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  #1  
Old 01-30-2011, 02:54 AM
guyd2 guyd2 is offline
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Default Some thoughts about the Mixer

Recently I played around rather intensively with the Timeline section of N3 Pro, and have a few requests/remarks about it, though admittedly I'm not yet very familiar with all the ins and outs of N3. So please forgive if I mention things which are already implemented (RTFM!), or are on the to-do list, or things which I simply did wrong.

Let's start with the simplest of requests, but nonetheless one I think must be very useful: having the Preset blocks in the Timeline in the same color as the color of the Presets themselves in the Stacks. When there's many blocks, and they're too narrow to have their names visible, it becomes neigh impossible to see what's what. Hovering over a block and then showing its preset name in a small popup could be handy as well. And maybe even some additional information (sequence length, rate) ?

A few random remarks: why is the "A" cut off from "Arrange" at the leftmost side of the arrange tracks ? And why are the preset blocks only a bit more than half of the height of the tracks themselves ? Surely something useful could be done with that empty space (higher blocks = handier to grab, or maybe some additional functionality perhaps) ?

Some counter-intuitive things: having to press CMD-drag to create a new preset block ? Nothing really wrong with that, but I found that it becomes pretty awkward with complex Timelines with many small blocks on a high-res laptop screen and only a trackpad. Sometimes creating a preset block doesn't work either, especially when it has to be small and sits inbetween other blocks. A right-click (or the regular Optionleftclick) on a Track to create a new block seems more intuitive to me, especially when I could have the option to fill in the exact length in a small dialog box. Or just use the Pointer/Pencil/Eraser paradigm as used in most DAW's.

Arrangement Window Zoom is, well, a bit too primitive to my taste. Unwieldy too. Stepless zooming please ?

Perhaps this is already possible (RTFM again!?), but the least I expect from a composing timeline, is that I can click anywhere (most likely within the ruler above the tracks) to make a sequence start running from there, to set loop points, etc...

And finally -- for now -- resizing the preset blocks just doesn't work very smoothly. The dragging handles are way too small, especially on small blocks on hi-res screens. Sometimes I just couldn't resize a block, and had to first delete it and create a new one.

I really would like to see some more flexibility here, akin to its bigger cousin DAW's, with proximity sensing (of corners and sides of blocks)... Preset blocks should have (initially) the size of the sequencer length, with the possibility to either "repeat' them (cursor at vertical sides of block), copy them, drag them, or resize them (at corner), etcetera...

Also, perhaps a better idea for complex composing, would be to simply have one instance of a Preset block (with initial size set to sequencer's length), and have that automatically repeat until it either meets another block, or until the end of the arrangement. That way, in most cases, resizing a block wouldn't even be necessary.

Once again, I'm quite sure some of these things mentioned here must be already implemented, and in that case, I apologize for my illiteracy.

Thanks for reading !
_g
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  #2  
Old 01-30-2011, 07:14 AM
TwoToneshuzz TwoToneshuzz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guyd2 View Post

Let's start with the simplest of requests, but nonetheless one I think must be very useful: having the Preset blocks in the Timeline in the same color as the color of the Presets themselves in the Stacks. When there's many blocks, and they're too narrow to have their names visible, it becomes neigh impossible to see what's what. Hovering over a block and then showing its preset name in a small popup could be handy as well. And maybe even some additional information (sequence length, rate) ?


I like the idea of the colour coding of presets following those they have been assigned in the stack. Also the name and other info in a pop up would be handy which could be envoked by clicking on the block when a key combo is pressed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guyd2 View Post


A few random remarks: why is the "A" cut off from "Arrange" at the leftmost side of the arrange tracks ? And why are the preset blocks only a bit more than half of the height of the tracks themselves ? Surely something useful could be done with that empty space (higher blocks = handier to grab, or maybe some additional functionality perhaps) ?
The A seperated from arrange leftmost is not something I'm seeing on my imac 20" screen.

