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Universal Audio's Luna #3025527 01/24/20 04:48 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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This got a lot of hype at the show. In a nutshell, Luna is a Mac-only recording system that integrates with UA's Apollo interfaces, and slashes latency due to using UA hardware. It seems like it's a closer emulation to the traditional recording studio.

But I also can't help but wonder if UA senses an opportunity. Pro Tools isn't selling like it used to, but Avid stock is recovering, and Avid may consider retooling Pro Tools to make it more of a modern DAW that re-integrates hardware more completely. Luna looks a lot like what a re-imagined Pro Tools without legacy baggage would look like, and maybe UA wants to stake its claim in that world before Pro Tools recovers (assuming it does).

Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Anderton] #3025541 01/24/20 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
This got a lot of hype at the show.


Certainly did, even more than the Karp 2600.


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Anderton] #3025614 01/24/20 10:25 PM
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It does look interesting. I've been going back and forth with UA support on another issue, but I asked if a PC version might be in the works - quoting here the UA response:

"About Luna on Windows:
We can only comment on products that are already announced, but rest assured that we are very aware many Windows users will want to try this free software with their Apollo."

So yeah, having paid for the lifetime updates for Sonar still effecting my blood pressure, I'd love to work with a DAW from a stand-up, allpro outfit like UA.

nat

Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Nowarezman] #3025637 01/25/20 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
So yeah, having paid for the lifetime updates for Sonar still effecting my blood pressure....


To be fair, though, you're still getting lifetime updates, AND because your old account is still open, you have access to all the plug-ins, content, and extra goodies that the newcomers to "Cakewalk free" can't/don't get...not too shabby a deal, really.

Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Anderton] #3025732 01/25/20 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
I also can't help but wonder if UA senses an opportunity. Pro Tools isn't selling like it used to, but Avid stock is recovering, and Avid may consider retooling Pro Tools to make it more of a modern DAW that re-integrates hardware more completely. Luna looks a lot like what a re-imagined Pro Tools without legacy baggage would look like, and maybe UA wants to stake its claim in that world before Pro Tools recovers (assuming it does).

Since I have an affinity for UA and a dislike of things Avid, this would make me happy. I don't know if I'll use LUNA (I do have an Arrow and two Thunderbolt Macs but it will probably be a bit limited on Arrow's light horsepower, and I'm pretty invested in Logic), but it's free so I could give it a shot. If LUNA turns out as cool as UA says it is, they might really knock down some doors. Maybe some studios would even, dare I say? switch from ProTools.

It will be very interesting to watch.


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Joe Muscara] #3025755 01/25/20 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe Muscara
If LUNA turns out as cool as UA says it is, they might really knock down some doors. Maybe some studios would even, dare I say? switch from ProTools.

I was talking to a higher-up at a big online retailer, and he said it used to be that people starting out defaulted to Pro Tools, but now they're defaulting to Studio One. However, Studio One doesn't have the same kind of hardware emphasis as Luna, so those who were set on getting Pro Tools because of the hardware element are good candidates for Luna. Also, I presume that being free, Luna isn't going for any of the Avid subscription thang.

Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Anderton] #3025759 01/25/20 07:45 PM
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I was only there for part of the presentation, but their hardware or plugin integration and their sound quality seemed excellent. They also demonstrated the ability to switch BPM in real time. If it's intuitive and stable, they have a winner on their hands. UA generally doesn't make junk either, so they have a solid reputation going for them, so I really think this is going to be successful for them.

Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Anderton] #3025793 01/25/20 11:27 PM
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Looks like a Clay Christiansen "Innovators Dilemma" kind of product. It has a fraction of the features of ProTools. It is mostly inadequate for industry workflows in any number of specialities. And yet, it does the basic things necessary - records high quality audio, lets you do simple edits, has great effects. Is it enough to make great music? Of course it is! But it is also woefully inadequate for certain tasks. Does it actually threaten ProTools? Only at the margins and for non-sophisticated use. But that is a huge market. A market ProTools also feed off of.

