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Joe Dun

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  1. I am the original poster. In retrospect, I should have named the thread "Make Cakewalk a cakewalk"... and that primarily means that a new user of the software, and even new to MID should be able to get started and have a path to master the program with the resources provided. That resource should primarily be the user manual. I realize that many of the replies are not directed at myself, but just general statements about software users. I will restate that I am a highly experienced computer user, who cut his teeth on CPM, then in DOS, and even did a bit of machine-language programming. I have invested the hours to try to learn Cakewalk. Though, I will concede that I should give the BandLabs version a fresh start from the beginning. However, the recent example where I was unable to figure out how to reorder tracks, somewhat discouraged me on that effort. It indicated to me that the documentation is still not where it needs to be, since the documentation described actions that didn't work. Hopefully that was just a fluke, and the forum proved to be a great resource to eventually figure it out. I am willing to give Cakewalk another try. Cakewalk, to live up to its name sake, should be something a complete beginner should be able to do basic operations without having to resort to asking for a proper explanation on a forum. -Joe
  2. It was many years ago that I really spent many hours of intensive effort going through the tutorials and help file, trying to learn Cakewalk. It was quite frustrating, and just was not working out. And I am used to working with very complex software, such as AutoCAD and SolidWorks. Sadly, virtually all software has suffered from the decline that occurred after computers became commonplace and low cost. Before then, software and hardware vendors made no assumptions about prior knowledge about the subject, and so realized that documentation was key to making their product useful. But, as computers became commonplace, software vendors realized that the price of the software was more important than the user manual, and so skimped on the user manual. And the Internet only made matters worse, because people could go to 3rd parties for support and training. The internet is a great resource (as this forum shows), but it is not an organized training and reference manual. To be fair to Bandlab, I have not really investigated their own recent training materials in any depth. I saw that a lot was copied from early versions of Cakewalk, and simply assumed that it was at the same level as before. But, that assumption may not be correct. I realize that I need to give Bandlab a chance to prove themselves, and need to invest more hours by starting from the beginning with them and go over the stuff I though I may have figured out in the past, because I may be missing some parts of that training. -Joe
  3. Here are more details. The music is all just MIDI tracks, there are no audio tracks. The only other type of track is the TTS-1. Its gain is in the middle of the range. The MID tracks all had volume set around 100. When I examine the MP3 using Audacity audio editor, the waveform is pretty low. I used Audacity to increase the volume some, but I know that increasing volume from a very low level, to a much higher one will tend to create problems with the quality of the audio. Plus, of course, it is an extra step I would rather not have to think about. slartabartfast ask about my volume at the mains. I am not sure where to see this in Cakewalk. -Joe
  4. it seems that I am a little out of date. One current alternative is TeamViewer, and another is that the Google Chrome browser has this built in. But, I not recommending these for use when you are seeking support from a stranger. To me the risks of giving a stranger complete support of your system is too great. I've done a little asking around to see if I could find someone I knew who used Cakewalk, but was unsuccessful. Perhaps BandLab could offer a place for people to list their availability to offer paid support. Perhaps that would facilitate the ability to find someone, who you could meet in person for support. However, unless it were pushed heavily by BandLab, I doubt enough would register to make it likely that you could find someone local. -Joe
  5. Today I had a thought about a new support option. It is common for computer support folks to do their work remotely via something like Netmeeting. It works quite well, and permits an expert to solve a problem very quickly. The main drawback is that it permits the remote support guy to have total control over the computer of the person being helped. So, a high level of trust is needed. I wonder if some sort of limited "share my Cakewalk App" thing that could be created, and would permit an expert to see and change just the Cakewalk program, but not full access to the operating system. It may not be something that BandLab would offer directly. But, if there were some sort of mode that would permit a user to get remote help, that would facilitate a much easier way to troubleshoot. The troubleshooter might be a volunteer, or paid support situation. And perhaps the remote support process doesn't involve BandLab at all, other than building this remote-support option into the software. -Joe
  6. I have asked some, who do use keyboards, about some help or advice with Cakewalk, but they don't use Cakewalk. I am guessing that the name does not attract more advanced users, and they go to other software considered more professional. I am glad the drag-to-reorder discuss was started, because that is the type of thing that no amount of time in the user manual, or tutorials will teach you. And initially, even with the extra help, my conclusion was that the feature is simply not working properly on my computer. It took quite a lot of effort on both myself, and others, to finally drill down to the root cause. I.e. the active area is not normally available until you expand the tracks. Once a person runs into a few of these types of issues, you tend to want to give up. This is my history with Cakewalk. I try to start afresh, and put some hours into it, then run into too many barriers that I can't get past. It is also likely that as a semi-experienced user, I would tent to gloss over the beignner tutorials, because I felt I had already learned those things. But, because these periods of time are so spread out, I forget some of the things. The Midi 0 vs 1 is something I used to know, but had forgotten about until it was mentioned here. So, I am in many ways a novice. -Joe
  7. Since I don't normally expand the track view, the drag area is non-existent. Personally, I would have set the track number itself as the area to drag. And since the smaller track size is default, the user manuals should state that the track must be made larger than default, to be able to drag it. I sort of wonder if the drag area is actually was advertisement programmed to what it is now. I.e. a bug. -Joe
  8. Thanks for the PDF link. I think that will be much better to use than the web based one. Robert Bone, concerning draging tracks. When I expanded the height of the track to be taller than the default, and then place my cursor directly under the track number, that gives me the double-arrow, and I can successfully change the order of the tracks. Though, the target area is pretty small to get that double-arrow. -joe
  9. Thank you for the detailed response. It helped me realize there is a bug or incompatibility with my video drivers. In my case, the double-arrow will never appear. If I click and drag the track icon (the MIDI connector icon for the MIDI tracks) I can successfully drag the tracks to new locations. It is a bit of a challenge, as the orange line will sometimes appear to where I am dragging, and sometimes not. And if the orange line does not appear, whether the track will go to the new location is about 75% successful. Though, dragging the first track is the one that seems to have trouble most of the time. And while my posting about the problems reordering tracks was not the purpose of the thread, it was cited an example of my problems. I viewed the help file, and it didn't work. I simply blamed the help file for not being detailed or accurate enough. My online effort didn't work either, because I was unsure which of the sources was authoritative for the current Cakewalk version. If it didn't work as described, I assumed the version was different. Searching on the online Cakewalk user manual will give me results for Cakewalk, Music Creator, and Sonar in various versions. There doesn't seem to be a way to restrict your choices to just the current Cakewalk. And to add to the confusion, Music Creator, if I recall correctly, was supposed to be the new name for Cakewalk, and I assumed there was a process of name changes that were associated with updates to the software. Hopefully some of the user manual issues have been improved. But you cannot search the online help file and just get responses about Cakewalk. That is a major problem.
