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Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby forumuser653351 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:33 am

fruitcake wrote:I would guess other DAWs can do much of the same. The learning curve for a DAW is long as there is so much they can (or should be able to) do. So I stick with DP because I don’t have the time to learn another one.
This is at the heart of my interest in what other people are using. As Logic has been my main DAW for a long time I don't know how other DAWs implement hardware synths, and currently don't have the time to completely learn another one - unless there is a clear advantage in doing so. So others experience of DAW integration is interesting to me - not so much if a DAW can or can't do it (as has been pointed out most can do pretty much the same thing) - but how they do it, as there might be another way that suits my workflow better.
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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby forumuser653351 » Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:36 am

innerchord wrote:Is librarian software like MIDI Quest helpful at all?
https://squest.com/index.html
I've not used this before, looks very interesting, I'll have to investigate more. Thanks.
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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby The Elf » Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:46 am

forumuser653351 wrote:
innerchord wrote:Is librarian software like MIDI Quest helpful at all?
https://squest.com/index.html
I've not used this before, looks very interesting, I'll have to investigate more. Thanks.
I gave up on that kind of software a couple of decades ago. They almost invariably don't work properly.
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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby N i g e l » Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:53 am

BigRedX wrote:I’d use a DAW that has it’s roots in the pre-audio days of MIDI sequencing. So Something like Logic, Cubase or Performer.

...or Cakewalk by Bandlab. The original used to cost £hundreds but as mentioned above, its now free to download.

the MIDI is easy to set up, can have insert MIDI effects and can use multiple tracks for recording the controller data etc.
I think it still has CAL, a scripting language if you want to batch process the midi data.
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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby fruitcake » Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:49 pm

forumuser653351 wrote:This is at the heart of my interest in what other people are using. As Logic has been my main DAW for a long time I don't know how other DAWs implement hardware synths, and currently don't have the time to completely learn another one - unless there is a clear advantage in doing so.

Having played around with Logic a bit, I got really frustrated with the way it creates instruments and assigns tracks. That is wholly because of the years spent with Digital Performer and being familiar with the workflow. The main thing I didn’t want to spend the time figuring out was in DP I could create an audio track for my hardware synth, then I create multiple MIDI tracks that point to the synth. Notes on one track, CC on another, lots of options. I never wrapped my head around multiple MIDI tracks to one synth in Logic. I’d just switch to DP after a few frustrating minutes because I know how to do it quickly.

What I really like in Logic is the way it handles articulations.
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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby desmond » Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:59 pm

fruitcake wrote:Having played around with Logic a bit, I got really frustrated with the way it creates instruments and assigns tracks.

The main thing I didn’t want to spend the time figuring out was in DP I could create an audio track for my hardware synth, then I create multiple MIDI tracks that point to the synth. Notes on one track, CC on another, lots of options. I never wrapped my head around multiple MIDI tracks to one synth in Logic.

I have had my F3 key set to "Create new track with same instrument" since Logic 1.x (about 1993). It just instantly creates another track pointing to the same instrument, for exactly that purpose.
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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby innerchord » Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:18 pm

The Elf wrote:
innerchord wrote:Is librarian software like MIDI Quest helpful at all?
https://squest.com/index.html
I gave up on that kind of software a couple of decades ago. They almost invariably don't work properly.
Well, I sold most of my hardware a decade ago and moved 'into the box'. My memories are of having to keep a handbook of which synths needed which convoluted keypresses in order to work (and similar foibles), but worked it did. I have no idea if modern synths are better in dealing with this information, but it's something you have to face if you use hardware. How to you save and select patches?
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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby The Elf » Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:31 pm

innerchord wrote:
The Elf wrote:
innerchord wrote:Is librarian software like MIDI Quest helpful at all?
https://squest.com/index.html
I gave up on that kind of software a couple of decades ago. They almost invariably don't work properly.
Well, I sold most of my hardware a decade ago and moved 'into the box'. My memories are of having to keep a handbook of which synths needed which convoluted keypresses in order to work (and similar foibles), but worked it did. I have no idea if modern synths are better in dealing with this information, but it's something you have to face if you use hardware. How to you save and select patches?
I store in whatever way each device allows, be it card, dedicated editor, sys-ex... But I gave up trying to find an integrated all-in-one solution.

