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Michael McBroom

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  1. Another Cakewalk mystery has happened to me. I like to use cars and driving them as an analogy. Unlike a lot of you folks, I don't know much or understand much about what goes on "under the hood" of Cakewalk. I can probably identify the spark plugs and various filters, but beyond that, I'm pretty much lost. Nope, I'm a driver. I know how to drive Cakewalk reasonably well, I can even make some basic adjustments -- just don't ask me to troubleshoot anything when things go sideways. The tune in question is a rather simple Jazz Bossa with six MIDI instruments. This is an older tune I wrote a couple years ago, and I decided to take another look at it and possibly improve the mix because I know more about the subject than I did back then. This is one of the peculiar files where, when I loaded TTS-1, only the audio track loaded. The TTS-1 MIDI track never made it. But the tune worked fine without it back then so I didn't worry about it. But this time around, I figured I'd try to clean things up some, so I reassigned the instruments to another synth, then deleted the TTS-1 track -- from the Synth Rack window. Then I loaded TTS-1 back in again, but this time four TTS-1 audio tracks loaded -- and the one MIDI track. They're labeled CkwlkTTS11Otp1, ...Otp2, ...Opt3, and ...Otp4. I'm assuming "Otp" stands for Output. I'm totally confused -- why did these suddenly appear and what are they for? As it so happens, I do need multiple instances of TTS-1 in this tune but I don't know how to access the different "Otp" tracks. I tried loading TTS-1 again -- because I need another one at a minimum -- and five more tracks got loaded. Great. There are labeled ...TTS12Otp1, etc. So the second instance of four more tracks. Another curious thing about these extra tracks is they followed a reduced module count I specified that was supposedly for busses. But these aren't busses -- are they? Anyway, you know the "Insert Soft Synth Options" popup window you get when you're loading a new synth? I never change any of the parameters on this page, so I don't think there's anything going on there that might be causing this, unless I hit something by mistake and now it's remembering it. So anyway if you could tell me how I can get back to one instance (two tracks, that is) of TTS-1 loading when I ask for it, I'd sure appreciate it. And I wouldn't mind learning what this OTP1,2,3,4 business is all about. Maybe I can use it in the future if I know how to use it.
  2. Oh, by the way, I should have mentioned it above, but John's suggestion was on target. Problem solved.
  3. I should have been more specific. I'm using a laptop with its touchpad. If I touch it once, that just highlights the track. I have to touch twice to move anything around.
  4. Okay, well that's good to know. I did notice a subtle change in the sound of the clip. I guess that might be why.
  5. This is strange. I use the Write function often with audio clips to control a clip's volume -- most often if I want a fade-out to occur. Just now I tried doing this with a short audio clip. Same as always, I clicked on the "W" and it turned red and then I hit "Play". When I wanted the W function to work, I doubleclicked with my mouse over the volume slider and slid it down where I wanted it to wind up. No problem there. The "W" track glowed that bright yellow-green color it always glows. But when I hit "Stop," the line turned from a bright yellow-green to a muted dull green and there is nothing I've tried so far that will allow me to move any of the nodes that were created when I moved the volume slider. I've used this function many times and this is the first time I've run into this. I'm guessing I must have inadvertently hit something I shouldn't have. But I haven't a clue what. This recording is nothing fancy. It's a short clip of a guitar recording, has a track all by itself. After playing around with things a bit more, I discovered that if I indicated "Gain" from the Clip Automation drop down selection that this brings up a red line that does much the same thing. I've never used this before, but I gave it a shot and it did what I needed. So I got there, but I'm still curious why the old method didn't work.
