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Sam Stalos


Versions prior to 2021.04, e.g. 2020.098, had a feature labeled "Step" in the "Insert Series of Tempo Changes" menu that does not show up in my upgraded version of Cakewalk. (Photo attached.) I would always set the Step Command to .01 when doing tempo mapping, and everything from Sonar 5 to 2020.098 has worked great.

This Step feature eliminated the stair-stepping effect that occurs when changing tempos that were not simply abrupt, immediate shifts to a new tempo. I interpreted  the Step command as controlling the resolution of the math involved in making minute changes to tempos over time, and I always reset the Step to .01 with the acknowledgement that this change placed more calculating stress on the CPU... but I never had any problems. The readout calculations would appear resolved to .001.

I have been working with polytemporal music for the past 14 years, which involves simultaneously changing tempos in several different instruments over an extended period of time. The changes are likely to involve a gradual "shifting" to a new tempo, and are to be accomplished as smoothly as possible. In the composition stage, I obviously work only with MIDI, which has, so far, never stressed my CPU. I also use an external hardware sampler, SPDIF, and an internal sound card to keep the processing clean and reduce latency, although I now assume I could probably shift to the Instrument-Softsynth/VST/USB approach without introducing latency problems. At present, the MIDI tracks -- once rendered to audio -- are then incorporated into other time-based media (such as video and visual timing mechanisms), which means that maintaining the highest precision is important. 

It's been visually difficult to check for stair-stepping using the new Tempo Mapping system because of restrictions on display real estate.  I have always used Cakewalk in the past because of its "full page" Tempo Mapping view and extremely malleable approach.

Is there a way to get back to minimizing stair-stepping by incorporating a Step command in these newer version?  On page 390 of the Reference Guide, I found a topic called Tempo Map Decimation, and I don't know if it is relevant to my question. Apparently, the Tempo Map Decimation can be reset to 3 different values. It involves making a modification to the cakewalk.ini file. But before I do that, I wanted to make sure I understood the consequences of making such a change. I don't understand how the tolerance being set to 1/16, 1/32 or 1/64 could be as precise as reducing the Step resolution to .010 or .001.  A reduction in the Step value to .010 or .001 would seem to be more precise than a reduction to 1/64 of the beat (note) value. And is the reliability of the calculations not affected by the base tempo of the composition, e.g. resolving the tolerance to a tempo working around at 80 BPM verses one working around 200 BPM?

 I'm starting to run some tests with the new track-view/node envelope system.  If any has worked through this resolution problem, or if I can get some feed-back on the elimination of the Step option, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Thank you for your response. 



Edited by Sam Stalos
Grammar and accuracy
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The highest resolution of tempos in Cakewalk has always been 0.01 BPM (since the DOS days).  Even if the dialog at some point let you put in 0.001, it's likely it clamped it to 0.01 under the hood.

The old step value allowed you to specify the minimum increment of BPM values when inserting a series of discrete tempos.  The insert start time for each of those steps would then be calculated based on the range specified.

With the tempo track, it's the other way around.  The Tempo Map Decimation setting defines the minimum time gap between each step,  and the tempo value is calculated based on value at that time for the given curve type.

In other words, the resolution of this value is always 0.01, however instead it restricts the time gap between these increments to the Tempo Map Decimation setting.  A setting of 3, means that 16 tempo changes will be inserted every quarter note.  

For the next release, we've increased the Tempo Map Decimation setting range from 3 to 8.  Specifying a value of 8 will mean 320 tempo changes per quarter note at a minimum step value of 0.01.  

I've compared using setting 8 with what SONAR Platinum was doing with a step value 0.01, and the results are almost identical, so hopefully this will solve your issue.

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