This is Christiansen's dilemma - the newcomer eats away at fringe business and gradually takes more and more until it passes the incumbent. Will that happen? Who knows.

Avid is due for an HDX refresh in another 18 months or so. Is it needed? Could they answer in kind? Will their near monopoly on audio post for the video industry keep them from seeing what the music industry with its simpler requirements wants? There's lots of history of tech company's "main market" with highly sophisticated users blinding product management to big industry shifts that are larger than the present market.

It still seems thet the truest thing is that it is a great time to be a musician, an audio engineer, or a producer - the tools are great, relatively inexpensive by historical norms, easy accessible, and getting better every year. We are way past the point of sufficiency for audio recording and reproduction, so the innovation will come in workflow, easy of use and other things. Summing audio, doing basic EQ, compression, etc are solved. Sooner or later the vintage thing will blow over, or maybe it will come back in waves every 10 years. Who knows.

Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Nathanael_I] #3025847 01/26/20 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
Looks like a Clay Christiansen "Innovators Dilemma" kind of product. It has a fraction of the features of ProTools. It is mostly inadequate for industry workflows in any number of specialities. And yet, it does the basic things necessary - records high quality audio, lets you do simple edits, has great effects. Is it enough to make great music? Of course it is! But it is also woefully inadequate for certain tasks.


Two things - first, what we've seen of LUNA (I wish I didn't feel like I have to type that in upper case all the time) so far is a second or third draft. It shows the concept but all the details aren't filled in yet. As far as what it's inadequate for, well, in the early days of digital recording, if I needed to edit, I'd make a transfer to tape and do it with a razor blade because the digital editing tools were - well, I wouldn't say "woefully inadequate," but more like more trouble than cutting tape. Now I do edits comfortably on my computer, but honestly, some I'm sure I could do faster on tape.

But the thing is that what the current version of LUNA is inadequate for is for things that most people don't have a real need for. And this is true for most features of Pro Tools or Studio One or Cakewalk or Cubase or whatever. I wouldn't try to use it tomorrow to drop thousands of sound effects into a 100-channel film sound track. If that's what you do every day, then it will be a long time before you'll be ready to migrate to a new system. It HAS to be better than what you have in order to justify the change.

Quote
Avid is due for an HDX refresh in another 18 months or so. Is it needed? Could they answer in kind? Will their near monopoly on audio post for the video industry keep them from seeing what the music industry with its simpler requirements wants?


That's a good question, but it's going to be hard for the "music industry" to be convinced that it has simpler requirements. If you're mixing major label material, you don't want to be without a full set of rescue tools to make the best (or what the producer wants) out of what you're handed. If you're a music hobbyist or gigging musician with the need to record (really, this has been practically a requirement for the past 20 years or so), you can probably do just fine with today's functional equivalent of an "ADAT-and-Mackie" tool set. And you'll probably get more work done, or work faster, knowing that you can't use all those fancy plug-ins effectively with your untreated room and $300 speakers. That's where the greatest number of users are, whether they know it or not.

I don't know what the current crop of DAWs is like, but a handful of years back, it was common to be able to customize the user interface so that you didn't need to search through menus or learn 50 keyboard shortcuts [any experienced Pro Tools user will tell you that those shortcuts are the secret to working smoothly]. Everything you need is right in front of you, like the track arming buttons, transport keys, faders, pans, basic EQ and maybe a simple slap-on compressor. But few people customized their systems, usually because they didn't know what they didn't need and didn't want to miss anything that they might use.

Quote
It still seems thet the truest thing is that it is a great time to be a musician, an audio engineer, or a producer - the tools are great, relatively inexpensive by historical norms, easy accessible, and getting better every year. We are way past the point of sufficiency for audio recording and reproduction, so the innovation will come in workflow, easy of use and other things. Summing audio, doing basic EQ, compression, etc are solved. Sooner or later the vintage thing will blow over, or maybe it will come back in waves every 10 years. Who knows.


