Music software has progressed poorly

Want to talk about music hardware or software that doesn't include Reason?
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avasopht
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Joined: 16 Jan 2015

Post 02 Jul 2022

We're seeing a revival of hardware.

We have advanced controllers that can operate most of a session without the use of the keyboard and mouse.

We even have controllers that can control a full session standalone (but might still open a window as an optional method of control, but still offers a complete standalone workflow that doesn't require a screen).

And we have companion hardware devices that operate exactly the same as the advanced controllers, but instead, have a built-in computer so that no PC is required at all.

I've been moving towards more advanced hardware controllers for the last 2 years, and for the last month I've been experimenting with using Maschine/Dell Micro combination. The Dell Micro is about the same size as a Mac Mini (or my Presonus Studio 24c audio interface).

I tried it out in a day-long rehearsal, recording and filming session on Thursday (without a screen as I was waiting for a DisplayPort/HDMI adapter), and with Windows configured to run Maschine at startup, everyone in the room thought I was running off of a Maschine+ until I showed them the Micro.

Anyway, my point was that I am moving towards a hardware setup (and am looking to get an MPC One/Live/Key this month).

And it's got me thinking.

The software solution for music creation is rubbish relative to what is possible.

Let's take Maschine and MPC Pro as examples. Here you have a hardware controller with a screen and a full battalion of knobs and buttons. Yet I still need to use the keyboard and mouse to interact fully with my VST plugins.

Even though most of the VSTs I use have controls that would map perfectly to my knobs. Instead, I have to wade through pages of parameters (and there are still some things that are missing, and it's just not the same).

Why is this?

Why don't VSTs also offer a more structured interface for controlling and interacting with higher-level but commonplace plugin features, such as browsing patches?

Sure, there are lots of ways of doing things. But at the same time, there's really not, and it would be better to have a reasonably generalized standard with the option to go deeper with the keyboard and mouse than what we have now.

Reason Studios were onto something with Remote, but they made a number of textbook errors (the same mistakes they made with Rack Extensions). They tried to keep it exclusive to Reason, proprietary, and not immediately accessible.

Big mistake.

Unless you dominate the market, you just cannot do that and expect to succeed.

And I've often brought up Linux support, which wasn't because I'm a Linux nut, but because it means something very special for all users. It means you can run your DAW in a very clean, music-optimised and curated environment. There could easily be a distribution of Linux specifically for driving headless DAWs without any desktop operating systems getting in the way. It might even be what's under the hood of these hardware devices (Korg did this with IIRC the Karma).

Technical details aside, what I'm getting at is that standalone operation with universal and standardized hardware support should have been the norm for DAWs decades ago. It's strange that it's taken so long for standalone DAW operation to start to grow legs.

What we have is great, by the way. I appreciate what we have. But we're so close to it being super awesome, and all that is standing in its way is that nobody has sat down and thought, "let's make things awesome for the users. Let's standardize a few more things to make music-making with computers more painless, streamlined and convenient".

I'm sure there are lots of other little ways things could be greatly improved with minimal effort from the players involved.

At least CLAP has given us something new, but there's no reason for it to stop there.
---

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dioxide
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Post 02 Jul 2022

Personally I think the hardware revival is partly because MIDI controllers become so lame. It seemed manufacturers eventually all decided that 8 fader, 8 knob keyboards was the way to go. There are still some good controllers out there but very few IMO. Pre-2010 was actually a better time for MIDI controllers I think and companies were more willing to try to innovate. Generally the best controllers are tied to software (Native Instruments, Push) and anything generic is awful.

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avasopht
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Post 02 Jul 2022

dioxide wrote:
02 Jul 2022
Generally the best controllers are tied to software (Native Instruments, Push) and anything generic is awful.
But that's only because they choose to make them awful.

It's really not that difficult.

It's related to what you mentioned. The CME UF8 was produced but the market said they only want to invest in a higher-end controller when it's highly integrated with their DAW.

But that's most likely because when you got those generic keyboards, DAW integration was at most, basic. I got the M-Audio CODE. It had a lot of potential but was a big disappointment (not to mention it was poorly built and had terrible design flaws).

I quite like what Presonus did with the Atom controller and Novation did with the Launchpad.

