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Klangraum

Way to complex audio gain command should be different menu items (Process > Apply Effect > Gain)

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Posted (edited)

Suggestion for improvement: Way to complex audio gain command should be different menu items. (Process > Apply Effect > Gain)

As a newcomer to the software, I find it extremely irritating how something elementary like audio gain combines so many functions that should actually be different menu items:

- to mono, to stereo
- phase invert
- gain left/right (+/- dB)
- cut/gain center, side channels (+/- dB)
- pan
+ everthing with channel link

This gain function, as it is at the moment, seems to be a relic from the early days of Cakewalk that has never been modernized. These improvements should not be a big effort since the functionality is already fully available.

Cheers

Edited by Klangraum
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Posted (edited)

The clip gain functionality is a good feature, but it is not what I expect from a sample editing perspective. It would be nice to have quick and easy functions to make fixed changes on sample material. I quickly made a mockup from what I would like to see, rather than a "complicated combined multi something". Furthermore, I do understand, if people are fine with it over the years, but it could be much more transparent. 

cakewalk_gain.thumb.png.b761fbc978b0a1f24efa774ce8b407a3.png

Edited by Klangraum

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As Mark said, automation is the more modern way to handle this. The beauty of digital audio editing in a modern DAW is that it can all be non-destructive. You can continually tweak your edits as needed and immediately hear the result without having to commit them until everything is sounding like you want. But you're using the old-school shoot-first-listen-later destructive tools.

Just use automation (and all the other non-destructive editing tools) and when you've got what you want, bounce/export the audio.

 

 

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But automation can't (easily) do some of those things - try inverting one side of a stereo audio track/clip (you need a plug-in like Channel Tools).  But I don't think that those should be split out into separate functions - I'd just rename the menu item to something more "obvious" (Channel Tools? :-)).

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21 minutes ago, Kevin Perry said:

But automation can't (easily) do some of those things - try inverting one side of a stereo audio track/clip

True, But that can't currently be done from the Process menu, either. It seems this post is as much about adding new features as it is about presenting them differently, and not just about Gain as the subject suggests.

 

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Posted (edited)

I totally understand the non-destructive approach. My intention is to have sample editing features, which make fundamental (destructive) changes easier, for having good basic material. As I said, all these functions are already there within the gain function as presets. It's the presentation (from left, to left, left-right-left), that is so inconvenient, what I would call experimental, maybe originated from a very old version of Cakewalk Audio (90ies?), when everything was packed into one tiny screen.

Edited by Klangraum

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2 hours ago, Klangraum said:

As I said, all these functions are already there within the gain function as presets

Ah, yes. I didn't realize the un-labeled boxes at the bottom are for phase inversion.

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30 minutes ago, David Baay said:

Ah, yes. I didn't realize the un-labeled boxes at the bottom are for phase inversion.

There are so many little things (like unlabeled invert phase buttons) that could be polished up. It's a bit sad that the core features feel unfinished or improvised. But what can we expect from free software today? I mean, SONAR was $500 and the problems were the same then. On the other hand, the overall appearance is much professional.

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12 minutes ago, Klangraum said:

There are so many little things (like unlabeled invert phase buttons) that could be polished up. It's a bit sad that the core features feel unfinished or improvised. But what can we expect from free software today?

One man's "core features" are another's "superfluous relics". ;^)  I forgot about the phase buttons because I haven't used that dialog in anger for a decade. or more.

Yes, there are some dated dialogs and UI elements scattered around Cakewalk. In most cases I suspect this reflects their relative unimportance to the majority of users. The development team has always been pretty small, and there's a limit to how often they can re-visit existing functionality that might not be pretty but is perfectly serviceable.

I don't really have any objection to your suggestion except to the extent that they will take precious development time away from adding new features and continuing to polish what I consider to be the 'core features' needed for recording, editing, arranging, mixing and mastering songs. And in these areas, Cakewalk generally is as polished as anything out there.

 

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I could already imagine something like that. Cakewalk seems to be taking old features with it for compatibility or just for nostalgia. More up-to-date methods than replace these old ones. For me, destructive functions on samples immediately after recording have always been the first step. As you said, everyone has their own approach. It does require a certain perspective on how to see and use the DAW. However, these "core" things are often criticized by people on various forums, as I have read. But it's ok as long as more people don't want it as a desirable improvement.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Klangraum said:

 As you said, everyone has their own approach. It does require a certain perspective on how to see and use the DAW. 

Back in the olden times we only had the option of destructive audio editing but it's been many years since PCs became powerful enough to edit non-destructively, and like David I haven't really delved into those Edit-Process menus for many years.

It does seem like a forgotten corner of the UI as they look very much like legacy style menus from pre-2000's whilst other menus that were added later have a more modern look. 

I suppose the question is , if something works but is a relic from the early version should you change it if newer methods have been added to reflect how the majority of users are working now Vs 20+ years ago.

There is an argument that the UI should be streamlined and consistent but how much Dev time does that take up and do enough users benefit.

Edited by Mark MoreThan-Shaw

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7 hours ago, Mark MoreThan-Shaw said:

There is an argument that the UI should be streamlined and consistent but how much Dev time does that take up and do enough users benefit.

There's also the issue of continuity for users who have a well-established workflow that depends on the old implementation.  Minor changes like removing the phase buttons from the track view (eventually restored by popular demand) have generated long acrimonious threads on the forum in the past. 

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6 hours ago, David Baay said:

 removing the phase buttons from the track view (eventually restored by popular demand) have generated long acrimonious threads on the forum in the past. 

Yeah that was a bit of a thing to omit

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Posted (edited)

Personally think the Process menu should be a right-click-on-a-clip function.

 

OTOH, fix the broken lights and buttons. If your mixer came factory new with non working lights and buttons you'd send it back under warranty.

If it's knobs and faders were misaligned or arranged illogically, you'd buy a different one. These are easy fixes.

Edited by sjoens

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No worries. Save As projects successively obsessively so there's always a previous version of edited wave files in the Audio folders. ;)

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Mark MoreThan-Shaw said:

 removing the phase buttons from the track view (eventually restored by popular demand) have generated long acrimonious threads on the forum in the past. 

Phase changes in track view is more like a chemical laboratory, and I'm not a chemical. The track view is well-made.


The thing is...
It's sometimes necessary to make final changes on volume or phase or anything else. Because of imperfect recording or old sample library, destructive functions are not unnecessary.
What could we do with these old menu entries, which are clearly out of date?
You could improve them to work well in a destructive context, or you could take them out entirely. The non-destructive way of working will certainly remain the dominant way for most of us. (channel tools, bouncing etc., which is in certain circumstances more work than necessary)
As it is for now, it's a real headache, every time you open up the menu. And I do so, when the normalize function is needed.
Since the discussion goes wild, I made an update on the mockup to clear up my intention a little. ;)
Btw.: I overlooked the fact that swap channels was also one of the options for this "minimonster" gain function.

cakewalk_gain_2.thumb.png.ebf4e878856b73a0265ba13c10f8f838.png

Edited by Klangraum
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8 hours ago, Klangraum said:

The non-destructive way of working will certainly remain the dominant way for most of us. 

Speak for yourself.  I make 100+ tracks per year for TV and I never use any of those functions. Ever.

Different strokes for different folks. I don't disagree they could be updated though.

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