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Originally Posted by Anderton
Fair warning: I am not making this up. I have actually heard people say during Q&A at seminars they preferred tape because they could sort of chill, and gather their thoughts while the tape rewound.

I've heard that too numerous times. That's a weird head-scratcher if I've ever heard one. NO ONE ever says that if they get their computer "hourglassing" after they perform a function.

But you know, if you want, you could always use the "scrub" feature in a DAW and rewind it slowly.

And there's a sort of parallel when photographers talk about film cameras too, where they say that they enjoy the anticipation of getting back to the darkroom or lab and seeing how it comes out. But when we joke and say, "Hey, just black out your LED monitor!" they're not so into that. And the funny thing is that's what I love about digital is its immediacy in seeing the image right away and making adjustments if I want. My creativity shot through the roof after I got a digital camera.

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Originally Posted by Anderton
Interestingly, tape is still alive for digital archival storage.

Analog tape isn't exactly dropout-free, but is much better than any tape format for digital domains. Analog is more forgiving than digital for error recovery.

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It looks like the next big advance in being able to fit lots of data in a small space will be in tape-land, not semiconductors. IBM says it has developed a method that can store up to 330 TB of uncompressed data on a palm-sized tape cartridge.

Intriguing but not practical. When's the last time anybody did a seek on a large density tape storage? Waiting... waiting... waiting... 20 years ago I gave up tape storage for backups.

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I recall a story of a studio bring in a digital tape recorder and the recording artist was so thrilled because he knew that tape sounded warmer.

Or the punk bass guitarist to the studio engineer:
"What tape are we using?"
"Two inch tape"
"That's kinda short, isn't it?"

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Since we're on the subject of sounding warmer, do you remember when people used to keep insisting that drawing green around a CD produced warmer sounds?

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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Tape today has two places:

Let's not forget museums! smile

Interestingly, tape is still alive for digital archival storage. It looks like the next big advance in being able to fit lots of data in a small space will be in tape-land, not semiconductors. IBM says it has developed a method that can store up to 330 TB of uncompressed data on a palm-sized tape cartridge.

That's a lot of data to lose if it dumps and you haven't backed it up. That's something that sounds like it would be good for use in a well managed archive where there are regular backups, hopefully to a different medium.

We in the audio community know a lot more about tape and its failure modes. I wonder if the IBM folks are aware of how their tape might fail and when. DAT didn't live up to its supposed life testing, and we know how not to make analog tape now, but digital tape is a whole different ball game.

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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Intriguing but not practical. When's the last time anybody did a seek on a large density tape storage? Waiting... waiting... waiting... 20 years ago I gave up tape storage for backups.

I believe it's intended solely for archiving.

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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
Since we're on the subject of sounding warmer, do you remember when people used to keep insisting that drawing green around a CD produced warmer sounds?

From Slashdot: "What was first thought to be an April Fool's joke, now appears to be true. Some Audio CD protection schemes such as Cactus DATA Shield 100/200, KeyAudio, and perhaps others may be defeated by invalidating the outer ring of the CD with a black marker or post-it sticky note. www.chip.de has their report in German."

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I do remember the green ring around the CD edge. I tried it, but it still didn't sound like my LPs. I even tried an LP and identical CD title with the green rim.

Every recording/playback media and device has its different kind of distortion. Often it's a "which do you prefer" situation.

I've heard the great but now gone sax player Stan Getz in person. Stan had a unique tone, and when recorded on analog tape and pressed on an LP it sounds more like Stan than anything digital. And on my friend's vacuum tube McIntosh system it's even better. On CD his tone is more like Zoot Sims, even on analog recordings.

There is also something about the sound of a bass, especially a 'gut string' stand-up acoustic bass that sounds better to me on an analog/tube system.

But at home I listen on a CD. To me the change in tone ls less distracting than the clicks and other surface noise of an LP. I've even digitized some of my LPs that are no longer in print in the digital format. I clean them as much as possible to reduce the surface noise and record. I've gone through some digital clean up to minimize the surface noise, but too much of that is not very good to my ears either. But the convenience of playing them on CD and the fact that I'm not slowly degrading my LP are also good points.

