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  • #16
    All right, let's take a look at the effects in detail, starting with the filter. Logically enough, you click on the effect name in the chain to see its screen, and check its check box to enable it. Remember, the order of effects can't be changed.

    The Attaq filter has three modes, selected by a three-way switch: Manual, Envelope, and Sequence. The controls are Bandwidth, Filter Mode (highpass, bandpass, lowpass), Range (frequency range covered by the filter), and Sensitivity for envelope mode.

    The step sequencer has its own control set: Speed (with tempo sync from quarter notes to 64th notes), number of steps (4, 6, and 8), and 8 level controls that determine the filter frequency.

    As you might suspect from an AdrenaLinn fan, I'm thrilled to see a step sequencer included here -- it's also a fun effect to add to a drum backing track, as is the envelope follower. I also found that for drums, the highpass mode is often more desirable than the lowpass mode, which creates a typically murky sound.Click on the attachment to see the filter set up to do envelope following on a drum part.

    Note that manual mode is basically just a tone control. As you can't alter the frequency via MIDI, there's no footpedal wa-wa action.

    The envelope-controlled filter works pretty much as expected, but it's quite musical; it seems to me that got the decay constant right, so it doesn't "burble."
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    • #17
      And for your listening pleasure...I figured out how to save a riff as a WAV file (you just hit the Mix button), so I captured part of one of the included backing drum loops (the Demo loop by Matt Sorum) going through the envelope follower in HP mode. I then imported the mixed WAV file into Sound Forge, so I could then export it as an MP3. I did have to convert the file to mono, though, so it wouldn't be too big for what the BBS can handle.

      Note that Riffworks can export as Ogg Vorbis as well, but I figured the MP3 option was more universal for those visiting the forum.

      Click on the attachment to listen to the envelope followed drum riff.
      N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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      • #18
        Here's another example of the step sequenced filter, this time using guitar. Click on the attachment to hear this. However, the more I played with the sequenced filter, the more I realized that it doesn't stay in sync over time -- it drifts.

        After recording several layers, the guitar track and backing drums would usually start off in sync, but eventually drift out (and eventually, drift back in again). It became really obvious when I played several layers at the same time along with drums; there were definite sync issues. This is something that needs to be fixed for the step sequenced filter to be useable.

        I thought that perhaps this was a function of monitoring through the effect, and that applying the effect to the riff layer itself, as post-processing, would fix the sync issues...but it didn't. This was on the Mac; when I get a chance, I'll try things with Windows and see if there's the same problem.
        N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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        • #19
          Okay, this is more like it! The Shaper is a triple-band distortion, but with a lot of extras...and I mean alot. It's getting late, so I'll post the screen shot and description tomorrow. But I just finished recording a couple of audio examples, and I figured I'd post them now

          Click on the attachment to hear a fairly standard distortion sound, but using three bands of distortion.
          N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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          • #20
            In this example, the Lower band has been set to divide by an octave. This gives that cool "guitar + bass" sound, and it's really quite something.

            Click on the attachment to hear the guitar + bass shaper effect. In this particular case, I decided to mix two layers along with the drums. Hey, why not? After all, one of the advantages of Riffworks is the ability to do drum machine-style layering...
            N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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            • #21
              I noticed a few problems when working with Riffworks:

              * Sometimes there was a graphic issue where parts of the effects screen, but not all of it, would disappear under the layer section. I'll try to take a screen shot and maybe the Riffworks people can figure out what's wrong.

              * When creating a song from a riff, it seems like a little bit of the beginning would be cut off. I wonder if this relates to the timing issue with the filter; many sequencers I've worked with take a while to "get up to speed."

              * After recording about 10 layers or so and hitting stop, I had to do a force quit because the program stopped responding.

              Overall, bugs have been infrequent, but I get the sense that there's something wrong with the timing either at the beginning of end of a loop -- like something's cut off that shouldn't be, or added to, or some kind of inconsistency. Everything in between seems fine.

