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Starship Krupa

Insert Soft Synth command (for Custom module and keystroke)

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One of my favorite ways to add tracks is via the Global menu's "Insert Soft Synth" command. It's the only way to add a soft synth without also creating either a MIDI track or making it a simple instrument track. It's in a clunky location, all the way up in the Global menu.

I've combed through the custom keystrokes editor and the list of commands available for Custom module, but this one isn't in there. It should be, I'd use it all the time.

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For now try ALT+i+y

If that is unsatisfying, a few minutes of quality time with autohotkey may be worthwhile (not just for CbB)

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That only opens the menu list. Clicking the Insert menu is just as fast. There should be a keystroke for the Insert window itself. For some reason it's about the only Insert option without one. All the others can be assigned. Using a 3rd party utility isn't really the answer. :)

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Of course, it all starts with selecting a synth.

The OP writes

2 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

One of my favorite ways to add tracks is via the Global menu's "Insert Soft Synth" command.

This has a default accelerator key combination and it seems to address the main complaint

2 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

It's in a clunky location, all the way up in the Global menu.

 

What exactly is the

46 minutes ago, sjoens said:

Insert window

This is not something mentioned in the OP.

 

Autohotkey may not be the "answer" but it is available today and may be leveraged in a variety of situations while waiting for developers to tailor their programs to suit user requests.

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True.

1 hour ago, scook said:

What exactly is the Insert window?

Where you select how the synth will load. But alas... that window can't open without selecting the synth first.

Now it's obvious why there's no keystroke for it, so I'll just.... I was never here!

Edited by sjoens

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21 hours ago, scook said:

This has a default accelerator key combination and it seems to address the main complaint

As far as I can tell, there is a key sequence that will open it (which you kindly detailed), but it can't be bound to a keystroke (combo or single) or placed in the Custom Module.

What I want is for it to be able to be bound to a keystroke or assigned to a Custom module button, like Insert Surround Bus now is. I insert soft synths way more often than I insert surround buses.

21 hours ago, scook said:

What exactly is the

If you were going to say "Global Menu," that's the name I use for the menu at the top of the main Cakewalk window (shows Track View by default). It might be called "Main Menu?" I haven't run across the nomenclature in the documentation. My guess is that you know, so please fill me in if you are inclined.

It contains several items that IMO would be handier in the Track View, Console View and/or Piano Roll View menus, where they'd be closer to the action. I wind up having to switch from view to view to access certain menus, which is unnecessarily confusing.

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29 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:

As far as I can tell, there is a key sequence that will open it (which you kindly detailed), but it can't be bound to a keystroke (combo or single) or placed in the Custom Module.

It is true, the function called by Insert > Soft Synth... is not exposed for binding.  The only reason I can think of is, unlike the other insert "track" functions, "Insert Soft Synth" launches a menu instead of actually inserting a track into the project. This is also the case with Insert > Rewire Device.

When I mention things like accelerator keys, it is a way, and in this case a very similar way, to perform the requested task (i.e. keyboard shortcut binding albeit predefined in the program).

49 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:
22 hours ago, scook said:

What exactly is the

If you were going to say "Global Menu," that's the name I use for the menu at the top of the main Cakewalk window (shows Track View by default). It might be called "Main Menu?" I haven't run across the nomenclature in the documentation. My guess is that you know, so please fill me in if you are inclined.

Why take my post out of context? The question was specifically about the term "Insert window" in the post immediately above mine. I suspected the user meant Insert Soft Synth Options dialog but wanted to make sure. Aside from the Add Track menu

Quote

The Add Track button Arranging.14.02.png  opens the Add Track menu, which consists of an Audio tab and an Instrument tab, each with relevant settings for creating audio or instrument tracks. You can specify the track type, number of tracks, and settings such as record enable, input monitoring, input and output.

all the other methods of inserting synths call the "Insert Soft Synth Options dialog" (as long as "Ask every time" is enabled in the dialog) after the synth has been selected. This is why my response to post "That only opens the menu list" started with "Of course, it all starts with selecting a synth."