All in all I don't think the analog/digital thing is as important as some of us like to make it, but that's just me. In the end, most consumers don't care, they will listen to mp3 files with cheap earbuds just as we used to listen to 45rpm records.

... back on topic ...

I'm not fond of subscriptions to software. But I know for the software company to survive, they need something new again and again and again, so the choice is constant updates that eventually bloat the program or a subscription. Again, it's a choice.

For my aftermarket Band-in-a-Box style e-disks and fake e-disks, I choose to simply create new products to keep alive. If anyone wants or needs a replacement and can download it, it's free. If I've updated the e-disk since the last time you bought, you get the newer edition just for asking.

But I'm a private business and don't need to feed stockholders with perpetual growth. All I need to do is pay the mortgage, utilities, feed ourselves, and keep up with inflation. Anything above that is extra.

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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
I'm not fond of subscriptions to software. But I know for the software company to survive, they need something new again and again and again, so the choice is constant updates that eventually bloat the program or a subscription. Again, it's a choice.

It also has to do with cash flow. Without a subscription, a lot of companies are in "feast or famine" mode - feast when the update comes out, famine otherwise.

I think the companies that will come out ahead are those who offer permanent ownership of a specific program, or a subscription that encompasses additional goodies. That's basically what PreSonus is doing, so we'll know soon enough whether it works or not.

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The real issue of software subscriptions is that it is the business model that matches the way customers want the business to run. Software is not like making a hammer or even a car. These are things that exist in a "finished" form. No one has that expectation of software outside of airline computers and blackboxes. Most software is expected to evolve, add features, get better, and generally undergo continuous development. If nothing else as hardware changes, the software has to be re-compiled. There is no "done". Permanent ownership of a static program that does have bugs is only so attractive.

It eventually forms an increasingly large hurdle. There are still plenty of places using PT10, and even earlier versions that allow them to use old HD hardware, or early control surfaces. This is all good and health and working for those people. But it ends up like ignoring computer upgrades for years - eventually there is something that is needed or wanted and then a huge expense has to happen all at once. There is value in the incrementalism.

Long run, software will be subscription based - just like cars. It is "different" but it is the direction of travel. This industry will adapt, just like others.

The hobby side will be the most resistant. But even Avid offers multiple price points. Reaper exists. Every segment of the market will be serviced - it already is. So I don't see any future where people are DAW-less because it is too expensive. Apple does give away GarageBand with every computer, and almost gives away Logic - I paid $200 10 years ago and it still upgrades! (That is of course a function of them being in the phone business, not the computer business).

But the world of professional software will continue to move to subscription whether this forum agrees or not. It is the nature of the business. I expect Steinberg to announce at some point. I'll subscribe. They get money from me every year. $150 for access to a dream studio inside my computer? Done. I easily get $50/mo of value out of Adobe Creative Suite - I make my living with it.

The whole thing about not being able to recall a project at some indeterminate future is a red-herring for me. If I go to the best analog recording studio here in the Bay Area and record an album, I don't get to use those amps, EQ's or compressors after the mix is done. I can get stems, and it will be good enough for any commercial purpose. There is a discipline to finishing projects and then printing out the right assets and archiving them. It isn't hard. It does take thought and effort. But I am not of the opinion that something like a particular plugin matters to any significant degree over time. Everything matters. But not much changes musical meaning.

The only thing that lasts in digital audio is linear WAV files. PDF and printed music notation is the other option. All digital files need to be in three places, one offsite (preferably cloud where the data is also copied to 3+ locations - AWS S3 does this). All DAW project files are lossy, and I have no expectation they will work in the future, subscription or not. Software isn't hardware and all comparisons break down very quickly outside of skeuomorphic user interfaces and trying to sound like gear from the 60's and 70s.

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Great post, and totally true. That "expectation of evolution" is exactly why I decided the concept of a traditional print book about music technology was doomed, and acted accordingly.