              I'll try to quantify this further as I work more with Riffworks.
              N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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              • #22
                This effect (called “Tripwire”) is really quite wonderful, and would make a great VST plug-in (hint, hint). It splits the input signal into three bands, Low, Mid, and Hi; two controls set the crossover frequency between the Lo/Mid and Mid/Hi bands. Each band has an on/off switch with Compression, Level, and Drive controls. Note that having compression controls for each band justifies putting the actual Compressor effect after the distortion, as you can still compress the signal before it hits the distortion (something I like). Click on the attachment to see the effect’s set of controls.

                Drive does what you’d expect, in that it makes the sound more overdriven and distorted. But the “secret weapon” here is that you can shape and harmonize the signal in different ways. Each stage can be set to “Fuzz” (normal distortion effects), but there are also parallel harmony synthesis options:

                Down: Down one octave
                DD: Down two octaves
                Up: Up one octave
                3rd: Up one third
                4th: Up one fourth
                5th: Up one fifth

                The previous two examples gave some standard distortion sound, the next example will demo some parallel harmonies.
                N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                • #23
                  Okay, here’s the shaper with the Mid set to a 5th above, and the Low and Hi sections set to Fuzz. By the way, all these examples use drum patterns that come with Riffworks. Click on the attachment to hear the audio example.
                  N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                  • #24
                    Hi Craig,
                    We will definitely take a look at the graphics glitch.

                    About the cut-off sound...
                    Not all Core Audio (or ASIO) devices report their latency correctly. You can see we've measured the error in the reporting in several devices if you take a look at our Recommended Hardware List:
                    http://www.sonomawireworks.com/guide/index.php/Recommended_Hardware

                    We haven't measured the Mackie Onyx Satellite. I'll have to take a look at that one.

                    For example, the built-in audio on my intel mac with 1024 buffersize reports:
                    1054 intput
                    1024 output
                    The latency on input and output should always be larger than the buffersize. 1024 samples of actual latency on the output is impossible, and 1054 (only 30 more than 1024) is highly unlikely. So there is definitely some error here.

                    This error can result in the beginning of what you're playing being cut-off in the recordings.

                    dug

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Anderton
                      And for your listening pleasure...I figured out how to save a riff as a WAV file (you just hit the Mix button), did have to convert the file to mono, though, so it wouldn't be too big for what the BBS can handle.

                      Note I figured the MP3 option was more universal for those visiting the forum.

                      i]


                      I clonked'ed, I hoid, I got freaked out .
                      Thanks cool daddy'o.
                      That was a real hep snap.
                      Now that's what I call PROGRESS..
                      This is an active learning curve..
                      I really can't GROK* all the technical stoff you know um because of my brainal afflictions an' all, but the ears are tellin' me a thang er two. The quickly loadeink file-ski was crissp and clean and tight as a texas tick, yeehaw!

                      Cooties or, or something like that to my goode and close personal frien' Greg Anderson for usink his brainal musckles to astound and enlighten the less fortunate and the connectivity challenged and speakink for me sef' (arr') It's really fun to me mon' to hear some of the supreme and glorius leaders' impromptu jams. the distortion segment was especially enlightenink. yah gooten!
                      well done oh wise and mysteriously slim leader.
                      well done i say.
                      (fading footstep sounds to silence ) and cut. and print .
                      thats a wrap babies..
                      that's a wrap
                      the end
                      ovre
                      and
                      oot
                      RL
                      S

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                      • #26
                        <<We will definitely take a look at the graphics glitch.>>

                        It's only on the Mac. If it occurs again, I'll grab a screen shot.

                        <<About the cut-off sound...
                        Not all Core Audio (or ASIO) devices report their latency correctly.>>

                        Well, you are the zillionth manufacturer who has mentioned having problems with this!! I hear an effort may be afoot to get more accurate reporting out of ASIO interfaces , don't know what's up with Core Audio.

                        <<You can see we've measured the error in the reporting in several devices if you take a look at our Recommended Hardware List...This error can result in the beginning of what you're playing being cut-off in the recordings.>>

                        That makes intuitive sense to me. Now the trick is to find a workaround I can try some different interfaces, and do some Mac/PC comparisons to see if one is better than the other.

