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Sequencers

Postby Andy__D » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:32 am

So I was hunting through my box of wires, and right at the bottom, I found an old long-lost friend, my Logic 5 XS key. Yeah, from back when it used to run on Windows....Now this came at an interesting time, as I'm working on a very midi-focused project right now, and I'd been struggling a bit with using my usual DAW of choice, Reaper, as a MIDI sequencer (which is understandable, because it's a DaW, not a sequencer...) So I found the CD and installed logic and had a good few hours playIng with it and remembering the good 'old days. Now, I'm not suggesting that I'm going to try to use logic for 'real' work (some bits, like the mixer, are barely functional on a modern OS), but I'd forgotten how much I missed the score editor for tweaking slightly off time midi parts, and the significantly more flexible quantizing and editing options that I'd taken for granted back in the 98 days.

But it got me thinking: are there still any Windows MIDI sequencer products that also do audio out there, as opposed to DAWs that also do MIDI?

(and sorry if this is a dumb noobie question: one the whole I've been happy with Reaper for what I usually do, so it's been a while since I've paid attention to what else is out there...)
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Re: Sequencers

Postby The Elf » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:17 am

Cubase grew from a MIDI-only product and still shows a lot of sophistication with MIDI that others seem to lack.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby BJG145 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:14 am

The Elf wrote:Cubase grew from a MIDI-only product


Sonar also.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby C.LYDE » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:20 am

The Elf wrote:Cubase grew from a MIDI-only product and still shows a lot of sophistication with MIDI that others seem to lack.

+1 .. been saying that (mostly to myself) for a long time; one would swear synthesis only existed as plug-in if one is to believe the "demand" for Ableton Live or Fruity Loops

It does remind one how complex or varied, different people approach the same task. Let's take programming a drum track to accompany a sequence of chords strummed on a guitar.

Now lets say my favourite snare sound is on my old Korg 03R, but I love the HHat sound from Toontrack Vintage - on a decent DAW, the ability to use both should be a relatively simple task.... nooorrt.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby JeffB » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:54 am

C.LYDE wrote:
Now lets say my favourite snare sound is on my old Korg 03R, but I love the HHat sound from Toontrack Vintage - on a decent DAW, the ability to use both should be a relatively simple task.... nooorrt.

Drum maps?
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Re: Sequencers

Postby ken long » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:15 pm

BJG145 wrote:
The Elf wrote:Cubase grew from a MIDI-only product

Sonar also.

Logic also.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby Exalted Wombat » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:25 pm

C.LYDE wrote:Now lets say my favourite snare sound is on my old Korg 03R, but I love the HHat sound from Toontrack Vintage - on a decent DAW, the ability to use both should be a relatively simple task.... nooorrt.


The very simplest way would be to set up two tracks, one "playing" the Korg, one the Toontrack, and put the notes you want each to play on that track. If you want to work with patterns in a Drum Edit page, you'll need to define a Drum Map (or whatever your particular DAW calls it.)

There aren't really MIDI-only sequencers any more. But Cubase has all the MIDI it ever did, plus more. I'm sure its competitors do too. The "alternative" approaches of Ableton, Fruity Loops etc. tend, I'm afraid, to come down to merely restricting choice of functions rather than offering revolutionary new ones.

Reaper does what it does. Like Linux applications, it gets over-praised.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby BJG145 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:01 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:The "alternative" approaches of Ableton...come down to merely restricting choice of functions rather than offering revolutionary new ones.

Can't agree with that. Max for Live is an outstanding product; innovative and highly versatile.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby Andy__D » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:37 pm

Thanks very much. I'd kinda forgotten Cubase and Cakewalk were still around. I'll download some demos. Thanks!
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Re: Sequencers

Postby Exalted Wombat » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:54 pm

Yup, still around, getting on with the job. And there are only so many ways you can manipulate wav or MIDI data. I'll bet Cubase can do anything the "alternative approach" DAWs can.

Feel free to prove me wrong though! What's a unique result you can get with e.g. Ableton that nothing else can manage?
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Re: Sequencers

Postby johnny h » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:09 pm

BJG145 wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:The "alternative" approaches of Ableton...come down to merely restricting choice of functions rather than offering revolutionary new ones.
Can't agree with that. Max for Live is an outstanding product; innovative and highly versatile.

Also Ableton 9 seems to feature vastly improved midi functions. If only they can sort out the ridiculous lack of VST3 support (essential for sidechaining) I think I'd ditch Cubase forever.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby johnny h » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:15 pm

Exalted Wombat wrote:Yup, still around, getting on with the job. And there are only so many ways you can manipulate wav or MIDI data. I'll bet Cubase can do anything the "alternative approach" DAWs can.

Feel free to prove me wrong though! What's a unique result you can get with e.g. Ableton that nothing else can manage?