As for "Global Menu" vs. "Main Menu", this is the first time I recall hearing the term "Global Menu" but I understood it to mean the menu at the top of the application. Personally, I call these the "Main Menu" in any program but the meaning in the OP was clear.

 

As with most feature requests, I have no objection to the request. Generally my replies in this part of the forum are suggestions to accomplish similar results with the tools at hand while waiting for the request to be implemented.

Granted in this case, there is no way to create a custom module button but there is a predefined keyboard shortcut.

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Thanks for that. I never knew about Alt+i+y and have never seen it in documentation. Even a google search comes up dry. Where can it be found?

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1 hour ago, scook said:

It is true, the function called by Insert > Soft Synth... is not exposed for binding.  The only reason I can think of is, unlike the other insert "track" functions, "Insert Soft Synth" launches a menu instead of actually inserting a track into the project. This is also the case with Insert > Rewire Device.

This! I now see why a Custom Mod Button wouldn't work ATM.

Edited by sjoens

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1 hour ago, sjoens said:

Thanks for that. I never knew about Alt+i+y and have never seen it in documentation. Even a google search comes up dry. Where can it be found?

It's a Windows thing. The main menu is called with Alt. The underlined letters are the rest of the accelerator key combination. So in this case:

  • Alt = main menu
  • i= Insert
  • y = Insert Synth...

Press each key one at a time to see Windows default accelerator key behavior in action. Of course, the keys after Alt are program dependent.

 

49 minutes ago, sjoens said:

This! I now see why a Custom Mod Button wouldn't work ATM. It would probably take creating (coding) a whole new approach to the routine. 

I have no idea if a particular function would work well exposed for binding but my guess is the function called by the track view track header content menu option Insert Instrument... may a better choice than the function called by Insert > Soft Synth... from the main menu.

Insert Instrument... is a newer method calling the Add Tracks menu instrument tab which includes synth selection and options in one dialog.

That said, I prefer the flexibility of the Insert Soft Synth Options dialog but Add Tracks menu could be improved.

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I’m just curious,  I can’t think of a situation where I would need a instrument track with out a associate midi track? 
If I want to change instruments I use the replace option. Pretty quick operation that lets me try different instruments until I find the one that works. The beauty of this is you don’t have to delete the one you don’t want it’s gone. 
I have learned to like the new add track menu as it automatically adds a bunch of stuff like input devices and output so saves me time. 
The  other habit I changed is I now find myself using simple instrument tracks something I never thought I’d do. Which is definitely an option for you. You can still have associated midi tracks that point to a simple instrument track 

If you compare an instrument track with a simple instrument track the difference is small. 
Instrument track is just audio. There are no midi dialogue boxes and if you record it creates a audio clip of the instrument

A Simple instrument track has the all the audio stuff as well as midi dialogue boxes. If you record you get midi data. What I really like is for most parts I only need that one track. 
And then it works real well for instruments that use multiple outputs 

Edited by John Vere

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6 hours ago, John Vere said:

If you compare an instrument track with a simple instrument track the difference is small. 
Instrument track is just audio. There are no midi dialogue boxes and if you record it creates a audio clip of the instrument

There are two basic track types: audio and MIDI. All others are derived from those two.

A (Simple) instrument track is a presentation layer above an audio+MIDI track pair.

Instrument tracks have steadily improved since their introduction years ago.

The Add Track menu instrument tab defaults to creating instrument tracks but can create audio+MIDI track pairs on demand.

The only way to record audio directly from a soft synth is with an audio track. This may either be the audio track from an audio+MIDI track pair or if using an instrument track an additional audio track with its input pointing to the same synth. For more info see synth audio recording in the help.

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6 hours ago, John Vere said:

I’m just curious,  I can’t think of a situation where I would need a instrument track with out a associate midi track? 