As to the tracks half height, you've got something there, I wonder if the empty space is reserved for some function yet to be implemented.. On a small screen I suppose it would be best if the tracks were full height for easy resizing..

Quote:
Originally Posted by guyd2 View Post

Some counter-intuitive things: having to press CMD-drag to create a new preset block ? Nothing really wrong with that, but I found that it becomes pretty awkward with complex Timelines with many small blocks on a high-res laptop screen and only a trackpad. Sometimes creating a preset block doesn't work either, especially when it has to be small and sits inbetween other blocks. A right-click (or the regular Optionleftclick) on a Track to create a new block seems more intuitive to me, especially when I could have the option to fill in the exact length in a small dialog box. Or just use the Pointer/Pencil/Eraser paradigm as used in most DAW's.
Some good ideas here, for sanity in the meantime doing complex arrangements in the timeline on a laptop I'd strongly suggest getting a two button mouse..


Quote:
Originally Posted by guyd2 View Post

Arrangement Window Zoom is, well, a bit too primitive to my taste. Unwieldy too. Stepless zooming please ?

Perhaps this is already possible (RTFM again!?), but the least I expect from a composing timeline, is that I can click anywhere (most likely within the ruler above the tracks) to make a sequence start running from there, to set loop points, etc...

And finally -- for now -- resizing the preset blocks just doesn't work very smoothly. The dragging handles are way too small, especially on small blocks on hi-res screens. Sometimes I just couldn't resize a block, and had to first delete it and create a new one.

I really would like to see some more flexibility here, akin to its bigger cousin DAW's, with proximity sensing (of corners and sides of blocks)... Preset blocks should have (initially) the size of the sequencer length, with the possibility to either "repeat' them (cursor at vertical sides of block), copy them, drag them, or resize them (at corner), etcetera...

Also, perhaps a better idea for complex composing, would be to simply have one instance of a Preset block (with initial size set to sequencer's length), and have that automatically repeat until it either meets another block, or until the end of the arrangement. That way, in most cases, resizing a block wouldn't even be necessary.

Once again, I'm quite sure some of these things mentioned here must be already implemented, and in that case, I apologize for my illiteracy.

Thanks for reading !
_g
A lot of good ideas here.. The heavy usage of the timeline for complex editing seems like the least developed aspect of Numerology, getting the two button mouse will save some pain as far as getting greater accuracy when resizing blocks. But other than that I really like your ideas, and though I don't know the timeline that deeply I'm pretty sure that the functions your requesting are as yet not implemented.. In fact I was rather suprised on double checking that the manual has only one page dedicated to the Timeline..

I've been using Numerology for about 14 months now, and because of the depth of it's other functions I don't really miss sequencer style functionality as found in DAWs like Logic or Cubase. Numerology is a different beast.. I sense that the timeline is implimented in Numerology as a quick sketchpad for arrangement ideas. Others who have come with similiar request have been pointed to various DAW's

Logic Pro/Express, Live, Digital Performer, through Rewire, or you can use Numerology as an AU within one of these programs.. I've used it in Logic Express, and Reaper in Rewire mode it works flawlessly..

Hope this helps. I would like to see increased funtionality in the Timeline as well, but not at the expense of the development of the other parts of the program....

Regards

Wade
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  #3  
Old 01-30-2011, 10:42 AM
guyd2 guyd2 is offline
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Hi TwoToneShuzz,
Thanks for replying.
Quote:
The A seperated from arrange leftmost is not something I'm seeing on my imac 20" screen.
I've got a 24" iMac, and the cutting-off of text happens at other places in N3 as well. Perhaps my system fonts are #$#%@-up.
Quote:
Some good ideas here, for sanity in the meantime doing complex arrangements in the timeline on a laptop I'd strongly suggest getting a two button mouse..
Well, I have several mice in varying states of decay, but the only one left still working properly has a lead too short to reach the port on the laptop. Not sure whom at Apple thought of putting the USB ports on the left side of the portable. Perhaps a leftie ?
Quote:
I sense that the timeline is implimented in Numerology as a quick sketchpad for arrangement ideas. Others who have come with similiar request have been pointed to various DAW's
I can imagine this would be the logical next step, yes.
Still, it's the Preset list which seems to be aimed at quick and dirty arranging, whilst the Timeline obviously caters for more sophisticated stuff. And it is exactly that what I tried doing: putting some Preset blocks for several Stacks together in a Timeline... which I simply thought should be going a lot smoother than what is possible now.