I think part of the problem people have with subscriptions is they don't want to deal with change. Cakewalk sold the Sonar program, but then you got free monthly updates. Although some people welcomed them, others (probably the majority) didn't want to feel they had to learn new things every month. Musicians are used to their tools not changing, but changing what they can express through those tools...look at the reticence to embrace alternate controllers, even ones with tremendous potential like the Roli Seaboard and LinnStrument.

Your observation about hobby vs. business strikes me as spot-on. I have a subscription to Office 365 and it's one of the best investments I've ever made. You get a tremendous amount for your money, the 1TB of cloud storage alone is great...but you also get desktop and online versions of almost all the Office programs. It's a subscription I'll happily maintain. Hobbyists are happy if something works. Often they have to squeeze studio time in between work and family or social obligations, and they just want to be able to fire something up and not have to think about it. So that works against dealing with things that change, but at least for me learning is fun. So many times it will take me an hour to learn new things that will save me hours and hours in the future.

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There is a discipline to finishing projects and then printing out the right assets and archiving them. It isn't hard. It does take thought and effort. But I am not of the opinion that something like a particular plugin matters to any significant degree over time. Everything matters. But not much changes musical meaning...The only thing that lasts in digital audio is linear WAV files.

Again, I couldn't agree more. When I archive a project, I archive the project file in the DAW's format. But I also archive each track as a raw WAV file, and each track with all included processing. This has worked well for me, and I probably recycle projects more than most (e.g., creating soundtracks from selected song tracks, and testing new plug-ins/DAWs/etc.). The value of this was brought home to me while writing a new book. I took a song created in Studio One and brought it into projects for Ableton Live, Cubase, Pro Tools, and Digital Performer. Then whenever I wanted to show a technique or screen shot in any of those programs...no problem. I was actually rather surprised at how easy it is to move among a variety of programs that I hadn't used in a while. Between searchable help files and internet search, you can get the answer to anything in seconds. I'd never used elastic audio in Pro Tools, but 30 minutes later, I felt totally comfortable with it....because time-stretching in almost all programs works pretty much the same way.

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Musicians reluctant to changes isn't the problem. The reluctance is when the interface of the software drastically changes with little gains in functionality. You memorized where all the functions were, and suddenly you have to re-learn them. It takes effort to re-learn a new interface. With each Windows upgrade, Microsoft kept moving functions to different places. I had memorized where those functions were, now I have to re-learn them. After the 3rd OS upgrade that gets annoying. Apple is hardly immune, they kept changing the interface on apps like iMovie with each OSX upgrade. With an app I use infrequently like iMovie, it is frustrating to find everything you committed to memory has been renamed or moved elsewhere and you have to re-learn it. I pretty much froze OSX on my Mac devices to High Sierra - no more upgrades.

My MIDI computer for 25 years was a 1993-era WFW311 computer running Cakewalk Pro Audio 3. No it won't do digital recording, no you can't used modern plugins or VSTs, no I don't care. For 25 years I could walk up to the MIDI computer and go right to work utilizing my creativity and not worry about re-learning a system. That computer finally crapped out three years ago; I replaced it with an iMac and Logic Pro, but it was only this year with higher life priorities behind me that I could finally get around to learning LP.

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Originally Posted by Anderton
I believe it's intended solely for archiving.

Ah, yes - put the data someplace where you know it's safe, you know where it is, and you probably can't get to it very easily. Isn't that what an archive is?

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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Musicians reluctant to changes isn't the problem. The reluctance is when the interface of the software drastically changes with little gains in functionality.

Well that's certainly one reason for reluctance to change. But in the case of Sonar, most of the changes were in addition to what already existed. For example, when ripple editing was added, the only change was a toolbar icon and menu item. But people still complained, I think perhaps because they felt it was something they needed to learn, but didn't want to deal with the complexities of learning it (e.g., the difference between doing it with MIDI or audio data).

