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Joe Dun

Make Cakewalk easy

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it seems that I am a little out of date.  One current alternative is TeamViewer, and another is that the Google Chrome browser has this built in.  But, I not recommending these for use when you are seeking support from a stranger. To me the risks of giving a stranger complete support of your system is too great.

I've done a little asking around to see if I could find someone I knew who used Cakewalk, but was unsuccessful.  Perhaps BandLab could offer a place for people to list their availability to offer paid support.  Perhaps that would facilitate the ability to find someone, who you could meet in person for support.  However, unless it were pushed heavily by BandLab, I doubt enough would  register to make it likely that you could find someone local.

-Joe

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I definitely think there are a good case for two modes, "Easy/Basic" and "Normal". Thus BandLab can cater for people like podcasters etc and another for the power users. 

To understand why easy mode is a just cause you have to analyse the impact of Garageband. 

Below are two articles you might find interesting.

https://pitchfork.com/features/article/9728-democracy-of-sound-is-garageband-good-for-music/

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/apple-garageband-modern-music-784257/

 

 

Edited by Francois van der Merwe
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On 11/25/2019 at 4:47 PM, Francois van der Merwe said:

I definitely think there are a good case for two modes, "Easy/Basic" and "Normal". Thus BandLab can cater for people like podcasters etc and another for the power users. 

To understand why easy mode is a just cause you have to analyse the impact of Garageband. 

Below are two articles you might find interesting.

https://pitchfork.com/features/article/9728-democracy-of-sound-is-garageband-good-for-music/

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/apple-garageband-modern-music-784257/

 

 

Thanks for the links.  Both reads are interesting.  Not having access to GarageBand or logic because I have a pc, duh, it's fascinating to read about "the other side" of the computer world.   I believe the Rolling Stone article includes an inaccuracy though.  While acknowledging GarageBand was included as one part of a software package the article states the software package was free.  The software package originally cost $19 US.  But who's counting.

Both articles tout the same three GarageBand strong points ease-of-use, loops and included with every Apple computer.   Well, Cakewalk by BandLab's GUI appears to be easier to use with the change from lens to workspaces.  The BandLab Assistant features midi and audio loops.  Finally, Cakewalk by BandLab is available for the cost of an email address and the time to download.

Apple and pc differ greatly in one respect.  Apple supplies the hardware and operating system software.  Apple also has power to allow or dismiss what connects or goes inside its computers .  Meanwhile the pc world has two operating systems, Windows and Linux, residing on Intel and AMD cpu platforms and a multitude of hardware vendors.

The pc world is inherently more complex because of its diversity.

Edited by Jim Fogle
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I see great possibilities in the use of tailored workspaces  and they might even take off like user-created themes have.

I'd be into checking  out workspaces created by other users.

Things like "Podcast," "Audiobook," "External MIDI Control," "Loops and MIDI," "Loop Construction," "Live Audio Recording," "Studio Session," all kinds of specialized  clean workspaces.

Once the project is started, of course the user can switch to a more comprehensive workspace if they want to work with types of tracks or other features that are hidden from the workspace that they started with. That's the cool part, you're not restricted to the features included with your original workspace.

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5 hours ago, Jim Fogle said:

Thanks for the links.  Both reads are interesting.  Not having access to GarageBand or logic because I have a pc, duh, it's fascinating to read about "the other side" of the computer world.   I believe the Rolling Stone article includes an inaccuracy though.  While acknowledging GarageBand was included as one part of a software package the article states the software package was free.  The software package originally cost $19 US.  But who's counting.

Both articles tout the same three GarageBand strong points ease-of-use, loops and included with every Apple computer.   Well, Cakewalk by BandLab's GUI appears to be easier to use with the change from lens to workspaces.  The BandLab Assistant features midi and audio loops.  Finally, Cakewalk by BandLab is available for the cost of an email address and the time to download.

Apple and pc differ greatly in one respect.  Apple supplies the hardware and operating system software.  Apple also has power to allow or dismiss what connects or goes inside its computers .  Meanwhile the pc world has two operating systems, Windows and Linux, residing on Intel and AMD cpu platforms and a multitude of hardware vendors.

The pc world is inherently more complex because of its diversity.

