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Posted on Sun, Dec 27 2015 03:58
by suon
Joined on Sat, Sep 04 2010, Posts 106

Please share your workflows!!   Some questions I'm interested to hear everyone's thoughts:

  1. What percent of time do you find yourself (a) actually composing with your brain, (b) tweaking MIDI performances, (c) doing basic MIDI note/CC entry, (d) mixing/reverb/other?
  2. Which part of the work do you feel is your bottleneck that you wish could go faster?
  3. Do you use a MIDI keyboard controller, or mouse/keyboard?  which parts of your workflow do you use each one?
  4. How specifically do you try to minimize the time you spend with MIDI note entry and MIDI tweaks?
  5. How do you prefer to do initial note entry for the first instrument in a new cue?
  6. How do you prefer to do note entry for additional instruments in an existing cue?
  7. Which DAW do you prefer, and how do you feel about it's piano-roll / key editor?

 

For me, I find that I spent 99% of my time buried in piano rolls.  I use piano rolls while orchestrating, as well as later on to perfect MIDI performances.

I want to switch from FL Studio to Cubase (features like multiple CC lanes, score editing, and expression maps), The problem is that the piano roll in FL Studio is much faster for me.  So with either DAW I am making a compromise.  FL Studio piano roll features include things like warping length of groups of notes, instantly previewing a point in time to spot-check, and quickly erasing multiple arbitrary notes with one click+drag motion.  The corresponding features in Cubase take multiple clicks or keystrokes, often requiring to change tools and to reposition the playback cursor.  I feel it slows me down too much and I have not found keyboard shortcuts or customization options to make it faster.  So that's why I am interested to hear how other people may have solved these problems =)

Cheers!

Posted on Sun, Dec 27 2015 08:18
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

Originally Posted by: suon Go to Quoted Post

...FL Studio piano roll features include things like warping length of groups of notes,

...instantly previewing a point in time to spot-check,

...quickly erasing multiple arbitrary notes with one click+drag motion.

I don't quite understand the above requested features, so would be grateful if you could explain further, because the combination of Cubase + Logical Editor + KC for Macros is very powerful.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Sun, Dec 27 2015 09:48
by suon
Joined on Sat, Sep 04 2010, Posts 106

I'm still very interested to hear about people's workflows.  

But I'm also happy to rant about this, since you asked for more clarification. =)  If you have suggestions, please let me know!

 

Instant preview:

In FL Studio, alt + right-click will display a vertical line located at the mouse cursor.  Any notes that intersect that vertical time position will be triggered.  When dragging the mouse to another point in time, the piano roll will send the appropriate note-off / note-on signals.  It is an incredibly fast way to spot-check chords, note velocities, and articulations (including legato as I scrub between notes) when editing.   One important example is while orchestrating, I would be spreading a chord across different MIDI parts.  in FL Studio it is possible to trigger midi notes of all midi parts simultaneously.   So I can instantly hear how the note fits in with all the other instruments.

In Cubase, there is a "scrub" tool.  It only produces a short note and does not sustain, it is distractingly laggy, and scrubbing backwards doesn't seem to work properly.  Worse, it only works on one part at a time, and such a tool does not evem exist at all in the normal key editor.  It is possible to ctrl-click notes to hear nearby notes, but if some notes start just slightly too early or late, they won't be played.  Using transport controls is the only practical option, but that's still slow compared to what I was accustomed to.

 

Warping groups of notes:

In FL Studio it is possible to select a group of notes and stretch/shrink them proportionally.  One example where I use this is to implement realistic runs that fit in a rhythm.  Another example is doubling a passage in multiple instruments, and emulating their inaccuracy in various places.  Squeezing and stretching various groups of notes is more convincing than just shifting an entire part.

So far, I have not been able to coax Cubase's logical editor to implement this correctly.  There are existing "double tempo" and "half tempo" presets, but all they do is divide position by half.   That means if I try to squish notes that start at the 4th measure, they get squished AND move to the 2nd measure.  What we really need is a way to use the "position of the first note" inside the logical editor operations, but I didn't see how that is possible yet.

 

Erasing notes:

In FL Studio it is possible to erase notes by right clicking.  But it is not necessary to be accurate with it.  instead, right clicking anywhere on the piano roll, then you can drag the mouse over any number of arbitrary notes and they will get erased as soon as the mouse cursor touches those notes.   For me, I use this often to clean up midi recordings or to do orchestration.  For example, if I made a 3-part prototype, I may copy paste it to the tenor part and want to delete all the notes unrelated to the tenor part.  For clustered or interwoven lines, it's grueling to delete notes by selecting or erasing them.  It's much faster to be able to just "touch" all the notes to be deleted.

