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Viewing topic "To Cubase or not to Cubase? :)"

   
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Posted on: July 18, 2011 @ 11:36 AM
mrdelurk
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Wellie - 18 July 2011 01:42 AM

If you are touring, which would you prefer to carry around from gig to gig - a classic Steinway 7ft grand, with hammond B3 and assorted other moog based synths, or a Motif XF8 with a nord and a moog voyager.

For my frequent air trips, neither. After trying many things, I’m about to pick up a MOX8 and a portable 24-track. That duo actually fits the standard 50 lbs airline luggage weight limit, unlike the XF8.

I discovered this portable multitrack need by trying to move my last, consolidated Ableton tracks to the XS8. No cigar, “Sample too long” error. (They were 8 minutes long, and that’s not even the whole length of the piece.) I haven’t found an “insert audio at measure X” feature in the XS8, so its 6 and half minute max audio recording limit apparently means, if you record audio, you are stuck writing 6 minute songs, max. (Unless one daisy-chains song tracks maybe, but that would eat up the track count and might not even play seamlessly.) So I guess this makes a small 24-track outboard recorder of some sort pretty much mandatory? I’m just trying to find one with .sf2 playback to compensate for the MOX8’s missing sample playback, then I’ll be set.

It would be SO tempting to just get a laptop with Ableton and VSampler (all my initial troubles with Ableton stemmed from its softsampler only) but I keep recalling: if it’s a computer, in a few years it will be kaputt… nah, gotta get hardware.

Wellie - 18 July 2011 01:42 AM

Of course, you can’t make much music with plant soil.

It depends whether the soil has small rocks in it. “Ili ili”, small, water-worn lava stones are ancient Hawaiian rhytm instruments, played to this very day. 1200 year uninterrupted life span as a musical instrument, hmmm… so one could say, musically my computer is less advanced than a rock? Whoa :-)

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 @ 02:15 PM
Wellie
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Well,

my son trundled his Macbook pro to church with him yesterday to provide pad sounds he’d created in Reason triggered from an XP80. Sound was awesome.

I think that many pro musicians have made the plunge in the last couple of years. Laptops and their OS’s are now robust enough to withstand serious gigging. A relatively cheap Master keyboard plus laptop could in fact do the job of a full-on workstation. Of course, most go with a belt and braces approach with a keyboard with sounds linked to a laptop with many more. Linkages go down - you’ve still got the main keyboard.

I think a MOX would give you many good options sonically. Cubase could easily run an audio clip of 8mins or more . . .

The advantage of an XF8 is of course the flash RAM which would mean all of that stuff is pre-loaded and gig ready - minimal boot time.

It also links very nicely with Cubase :)

Anyways, have fun with sampling your lava rocks matey :)

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 @ 06:15 PM
5pinDIN
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mrdelurk - 16 July 2011 01:29 PM

[...]I won’t say we have cheap, failure-prone computers because they are all built in China. [...]

Google “bad caps” (without the quotes)—caps, short for capacitors. Found not only in computers, but in LCD monitors, power supplies, DVD and CD players, etc., etc., and yes, synthesizers. There was a particularly bad period of failures a few years ago, and while the problem has lessened, it hasn’t totally disappeared.

Google “RoHS”, short for Restriction of Hazardous Substances. Until recent years, soldering was pretty reliable, even if done by not very well trained small manufacturers. Now that they “got the lead out” of solder, it’s trickier to get a good connection. Don’t get me wrong, from an environmental standpoint, I applaud the move. But there have been some problems as manufacturers have been coming up to speed in using lead-free solder.

Inadequate solder flux removal has been another problem. Fluxes for lead-free solder are more aggressive than older types, and are typically of the water-wash kind. They don’t require nasty chemicals to remove them, but they must be totally removed, or humidity in the air will reactivate what’s left behind, causing corrosion and other problems.

As far as reliability and obsolescence are concerned, to some degree whether we use hardware or software might not matter—due to the above problems and others, your software/firmware still might be running on hardware of questionable reliability.

Good quality manufacturing tends to mean that inexpensive caps aren’t used, soldering is done well, and defluxing is carried out properly. All that costs money for parts, a trained staff, etc. We’ve gotten too used to a lot of bang for the buck, and “cheap” (in every sense of the word) products to meet that demand are the result. Getting people to be willing to spend what’s necessary is part of the solution. Either that, or just be prepared to replace some things on a regular basis.

