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Joe Dun

Make Cakewalk easy

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CbB in the context of this forum is Cakewalk by BandLab.

FWIW, automatic adding/mapping TTS-1 while opening a MIDI file was added in 2015.

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5 hours ago, Jim Fogle said:

@Some Guy, right on!

 

Agree again!  Spot on.

 

Disagree a little.  With the Start Window enabled, the first step is to load, or not load a project template.  The default template selections are  "Empty Project", "4-Track", "Basic", "16 Track", "Guitar Amps" and "Vocals".  No project templates for midi, loops, mixing, introduction or tutorials.  What's a beginner to choose?  When you do not load a template the next step is a blank page, menu bar and control bar.  For a new user or a beginner what's next?  If you load any template how does a newbie know where to start?

Those aren't features, they're content.  Whether or not the developers want to include more content is their prerogative - and I'd argue there are more important things to focus on... but that's just my opinion.

Asking for a MIDI Project Template is not the same as asking for Spectral Editing in the DAW, for example. 

Templates = Content, not features.

 

The end-user will still have the exact same problems and frustrations.  All the templates will do, is defer the time before they start complaining about other usability issues.

The problem with newbies starting is in the actual use of the DAW, not whether or not they have a template available.

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11 hours ago, scook said:

This is the idea behind Lenses. There are several included with CbB.

Lenses only allow you to turn on and off things that are already there.

The problem is that what is there is badly organized and poorly exposes functionality.

So lenses aren't a solution to anything.

I think Studio One is a better inspiration than GarageBand, since it already uses a GUI that is somewhat like Cakewalk.

I would agree with anyone:  Skylight is amazing... to LOOK at... in screenshots or even on a display.

However, it does not feel that amazing to use.

It's not REAPER bad, by any stretch, but it isn't nearly as good as it could be.

Edited by Some Guy
Typo.

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8 hours ago, chuckebaby said:

Even when you use Microsoft Word, you need to have a basic understanding of basic controls, features and direction. It requires some learning.

I personally feel like adding an "Easy Button" to cakewalk might help bring in new users and help with users becoming newly acquainted with DAW software but you cant expect to open a software and immediately become familiar.  

I might even argue that if the developers can take the time to do this, wouldn't it be better spent on fixing bugs or adding in more in-depth features ? Especially when one can study up on Lenses and learn to create a partial "easy mode" environment.

I cant argue with the OP's request, nor disrespect it (or dis respect your ideas) because who am I to say my ideas are better or should be put first.

Completely disagree:

1.  Word Processors largely function in a standard manner.  So, when they share functionality, it usually works the same.

2.  Windows has had, basically, standardized keyboard shortcuts for decades - starting with the CUA standard (which even many windowed DOS apps adhered to).  So you never have to worry about basic shortcuts for common tasks.  They work the same across almost all Windows apps.

3.  There is a Search Bar in the Microsoft Word title bar that allows you to search for anything within the app, including functionality (like the menu search in macOS).

4.  The Microsoft Ribbon is designed in a  way that exposes functionality in a standardized manner. The only people who have issues with word are maybe the elderly and people just moving to Windows.  It's predictable, so once you've acclimated one app using the Ribbon, others are much easier to use - far easier than  applications with tons of toolbars and huge menus.

Though I'd take a huge set of main menus over 40 menus split up across 18 windows/panels any day of the week.

-----

Bad usability is a bug.  You're speaking like a complacent user, or a project manager on extreme budget.

The reason why F/OSS hasn't taken over the world is because people hate how bad much of it feels to use.. 

Edited by Some Guy

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I believe he would be referring to Free/Open Source Software

and in my experience and opinion his assumption is correct

Edited by ensonced
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@Joe Dun thanks for your feedback. Simplifying the program while retaining behavior for professional use can be a complex endeavour to do properly. We are committed to improving in this area and the Lens feature was a step in this direction. In the next update we are making this much more discoverable and have added it to the first run onboarding to allow users to pick a preset that best matches their requirements. 

In the future we plan on going even further with this so please keep the suggestions coming!

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11 hours ago, Noel Borthwick said:

@Joe Dun thanks for your feedback. Simplifying the program while retaining behavior for professional use can be a complex endeavour to do properly. We are committed to improving in this area and the Lens feature was a step in this direction. In the next update we are making this much more discoverable and have added it to the first run onboarding to allow users to pick a preset that best matches their requirements. 

In the future we plan on going even further with this so please keep the suggestions coming!

It is great to hear that you are monitoring this thread, and I see that you had already realized this issue, and started to find a solution.

