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Regarding Plug-ins

A Forum to Discuss NOTION

Re: Regarding Plug-ins

Postby idiotSavant » Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:23 pm

Admin wrote:I submitted a feature request to allow for more than four inserts on a channel.

-Admin


Thanks! I think that would help for folks who prefer to keep everything in an all-in-one application, which was the appeal to Notion for me from day 1.
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Re: Regarding Plug-ins

Postby d.h.hermansson » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:46 am

Please forgive a rank newby's comments. I have used Logic in various incarnations for several years, and am a former Sibelius victim (a great program died when it was sold). As a classically trained composer (that means I think in notation, not piano roll dots) I was very happy to find Notion. I am, however, a bit disappointed in its plug-in handling. I think at least a few of the comments are wrong headed in this regard. For example, Surfwhammy wrote:

Regarding losing the settings, you can create user-defined presets for most effects plug-ins, which is the smart way to do it, since as noted in another reply somewhere in this FORUM, the FabFilter Software Instrument plug-ins do not remember how they were set when you save and close a NOTION 4 score, and there are a few other effects plug-ins that have the same problem . . .

But mostly I think this is a matter of focus, and while this is a nice feature, it is something that Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) applications typically do, and as noted (see below) my perspective is that NOTION 4 has excellent focus and does what makes the most sense for it to do. Branching into doing advanced DAW application stuff might be nice, but I think it would be unfocused wandering and see little value in it at present . . .


Let me translate:

1. There's an elaborate workaround that might be useful. [I like to experiment with plug-in order to determine the "best" final product, so this workaround does me no better.]

2. A few plug-in don't behave well on saving and closing, so why bother ? [Perhaps to the author is satisfied to leave it alone, but none of the plug-ins that I use seem to fail in the way described, so for me, the fix would be very valuable. This is really a red herring. Should a lame implementation be excused because "some" plug-in don't play well?]

3. What you want shouldn't be there- that kind of implementation belongs to "real DAW's" [The idea that improving Notion's plug-in implementation would be a loss of its existing focus is an example of what I call gay marriage argumentation- two guys down the street want to marry, if they do, my heterosexual marriage is threatened. Huh? How are my wife and I hurt. Likewise, how does improving the implementation of an existing significant feature endanger the focus of the program's creators?]

Simply put, if a feature is offered, then it should be offered with the very best possible implementation. Notion is not an inexpensive step child to the big-league DAW's. After instrument purchases, it is considerably more expensive than Logic Pro 9. It's focus is (thankfully) different and should be preserved, but just because it handles notation based composing very, very well, does not mean that other included functions should be less than sterling.

P.S.
My apologies to Surfwhammy, but when one stakes out a position of authority one must anticipate a bit of criticism. Criticisms aside, I found some of your comments regarding Rewire to be very helpful, so thanks are due, as well as an apology.
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Re: Regarding Plug-ins

Postby idiotSavant » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:32 pm

D.H., there seem to be two camps represented here, and both are valid. One is the you and I camp where Notion fills a need for excellent classical/jazz oriented notation and composition tools and was advertised (at least when I bought it a year or so ago) as the best of both worlds, notation and DAW. I wholeheartedly agree with you and I hope that the admins take note - for all-in-one-package compositional and classical production use I've not found a better software.

HOWEVER, is there room for improvement? ABSOLUTELY!

Many users have requested enhancements on this board, some of which seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Many of the better features of a truly useful notation/composition program (invert, multiple note editing, measure repeat paste and insert, stave/track merge in addition to overwrite, global editing of dynamics, etc, etc.) are seemingly rather basic functions which are missing. Likewise, on the DAW/mixer side, there are many things which are woefully underdeveloped (audio export enhancements, the plug-in limitations already identified in this post, multiple track mute and solo, ability to draw controller curves directly in addition to dynamic markings, etc). Is there room for improvement? Of course there is, and I look forward to seeing what's new in the next major revision.

In the other camp (and I have tremendous respect for SurfWhammy and his music and approach, he's been a tremendous help to me on here), are those that see Notion not as the core of what they do but as a kick-ass add-on that allows them to fold notation into their previous workflows. But I agree with you, as my mother used to say; "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander". It seems to me that any user, regardless of their workflow, could potentially only benefit (and certainly wouldn't be harmed) by improvements to any aspect of the program.

