Additional thoughts so far...

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...wicked
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2010/12/09 12:33:07 (permalink)

Additional thoughts so far...

Later today is going to be the first time I can sit down with X1 for hours and hours, but of course I can't stop opening it every few minutes I get to continue familiarizing myself. Here's some additional thoughts:

Robin or Seth responded to a comment that X1 looked like StudioOne by saying that it actually was more inspired by Project5. I, along with others, kind of "pshawed" that but the more I play with X1 the more I see that there is a great deal of truth in that. It also kind of picks up from where the AS2.0 pallette and the Matrix View were heading in terms of design. 

Speaking of which, I'm not totally in love with the new design and here's why: it's way more simplified than previous versions, to the point where customization options have been taken away. This seems like a step backwards but on the other hand Cake have provided some elegant new UI options. The problem, for me anyway, is that the UI is quite "large". Buttons and icons are noticeably larger than previous versions, and many are now clustered together and can't be "ungrouped". This means it takes far more real estate to get controls you want where you want them. The Control Bar is a prime example of this. It's gorgeous, but is actually a little awkward and the ability to really fine tune like custom toolbars of the past is gone. Cake has mentioned adding some of this customization back in once the dust settles and I for one really hope they do.

Despite some language to the contrary, X1 really loves being single window. Sure, you can float the multidock and any other window you want, but the snazzy "peek-a-boo" panes are only in the main window, multidock included. As I suspected, there's already a public outcry about MULTIPLE multidocks, which makes a certain amount of sense in that with this new single window emphasized design you want to put your vertical content in the side panes and your horizontal in the bottom pane.

The new "c:/Cakewalk Content" folder thingee has me totally befuddled. Maybe I didn't pick the right options on install on where to look for previous versions or whatnot, but X1 is pulling info from NOT that folder. Of course that just makes me peek around my system to realize just how much Cakewalk has planted little data villages all over my drive. My Documents has SEVERAL entries (including P5 stuff), and C:/Documents and Settings/%user%/Cakewalk has what appears to be the mother lode.  Since every version of SONAR installs dupes of the sample  content, there's a ton of redundant crap in there. Since I'm obviously continuing to run 8.5 while I transition over, it means nuking things is not really an option and when it does become one it's going to be a crap shoot.

On that note, this Dimension Pro problem is a bit of a bear. I didn't realize until X1 came out that I was still using 1.2 (or perhaps 1.5 was released simultaneously?). Either way, upgrading introduces several conundrums which have been addressed to varying degrees. None of them are simple. The big epiphany about all this is that SONAR really needs a simple "replace synth" type command that will let you swap instruments not only in the regular composing sense, but also where it can keep patch assignments for when you swap updated versions of the same synth. It's actually something that's been needed for quite some time. I got my D-Pro upgraded mostly, but now I'm very fearful that opening an older project is going to reveal a lost sound. 

The Pro-Channel is, so far, a hit with me. The VX-64 took a while to grow on me but the Pro-Channel pretty much works as advertised, and so far sounds great. I recall quite a bit of "meh" from "another DAW" forum and some others but that fact that it sounds great and is so integrated into the channel strip is wonderful. A hit!


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    VariousArtist
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/09 12:53:27 (permalink)
    ...wicked

    I think you have provided a nice summary of pros and cons, many of which coincide with my own observations and opinions.  Nice, constructive criticism...
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    ba_midi
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/09 13:15:00 (permalink)
    VariousArtist


    ...wicked

    I think you have provided a nice summary of pros and cons, many of which coincide with my own observations and opinions.  Nice, constructive criticism...


    Ditto.