Windows and Linux runs on Mac PCs.  Macs are basically PCs with Apple Hardware Copy Protection that their own OS checks before it is allowed to install itself (without illegal workarounds i.e. Hackintosh).  Apart from that, it uses the same types of components as any other PC Desktop, Workstation, or Laptop.

The only difference is the general design of the hardware (how it looks), and what logo is plastered on it (a bitten-off apple instead of a crooked window, for example).

GarageBand is probably the easiest interface in the DAW market.  It was the basis for Logic Pro X.  I think a well-designed UI has less need for things like Lenses/Workspaces, IMO.  This is only necessary if the UI is not optimally organized.  Lenses/Workspaces allow the users to do this themselves, when the defaults are not optimal.  A lot of older software was not designed for ease of use.  They were designed to cram as much functionality into the software as possible, user be damned.

I think Skylight was a step in the right direction, however they have compartmentalized the UI to an extreme degree, which actually begins to have the opposite effect.

Edited by Some Guy

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GarageBand is Apple's entry level DAW while  Logic Pro is Apple's professional grade DAW.  The former Cakewalk followed the same model by offering Music Creator or Home Studio as their entry level DAW and Sonar as their professional grade DAW.  However in the transition, the entry level DAW was abandoned while the professional grade DAW was relabeled from Sonar to Cakewalk .

If we assume for a moment that Apple's way of doing things makes sense then the question becomes, "short of adding an entry level DAW, how can Cakewalk by BandLab be easy enough for a novice to use while retaining the features professional grade requires?  The answer appears to be by enabling features so users can enable and learn at their own pace.  That is almost exactly what workspaces accomplishes.

Clipboard28

 

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Let’s face. In reality far too many folks have ambition that outstrips their abilities.
When they can’t operate a complex piece of software, blame the software. It’s not intuitive enough. 

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On 11/28/2019 at 7:27 AM, Some Guy said:

The only difference is the general design of the hardware (how it looks), and what logo is plastered on it (a bitten-off apple instead of a crooked window, for example).

... and the price! 😄

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On 12/13/2019 at 2:18 AM, Michael Vogel ( MUDGEL) said:

Let’s face. In reality far too many folks have ambition that outstrips their abilities.
When they can’t operate a complex piece of software, blame the software. It’s not intuitive enough. 

Exactly.  Too many people want it done for them and are not willing to sit down and spend some quality time with the documentation.

 

I see this all the time in my  (former) professional life, too.  

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Here I will throw in a bit of my own experience. I started using Cakewalk Home Studio about 25 years ago, using so-called "Sound Fonts".  I progressed to Cakewalk Professional - 9,  got an external synthesizer/sampler, and composed a lot of music with it. It wasn't simple--the external synthesizer/sampler was complicated, and required a lot of integration with Cakewalk.

Now, many years later I started to use Cakewalk by Bandlab, and purchased some VST instrument libraries. This was a whole new ballgame, and I could not figure out how to make ANY Midi-generated sound come out of it at all! The voluminous documentation did not help at all. So I started looking at YouTube tutorials. After watching many many videos, I happened upon ONE online tutorial that showed in detail, every single button press needed to work with VST libraries. I carefully wrote all the steps down, and -- it worked! I was back in business. Since then, I explored alternative approaches that somewhat simplified the whole procedure.

The point is, that this is complicated software, with a very steep learning curve. It was steep for me, even though I was very familiar with Cakewalk in the pre-VST days. One approach that has been suggested, is to add a new Workspace option that is even more basic than BASIC. But I would suggest, instead, a very simple Quick-Start users guide. Such a guide would show how to go from a brand new installation, step-by-step every single button-press needed to produce Midi-generated music. Also a section on how to record audio from a microphone or guitar.

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It was many years ago that I really spent many hours of intensive effort going through the tutorials and help file, trying to learn Cakewalk.  It was quite frustrating, and just was not working out.  And I am used to working with very complex software, such as AutoCAD and SolidWorks.  Sadly, virtually all software has suffered from the decline that occurred after computers became commonplace and low cost.  Before then, software and hardware vendors made no assumptions about prior knowledge about the subject, and so realized that documentation was key to making their product useful.  But, as computers became commonplace, software vendors realized that the price of the software was more important than the user manual, and so skimped on the user manual.  And the Internet only made matters worse, because people could go to 3rd parties for support and training.  The internet is a great resource (as this forum shows), but it is not an organized training and reference manual.

