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Slowly Catching Up

duckett
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permalink   Mon, Apr 21, 2008 @ 6:34 PM
Well, as some of you who may have perused my gear list (or have a sharp ear and a good memory) might know, I’ve been stuck in fairly unsophisticated multitracking software-land for a while. While I still need to get some decent monitors, my budget just now allowed me to upgrade from ACID Music Studio 5.0 to ACID Pro 6… “Holy difference in ease of workflow, Batman!”

Just from a trial remix I started playing with, the funtabulous joy of discovering things which I’m sure most of you take for granted (like having VSTs available crash-free within the program, or recording live pan envelope manipulation, etc.) is more than worth the $ spent- and the best part was, it didn’t demand I get the latest and greatest CPU/soundcard/etc. My PC isn’t a “dedicated” machine, or any kind of a hotrod, so that factor’s important to me.

Be patient as I learn the nooks and crannies of my (to me) shiny new toy, and hopefully come up with some remixes with a lower “groan” factor ;-)

What’s the point of posting this? If you’ve been debating whether or not to upgrade- by all means, do your homework, don’t get caught up in any hype… but don’t be afraid to take a chance, if it won’t bankrupt you- you might just be pleasantly surprised!
John Pazdan
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permalink   Tue, Apr 22, 2008 @ 5:14 AM
completely agree, Mr D. Over the years, I have come to like Acid more than any of the other big boys, including protools and logic..and switching back to the PC of the People, using what would be considered in tech circles as an underpowered laptop..has saved me time and money as well.

now..if Acid ran on Linux..wouldn’t that be a time… also, if they could figure out how to get the midi functions working as well as an atari in 1986..umm, I would appreciate it as well.
 
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permalink   duckett Tue, Apr 22, 2008 @ 5:39 AM
Well, after having played with the new toy a little bit, I’m impressed, but still finding more freezing than was evident previously; more features still = less stable, at least on my less-than-top-notch machine ;-)
Nothing I can’t live with, though. At least they kept the “autosave” function…
 
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permalink   teru Tue, Apr 22, 2008 @ 1:21 PM
“Well, after having played with the new toy a little bit, I’m impressed, but still finding more freezing than was evident previously; more features still = less stable, at least on my less-than-top-notch machine”

Just my 2 cents but the addition of RAM makes a huge difference in performance. Most budget systems, like mine, come with almost the minimum amount of RAM at the time of purchase. Many times there’s even an empty slot available. Seriously, cram it with RAM, it’s totally worth it.
 
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permalink   John Pazdan Tue, Apr 22, 2008 @ 1:42 PM
I really did notice a huge jump in performance when I upgraded my Commodore 64 to a Commodore 128..man, the pong game really flew! that’s 64 KB to 128 KB for all you young uns..
love,
gramps

NOT McCain though..
 
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permalink   duckett Tue, Apr 22, 2008 @ 1:56 PM
Oh, absolutely. That’s one thing I did do. I’ve got 960 MB in there; it helps enormously with certain things, but it’s that poor lil’ 1.8 GHz Sempron CPU that seems to cramp up and fall over gasping ;-)
 
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permalink   teru Tue, Apr 22, 2008 @ 2:33 PM
Remind me never to bitch about my system ever again. ;)

Time to upgrade? : )
 
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permalink   John Pazdan Wed, Apr 23, 2008 @ 6:01 AM
hmmm..I wonder if that Vic 20 was named after fourstones..it’s certainly old enough!
 
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permalink   duckett Wed, Apr 23, 2008 @ 7:39 PM
I have fond memories of playing Choplifter and Defender on a Commodore 64…
Man, I really do need to get something robust; Acid Pro 6 is great for the VST incorporation, but just as soon as I have maybe 3 tracks with 2 or 3 plugins each? “Acid Pro 6 has encountered feeling like an elephant stuffed in a volkswagen, and given up in disgust. Please tell Microsoft about this problem, so we can laugh at your naive belief in ‘minimum system requirements’.” Looks like it’ll be good for one-track-at-time envelope and FX fun, but not for fully realized remixes for now.
BTW, I know I’ve been promising to get some monitors when I could, and obviously upgrading needs to happen… but an outrageously good deal (as well as a lil’ cash surplus) came along, and as soon as the nice FedEx man shows up, I’ll be the deliriously happy new owner of a PCM-D50…
:D
 
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permalink   spinmeister Tue, Apr 22, 2008 @ 9:24 AM
Quote: John Pazdan… if they could figure out how to get the midi functions working as well as an atari in 1986…
ahh sweet memories - I still have my Atari 1040ST, even tried it out a few months back - the 20MB (yes!) external hard disk spun up and Dr T’s KCS sequencing software was there in all it’s character based glory!

