mySoftware [Updates]

Once you create a user profile on Motifator and update with the appropriate information, the updates shown here will be specific to you.

rssFeeds [Syndicate]


forumforum
 

Old Motifator threads are available in the Archive.

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

   
Page 3 of 3
Posted on: August 01, 2011 @ 05:34 AM
mrdelurk
Avatar
Total Posts:  134
Joined  09-18-2009
status: Pro

A new turn on equipment longevity: my Yamaha TX816 came up today morning with 3 modules flashing an error and the number 4. Their batteries are toast. To replace them requires a surgery, soldering in a small maze of wires. In a fitting counterpoint, my Kurzweil K1000’s self-test revealed it hallucinates extra notes and distorts randomly due to its 3M Arnold chip socket. So after discussing how computers have a finite, approx. 5 years average life, my most (Yamaha) and least (Kurzweil) reliable hardware just demonstrated in unison that hardware does too, approx. 25 years average. Although this is five times longer, the bottom line remains: if it plugs into power, it won’t last as long as you will.

What could we do? To start drinking heavily, and/or become all singers or acoustic pianists seems a tad extreme. (Jim Morrison cornered the gig already, anyway.) After reflecting a bit I can think of two ways how to reduce the death of a musical tool to a mere maintenance issue.

1. Build hardware from clearly marked block units that plug together and self test by blocks. If I can self-test a troubled synth, and simply replace an erroring block C, it’s maintenance. If I have to solder, it’s dead. (For most other musicians too, I’d presume. Soldering wizards could still solder at will, with the new option of unplugging the block first.) Such a block-built instrument would be like the lumberjack’s axe. Still the same axe after 60 years; it had 4 new handles and six new heads but it’s still the same axe… I know manufacturers loathe the parts business. But selling synth blocks is a way to resell the same synth 3 times to the buyer block by block. A guaranteed, stable income, not subject to market swings, that doesn’t require a single new innovation over time. Not even a synth renaming to MOF8. (Though a web site called MOF8ER might attract more interest than plant soil, indeed :-).

2. Block design keeps the hardware alive in case of trouble. Let’s see what could keep the work alive too. Most DAW software has an “export tracks as WAVs” feature already. How about a recording black box: a USB stick (or iPhone solution) that exports as WAV every new track from the DAW to itself through USB in the background. If the computer dies you still have the track WAVs on a device that can play the mix back alone. In today’s DAW competition, such “black box compatibility” could offer a significant advantage. (As long as it doesn’t require 57 Arcane Installation steps… :-)

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: August 02, 2011 @ 04:33 AM
Wellie
Avatar
Total Posts:  6204
Joined  05-08-2003
status: Guru

Hmm, I fear that the soldering issue may actually be getting worse. New regulations on the lead content of solder mean that current soldered products using new type solder don’t seem to last as long according to some comment I read somewhere recently.

Alas, any product containing metal will at some point in time fail. Metal oxidises (well, gold doesn’t, nor platinum or at least not in normal conditions) and this means that even non-soldered connections (the snap to fit style used by RAM, or the socket style used by CPUs) will oxidise and lose the integrity of the connection.

Its a shame that your kit seems to need new batteries all at once! My son’s EX5 is beginning to flash up that it needs a new battery - It woudl be nice if these things were more easily user replaceable - yes, you can replace them, but its a job best done by a proper service techie.

Anyways, all the best with your classic gear :)

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: August 03, 2011 @ 12:34 PM
mrdelurk
Avatar
Total Posts:  134
Joined  09-18-2009
status: Pro

Solder-free rhytm sequencers work great. I have a Hawaiian beatbox called ipu (hula drum); 300 years old, sounds as tight as ever. Real light on repairs. If it stops working, you just grow another in the yard. Try this with a Mac Pro.