And it's a double-edged sword. Studio One adds changes, but the overall interface doesn't change, and a lot of the updates aren't apparent unless you drill down - kind of like an iPhone. So then people complain "oh, there's nothing new in the update, same old same old."

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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Musicians reluctant to changes isn't the problem. The reluctance is when the interface of the software drastically changes with little gains in functionality. You memorized where all the functions were, and suddenly you have to re-learn them. It takes effort to re-learn a new interface. With each Windows upgrade, Microsoft kept moving functions to different places.

That's my beef, too - changes to the user interface. With some software it's like they take advantage of an update just to juggle around the menus or icons and occasionally even rename a function that's only changed a little internally. I think that comes from the marketing department - they need something that will make the customer buy the new update or continue the subscription.

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My MIDI computer for 25 years was a 1993-era WFW311 computer running Cakewalk Pro Audio 3. No it won't do digital recording, no you can't used modern plugins or VSTs, no I don't care.

I thought that Cakewalk Pro Audio was revolutionary (to Cakewalk users) because you could record audio files and insert them into sequences. But that's not like we do it today.

I, too, have old computers running old software, with the "works good enough for me" attitude. A new convolution reverb that I use when I do a new mix of an old recording isn't really going to make it sound any better. An iZotope Rx noise scrubbing might indeed help, but I don't have any commercial prospects for income from a purchase because nobody really wants to re-mix this stuff. There's a market for de-loused Robert Johnson or Leadbelly or Jelly Roll Morton, but for the band of college students who play at the local Irish pub.

I was just having a conversation with a Unix-head friend about the fact that I still use a Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet to do my bookkeeping. It's full of macros and a few functions that don't translate to Excel or Libre Calc - it just won't run on anything but the real program. This was freeware (the spreadsheet, that is) and it so perfectly fit what I wanted to be able to do that I've kept using it. I look at bookkeeping software on and off, but, geez, you have to really understand bookkeeping in order to use one. I just want to be able to total up how much money I spend and how much I took in for my quarterly estimated tax returns, and when 1040 time comes around, know what categories my expenses fit in so the IRS can have something to do.

When I moved my "office and writing" computer to a 64-bit Windows 7 system for the sake of some other software, I have to run Lotus in a virtual Windows XP box. I still have some computers that will run it directly, but I've gotta keep up with the times. wink

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It all depends on your needs.

I wouldn't subscribe to MS Office because my old purchased one works fine for my limited needs. I don't write books, and most of my correspondence is via e-mail.

If MS ever evolves to the point where the old purchased Office doesn't work anymore, I'll probably go with LibreOffice.

With Band-in-a-Box, the app I use most of all, I get the yearly updates. I prefer that to a subscription model because it seems I'm more in control. I believe if your favorite software uses the yearly update model, it's good to go for the updates because that keeps them in business. I use BiaB almost every day.

I still do all my MIDI sequencing with Master Tracks Pro, and they've been out of business since 2003 or so. All the modern DAWs I've demoed don't seem to give me anything in terms of value for the MIDI editing functions over MTPro. In addition, without AUDIO features, the menus are short, one click gets me where I need to go in MTP, thus the program is very quick. If I need to add audio I go to Cakewalk or Power Tracks Pro Audio when I'm done.

Really, how much does recording software need to evolve? Enough to pay a monthly fee? And when it does, how much time are you going to lose learning where they moved everything, and are you really going to invest time to learn all the new features? I know I don't use even half of the features Band-in-a-Box offers, but others find them helpful.

The only recording I do is either for a Band-in-a-Box style demo or a backing track for my duo. Straight out of one computer, through MIDI and a mixer and into Audacity is sufficient.

As noted, a subscription service is a poor model for hobbyists, and without their participation, it will make the subscription higher for those who need it, especially in a niche market like music software.

For me to subscribe to a software app, it has to give me value for my monthly or yearly fee. If the company goes the upgrade route, I can decide whether the improvements are worth my hard-earned dollars or not.

Anti-malware apps seem like a good platform for subscriptions, and I've done that yearly thing for decades.