                        Thanks for the comments, it's data such as this that helps make changes happen. As I mentioned, a lot of manufacturers have a problem with the latency reporting issue, and you shouldn't have to deal with that.
                        N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                        • #27
                          I just went to your recommended hardware guide. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in drivers, audio interfaces, and ASIO check out this page!! It is loaded with useful information and is highly informative, to say the least.

                          Very good stuff, Dug, thanks.

                          Now back to having fun with Riffworks, I'll work on the workarounds later. I have a UX2 I'm using with Windows, but given as it seems to have performed very well in your tests, I can try it out on the Mac when I get home and see if that solves the problem.
                          N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                          • #28
                            The equalizer section has five stages: Low cut, hi cut, and three midrange stages. Click on the attachment to see the equalizer’s complement of controls.

                            The frequency selections are stepped, like a vintage EQ. The low cut options are 50, 80, 160, and 300Hz and hi cut offers 4k, 8k, 12k, and 16k. The three mid sections have cut and boost controls for +/-18dB. These are centered around 35, 60, 110, and 220 for the low mids, 360, 700, 1.6k, 3.2k, 4.8k, and 7k for the mids, and 10k, 12k, 14k, and 16k for the high mids.

                            Of course, something a three-stage parametric would be more flexible, especially because you could vary the bandwidth of the mid sections. However, given the context, the EQ does its job. It works well not only with guitar, but also on the backing drum tracks, and sounds “musical.”

                            I’ve mentioned liking the effects, but if Riffworks wanted to take things one step further, they should consider adding two more “inserts” for adding VST/AU plug-ins. As mentioned, there’s already one at the beginning of the signal chain, but having one between the compressor and modulator, and another at the very end, would add greatly to the flexibility without impacting the ease of use. You could use only the built-in effects when you wanted to get going fast, but if you’re a tweaky perfectionist, then you could add other plugs.
                            N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                            • #29
                              Here’s a simple-but-effective processor with Slope, Attack, Release, and Compression controls. Click on the attachment to see the compressor’s front panel. It seems to have auto-gain makeup, because even when fairly squashed, I didn’t need to turn up the master riff gain.

                              My only suggestion, really, would be to have two switches: One to turn on a limiter, and the other to restrict compression to lower frequencies. This is a trick more and more pedal makers are doing to give a “brighter” compression sound.
                              N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                              • #30
                                Like the Tripwire shaper, this is another overachiever that’s very musical and has plenty of options. Click on the attachment to see the Tempest front panel.

                                First off, it has Phaser, Tremolo, Flanger, Chorus, Vibrato, Autopan, LP Filter, BP Filter, and HP Filter. The filter options are basically swept filters – think of them as “tremolo for the frequency response-minded.” They’re really fun with the drum sound backing tracks if your mind works that way 

                                Modulation waveforms are a generous collection of Sine, Triangle, Square, Sawtooth, Reverse Sawtooth, and Random. The random appears stepped; it would be nice to have an additional “really smoothed random” option. Hey, it’s just a few more lines of code, right?

                                As expected, there are Depth and Range (Width) controls, along with Speed, which can be tempo synched. Unlike my experience with the step sequencer in the Attaq effect, this one seems to lock to the tempo and stay there. Options range from 3 whole notes to 32nd notes. Oh yes, there’s also some eye candy: A “Sweep-o-meter” that shows the modulation amount as an ever-changing bar graph. Fun stuff, and very 50s…

                                Anyway, I tend to be picky about modulation effects, which is why I often designed my own. But these are good. No, you can’t vary the number of stages in the phaser, nor adjust the phase of the delayed, flanged signal when it’s mixed back to itself (for the record, it’s positive). But the Depth signal controls feedback, so you can change the “sharpness” of the sound, and the flanger range seems “just right.” I like it. Ditto the chorus, and having vibrato reminds me of days gone by fiddling with Magnatone amps, and wondering why other amps didn’t have such a way cool effect.
                                N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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