    I haven't actually tried to create anything frmo scratch yet - and I'm hoping that goes well when I do -- but I have to agree Wicked covered a lot of the meat

    Billy Arnell (ba-midi)

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    #3
    ...wicked
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/10 01:55:55 (permalink)
    Watching the memes fly by, here and on the Reaper forum (they're having a BALL with all of this btw), and continuing to play with X1. Some more things occur to me:

    Although it's an abstract thought, the strong moves to simplify and standardize many of the UI elements makes me wonder if it's to court a specific user-base. Maybe to make it so easy to use and universal they're going for the bundled deals and to court the newbz. Nothing wrong with all of that of course, but the fallout is that all of the long-time SONAR users are kind of scratching their heads going "why on earth did they take stuff AWAY?"

    I'm still trying to figure out how the multidock is going to work in my setup. Keeping it docked seems to take the biggest advantage of it, but since the UI is so much larger that little space at the bottom of the screen doesn't really work stuff I would want to put in it. By putting it on my other display, it now it TOO big for sticking things like plugin UI's in it...which I like "always on top" anyhow. An option to have the PRV follow track selection would be very welcome in this case.

    I love the new inspector though, that's a great example of fitting a lot of info in a small space with tons of toggle-able options. 

    I don't know how many of my key-bindings I'll need to rebuild once I learn the new clusters. Losing my plugin layouts sux but screw it, I guess I need to rebuild those anyway to reflect my new workflow. If the Pro-Channel passes muster (which seems likely) there's quite a few Waves plugs I can chuck out the window at long last (love the plugs, hate the company).

    Started changing the default colors, I hope the "share your color schemes" thread gets started soon.


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    ba_midi
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/10 02:22:09 (permalink)
    I don't give a hoot about the Reaper forums having fun.  ALL releases from every vendor has its own share of problems.  They're just dumping on us if they're 'having fun' at our expense.

    I agree with most of what you're stating as well, again.  It does seem like there's a certain market they're shooting for now. 

    I'm not locked into things if I think they can improve my workflow, I'm ok with "new" when it's functional not just fashionable.  But there are some things that I do feel I've lost with the new version.  AND some things I gain.

    Unfortunately I'm having some issues with X1 and I don't want to make things too negative around here, so I'm keeping much of it to myself at the moment.

    I've spent most of the day with it, but not productively.  I'm actually reinstalling it for the 3rd time today.   I don't intend to give up on it, but I also don't intend to really use it 'seriously' for awhile.

    I've already spent enough time to see how I might want to get my workflows setup (there are many options in this regard, so that's a good thing, especially with Screensets!).  But things like the colors (which really are important when you spend tons of hours in front of the screen) and some other customizations DO make a difference, and we've lost a lot of that.

    Not being able to have ALL the "toolbars/toolsets" I want visible is also a drawback (the Control Bar has a fixed Limit sadly).

    And, time is always short for everyone these days.  So taking into account what basically is like learning a whole new applications does require patience, persistence, etc.

    There's no question many us have to make serious/deep changes to our workflows -- some of which we've spent years developing.  That's a bit of a price to pay, and hopefully worth it "in the long run."

    In the short run, there's definitely going to be a lot of growing pains and some frustrations.

    And while i agree we should all be considerate when expressing or detailing our problems with X1, I think those who simply want everyone to act like a bunch of cheerleaders are doing everyone a disservice as well.

    We can all learn from our problems, mistakes, and of course good experiences as well.  But I think not to discuss the problems is a cop-out to some extent.    And when I think I can express mine without too much negativity, I will.    I'm a bit upset at the moment because I'm struggling with things not working, but I'm also sure things will work out "in time/over time".







    Billy Arnell (ba-midi)

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    bladetragic
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/10 03:05:02 (permalink)
    ...wicked
     
    Losing my plugin layouts sux but screw it, I guess I need to rebuild those anyway to reflect my new workflow.


    I simply copied my plugin layout from the old plugin layout folder to the new X1 plugin layout folder and it worked just fine.

    On another note, I'm loving the look and feel of the new version and I like where they're headed.  And Pro Channel has definitely emerged as a shining star amongst the madness.  (At least as far as the sound is concerned)

    There are definitely some bugs and glitches that I have ran into that can get a little frustrating but they seem easily fixable. 