Now I come to think of it, there are some decent controllers but again, it's the lack of patch browsing/navigation control, DAW integration and quite often, the lack of a screen to facilitate screen-free and standalone operation.
---

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jam-s
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Post 02 Jul 2022

Imho currently the only system which has the potential for seamless integration is the NI NKS system in combination with their line of controllers. Now if they'd simply buy out Reason and have it tightly integrated with NKS, that would be poggers.

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bxbrkrz
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Post 02 Jul 2022

Are there any license fees attached to the NI NKS for a dev to use the protocol?
757365206c6f67696320746f207365656b20616e73776572732075736520726561736f6e20746f2066696e6420776973646f6d

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jam-s
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Post 02 Jul 2022

bxbrkrz wrote:
02 Jul 2022
Are there any license fees attached to the NI NKS for a dev to use the protocol?
NI is a little tight lipped on this, I suppose. But from https://www.native-instruments.com/en/s ... is-is-nks/ I can only see license fees for making Kontakt/Reaktor player compatible devices, so Id guess that the NKS SDK could possibly be free to use after registering with them as a dev.



Having this functionality in an open (source) format would be better of course. Maybe CLAP can deliver on this as well.
Last edited by jam-s on 02 Jul 2022, edited 1 time in total.

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dioxide
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Post 02 Jul 2022

I had a CME VX5 for a while, which had motorised faders on a keyboard. Ultimately like all other keyboard controllers the 8 bank model just doesn't fit well enough with a synth layout. These days I use a Roland System 1 as a controller, not for the sounds just as a MIDI controller. It's not perfect but least it has dedicated sections for envelopes etc.

I've also got an Arturia Spark. This was meant as controller for their software but it's a fairly good controller for a drum machine. I tend to use controllers that have the correct layout these days eg. Softube Console 1 for mix control. At one point one of my friends joked them my house was like a MIDI controller museum, but I learned a lot about what works and what doesn't in the time I was buying and selling a lot of different things. The only way really is to try them. For instance I loved the Nektar P1 and the mapping was great, but in the end you were just always menu diving and reading the display.

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bxbrkrz
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Post 02 Jul 2022

jam-s wrote:
02 Jul 2022
bxbrkrz wrote:
02 Jul 2022
Are there any license fees attached to the NI NKS for a dev to use the protocol?
NI is a little tight lipped on this, I suppose. But from https://www.native-instruments.com/en/s ... is-is-nks/ I can only see license fees for making Kontakt/Reaktor player compatible devices, so Id guess that the NKS SDK could possibly be free to use after registering with them as a dev.



Having this functionality in an open (source) format would be better of course. Maybe CLAP can deliver on this as well.
:thumbs_up:
I was going to say NKS as a solution before your post. I couldn't find anything solid about cost, or lack thereof.
As far as CLAP, I need to learn more about it.
757365206c6f67696320746f207365656b20616e73776572732075736520726561736f6e20746f2066696e6420776973646f6d

Jac459
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Post 02 Jul 2022

I was about to bring bitwig but then you mentioned about Clap for which bitwig is co-creator. 😊

I agree with all your arguments but not the conclusion.
On the other hand the quality of the virtual synths is booming with new types of synthesis appearing and overall a super quality. The use of AI is appearing to help creativity and it is fun.
The workflow is more and more optimized, when I see what they managed on bitwig I can't help but be impressed by both the vision and the execution of this vision.
I agree with you on midi and standards but isn't it also the fault of the midi controllers maker?

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Timmy Crowne
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Post 02 Jul 2022

Slightly off-topic, but music software also suffers from an emulation problem; almost everyone wants to build a digital version of old technology. Reason’s rack is a prime example. It’s cool to have that visual representation of physical studio gear when you’re working with a relatively small track. But when you have a big project with tons of gear, it gets unwieldy really quickly. Even with things collapsed, it takes a lot of scrolling and clicking and searching to find what you’re looking for. The most creative and rewarding CV wiring requires connections potentially spanning many screens-worth of space. Programming the Combinator is also pretty inefficient, since it must take place on a virtual LCD screen nested on a virtual faceplate between virtual rack ears. There’s a lot of waste.

This is also an issue in plug-in design. Waves built an entire company emulating gear from the 70s. I don’t have anything against them, but there’s no technical reason why an EQ in a modern computer should occupy 30% of the screen and only have 3 frequency bands. IMO the industry could have done a far better job dispelling myths surrounding “analogness” and “warmth” and “vibe,” but there was easy cash to be made because so many of us thought the secret to good music was old gear.