As Jim knows, my aversion to using a lot of software (with the modular) is growing bigger by the minute (as stated in that other post of mine). Yes, I could use N3 as a plugin for Logic Studio, but that means more software (running concurrently), which to me means: begging for more problems. Problems which tend to pop up in a live situation, of course.
I'd like to keep things as simple as possible. Not because I'm a simple person, but rather because I've got +30y experience with computers and software...

And of course, I agree with you that the Timeline shouldn't be developed further at the expense of other parts of N3. Though I'd still like preset-colored blocks, more manageable blocks, and stepless zooming. :-)

cheers,
_g
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  #4  
Old 01-31-2011, 12:08 AM
circuit circuit is offline
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I can understand people not wanting the timeline to detract from development of other areas - but I currently use the timeline extensively for my arrangements, I haven't used any software except N3 for my last few pieces. So I feel your pain with some of the issues you mention.

It would be great if the timeline could progress further toward being a full-fledged arrangement tool. Mind you I'm not complaining about it because I'm able to work around some of the limitations, or just invoke a bit of patience.

With locating to different bars, yes I keep pointing somewhere in the header and then wondering why the play head doesn't go there, until I remember - use command-L to bring up a dialog box and then enter the bar number.

Therefore I would like to add my "plus one" to your desire for the timeline to progress a bit. Our experience here is that Jim does respond to his customer feedback and often our ideas are added in - how refreshing! - and I'm confident the timeline will improve over time.
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  #5  
Old 01-31-2011, 09:34 AM
jim jim is offline
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The timeline is indeed overdue for some attention. As mentioned, the cause for the delay is that other parts of the program have had a higher priority. And, yes, asking for changes does help move them up the list.

Among the items on the todo list for the timeline are:
- more zooming options (including smoother zooming)
- a 'draggable' wiper for easier locates.
- a graphical representation of the transport loop
- more options for 'quantizing' pattern length (i.e. 1/8th & 1/16 notes, etc)
- an easier way to insert presets

A few notes specifically on "pattern lengths":

The stack preset/pattern length issue has come up before. I think there is a need and a use for having a length set for each stack preset. However, due to the freeform nature of Numerology's sequencing modules, calculating the proper length can range from trivially easy (for a single sequencer with no param mod) to a bit tricky (multiple sequencers at different lengths and rates) to very difficult (multiple sequencers with param mod on the sequencer's rate).

What I think I will probably do is use the same 'guesstimate' that I use for locating individual sequencer modules (and which covers the most common cases), and provide the user with a way to override that setting. That will allow for some very useful feature enhancements, such as auto-adding preset blocks to the timeline based on preset length, quantizing preset changes overall to the pattern length and so on.

Cheers,
Jim
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  #6  
Old 01-31-2011, 11:41 PM
guyd2 guyd2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim View Post
A few notes specifically on "pattern lengths":

The stack preset/pattern length issue has come up before. I think there is a need and a use for having a length set for each stack preset. However, due to the freeform nature of Numerology's sequencing modules, calculating the proper length can range from trivially easy (for a single sequencer with no param mod) to a bit tricky (multiple sequencers at different lengths and rates) to very difficult (multiple sequencers with param mod on the sequencer's rate).
Oh yes, didn't think of that... of course.