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13 hours ago, Some Guy said:

Completely disagree:

1.  Word Processors largely function in a standard manner.  So, when they share functionality, it usually works the same.

 

What and all DAW's don't ?

13 hours ago, Some Guy said:

2.  Windows has had, basically, standardized keyboard shortcuts for decades - starting with the CUA standard (which even many windowed DOS apps adhered to).  So you never have to worry about basic shortcuts for common tasks.  They work the same across almost all Windows apps.

They work (for the most part) the same as DAW's do - CNTRL+C= Copy.

13 hours ago, Some Guy said:

3.  There is a Search Bar in the Microsoft Word title bar that allows you to search for anything within the app, including functionality (like the menu search in macOS).

Cakewalk has the "Help Module".

13 hours ago, Some Guy said:

4.  The Microsoft Ribbon is designed in a  way that exposes functionality in a standardized manner. The only people who have issues with word are maybe the elderly and people just moving to Windows.  It's predictable, so once you've acclimated one app using the Ribbon, others are much easier to use - far easier than  applications with tons of toolbars and huge menus.

DAW's have this thing called a ribbon too. Its a general area where most widgets that control playback, location, HUD's are placed.

13 hours ago, Some Guy said:

Bad usability is a bug.  You're speaking like a complacent user, or a project manager on extreme budget.

I'm not complacent at all. I have answered every single one of your -bullet points (1 thru 4) in an easy to understand manner. most DAW's are a lot like most Word processors. They each have their own set of control in similar places but a little knowledge of general controls goes a long way. So your argument is there should be no learning curve xD

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Really,  no offense to the  OP, but spending some quality time with the documentation and tutorials will be a lot more productive than asking for what amounts to a complete revamp of a software package with a 30+ year history of development. 

 

Let's face it: CbB is a highly complex,  highly advanced program with extensive features and capabilities. That comes at the expense of  a learning curve. 

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1 hour ago, pwalpwal said:

wasn't the solution to this the no-longer available "music creator"?

Music Creator was a consumer product sold in retail stores like BestBuy, Office Depot or Staples.  Sonar was a professional product not sold in retail stores.

I was a Music Creator user for many years starting with MC2, MC3 (included in the USB to MIDI package), MC4 and MC6.  I received a free upgrade to MC6T(Touch) but don't have a touch screen so it's never been installed.  I didn't see enough difference between MC4 and MC5 to justify the expenditure.  MC7 was barely released before Home Studio became available with neither available in retail stores as a boxed product.

Open MC2 and MC6 side-by-side and it would be difficult to say which is which unless you bother to look at the about screen.  $49 bought a box, program cd and a printed manual.  Even though each edition provided all the DAW I needed and wanted I still updated most of the time because the option was available and I had the money.  Support was only available through the archived forum or e-mail.  I needed to use e-mail twice.  Each time it took about two weeks to receive an initial response but the one time a follow up response was needed the follow up response was quick.

I've never seen any of the Sonar editions outside of the archived website, forum or videos.  The Sonar (now Cakewalk) Reference Manual was not available to Music Creator users.  Cakewalk by BandLab is my first experience with the DAW and it has been overwhelming at times.  

I miss not having access to the third party content that was available with Sonar Platinum but do not regret my past decisions not to upgrade.  Having said that, I'm really glad Cakewalk is alive and well.

Edited by Jim Fogle

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2 hours ago, Byron Dickens said:

Really,  no offense to the  OP, but spending some quality time with the documentation and tutorials will be a lot more productive than asking for what amounts to a complete revamp of a software package with a 30+ year history of development.

I also use AutoCAD type software with a similar number of years behind it.  I see how it would be very difficult for a beginner.

Regarding the user manual.  I know some are tempted to just jump onto a forum and post a basic question. But, in my case, I normally spend a fair amount of time looking things up, and next i try other existing answers in an internet search.  Finally, I come to the forum and post.

The two main difficulties I recently ran into, were not addressed in the user manual.  E.g. the task of changing the order of the tracks has some sort of bug on my system, so the instructions don't work. And initially, before asking on the forum, I just assumed I was not viewing the correct user manual, or that the explanation there just was wrong, since it is not unusual for me to read something in the manual, and it not work .  Though, in most cases, I suspect there is some setting elsewhere that is creating the problem.  Another issue, is that it often refers to a place to click or menu item to find, and I cannot find it.  This is sometimes because they use words to describe something that is visual.

But, it is time for me to start over again with the tutorials, since it is has been so long since I did this.

-Joe

 

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14 minutes ago, Joe Dun said:

I also use AutoCAD type software with a similar number of years behind it.  I see how it would be very difficult for a beginner.

