Academy Dashboard Forum Production Production Techniques An error in "The Circle of Fifths!"

  • This topic has 35 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by face (chris) Janton.
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    face (chris) Janton

      Well of course now I have to poke at my DAW (Logic Pro X) and see what it is going to do. I can't seem to find the keyboard commands to raise/lower level in 1 dB increments or .1 dB increments (Studio One - option arrow and shift option arrow), I can't make my faders "really tall" like in Studio One, but at least I can put the fader into exponential display which gives finer adjustment of the faders around unity. I can get finer control of the fader if I hold down shift while moving with the mouse.

      I can change levels by typing them in, both for the VCA and tracks. I can enter volume automation values by hand. I also get the added bonus of fader changes now being "undo-able"

      In Logic if I change level by .1 dB anywhere, VCA, track I get a .1 dB change in output level. Personally I can't actually make a 1 dB change using a fader very easily either on screen or using my X-Touch (Mackie Control clone) but I'm getting better.

      Maybe using the keyboard arrows might do the trick for you?

      Just Lisa

        Hey Chris --
        Gotta love an engineer!
        In my case, it really IS a bug I have discovered. We're in the process of documenting and creating the repeatable conditions in order to get the report filed in order to get the developers to go and fix it. It's been there since 3.5. But I'm not allowed to say it's been confirmed yet.
        I honestly did not know how rigorous the whole think would be. No wonder people get upset thinking 'I told them this was broken and they didn't fix it!' and never went through the initial steps to get to the steps for the real report.

        I saw something interesting today: looking over husband's shoulder, he was writing Java code. The display looks so much like Studio One! Same color, laid out the same, similar locations for buttons and navigation tools... I would venture a guess that the Studio One code is written in Java. No experience with it directly, me.

        So, pick a mix you've worked on in Studio One. If you haven't added any VCA faders, add one and adjust it to some number other than zero. Then try to automate volume on a bus or track associated with the VCA, not nested and without previous automation. Experiment by adding a point with a mouse click and then control z -- and watch the fader on the track in question. And watch the history window. Do it while playing back a loop and you will hear volume changing and not being reflected correctly by the fader.
        Oh, and hey, if you're willing after you see my bug, you could go the Presonus forums and verify in my thread, THAT would be amazing!
        Because that is the step that keeps a lot of stuff from getting more attention, I think.

        So far OT now! Hope they don't kick me out.
        : )

        • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Just Lisa.
        Jonathan Marshall

          It's cool in some ways but when I spend hours tracking down a bug instead of playing music it's a bit of a trap as well.

          What inspired me? Well, I used to own a DX7 when they came out and every now and again miss it, and I (naively) thought it would be a fairly simple task to program as it was designed in the late 1970s and obviously computers have a heap more processing power than they did and I'd seen some people had written a C version and the source code was available. So I just thought I'd port their code and integrate it with the Raspberry Pi MIDI and audio support. What I didn't realise was that the DX7 used logic hardware to do most of the sound generation - so even with optimised code the 1GHz Raspberry Pi is stretched to do the calculations in time at 48KHz. Also the open source code I got had serious errors in it. It was also hard to follow - everything in one function (slight exaggeration :-)) with obscure variable names and the like. So I ended up redesigning and starting from scratch.

          Quite interesting to try out new ideas though. The voice assignment is interesting because Yamaha gave the first note priority - so if you are using 16 voices any extra keys you play are ignored. Roland do it the other way where they drop the oldest note to allow the new note to sound. I've always thought the Roland way was better but coded both and the Yamaha method sounds best because you tend to latch on to the first note and when it is terminated abruptly you notice it far more than the notes that never played.

          I should finish it. I took it as far as I could without a DX7 to compare against. Then I got a Volca FM and hooked them both up to my oscilloscope to compare. I've fixed the envelopes so that they match but that has thrown the sine wave modulation out so I need to check varying degrees of modulation against the waveform produced. One day when I have some free time ...