When all I had was a JX-8P and couple of TX7s I used Chameleon on the Atari ST and that was a fabulous piece of software, allowing me to create my own librarian routines. I suppose my equivalent of that now is MIDI Designer Pro - at least I've created my own librarians for my reface synths using that.

I tried MIDI Quest (and others), but invariably they didn't work, and since they didn't allow me to tweak the software myself it was pretty much game over when I hit any problem. And to add insult to injury it seemed every new synth I bought wasn't supported.

I'd love to hear that MIDI Quest is 100% reliable across all it's libraries, and I'd love to know that it's being kept up to date with each new instrument that arrives, but I doubt both of things will be true. Unless anyone knows better?
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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby desmond » Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:46 pm

My experiences with MIDI Quest were... not particularly positive.

I used SoundDiver for a long time, which was great, and it's dependency management for things like the Wavestation was brilliant. I had libraries for all my hardware in it in one centralised place, and it was really useful.

But for editing I never found graphical editors that useful for me - doing things with the mouse and using graphics and stuff suited people who weren't that familiar with their hardware, but I always found it rather indirect and slow (although there are tasks they are good at). I just used to get stuck in with the instrument in front of me...
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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby innerchord » Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:14 pm

The Elf wrote:I store in whatever way each device allows, be it card, dedicated editor, sys-ex... But I gave up trying to find an integrated all-in-one solution.
I thought you might say that. :)
The Elf wrote:When all I had was a JX-8P and couple of TX7s I used Chameleon an the Atari ST...
Ah, memories. Chameleon was great!
The Elf wrote:I'd love to hear that MIDI Quest is 100& reliable across all it's libraries, and I'd love to know that it's being kept up to date with each new instrument that arrives, but I doubt both of things will be true. Unless anyone knows better?
I left the world of hardware partly due to such issues. It would be nice to think that someone is keeping the librarian flag flying. With so much new hardware, I would have thought there was a need for it?
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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby The Elf » Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:27 pm

innerchord wrote:It would be nice to think that someone is keeping the librarian flag flying. With so much new hardware, I would have thought there was a need for it?
Closest for me is MIDI designer. It's more of an editor than anything, but it does let me store patches, albeit in a very limited way. At least I can do it for myself and not have to wait for someone else to provide support.

If the MIDI designer guys ever give me the dynamic labels I've been asking for it may be possible to create more librarian-ish layouts.
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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Jul 15, 2020 4:27 pm

The Elf wrote:
forumuser653351 wrote:
innerchord wrote:Is librarian software like MIDI Quest helpful at all?
https://squest.com/index.html
I've not used this before, looks very interesting, I'll have to investigate more. Thanks.
I gave up on that kind of software a couple of decades ago. They almost invariably don't work properly.

I'm afraid I did too - the generic load/save functions of librarians invariably work, but the most useful functions of apps like MIDI Quest are the editors, and invariably only the most popular synths are supported, leaving the user to attempt to create editors for the rest.


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Re: Preferred DAW for working with hardware synths - pros and cons?

Postby forumuser653351 » Thu Jul 16, 2020 7:10 am

Martin Walker wrote:
The Elf wrote:
forumuser653351 wrote:
innerchord wrote:Is librarian software like MIDI Quest helpful at all?
https://squest.com/index.html
I've not used this before, looks very interesting, I'll have to investigate more. Thanks.
I gave up on that kind of software a couple of decades ago. They almost invariably don't work properly.

I'm afraid I did too - the generic load/save functions of librarians invariably work, but the most useful functions of apps like MIDI Quest are the editors, and invariably only the most popular synths are supported, leaving the user to attempt to create editors for the rest.


Martin

Sounds like there is a market for someone to make bespoke editors for the unsupported synths people have. For me I’m happy to delve into the hardware itself for editing purposes. My experience is that, for me, Logic is a bit awkward/temperamental on named patch/banks for multi-timbral instruments and I would be happy with just a reliable load and save of named patches (I know for others Logic works flawlessly in this regard - I may need some tips as I might be doing things in not the best way).
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