  6. We discussed this topic -- a problem I'm having with my system -- at some length back in April. Here's a link to the thread: I'm revisiting the topic because things have gotten even worse. Before I mentioned that the problem was confined to MIDI playback but that audio was still fine. Well, now that's no longer the case. Both MIDI and audio playback are now highly distorted. I confirmed this just now by loading up a file that contains audio tracks only, and I even tried all driver formats (ASIO, MME, etc.) -- didn't make a bit of difference. I mentioned in the above thread that I also use Band in a Box with my compositions and that I was having the opposite results with it -- MIDI playback was fine, but audio was distorted. Now, BiaB shares with CW the same problems. Both audio and MIDI playback are distorted. So, whatever's going on with my system, it's gotten worse. I've run out of things to try. I tried everything that you guys suggested in the above thread, and there were some excellent suggestions -- it's just that none of them are working on my machine. This particular machine is still running Win7 on a 3.4 GHz AMD quad-core processor and it has 16 gigs of RAM. It's worth noting that "regular" audio playback, such as Netflix, etc., is unaffected. Playback using the various streaming services is just fine. I'm tempted to blame Win7, except for two reasons -- it's gotten worse since MS stopped sending auto updates and I'm still running Win7 on my old laptop and both CW and BiaB work perfectly on it. The laptop has a 2.8 GHz Intel dual-core processor and 8 gigs of RAM. I'll be upgrading to Win10 soon. I have to replace the machine's DVD drive -- it's not seeing disks anymore -- and I just got a new one in, just haven't installed it yet. Once it's in place I plan to upgrade to Win10 and I'm hopeful that this will fix things, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it doesn't. Anyway, if any of you have any further thoughts on the matter, I'll pay attention. You might want to scan through the responses in the above thread first, though, so we don't repeat things.
  7. Thanks again for all the valuable info. It looks like, once one knows what one is doing, trying to accomplish what I want shouldn't be all that difficult. Great news!
  8. Thanks for the responses, guys. I'm still digesting what y'all have written, but it sounds like a plan. Tonemangler, I won't be dragging the clip into Cakewalk. I plan on recording the guitar in Cakewalk. Then I'll do what I need to do to fit an orchestral arrangement. Gswitz, I'm not concerned about using CW for sheet music generation, if that's what you're getting at, although I could. I was planning on just writing the score out by hand once I'd finished the project, but you know, I have the sheet music for the original tune, so I don't see why I can't fit the orchestration into the score. I just need it to sound free and not confined by a tight meter is all.
  9. I'm working on a piece for classical guitar in which meter is more of a suggestion than a rule, and I want to keep this open, free sort of expression in an arrangement i'm interested in writing. Classical players call this sort of thing 'tempo rubato.' What I want to do is record the piece using this free meter and then add orchestration to it, using MIDI instruments. I've never used it before, but it seems to me that the View|Tempo control might work well for this. I don't know if "well" is the best word here, but at least it appears that it will get the job done, unless there's another way to go about this -- hence my reason for posting this note. So, if you were to attempt an arrangement in which the tune's meter was just a suggestion, how would you go about achieving your goals?
  10. You've got quite a bit more horsepower than my old laptop, which is handling my workload fine, so i think you should be good.
  11. Thanks for the additional info, guys. This gives me a lot of room for thought. Headroom is something I try to keep in mind at all times. I try not to let my audio channels' volumes go above 0 dB. The fine tune control at the top of the strip is where I adjust things, and I try to start there at -18 dB. To increase a signal's volume, usually I use the Pro Channel's EQ, but I will boost this fine-tune control some too if needed. Using the EQ for volume boost has a two-fold advantage, I've found. Not only does it allow for volume adjustment, but it allows for the volume of specific frequencies to be adjusted. And speaking of EQ, I also sometimes use one of the Nomad BT EQ utilities for specific, narrow instances -- most often drums. Using EQ to carve out spaces for each instrument that may occupy the same frequency range is still something I need to work on more. I suspect the Pro Channel EQ has more capabilities than I'm currently exploiting -- and I'm exploiting all that I know, including the high and low boost and cut, bandwidth adjustment, and use of one of the four frequency controls as a cut throughout the instrument's frequency range. I'm not as concerned about a MIDI instrument's volume -- I'm concerned more about the volume from its audio channel (such as TTS-1's audio channel). Also, that fine-tune volume control at the top of the MIDI strip I've found is more than a volume control. It also determines -- uhm, for lack of a better term, the "attack" of an instrument's sound. Using a nylon string guitar as an example, if the volume is kept at 12 o'clock or less, the guitar has a mellow sound. But if the control is turned up much past 12 o"clock, there's an increased brilliance to the guitar's sound that is determined to an extent by the velocity of any given note. So I have direct control over an instrument's "attack," or "brilliance" via this single control. Quite useful. It has been one way that I've been able to keep MIDI instruments from falling into a mix's mud. I think that perhaps a large portion of any sort of blurry or muddy mix I've been experiencing I managed to correct yesterday. I've been using an old stereo receiver to power my monitors and one of the channels has been failing. It still works, it's just its output has become somewhat distorted. I've compensated for this by using my headphones more, but recently they've developed a problem themselves -- lows causing a faint buzz -- just loud enough to be annoying. Anyway, given that my playback was becoming more and more compromised, I decided it was time to replace that receiver with a better one. Still a stereo receiver, but this new (well, used) one works WAY better. Both channels are crystal clear at all volumes. At any rate, as I listen to these same tunes that seem to have a muddy mix, it is much clearer now, and I'm thinking I might not need to do as much tweaking as I'd originally thought. Conversely, I've also discovered instances where I've found instruments that were buried in the mix and I was able to successfully extricate them from it and boost their clarity substantially. So this new receiver has been very helpful in that respect as well. Anyway, onward and upward. I still have a stack of tunes to remix, hopefully with improved results now thanks to the perspective I've gained from this forum.