For one it's handy for comparing different synths driving existing MIDI tracks. The Replace Synth routine loads an empty synth for which you need to spend time loading an instrument and prevents A/B style comparisons with other synths.

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On 11/16/2021 at 5:42 AM, Starship Krupa said:

It's the only way to add a soft synth without also creating either a MIDI track or making it a simple instrument track. 

You can also do this by double clicking an instrument in the Browser

Edited by Mark MoreThan-Shaw
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There are at least 4 inserting methods that open the old dialogue box which has the check box for the add the associated midi track. 

The synth rack, drag and drop, double clicking instrument in browser and the insert menu. 

This is the one box missing from the new insert instrument dialog but they could easily add it, right? 

The other way to work is have track templates saved for each "go to" synths you commonly use. I have one for the Acoustic bass in Dim pro as example. Templates can be saved for any of the combinations of instrument and midi tracks. 

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6 hours ago, John Vere said:

This is the one box missing from the new insert instrument dialog but they could easily add it, right? 

Kinda seems like it. Since the MIDI Only option is there, why not Synth Only too?

Edited by sjoens
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On 11/16/2021 at 11:08 PM, scook said:

Why take my post out of context?

My apologies. I just made an (incorrect) assumption. Silly of me.

And if you call it the Main menu, I'm pretty sure you know what you're talking about. You tend to know what you're talking about. 😄

On 11/17/2021 at 8:09 AM, John Vere said:

I’m just curious,  I can’t think of a situation where I would need a instrument track with out a associate midi track? 

There's the aforementioned quick auditioning of alternate synths. It's good for a situation where I have one synth all tweaked up, and then want to experiment with replacing it. I can set up several synth tracks and just switch my MIDI track between them.

Also, since Cakewalk can't route its MIDI tracks to more than one synth at a time, there is the situation where I must duplicate a MIDI track. After I've done that, I'm left with either a lonely MIDI track or, alternately, if I duped both of them, an extra synth track where I have to replace the synth. I prefer the lonely MIDI track option, followed by Insert/Soft Synth.

8 hours ago, sjoens said:

Since the MIDI Only option is there, why not Synth Only too?

Ah, excellent idea! I'll make a separate FR for that one.

It was actually @scook who turned me on to the usefulness of Insert/Soft Synth. I had been ranting about things in Cakewalk's menu system that I find confusing and inconsistent. One of those things is all of the view-specific commands that are up there in the Main Menu. I forget exactly what I said about it, maybe that the commands up there were duplicated by the Add Track Flyout, and he pointed out that no, they are not all duplicated, that it's the only menu that lets you do just that.

I still think that the Main Insert and Process menus would work better in the individual views. I think maybe why the veterans don't get my rap about this is that for a lot of people, the Main window is synonymous with Track View. When to me, there's the Main Window and a bunch of other views, one of which is the Track View, which can only be displayed in the Main Window. I work all the time with the Multidock maximized in the Main window. And of course you can drag the Multidock up so that Track View shifts down to the bottom.

My idea is that the Main menu should have mostly things that apply to a project or the program as a whole, and the individual views' menus should have things that apply to elements you're working in in the view. So for instance, Piano Roll should have a Process menu with the MIDI stuff rather than having to go over or up to Main. Track View should have its own that includes the Process commands that apply to it. And so on. Track View's Insert menu would get most of the "Project" commands.

But those are all suggestions for another time.

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On 11/17/2021 at 11:09 AM, John Vere said:

I’m just curious,  I can’t think of a situation where I would need a instrument track with out a associate midi track? 

Suppose someone has multi-midi track songs that were done with hardware sound modules and she or he wanted to add some software instrument tracks to re-orchestrate it for soft synths in whole or in part.  One option is to add hybrid instrument tracks, delete the midi tracks, and then point the original midi tracks to the instrument tracks with the  soft synths.

I think it would be more efficient to be able to just add soft synths and then point the midi tracks to the soft synths using the [O]utput track widget directly. Someone could even add a number of soft synths and test drive a specific midi track by simply changing the [O]utput.  

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