          I wrote a MIDI sequencer program in the 80s which I guess was similar to a DAW but without any audio processing. The operating system was single user so I used two separate hardware interrupts to run the background processes. One from a timer which simply updated the current song position pointer. The other emptied the MIDI input queue time-stamped each event and fed notes into the output queue when it was time to play them. The rest of the program updated the screen and tried to move the cursor and scroll the screen to display what was being played in time. If it couldn't keep up it would get jittery but the music playing wouldn't get interrupted.

          So anyway - long winded way of saying that I think you're right and the UI part of the DAW will definitely be sending messages or somehow communicating with the code that handles the levels - perhaps it is simply that it never deletes the message once it has acted on it or multiple messages get sent?

          Long reply ... sorry!

          • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Jonathan Marshall.
          face (chris) Janton

            Possibly a long reply, but maybe the quarter-note value is 50? I hate hardware πŸ˜‰ so no tiny computers to program for me. Too many years of skinned fingers while inserting prototypes into buses. I was the kind of boy that convinced DigiTech to ship me the full specifications for their DSPs so I could write librarians (that was my goal, actually simple triggers was all I got) I do love me some software, too, but the siren call of the relational calculus got me out of that too! I have been known to make MySQL stored procedures that will emit scales as MIDI notes.

            DX7 was always too much. Had a TX81Z (micro-tunings - yay) that I traded away for an electric guitar and a short-scale bass (I play neither, but have been known to pluck). Was going to invest in FM8, but learned that the FM synths I have (Logic Pro, Novation BassStation) are more than enough.

            I never get close enough to get to a software engineer's ear any more - so bugs I find just wait for a fix or I find a work-around. Reproducible test cases (wholly grail) are hard with GUIs.

            I abandoned the MIDI rack in 2010. Donated the CZ-101 to a CRAS class. All the romplers went out in trade, MIDI interface as well. Evil MBOX went away (don't talk to me about line noise, hum, interference between my Furman power conditioner and my "Pro"Tools rig.

            These days I relax with my networking skillz and happily run Dante between my Macs for horsepower - 3 Macs, no waiting. iPad drives one Mac (Logic Remote), iPhone drives the laptop (Logic Remote), and I can deal with it all at the iMac with the X-Touch and Logic doing the heavy lifting. More audio inputs than I can use at home (thank you Behringer for the X-series)

            I never record at home to any real extent. Rather go to a bar and ask for the 8 inserts on a board, a tape out, and a spot for my Zoom H2n for room. I have gotten some entertaining recordings from the H2n tucked up above a pool table in a bar.

            I stopped buying gear when I got connected with local studio (WaveLab) and was able to see what was available. If I need to get "nice things" to record I know where I can rent them by the hour, engineer included πŸ˜‰ Still don't know how to properly do a Celtic harp, but it will happen.

            Oh, yeah, retired. Some would say independently wealthy, I would say, my needs are covered and I can toss some funding to the local artists and facilities. I'm back in school again. It's the way I like it.

            If you ever need any database silliness that's my preferred outlet for programming. Have been known to write software to retrofit 3 axis mills into CNC machines, but that was before the CZ-101...

            I do tend to ramble.


            Just Lisa

              Hey, ramble on dudes! This is interesting.
              You both might be able to relate to this one...
              I've been thinking about consoles and keyboards (musical ones), and the like and how people get kind of crazy thinking their preferred way is the best way and it takes too much time to use a mouse and, etc. etc.
              For composing, I love using a mouse and notation software. It's a godsend. I'd be lost without it. Never could have done it before. I never could sight read very well and avoided standard notation most of my adult life but now I understand it better and use it as a tool. But I don't keyboard, I had a semester of piano lessons when my son had a teacher in 2013. Just enough to know I don't need to do that. And I much prefer playing guitar. But the idea of entering notes into a computer with a guitar is also nuts. The mouse IS my instrument in this case.
              On the other hand... when I used to architect and engineer stuff, I liked drafting. Real tools, real paper, standing at a real drafting table. Real ink, real lead, real erasers. During my one semester of grad school, I had a profound realization ... after spending the summer at a computer instead of a board, I was miserable. Using a mouse instead of a leadholder, trying to lay out a floorplan on a computer screen instead of a 24 x 36 piece of vellum was awful. I had spent a couple of semesters learning C, and one of those involved writing a CAD program (SO simplistic, but very educational). And I could see the writing on the wall. I left school and got married. Meant to go back, never did, same old same old. (plenty more reasons, just not relevant)