Quote:
What I think I will probably do is use the same 'guesstimate' that I use for locating individual sequencer modules (and which covers the most common cases), and provide the user with a way to override that setting. That will allow for some very useful feature enhancements, such as auto-adding preset blocks to the timeline based on preset length, quantizing preset changes overall to the pattern length and so on.
Sounds like a good idea.
Though the bit about "most common cases" is a scary thought. Not knowing exactly how long a sequence pattern is, might possibly lead to somewhat-messed-up arrangements. Imagine I use two slightly-different presets of the same Stack, and they have to follow up each other precisely (as in a regular composition technique, where the first note/rest of the 2nd sequence has to match the last note/rest of the previous one), which would become neigh impossible when a sequence length is guesstimated...
Perhaps it would be wise to let the user know when a guesstimation is either 'precise', 'pretty accurate', or 'infinite' (we don't really know). That way the user could be confident in making arrangements which either match and cuddle up nicely, or something where precision is "not important" or neglible, or sits in the order of "I couldn't care less".
Maybe with a little sign on top of the Mixer blocks ? A number when its length is known, number with question mark when it's guesstimated, and an infinity symbol for anything we can't be bothered with ?

-----

One of the things I struggled with -- perhaps again because I didn't read the manual yet? -- is how to deal with the difference of Arranging a whole composition (comprised of several Stacks), and individual sequencer/Stack editing.
I know about the Arrange pop-up (Off/Trk/Plyl) -- though I find it confusing that this is possible in both the Stack and Timeline -- but once a Timeline has become complex and filled with many a Stack presets, there's a lot of switching Arrangement modes on and off... I wonder if there couldn't be an easier and less convoluted way of doing this ? I mean, when I'm in the Timeline, it's obvious I want to hear (and work on) the whole composition, whilst when I'm in a Stack, I'd prefer hearing (and working on) only that particular Stack. Though I admit this is not always the case, which of course makes things complicated again...
Darn, I'm glad I'm not a software developer.
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  #7  
Old 02-01-2011, 09:58 AM
jim jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guyd2 View Post
Though the bit about "most common cases" is a scary thought. Not knowing exactly how long a sequence pattern is, might possibly lead to somewhat-messed-up arrangements. Imagine I use two slightly-different presets of the same Stack, and they have to follow up each other precisely (as in a regular composition technique, where the first note/rest of the 2nd sequence has to match the last note/rest of the previous one), which would become neigh impossible when a sequence length is guesstimated...
Perhaps it would be wise to let the user know when a guesstimation is either 'precise', 'pretty accurate', or 'infinite' (we don't really know). That way the user could be confident in making arrangements which either match and cuddle up nicely, or something where precision is "not important" or neglible, or sits in the order of "I couldn't care less".
Maybe with a little sign on top of the Mixer blocks ? A number when its length is known, number with question mark when it's guesstimated, and an infinity symbol for anything we can't be bothered with ?
I can't say for sure yet. One thing is that since there will need to be an estimate from when the stack is first created, and trying to update the estimate everytime something in the stack changes is a big hassle, it will probably be best to just set a default length of 4 beats and let the user customize that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guyd2 View Post
One of the things I struggled with -- perhaps again because I didn't read the manual yet? -- is how to deal with the difference of Arranging a whole composition (comprised of several Stacks), and individual sequencer/Stack editing.
I know about the Arrange pop-up (Off/Trk/Plyl) -- though I find it confusing that this is possible in both the Stack and Timeline -- but once a Timeline has become complex and filled with many a Stack presets, there's a lot of switching Arrangement modes on and off... I wonder if there couldn't be an easier and less convoluted way of doing this ? I mean, when I'm in the Timeline, it's obvious I want to hear (and work on) the whole composition, whilst when I'm in a Stack, I'd prefer hearing (and working on) only that particular Stack. Though I admit this is not always the case, which of course makes things complicated again...
Indeed. I don't try to make any assumptions there. Perhaps just a key command to turn the master arrangement switch on and off is sufficient.

Cheers,
Jim
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  #8  
Old 02-01-2011, 04:54 PM
TwoToneshuzz TwoToneshuzz is offline
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Default Thorny problems could lead to genial solutions...