To be fair to Bandlab, I have not really investigated their own recent training materials in any depth.  I saw that a lot was copied from early versions of Cakewalk, and simply assumed that it was at the same level as before. But, that assumption may not be correct.

I realize that I need to give Bandlab a chance to prove themselves, and need to invest more hours by starting from the beginning with them and go over the stuff I though I may have figured out in the past, because I may be missing some parts of that training.

-Joe

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On 12/19/2019 at 10:36 AM, Byron Dickens said:

Too many people want it done for them and are not willing to sit down and spend some quality time with the documentation.

I strongly disagree with this statement, especially if applied to audio production beginners and hobbyists.

One issue is terminology.  The 1,712 page Cakewalk Reference Manual has a 14 page glossary!  The glossary is filled with gems like "xRPN = RPN and NRPN".  Who has ever heard of a groove clip outside the world of Sonar or Cakewalk by BandLab?

Of course that's even if you know the DAW has a pdf reference manual.  The Cakewalk Reference Manual is NOT part of the Cakewalk by BandLab download and is not available through the BandLab Assistant;  not even as a checkbox selection on the add-ons screen.

You don't think 16 pages of pc keyboard shortcuts is a little too much, a little intimidating?  If that doesn't indicate the complexity of the software, nothing I can say will.

Having said all that I will say I am extremely grateful to creators that provide a guided tour of the software with video tutorials.  Each and every video has been very informative.

However the issue soon will be one of organization with some videos providing an overview, some feature specific and the quantity increasing everyday until it will soon get to the point where newbies won't know where to start.  I think the Groove3.com videos are worth purchasing just because of how well they are organized and how the series was planned from beginning to end.  I very much believe the Groove3.com videos offer the perfect organizational template for anyone making Cakewalk by BandLab videos to follow.

Edited by Jim Fogle

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On 11/15/2019 at 4:19 PM, Joe Dun said:

The entire premise for the Cakewalk name, was that the program should be easy to use.  I started another thread, that is asking for recommendations, for a Bandlab or 3rd party program to do fairly simple MIDI edits. 

 

My suggestion is to make Cakewalk a truly easy to use program.  This requires both simplifying the program, and making sure you have an accurate, and complete, user manual.   Perhaps release a different version that omits a lot of the features, or have a "simple"mode that is on by default, and has an easy to find toggle. 

The Simplify window may have options to turn on/off certain features. For example, I suspect a lot of users may not actually use separate MIDI sound modules or external synths.  So, turning off all the features related to external sound modules and synths, should be an option in the "simplify" window. With those options removed, you can perhaps have the program set to work without the user knowing things like that they must add one of those mysterious, ever multiplying, TTS tracks in order to hear the music, or export an audio file.

-Joe

Hey, Joe!

The title of your post drew my attention, it was about the same concerns I've had. Here's a few ideas. Tell me what you think.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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I've always bit my tongue but it needs to be said so here goes-

Cakewalk is music software, if you have absolutely no background in music you will have a hard time!

Cakewalk is a computer program, if you have no idea at all how a computer works you will have a hard time!

Anything new takes some effort to learn, if you're not willing to do what you need to learn(read the manual, watch videos, ask questions, experiment, etc.) you will have a hard time!

There is no way to make something easy to learn if someone doesn't have the intellect and/or temperament and/or level of drive to learn in the first place.

Anyways...Merry Christmas :)

Bill

 

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9 minutes ago, Cookie Jarvis said:

I've always bit my tongue but it needs to be said so here goes-

Cakewalk is music software, if you have absolutely no background in music you will have a hard time!

Cakewalk is a computer program, if you have no idea at all how a computer works you will have a hard time!

Anything new takes some effort to learn, if you're not willing to do what you need to learn(read the manual, watch videos, ask questions, experiment, etc.) you will have a hard time!

There is no way to make something easy to learn if someone doesn't have the intellect and/or temperament and/or level of drive to learn in the first place.

Anyways...Merry Christmas :)

Bill

 

Exactly. Very well articulated Cookie Jarvis.

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Please don't "simplify" Cakewalk. I hate this trend of dumbing down software and minimalism. 

The core features of CakeWalk is easy to learn. The manual in fact has a chapter dealing with the core features. 

If you dont know how to arm a track and press record then you just have not spend that little bit of time needed to master these core features. 