My web host, visa/mc authorization service, and shopping cart service are subscription based with a yearly fee plus a usage fee in the authorization and shopping cart services.

Being a self-employed musician in a winter tourist area, I'm very accustomed to the feast and famine business model. For that reason, I tend to be thrifty, keep my monthly expenses low, and I stay debt free. That way in a famine situation, I can rely on my savings to see me through, and the less I have to take out of the savings, means the less I have to replace to prepare for the next famine.

There are very few subscription models I'm willing to invest in. First of all they must give me good value for my subscription fee, second of all they have to be the only way to get what I want. If there is a non-subscription option out there, I'll spend the money up front.

I'm not saying my way is the best way for all. There is more than one right way to make music.

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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
Really, how much does recording software need to evolve? Enough to pay a monthly fee? And when it does, how much time are you going to lose learning where they moved everything, and are you really going to invest time to learn all the new features?

A subscription doesn't necessarily apply only to a core program. The best example I can think of is PreSonus Sphere. Subscribers get plug-ins and sample libraries as they're introduced, online collaboration tools, cloud storage, Q&A sessions and tutorials with product specialists, members-only chats, etc.

Of course, this isn't for everyone. I don't do a lot of collaboration, I have lots of cool plug-ins, there's the TB storage from Office, etc. So I'm happy just to have Studio One, and leave it at that. On the other hand, if I was getting into DAWs, the idea of paying $14.95 to build a studio and have access to expertise would be pretty compelling, given that I could use Studio One, and all the other stuff, for two years at a lower cost than shelling out the money all at once to buy the program outright.

Yet another model is the rental one. If I someone who uses a ton of Steven Slate plug-ins hires me to do a mix, then I can just rent the Slate plug-ins while I'm doing the mix. I don't have to buy them , and I don't have to subscribe to anything.

So I don't think there can be a one-size-fits-all "solution." I suspect companies that offer multiple choices are most likely to accumulate the greatest number of users.

As to Master Tracks Pro, AFAIC that was - and remains - one of the best music programs ever made.

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One of the difficulties that companies wanting to transition to subscription plans face is the fact that many companies will not adopt that marketing paradigm.

Tracktion has had a free version of Tracktion/Waveform for many years, apparently it is a good marketing strategy for bringing new customers on board. They do free updates throughout the year and a new version of the DAW annually.
I pay for the upgrade, they've given me great customer service and I want them to stick around. Besides, the upgrades are cheap and sometimes I'll skip one and get the next.

If you use Mac OS, they've embedded quite a set of AU plugins in the system software - undoubtedly to support Garage Band and Logic Pro but many if not all DAWS can support AU plugins. They don't have EVERYTHING but they do have everything you might NEED for a home studio.
At this point, home studio software is essentially free. Not all of it but enough for anybody to start recording successfully if they have a decent computer and a $150 dollar interface.

Microsoft Office? Apache Open Office is free and has enough market share that Microsoft Office can open and save to .odt format now. There are alternatives to Adobe Creative Suite, including Adobe software. Elements is better than Photoshop 5 or 6 was (I started with Photoshop 1.07 in 1992). If you shop for the previous year's version on Ebay you can get a deal and use the software for several years for one low price.

Where it really gets interesting is the market for hardware that is dependent on software. Line 6 amps come to mind. Are they not simply dedicated computers in an amplifier form-factor loaded with company software? Yes, you are buying the hardware, but you are also getting the software and most of the digital amps will plug right into an audio interface for recording. Not sure about all of them but I can turn the speaker on my Boss Katana off completely and record silently. Not a bad set of plugins in a gig-worthy format, I've more than made back the $300 I spent on it. Being a Boss product it will likely work forever. Keyboards would be another example, just dedicated computers in a form factor that facilitates playing music.

Some companies will switch to subscription plans, others will not. Tons of cool stuff will always be free. We will have choices. That's the future that I see, not much different than it is right now.