  12. I started with Pro Audio 8 that came with for-real paper manuals, and I studied them. Then Pro Audio 9 came along and I made the transition pretty easily. I wasn't a power user by any means back then, but I knew my way around the software pretty well, I guess. I didn't get into many of its intricacies though, mostly because I never felt I needed to. And then I had a long break in composition -- finally got back into it with Sonar Platinum shortly before CW was shut down. I've been fairly active with it ever since. But I'm still not a power user. Since I started using Sonar, I've been pretty much self taught because honestly I remember not very much from back in the old Pro Audio days. When I get stuck on something I try and find an answer online and if I don't have any luck, then I ask here because this forum is such a tremendous resource. As fortune would have it -- or maybe not -- after starting this thread, I was browsing through others here and came across "Help needed/clarification on TTS-1 usage" which piqued my interest. Well, I didn't get past the first response, by Jim Fogle, where he mentioned a couple of articles written by Craig Anderton on TTS-1 for SOS Magazine. I found these articles to be full of information, a lot of which I was either only peripherally aware, or not aware of at all. So I read both articles. So now I have a little better understanding of TTS-1 at least, such that I think I know how to address your first couple of statements. It would not be correct to assume that 4 instances of TTS-1 implies 16 available stereo pairs. First of all, whenever I've loaded TTS-1, I've never checked "All Synth Audio Outputs: Stereo." the way Anderton recommends. I've always checked "First Synth Audio Output." However, when it comes time to record my MIDI tracks to audio (using the bounce to tracks feature), they always record in stereo, so is it really necessary to check that box? Secondly, often when I select multiple instances of TTS-1, it's so I can access its audio capabilities to be used on a MIDI track, which aren't available for the MIDI instruments. Things like EQ and all sorts of other effects and stuff. I also have much greater control over a channel's volume if I use TTS-1's audio controls, and it is for this latter capability that I will most often set up a new TTS-1 track. In the above example's case, I have three instances of TTS-1 using two tracks each, and the other 9 tracks are routed to the last instance. I'm doing this mostly for EQ and volume control. It's worth noting, perhaps, that the drum track that's getting buried is in one of the two-track instances of TTS-1. I don't know if each MIDI track is assigned its own stereo pair. I spent some time looking for any instances of stereo anything associated with the MIDI tracks and couldn't find anything, except for the "All Synth Audio . . ." stuff when preparing to insert an instance of TTS-1. But this has to do with audio so I don't see how it applies to MIDI anyway. I have been routing all of my tracks, both MIDI and audio, through a single Master bus, which I'm beginning to think, after reading your comments, might not be the wisest course of action. The drums are peaking with the snare strikes. I'll try and follow your advice regarding the drums and see if I can tame their output -- or at least that of the snare. I'm not familiar with the term "masking," but yes, I'd have to say that there are instruments playing in the same frequency space. I guess it will be figuring out how to achieve separation in this case that may end up providing me with the best results. I don't know if it's a goal that I can ever achieve, but I would like to be able to put together mixes that sound like a live event. I'm thinking about how, when listening to a symphony orchestra, for example, the human ear is able to separate easily the strings from the woodwinds and the brass. And I ask myself, why does it have to be so dadblamed difficult to get a recording to sound just as good?
