Cremona Quartet Strings Automation Setup in Logic Pro X

Discussion in 'General Production Forum' started by Jon Burr, Mar 27, 2021.

  1. Jon Burr

    Jon Burr New Member


    In Cremona Quartet strings, you can control performance parameters like vibrato intensity and speed, instrument volume, expression and fingering, and mic settings in the multi-mic versions.

    Since it’s impossible to record all of those at the same time, you’ll need to edit controller automation during the mix.

    You could use Logic’s
    graphical tools, but what if you want to record automation during mixing?

    The simplest way to do this is with Track automation using a Smart Control.

    You could also record CC data without a Smart Control, or record with Smart Controls into your Region, but these options cause additional headaches if you want to redo it.
    Redoing automation over itself in a Region causes unusable results as your work gets merged with the previous pass.

    Why Track automation?
    You can use Logic’s various automation modes, such as Touch, Latch or Write, and edit multiple times, redo it to until you’re satisfied, without causing unwanted results.

    Connect a Smart Control.
    Cremona ships with pre-populated Host Automation slots, including Vibrato Intensity, Vibrato Speed, Vibrato Style, Fingerboard Position and Expression. These will show up in Logic as Smart Controls automatically, in a single instrument instance of Kontakt. If you’ve got all 4 parts in a Multi-Output Instrument stack, you’ll need to customize your Smart Controls.

    First, in a single part instance:
    To set up automation for any parameter,
    • Open Smart Controls
    • Move your desired Smart Control knob with your mouse
    • Hit Command-L
    • Move your controller on your control surface, and your connection is complete.
    If you have all 4 quartet instruments in one Kontakt instance
    you’ll notice there’s a whole long list of Host Automation assignments in Kontakt. Smart Controls only show the first 8 assignments on that list by default, so you’ll need to configure Smart Controls for parameter when you want to use it.

    Assign a Smart Control to any parameter on the Instrument’s Host Automation list in Logic by opening the Info panel in Smart Controls and select the parameter for that instrument from the instrument’s parameter list. You’ll find it near the end of the long list. You’ll be redoing the assignment for each control as you need it. When you have a multi loaded, you’ll find multiple instances of each parameter, one for each part. You’ll pick the one that corresponds to the order of the stack in Kontakt.

    It’s a good idea to avoid making changes to the stack during a project. If you swap out a single version of Viola for a Muti-mic version, for example, it’ll void its prior Host automation assignments and add it again at the bottom of the list, changing its order in the list in Logic.

    Dynamics Control in Cremona
    Use either the Region’s Mod Wheel lane to set a default level for it, or delete any data there and create a Smart Control for it by first assigning it to a Host Automation Slot in Kontakt, then add a Track Automation lane for it. This one needs to be set somewhere - if it’s down, none of the other controls will work. It’s the volume knob on the instrument part’s amplifier.

    You may notice there’s many ways to control volume of an instrument or part in Logic, and it’s easy to lose track of which is which.

    The list of controls that affect volume in Cremona are
    • Main Volume
    • Midi Volume
    • Dynamics or Modulation
    • Expression.
    at both the Region and Track level. And velocity, at the Region/note level.

    Expression affects the timbre of the sample. The Dynamics control addresses the internal amplifier of the part in Kontakt, and is redundant for mix purposes. If you have mod wheel data coming in with imported midi, that affects the Dynamics control in Cremona and might conflict. You can covert it to one of the other volume lanes, or delete it, using Midi Volume, Expression (more realistic), or Main Volume instead.

    If you’re using a multi stack, it gets a bit more complicated as you route audio back into your session with aux returns. Main Volume stops working on the Midi track, and is controlled instead on its audio return aux.

    To record automation for a Smart Control
    Open the Midi Editor Window and click the Automation icon. Select Track Automation, then open a Smart Control Lane for the parameter you want to record from the Parameters dropdown. You should already see the slider moving, since you’ve already assigned a controller to its Smart Control. Next, put it in Touch or Latch mode, press “Play,” and you’re in business.

    Reusing Automation
    If you want to use the curve you wrote for another parameter - say, for instance, both vibrato rate and vibrato intensity - you can copy and convert your automation in the arrange window by option-clicking a your lane and selecting the new destination, and select “Convert and Copy.”

    Keyswitches with Articulation Sets
    Now, about Using Cremona Keyswitches in Logic - you can use them to call up samples of different articulations and techniques to make your midi performance more realistic.

    There are 2 ways to edit them. Either draw them into the piano roll, old-style, or use “Articulation Sets,” which are much faster and easier to use after you set them up.

    You can use Articulation Sets to assign an ID to each keyswitch, which you attach to notes in the midi editor. You can start playback from anywhere, knowing you’re triggering the correct sample. Articulation Sets have their own editor and are saved outside Logic so they can be used in any session. Here’s a useful tutorial. After creating a Set, select a note or range of notes and choose the desired articulation from the Articulation Set pulldown.
    Last edited: May 1, 2021