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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Microsoft Office? Apache Open Office is free and has enough market share that Microsoft Office can open and save to .odt format now.

I used LibreOffice before getting the Microsoft subscription, and Open Office before that, and yeah, they work...but I have to say, Office is a lot smoother and more professional. Laying out a book in LibreOffice was pulling teeth, in Word it's a piece of cake (there are even 3D shapes). Excel anticipates a lot of moves and acts accordingly, which makes life easier. PowerPoint is better at how it handles saving and embedding media, and the integration of all programs with the Cloud for functions like auto-saving is very cool. So LibreOffice works, and is probably all that the vast majority of people need. But I'm glad there's an option for power users, and am willing to pay for the privilege. It's the same with music software...GarageBand is fine for most people, but Logic goes a lot further.

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Originally Posted by Anderton
<...snip...>
As to Master Tracks Pro, AFAIC that was - and remains - one of the best music programs ever made.
I agree.

I tried and tried and couldn't find a DAW app that had both the power of MTPro and the simplicity of use.

After Passport Designs dissolved, it was sold to GVox who also went belly-up and one of the guys in GVox took it, revived the name Passport for his new company, promised to update it, but it never happened.

The day it quits working on Windows will be a sad day for me. Unless of course something better comes along before it dies. I actually liked the Mac version a bit better, but Mac doesn't do back compatible that well, and I think it died when Mac went from Motorola to IBM CPUs.

It works on Win 10 OK, but I keep an old XP ThinkPad around because it works better on that OS. If someone would revive and modernize it for today's OS, they would get some of my money. But I don't know how profitable that would be. So many people have decided MIDI is dead simply because they don't know how to coax expression out of it.

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Originally Posted by Notes_Norton
It works on Win 10 OK, but I keep an old XP ThinkPad around because it works better on that OS. If someone would revive and modernize it for today's OS, they would get some of my money. But I don't know how profitable that would be.

You should look into Cakewalk. It runs on Windows 10, it's free, and it has this feature called "Lenses" where you can focus on a part of the program, like MIDI, and ignore the rest in the UI and menus.You'll have a learning curve in terms of figuring out how to create a lens, but from there on, it will be just like Master Tracks Pro, with some added useful tools (like MIDI Effects).

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So many people have decided MIDI is dead simply because they don't know how to coax expression out of it.

MIDI is far from dead, it's literally on something like 2.6 billion device world-wide. As to expressiveness, that's a large part of what MIDI 2.0 is about, and Real Products aren't too far away. Of course, then you'll need a program that can speak MIDI 2.0 smile

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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Microsoft Office? Apache Open Office is free and has enough market share that Microsoft Office can open and save to .odt format now.

I used LibreOffice before getting the Microsoft subscription, and Open Office before that, and yeah, they work...but I have to say, Office is a lot smoother and more professional. Laying out a book in LibreOffice was pulling teeth, in Word it's a piece of cake (there are even 3D shapes). Excel anticipates a lot of moves and acts accordingly, which makes life easier. PowerPoint is better at how it handles saving and embedding media, and the integration of all programs with the Cloud for functions like auto-saving is very cool. So LibreOffice works, and is probably all that the vast majority of people need. But I'm glad there's an option for power users, and am willing to pay for the privilege. It's the same with music software...GarageBand is fine for most people, but Logic goes a lot further.

All true I am sure. We all need tools that work for our needs. Like Nathanael, I used to need the Adobe Suite to get my work done - this was pre-subscription but life would have been very tedious and difficult without InDesign, Illustrator, Acrobat and while I could have done almost every thing I needed Photoshop for with Elements or an older version it was really nice to have the latest and greatest (I stopped about CS4, they went to CS6 and then the Cloud Suite.

Long ago and far away, CorelDraw was for PC and Illustrator was for Mac and some artists used Freehand plus people were split between Quark and Pagemaker so I needed some skills in all of those programs - to say nothing of the time a customer brought in a complete graphic design that somehow was in Excel. Quite a bit of work required Power Point too.