              The other day, my mother wanted a floor plan for the apartment she's moving into, so I got to dust off my measuring tape and do some field work for the first time in awhile. I've got a tiny drawing board and a t-square and garden variety #2 pencils over on my desk and TA DA... it felt great. The hardest part? Trying to work out how to use my reading glasses (!!?!) to see stuff I never needed glasses to see before. Yikes.

              But, consoles, once you learn a craft using particular tools, that's the way it feels best to practice the craft right? Okay I never need to FORTRAN on punch cards ever again, and I don't miss CRTs but, you get the idea. Computers are cool, but so are the 'old ways' for the comfort of being able to do it well -- to feel yourself being successful in a way that feels 'right'.

              So, Chris, your focus is recording stuff? Live stuff in bars? That's very cool. And (CNCs) you were in manufacturing? What are you doing in school now?

              Jonathan, what aspect of recording and mixing are you most interested in?

              About my bug... success, we got the 'repeatable' steps in a file and sent off to Germany. The support ticket has been resolved. Except my VCA faders and automation problem still exists. I just won't try to use them at the same time until there's an update. The husband said that the finding the error will probably point to a host of related issues where rounding numbers are a factor for the software guys.

              There's another issue that other people have had with exporting mixes -- automation not printing, or not working after some point in the song. And it seems to be better to print in 'real time' rather than the background process and actually move the dialog box during the mixdown to keep things stirred up for some reason.

              My question: if the interaction of the graphics involves a lot of math and processing MORE than the audio, why does it make sense for for a DAW to export audio more reliably when it is also processing graphics at the same time?

              I'm going to stop apologizing for long-winded now. Okay?
              : )

              • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Just Lisa.
              face (chris) Janton

                All of the folks I know who play in bands suffer from having someone (or someones) in the band being "in charge" of the sound. Some folks believe that they know when everything is right for the room by listening to the 85 dB blasting at them from the wedge, no band, just them. Needless to say they could use help πŸ˜‰ I was lucky enough to get them to let me record them directly from their mixer (no serious backline) and started making them finished tracks from live gigs. I had a blast, they got better for a while. I have been known to help out by being "trusted ears". Latest "work" is with a band I did sound for during a live event in March. Recorded all 16 channels of goodness, now mixing audio to attach to videos for band promotion. I have so much to learn.

                This is "school". Lectures, labs, homework, personal projects. Trying to get the band folks into a studio with a big, live room to get some experience recording them in a slightly more controlled space πŸ˜‰ I never saw a control room in a studio, except through the glass, always being in the room where the band was (tuba player, lessons sometimes were me sitting next to the boss while he did jingles - quiet as a mouse).

                I have been a computer type since 1970 - all aspects of "big iron" from running them to programming them. Along the way I became a systems programmer. Got hired to help write the software for a box that could be added to a "dumb" 3-axis milling machine. I wrote the user interface and software that would let you program the steps for creating/re-creating a part. Think of it as a step-sequencer for anything that can move in 3-D space and time. Wheee. That one was hard.

                In the 1990s I got involved with a music prof at the university where I worked. He wanted to move his pedagogy forward using computers. I had forgotten how to speak "classically trained" so I went back and did the 2 years of theory, class piano, sight-singing etc. Was fun. He decided we would build the "Orchestra Nova" - 1991 - Eight 88-key MIDI controllers, 8 piano performance majors, 3 dedicated music geeks. We scored orchestral works for 16 hands with JV880s, Proteus (forget the models), Opcode Studio 5 MIDI tools and a Mac using Studio Vision to record the entire thing as well as route the proper hands to the proper voice in the proper rompler. We did some reasonable emulations of a full orchestra. Really wanted to be able to do it live with 1 solo pianist in one location and the 14 orchestral "hands" in another. Duplicate the rack of gear...never were able to do it...latency was beyond real. Today? 2 laptops and some tasty Dante networking along with MIDI over the network.

