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SONOMA WIRE WORKS RIFFWORKS (guitar-centric sequencer/writing tool)

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I hear you, but there are two ways to get in drum parts: ReWire and a REX file player. I think the best solution for people like you or me (I also have a lot of acidized files) would be to add an Acidized file player module. In any event, part of the deal with Riffworks is that the drum loops have to be able to stretch, but as to why they chose REX over Acidized files for a format is something they would need to answer.

Just for kicks, I tried taking a WAV file and changing the suffix to RX2 just to see if Riffworks would load it, but I couldn't fool it.

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I know they did have some server problems as of late but seem to have them squared away. That could be part of the Rifflink problems you incurred.

I agree it would be nice to have an acidized reader Or loop player as well. I use Reason thru Rewire when not using Instant Drummer and for me it works well. However the whole concept of this program for me is to keep it simple. But those would enhance the application for sure.

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Craig:
RE: ReWire
You asked if we can handle 4 ReWire devices simultaneously. RiffWorks can handle it, the question is, can your computer. You'll be running 5 audio applications and they all need memory, so how much RAM you have will be critical. The minimum requirements for RiffWorks say 512MB, but you need to add the minimum for the other apps you'll be running to that. So I'd start with a 1GB min and probably more like 2GB if you want to run 4 simultaneously.

Each Riff remembers it's loop start position for each ReWire device. ReWire doesn't have any way for RiffWorks to tell Reason what song to load (we wanted to do that) but as you mentioned that could cause some load time while you're playing which would be bad.

jjbraunius:
RE: support
You mentioned we took 3 days to get back to you with your forgotten password. First, we are working on getting white-listed with all the major email providers. Your replacement password email probably went into your spam filter. Second, we try when we can, but we don't have the staff to be here 7 days a week. We don't charge a production tool price and we don't expect people to approach an "important session" expecting to have instant support. We do try to support people as quickly and accurately as humanly possible.
RE: loop formats
There are lots of loop formats. We chose to support REX. At the time, the Acid-WAV format was not an open standard, since then Sony has made it more available. We are considering adding support for that in the future. Our drum content partners have loop libraries available in many formats including REX. You can purchase their big libraries ($$$) with the same content so you can use them with other applications, or you can purchase InstantDrummer sessions for $10 each that work with RiffWorks.
RE: collaboration
RiffLink is in beta. It says that everywhere. There are still RiffLink bugs in both the application and on the server. But people are still having a lot of fun with it anyway. Sorry it wasn't up when you tried. Our ISP has had some very bad problems with their network and power in the last week or so that caused some RAM in our server to go bad. We have decided to move our servers to a much higher reliability facility (also more expensive) because of these problems. The RAM has been replaced and the server is back up now. The server move will take place this coming week and should be more or less seemless with only a few hours of transition while the DNS entries are propagating.

dug

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Originally posted by dug



jjbraunius:

RE: support

You mentioned we took 3 days to get back to you with your forgotten password. First, we are working on getting white-listed with all the major email providers. Your replacement password email probably went into your spam filter. Second, we try when we can, but we don't have the staff to be here 7 days a week. We don't charge a production tool price and we don't expect people to approach an "important session" expecting to have instant support. We do try to support people as quickly and accurately as humanly possible.

RE: loop formats

There are lots of loop formats. We chose to support REX. At the time, the Acid-WAV format was not an open standard, since then Sony has made it more available. We are considering adding support for that in the future. Our drum content partners have loop libraries available in many formats including REX. You can purchase their big libraries ($$$) with the same content so you can use them with other applications, or you can purchase InstantDrummer sessions for $10 each that work with RiffWorks.