Makes the brain hurt after a while. Then I shifted gears and not only needed to learn silk-screening (WTF?) but also how to operate a 3d Stratasys printer - both in the same shop. GAH!!!!!


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Originally Posted by Anderton
<...snip...>You should look into Cakewalk. It runs on Windows 10, it's free, and it has this feature called "Lenses" where you can focus on a part of the program, like MIDI, and ignore the rest in the UI and menus.You'll have a learning curve in terms of figuring out how to create a lens, but from there on, it will be just like Master Tracks Pro, with some added useful tools (like MIDI Effects).<...>
Thanks. I downloaded Cakewalk over a year ago, never discovered the lens, but then after a few weeks of ignoring the audio features in the menus, I went back to MTPro simply because it's quicker.

But now you piqued my interest with added useful tools.

Originally Posted by Anderton
MIDI is far from dead, it's literally on something like 2.6 billion device world-wide. As to expressiveness, that's a large part of what MIDI 2.0 is about, and Real Products aren't too far away. Of course, then you'll need a program that can speak MIDI 2.0 smile

You and I both know that that MIDI is far from dead. There are a lot of people, mostly hobbyists I think, that disagree with us. In Band-in-a-Box land there are numerous people going to 'real tracks' (pre-recorded audio) and abandoning MIDI simply because they don't understand the lousy tone they are experiencing with MIDI is not the fault of MIDI but the cheesy software synth that comes bundled with either the Win or Mac OS. And for some reason, all the explaining and demonstrating in the world can't convince them that MIDI doesn't sound cheesy, but some synthesizers do.

I think another problem with the misunderstanding of MIDI is that almost anyone can step-enter a song and when the output comes out stiff and expressionless, they don't understand why and blame MIDI. There are a lot of bad MIDI files out there, and it isn't the fault of MIDI -- but it's easier from someone to make a bad MIDI file than it is to make a bad audio file.

I'm a big MIDI fan, and using the original continuous controllers in MIDI 1.0 I can coax a lot of expression out of the music -- and it's MY expression, not someone else's.

When I have some MIDI 2.0 devices going, I'm sure I'll learn how to make even better music.

Motes


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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by Chip McDonald
Rewinding a pain.

Fair warning: I am not making this up. I have actually heard people say during Q&A at seminars they preferred tape because they could sort of chill, and gather their thoughts while the tape rewound.

:Chip, in the 21st century reality will be indistinguishable from comedy"


That's selective memory, leaving out all of the times when the singer is starting to be warmed up on a part and..... now they're asking "was I singing "lalala" or "la la lala"?

Quote
I recommended that after hitting "stop," they wait for a while before hitting "play." smile


"Chip, in the 21st century reality will be indistinguishable from comedy": I am bracing myself for a DAW that includes a "rest" feature setting for the transport control. "Delay offset for rewind/fast forward (x ms, seconds, minutes)".

Which again I shouldn't besmirch, in some situations it might be a good thing; but HAVING to wait and not having a choice was horrible.


BUT.....

By the same token, the key-board short cut dance in order to do takes and over dubs isn't really any different from a kinesthetic-mind abstration layer standpoint. For some situations the "gottagoasfastaspossiblenotimetousethemousegogogogogog" ... "storming the beach" approach
is not automatically conducive to art, either IMO.

I've thought about, if my original plans had worked out and I had a physical studio for myself that doubled as a semi-commercial place, at this point I would be doing producing/recording by treating my DAW (Reaper) as ...


The multitrack tape machine with endless tape.


Because isn't that what we all would have wanted originally, back in the day?


I haven't seen any Name Producer work like this, but to me it makes sense artistically, and as a pragmatic, seasoned approach to not going crazy: you make sure you've got the hard drive space, the memory and machine to handle it, and you just

1) let the band set up and then hit "record". They either play to the DAW click, or a prerecorded tempo map, or they... freewheel as a band.
2) take notes and hit markers when there is a good or bad take (not unlike "the old days")
3) marker where a take stops and starts.
4) have your macro set up to dice the takes up into subprojects
5) put it together.

