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MarkP

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  1. If hard disk space is really not the issue, have you thought about periodically creating complete disk images? If you keep just your music-related stuff on a relatively small SSD, you should have space for literally dozens of disk images on a regular hard disk or cloud repository. Having said that, I don't know whether what you seem to want is truly possible, seeing as neither VST copy-protection measures nor future operating system revisions are completely knowable. Last month I built some Cakewalk projects from scores I wrote out in a manuscript book in 1978-1981; good old paper and pencil saving the day. I might well have compact cassette recordings of the same material, but finding them and being able to play them might not be as simple as poring over the staves. The point is, if there really is a good reason to resurrect old material, you will do it regardless of the amount of work it takes - if the need is there, and OCD notwithstanding.
  2. After having Read The Fulsome Manual and having poked at the software I conclude the only bulk action that can be applied to sysx banks is Send All. I would really like bulk Select, bulk Clear and bulk Open too. I get that this may be a minority interest. Using database software, I periodically generate 100+ ordered banks of programs (all basses together, all woodwinds together, all other families grouped in between, and each family sorted by instrument). Keeping programs in this order makes it easy to find the right sound but means new programs must always be inserted among old ones, which changes where the breaks between banks occur. So I would like to be able to bulk-select an old set of banks, bulk-clear them, and bulk-open a new set, ordered by filename. Instead, now I have to open a new project, manually load the new banks one at a time, then delete the old project. Failing any answers to my prayers, is there a way to get in under the hood and replace a set of banks without causing undue catastrophe?
  3. I have been down this path with my ESQ-1 and CbB. I think there may be several ways to go about this, but here's mine. First a comment: MIDI-Ox didn't seem to be straighforward enough for me, but I found Send SX worked like a dream. I think both of them can slow down transmission speed, which may or may not be crucial. I know that CbB is pretty fast when it comes to MIDI, and if there are problems it could be that the cable you are using just doesn't have the buffer size to deal with CbB's firehose. Everyone suggests you either get a Roland USB-MIDI cable, or use a proper interface. Still, let's assume that there are no bandwidth problems and that you just need to know how to put the bits together. I store multiple banks of 40 Ensoniq programs in CbB. If I want to load a bank to the synth I do this... Set the synth into sysex mode (I think you know how to do this) Make sure that the MIDI channels of the synth and CbB match (I found that the defaults work for me) Set the synth to a program page (say, Internal 1) In CbB, open the sysex window by typing Alt-Shift-7 or selecting Views>Sysx from the main menu Select a program bank in the sysex window Click File>Send in the sysex menu After a few seconds the programs should all appear in the synth's display.
  4. I've had a bit more time with the SQ80 V, and I can clear up a few open questions in my previous post. The duplication of programs is a recurring problem. It can always be overcome by deleting the db.db3 file as described, and reloading, but this is clearly a bug. No more crashes since using SQ80 V without also using SQ8L at the same time. And the crackling was, I think, something to do with my audio interface. I had the buffer set to 512, went to change it, got offered a driver upgrade and then a firmware upgrade for the audio interface, both of which I took, then experimented with a buffer size of 1024, then tried 512 again - no more crackling. The other issue was that imported LFO waveforms seemed messed up. I can confirm now that the only waveform that imports properly is TRI. The other three, SAW, SQR, NOI, are all mapped to the wrong settings. I've notified Arturia support of this. If they fix this, I presume it will mean having to reimport all old programs, which will be a pain.
  5. Despite (or perhaps because of) owning a working Ensoniq ESQ-1 and copies of the now abandoned SQ8L and Krosswave software emulations of the ESQ-1’s successor, the SQ-80, this week I spent actual money on yet another emulation of the SQ-80, the Arturia SQ80 V. My first impression is that it is so much better all round to have graphical representations of synthesis parameters like envelopes and filters than just digital readouts. The SQ family were state of the art for ease of programming in the 1980s, but expectations and technology have changed since then. With their gains balanced, playing the same programs on the original 1986 hardware ESQ-1 and the new 2021 software SQ80 V, I am hard-pressed to tell them apart, so my verdict is that this is a faithful emulation. It should be though, as the old and free 32-bit SQ8L, which still works, is also close (even though it has some differences the developer deemed improvements). I ran into some odd behaviour when I imported a bank of ESQ-1 programs. Twice the Arturia software appeared to duplicate every program in the bank, telling me there were 80 when I had uploaded only 40, but this problem seems to have gone away. The first time it happened I deleted what appeared to be duplicates by hand, only to find that I had one by one deleted every program in the bank. The second time it happened I exported the bank to Arturia’s proprietary sysex format, deleted the offending bank, and reimported it without problems. Subsequent imports have behaved perfectly. Arturia support suggested deleting the temporary file C:\ProgramData\Arturia\Presets\db.db3, which apparently can obstruct program (Arturia call them presets) updates. So what I learnt from that was that once programs go into the SQ80 V, there is no getting them out again. Arturia’s proprietary file format is the only form of output I can see so far. The other thing is that it looks like Arturia re-encode most parameters in decimal form, whereas ESQ-1 and SQ80 programs used integer values. The range of a DCA was, and is, encoded as 0 to 63, in increments of 1, whereas Arturia expresses it as 0.00 to 1.00 in increments of 0.004 or thereabouts. For some reason, just to be different, the envelope parameters stick to Ensoniq’s integers. The recoding is understandable when you consider that the SQ80 V is much more than the SQ-80. It has a suite of effects, which can be saved as part of individual programs. It also incorporates elements of the VFX methods for sound engineering, that were not catered for in the early Ensoniq program sysex. There are three ways to set up envelopes in place of Ensoniq’s one, an arpeggiator, new unison settings, and so on. In other words, it is a superset of the old synths. Another way this manifests itself is that program names can now be long and in both upper and lower case. Amazing! Programs can be classified, tagged, favourited and generally made a lot easier to find, sort and reorganise than they ever were in the hardware (or on audio cassette or floppy disk). I am editing programs simultaneously in both the hardware and the software as I write this up, to see where, or if, sounds begin to diverge, so far the results are alike, even though the process and values are quite different. I’ve noticed that LFO waveforms might be ordered differently because a program that calls for noise is being assigned a saw wave. This requires investigation. I’ve had a couple of crashes within Cakewalk, and I have heard crackling, but I think this is due to my system being stretched to its limit already, or may be attributable to the less than solid SQ8L. Once I’ve got all the programs off that, I doubt I will use it again. Another quibble is that there are a fair few spelling errors in the in-app quick tutorials provided by Arturia. Nothing show-stopping of course, but I always find that a bit disappointing. On the other hand, the support team moved with alacrity when I emailed them about my program duplication issues. Another neat feature – a clipping warning light in the display. Why wasn’t that in the 1980s hardware? However, I wonder whether the clipping I am seeing is because there is no way to regulate the way the master envelope modulates the final output? In the hardware there is a way to scale this. Overall, I am happy with the Arturia SQ80 V and look forward to getting more out of it.