I think that this is getting closer to what UA wants to do with LUNA. They want to put the analog workflow up front, because for music recording, as opposed to music construction, it makes the most sense. While they're offering a system with simulated vintage parts like a Neve console and a Studer recorder, the vintage gear names are the sonic window dressing. The important part is not that it sounds vintage, it's the presentation of the working tools. If it looks and works like a console and a tape deck, AND you have your music ready to record, you'll get the job done faster and probably with better musical feel than what you'll get with a traditional Pro Tools setup.

I think there's a market for what I think LUNA is going to be, and the guy from UA who gave me a decent run-through at the NAMM show said, was that it would be a good starter program for a recording musician. And if it catches on, it can grow with the user. The question, and I think I've asked this here before, is whether someone just getting started with a personal recording system will invest in the hardware necessary to run the free software? And on the other side, will someone who's been using Pro Tools with a $300 Focusrite interface and gotten pretty good with it want to try LUNA when he decides that it's time to upgrade to a better interface? Some will, some won't.

Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Mike Rivers] #3025901 01/26/20 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
The question, and I think I've asked this here before, is whether someone just getting started with a personal recording system will invest in the hardware necessary to run the free software?
We've become so used to really inexpensive systems, it's easy to forget that in 1974, a 3340 4-track tape recorder would have cost $6,000 in today's money. While it's good that recording is now more affordable to everyone, there's no question some compromises are involved - starting with dealing with operating systems. If Luna manages to minimize compromises, surely some people will be willing to pay the price for that kind of recording experience.

Last edited by Anderton; 01/26/20 07:59 PM.
Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Anderton] #3025909 01/26/20 08:11 PM
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I am definitely curious to check it out, but I am always apprehensive to drive into a new primary DAW. I can sit down in front of Pro Tools and work fast, and that outweighs potential positives about other DAWs for me.


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Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Ronan C Murphy] #3025915 01/26/20 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Ronan C Murphy
I am always apprehensive to drive into a new primary DAW. I can sit down in front of Pro Tools and work fast, and that outweighs potential positives about other DAWs for me.
Pretty much the main reason I've stayed with Digital Performer for all the years. Of course, being a hobbyist makes that choice much easier... grin

Good to see you, brother Ronan! wave

dB

Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Anderton] #3026015 01/27/20 04:57 AM
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This is a quality thread.

Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Ronan C Murphy] #3026020 01/27/20 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Ronan C Murphy
I am definitely curious to check it out, but I am always apprehensive to drive into a new primary DAW. I can sit down in front of Pro Tools and work fast, and that outweighs potential positives about other DAWs for me.
Thanks for stopping by! As you probably know, I've reviewed a ton of DAWs, and can pilot a session on most of them. It's true that getting into the far corners of a DAW takes time, but you can get the basics down surprisingly fast.

One factor I think people may overlook is that some DAWs have features that are fairly close to the surface but which other DAWs don't have. Sometimes, running into those gems that save you time, and promote inspiration, more than make up for lack of familiarity with the far corners. What got me to switch to Studio One's Song page (had been using the Mastering page since V 1.00) was when V4.5 added harmonic editing to the arrangement view and scratch pads. Blocking out songs ended up happening in an evening, when the inspiration was flowing, instead of weeks. There are a lot of fine points I haven't explored, but they can wait smile

It's all good...I've even looking forward big-time to the next version of Acid Pro. If the rumors I heard at NAMM were correct …:)

Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Anderton] #3026050 01/27/20 07:20 AM
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I will be watching the development of LUNA with some interest. It shows promise, and UA can be very persistent about hammering at a platform until it works the way they want it to, which is a good sign.

Will it manage to get attention in an already overcrowded market? I think so... but how much attention remains to be seen. For every modern DAW that launches and manages to claw its way onto the shortlist (Studio One being the most recent example), several others fall by the wayside and are either quickly forgotten (Lumit) or marginalized to the point of nonexistence (Waveform).