Most other things that I commonly do in FL Studio can be done reasonably fast in Cubase too (after a lot of digging and learning this past several days).  I didn't realize how often I do these particular tasks until I have been trying to get around them in Cubase.

 

Thanks!

Posted on Sun, Dec 27 2015 11:20
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

OK, so I need to test out your scrubbing option, because I'm not in the studio until next year. However, from memory you need to disable high quality scrubbing in the Prefs in order to get a non lagging scrub. In terms of sustaining notes, I haven't had that problem, bu I think that there is something going on with the note on note off scenario. If you scrub back wars, I doubt you'd hear anything, due to the fact that there is no note one given. However, I need to check this out.

Warping should be no problem. Check the warp section of the manual. Again I'd need to be in the studio in order to give specific details.

For erasing you don't need to use the eraser tool. Drag select the notes and then hit delete. If you do want to erase one by one I agree that having to click with the tool is slower. I'll have a think to see if there is a better way.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Mon, Dec 28 2015 04:49
by suon
Joined on Sat, Sep 04 2010, Posts 106

Thanks for all your suggestions.  Actually I had tried everything you mention even before my first post, to no avail.  I will send feedback to Cubase about these issues, and move on.

DG, if you have time, I would be grateful to hear about your personal efficiency bottlenecks and MIDI recording/editing workflow =)

Posted on Mon, Dec 28 2015 09:00
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

Originally Posted by: suon Go to Quoted Post

Thanks for all your suggestions.  Actually I had tried everything you mention even before my first post, to no avail.  I will send feedback to Cubase about these issues, and move on.

OK.

Originally Posted by: suon Go to Quoted Post
DG, if you have time, I would be grateful to hear about your personal efficiency bottlenecks and MIDI recording/editing workflow =)

I'm not sure that I can be of much help, because:

  1. I hardly ever do a MIDI mock-up these days
  2. My sequencing is entirely based around the need to add things to live recordings, so a lot of it would not necessarily be appropriate when the mock-up is the final product.
  3. I think that you're better off asking specific questions (as you already did) because I wouldn't know where to start.

However, your point 3. I can take a stab at. I use a keyboard, breath controller and Lemur for note and controller entry and a Faderport for volume automation/mixing. For editing MIDI I tend to use many KC and Macros for notes and mouse for CC.

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Mon, Dec 28 2015 15:17
by MMKA
Joined on Tue, May 22 2012, Posts 439

Hello,

I'm not familiar with Cubase and FL Studio and I think that not so many people use Samplitude Pro X2 Suite, but when I read your description about FL Studio, I think it could be a good suggestion to give Samplitude Pro X2 a try. (The midi part of the Standard version and the Suite version are the same, the Suite version has more plugins and more vsti instruments). For me the midi part works very well, also several plugins that comes with the program, are very useful to me (I work with midi and Vsti instruments, but also with recorded music, especially the Suite version has good tools to repair and manipulate .wav-files). You can try the program free for 30 days. Succes with finding a program that covers your needs!

Posted on Wed, Dec 30 2015 02:28
by suon
Joined on Sat, Sep 04 2010, Posts 106

I finally figured out a trick to stretch / squeeze / warp selected notes in Cubase key editor  It's still not as fast or flexible as dragging to resize with a mouse in FL Studio, and it behaves badly when no notes are selected, but otherwise seems to work.

After that much struggle, the least I can do is share my solution so anyone searching over the internet might find this solution =)

Step 1. Create and save a logical editor script.  The script is essentially the same as the "double tempo" and "half tempo" examples, with a different multiplier value.   In order to shrink/stretch exactly the same, I used "Divide by 1.1" to shrink, and "Multiply by 1.1" to stretch.

Step 2. Create the "shrink selected notes" macro from the following Commands:

  1. Transport - Locators to Select (default shortcut "p")
  2. Edit - Cut
  3. Transport - Return to Zero (default shortcut numpad ".")
  4. Edit - Paste
  5. Process Logical Preset - the macro we just created in Step 1
  6. Edit - Cut
  7. Transport - To Left Locator (default shortcut numpad "1")
  8. Edit - Paste

Basically, this macro moves the selected notes to the beginning of the track before applying the tempo change, and then moves them back after shrinking/stretching.  That way, the notes don't accidentally change position as well.