  6. Thanks for this. I watched it last night (Sydney time); it must have been only minutes after you posted it.
  7. Similar problem here; specialist left-handed luthier way too close: https://www.gaskellguitars.com.au/
  8. That's the best guitar strumming I've ever heard. If only it came with an Auto Fretter too.
  9. I am pleased that you've got a workaround. I suspect that you're still getting errors when dumping from Cakewalk, though. Working with sysex dumps over the last few days I've noticed that Cakewalk dumps a great deal faster than the default settings of SendSX, so your original suspicion that Cakewalk is too fast for your X3 could well be right. I don't have anything to offer on slowing down Cakewalk as I've not found it necessary, but if you figure it out I'd like to know.
  10. Does MIDI OX allow you to slow down transmission? That's the first thing to try, since it can be done without getting into sysex files themselves. And if a slower transmission speed works then the files must be good. I agree that if the problem applies to all your banks it is not likely to be due to data corruption. If you do want to see inside and edit sysex files, SendSX lets you do it, but you need to know what you are looking for, as the content is displayed like this: F0 0F 02 00 02 0D 04 01 04 0D 04 01 04 00 02 00 02 02 03 00 01 08 02 0E 00 02 03 0F 03 06 01 00... F7
  11. Another possible cause for this behaviour is corrupt data. To test for this you could try sending the same file from a third-party MIDI utility that allows you to adjust transmission speed, such as SendSX, to see whether the problem remains. I've found that some banks have the NULL character where a SPC should have been (00 00 instead of 00 02) and that with my gear this causes exactly the problem you describe.
  12. I too struggled for a spell when I first looked at CbB. I think the main reason was that I had preconceptions of how things ought to work, and consequently CbB didn't seem intuitive. Preconceptions and intuitions are the Kane and Abel of UI design, of course. The acid test is whether now, after a few months of use, I have a list of things I would like to see changed (I normally do compile such lists). The telling fact is that I don't, and this is chiefly because I am still finding good reasons for things being the way they are. If there is a piece of software that has a great multitude of complex functions and at the same time presents a welcoming intuitive face to the new user without hiding most of those functions, I am yet to see it.
  13. I can't resist adding to this year-old thread... In 1982 my last band split up and I couldn't face trying to build yet another one. I emigrated from the UK to Australia and started a hassle-free, music-free life, despite some gentle pushing from people to start a new band. So the advent of MIDI in 1983 passed me by. In 1987 I was living in the UK again and had heard of MIDI by this time. 'A good idea,' I thought. I saw that this could make me independent of other musicians, so I went shopping for a synth in Rose-Morris on Denmark Street in London. The salesman was keen on selling me an Elka (it could have been an EK44, I cannot really remember), and I was close to buying when I asked him about another synth on show nearby. It was the ESQ-1, and when he mentioned the built-in sequencer, that was the one for me. I had a flight case made for it at Rod Argent's shop just across the street. My first MIDI experiments consisted of just hooking up my synth to friends' synths and amazing ourselves that we could control one from another. Nothing ever came of these random MIDI activities but the fun was immense. All my recording was audio. It was only in 1999, back in Australia again, when I decided to go digital and re-recorded all my synth material using a Sound Blaster card and PC with Cakewalk. The software could capture the MIDI output from the synth, then play the MIDI back to the synth one track at a time, while recording the resultant audio. This way I was able to retain full 8-note polyphony on each track. Still, when I listen to that material now I am not that happy with it. Apart from the songs themselves, I never used EQ, filters, compression or any effects, not even reverb. I am tempted to redo everything, but I'm resisting. I may just do one or two tracks to demonstrate to myself the difference. As others have said, it is a real endorsement of the original MIDI specification that it remains useful nearly 40 years on when so many other standards have ended up being obstacles to progress.
  14. I decided to use your ESQ-1 icon. Thanks.
  15. I had a Fostex X15 too. That, my ESQ-1, and a couple of cables were all I ever used in the 80s. I still have my handwritten notes for how I laid down a click track on the Fostex and then bounced recordings around so that I ended up with 16-polyphony stereo. I had to record the right stereo of all tracks first and then go back and record all the left stereo. Sadly the Fostex disappeared during one of my numerous house moves and the loss wasn't noticed for years.
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