                I want to record "more better". I want to improve my mixing skills. I want to improve my "system design" skills. I funneled my "creative" into the beginnings of the computer taking over everything πŸ˜‰ System design (producing), System integration (mixing), System programming (recording).

                I'm still doing the same thing I have been doing for more than 45 years, just using a different set of tools in a different medium. For me this is marvelous. I started out as a professional musician, wound up "doing computers" but making the tools and learning along with the engineers how to make the tools and toys that I can now use to make music again.

                It feels good when someone comes up and asks "what did you do to make them sound so much better?". The bands are still the "talent", but I get my two cents in by helping make it "more better". Oh, yeah, I also get to listen to music I enjoy and maybe have an adult beverage or two.

                Just learning the 21st Century version of "musician-speak".

                Just Lisa

                  Chris, wow! I said somewhere else, the mixer is like another member of the band. Without him, you still got talent, but maybe nothing to show for it. Metallica has a FOH guy who has been touring with them for over twenty years -- you need the guy who knows what your music is supposed to sound like no matter where you are.
                  Beginning of computers taking over everything... crazy to think back now, eh? My husband does r&d robotics and ai. Remember 'oh, yeah' back before robots in the auto industry... my dad went to Germany and brought back painting arm robots to put into the plant where he worked (EE). Some people thought the world was going to end!

                  3-d milling makes more sense to me that 'step sequencer' so I'm still curious about that. I did some mechanical drafting/engineering for space where parts were milled on a lathe or other machinery by hand in the shop in the building on the campus. about 1987.
                  Earlier in the 80s, before MTV came to my town,but cable tv had, I wanted to make music videos. Folks said, "No, be an engineer!" Architecture was the compromise. And I've dabbled at everything ever since. Publishing, designing, writing.

                  A STAGE makes me very happy and I have an outlet for that -- LOVE stage craft, lighting, sound, all of it. And being on stage, too. Spent all of my younger years in the pit orchestra (violin) or behind a video camera (making music videos, in essence).

                  But now it's the arrangements that geek me, the way music gets put together, it sounds so different now -- better. Digital is magical. And convenient. I used to spend hours making mix tapes -- no more. Easier, fewer time constraints. Lord, please don't take my mp3s away. They're some of the best things since sliced bread! Couldn't have the vast music collection I have now without them.

                  My goal is to become an halfway decent mixer. So I can get some of my work recorded (because I still prefer the idea of real musicians to samples), so I can get it out there. And then to be able to help some other people I know.
                  Not for Spotify or sale, just my own purposes. Really.
                  I had a brush with fame once, kind of turned my stomach.
                  : )

                  face (chris) Janton

                    Sequencers - move to x,y. change z to -20mm over some delta time. Change z +20mm over some delta time. Move to x,y.
                    MIDI sequences. Little programs that have Note, Velocity, Duration. Do them in a sequence. Change the lights in time to the music. Make sure that drum hit starts exactly when the hammer hits the nail.

                    I was singing in opera at the age of 7 - children's chorus, "Carmen". Mom and Dad were in the pit. Local stage production of "Carousel" kid extra. Parents were played Jigger Cragin and Mrs. Mullin. I still remember their shock when I asked them what a "wobbly-hipped old slut" was πŸ˜‰ Parents were both musicians, father on trombone, mother on French horn. When I started listening to AM radio (NYC) I was always amazed that the people playing the song could get from one radio station to the next so quickly, and then go back. Isn't all music "live"?