My general attitude is that a product should ideally last as long as what it does is still useful. I want hammers to last a long time, because even though there are nail guns, we’re still driving some nails by hand. In the case of certain electronic items, technology obsoletes them in a few years, so there might be less of an issue—but I would prefer if it was my decision when to retire my audio gear.

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 @ 06:40 PM
meatballfulton
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If you’re going hardware 24 track, avoid the Tascam 2488. The MIDI synch is flawed which is why I sold mine and switched to a MacBook and Ableton Live. My older Roland 8-track has always worked fine with MIDI, I was extremely disappointed that the Tascam did not.

Also watch out for the new 24 track machines from Zoom...no MIDI at all. I think the mfrs have decided that the market for standalone multitrackers is people who do not use MIDI...the MIDI folks have all gone to computers…

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Posted on: July 19, 2011 @ 03:10 AM
Wellie
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Hardware multitrackers - go for a Yamaha AW2400 . . .
Or for THE BEAST of hardware DAWs - AW4416 . . .

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Posted on: July 19, 2011 @ 11:22 AM
mrdelurk
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have fun with sampling your lava rocks matey :)

Hello Wellie,

The real kicker is, Big Fish Audio does have the “ili ili” lava rocks sampled in their “Roots of the Pacific” library. I bought it, imported the sound into Ableton’s Sampler which then promptly messed the file links up :-) Rocks vs. computers: 1:0. Though I read IBM equipment did outperform rocks recently in an African field test. :-)

I see a potential Cubase dongle compromise. Perhaps Steinberg could build their dongle into a small rock, too? This way, when the dongles don’t link up anymore, the musician still has a set of rocks to clink out rhytms with, like the ancient Hawaiians. As dongle users say, long term, we are all Hawaiians. (Why not, Hawaiians are very innovative people. They played rock music 1200 years before Elvis.)

In terms of the AW2400, it’s quite a coincidence, I was looking at it myself. (I know Yamaha longevity.) Same 4 lbs as the Zoom at twice the physical size, the AW2400 has MIDI ports for sync instead of the Zoom’s USB. So far, so good, but neither offers user multisample playback to compensate for the MOX8’s lack of it. Hmmm, a tough nut to crack. Even with an IBM.

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 @ 06:08 AM
Wellie
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The AW4416 did feature a sampler, but the 2400 being a newer architecture meant much speedier track transfers over USB2.

The 4416 is a veritable beast though and would weigh far more than you would want to carry. But is still one of the best spec’d all in one workstations around.

Cheers

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 @ 11:44 AM
mrdelurk
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5pinDIN - 18 July 2011 06:15 PM

Google “bad caps”—caps, short for capacitors. Found not only in computers, but in LCD monitors, power supplies, DVD and CD players, etc., etc., and yes, synthesizers.

Tell me about it. I had the first Kurzweil K2000 in my state; the cap blew after just one month. So that’s what “more bang for your buck!” stands for! Did you notice how electronics manufacturers still never advertise “more working for your buck”? :-)

Yesterday I went back to the XS8 for a round two of Ableton file Import. I trimmed my .wavs down to 2 minutes and imported them in Pattern mode. There they were, they just wouldn’t play. I couldn’t decode in 30 minutes how to insert C3 notes of 2 minute length to the tracks to make them play; Edit-Insert has no “length” field for note events. Ultimately I just recorded a 2 minute C3 note on Track 1, which got its audio file to play finally. Now how you hit the same C3 at the same millisecond for all the other 15 tracks? Ha ha. I do need an external multitrack.

So if ‘m only using the Motif for the sounds & arps maybe tomorrow’s Summer NAMM will introduce a matching device that does everything else, and is not a computer. (If I must use a device that crashes by default, I’ll get a snare. Or another Kurzweil. :-) )

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 @ 06:10 AM
Wellie
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Perhaps you enter the note WITH a sustain on message and then program a sustain OFF message at 2 mins ?

Did you try that already?

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Posted on: July 22, 2011 @ 01:04 PM
mrdelurk
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Thank you for the tip, Wellie, it worked. Now all the audio tracks play, although if I move the volume slider, I get crackles. I guess we are taxing the XS8 to the maximum it can do. I received the final word from the Zoom forums too, a R24 will sync only to another R24. To a Yamaha XS8, nothing doing. I decided to give Cubase a third chance. I ran install, connected the FireWire cable… all good, so far only 12 steps. Cubase launched, looking nicer than Reaper and Studio One. But its “create project” window didn’t list any Yamaha XS presets.