Quickly realizing, that I had forgotten all the key commands required to operate that environment, and that I just downloaded a remix pack which would have taken 5 of those external hard disks to store, I quickly packed everything back up and put it back into storage. :-)
 
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permalink   John Pazdan Tue, Apr 22, 2008 @ 10:30 AM
Dr T ruled..I used to call Emil in Boston, as I was the keyboard guy at a shop in 1985..and sold his product..whenever I couldn’t figure something out (every ten minutes..) I’d ring him up..and he’d tell me what to do..usually nicely too..try that with ProTools.. btw, his midi stuff worked a lot better than the midi sequencer in Acid Pro 6..

I was using the Mighty KCS on a Commodore 64. I really do wish computers had names like that still..and it ran just fine..midi sequencing away, record into an analog 4 track… that’s the reason why i don’t give a flying fahnk about gear gear and more gear.

We was just talking the other day about the evil macs..how in like ‘86, “the future” was a gonna be a REALLY FAST super Mac with ..get this..ONE GB OF RAM!! man..that would be the ultimate..and only $4000!

jebus, I am starting to sound like an old geezer..wait a minute..I AM an old..wha happa? Victor! hep me!
 
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permalink   shimoda Wed, Apr 23, 2008 @ 6:22 PM
Well, all this talk about geezers. I, too remember the 1040ST, my friend had one and I drooled over the graphics and other abilities it had. Why Atari never held through kinda makes me think of how NeXT also went the way of the wildebeast in a metro city. If I remember, our old NeXT servers at Mizzou could run multiple windows, had great video and graphics, for the time, and blew away anything I had accessed before. Of course, I grew up programming ELIZA from the book on a TRS-80 with 48 whole K of RAM, and that was an expensive upgrade from the 8K it came with. I’m not even old! I don’t think… I had an 800XL (Atari) which I had dreams of doing greatness with (pipe dreams) and a friend who BBS’d and had lots of ‘pirate’ software on floppies. While things have changed, they also haven’t.
On the Acid line, I am using Cubase SX2 primarily without problems. I have FL Studio 7 but perhaps haven’t found the beauty some see in it’s mixer, etc. I guess I’m just used to Cubase. I’ve demoed Ableton since so many use it here, but it is such a different environment, it’s taken me almost too long to jump ship. Besides, I can run all my necessary VST’s in Cubase including Reason ReWire. And as for chips, I just upgraded from an OLD Athlon 1.2 to a Duron 1.8 which my mother sent since she had upgraded. Only 1 GIG of RAM so many files take a bit to go and I can’t load up the VST’s or Reason the way I’d like. I’m looking to upgrade to a new computer, probably an off the shelf HP with 3 to 4 Gigs of RAM and a Tri or Quad Core, but not sure if I’ll have problems with my software. I figure I’ll have to dump the Vista or dual Boot my OS, if that won’t kill the performance. I have an Audigy 2 Plat EX which isn’t the best but gives decent latency times, ASIO and I won’t have to buy again. I’ve looked into FireWire boxes, but they, too, still seem to require an onboard soundcard, unless I’m missing something. Any thoughts?
 
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permalink   spinmeister Wed, Apr 23, 2008 @ 7:33 PM
The firewire audio interfaces generally do NOT need an internal audio interface or other card. Same with the USB based boxes which are quite ok, if one doesn’t need too many simultaneous channels. When remixing and only recording one part at a time, a simple stereo USB 2.0 or Firewire interface is plenty.

I can understand people being hesitant to switch between fundamentally loop based and fundamentally linear based software. It is a different metaphor and thus requires a bit of a different headspace for each.

I’m one of those, who grew up in the linear world (i.e. audio tape based recording). There’s many things I love about the loop based metaphor (Acid, Ableton, Reason and the like), but there’s two main things that have kept me in the linear camp (currently Cubase 4).

1) so far lack of midi excellence in loop based software. This may sound like a flamebait statement, but isn’t meant as such.

my guess why: The loop based culture really flourished in the audio world more than in the midi world (although midi loops have been around almost as long as midi itself). Audio loops made DJ’s into musicians.

2) the musical concept of a run-up (I’m not sure if there is even an official musical term for that) is not that natural for a loop based presentation.

The run-up is something that happens before bar 1 beat 1 of the phrase/loop It maybe a a drum fill, an instrumental lick, or a vocalist “pushing” the timing of the next line.

I’m not sure, if any of the loop based software has yet fund/implemented a really good musical solution for that concept, rather than having to treat the run-up as a separate loop which one has to remember moving around or invoking with it’s main loop counterpart. (btw, I would love to stand corrected on that perception - if any loop based software has solved that elegantly, it might find itself into my stable very quickly).