On the other hand, PreSonus got a LOT of damn mileage out of providing S1 free with their hardware, and UA looks to be taking that paradigm to the next level with LUNA, so who knows? (I don't think we're quite at the point of Avid making HD or HDX free for anyone heavily invested in their hardware...)


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Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Anderton] #3026091 01/27/20 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by Nowarezman
So yeah, having paid for the lifetime updates for Sonar still effecting my blood pressure....


To be fair, though, you're still getting lifetime updates, AND because your old account is still open, you have access to all the plug-ins, content, and extra goodies that the newcomers to "Cakewalk free" can't/don't get...not too shabby a deal, really.


I'm grateful to Bandlab, but still feel robbed by Gibson/Sonar. And I'm still out the $$ that I paid for the lifetime updates, which ended up being unnecessary.

Also -the free Cakewalk by Bandlab still, on my system, continued to crash frequently. Even on a totally new PC built from the ground up, every bit and byte freshly installed on Win 10. I've bailed and am now a Reaper user.

But I'm super-intruiged by the ideas behind Luna.

I'm always willing to pay for good products - the irritation I felt when Sonar went under was that it was bad faith behaviour on the part of Gibson/Sonar, to trot out the lifetime updates and not mention that this was a desperation move on their part to keep the doors open. So they downloaded a portion of the risk of loss onto me, because I believed them. It's a business practice issue.

I'll get over it - I'm not the type to grudge forever. And I've let people down myself at times - all you gotta do is live long enough and you'll at some point disappoint someone.

nat







Last edited by Nowarezman; 01/27/20 03:05 PM.
Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Nowarezman] #3026129 01/27/20 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
all you gotta do is live long enough and you'll at some point disappoint someone.


signature worthy quote here


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Dr Mike Metlay] #3026162 01/27/20 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
On the other hand, PreSonus got a LOT of damn mileage out of providing S1 free with their hardware...
My understanding is that the initial rationale was to save on the licensing fees other companies charged to bundle their software - it was less expensive to develop a program they could bundle than to keep paying those fees. However, because the code was new, fast, and written by people who knew what they were doing, many of the users who gave it a spin ended up converting to it. That's what created the buzz that caused people who didn't have PreSonus interfaces to look at it seriously.

It seems UA is taking a similar approach: bundle the DAW (oops, excuse me, [I]recording system[I]) with the interface, assume some people will try it out, and further assume that some/most of them will like it. If it starts getting a buzz, it wouldn't surprise me to see a slice of new, mid-to-high end users opting for it instead of Pro Tools.

Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Nowarezman] #3026168 01/27/20 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
I'm grateful to Bandlab, but still feel robbed by Gibson/Sonar. And I'm still out the $$ that I paid for the lifetime updates, which ended up being unnecessary.
True that.
Quote
Also -the free Cakewalk by Bandlab still, on my system, continued to crash frequently. Even on a totally new PC built from the ground up, every bit and byte freshly installed on Win 10. I've bailed and am now a Reaper user.
Thankfully, Cakewalk is stable on my system, although it took a few of their updates to get there. I think they're making the right move by concentrating on stability. However, a lot of this is moot for me, because after Studio One went to version 4 and included several features that were "must-haves" for me, that's pretty much all I'm using these days (other than Ableton Live, but as I've often said, I think of it more as a musical instrument than a DAW).
Quote
I'm always willing to pay for good products - the irritation I felt when Sonar went under was that it was bad faith behaviour on the part of Gibson/Sonar, to trot out the lifetime updates and not mention that this was a desperation move on their part to keep the doors open. So they downloaded a portion of the risk of loss onto me, because I believed them. It's a business practice issue

Well I can give you some "insider baseball" on that one. The lifetime update thing had been planned for much longer before it actually happened, at a time where there was no indication Gibson would go bankrupt and take Cakewalk, Cerwin-Vega, and Stanton down with it. I thought the original plan was sound, and it made financial sense as well - give the program away (because not that many people felt compelled to update to new versions, so it was never a revenue stream), and sell add-ons to provide the needed income. I also saw those add-ons including products like the Cakewalk books I wrote - which sold very well - and I even started a Cakewalk-centric monthly eZine, because I felt companies that made plug-ins would advertise once it hit over 10,000 subscribers (which it was indeed close to doing when the company went under). I saw it as another revenue source, but no one at Cakewalk was part of the publishing world, so they didn't really understand the rationale for treating publications as a profit center.