Apple's Logic is what it is because Apple purchased E-Magic many years ago and started to improve it. I hope we don't have to wait for Notion to be snapped up as part of another software in order to see it improved (although I wouldn't mind seeing VSL absorb it and really integrate it into their range - except then I probably couldn't afford it!).

I just hope that Notion hasn't been spending their entire development budget on the iPad version hoping for that "killer app" that will return beaucoup bucks. I haven't seen a major revision to Notion 4 since I purchased, and if I may be so bold, the graphics and some of the other aspects of the program seem to be getting a little long in the tooth, and besides functionality, the interface could use a spritz of freshening as well (that's the architect in me talking).

And as SW always says, that would be FABULOUS!
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Re: Regarding Plug-ins

Postby Surfwhammy » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:31 am

idiotSavant wrote:I haven't seen a major revision to Notion 4 since I purchased . . .


NOTION 4 was released at the end of October 2012, and it was a major update which moved NOTION from being 32-bit only to being both (a) 32-bit and (b) 64-bit, and it included new input tools . . .

This is the first week of July 2013, which makes it approximately eight months since the last major release of NOTION, which is not a long time in terms of a major release . . .

MOTU was trying for a major release of Digital Performer around the same time, but they missed it and released the Mac version of Digital Performer 8 a while later, with the Windows version being released about a month or so ago . . .

In the interim, Notion Music has released updates to NOTION 4, so I think that everything is fine in this respect, and I would not expect a major revision to NOTION 4 so soon after a major update . . .

And to put the significance of doing the 64-bit work into perspective, IK Multimedia has yet to release 64-bit versions of its virtual instruments, with the current guidance being sometime this year (2013). However, IK Multimedia has released 64-bit versions of all its signal processor and effects plug-ins, including AmpliTube CS, T-RackS CS, CSR Classik Studio Reverb, and the ARC System 2, which is fine with me, although since I really like IK Multimedia virtual instruments I am waiting somewhat patiently for the 64-bit versions so that I can use them in the 64-bit universe, which is important because everything else in my complete "system" for doing digital music production is 64-bit (Digital Performer 8, NOTION 4, Reason 7, all signal processor and effects plug-ins, and Logic Pro 9, where for me Logic Pro 9 is a secondary DAW application to Digital Performer 8, which is my primary DAW application) . . .

From my perspective, I am happy with NOTION 4 being 64-bit and doing 64-bit ReWire 2 flawlessly, and this is sufficient to keep me happy for a few years, really . . .

Really!

The missing pieces at present are the 64-bit versions of the IK Multimedia virtual instruments, and what I want is for everything to be 64-bit . . .

Focusing again on NOTION, when one considers everything from the perspective of resources, where by "resources" I am including software designers, software engineers, quality control testers, technical writers, graphic designers, and so forth, it is a fact that at any company there are limited resources, hence it is important to use available resources in the most optimal ways possible, and in this context I think it makes the most sense for Notion Music to focus on enhancing the unique functionality of NOTION, where in particular I think it makes sense to enhance the capabilities for working interactively with rules in a more user-friendly graphic user interface (GUI); to enhance the capabilities for doing MIDI, which can include such apparently simple things as piano pedal enhancements and more advanced things like the ability to work with certain types of additional MIDI commands and instructions; and to expand the music notation capabilities for things like the recently discussed tremolo tuplet enhancements and such things as cross-staff beaming, which although not so important here in the sound isolation studio certainly makes sense for the folks who want to be able to notate piano exactly as they expect it to be played, because even though to me it is a bit odd, there are times when pianists cross their arms, with the left hand playing notes to the right and the right hand playing notes to the left, which if nothing else looks cool and probably makes a bit of sense, noting that this also makes sense for electric guitar, where in some of the various Metal styles, the fingers of both hands are working the fretboard . . .

Doing these types of enhancements to NOTION makes sense to me, while in great contrast expanding the capabilities of the NOTION Mixer does not make so much sense, because I already have two full-featured DAW applications that do more than the NOTION Mixer possibly could do if Notion Music decided to abandon music notation entirely and instead to focus only on designing and programming a DAW application, and the reason I suggest this is that Apple has not done a major upgrade to Logic Pro 9 in a few years, and it was two years or so between Digital Performer 7 and Digital Performer 8, and it was approximately 18 months from Reason 6 to Reason 7 . . .