Regarding the user manual.  I know some are tempted to just jump onto a forum and post a basic question. But, in my case, I normally spend a fair amount of time looking things up, and next i try other existing answers in an internet search.  Finally, I come to the forum and post.

The two main difficulties I recently ran into, were not addressed in the user manual.  E.g. the task of changing the order of the tracks has some sort of bug on my system, so the instructions don't work. And initially, before asking on the forum, I just assumed I was not viewing the correct user manual, or that the explanation there just was wrong, since it is not unusual for me to read something in the manual, and it not work .  Though, in most cases, I suspect there is some setting elsewhere that is creating the problem.  Another issue, is that it often refers to a place to click or menu item to find, and I cannot find it.  This is sometimes because they use words to describe something that is visual.

But, it is time for me to start over again with the tutorials, since it is has been so long since I did this.

-Joe

 

I meant to respond to your much earlier post about moving tracks not working for you.

So, I will take a stab at explaining it.

Let's say I have a dozen audio tracks, and I want to move a track - track 8, for example, up to sit between tracks 2 and 3 - becoming track 3 because the process moves the old track 8 to the track 3 position, and shifts all the tracks below - down one. (so, old track 3 becomes track 4, old track 4 becomes track 5, and old track 8 becomes the new track 3).

SO, to accomplish the above:

1) From the Track Pane, position the mouse just to the right of the track name for track 8 (this example).  You should see the mouse turn into a double-arrow, with each point of the arrow pointing up and down, respectively.  Please note that this also will work if you position the mouse over the track icon, though the double-arrow won't appear until you begin moving the mouse up or down through the other tracks.  (the horizontal line will still appear as you cross track boundaries, to show you the placement point, if you were to release the mouse at that point in its travels through the tracks).

2) Now, drag the track up and you will see a horizontal line appear in between tracks, which is to show you where the track would move to, if you were to release the mouse at that point.  This line will disappear and appear again as you cross track boundaries on your way to where you want to move it to.

3) Release the mouse when you have that horizontal line in between the tracks where you want to have it move to, and Ta-Da - it will move there and shift the other tracks below down on (renumbering them in the process).

Please also note, that the above only seems to work to move a single track at a time.  Perhaps others have some way of moving multiple tracks.

Please try the above, and hopefully, that will work for you.  :)

Bob Bone

 

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13 hours ago, chuckebaby said:

What and all DAW's don't ?

They work (for the most part) the same as DAW's do - CNTRL+C= Copy.

Cakewalk has the "Help Module".

DAW's have this thing called a ribbon too. Its a general area where most widgets that control playback, location, HUD's are placed.

I'm not complacent at all. I have answered every single one of your -bullet points (1 thru 4) in an easy to understand manner. most DAW's are a lot like most Word processors. They each have their own set of control in similar places but a little knowledge of general controls goes a long way. So your argument is there should be no learning curve xD

No, they don't.  And the help module is practically worthless.

As for Control-C working for Copy… Nice.  But there are some basic keyboard shortcuts unbound by default (like Save As...).

Word 2003 and WordPerfect - Excel 2003 and Quattro Pro - PowerPoint 2003 and Corel Presentations...

All of those pairings are largely interchangeable.  The only difference is that they may use different macro programming langauges (power user feature) or keyboard shortcuts - but generally they included shortcuts for competitors.  The UIs are largely identical.  This was purposefully done to allow users to switch to those applications with minimal friction from competitors.

Lotus 1-2-3, etc. was largely the same.

DAWs (and NLEs, for the matter) are still stuck in the 1980s era thinking where a UI was intellectual property (see Lotus vs. Borland case).  Other software has largely gotten out of that thinking (at least after that ruling set the precedent).

Unless you're going to argue to me that Pro Tools, Ableton, Reason, Cubase, Mixbus, Renoise, FL Studio, REAPER, Digital Performer, Logic Pro X,  Samplitude Pro and Cakewalk are all like Word and WordPerfect (in terms of usability in comparison to each other)… at which point I will honestly laugh at you... I'm going to have to disagree. 

Additionally, the person to whom I replied basically supported my stance by bringing up an application suite that actually did what the OP is asking for, for the same reasons that Microsoft introduced the Ribbon.  Yes, it was tough for people who used Office since the 80s, but for new users, the ribbon makes sense.  Going to the ribbon didn't delete any functionality form the application, or dumb it down.  It reorganized and redefined how that functionality was surfaced, presented, and accessed by the user - that's it.

