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Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Discussion of Digital Performer use, optimization, tips and techniques on MacOS.

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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby James Steele » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:19 pm

frankf wrote:DP left Studio Vision in the dust a while ago.


To be fair, Studio Vision pretty much committed suicide via mismanagement at Opcode and later Gibson. It was the only DAW that really tempted me away from DP at one point.
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby Michael Canavan » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:34 pm

The Song Window is pretty cool, but it's much more geared towards a time before track automation.
Software plug ins in the Song Window in separate Sequence Chunks all act as separate plug ins, even if you use it on the same "track" with the same settings, so CPU can get trashed. So the best method to use it is to exclusively use the V-Rack Feature for all aux send hosts and software instruments, and hold off on heavy plug in use in individual Sequence Chunks.

You do all this and it's a good place to flesh out a song or score, to rearrange it and hear if you like it that way etc. Mostly I just drag Sequence Chunks into other Sequence Chunks for arranging, it would be cool to see improvements to the Song Window but I think it's days were numbered when software instruments and FX started to be used more than outboard gear, it's absolutely stellar if you're just using DP as a MIDI sequencer with some recorded tracks, barring the few things mentioned here.
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby Prime Mover » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:28 pm

Song Window is Legacy AF.

Okay so the next version of DP is X, right? So I'm half expecting that they'll use this as an opportunity to do a huge overhaul, and probably do away with quite a bit of the legacy features. MOTU has been extremely cautious about removing legacy code, and it's been to our benefit: DP files are incredibly compatible between versions, I don't think they've added any data changes since DP6 when they added Take Comping. But it's probably time for some changes. So much has shifted in the last 15 years, and I feel like legacy features have been impeding some progress.

Suspect we might see removal and/or changes to:
- Song Window
- MIDI Device Groups
- Drum Editor
- Notation view / Quickscribe
- POLAR
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby Michael Canavan » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:10 pm

Prime Mover wrote:Okay so the next version of DP is X, right? So I'm half expecting that they'll use this as an opportunity to do a huge overhaul, and probably do away with quite a bit of the legacy features.

It's possible, but it really depends on MOTU and what they want from DP. There's no sense in doing huge changes to the program like a complete overhaul without it generating new users. The problem there is how crowded the DAW market is now with Logic, Live, Sonar, Studio One, Bitwig, Cubase/Nuendo, Pro Tools, Samplitude, FL Studio etc. etc. etc. Granted, Live, FL, and Bitiwig are more niche electronic music production DAWs, but it still means people get used to that workflow, one that's more about immediate results.
So IMO it's possible that DPX is about workflow improvements, and I wouldn't say MOTU do away with legacy features, maybe just hide them the way Apple did with Logic, I would guess they move more in the direction you see the industry in general going in with a more streamlined interface approach, which is both good and bad. As it stands DP has multiple sub window menus, and a lot of things aren't clear until you know the program, I would guess DPX becomes about the GUI changing to show a simpler clearer interface as that's where everything is heading. Hopefully they don't get rid of features but just improve what they have.
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby Prime Mover » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:20 pm

Michael Canavan wrote:So IMO it's possible that DPX is about workflow improvements, and I wouldn't say MOTU do away with legacy features, maybe just hide them the way Apple did with Logic, I would guess they move more in the direction you see the industry in general going in with a more streamlined interface approach, which is both good and bad. As it stands DP has multiple sub window menus, and a lot of things aren't clear until you know the program, I would guess DPX becomes about the GUI changing to show a simpler clearer interface as that's where everything is heading. Hopefully they don't get rid of features but just improve what they have.


You might be right, and you're correct that it might inevitably be a good thing, but good god is there going to be a lot of complaining. That said, to this day, many of the changes Apple has made, even years later, generate much more hatred than good. Not hears SO much from the Logic side, but FCPX is still a nightmare for most people. Good god I hope MOTU doesn't go to that extreme. I can't really see them doing that without huge swaths of users jumping ship.
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby Michael Canavan » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:28 pm

Prime Mover wrote:You might be right, and you're correct that it might inevitably be a good thing, but good god is there going to be a lot of complaining. That said, to this day, many of the changes Apple has made, even years later, generate much more hatred than good. Not hears SO much from the Logic side, but FCPX is still a nightmare for most people. Good god I hope MOTU doesn't go to that extreme. I can't really see them doing that without huge swaths of users jumping ship.

I get the impression it's the rare 20-35 something that uses DP as their main DAW, anecdotal of course, but it's not any surprise that it's easier to convince younger people to change course etc. I don't see MOTU doing anything that would kill our current workflows. Logic 8 killed certain parts of my workflow related to the way hidden tracks behaved in the Mixer etc. so I jumped ship; I don't think MOTU will go that way.

Things I could see are close to being there to begin with. The Tracks window can work to select things in the Sequence Editor, most of the Track info on the right could be hidden like a subwindow or tab, and like you mentioned the Song Window could get some improvements. GUI changes that get rid of complaints about small fonts or CC handles etc. that needs to happen, and honestly there are too many glitches while editing a loop or with the song playing. Apple screwed up with FCPX but in some ways they got it right with Logic.