Something this ipu can teach modern synth designers is continuity. If you developed a signature pattern or counterpoint style on an ipu, 60 years from now you can still play it. (As with an acoustic piano.) On a computer or a modern keyboard the sounds and the patterns don’t translate well. How’s that FS1R or SY77 patch coming on a Motif XF? This is why synth longevity is important. Sure, there might be newer synths with 2, 4, 8 or 120 times as much of everything, but if I spent a thousand hours developing a trademark sound with Synth X that doesn’t translate well to Synth X2, it’s my own work, not the unit’s aging specs that makes it worthwhile to keep it alive.

Alternatively, if full sound / arp / sequence backward compatibility existed with previous synths, I could actually get rid of the old synth after buying the new one. Unlike today when I must keep 4 generations of Korgs / Yamahas in my studio. On longer term, this compatibility is a more sustainable practice, as everyone’s studio space for new keyboards is bound to run out eventually. (By the way, there will be no Korg Kronos Rack.) But I still don’t see it happening. Perhaps manufacturers are afraid it may depress used synth prices.

So the EU enacted its RoHS lead solder law. After spending millions to increase the lead content of Libyans, they spend millions to decrase the lead content of solder. Hmm. They’ll legalize marijuana but my used synths are contraband now. Yay, I can see already the wild Hollywood parties where stars snort solder lines off my old DX7. :-)

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: August 04, 2011 @ 03:31 AM
Wellie
Avatar
Total Posts:  6204
Joined  05-08-2003
status: Guru

Very funny!!

Of course, your point will be lost on harpsichord players whose tunes got lost in the supremacy of the Pianoforte.
I suppose in the old, analogue world change happened more slowly.

Nevertheless, in todays world, a new synth = a new sound to enjoy and be inspired by. So a part of the ‘new’ is about creating new timbres and styles to wrap them up in. It is of course quite handly that you can also access the classic sounds such as acoustic pianos and rhodes and hammys and so on, on today’s workstations. It means you do get something of the best of both worlds.

I like classic gear, but I do like the convenience of my motif. (with Cubase, LOL)

Cheers

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: August 05, 2011 @ 11:42 AM
mrdelurk
Avatar
Total Posts:  134
Joined  09-18-2009
status: Pro

Hello Wellie,

The markets have spoken… an unbundled Cubase AI5 just sold for $51 on eBay. So if I wanted to get a dongle-free Cubase AI on each computer I move between, it would be 15 x $51 = $765. One would think a 70 lbs Yamaha XS8 ought to be a good enough AI dongle alone, but Steinberg knows better. “Nah, Mrdelurk might buy fifteen Yamaha XS8’s just to access our $51 side product. We must remain eternally vigilant to preserve our core competency, which is dongle sales...” :)

Inspiring new features are the basis of life; the potted plant on my desk brings new leaves all the time too. (It also learned to live without nearly anything, the way I water it.) But see… when it brings a new leaf, it doesn’t throw all its old leaves and stem and root away. This is all I’m asking from my composing tools, too. Be as smart as a $5 potted plant. Don’t throw away all your old features (sounds, arps, applications) that you already had before the latest feature set and model name came out.

Keyboards handle this feature preservation smarter than computers. Thus, we call something software if it’s hard on the user, and vice versa. Makes sense, like a pool toaster. As a preservation solution, how about expanding MIDI with a sound data standard? So that synths can recreate not just the old, unrelated synths’ keypresses, but the sounds, arps, etc. too what those keypresses triggered. Most of todays’ workstations’ “latest” sounds have been around in the Akai / E-mu era already, and are often converted to monolith formats like SoundFont2. All one’d have to add to such a monolith core is a standardizing of the arps and the occasional combination (or ‘Performance’ in Yamahaspeak) parameters and pronto - MIDI Sound Standard. Aka sound survival. The missing link to preserving every aspect of a keyboard performance. Could this new MIDI create a new synth golden age as the old one did? Well, do we have a better candidate?

  [ Ignore ]  


Page 3 of 3


     


Previous Topic:

‹‹ Motif xs Editor in sync w/ Motif
Next Topic:

    Problem with Motif xs 1.60 update ››