                    I got into "the pit" at 16 when I was old enough to join the union. Opera. Concerts in the park during the summer. I would play anything, anywhere. Sight-reading monster. Sight-singer too...wish I had spent just a little time playing by ear πŸ˜‰

                    When I moved from the NY area to Tucson AZ I was stunned by the lack of paying gigs for "classically trained" musicians. Wish I had been aware of norteΓ±o music back then - goodness - I played hundreds of hours of that stuff - beer hall polkas? I could do that in my sleep. I still can sing along if I tune in the radio to the local station and listen in. Crazy old bearded white guy singing along to the radio while driving around town...

                    I grew up listening to classical music, live and WQXR. My "rebel" years had me torn between 1960s Motown, Hendrix, late 50s jazz. The push to "go pro" was late 60s brass bands with Hammond B3 - Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Chicago Transit Authority. Now I'll just take some Snarky Puppy followed up with some John McEuen live from Brooklyn πŸ˜‰ I let the world become "calmer" musically by listening to Mahler...changes my ears and erases "hook fatigue".

                    I guess properly I should figure out how to get all this moved to "Studio Lounge/General Discussion", maybe a section called "Coffee with the interns".

                    Get those tracks out to SoundCloud. Make a YouTube video with a static image. Post them here, I there an "open mic" for the rest of the creatives?

                    Just Lisa

                      Still in AZ? I lived in Chandler for several years, husband worked for Motorola. I miss the desert. I'll be moving back when some family ties are loosened up a bit here. My daughter thinks she would like the desert, so might come with me. None of the kids are in college yet, so that's awhile off.

                      There is a forum for one's own projects here somewhere, but the lounge idea is a good one too. Like Arthur's "Cover" thread. "For your entertainment this evening..." Open mic = good. Or it might be intimidating. I've got some tunes that only exist as Musescore wav exports because that's as far as I've gotten.
                      Last year, I was thinking about soloing over changes... never got very far, but I wrote a piece for a friend (former sax/clarinetist) and was thinking about how to get folks together to make it a real jazz number.
                      And we're still talking about circles and harmony!

                      • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Just Lisa.
                      face (chris) Janton

                        If I were producing πŸ˜‰ I would give the main lead to an accordion, turn the high-hat into brushed snare, turn down the lights, fill the room with smoke, and pull up a small Campari and soda...yeah, the clarinet can play too!

                        For a reference track (just the sonic blend) - "Quelle Idee" from Swing Recontre – Ludovic Beier & Angelo Debarre

                        Gotta get me some more of the "hot jazz".

                        Just Lisa

                          It has to be a sax, but I'll let the accordion take a solo.
                          I had to dig deep for that one... it's not on Youtube.
                          Funny about the style though, not a regular in my life, but hearing it reminded me of sitting in the movie theater watching a Pixar film. Its the kind of music that everyone just 'knows' and evokes images and feelings. It's referenced in Monster's Inc, Up and Ratatoullie, e.g.
                          Went to see Incredibles 2 last night with the family... Just hand over the Oscar for sound design now. Wow. (Incroyable!) And sit through the whole end credits because the music is so worth it. The movie was fun, too.

                          The brush is a good idea. I can live without the smoke.

                          : )

                          PS: Bossa Dorado, same album, the tune sounds so familiar but I can't place it. Is it a reference to an older standard?

                          • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Just Lisa.
                          face (chris) Janton

                            Could you make it a really "smoky" soprano sax?
                            You could make 2 mixes - one accordion, one sax πŸ˜‰ Hot Jazz? Gypsy Jazz 1930s,
                            Soundtracks of films all over the place. Cartoons.

                            Tripletts of Belleville soundtrack. The whole plot of "Sweet and Lowdown" Woody Allen film with Sean Penn.

                            "Bossa Dorado" - Dorado Schmitt tune - sort of like a "Minor Swing" - everybody can cover it. Stolen by many a spy movie title theme writer I surmise...

                            Just go to the Google and type in "Hot Club of -your city name here-" and you may find the gypsy jazzers.

                            I can live without the smoke too. It's just sort of how the scenes were set in the "olden days" - and we don't know what they were smoking...

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