RE: collaboration

RiffLink is in beta. It says that everywhere. There are still RiffLink bugs in both the application and on the server. But people are still having a lot of fun with it anyway. Sorry it wasn't up when you tried. Our ISP has had some very bad problems with their network and power in the last week or so that caused some RAM in our server to go bad. We have decided to move our servers to a much higher reliability facility (also more expensive) because of these problems. The RAM has been replaced and the server is back up now. The server move will take place this coming week and should be more or less seemless with only a few hours of transition while the DNS entries are propagating.


dug



dug - I can just settle for plain old audio .wav file import, acidised or not as long as there is a way to lock the tempo once the wav file is imported.

Another point I didn't make is that RW doesn't have an alternative authentication method - say call a landline and get unlock code. Some music makers prefer to keep their machines away from the net.

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Originally posted by jjbraunius



dug - I can just settle for plain old audio .wav file import, acidised or not as long as there is a way to lock the tempo once the wav file is imported.


Another point I didn't make is that RW doesn't have an alternative authentication method - say call a landline and get unlock code. Some music makers prefer to keep their machines away from the net.



Importing any type of files opens up a whole slew of features in order to make it really right, which is why we haven't done it yet. Be assured it is on the list.

There is a way you can activate a machine that isn't on the internet. You have to have another different machine on the internet, and a way to copy a file from that machine to the one you want to run RiffWorks on, like a USB thumb drive or burning a CD or even a floppy drive if you still have one of those.
1. Run RW on the machine NOT on the internet. A browser will come up with an URL in it (which won't actually load since you're not on the internet.) Write down that URL, or copy the link on to a thumb drive.
2. Go to a machine with internet access. Enter the URL in a browser. This will download a file called riffworks.swwact.
3. Copy that file to the machine not on the internet and double click it. RiffWorks will install it and be activated.

So far, we have had 3 total requests for this ability, so it's not really a popular request, but we took care of it anyway.

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I've used riffworks for about a year. It's flexible, the sounds you get out of it are great & for the money it's a real bargain. Plus for IT ludites it's a great introduction to guitar technology.

Regarding the quality, I've got 12 tracks uploaded that can give you some idea of the versatility of what you can do. (all linked in my sig)

As mentioned by other respondants it's great for getting an inspired moment immediately down. You can change anything you like later. I have a huge file on RW just for ideas.

There are drawbacks with it if you want to use it proffessionally but the new version 2 has gone some way to resolving them by focusing on the production end & being more flexible with mixing. I'm still finding great things with the programme 12 months on.

Nagging problems - It doesn't handle change in tempo well, due to the bit by bit recording method. There are a coupel of effects such as wah & volume which can only be done if you have 3 hands. Lastly I'd like to see a method of colaborating & importing with other people made easy into the software.

All in all 9/10.

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Riffworks made it possible for a recording dummy like me to crank out CD quality stuff, nuff said. I was able to record my first song in less than 24 hours!! Mind you over time I am getting better, learning how great it is to have Reason and Riffworks together, and incorporating other programs to sweeten the final product.

But make no mistake, Riffworks is a winner. Super easy to learn, and use......very flexible as well. You will be amazed what you can do with it.

Check my stuff out here http://www.myspace.com/shredrex all done using Riffworks and Reason.

In addition the Sonoma forums are a super resource, Dave, Dug, Randy & Michelle are always there to help out..........plus there is a super collection of community members.

ROCK ON SONOMA!!!

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Originally posted by ShredRex

Riffworks made it possible for a recording dummy like me to crank out CD quality stuff, nuff said. I was able to record my first song in less than 24 hours!! Mind you over time I am getting better, learning how great it is to have Reason and Riffworks together, and incorporating other programs to sweeten the final product.


But make no mistake, Riffworks is a winner. Super easy to learn, and use......very flexible as well. You will be amazed what you can do with it.


Check my stuff out here
http://www.myspace.com/shredrex
all done using Riffworks and Reason.


In addition the Sonoma forums are a super resource, Dave, Dug, Randy & Michelle are always there to help out..........plus there is a super collection of community members.


ROCK ON SONOMA!!!