I like this thread..

I've used Cubase Audio from version 1! for about ten years 1992-2001, Pro Tools off and on for a few projects during that time and the Sadie system extensively for classical editing over a 5 year period from 1995-2000. The DAR system at the Danish radio..

These long endless lines of Data leading off into the horizon, highways of sound. leads the driver into a mind set that always out there a point ahead, getting fixated on a distant point the next turning point the next Gas Station, few events come and go a hitch hiker along the road breaks the monotony oh look runover rabbit.. Straight lines are ... Boring straight lines are hynotic in a hard way, straight line stop natural thought processes. So When the Timeline in Numerology was too simple to use I simply abandoned it.

A New way of working emerges , like building a crystalline structure from the inside hmm a new way.. A base structure that influences the final outcome a finished form in nature perhaps thousands of years in the making.

Planting ideas into Numerology that results in an outcome, cause and effects like the skewing of time sequences cross rythms, or slow harmonic development (through key modulation of all note generation modules) can create harmonic schemes that unfold on a grand scale.


The core of this problem with the TimeLine dicussed here is how to capture sequences with length variences sqewing the line up of mutiple note streams. We want variance but with sycronocity. The two together can’t really be achieved through static playlist/timeline interfaces..

Spider Webs of modulations initiated from central stacks that control various modules in subordinate stacks can create a sense of direction in a complex multimodule set-up. Combining this with realtime changes/directions initiated from the mixer like mute/unmute of stacks launch presets, as well as live input from a midi keyboard or other controller or audio source, all this, to my mind is where numerology shines..

Central control of output streams can give coherence to the output to the summed output when it is transformed from a micro into the larger macro, even though the whole is elastic in regard to phrase/sequence lengths.

How?

One stack that controls the harmonic content of all note based sequencers through the CV interval inputs/output modules. I have one modulation sequencer running with slow (several bars) changes to the Key modulation destination on all sequencers. And three interval sequences moving in whole notes that are routed to the interval in CV input on chosen mononote sequencers Soprano Alt/Tenor Bass within the various stacks.

Two gate stacks which contain as many gates as there are subdivision types in the various modules, two each for each subdivision. I still miss the ability for presets to be able to change routings within the stack for this to work optimally. The outputs are routed to the relevant sequences with a destination of (main mute) All modules can be controlled to create rests and by turning off all gates busy sections. This works by having all gating on the subsequencers turned full on.. The central stack handle the gating..

Within each individual stack I use four gates controlling four sequencers respectively status button right side panel E(Run mode) set to CV trigger gated on four modules to create a mash up so I can achieve variation, outputting only one mono line, The sequences themselves have pitch values that lend themselves to being transposed, as they get their main contour with input from the central harmonic stack.

To sum up with this setup controls for the note output and can now be changed from;

1) key/tonal modulation stack. This works best if the mononote’s are set to scale; chromatic
2) gate sequence stacks.
3)I suppose I should setup a velocity control stack as well..
4)Groove clock yet to work with this but the possibiltes give added expressive power I’m sure..

To diffirentiate the streams or add dynamic change initiate turning points one can use pre-sets on the main control stacks as weel as live mixing, to create syncronious events of importance within the total soundscape.

For increased central control you could setup a controller stack with buttons that could change presets within indivdual stacks..

A preset that changes several things at once for instance;

Turn on sequences, switch sound module presets, turn on arps, transpose/inverrt, change subdivisions, sequence directions, mutes intiated by gate sequences.

Numerology offers these new ways of working to achieve the same compositional goals of introducing salient structural elements that you can reach using a traditional DAW sequencer, but you are at work dynamically during the playing of your total composition.

With numerology pressing play and leaning back just does not cut it...We can’t sit back and let the clockwork run, ticking through its dry predetermined sequence of events twiddling a fader or two but mainly just biding time hoping that you won't make a wrong turn or get a flat tire just wanting to get on with that old getting from A to B, that for the composer a least has been done to death...Numerologist must “conduct” the work in progress to bring it to it’s full potential.