NOTION is unique in what it does, and I think it makes the most sense to enhance the unique functionality of NOTION, where the focus is on composing with music notation and virtual instruments, including advanced music notation for articulations and dynamics; doing advanced MIDI editing and controlling; supporting real-time performing of instrumental music with extensive conductor-supporting functionality, which includes controlling and playing real external MIDI devices, as well as accepting and transcribing detailed MIDI input played on MIDI devices in real-time; and supporting more advanced music notation engraving, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous!
:)
Last edited by Surfwhammy on Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Regarding Plug-ins

Postby Surfwhammy » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:51 am

d.h.hermansson wrote:1. There's an elaborate workaround that might be useful. [I like to experiment with plug-in order to determine the "best" final product, so this workaround does me no better.]


It is not so much a matter of being an elaborate workaround as being an advanced practical technique, although if allowing inserts to be moved and copied are easy enhancements done at a time when there is nothing else that needs to be done, then I am not so opposed to it . . .

The practical aspect is based on the simple rule that saving your work frequently always is a smart idea, and this certainly applies to signal processor and effects plug-in settings . . .

It is not so difficult to realize that the primary focus is a combination of producing and mixing, which is different from composing and arranging, although I usually include arranging as part of producing, and producing occasionally includes doing a bit of composing . . .

Most signal processor and effects plug-ins support user-defined presets, and it is not difficult to save the current settings for a plug-in as a user-defined preset. This has the primary advantage of being able to recall the preset at a later time, and it avoids needing to remember a lot of stuff . . .

And as one gains more experience and expertise with plug-ins, one realizes that most of the time it is not necessary to experiment with the sequential order of plug-ins in a chain, since there are rules for the optimal position of specific types of plug-ins in a chain, where some of the rules are standard, although perhaps not so readily documented . . .

These are the rules I use:

(1) Correct the pitch: I do this with the Melodyne Editor (Celemony), and it applies primarily to singing. When used, it is the first thing to do, since it creates a new audio file that replaces the original audio file, although the original audio file is preserved, of course . . .

(2) Establish good signal strength: Good signal strength is a primary requirement for mixing . . .

(3) Remove hiss and noise: This also is a primary requirement for mixing . . .

(4) Constrain the frequency range: This is a producing technique which conserves and optimizes sonic space . . .

(5) Constrain the dynamic range: This is a producing technique that adds focus . . .

(6) Alter the tone: This is a producing technique, and for example with Electric Guitar it might map to using AmpliTube 3 (IK Multimedia) to get a specific type of tone based on a custom Electric Guitar amplification rig with effects pedals and so forth . . .

(7) Add reverberation, echoes, and other time-based effects: This is a producing technique . . .

(8) Control the final dynamic range: This is a mixing technique and typically is done with a brickwall limiter set only to activate on what should be occasional peaks or spikes, where ideally in this specific use of a brickwall limiter, the brickwall limiter is doing nothing nearly all the time . . .

Most of the time, these eight rules map to using only one signal processor or effects plug-in, where the primary focus is (2), which happens when material is recorded correctly and needs only a tiny bit of enhancement, where a simple example is the Latin percussion Castanets that come with NOTION 4, which are recorded at a very low level, hence for DISCO and Pop songs need to be boosted to be heard, and I do this with the T-RackS CS Grand White 2A Leveling Amplifier plug-in, but since this plug-in has melodic properties it also affects the overall tone and makes the Castanets a bit brighter, which is one of the sonic characteristics of the White 2A Leveling Amplifier . . .

Image

For Electric Bass, I use the T-RackS CS Grand Vintage Tube Program Equalizer EQP-1A, which is a very accurate emulation of the classic Pultec Program Equalizer EQP-1A, and I use the "FATT-1A" preset, which does a bit of boosting but primarily adds deep bass tone, and this typically is the only plug-in in the chain for an Electric Bass, although in some instances I will add a tiny bit of discrete delay to one channel of the stereo signal to have a bit of FUN with the Haas Effect, which is one way to make Electric Bass sound "bigger" . . .