What other recording "dummy" software have you tried to make the comparison? I don't see how Acid Music Studio, Magix Musicmaker, Apple Garageband, Acoustica Mixcraft, N-Track, Mackie Tracktion and even some freeware apps as Reaper are much harder to learn.

Just an observation - I was a total noob once upon a time and got hooked on Acid as my first audio DAW. In comparison Acid is so much simpler to bring in drums, bass and just record your own track on top of that. It is just a matter of hitting the record button.

Riffworks in comparison is much complex for a starter as far as I am concerned. Actually even after being an audio pro it took me a while to make ends and tails of it, actually because of the oversimplification and totaly unorthodox design. What I mean by this is that there's no other app like it on the market, which is either a good or a bad thing, depends which way you look. I've grown accustomed to recording apps having similar look and feel so for me that was a hindrance. To be fair - in one hour I was recording with it, no prob.!

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Granted I am not seasoned pro like yourself, I have very limited exposure to recording on my pc. The few programs I have used did not make the experience very entertaining. I made the mistake of going to a local music store and shopping for recording software without doing any real research. The guy I know there hooked me up with what he described as idiot proof recording software called Guitar Tracks Pro 3. He told me for a guitar player just getting into home recording it was the best thing going. Man was I disappointed!!! I also dabbled with Sonar Home Studio and Music Creator. And if that was supposed to be easy to use, entry level recording software then I can go without. Plus I did not find the quality of recording was any better using GTP compared to RW.

I can admit I am not the most patient person ever.....but I found GTP to be very cumbersome to use, and the interface not very user friendly, and don't get me started on Amplitube. SHS was in essence not much better......MC just didn't work at all for me. I have also messed with Fruity Loops, Reaper, Audacity and Audition too in various capacities.

But from a guitarist's perspective (which is the key here right) I found RW to be the perfect solution. The interface is what I liked most, yes maybe oversimplified and unorthodox, (maybe a good thing in all actuality) but effective. I find the integration and support for rewire devices very handy and a definite plus. The instant drummer is easy as pie to configure, and if you use any of the Line 6 hardware and Gear Box, there are plenty of ready to use presets for everything from guitar to bass to vocals.

* I should mention I use the GuitarPort to record with RW, I am a big fan of the GP!!!

Did I mention I love the combination of Reason & RW, I could not be happier. But to each their own......what works for me may not work for you. I had no problem getting a great guitar sound out of RW, with software like Gear Box, or using plugins (GR2)...or by running my amp directly into the software. The quality of recording is great, with minimal effort.

Basically I cut and paste a few riffs together, mix to riff....export to wav. Most of my recordings are simple 3-6 guitar layers, one bass layer, instant drummer sessions....or bass and drums in Reason. I get good mixes and basic editing in RW, but still run the wav through Audition for mastering and subsequent conversion to MP3.

But honestly it all starts recording the guitar parts in RW.....I often sit and practice/play with RW open ready to capture anything I may play that I want to keep and build upon later.

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Thanks for the review and the comments so far...it has been interesting reading.

I've got the Line6 version of Riffworks, using it with my XTL via USB.

So far, I'm just using the demo mode, because I'm trying to figure out a couple of things before purchasing.

1. Is there any way to copy a take from one riff into another?
I've had a couple of occasions where I have been noodling around doing recordings, and thought, "Wow, that would sound pretty cool on top of this other section!" but then can't copy or layer various riffs after recording?

2. As noted, part of what makes the product so cool are the Instant Drummer modules, and the ability to tweak them on the fly. What is the general user consensus of the add-on drummers?

Basically, I enjoy being able to get a nice sounding drum track with minimal tweaking and just start jamming along, but I'm concerned that the programs simplicity might just be holding it back from being a real killer app!

Thanks,
mike

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Riffworks in comparison is much complex for a starter as far as I am concerned. Actually even after being an audio pro it took me a while to make ends and tails of it, actually because of the oversimplification and totaly unorthodox design. What I mean by this is that there's no other app like it on the market, which is either a good or a bad thing, depends which way you look. >>

Very perceptive comments IMHO. When I started working with Riffworks, I found it a bit confusing at first until I "unlearned" the DAW way of doing things. Once I saw it as a drum machine-style program and not a linear sequencer, it was smooth sailing.