  10. I also use AutoCAD type software with a similar number of years behind it. I see how it would be very difficult for a beginner. Regarding the user manual. I know some are tempted to just jump onto a forum and post a basic question. But, in my case, I normally spend a fair amount of time looking things up, and next i try other existing answers in an internet search. Finally, I come to the forum and post. The two main difficulties I recently ran into, were not addressed in the user manual. E.g. the task of changing the order of the tracks has some sort of bug on my system, so the instructions don't work. And initially, before asking on the forum, I just assumed I was not viewing the correct user manual, or that the explanation there just was wrong, since it is not unusual for me to read something in the manual, and it not work . Though, in most cases, I suspect there is some setting elsewhere that is creating the problem. Another issue, is that it often refers to a place to click or menu item to find, and I cannot find it. This is sometimes because they use words to describe something that is visual. But, it is time for me to start over again with the tutorials, since it is has been so long since I did this. -Joe
  11. It is great to hear that you are monitoring this thread, and I see that you had already realized this issue, and started to find a solution.
  12. What is CbD? Looking up 3 letter abbreviations on the internet is a useless task. -joe
  13. I disagree. If someone never uses an external MIDI keyboard or synth, and those settings can mess-up using the internal, General MIDI software synth, then yes, it is best to remove the option to change the output to go to the nonexistent external synth. Perhaps ghosting those options, and if they click on it, another window pops up saying "this feature was disabled because you chose a beginner's mode that does not permit it. Click "change level" to switch to another level to permit you to change these things". I just thought of what might happen if someone tries the Advanced User mode, but later regrets it. If they change back to a simpler mode, then what happens to the settings they tweaked under the Advanced mode. Rather than just reset all of them, I would prefer that you inform the users what is going to be reset to the default settings for the basic user mode they choose. -Joe
  14. Agreed. Perhaps to make this idea viable, a theoretical new user must be chosen, and make the program a "cakewalk" to use for at least those users. Perhaps it would be possible to create a few different starting points. Or even a "Newbe Options" window, that perhaps had a few check marks, to allow the person to get the program set up to work for them, with a lot of the program options hidden. Below is a possible set of options. (The capital "O" indicates a radio button). I emphasize that these settings would do more than hide some settings, it would pre-set a lot of those hidden settings to make the program work for the targeted user. Common to all users. Open and edit downloaded MIDI files. Export Audio. Record and playback Audio tracks using Windows audio interface. O-Basic MIDI user-. O- Level 1 - Only internal software General MIDI synth. O- Level 2 - Add External MIDI keyboard. O-Basic Audio User O-Level 1 - ? O-Level 2- ? 0-Advanced User. In regards to my prior comment that was critical about the user manual. This was actually many years ago that I came to that conclusion. In fact, I eventually stopped bothering to even check the help file when I ran into an issue. In general, the quality of user manuals for software is not what it was in the late 80's early 90's. But, perhaps Cakewalks' manual has improved. And while the number of tutorials and videos has exploded , that is also a bit of a problem. A lot seem to be about a program called Sonar, and some of those help, but others don't. And with a program that has decades of history, the various versions start to be a problem. The tutorial may or may not apply to the current versions. Is there a particular series of tutorials you all would recommend? Is there an official one that is considered to be of good quality? -Joe
  15. I do think that software like Cakewalk does need to be simplified for the beginner. There are just too many ways for things to not work. If you limit the choice of synth sound to one software synth, with the General Midi sounds, and will work with MIDI files that you download, you have eliminated a lot of extra stuff that can cause problems if they are set correctly. The Lens feature is one thing that was suggested. But, what is needed t is more than just hiding some of the features. Since some of those settings can create problems. Rather, the software needs to start with a lot of the settings already pre-set to make it work. No more trying to play a MIDI file, and then have to somehow discover that a TTS track is needed, what it is, and how to create it. -Joe
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