This is why no "new users" complained about it.  Only people who had to migrate from Menus and Toolbars to Ribbons did - which was expected, and why Microsoft never reverted it (and they do revert things... see Windows 10 Start Menu, Outlook 2016 going back into Office Suite, MFC coming back after being taken out of the Visual C++ package, etc.).  Those users will always complain, because they're the ones who have to adjust to and acclimate the changes.  However, the biggest benefits of this are in the future, when new users need to learn how to use the program, and/or training has to be conducted.

Skylight didn't do what the Ribbon did.  The Ribbon took all of those Toolbars and Menus and condensed it into a context sensitive, auto-resizing toolbar that surfaced task-specific functionality where appropriate.  This is why instead of digging through menus or having the correct toolbars visible in File Explorer, you just click on a Drive and the "Manage" Tab automatically pops up in the Title Bar.  This happens in all compliant applications that use the Ribbon.  This actually made Office faster to navigate and easier use - particularly since it still retained all of its keyboard shortcuts from the Ribbon/Menu days.  It made it a much more transparent bulk of functionality for the end-user.

Instead, the Skylight revamp took the toolbars and menus on one screen and split them across 10+ different screens/panels.  It buried functionality, it made functionality far less discoverable.  It made the software less transparent to new users.  And it makes you open up even more windows/panels to get stuff done - which may or may not be acceptable, given the inflexible docking the DAW has (due to its reliance on multi-dock.

It isn't about functionality (as in the tally of features), but about transparency.  How obvious is this functionality to the end-user.  That's where many people derive a bulk of their perception of "ease of use" from.

The Office 2007 Revamp was done for similar reasons as the move to Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X.  All of those software packages are better off for it.

Edited by Some Guy

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19 hours ago, Robert Bone said:

I meant to respond to your much earlier post about moving tracks not working for you.

So, I will take a stab at explaining it.

Thank you for the detailed response.  It helped me realize there is a bug or incompatibility with my video drivers.

In my case, the double-arrow will never appear. If I click and drag the track icon (the MIDI connector icon for the MIDI tracks) I can successfully drag the tracks to new locations.  It is a bit of a challenge, as the orange line will sometimes appear to where I am dragging, and sometimes not. And if the orange line does not appear, whether the track will go to the new location is about 75% successful. Though, dragging the first track is the one that seems to have trouble most of the time.

And while my posting about the problems reordering tracks was not the purpose of the thread, it was cited an example of my problems.  I viewed the help file, and it didn't work. I simply blamed the help file for not being detailed or accurate enough.  My online effort didn't work either, because I was unsure which of the sources was authoritative for the current Cakewalk version.  If it didn't work as described, I assumed the version was different.  Searching on the online Cakewalk user manual will give me results for Cakewalk, Music Creator, and Sonar in various versions.  There doesn't seem to be a way to restrict your choices to just the current Cakewalk. And to add to the confusion, Music Creator, if I recall correctly, was supposed to be the new name for Cakewalk, and I assumed there was a process of name changes that were associated with updates to the software.

Hopefully some of the user manual issues have been improved. But you cannot search the online help file and just get responses about Cakewalk. That is a major problem.

Edited by Joe Dun

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I believe the pdf is updated with every release now. This may be easier to work with.

The url for the web based help is http://www.cakewalk.com/Documentation?product=Cakewalk&language=3&help=toc.html

Both the pdf and web based help have links in the Cakewalk by BandLab tab at the top of this forum. There are links to the web based help in the program under the help menu too.

Search is built into the site hosting the help. It is on the far right of the banner at the top of the page. Unfortunately the current help is not part of the web based search. The search returns results for older DAWs. Changing the urls in the search results from SONAR to the current product usually returns the correct page. For example, searching for "reorder" returned

https://www.cakewalk.com/Documentation?product=SONAR X2&language=3&help=Arranging.03.html

as the 4th result. Changing the product from SONAR X2 to Cakewalk returns the current page like this

https://www.cakewalk.com/Documentation?product=Cakewalk&language=3&help=Arranging.03.html

Granted this is not the best. I usually go straight to the current help index and use the browser to search for keywords.

 

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By the way, VERY happy you are seeing at least some success moving tracks. You might try dragging the vertical line separating the track info and the track data, to make a little more horizontal room to the right of the track name. That might help it turn the mouse into the double arrow.

Bob Bone 

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8 hours ago, scook said:

I believe the pdf is updated with every release now. This may be easier to work with.

Thanks for the PDF link. I think that will be much better to use than the web based one.

 

Robert Bone, concerning draging tracks.  When I expanded the height of the track to be taller than the default, and then place my cursor directly under the track number, that gives me the double-arrow, and I can successfully change the order of the tracks.  Though, the target area is pretty small to get that double-arrow.

-joe

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