Damn ... where do you start ? Being able to adjust the BPM and everything stays in time whatever happens ... being able to structure whole songs live, it asks you explicitly if you wish to stop the audio, the integration with touchable and so many control surfaces, max for live, and that's just version 8.

For making tracks its far more creative and produces superior results in a shorter space of time.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby ken long » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:16 pm

johnny h wrote:
Also Ableton 9 seems to feature vastly improved midi functions. If only they can sort out the ridiculous lack of VST3 support (essential for sidechaining) I think I'd ditch Cubase forever.

Ableton sucks donkey balls when it comes to MIDI.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby Goddard » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:31 pm

Anyone interested in playing around with the old DOS Voyetra Sequencer Plus?

Free download from Voyetra/TB (hunt down some floppies!):

http://www.turtlebeach.com/support/index.php?View=files&CategoryID=315

Can be run under DOSBox with MIDI In support available here:

http://blog.netandif.de/downloads/

Utoob: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_p4IgBD5oE

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Re: Sequencers

Postby johnny h » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:42 pm

ken long wrote:
johnny h wrote:
Also Ableton 9 seems to feature vastly improved midi functions. If only they can sort out the ridiculous lack of VST3 support (essential for sidechaining) I think I'd ditch Cubase forever.

Ableton sucks donkey balls when it comes to MIDI.

I haven't tried version 9 yet but it claims to have much better MIDI...
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Re: Sequencers

Postby C.LYDE » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:47 am

Exalted Wombat wrote:
The very simplest way would be to set up two tracks, one "playing" the Korg, one the Toontrack, and put the notes you want each to play on that track. If you want to work with patterns in a Drum Edit page, you'll need to define a Drum Map (or whatever your particular DAW calls it.)

There aren't really MIDI-only sequencers any more. But Cubase has all the MIDI it ever did, plus more. I'm sure its competitors do too. The "alternative" approaches of Ableton, Fruity Loops etc. tend, I'm afraid, to come down to merely restricting choice of functions rather than offering revolutionary new ones.

Reaper does what it does. Like Linux applications, it gets over-praised.


Thanks for that ...(I actually know that already)

My point was rather that not all sequencers are up to the "task" of handling MIDI and audio in a neat, powerful way.
Cubase has a drum map - Ableton Live has something like a map, but works completely different; immediately what would take a few minutes in Cubase is frustrating compromise in Live.
I clearly realise Live and other DAWs have other strengths, but often enough, managing MIDI data to external kit is not one of them...

Exalted Wombat wrote:
But Cubase has all the MIDI it ever did


Actually it has more...
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Re: Sequencers

Postby C.LYDE » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:50 am

JeffB wrote:
Drum maps?

Lets discuss that term, and how different OEMs interpreted the spec...
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Re: Sequencers

Postby C.LYDE » Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:53 am

Andy__D wrote:Thanks very much. I'd kinda forgotten Cubase and Cakewalk were still around.

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Re: Sequencers

Postby C.LYDE » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:01 pm

johnny h wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:Yup, still around, getting on with the job. And there are only so many ways you can manipulate wav or MIDI data. I'll bet Cubase can do anything the "alternative approach" DAWs can.

Feel free to prove me wrong though! What's a unique result you can get with e.g. Ableton that nothing else can manage?

Damn ... where do you start ? Being able to adjust the BPM and everything stays in time whatever happens ... being able to structure whole songs live, it asks you explicitly if you wish to stop the audio, the integration with touchable and so many control surfaces, max for live, and that's just version 8.

For making tracks its far more creative and produces superior results in a shorter space of time.


In other words, instead of using several samplers or DJ decks - Ableton Live is focused on the loop musician and or DJ - nothing wrong with that - in fact it Roxxx!. For a traditional musician using keyboards, drums, live guitars, the benefit is not too big (IMO) and from a traditional recording workflow approach... it hmm... Suxxxx.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby johnny h » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:09 pm

C.LYDE wrote:
johnny h wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:Yup, still around, getting on with the job. And there are only so many ways you can manipulate wav or MIDI data. I'll bet Cubase can do anything the "alternative approach" DAWs can.

Feel free to prove me wrong though! What's a unique result you can get with e.g. Ableton that nothing else can manage?

Damn ... where do you start ? Being able to adjust the BPM and everything stays in time whatever happens ... being able to structure whole songs live, it asks you explicitly if you wish to stop the audio, the integration with touchable and so many control surfaces, max for live, and that's just version 8.

For making tracks its far more creative and produces superior results in a shorter space of time.


In other words, instead of using several samplers or DJ decks - Ableton Live is focused on the loop musician and or DJ - nothing wrong with that - in fact it Roxxx!. For a traditional musician using keyboards, drums, live guitars, the benefit is not too big (IMO) and from a traditional recording workflow approach... it hmm... Suxxxx.
Why? Have you tried editing audio in Live? Shifting a drum hit or a vocal? Being able to nudge the tempo and have everything perfectly synced? Going back to Cubase after Live is like falling into quicksand.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby ken long » Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:49 pm

johnny h wrote:
C.LYDE wrote:
johnny h wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:Yup, still around, getting on with the job. And there are only so many ways you can manipulate wav or MIDI data. I'll bet Cubase can do anything the "alternative approach" DAWs can.