The real gems are coming from companies that are quicker to let go of the emulation paradigm. Izotope, Zynaptiq, Bitwig and others are doing great work to embrace the potential of modern and future computers.

Jac459
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Post 02 Jul 2022

Timmy Crowne wrote:
02 Jul 2022
Slightly off-topic, but music software also suffers from an emulation problem; almost everyone wants to build a digital version of old technology. Reason’s rack is a prime example. It’s cool to have that visual representation of physical studio gear when you’re working with a relatively small track. But when you have a big project with tons of gear, it gets unwieldy really quickly. Even with things collapsed, it takes a lot of scrolling and clicking and searching to find what you’re looking for. The most creative and rewarding CV wiring requires connections potentially spanning many screens-worth of space. Programming the Combinator is also pretty inefficient, since it must take place on a virtual LCD screen nested on a virtual faceplate between virtual rack ears. There’s a lot of waste.

This is also an issue in plug-in design. Waves built an entire company emulating gear from the 70s. I don’t have anything against them, but there’s no technical reason why an EQ in a modern computer should occupy 30% of the screen and only have 3 frequency bands. IMO the industry could have done a far better job dispelling myths surrounding “analogness” and “warmth” and “vibe,” but there was easy cash to be made because so many of us thought the secret to good music was old gear.

The real gems are coming from companies that are quicker to let go of the emulation paradigm. Izotope, Zynaptiq, Bitwig and others are doing great work to embrace the potential of modern and future computers.
That's actually an excellent perspective. And I agree... 70%...
I agree 100% from a productivity stand point. You made the point very clear. New UI brings new UX capacity with enhanced productivity.
From creativity standpoint I agree only partially. I don't need to be efficient, I need to play and explore. For this, some new UI can be very efficient. But so does the emulation paradigm.

In my case, I love both bitwig and the rack, they bring both creativity on a different way. For now I am using more reason because I have 1000s of hours of usage, but ultimately I feel I will use more and more the grid of bitwig...
I am also a fan of izotope so I guess we have a lot of taste in common he he.

A last point were I so much agree with you: the analog synth emulation. Spending so much engineering hours to reproduce the electric circuit did the past and then the imperfection... Why not. But to make it such a trend is super exaggerated in my view.

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Timmy Crowne
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Post 03 Jul 2022

Jac459 wrote:
02 Jul 2022
I need to play and explore.
That’s a great point. Reason has always been a colorful and fun space. Some users have remarked that they dislike the drab greys and blues of other DAWs. And as far as emulation, there is something inspiring about the idea that you’re using the same drum machine or compressor as your musical heroes.

But that Grid in Bitwig… wow. When I drop in an LFO and it takes up a single small cell on the screen, and I can feed its signal to as many destinations as I want without a splitter, *per-voice*, that kind of stuff makes me smile.

Yonatan
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Post 03 Jul 2022

Timmy Crowne wrote:
03 Jul 2022
Jac459 wrote:
02 Jul 2022
I need to play and explore.
That’s a great point. Reason has always been a colorful and fun space. Some users have remarked that they dislike the drab greys and blues of other DAWs. And as far as emulation, there is something inspiring about the idea that you’re using the same drum machine or compressor as your musical heroes.

But that Grid in Bitwig… wow. When I drop in an LFO and it takes up a single small cell on the screen, and I can feed its signal to as many destinations as I want without a splitter, *per-voice*, that kind of stuff makes me smile.
I think Reason should make alternative digital way of playing with CV, like an intuitive dummies mode, but for any techy person, still be able to get lost in cables. I try cabling now and then but easily lose the inspiration because of all the tiny scripts and non intuitive way to cable.
I watched live stream and thought I would try making CS player make BG player sync so to follow chords. But I gave up and will have to look again exactly how they went about it.
I think that such things should be ”buttons” or other more user friendly approaches. So Reason has both the vision to make it easier to make music, but has an old interface that also makes it unecessary difficult. Yes, you can do a lot but you need to go into cable brain mode which is not same as the musical flow in my case. I get lost in cables.