I know what you mean about Acid; few programs can beat Acid 1.0 for being drop-dead simple to use. However, as soon as you get into hard disk mode, you're back to a more linear work method.

The thing about Riffworks is the way it parses music into riffs, like drum machine patterns. It makes it so easy to create little segments and stitch them together -- much like Acid, in a way, except with guitar audio instead of packaged loops.

Also, the inclusion of the effects is a huge deal. They're really excellent and make it easy to get good guitar sounds right out of the box. I think that's a real attraction to guitarists.

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ihsoy,

1. There is no way to copy a layer to another riff. You can duplicate a riff and add to it, but copying layers opens up another can of worms like what if the riffs are different lengths, what if they're at different tempos. I expect we'll do something cool that will make all this work, but for now we like to say you played it once, just play it again:) You like play the guitar right?

2. I think add-on drummers are great, but I'm biased:)

RiffWorks IS limiting in some ways. The whole premise of RiffWorks is that having an all powerful DAW doesn't necessarily make for inspired music. Sometimes you have to have some limitations in order to make room for the creativity.

cheers,
dug

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I don't really see Riffworks so much as limited, as optimized to perform a specific function. For capturing ideas, it's really not very limited...it's only when compared to a DAW that you see the limitations, but I never saw Riffworks as competition to a DAW.

It's like Ableton Live: Some users complain that it doesn't do certain DAW functions. That mystifies me; Ableton Live is a whole other type of software. If you want a DAW, get Pro Tools or Sonar or whatever :)

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Originally posted by dug

but for now we like to say you played it once, just play it again:) You like play the guitar right?


RiffWorks IS limiting in some ways. The whole premise of RiffWorks is that having an all powerful DAW doesn't necessarily make for inspired music. Sometimes you have to have some limitations in order to make room for the creativity.


cheers,

dug



I love playing of course, but I seem to have those one-off "wow, that was cool..what did i just do?" moments. ;)

That's what I love about RW so far..that it does inspire me to play!

Thanks!
mike

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Another observation about guitar effects - most of the controls on the effects are rotary which is hell to operate with a mouse. I know RW is going for the vintate look but try to do it with the right hand while holding a guitar and you'd see what I mean - it is pure hell!

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Originally posted by jjbraunius

Another observation about guitar effects - most of the controls on the effects are rotary which is hell to operate with a mouse. I know RW is going for the vintate look but try to do it with the right hand while holding a guitar and you'd see what I mean - it is pure hell!



Funny you should mention that........I find that annoying as well. Especially while mixing.......but even Gear Box has that issue when trying to dial in sounds and effects. Would be nice if there were keyboard cuts to dial up and down say when the mouse is over a specific knob......

Back to the perception of the software complexity for a second......it sounds as if we have two "schools" or methods of assessing that. Most of the guys that have previous experience with recording software find RW difficult to pick up on initially due to the fact they are pre-programmed to having the package set up differently. By comparison us complete NOOBS that have little to no experience using any recording software are right at home as I/we do not have to un-learn (if that is a word) or relearn how to do basic things. Does that sound like a fair method of breaking it down?

I personally think RW is almost idiot proof....maybe you other guys are just too over qualified? Joking of course.....LOL

Granted there are other more complete packages out there, but not this price point. It was designed as a spring board of sorts.....to introduce less technically inclined folks to the world of recording. Which I think it does beautifully. I would never use the word limited in my description of this software at all.

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>

Unless I've misunderstood your question, that's not true. If you click on a control and move the mouse up and down (like a slider), the knob turns. I don't like the "imitation knob" motion where you have to move the mouse in a circular path.

However, the controls don't work with the mouse scroll wheel if that's what you mean.