Edited by Francois van der Merwe
Grammar

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16 hours ago, Cookie Jarvis said:

I've always bit my tongue but it needs to be said so here goes-

Cakewalk is music software, if you have absolutely no background in music you will have a hard time!

Cakewalk is a computer program, if you have no idea at all how a computer works you will have a hard time!

Anything new takes some effort to learn, if you're not willing to do what you need to learn(read the manual, watch videos, ask questions, experiment, etc.) you will have a hard time!

There is no way to make something easy to learn if someone doesn't have the intellect and/or temperament and/or level of drive to learn in the first place.

Anyways...Merry Christmas :)

Bill

 

@Cookie Jarvis, I agree with you 100%.  Audio production is not easy, simple or easy to learn.  However a beginner is going to need more than the will to learn.  They will also need a roadmap to follow, some direction.  If someone wants to have a successful learning experience the learning experience  needs to have structure; a starting point, middle and end.  That starting point will depend somewhat on where each beginners interest lies.  For example someone interested in recording performances will have different needs than someone wanting to create using loops. Yet both will need to learn about mixing and distribution.

The Morten Saether "Getting Started" thread with links to various videos is a good start assuming you are familiar with audio production or perhaps live sound but if you have no background in audio production even those videos are a deep dive because you see what Cakewalk by BandLab can do but you'll have little or no idea what needs to be done.

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2 hours ago, Jim Fogle said:

If someone wants to have a successful learning experience the learning experience  needs to have structure; a starting point, middle and end. 

I agree with Jim (as I usually do). :)

 

See im one of those people who believe hard work is needed in order to learn things such as digital audio software. but I also sympathize with the new user.. because not so long ago (20 years ago) I was one. I remember reading that manual for Pro audio 9 for hours just trying to make sense of it. I could have only wished for an easier way.

I also believe the music business, especially guitar music in general is not as popular as it once was. If we could find a way to pull in new users (not just to Cakewalk) but the music business in general, we should all help as much as possible. New users want an easy way. Not that im a big fan of that because I still believe in putting in your time, earning your stripes. But if we want to see new users, there has to be an easier way than spending years trying to figure out how to record a track.

Lets face it people, we are musicians for a reason. we are lead down this path because something in our minds is much different from other humans. we don't think the same way. We sometimes have difficulty reading books, but we can memorize all the scales forward and back. This is us people. We don't learn like other humans. in some ways we are much smarter, in others we are far behind. Story of our lives.

If there's ever any question ask yourself this...

When you've been working on a new song and your wife is telling you what to pick up at the grocery store... Are you really listening to her...or are you planning out the bridge in head and simply nodding "yes" to what ever she says ?

 

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I think that Cakewalk is the best DAW out there for tuning it to your level of capability. Being able to change what is in the track headers for example. You really can dumb it down quite a bit but you need to know how to do that. I have mine set so it looks like Sony acid 7 most of the time. You can remove a lot of stuff you don't need to see. Knowing it's there when you need it and how to use it is the key.

I've used a lot of different software, including many different DAW's and Video Editors. I don't think I've ever read the manual much on any of them because I am not a manual person and I find it a slow way to address immediate blocks. However, I drink videos like water. My recommendation is that you have to factor the cost of education in to learning any software package so that means buying video training if you want to get up to speed quickly.  Youtube is a poor persons way of doing this and is disjointed.

Some people are manual people, they sit down and go through the manual from back to front while playing with their DAW.

I have dummy projects set up which I will use from time to time if I want to experiment with using new features.

Another way of learning is to address blocks as you confront them and keep going at all cost, just google the problem. What I was doing and still do with new software, is to use it and when I came across something I didn't know, I would write it down on a piece of paper (because I am on an offline DAW) and then do something else. Then I go online afterwards and solve all the problems.

You have to find a learning solution that is good for you, because not everyone learns the same way or likes learning the same way. for example, If you have higher education in your history then you know the value of education and will actively seek it out and pay for it if necessary. If you were a school dropout and hated school then your less likely to do this.

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@Tezza, Excellent post.  I didn't see anything you wrote that I disagree with.  The key point for me is we (forum members, DAW users and music lovers) HAVE to come up with solutions that will attract new people to the business or hobby.

@chuckebaby, We have disagreed, I just can't remember when the last time was.  9_9

Edited by Jim Fogle
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