Category Archives: Production

This is the category for my various media production projects.

DAW Latency Issues

Well perhaps my problem is with SONAR. I’ve loaded the 64 bit stand alone version of Guitar rig and there was very little latency and hiccups while jamming with my guitar plugged straight into the instrument jack on my new Keystation 49i. However when I open up the Guitar Rig audio effects in SONAR there’s much crackling and about a half second delay.

I’m going to switch to the ASIO drivers in SONAR and see if this fixes the issue. If it doesn’t, perhaps I need to shop around for another 64 bit DAW solution.

LUNCH UPDATE
Wow the switch to ASIO was the trick…. it’s running like a whole new computer–exactly how I would expect it to (better, in fact) with my quick couple of tests during lunch.

If you’re having issues in SONAR with latency, switch immediately to the ASIO Driver Mode and see if that helps you too!!!

Tools->Audio Options->Advanced->Driver Mode dropdown

NO to Mac

After several months of deliberation I’ve decided not to invest my money in the Mac platform although my little PowerMac G4’s a neat little machine. I’ve always used Cakewalk’s SONAR (at least since it’s been out) and before then Pro Audio (from version 7 or 8–I can’t remember–cocaine’s a helluva drug, heh) and I think that the learning curve, the fact that I already have fantastic hardware and the advertised new Audio engine performance improvement and the workflow changes make an upgrade from 5 to 8 a very, very tempting offer. So tempting I ordered my upgrade today.

I think the only thing I’ll miss is the choir AU from Logic Express/Garage Band, but I’m sure I’ll find an equivalent DX or VST synth equivalent in time. Once I have the box in my old hands I’ll go ahead and order the Rapture virtual synth upgrade from Cakewalk as well since SONAR 8 comes with Rapture LE their upgrade price is only $129.

Between that and the formal piano lessions I started to take last month I foresee some creative boosts in the future!

I have several reasons I’m against the Mac platform:

  1. It’s a developer unfriendly environment (e.g. NDA insanity and some App Store Shenanigans
  2. It’s a closed system. I’m no hardware geek but I get by. I’d prefer to be able to build a tower to MY specifications instead of having to spend more than double on a machine that I won’t use to full effectiveness daily.
  3. The most of the cross-platform software I use (mainly Lightwave) seems to be a few months or a year behind in development maturity compared to the Windows platform. Even Adobe has 64 bit versions of their products for Windows while this version doesn’t have 64 bit for a allegedly ‘more mature and elegant’ 64 bit system. This goes back to point #1. Apple refuses to back-port libraries that professional developers are using and forcing them into Cocoa (although it’s very nice).
  4. One doesn’t have much choice with software with Apple. You can purchase 1st party apps such as Logic or Final Cut which is quite mature and seem to be industry standard, but other than those choices they’re bleeding the market by pricing it to the point it’s difficult for a 3rd party to compete against them. Yes, the end-user seems to win, but choice is more important to me than price alone. With the Windows platform I have dozens of choices of Video editing platforms while on a Mac there really is only one (ask anyone what they edit video with on a modern Mac it’ll be Final Cut Express or Pro–even the old Avid guys either jumped ship to PC or switch to FCP).

Now don’t get me wrong. For a consumer Apple is very enticing and easy to use, and I’d love to have a MacBook or MacBook pro to replace my aging Acer (mainly to boot to Windows), but the desktop selection is far out of my league or not enough cowbell for my needs. Id’ still suggest a Mac to a new-to-computers person since Vista although is stable and usable, still has some complexity issues for a new customer (although a new customer in a 1st world country is very rare these days).

I despise the Control Panel layout in Vista it’s WAAAY too busy. Microsoft needs to take a look at the MacOS control panel for some ideas. UAC is great, but I’d like to see an ‘always run as administrator’ option in the shortcut options where it UAC prompts you once but never prompts you again unless the executable’s checksum changes. A modern program shouldn’t need to prompt you for UAC every time it launches, but there are a few legacy apps & games that I launch occasionally that required it.

Logic Express 7 & MacOS

I installed a trial version of Logic Express (casually termed as ‘Logic’ from here on) that I downloaded many months to a couple of years ago when I was just about to purchase a Mac (instead of my Dual Core Acer Laptop that I own), and looking retrospectively I think I may have made a mistake. 

My experience making music so far has been with Cakewalk SONAR (v5) and Project 5 (v2.5). I’ve always had driver and latency issues (even when I was running it on XP). My main box is a Quad-core Q6600 system with 4 gigs of RAM. I use a Roland UA-4fx for my audio input and output, have all the latest drivers and still I had either Audio Engine crashes or terrible latency. 
I plug the same hardware into this G4 Mac, install the drivers and the latency in Logic is non-existent. I’m pretty disappointed. There’s quite a bit of getting used to the details and quite a few hotkeys that I miss (the W key was one of my favs in Sonar & P5), but all in all it’s still set up quite sanely–and sounds fantastic even with a basic, non-optimized mix. My tests so far have been quite successful. I’m not sure if it’s successful enough for me to purchase a new Mac in the next few months though. It IS enough however for me to look into purchasing a copy of Logic 7 (as Logic 8 is out of specs for this machine).

Musical itchings and lack of practice

I’ve been working on some music again, as well as changing my style a bit too. It’s been years since I’ve done anything semi-seriously, and I’ve had songs in my head for the last few years that I’ve been wanting to push down to .wav.

Also, I’ve been getting the itch to go back to caressing my artistic side. Once upon a time I was quite a freehand sketcher, but since becoming a professional nerd/geek I’ve not done this so often anymore. So I suppose that a slight regression to make me a more-whole person is in order.

I blame my semi-sudden rush of artistic need on some of the work my liberal buddy (I’m a moderate with conservative tendencies) Junkyard Sam has produced in the last few months. That man’s got some serious talent and imagination.

I think it’s probably time for guitar & piano lessons to help me focus and refresh my skills (my piano skills especially). I’ll probably do a few online and see if I can learn anything from them. Otherwise I’ve got a few sources that can teach me the basics of two-hand playing on the keyboards.

The composition software that I’ve been working with the last few weeks is Cakewalk’s Project 5 but I’m running into some creative workflow limitations and I long for something a bit more flexible. I honestly think that Project 5 would be great in front of a live audience once properly set up and it’s great for prototyping, but still not as familiar in composition as my old Roland JX-305 (which is having issues with the LCD screen after almost 10 years) — I’ve been more into software synths lately anyways.

Although I’m a SONAR version 5 and Project 5 version 2 licensee, I’m going to download the trial of SONAR version 7 to see if it’ll fit my workflow a bit more smoothly. I’ve always been a fan of Cakewalk’s software and Cakewalk’s user-centric licensing scheme (which borders on the honesty system–too many companies out there treat their users like criminals). The upgrade cost would be about $225 but it’s been a few versions since I’ve updated, but that software series is phenomenal.

So this blog may turn into my dark art blog over time, so beware. Honestly though I think I’d find that much more interesting that some random XBox gamer’s blog, eh?