If you use the Timeline solutions to the throny problem...

Use a loose(not lose) time idea that says I want these sounds and these sequences to lock in about here, ---v Now if all sequence are built up with a central control, it should lock in after a fashion, problems arise, mute that offending sound channels until they get in the groove..

Another way to use the timeline would be to have clean breaks where material on some stacks can fade out to silence and new ideas on other stacks/tracks can start all lined at one predefined point ---v a type of planned reset.

Perhaps these reset sequence groups could interspersed throughout a piece to allow free runs with linking turning point groups that could in turn open up into new free runs.

All this keeping track of absolute time in a program like numerology with various variables changing sequence length seem like a fools errand in a way...

Just a shot from the hip on the subject of the timeline..

Regards

Wade

Last edited by TwoToneshuzz; 02-02-2011 at 03:57 AM.
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  #9  
Old 02-02-2011, 06:59 PM
jim jim is offline
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Thanks -- a fascinating and insightful post indeed! Certainly the timeline is not the only way to make an 'arrangement'. In some ways it is a placeholder for future expansion -- the ability to record preset changes, for example, or possibly even a full-on automation recorder -- though I don't want to stray too much into DAW territory. Some of the techniques that you discuss would be well-served by a "mixer scenes" option -- i.e. a way to set presets across several tracks at once.

Cheers,
Jim
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2011, 01:57 AM
TwoToneshuzz TwoToneshuzz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim View Post
Thanks -- a fascinating and insightful post indeed! Certainly the timeline is not the only way to make an 'arrangement'. In some ways it is a placeholder for future expansion -- the ability to record preset changes, for example, or possibly even a full-on automation recorder -- though I don't want to stray too much into DAW territory. Some of the techniques that you discuss would be well-served by a "mixer scenes" option -- i.e. a way to set presets across several tracks at once.

Cheers,
Jim

I'm setting up my first try at a global preset control stack.

Create a new stack and call it "Scene Control"

Set Midi output for "Scene control" to (for this example) midi bus H.

Set "Midi Remote" in on all the stacks you want to control to bus H. Note: although the regular Midi in on a Stack is on the front panel you have to go to the routing page of the stack to find the "Remote in" input set-up drop down menu.

In the "Scene Control" stack insert a Prog Change module found in Module Lib/Midi Gen.

On the routing page of the "Scene Control" Stack connect the midi output for the module to the Stacks midi output.

On the ProgChange Module (front panel):

Disable "OnRewind" button (gray)
Enable "OnPresetChange" button (gold)
Enable send prg numbers (gold).

Duplicate your preset for as many scenes you think you'll want to create.

Step through your presets and set unique program numbers on the ProgChange module panel for each one, it's not necessary to send bank numbers so just leave those two fields at their default values..

Now on the Stacks that you want to call up as subordinate elements of your Scenes do the following:

Double click on a Preset you want to include in a Scene and a dialog will appears, here you can choose various options for naming and color coding, comments and the remote control options.

Remote control can be set to either NoteNumber, or PrgChange, set it to PrgChange and input the relevant program number in the input field. No need to use midi channel unless you have exceeded 128 scenes. You can also set Presets to change through the use of the computer keyboard, but I think as far as usabiltiy from the mixer or when using the Launchpad Presets are the way to go.


Note: theres is an offset in the way numerology calls up programs so sending program number 11 calls up 12, 12 calls up 13 and so on..

Remember this only works if you make sure the "Midi Remote input" on the recieving stacks is set to the same midi bus as the "Scene Control" midi out, also there is no remote out on stacks just use the ordinary midi out from the "Scene Control" Stack.

Note: the Playlist and Arrange is set to off when using this functionality haven't tried it in the Timeline modes yet..

Regards

Wade

Last edited by TwoToneshuzz; 02-03-2011 at 02:36 AM.
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