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moalla
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Post 03 Jul 2022

Yeah i also owned a CMR VX5, but the midi integration of this nice synth keyboard were still not so usable, i sold it and bought a Novation Nocturn 49 instead also with well keys and automap wich gives visual feedback by led rings for the encoders. I also got a arturia spark le what works very nice with kosh‘s reason midi code https://koshdukaimusicreason.blogspot.c ... p.html?m=1
espacial paired with a microkey37 it‘s really light when you would travel with it. So after months i decided to get a launchpad mk2 and with this codec https://www.irregular-cluster.com/launchpadmk2
for redrum it‘s amazing also with a tab function and the possibility to switch between tracks and presets, the only thing that didn‘t work now is the mixer function, so maybe someone know how to setup the controller for this, but instead of it i can use a second small nocturn with knobs for this. I owned quite a lot of controllers and there is no holy grail of it, some are better, sone are lacking, but after all i would say novation works the best way, maudio stuff iss quiet buggy sometimes.

The only Problem i still have is, i need a device with display to control the midi clock, also cause reason clock jumps and is unusable with hardware loppers etc (or is there a trick to solve this) now i‘m looking for a cheap drum machine like akais rythm wolf or a drumbrute impact to have stable midi clock.
At all Reason becomes for me more and more Plugin of it‘s sequencer limitations, at this point i asked you forum members is bitwig 16track enough as sequencer to controll reason?

Whats the big benefit of functions with maschine microm mk3in reason?
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Jac459
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Post 03 Jul 2022

Timmy Crowne wrote:
03 Jul 2022
That’s a great point. Reason has always been a colorful and fun space. Some users have remarked that they dislike the drab greys and blues of other DAWs. And as far as emulation, there is something inspiring about the idea that you’re using the same drum machine or compressor as your musical heroes.

But that Grid in Bitwig… wow. When I drop in an LFO and it takes up a single small cell on the screen, and I can feed its signal to as many destinations as I want without a splitter, *per-voice*, that kind of stuff makes me smile.
Yeah that's why Ableton was a no go for me. Whatever the quality of the product, it just doesn't appeal to me. Yet I spent long hours trying it.

On the contrary, I am like you, Bitwig just makes me smile while using. All is so well done, well thought and perfectly executed. Seems they are a few generations ahead.
And then Bitwig having the full "modern workflow" concept, it is the perfect alliance with Reason. Both are very different but integrate perfectly (RRP works perfectly as a VST3). Together the playing field is immense !!!

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crimsonwarlock
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Post 03 Jul 2022

Jac459 wrote:
02 Jul 2022
The use of AI is appearing to help replace creativity...
I corrected that for you :puf_bigsmile:

Jac459
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Post 03 Jul 2022

crimsonwarlock wrote:
03 Jul 2022
Jac459 wrote:
02 Jul 2022
The use of AI is appearing to help replace creativity...
I corrected that for you :puf_bigsmile:
That remind me a fun story about AI that happened to me a few years ago.
I was in a IT Convention for banking, in a presentation from McKinsey. The whole point they were trying to make was to say: we should not call that Artificial Intelligence but Augmented Intelligence, in the sense that it will provide tools and contextual information, that will not help replace us but make us more efficient.

Obviously people were smiling at this "too good to be true" crap. But as always with McKinsey, they were so good to present it and sell it that at the end, a part of the crowd was convinced.

Then they invited IBM on stage (with their famous Dr Watson AI). The guy from IBM apparently was not "McKinsey Certified".
The first thing he said was : "thanks to Dr Watson, we have been able to reduce by 500 staffs the headcount of this Bank in Australia".

I still remember the facepalm of the McKinsey guy and the laugh of the people.

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SebAudio
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Post 03 Jul 2022

avasopht wrote:
02 Jul 2022
We're seeing a revival of hardware.

We have advanced controllers that can operate most of a session without the use of the keyboard and mouse.

We even have controllers that can control a full session standalone (but might still open a window as an optional method of control, but still offers a complete standalone workflow that doesn't require a screen).

And we have companion hardware devices that operate exactly the same as the advanced controllers, but instead, have a built-in computer so that no PC is required at all.

I've been moving towards more advanced hardware controllers for the last 2 years, and for the last month I've been experimenting with using Maschine/Dell Micro combination. The Dell Micro is about the same size as a Mac Mini (or my Presonus Studio 24c audio interface).

I tried it out in a day-long rehearsal, recording and filming session on Thursday (without a screen as I was waiting for a DisplayPort/HDMI adapter), and with Windows configured to run Maschine at startup, everyone in the room thought I was running off of a Maschine+ until I showed them the Micro.