Feel free to prove me wrong though! What's a unique result you can get with e.g. Ableton that nothing else can manage?

Damn ... where do you start ? Being able to adjust the BPM and everything stays in time whatever happens ... being able to structure whole songs live, it asks you explicitly if you wish to stop the audio, the integration with touchable and so many control surfaces, max for live, and that's just version 8.

For making tracks its far more creative and produces superior results in a shorter space of time.


In other words, instead of using several samplers or DJ decks - Ableton Live is focused on the loop musician and or DJ - nothing wrong with that - in fact it Roxxx!. For a traditional musician using keyboards, drums, live guitars, the benefit is not too big (IMO) and from a traditional recording workflow approach... it hmm... Suxxxx.
Why? Have you tried editing audio in Live? Shifting a drum hit or a vocal? Being able to nudge the tempo and have everything perfectly synced? Going back to Cubase after Live is like falling into quicksand.

Digital performer did this ages ago. I don't like what Ableton does to the sound once you've manipulated it in such ways. AS for the MIDI implementations, it failed drastically last time I attempted to set it up in 2 different studios. No MIDI clock and posts on their forums with regards to this went un-answered. I expect this kind of thing from post-Emagic Logic but not from a company for which this is their flagship product.

As an aside, there is a newish DAW from some of the guys who worked at Ableton but can't remember the name now.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby desmond » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:03 pm

johnny h wrote:Going back to Cubase after Live is like falling into quicksand.

It really depends on your approach to music/production and what's important to you. Live is brilliant for what it does, and traditional DAWs are great for they do - there is some overlap, but I use each for their strengths, not complain about their weaknesses...
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Re: Sequencers

Postby johnny h » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:09 pm

ken long wrote:
johnny h wrote:
C.LYDE wrote:
johnny h wrote:
Exalted Wombat wrote:Yup, still around, getting on with the job. And there are only so many ways you can manipulate wav or MIDI data. I'll bet Cubase can do anything the "alternative approach" DAWs can.

Feel free to prove me wrong though! What's a unique result you can get with e.g. Ableton that nothing else can manage?

Damn ... where do you start ? Being able to adjust the BPM and everything stays in time whatever happens ... being able to structure whole songs live, it asks you explicitly if you wish to stop the audio, the integration with touchable and so many control surfaces, max for live, and that's just version 8.

For making tracks its far more creative and produces superior results in a shorter space of time.


In other words, instead of using several samplers or DJ decks - Ableton Live is focused on the loop musician and or DJ - nothing wrong with that - in fact it Roxxx!. For a traditional musician using keyboards, drums, live guitars, the benefit is not too big (IMO) and from a traditional recording workflow approach... it hmm... Suxxxx.
Why? Have you tried editing audio in Live? Shifting a drum hit or a vocal? Being able to nudge the tempo and have everything perfectly synced? Going back to Cubase after Live is like falling into quicksand.

Digital performer did this ages ago. I don't like what Ableton does to the sound once you've manipulated it in such ways. AS for the MIDI implementations, it failed drastically last time I attempted to set it up in 2 different studios. No MIDI clock and posts on their forums with regards to this went un-answered. I expect this kind of thing from post-Emagic Logic but not from a company for which this is their flagship product.

As an aside, there is a newish DAW from some of the guys who worked at Ableton but can't remember the name now.
Its called Bitwig - apparently the coders in Ableton weren't impressed that they had to basically bugfix for 2 years rather than get on with new features. From what I hear of the early versions of Bitwig its a very unstable piece of software at the moment and has a long way to go before being useable. Whether they can succeed without Ableton's resources, hardware compatibility and user base is another matter. I hope it does.

I agree the MIDI is very poor and I'm really hoping for an improvement in version 9. As for the timestretching, the default setting is 'beats - transients' which sounds ok for beats, but really bad on some sources (such as vocals, bass, synths). If you try the other settings (complex is the best most of the time) you can get very high quality real time stretching at even quite extreme ranges.

Even with drum sounds, the 'beats - transients' is normally not the best setting. Setting to beats - 16/s, 1/8s or 1/4s (depending on what you are stretching) normally gives a much more natural result.
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Re: Sequencers

Postby DC-Choppah » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:17 am

Oh man! Voyetra Sequencer Plus. I spent years with that thing and made a lot of music with it back in the early 90's.

I still miss some of the functions that it had for processing midi that I can't do in Pro Tools today. The MIDI editor was very powerful.

I still have a luggable Compaq 286 that can actually run that today and trigger a Korg M3R.

Thanks for that blast from the past.

Has anyone tried using this on a modern PC alongside ProTools or some other DAW. Would love to get access to the editor again.
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