Image

From a different perspective, the goal is to develop a well-defined system or formula, with the general idea being to have a procedure with well-defined rules for everything, so that instead of everything being variable, as much as possible is static, which is way over time that one develops a "sound", as in the Glenn Miller sound, Motown sound, Beatles sound, Beach Boys sound, and so forth and so on . . .

These things evolve over time, but having a system or formula makes sense in a practical way, and it makes it possible to focus on creating songs rather than needing to define everything all the time starting with nothing predefined . . .

Whether this particular perspective is useful depends in part on the specific genre, but it certainly is useful for DISCO, Pop, Rock, Rhythm and Blues, and Country Western songs . . .

d.h.hermansson wrote:2. A few plug-in don't behave well on saving and closing, so why bother ? [Perhaps to the author is satisfied to leave it alone, but none of the plug-ins that I use seem to fail in the way described, so for me, the fix would be very valuable. This is really a red herring. Should a lame implementation be excused because "some" plug-in don't play well?]


At present, this happens with FabFilter Software Instrument plug-ins, and I consider it to a bug with their plug-ins, but their plug-ins are stellar in what they do, so it is easy to save a set of parameters as a user-defined preset, and this solves the problem . . .

d.h.hermansson wrote:3. What you want shouldn't be there- that kind of implementation belongs to "real DAW's"
Simply put, if a feature is offered, then it should be offered with the very best possible implementation. Notion is not an inexpensive step child to the big-league DAW's. After instrument purchases, it is considerably more expensive than Logic Pro 9. It's focus is (thankfully) different and should be preserved, but just because it handles notation based composing very, very well, does not mean that other included functions should be less than sterling.


My concern is avoiding what in software designing and engineering is called "scope creep", where an application which does something useful and unique wanders into doing other things that are not unique and from a practical perspective are not so useful, either . . .

In some respects, this depends on what one is doing, but if you consider the big picture of doing everything, then it make excellent sense, because the fact of the matter is that when you are doing everything, you need a full-featured Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) application . . .

NOTION 4 does not record real instruments and voices, and there is no reason for it to start doing this, because these are functions of a DAW application, and there are advanced DAW applications that do this, hence I consider this to be "scope creep" . . .

NOTION 4 does not support direct in-application video with all the advanced stuff that one needs to do film scoring and so forth, and wandering into messing with that stuff is something I consider to be "scope creep", because full-featured DAW applications do this, and having NOTION do it makes no sense in the grand scheme of everything . . .

NOTION 4 is used for composing instrumental music using music notation and virtual instruments, and it handles the audio generation and performing aspects, which is where the NOTION 4 Mixer comes into play. The focus is correct, and I have no problems with adding a few bells and whistles to the NOTION 4 Mixer but mostly if there is nothing else to do, which I do not expect to be the case . . .

Making any changes or enhancements to an application requires a virtual festival of resources which are limited, hence the vast importance of focusing on what makes the most sense for the application . . .

I have Digital Performer 8 (MOTU) and Logic Pro 9 (Apple), and I do not need a third DAW application, although Reason 7 (Propellerhead Software) also functions as a DAW applicatinon, which makes it the third DAW application here in the sound isolation studio. In some respects, it is nice to have so many different DAW applications, but at some point it becomes a bit absurd, and for the most part I focus on Digital Performer 8, since it makes the most sense to me. And for reference, I got Logic Pro 9 primarily because it was 64-bit at a time when there was no 64-bit version of Digital Performer, and I got Reason because I like its synthesizers and more sequential focus on creating instrumental music, where the DAW stuff appeared later, as did the truly stellar Rack Extension technology and External MIDI controlling functionality, which is new in Reason 7 . . .

In other words, I think it makes more sense for Notion Music to focus on enhancing support for music notation; rules; MIDI; real-time performing, including recording and transcribing real-time external MIDI device input; and engraving, since these things are central to what NOTION does . . .

The NOTION 4 Mixer is excellent, and it does what it needs to do in a complete system, where by definition a "complete system" for digital music production includes a separate DAW application, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :)
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Re: Regarding Plug-ins

Postby d.h.hermansson » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:40 am

Colleagues,

Surfwhammy wrote:
In other words, I think it makes more sense for Notion Music to focus on enhancing support for music notation; rules; MIDI; real-time performing, including recording and transcribing real-time external MIDI device input; and engraving, since these things are central to what NOTION does . . .