The XS8 manual says, download the AI driver next. So I hopped over to Yamahasynth, clicked OS Compatibility - and got a list into my face with a whopping 83 files, none of them called AI driver. Whoa! 34 troubleshooting clicks later, If found this how-to which I’m following now. This AI integration feature looks very much like a Motifator insiders only deal to me. How the average mortal could get past the royal mess of 83 files without this how-to is beyond me.

OK, in the life of every Bill Gates, there comes a moment when the banter ends and one must sit down, shut up and write the code for Windows 1.0. Or sit down, shut up, and try to install Cubase integration 1.0, not a much less daunting task, apparently. Here I go. If you don’t hear from me after a week, a big hairy IEEE1394 incompatibility ate me.

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Posted on: July 23, 2011 @ 09:59 PM
mrdelurk
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Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Just 2 hours later, at step #3 the Yamaha IEEE1394 Firmware Updater Ver. 1.0.7 for Windows says:

“Your system doesn’t satisfy the system requirements for the update. Please make sure the requirements are satisfied, then start the program again.”

I already disconnected the other FireWire devices, tried a new FireWire cable, plugged it into a different mLan slot… no avail. Gotta toss the computer, this i7 with 18 GB of RAM unfortunately reached the end of its useful life for Cubase after 3 months. :-)

I’m starting to get a hunch here. Did the same guy code Yamaha’s Cubase integration who wrote the Yamaha TX16W’s OS? :-)

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 @ 06:09 AM
Wellie
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Hmmm,

I feel your pain.

Double check - is your windows OS actually seeing the i7 and the RAM - what does your system report?

Could it be a faulty firewire buss??

There is no logical way that you don’t have enough resources to run the software so what is being reported doesnt make sense.

Keep us posted.

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 @ 11:11 AM
mrdelurk
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Hello Wellie,

On the computer side, all FireWire ports work fine with other devices, and Windows 7 sees all the RAM. This leaves us with either the XS mLan board being toast or a Yamaha FireWire driver bug.

To check the mLAN board, after backing up the XS8’s internal data, I summoned the XS self test mode by holding [REMOTE] and [O](REC) at power up until “MOTIF XS Test Mode” appeared. The mLan test requires FireWire repeater hubs (which no one I know has) to be at the end of both FireWire cables plugged into the mLan board. One can use a PC instead of one hub, the instructions say; they are purposely vague on what to use instead of the second to keep you electrified. (What’s 30V between friends?) I plugged the second FireWire cable into my Edirol FA-101 interface, hit ENTER on the XS8 to start the tests, chose Test 22 mLAN board, and roared straight through all 7 mLAN checks with flying colors. The board is A-OK.

So it’s a software bug. Er, longevity feature. They figured, if it doesn’t work at the outset, you won’t be affected when the computer dies. See? :-)

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 @ 01:15 PM
meatballfulton
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This is a pretty funny thread. I’m an engineer who has worked designing computer and networking chips for 30 years, so I feel awfully embarrassed with the current state of the art when it comes to computers for the average person.

Things like dealing with drivers and such is way more complicated than it needs to be, especially in the land of Windows. Macs are not perfect but tend to be better behaved about such things.

What’s your FW chipset, some are not compatible with the mLAN16E2.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 @ 12:41 PM
mrdelurk
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This is a pretty funny thread.

It’s because Wellie keeps joking all the time.  :-)

What’s your FW chipset, some are not compatible with the mLAN16E2.

Hello Meatballfulton, it’s the T.I. TSB43AB23. Yamaha lists it as compatible.

Let’s reassess the situation. Since audio multitracking on the XS8 is more or less out, its mLan bugs are academic for me. If I get into computer patch editing at all, USB is probably sufficient and I favor the Melas XS editor’s pastel look anyway to the Götterdämmerung-hued AI version. For sequencing and sample playback, Ableton Live is already everywhere I go. (Ableton allows multiple alternative installations for a single license.) OK, so I will not be able to compose during travel. How the heck would I play a MOX8 on a plane anyway, hold it upright like a bassoon? How do you even get such a huge gizmo on board, lie the TSA guys it’s a bomb so they just wave it through?

Incidentally, I just bought a Cubase AI5 on eBay for $1385. (There was a MOX8 on its end.) By the time we slowly figure out I don’t need Cubase AI at all, it will be here. Now Yamaha does sell a big black dongle that provides 24/7/365 uptime (more dependable than space technology...) but try playing it on a plane.

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