 

MMKA - as for Samplitude Pro - does it have something similar to expression maps?   I downloaded the Samplitude demo, checked out the manual, tried out the piano roll.   It's a totally different language... impossible to judge how efficient I would feel without spending months with it.  I like the eraser, but the zooming was uncomfortable for me.  Ultimately, it's too much time and effort to learn it in detail after having done that with two other capable sequencers already.

Cheers!

Posted on Wed, Dec 30 2015 11:46
by MMKA
Joined on Tue, May 22 2012, Posts 439

Hi suon,

I had to check out on Youtube, how expression maps works, and no, Samplitude Pro doesn't have this feature.

Posted on Wed, Dec 30 2015 14:17
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608
suon, I'll try to sort out a little tutorial for Warp tomorrow, because you obviously have yet to find it in the manual...!

DG
Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Wed, Dec 30 2015 18:46
by suon
Joined on Sat, Sep 04 2010, Posts 106

I did try the time warp tool.  But maybe I am missing something.  It would be great

Let's take the example of a piano track + other tracks at the same time.   Suppose we have a scale run that we want to squeeze to go slightly faster.  How do we do that without affecting (a) the other tracks and (b) other notes in the same track?    At least for me, this is a pretty common situation when trying to tweak the nuanced performance or realism of an instrument.  I'm surprised more people haven't asked about this.  Are other people tweaking MIDI performances in a better way that entirely avoids this situation?

About the time warp tool.  It's not the same as stretching/squeezing selected notes only.  As I understand, that tool is intended for intuitive ways to automate the project-wide tempo track.  Trying to isolate tracks with musical or linear time mode before warping - almost works, but it's highly unintuitive.   It may be possible to create macros that (1) solo a track to musical or linear time as appropriate, (2) enables the user the opportunity to time warping to only one track while in the key editor (3) makes all tracks linear time and removes the tempo automation that got created, so the grid looks correct after the warping.  But then it (a) still affects un-selected notes in a track, (b) if I had tempo automation already, it's destroyed in the process, and (c) at that point, the macro I have now is already a faster workflow.  

Ultimately, whatever I figured out so far still does not parallel the smoothness of being able to simply select a group of notes and stretch/squeeze them together quickly and precisely.

Cheers =)

Posted on Wed, Dec 30 2015 18:47
by suon
Joined on Sat, Sep 04 2010, Posts 106

Missed a sentence - "It would be great to hear your solution"

Cheers!

Posted on Fri, Jan 01 2016 12:15
by DG
Joined on Wed, May 12 2004, Posts 8608

OK, I'm now back in the studio and I think I used the wrong terminology. Sorry. So the way I do it is probably not as efficient as the one you're used to, but here goes. Note that I'm putting all the steps in to make a tuplet.

  1. Make sure that the first note starts on the grid.
  2. Make sure that there is an end note on a finishing beat, even if you delete it later.
  3. Cut the MIDI part at the start of the first note and the start of the last note.
  4. Hit the normal selection tool key twice to get the time stretching tool
  5. Make sure that snap is on
  6. Drag the right hand corner of your MIDI part to the beat you want your tuplet to finish at.

Some of these steps may be unnecessary, some may be possible to build into a Macro.

I also had a think about your Eraser problem, and I'm pretty sure it could be solved using something like AutoHotKey

DG

Nuendo 6.03, 4.3
2 x Intel Xeon x5675 3.07GHz Hex Core
48GB RAM
Windows 7 (x64)Pro
RME Multiface II
Intensity
ATI HD5400 series graphics card
Posted on Wed, Jan 06 2016 05:01
by suon
Joined on Sat, Sep 04 2010, Posts 106

One last follow-up -

Thanks for your most recent suggestion, it's definitely useful to know about.  The macro I created fits my scenarios better, without having to exit/re-enter the key editor and splice/glue parts.

DG, I greatly appreciate your time and effort to help out, thank you!

Posted on Thu, Jan 21 2016 05:45
by johnstaf
Joined on Thu, Apr 21 2011, EI, Posts 216

I wouldn't recomment Samplitude for scoring work. Its MIDI features are too basic compared to Cubase, Logic or Digital Performer.

Cubase (OS agnostic). Various VSL bits and pieces.

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