    I'm not sure why, but when I minimize a track/synth folder the screen automatically jumps back to the top of the track view causing me to have to scroll back down every time to get to that particular track or synth.  This can get a little tedious when your track count gets high.  Little stuff like that.  There's a few more things but I actually want to sit with it for a good amount of time and learn it before I go on any kind of rant.

    I have noticed quite a few crashes w/ my old version of Sonar 8.3.1 since I installed X1.  They all seem to be related to the Runtime Library.  But I'm going to be completely wiping my system this weekend and starting from scratch and moving from Vista to Windows 7.  I've been planning on doing it for some time but wanted to wait until X1 arrived.  If problems still persist after that then I'll voice my concerns.
    post edited by bladetragic - 2010/12/10 03:21:27
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    chrisharbin
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/10 05:13:35 (permalink)
    @reaper forums: :?:

    I have not noticed they are "having fun" aamof I jokingly started a reaper 4 vs sonar x1 thread over there and it's been a pretty good (though lively of course) thread. There are several of us who are giving opinions.



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    #7
    ...wicked
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/11 19:13:49 (permalink)
    Working some more now...

    Track folder and track still have some display weirdness. I got a few strange blinkie things when I moved some, including for a short time a track's height of empty space for no reason at all. No game stoppers, but a bummer those things are still around. I wonder if layers will prove to still have the joy of randomness.

    Just noticed something, I don't recall if it's 8.5 or not (I'll check later) but I noticed I can "swipe" the Mute and Solo buttons for track layers. That's extremely helpful!

    I wish the collapsibility of the Multidock, Broswer, and Inspector weren't lost when they were detached and floated. Having them a single keystroke away would be rad (I suppose Screensets can do this though, I haven't gotten to them yet)

    So far I like having the PRV in the Multidock, at one-click access. Sadly I'm not thinking of a lot of other things I want in it in that location.  

    I think what I want is another "Multidock" window that is just for plugin UIs that is one-key collapsible. Having the UIs in the bottom-docked Multidock is a little awkward but if that window were independent and I could toss it over to the other monitor it would rock.

    Sheesh I hope I don't need to get new monitors to adjust to this crazy resolution-size. Please give us a "Narrow" toggle for the UI! 

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    ...wicked
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/11 21:16:35 (permalink)
    Snap Settings
    Yeah, something is going on there. My Snap To/By keeps flip-flopping, my resolutions keep changing, and I'm not sure if the PRV still has an independent settings, and also in the PRV the snap sometimes isn't active even though it appears to be.

    It could just be a new way it works, I heard the resolution setting remaining persistent is addressed next patch, I hope all these other oddities are too.

    A particular frustration is when you're editing and arranging, you might not realize the Snap To/By has flipped and then have to undo several steps to fix it, losing material you've created in the process. Ugh.

    Magic Tool
    So far so good, this thing is pretty cool, it's kind of a merger of the editable tools from yore. I'd complain about the lack of customization from before but to be honest I never bothered to configure it, so maybe they chose the most logical actions and just fixed it in stone. 

    There's some hot spots I'm still trying to figure out, sometimes double-clicking on a clip brings up the PRV, sometimes the Step Sequencer, but that's rare and the editing is pretty fast. Combined with the PRV in the multidock it makes for quick sequencing.




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    frankandfree
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/11 22:33:50 (permalink)
    ...wicked


    Watching the memes fly by, here and on the Reaper forum (they're having a BALL with all of this btw)

    The only Sonar thread  currently more or less active over there is chrisharbin's X vs 4 thread. Most Reaper forumites are dancing on a different ball right now as alpha testing is running full throttle.

    X1 announcement did spawn some threads, but the release didn't as of yet.
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    ba_midi
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/11 22:40:06 (permalink)
    Magic Tool So far so good, this thing is pretty cool, it's kind of a merger of the editable tools from yore. I'd complain about the lack of customization from before but to be honest I never bothered to configure it, so maybe they chose the most logical actions and just fixed it in stone.