More "work" from the standpoint you've got to have good notes, and go find the places where the good parts are (if you're comping...) - but - *it's a much more natural work flow*. The band/artist just plays. This thing of "stop the band, back up, jump through hoops to do a pretend "faux tape machine hard edit-"over dub"" might be the way to record a voice over for a radio spot, but it's NOT a natural way of working to record ART.


In other words, it's not that rewind was a hassle, and it's instant now - in reality, we shouldn't be rewinding at all



I'm waiting for a DAW that abandons the "temporal shunt" tape-traveling approach to recording, and instead just buffers inputs continuously and displays everything you've done on a *continuous* timeline, that would look like one of those "earth epoch timeline" graphs; the session started "here", this happened "here", "here" and "here". It would change the process from *the illusion* of "rewinding" to what I'd call "true non-linear editing", in that you'd have functions that while in recording mode would behave like "rewinding" (loop to start of track; loop to start of edit point) it would show up on screen as a linear plot, a line with annotated "notes" of the transport controls but would actually be a horizontal representation of a playlist.

IMO it's curious how DAWs have started out as visual skeumorphic evolutions of "a multitrack tape recorder" and some have evolved that into a playlist-editing workflow. The playlist is a tacked-on feature; I understand how it evolved out of the underground tracker-music production style, but it's unwieldy IMO in it's present state. If you had a horizontal time-line graphical representation of the playlist it would possibly be the best of both worlds; the faux mechanical-movement illusion workflow and the true digital NLE approach. But without the (IMO) clunkiness of keyboard shortcuts.


Wow. Ok, sorry for the detour, had to get that out. I look forward to seeing this in a DAW a few years from now. Oh well.


Quote
Hey software companies who make tape emulation plug-ins! Here's your big chance to have a unique selling point! Have a preference that whenever you hit stop on the DAW's transport, play and record are locked out for 21 seconds. I bet people would just LOVE that feature!

Hah, right, it might happen, we're in an apocalypse movie.

Quote
Although my favorite "faux" plug-in is still Paul White's April 1 VST cable simulator, which attenuates high frequencies. The 15 foot emulation is $19.95, and the 30 foot emulation is $29.95.


I'm not sure if I should mock that either, because I'm presently deliberately going through 20' of unbuffered cable in front of my pedals... <g>.

Last edited by Chip McDonald; 02/04/21 03:48 PM.

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I'll admit, TLDR, .... but searched,


People should really check out the CHOW tape emulation on Github.



That's all, carry on.


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Originally Posted by Chip McDonald
I'm waiting for a DAW that abandons the "temporal shunt" tape-traveling approach to recording, and instead just buffers inputs continuously and displays everything you've done on a *continuous* timeline, that would look like one of those "earth epoch timeline" graphs; the session started "here", this happened "here", "here" and "here". It would change the process from *the illusion* of "rewinding" to what I'd call "true non-linear editing", in that you'd have functions that while in recording mode would behave like "rewinding" (loop to start of track; loop to start of edit point) it would show up on screen as a linear plot, a line with annotated "notes" of the transport controls but would actually be a horizontal representation of a playlist.

If that's the way you work, you aren't creating music/art, you're assembling a bunch of attempts at playing music. How do you know you're getting toward where you're going if you don't listen to playbacks now and then?

But on the other hand, a good bit of music that we hear today is conducted from fragments, some recorded in the studio, some recorded at home, some are sounds captured on the street with a handheld recorder or a phone, some are pre-made loops. You mess around with that stuff long enough and you (the engineer/producer) become the artist. And indeed that's the gig for some.

In my world, you know, when you start recording, how you want the final product to come out, and everything you do, even if it's just a nutty idea that you try and it works out to fit nicely (or doesn't, and you know it won't go into this song) those involved with the production need to keep things on track so that most parts go toward a pre-conceived goal, and not become a pile from which maybe you can make a song that you never really thought about until you started going through the recordings you have available to work from.

Gimme music, please.

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