  13. I'm working on a piece that has 15 tracks, all MIDI, using four different instances of TTS-1 for the MIDI voices. I like TTS-1 as a multi-timbral synth because it's cheap and it sounds decent. I don't know how much of a factor using TTS-1 for the voices is with this phenomenon. And I can't honestly say if I would have this same problem with audio tracks because I've never recorded a piece with more than 6 audio tracks. So anyway, what's happening is, as I've added instruments -- or tracks -- to the piece, the tracks get buried in the mix. If I solo a track, it jumps out at me in volume and clarity, but as soon as I un-solo it, it disappears into the mix again, noticeably quieter in volume. With this particular piece, this has become annoying with respect to the drum track. I really want it to stand out and have a lot of punchiness -- which is the way it sounds when soloed -- but it's getting buried in the mix. I can increase its volume, but even though it gets somewhat louder, its sound is still buried, and it begins to peg the meter, so I'm limited as to how much I can do. This doesn't just happen with drums. It happens with guitar -- especially acoustic guitar -- and piano tracks. Oh, and strings. They get so buried I can't even tell they're there, but they definitely affect the meter if I turn them up. Oh, and I'm careful to balance the mix as well, trying hard not to stack instruments up in any area of the pan range. This has actually helped my mixes a lot, but it hasn't cured this burial issue. So what do smarter-than-me studio gurus do to keep their tracks separated from each other? Record in audio on million dollar boards? Well, given that's way out of my range of affordability (I'm having to exist on a fixed income at the moment), is there anything us poor composers/engineers can do to improve their mix?
  14. I have Cakewalk set to save my projects every 5 minutes. I have discovered the hard way, however, that having Cakewalk save my data while I am inputting values into the Event List causes the system to hang. This happens if I am in the process of entering data when Cakewalk begins to save the project. Sometimes, if I see it begin to save the project, I stop entering the data, it will pause then continue to save, but other times if I've like hit "Enter" while it's saving, Cakewalk freezes and even if I walk away from my computer for several minutes, it won't dislodge itself from this condition. The only way out, I've found, is to shut down CW and then call up the most recent save. But to shut it down, I have to call up the Task Manager to kill it. Fortunately, when I do this, I get a CW pop-up asking me if I want to save the file, so I haven't lost any data. If I'm doing a lot of work on the Event List, what I do now is I disable the "save" feature in Preferences and then I re-enable it when I'm finished with my Event List editing. Still, a bug's a bug, which is why I'm mentioning it.
  15. I thought I should resurrect this stale thread because I have new information with regards to the issue I was facing, namely that my Marshall CODE amp was showing up in CW as a MIDI device and not an audio one. I did as Scook recommended and changed the driver mode, in this case from ASIO to WASAPI. This song I'm working on has five audio tracks -- well, six now -- and no MIDI tracks. My audio interface supposedly supports only ASIO, so I was concerned I might lose audio on the other tracks, but fortunately I didn't. WASAPI did the trick, the CODE showed up in the audio interface's input panel only, and I had to deselect the interface's inputs in order to select the CODE. After that, everything was pretty straightforward. I had to do some balancing of the input signal in order to get the volume up where I needed it to be, and I found that, using USB, suddenly the input signal -- in this case a Gibson Les Paul with humbucing pickups -- became very clean. But curiously enough, it was as if i were playing a guitar with single coil pickups. Lots of hum and the position of the guitar became very sensitive to the level of hum that was being produced. When I hold it just so, the hum disappears pretty much completely. But I don't think that CW has anything to do with this. It's a feature shared by that Les Paul and the CODE amp, albeit an atypical one. The difference in noise levels between bringing in the audio signal through one of the audio interface's channels and bringing it in via the USB port is dramatic. I was having to port the signal into the interface from the amp's headphone jack -- it doesn't have a Line Out, unfortunately -- and it was noisy. I hadn't ruled out the possibility that some of the cabling might be at fault, but instead of trying to trace it down, I decided to give the USB port one more shot. Glad I did, because the difference in noise levels was dramatic. So anyway, problem solved, glad to have a successful USB approach for getting my guitar's audio signal into the computer quietly.
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