    Wicked, I like the Smart Tool, but I really wish I had a Magic one ;P



    Billy Arnell (ba-midi)

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    ...wicked
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/12 16:34:39 (permalink)
    @Ba: oh right, haha, too much Photoshop I suppose!

    Studio Instruments
    Hey, these are pretty good! I used the Bass and the Strings last night working on a tune (which I'm calling "teach yourself X1 by writing this song.") and was pleasantly surprised. The Bass in particular is totally workable for me. 

    The Drums are also totally usable, but it does make me realize that with SD3 already inside SONAR there's a lot of redundancy (Beatscape too, to a point). 

    Since my plugin layouts got nuked, and I haven't rebuilt them yet, I've been reminded of how arcane the Insert Synth command can be. The list is not mousewheel scrollable still, but I noticed that you can drag and drop from the browser into a project. It's not totally elegant, but was nice to notice.

    It seems like there's a a ton of wasted space in the track view widget pane. The widgets don't wrap underneath the track # and icon area, and with the monochromatic color scheme it means I'm spending more time looking at nothing trying to figure out if I'm on the right track or not. Hopefully this will change when I start tweaking the colors, ANNNNNND when Cake shrinks that gosh darn UI down RIGHT? ;-) I always thought the default height for that stuff should be "rubber banded" to the widgets displayed anyhow.



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    ba_midi
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/12 16:58:32 (permalink)
    ...wicked


    @Ba: oh right, haha, too much Photoshop I suppose!

    Studio Instruments
    Hey, these are pretty good! I used the Bass and the Strings last night working on a tune (which I'm calling "teach yourself X1 by writing this song.") and was pleasantly surprised. The Bass in particular is totally workable for me. 

    The Drums are also totally usable, but it does make me realize that with SD3 already inside SONAR there's a lot of redundancy (Beatscape too, to a point). 

    Since my plugin layouts got nuked, and I haven't rebuilt them yet, I've been reminded of how arcane the Insert Synth command can be. The list is not mousewheel scrollable still, but I noticed that you can drag and drop from the browser into a project. It's not totally elegant, but was nice to notice.

    It seems like there's a a ton of wasted space in the track view widget pane. The widgets don't wrap underneath the track # and icon area, and with the monochromatic color scheme it means I'm spending more time looking at nothing trying to figure out if I'm on the right track or not. Hopefully this will change when I start tweaking the colors, ANNNNNND when Cake shrinks that gosh darn UI down RIGHT? ;-) I always thought the default height for that stuff should be "rubber banded" to the widgets displayed anyhow.

    Well, with the huge array of plugins I have, bundled stuff like the CW Studio Instruments don't matter to me.  But the screen space does. 
     
    Last night before I went out to the club, I was working on a mix back in 8.5.3.   There was SO much more I could see the  way I setup my dual monitor setup that I just can't get with X1 due to those big fonts/buttons/etc that many of us have been talking about since X1's release.
     
    I'm more concerned that not much will be done about it.  I think we all know how decisions can get written in stone in any field.
     

    Billy Arnell (ba-midi)

    http://www.ba-midi.com/music/files
    Music gives me life, so I give life Music.
    Thanks for listening - Let's Dance to the rhythm of life! :)
    #13
    Rski
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    Re:Additional thoughts so far... 2010/12/12 19:27:07 (permalink)
    I can agree with the dimension pro or lite, seen lots of postings, stick with the current version hopefully a patch will be in the works......

    I remember when Pro audio 9 was on my computer, sort of cumbersome to work with, then Sonar 1 came out and the GUI with tabbing made work flow easier, however the program was buggy as Windows, trying to get my 1st CD done Cake Icing was challenging with crashes, Sonar 2 was a God send, in those days.

    Prochannel is nice, frees up some HP on my UAD2 card resources
    #14
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