’ setting.

Once the devices have been synced, you are ready to control the ARIA Player using the Lemur app. If you’d like, you can even download Nick’s template

We encourage you to test different setups and applications and utilize whatever works best for you. Let us know in the comments if you have a preferred setup that works great for you!

Michelle JonesMichelle Jones is thrilled to join the MakeMusic Customer Success team. A recent graduate from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Michelle received dual B.A. in music performance (bassoon) and music education.

Michelle enjoys performing and hearing all kinds of music, and is particularly fond of Broadway musicals and Colorado Symphony Orchestra performances. She has taught elementary and middle school band, choir, and general music in the Denver Metro Area since moving here from Northern California.

Nick Morris
Nick Morris is part of the MakeMusic Customer Success team, originally from Minnesota and now relocated to Colorado. He graduated from McNally Smith College of Music, receiving his B.S. in music production.

Nick enjoys finding new music to listen to and designing sound patches in his free time.