Anyway conjecture is fun, we have a couple months until Winter NAMM, and that's been traditionally when MOTU announce upgrades. It's been long enough so we will see. :)
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby Prime Mover » Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:20 am

Production Software versions have three very different feature updates: data manipulation, data structure, and then of course UI updates. Data manipulation are things like new MIDI event editing features (for instance if they were to create "smart performance" MIDI quantize feature), or some new automation tool. Data structure requires changing the project file format, so that versions are at least somewhat incompatible. There are intelligent ways of doing this so that older versions "ignore" newer structures, but that's risky. Unfortunately, all the most ground-breaking new features involve new data structures of some kinds. I've noticed that DP hasn't added ANY new data structure updates for a very long time, with the notable exception of the new pitch detection system.

Things like MIDI Device groups and the drum editor have GOT to be updated some day. Now that I'm doing a lot of Seaboard performance, I'd really love to see MDE-compliant multi-timbral MIDI tracks. I've been crying for MIDI take comping from day 1. But all of these things are going to require updates to the current data scheme. Hell, DP9 barely added anything more than just new plugins, but the fact that 9.5 changed the pitch system is important... as far as I know, it's the first data structure update that I can think of since DP6 introduced Take Comping.
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby stubbsonic » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:01 am

I'm wondering about sound for picture applications of the Song Window.

I imagine it Is possible/practical for multiple parties working on a video project to work on their own sequence chunks, and have a coordinator looking at a song window that has the various cues set as sequence chunks within the song window with individual start times-- and perhaps over-arching sequence chunks that contain ambience tracks, nat-sound, VO, etc?

Does anyone work that way?
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby amplidood » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:57 am

When everything was just MIDI programming, the song window made a bit more sense. It was a fantastic idea in concept, It just never quite got it all together in the efficiency department when audio got involved.
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby James Steele » Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:52 pm

amplidood wrote:When everything was just MIDI programming, the song window made a bit more sense. It was a fantastic idea in concept, It just never quite got it all together in the efficiency department when audio got involved.


Remember FreeStyle? Same thing. Could have been really awesome, but when audio entered the picture probably just too difficult to go down that rabbit hole.
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby bayswater » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:00 pm

James Steele wrote:
amplidood wrote:When everything was just MIDI programming, the song window made a bit more sense. It was a fantastic idea in concept, It just never quite got it all together in the efficiency department when audio got involved.


Remember FreeStyle? Same thing. Could have been really awesome, but when audio entered the picture probably just too difficult to go down that rabbit hole.


Freestyle was awesome. I'd pay for it's features to be added to the MIDI editor. I would have thought tap tempo was taken from Freestyle, but it never seems to work as well.
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby Michael Canavan » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:50 pm

Another DAW, (I know I know, sorry but this is relevant), has a feature where you can import audio renders of their version of Chunks into the current project. This isn't that far removed from the pre-rendering that PreGen does, so it seems it would be possible to do the same thing in DP with the Song Window. Then Chunks with different plug ins in them could free up CPU.

In theory anyway, when VST3 and newer versions of AU deliver on the promise of releasing CPU when not currently active in a track, along with NextGen PreGen you could use the Song Window without any caveats. As it stands it's important to note that bogging tracks with FX and instrument plug ins makes using the Song window impractical.
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby SixStringGeek » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:45 am

frankf wrote:Not so for me. DP left Studio Vision in the dust a while ago.


Yes. And no.

Vision excelled at modularity. DP kind of sucks at it. Thus, Vision's song window and sequences were profound and amazing. In DP we all glom everything into one sequence and work linearly for a reason. Sequences+Song Window aren't nearly as useful.

Just my nickel's opinion. I can't throw together a formulaic pop song (ABABCB) nearly as fast in DP.
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby SixStringGeek » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:48 am

James Steele wrote:
frankf wrote:DP left Studio Vision in the dust a while ago.


To be fair, Studio Vision pretty much committed suicide via mismanagement at Opcode and later Gibson. It was the only DAW that really tempted me away from DP at one point.


Opcode Music System lives on. Its called CoreAudio/CoreMIDI though. Same guy wrote both.
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Re: Do you love the song window? Tell me all about it!

Postby frankf » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:02 am

SixStringGeek wrote:
frankf wrote:Not so for me. DP left Studio Vision in the dust a while ago.


Yes. And no.

Vision excelled at modularity. DP kind of sucks at it. Thus, Vision's song window and sequences were profound and amazing. In DP we all glom everything into one sequence and work linearly for a reason. Sequences+Song Window aren't nearly as useful.

Just my nickel's opinion. I can't throw together a formulaic pop song (ABABCB) nearly as fast in DP.


I agree on what you write about pop song. But I can put together sectional music pretty fast in DP using several techniques.

I rarely used but loved the SVP feature where different sequences could play simultaneously with their own tempi and meter maps.


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