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Craig, usually when having circular controls going up and down is hard to get you to zero in with better precision. If they were up and down sliders thing would've been much easier, and a double click on them where you can write in the value could also help tremendously. The downside is that the cool vintage visual effect is lost for efficiency.

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That's an excellent point: Most programs with parameter control give you a couple options, like clicking and dragging to change a numerical, or typing in a particular value.

I will say I don't find the knob control thing problematic, although I would if I had to move the mouse in a circular motion...mouses were born to move in a line, not in a circle!

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Originally posted by jjbraunius

Shred - obviously you haven't tried N-Track and Mackie Tracktion that are in the same ballpark (or less) in price.



No I have not, in fact I just read about N-Track this morning. There are a ridiculous number of programs available now a days.....hard to keep up on them all. Remember I am still a noob here.

As I mentioned back in my other post, I was looking at recording software for guitarists. Not so much along the lines of general recording programs. The main benefit behind the packages geared to guitarists was the bundling of hardware and amp modelling, with the recording software.

N-Track has definately peaked my interest though.....I would never drop Riffworks for it. But it is a very affordable alternative.

My biggest complaint with Riffworks is fact I cannot encode mp3 directly form the software.

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Shred, do you like the sounds you're getting with computer modelling software? I for one cannot find anything that sounds convincing to replace a kranked amp sound. For $150 I got a Sansamp TRI-OD analog pedal/modeler and Hughes and Kettner TUbeman ($300) that sound light years ahead of anything computer generated I've tried, even on outboard modelers. I use PC plugins for the other effects such as delay, reverb, chorus, etc. but for distortion everything comes up short IMO. On clean tones I guess some of these are useful but I still don't like any of the distortion modelers out there.

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Hi,

Yup, I think the RiffWorks and Live comparisons are dead-on. RiffWorks is coming at the use model based on those of us that play guitar.

Quick disclaimer - I work for the DrumCore guys - but I use the REX player for helping with drum tracks. Then I can just export my loops as Rex and slam '
em in there (ours and whomevers').

Now I just need to be able to use the backing tracks Live via my pedalboard ;^).

--kT

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Originally posted by jjbraunius

Shred, do you like the sounds you're getting with computer modelling software? I for one cannot find anything that sounds convincing to replace a kranked amp sound. For $150 I got a Sansamp TRI-OD analog pedal/modeler and Hughes and Kettner TUbeman ($300) that sound light years ahead of anything computer generated I've tried, even on outboard modelers. I use PC plugins for the other effects such as delay, reverb, chorus, etc. but for distortion everything comes up short IMO. On clean tones I guess some of these are useful but I still don't like any of the distortion modelers out there.



Funny you should mention that as well........LOL I found with the guitar port and gear box I was getting decent tones. But nothing that really did it for me.

Recently I have been running my Behringer GMX 212 into riffworks via the guitarport and adding no other colouring at all. All the effects are also coming form the amp. And for the first time I am getting MY sound into the recordings, what I hear when I sit and play through my amp. Without having to crank the amp and mike it. So for now the modelling software is not even installed on my computer.

I was trying several modellers, Gear Box, Amplitube, Guitar Rig........but the sound from my amp is better. Once I was able to get my bass tones and drum sounds in Reason all sorted out, I started to get the overall sound I was looking for.

I guess I stick with Riffworks because I know how to cut and paste my songs together in no time at all. It takes me longer to program the drums and bass than it does to do anything else. At least now I am not constantly tweaking to get a sound I like, and the songs sound more consistent.

Check out the couple of songs I have on myspace. The song called Last Chance was a modelled guitar sound. The song called Riding on E was the amp direct. Just give you an example of what I am talking about. Although Last Chance has a pretty decent sound, so it may not be the best comparison.

http://www.myspace.com/shredrex

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>

Not to hijack the thread, but I've just starting working with DrumCore in anticipation of doing a review. It's very clever...and the idea of using it as a "development system" for Riffworks backing tracks is pretty cool.

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