Do we really believe that this list makes any sense? Neither midi, nor real-time performing are central strengths of Notion. As for engraving, it's fine for dashing off a few parts for the local church choir, but it is hardly an engraving tool. As a sometime pro-copyist, I'm afraid those honours belong to Finale and the lamentable Sibelius. Even Logic has better engraving tools than Notion. None of these three is nearly as easy to use as Notion, but its ease of use is part and parcel of its limitations. The user is not required to know as much, nor to decide as much, and that’s the problem as far as engraving is concerned. Engraving requires a much greater flexibility and a vastly larger tool set than is offered by Notion. I am unable to decipher what he means by this baroque phrase: real-time performing, including recording and transcribing real-time external MIDI device input;

He also wrote:
The NOTION 4 Mixer is excellent, and it does what it needs to do in a complete system, where by definition a "complete system" for digital music production includes a separate DAW application, which is fabulous . . .


He at least occasionally returns to the conversation, if only to dismiss the concerns of other: Some of us do not think the mixer is excellent. That's the point he misses. We do not (the god's be blessed, but more on this anon) all use Notion in the same manner as Surfwhammy. We may legitimately value different aspects of the program, and still have legitimate concerns. I use Logic 9 and now am learning LogicX, but I still think Notion's mixer sucks pickles, for reasons already stated. It is not a viable part of my work-flow, requiring too many workarounds.

Surfwhammy wrote:
NOTION 4 does not record real instruments and voices, and there is no reason for it to start doing this, because these are functions of a DAW application, and there are advanced DAW applications that do this, hence I consider this to be "scope creep" . . .


No one in this conversation suggested live recording. I in fact use other applications for recording, and in fact prefer to digitise mic feeds outside the still noisy computer environment

He wrote:
NOTION 4 does not support direct in-application video with all the advanced stuff that one needs to do film scoring and so forth, and wandering into messing with that stuff is something I consider to be "scope creep", . . .


No one in this conversation suggested direct-in video. What is his point?

I think the answer to that question is really nothing other than a mild form of cyber-bullying. Lay on 1500+ word replies that veer constantly off topic, replete with irrelevant detail (do we really need screenshots of his or rather IK Multimedia’s version of White 2A Leveling Amplifier ?) and constant self aggrandisement. He is the one, true expert in acoustic theory, and recording engineering practices with side venture in arranging and composing, etc, et bloody etc. He constantly implies on his own behalf a weight of experience elsewise unmatched, acting as if he owns the board, if not the company with proclamations about the direction that should be taken in this or that aspect of future software development.

Can we get real for a bit? If one makes the effort to parse through his stuff, his vaunted expertise seems to be either elided by other, wiser, participants, or smothering to those with a bit less knowledge. All I see him do is close down conversations beneath the weight of his very lengthy; posts.

Well, less I be tarred with the same feather, I’ll end here, but with a suggestion: Before we tremor faint beneath Surfhammy's expertise, I suggest spending a bit of time trying to listen to his stuff. I say "trying" because it's very tough going. There's something of an "emperor's new clothes" situation going on here.
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Re: Regarding Plug-ins

Postby pcartwright » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:31 am

d.h.hermansson wrote:I think the answer to that question is really nothing other than a mild form of cyber-bullying. Lay on 1500+ word replies that veer constantly off topic, replete with irrelevant detail (do we really need screenshots of his or rather IK Multimedia’s version of White 2A Leveling Amplifier ?) and constant self aggrandisement. He is the one, true expert in acoustic theory, and recording engineering practices with side venture in arranging and composing, etc, et bloody etc. He constantly implies on his own behalf a weight of experience elsewise unmatched, acting as if he owns the board, if not the company with proclamations about the direction that should be taken in this or that aspect of future software development.

Can we get real for a bit? If one makes the effort to parse through his stuff, his vaunted expertise seems to be either elided by other, wiser, participants, or smothering to those with a bit less knowledge. All I see him do is close down conversations beneath the weight of his very lengthy; posts.


Direct, perhaps harsh, but not untrue. I replied to Surfwhammy way, way back that forum etiquette included concise, relevant, posts. You can imagine the kind of response that message received. It's hard to review forum threads when most topics are hijacked by irrelevant noise.
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