To clarfiy, by run-up I mean those musical constructs that really belong to the next phrase, rather than to the end of the current one.

However, just to make it abundantly clear, I’m not dissing loop based software. It has brought many fantastic innovations (audio slicing and automated tempo and pitch compensation to name just a few) which have migrated to linear software, and of course vice versa, many of the capabilities of linear software are finding their way into loop based software.

It’s all good. But to my knowledge at this point in time, one still makes some fundamental personal trade-offs when choosing software of a loop based background vs. software with a more linear background. That will likely disappear over time, just as the distinction between a phone and a music player and a wrist watch and a calendar are disappearing. It’s that whole “convergence” thing. :-)
*** Topic deleted by author ***
 
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permalink   spinmeister Thu, Apr 24, 2008 @ 9:35 AM
I understand what you are saying about Reason, since it has a linear midi metaphor.

But would it be fair to say, that it’s audio metaphor is more loop based, since it doesn’t even have linear audio tracks, and one needs to handle original audio inside software samplers?

Also, the very fact that Reason had the REX(2) format (similar to Acidized audio files?) with it’s tempo shifting through slicing made it a trend setter amongst loopsters.

But I agree Reason sits a bit in a space all its own.
 
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permalink   John Pazdan Thu, Apr 24, 2008 @ 7:52 AM
The reason I like Acid, aside from its awful midi implementation..is that I use it as a linear AND loop based tool; so I can switch methods when and if I feel like it. Over the years, this has worked out pretty well, as I came into this mess with a lot of tape based recording experience..and it was a little strange to get my head around non-linear. I have also tried Logic, ProTools and Cubase..giving each a good 1-2 years, and unfortunately some of the studios I work at use ProTools..but for me, Acid seems the best compromise of all the sequencers as far as straight ahead and loop based composition…so I came back to it 2 years ago and have been happy since..except for yesterday when it crashed in the middle of a great take, but we won’t talk about that.
 
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permalink   vo1k1 Sat, Apr 26, 2008 @ 7:51 AM
Quote: spinmeister
2) the musical concept of a run-up (I’m not sure if there is even an official musical term for that) is not that natural for a loop based presentation.

The run-up is something that happens before bar 1 beat 1 of the phrase/loop It maybe a a drum fill, an instrumental lick, or a vocalist “pushing” the timing of the next line.

I’m not sure, if any of the loop based software has yet fund/implemented a really good musical solution for that concept, rather than having to treat the run-up as a separate loop which one has to remember moving around or invoking with it’s main loop counterpart. (btw, I would love to stand corrected on that perception - if any loop based software has solved that elegantly, it might find itself into my stable very quickly).

To clarfiy, by run-up I mean those musical constructs that really belong to the next phrase, rather than to the end of the current one.



I was very happy to read that someone else feels the same way about this compositional idiom! I’ve been thinking for sometime now that a fantastic feature would be to able to define preceding and following sections for loops. As you mention, this can certainly be done manually - Ableton Live certainly helps with it’s follow actions. For me, Live is my preferred tool for bootstrapping and building. But I’m always in Logic at the end, for this very reason.
 
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permalink   spinmeister Sat, Apr 26, 2008 @ 11:28 AM
thanks for confirming my suspicion on that - it may be the single crucial factor that has kept me from flipping to more of a loop based metaphor - and you’re right, it is needed on both ends of the loop - something like a prefix and postfix to the main loop.

Come to think of it, it shouldn’t even be that hard to conceptualize and implement, especially in playback (or export/mixdown) mode, where you can have full predictive look-ahead.

When invoking loops in a live setting, the “prefix” could only be played if / as much as there is still time left before the start of the main loop.

By the way, how messy is it to start your project in Ableton live and to finish it in Logic? What do you export from Live / import into Logic?
 
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permalink   vo1k1 Sat, Apr 26, 2008 @ 12:57 PM
I use Ableton Live to sketch ideas out; melodic movement, orchestration, sound design, etc. When I get to the point where I am thinking of isolated specifics, like, I want this to fade up right on beat #N in the song, or, I want the saturation sound on this track in balance with the compression on that track - then I render all the tracks for export - and import everything into Logic, I leave all the MIDI and other structured audio, like loops, behind. I did not plan to work like that - it definitely seemed like it would be awkward - but it feels right for my work style, right now.
 
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permalink   spinmeister Sat, Apr 26, 2008 @ 3:24 PM
thanks - that is interesting!
John Pazdan
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permalink   Sat, Apr 26, 2008 @ 1:07 PM
man, D..this sure is a long thread you started..;)
 
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permalink   duckett Sat, Apr 26, 2008 @ 1:16 PM
Why, yes… yes, it is. Hey, as long as people are getting something out of it. Who knew?