Anyway, my point was that I am moving towards a hardware setup (and am looking to get an MPC One/Live/Key this month).

And it's got me thinking.

The software solution for music creation is rubbish relative to what is possible.

Let's take Maschine and MPC Pro as examples. Here you have a hardware controller with a screen and a full battalion of knobs and buttons. Yet I still need to use the keyboard and mouse to interact fully with my VST plugins.

Even though most of the VSTs I use have controls that would map perfectly to my knobs. Instead, I have to wade through pages of parameters (and there are still some things that are missing, and it's just not the same).

Why is this?

Why don't VSTs also offer a more structured interface for controlling and interacting with higher-level but commonplace plugin features, such as browsing patches?

Sure, there are lots of ways of doing things. But at the same time, there's really not, and it would be better to have a reasonably generalized standard with the option to go deeper with the keyboard and mouse than what we have now.

Reason Studios were onto something with Remote, but they made a number of textbook errors (the same mistakes they made with Rack Extensions). They tried to keep it exclusive to Reason, proprietary, and not immediately accessible.

Big mistake.

Unless you dominate the market, you just cannot do that and expect to succeed.

And I've often brought up Linux support, which wasn't because I'm a Linux nut, but because it means something very special for all users. It means you can run your DAW in a very clean, music-optimised and curated environment. There could easily be a distribution of Linux specifically for driving headless DAWs without any desktop operating systems getting in the way. It might even be what's under the hood of these hardware devices (Korg did this with IIRC the Karma).

Technical details aside, what I'm getting at is that standalone operation with universal and standardized hardware support should have been the norm for DAWs decades ago. It's strange that it's taken so long for standalone DAW operation to start to grow legs.

What we have is great, by the way. I appreciate what we have. But we're so close to it being super awesome, and all that is standing in its way is that nobody has sat down and thought, "let's make things awesome for the users. Let's standardize a few more things to make music-making with computers more painless, streamlined and convenient".

I'm sure there are lots of other little ways things could be greatly improved with minimal effort from the players involved.

At least CLAP has given us something new, but there's no reason for it to stop there.
Remote is the best for remote control. But as you says, RS aren’t leaders and even them don’t do it justice.
I believe most controllers come with 8 knobs because of Live and other DAWs which use « macros »
To the point that even if you’ve got a system 8, you can’t use the controls if you want 2-way communication…
Also I think not a lot of people are interested in keyboard controllers : the keybeds are terrible (except for NI KK and SL mk3 and 88 « piano » keybeds which are terrible for synth sounds).
Last, I didn’t see Clap worry with remote control.
So if you want remote control, then hardware seems to be the way to go. Too bad

MuttReason
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Post 11 Jul 2022

I think Push2 is one of the better examples of a DAW controller that allows a DAW to be interacted with as if it were hardware. I can *almost* write a track in Live + Push2 from scratch without looking at the monitor and using a keyboard and mouse (much….). IME it is certainly way better than any generic control surface with scripting for different DAWs (like a Nektar Aura for example, which I thought would be great with Reason but was average at best with strange mapping and much less control than I expected). I’m now at the point that I’ve realised the Push2 is the reason I stay with Ableton… it’s great to have a control surface work out of the box, and with a lot of functionality. I would be much less happy to use a DAW if I didn’t have that degree of physical control (which is why I keep being drawn to using Reason in Live as RRP with key rack controls mapped to Push2 even though I love the Reason DAW).

I also have a MPC Live 2 (it’s my ‘travelling’ studio in a box setup at the moment) and some hardware gear (Roland TR8S, Hydrasynth, Modal Cobalt8) which I use in Live alongside Reason RRP. The MPC is great in some ways, but quirky and irritating in others. It’s good to have a single unified box that links hardware completely with software (and the MPC is essentially a Linux DAW with a touchscreen interface and lots of dedicated knobs and controls). What’s less good is Akai have missed out on a bunch of small quality of life things that can be grating when they break the flow (one of many examples: it’s not possible to drag and drop FX plugins or tracks into a different order, you have to do a whole copy/paste/delete reshuffle which is tedious).

jlgrimes
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Post 25 Jul 2022

avasopht wrote:
02 Jul 2022
We're seeing a revival of hardware.

We have advanced controllers that can operate most of a session without the use of the keyboard and mouse.