However, new management came in, and the original plan of having an online store was scrapped or at least, postponed. Instead, a lot of resources went into creating the Momentum program, which was promising at first but the final functionality/pricing was about 5 years too late IMHO. I still think to this day that if the original lifetime updates+online store for add-ons plan had been followed, Cakewalk would have been making money, and in a much better position when Gibson went down. But that's in the past. What's important is that people who used Cakewalk can continue working with what they like, and that the updates are indeed improving the stability.

Last edited by Anderton; 01/27/20 08:02 PM.
Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Anderton] #3026273 01/28/20 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Well I can give you some "insider baseball" on that one. The lifetime update thing had been planned for much longer before it actually happened, at a time where there was no indication Gibson would go bankrupt and take Cakewalk, Cerwin-Vega, and Stanton down with it. I thought the original plan was sound, and it made financial sense as well - give the program away (because not that many people felt compelled to update to new versions, so it was never a revenue stream), and sell add-ons to provide the needed income. I also saw those add-ons including products like the Cakewalk books I wrote - which sold very well - and I even started a Cakewalk-centric monthly eZine, because I felt companies that made plug-ins would advertise once it hit over 10,000 subscribers (which it was indeed close to doing when the company went under). I saw it as another revenue source, but no one at Cakewalk was part of the publishing world, so they didn't really understand the rationale for treating publications as a profit center.

However, new management came in, and the original plan of having an online store was scrapped or at least, postponed. Instead, a lot of resources went into creating the Momentum program, which was promising at first but the final functionality/pricing was about 5 years too late IMHO. I still think to this day that if the original lifetime updates+online store for add-ons plan had been followed, Cakewalk would have been making money, and in a much better position when Gibson went down. But that's in the past. What's important is that people who used Cakewalk can continue working with what they like, and that the updates are indeed improving the stability.


Thx for the view from the inside. I wish Cakewalk all the best in it's new nest. I must say, as someone in business, I've never really gotten the "give it away for free" thing for major products. If people will pay $10, then why give it away? It seems like an idea derived somewhat from the dot.com stock boom, where "sales" volumes were driving speculation in stocks, regardless of real net income or losses. Get a big user base and good things will follow I suppose is the concept. But once you give it away, where exactly do you go from there if things are not going as well as you hoped they would??

I do some advising in business, and I tell my excited new-entrepenuers, you just have to sell for a few bucks less to get the customers driven by price. Don't go overboard just trying to get people in the door at any cost. You can sell stuff and work hard all day and go broke all the faster for it.

nat


Last edited by Nowarezman; 01/28/20 05:04 AM.
Re: Universal Audio's Luna [Re: Nowarezman] #3027054 02/01/20 07:52 AM
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Quote
I must say, as someone in business, I've never really gotten the "give it away for free" thing for major products. If people will pay $10, then why give it away? It seems like an idea derived somewhat from the dot.com stock boom, where "sales" volumes were driving speculation in stocks, regardless of real net income or losses. Get a big user base and good things will follow I suppose is the concept. But once you give it away, where exactly do you go from there if things are not going as well as you hoped they would??


Giving something away for free works only if there is a strategy for an ongoing revenue stream - no one is going to buy Cakewalk add-ons, if they don't have Cakewalk.

When I was privy to the stats, I was always shocked at how few people updated the core program. That used to be a major source of revenue for all software companies, but once programs reached a certain level of functionality, people were satisfied with what they had. So the industry progressed to the subscription model ("buy, or your program dies") or add-ons (e.g., IK's "Custom Shop" to augment their amp sims, or Syntronik synth).

I think the idea of giving away a core program makes sense, but only if you can follow it up with compelling add-ons.


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