Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.

Archives: March 2007

March 22, 2007

M-Audio fucking sucks...

by Chris Randall

No particular reason for this post, other than to reiterate what I've said many times before: if a company is owned by Avid, they are generally of the whack variety, and M-Audio is the whackest of all. Vista has been in beta for a year, and actually released for two months. Time to hop on the driver bus, bitches.

Who has a MIDI interface that works in Vista with Cubase 4? Tell me about it, and I will buy it today.

March 21, 2007


by Chris Randall

Okay, this is turning in to more than a simple "throw a lag in there and release an update" kind of thing. There are four particular instances where clicks occur in Replicant. What they are, and what we've done, are as follows:

1. Clicking when the audio engine switches from the "live" feed to the "loop" feed and back when in duck mode. This was caused by the audio engine switching streams at something other than zero crossings. A very quick fade (on the order of a millisecond or two) on the in and out of the "live" feed solved this problem. FIXED.

2. Clicking in the looping engine itself, caused by loops that are cut at something other than zero crossing points. Apparent in mix mode, but obvious in duck and send. This was solved by recording a very quick fade at the beginning and ending of loops as they are recorded. (There was already one on the beginning; we just put one on the end.) FIXED.

3. Clicking when audio first enters a filter, and that filter is anything but wide open. This occurs in all three modes. We haven't figured out why this is happening yet. FIXED, sort of. We got the filter popping fixed, but Replicant Whack-A-Mole means that we created a new problem with this. Whee.

4. Clicking when the following conditions occur: loop length is set to anything larger than 1/16, and a retrigger occurs mid-loop. Say you have triggers on steps one and three, and the loop length is set to 1/4 note. Obviously, step three is only 1/8th note, or half of the desired loop length. So the loop will only play half-way before getting retriggered. Thus it isn't able to play the fade-out that was recorded to fix the clicks in instance #2, noted above. This one is the biggest bear of all, and we're not sure how to address it, as in order to play a crossfade, the plugin would have to know that a random trigger is going to occur on a given step. In normal programming, this click can easily be avoided. But when you're using heavy randomization of the loop length, and the sequencer mode is set to "retrigger," you get a lot of these.

So, here's what we're going to do: we're going to release an update shortly that has the first and second instances (which are currently unavoidable) fixed, but not the third and fourth (which are more or less avoidable, except in certain circumstances.) We'll continue working on this exclusively, and release another update when we have fixed the third and fourth instances.

As I mentioned on KvR, we designed this plugin with drum slicing in mind, and it didn't really occur to us that it would see such heavy use on other material. We didn't rush the release of this product; we don't rush any of our products. We release them when we feel they do what we want them to; Replicant is perfectly capable of slicing straight-time drum loops ad nauseum, and you'll never hear a click that will be more apparent than the program material. Using it on sustained material is certainly feasible in its current state, but you have to remember that it is, as I've mentioned previously, like drying your cat in the microwave. It _can_ do it, but it isn't very good at it. The final revision will basically have the entire looping engine re-written to allow it to excel at slicing sustained material, so the cat will dry un-harmed.

March 20, 2007

Dumpster Diving...

by Chris Randall

You know the stories you always hear about the guy that found the perfect condition Aries modular in his friend's closet? This is one of them. pronobozo sent me a picture of this honker which came to his possession in just such a manner. What that white thing on top is anyone's guess. Perhaps pronobozo will enlighten us. Clickies for much, much bigger.

So, what's your best garage sale find? I haven't had a spectacular one, truthfully. I did buy a 303 off of a fucktard in one of our opening bands for $150, then the very next day took it to Rogue Music and sold it to them for $1000 cash. (They no doubt sold it to some Japanese uber-analog otaku for twice that the following day.) But I don't think that really counts because I didn't actually keep the gear. If I had bought the 303 for $150 and kept it, it would probably qualify.

March 20, 2007

What a beauty...

by Chris Randall

This has been making the rounds, and if you're interested you have no doubt seen it. I have to be honest and say that while it is completely unnecessary, if I had the 50-odd grand this is gonna go for, I'd seriously consider it. Historical significance, looks, and a big fat bottle of Mojo to go with it. Anyways, many pictures and some information here. Hey, Paul, if you don't get the offer you're looking for, I have plenty of room to store that thing for you...

March 20, 2007


by Chris Randall

Apparently the cart has to go _after_ the horse. We decided that it would be prudent to set Dr. Device aside for a bit and address the clickies issue in Replicant. Now, in our defense, it didn't really occur to us that people would want to use Replicant for anything but drums, so we toned the clicks down to where they weren't really noticeable in drum loops. However, as Wm. Gibson so eloquently stated, "the street finds its own uses for things." People are (more often than not, it seems) using Replicant for a lot of things that aren't drums, and the clicks are quite obvious in, say, pads and such.

So, we've found the source of the clicks today (two sources, as it happens) and are half way to solving both. We'll have a Windows VST update in the immediate future, and an OSX VST update shortly after that. Due to some concerns about the AU kit, we may hold off on the OSX AU update for a bit, but it should follow presently. Then we'll return to Dr. Device development.

For what it's worth, Dr. Device is in a semi-advanced state; most of the major coding is done, and now it's just the details. Adam is going on vacation for a fairly large chunk of April, but Dr. Device will be out not too long after he returns.


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