We even have controllers that can control a full session standalone (but might still open a window as an optional method of control, but still offers a complete standalone workflow that doesn't require a screen).

And we have companion hardware devices that operate exactly the same as the advanced controllers, but instead, have a built-in computer so that no PC is required at all.

I've been moving towards more advanced hardware controllers for the last 2 years, and for the last month I've been experimenting with using Maschine/Dell Micro combination. The Dell Micro is about the same size as a Mac Mini (or my Presonus Studio 24c audio interface).

I tried it out in a day-long rehearsal, recording and filming session on Thursday (without a screen as I was waiting for a DisplayPort/HDMI adapter), and with Windows configured to run Maschine at startup, everyone in the room thought I was running off of a Maschine+ until I showed them the Micro.

Anyway, my point was that I am moving towards a hardware setup (and am looking to get an MPC One/Live/Key this month).

And it's got me thinking.

The software solution for music creation is rubbish relative to what is possible.

Let's take Maschine and MPC Pro as examples. Here you have a hardware controller with a screen and a full battalion of knobs and buttons. Yet I still need to use the keyboard and mouse to interact fully with my VST plugins.

Even though most of the VSTs I use have controls that would map perfectly to my knobs. Instead, I have to wade through pages of parameters (and there are still some things that are missing, and it's just not the same).

Why is this?

Why don't VSTs also offer a more structured interface for controlling and interacting with higher-level but commonplace plugin features, such as browsing patches?

Sure, there are lots of ways of doing things. But at the same time, there's really not, and it would be better to have a reasonably generalized standard with the option to go deeper with the keyboard and mouse than what we have now.

Reason Studios were onto something with Remote, but they made a number of textbook errors (the same mistakes they made with Rack Extensions). They tried to keep it exclusive to Reason, proprietary, and not immediately accessible.

Big mistake.

Unless you dominate the market, you just cannot do that and expect to succeed.

And I've often brought up Linux support, which wasn't because I'm a Linux nut, but because it means something very special for all users. It means you can run your DAW in a very clean, music-optimised and curated environment. There could easily be a distribution of Linux specifically for driving headless DAWs without any desktop operating systems getting in the way. It might even be what's under the hood of these hardware devices (Korg did this with IIRC the Karma).

Technical details aside, what I'm getting at is that standalone operation with universal and standardized hardware support should have been the norm for DAWs decades ago. It's strange that it's taken so long for standalone DAW operation to start to grow legs.

What we have is great, by the way. I appreciate what we have. But we're so close to it being super awesome, and all that is standing in its way is that nobody has sat down and thought, "let's make things awesome for the users. Let's standardize a few more things to make music-making with computers more painless, streamlined and convenient".

I'm sure there are lots of other little ways things could be greatly improved with minimal effort from the players involved.

At least CLAP has given us something new, but there's no reason for it to stop there.
I think software is progressing greatly, just not in the direction that always desired. Software has probably even made more strides than hardware in the last decades. I think now though we have reached a "cooling off" phase though somewhat where, a generation of folks have now came up who never used hardware and have interest, and also there is a realization that while software might be ideal for studio/production use, it still need a long way to go in regards to "Live performance".

I remember in the 2000s, there was always the debate of "hardware sounds better than software VSTs and what not", as people could hear differences fairly clearly.

Nowadays while there still are differences, they tend to be fairly subtle stuff and much harder to hear. I'm at the point now where some of the newer hardware I buy now (for Live playing), I think the software sounds better. Most of the debates nowadays in this regards tend to be less polarizing, even with more hardware guys even admitting software sounds alot better now.

But yeah managing/controlling all of this software is probably always going to be an issue. One thing is you have hundreds and maybe thousands of plugins all with a unique GUI and in many cases it is impossible for a controller to fully control it.

Also while certain apps like Maschine, Komplete Kontrol, Akai VIP took a stab of trying to integrate all of the presets, tagging, and controls, it is a lifelong task requiring updates, and time. Akai seem to pretty much abandoned their VIP software (last update was in 2018), and Maschine and Komplete Kontrol rarely gets updated now.

There was also apps that predated Maschine like the Open Labs Neko whose intent was to basically make the computer the controller, but I guess even that is an issue as technology/software is constantly developing.


I think the future lies more in the adoption/development of new standards such as CLAP, Midi 2.0 and such. The thing with standards is that it is a very slow process to get everybody on board. I don't think some problems have been fully identified yet either. That said nowadays using a laptop with software for performing is now a reality more than ever.

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QVprod
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Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 25 Jul 2022

Software has progressed well. Hardware to support that software ... not so much. As good as NKS is, it's only good for instruments and DAW control is as basic as anything else. Nektar Panorama P is still the currently the best DAW controller made that isn't exclusive to Pro Tools, however where it and even the Eucon controllers for Pro Tools fail is in controlling insert plugins. It would seem like Nektar has the greatest potential to really break the barrier here but since they made Nektarine, I think it's clear they're intent on the path of a failed NKS alternative.

Softube Console 1 is the best thing so far for integrated mixing but again only with its own proprietary stuff. No one's made a true successor to Mackie control. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much profit in regulation, but if there were, we'd have a better chance. However in my own experience, no matter how good the integration, if I have to menu dive, I prefer the mouse.

On the flip side, I understand the appeal of Hardware. But the trade off of the workflow is what makes software the more appealing option. We're stuck in a loop.

jlgrimes
Posts: 620
Joined: 06 Jun 2017

Post 26 Jul 2022

QVprod wrote:
25 Jul 2022
Software has progressed well. Hardware to support that software ... not so much. As good as NKS is, it's only good for instruments and DAW control is as basic as anything else. Nektar Panorama P is still the currently the best DAW controller made that isn't exclusive to Pro Tools, however where it and even the Eucon controllers for Pro Tools fail is in controlling insert plugins. It would seem like Nektar has the greatest potential to really break the barrier here but since they made Nektarine, I think it's clear they're intent on the path of a failed NKS alternative.

Softube Console 1 is the best thing so far for integrated mixing but again only with its own proprietary stuff. No one's made a true successor to Mackie control. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much profit in regulation, but if there were, we'd have a better chance. However in my own experience, no matter how good the integration, if I have to menu dive, I prefer the mouse.

On the flip side, I understand the appeal of Hardware. But the trade off of the workflow is what makes software the more appealing option. We're stuck in a loop.
I think one of the biggest issue with control is the wide variety of parameters in software makes it almost impossible/unfeasible to design a controller as if a dedicated knob/slider was available for every parameter for a VST (+ knobs for DAW transport), the controller would be bigger than most hardware.

One area where this might get improved is the use of tablets with haptic feedback which could allow custom templates to be created for the controllers with different pages when things get too big. Maybe a new/updated plugin standard could help with easily mapping of controls to the screen or better yet allow the controller to "read" the plugin for control parameters and design it's "own" template "analogous" to the plugin interface.
I would think DAW manufacturers would need to improve here too by being more Touch Screen friendly or coming up with a Touch Screen mode.


I think in the future though hardware and software will more/less start to blur.

Plugin standards, midi protocols will get smarter more resolute. At some point PCs and Macs will probably end up basically being phones and have different form factors available. So keyboards like the NEKO will probably come back out. Or it could go the other way where Plug-in standards develop to the point to where they can be implemented by hardware manufacturers such as Roland, Akai and they create dedicated instruments for these. Or a kind of modular controller/PC that has a few basic controls but allows you to connect tablets and such. Bays for harddrives. Would probably be pretty ugly at first but, I think that wouldn't be too far off.



But yeah it seems a long way off, but maybe in 20 years from now, I'm guessing stuff like this would be possible or basically stuff even beyond that.

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QVprod
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Post 26 Jul 2022

jlgrimes wrote:
26 Jul 2022


One area where this might get improved is the use of tablets with haptic feedback which could allow custom templates to be created for the controllers with different pages when things get too big. Maybe a new/updated plugin standard could help with easily mapping of controls to the screen or better yet allow the controller to "read" the plugin for control parameters and design it's "own" template "analogous" to the plugin interface.
I would think DAW manufacturers would need to improve here too by being more Touch Screen friendly or coming up with a Touch Screen mode.
Actually as I mentioned Nektarine. It can actually do this very well. It’s a beast from a capability standpoint, but the problem is it’s a manual process and only the super nerdy amongst us nerds is going to really take the time to map out all of their plugins to a controller. NKS is likely the best we’ll ever get from a user perspective with that in mind, but perhaps it’ll be expanded to other form factors. Touch screens could be the move but physical controls are just so much more satisfying to use.

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