June 6, 2006

A Short Rant...

by Chris Randall

Is Java so much better than C++ that people are willing to require users to get a fucking 118mb download of the Sun Java Runtime to run their precious aleatoric simulation? And then make those same users put up with that miserable fucking relentless "Update me" thing?

That was a rhetorical question, of course. The answer is "no." I'm now adding compiled Java programs to my Big List Of Shit That Will Never Go On My Computer, along with anything made by PACE and Synthedit-based VST plugins. Fuck that whack-ass shit. Get over it and learn to code like a fucking adult.

And while we're on the subject, I saw Damian Marley on the Henry Rollins show on Saturday. I thought the track he did was pretty good. So I hopped on the IFC website, and listened to the second track (bands that play on the Rollins show always have two tracks; one on the TV show, and one on the web) and I liked that one all right too. So I popped on to iTunes and whacked the "Buy This Album" button. A bit of downloading later and Damian Marley's "Welcome To Jamrock" is on my hard-drive. Which brings me to my next rant.

To wit: I just paid $10 for an hour-long square wave. Seriously, this fucking album is so squished, every kick and snare is distorted. It is past nasty and in to comedy. It's not a bad album at all, but I get all tired out listening to it. After three songs, I feel like I just ran around the block a couple times. Come on guys. They're only called "dynamics" when you actually have them. Really fucking loud doesn't equal really fucking good.



Page 2 of 3

Jun.06.2006 @ 11:19 AM
i've never used a synthedit plug that didn't break or freak out or just spit out some kind of totally harsh random noise then CPU spike and piss me off. i gave up trying to use them a long time ago. some of them look interesting and seem to be full of good ideas.. they just never work for me... and there just way better stuff out there that's reliable so why bother...

i saw that henry rollins show.. i didn't know he had a show. it's always hilarious how that guy just keeps on finding a niche. it's great.

i thought the marley song was OK... perhaps the itunes version is just totally compressed?? i wonder what the CD sounds like.


Jun.06.2006 @ 11:35 AM
shamann wrote: While we're ranting, what's up with software going commercial without documentation? Synthmaker's a culprit, so is energyXT/

yep... energyXT needs a help file in a big way. otoh, it costs $50 and it does *everything.* i can forgive to some degree because it's such a great value.

i've had great luck with a handful of synthedit plugs. stuff by odo, cockaigne, e-phonic... some of them are "go to" plugs for me. it's too bad there's so much shite you have to wade through to find the gems... synthedit is the "mp3.com" of the vsti world.


Jun.06.2006 @ 11:38 AM
I'll bet you can think of bigger things to rant about than Java, Chris.

The Java runtime is even finding its way into Linux distros (via an easy installer for ubuntu, and bundled right into SUSE), and is in fact on every Mac install as someone just pointed out.

Trying to use Java for everything, or over-hyping it -- now that's a good rant. But when you see things like Processing, I think you can make a good argument that Java has its uses. I just think it's a matter of using the right tool for the right job. And C++ is still the best tool for a lot of jobs -- far more than Java. Anyway, anyone who's mastered Java is not going to have a hard time with C++, or visa versa.

What triggered this in the first place?


Jun.06.2006 @ 1:08 PM
Chris Randall
"What triggered this in the first place?"

That stupid little reminder. It doesn't have a "never fucking remind me, like, ever" option. The longest was 3 days. So I'd click "remind me in 3 days" every three days for about the last year or so, then it finally put me over the edge.

I'll note that I wasn't in a good mood to begin with. I was on an uninstalling kick, cleaning out Death Star (my big PC, as opposed to Tie Fighter, my PC laptop, Millenium Falcon, my Intel iMac, or Fucktard, my PPC iBook) of all its unneeded software. I accidentally uninstalled the SM Bus driver, so that was some drama, and during the restarting process, I got that fucking Java warning, and I just flipped out. The only reason I had it installed in the first place was to test some elements of the Jitter update for Windows back when I worked for C'74.

As for Shamman's comments viz. Synthmaker, I agree wholeheartedly. I'm a smart guy, and (obviously) know how to code, and I'm having a hard time making a simple step sequencer in Synthmaker. Knowing what I know about MSP, I'll say that Synthmaker has the potential to be almost as powerful, and actually moreso in some respects (like the "code" objects already mentioned, and a much better GUI method) but it is actually more difficult to learn.



Jun.06.2006 @ 2:15 PM
Okay, I'll grant you that. The one platform where I've had problems with the Java runtime -- from things that are annoying to things that don't work right -- has been on Windows.

And yes, I'm with you on Synthmaker. If you can't document your software, release it open source. And if Chris can't build a step sequencer, it needs some work, seriously. ;)


Jun.06.2006 @ 2:34 PM
The bigger issue isn't the stupid Java coding kids and CE majors, it's about the lack of dynamics in modern music.

AMEN to what you said.


Jun.06.2006 @ 3:44 PM
I can't understand why any professional engineer would need to clip the audio to make it louder.

It's amazing all the ways you can make audio loud without clipping. I could mix something to -5db RMS without a single square peak in it, and I'm a rank amateur. Actually, controlled clipping was my shortcut to loudness when I first started PC recording (7-8 years ago) and had absolutely no clue what I was doing (making use of the mighty Scrollworks Peak Slammer).

It shakes my faith in claims of professionalism when there are so many pro folk out there completely beating the shit out of their audio.

An only slightly related question for professionals: is tracking hot signals the common practice? I did a remix of a track recently where all of the individual tracks (all mic'ed recordings of instruments, no synths) had clipping, in some places fairly severely. I was kind of shocked to see it, seemed sloppy for professional recordings. Since it is all mostly recoverable in post-processing, do they just not care in order to save on studio time?


Jun.06.2006 @ 3:58 PM
Chris Randall
In modern DAWs, the lower the signal input, the more dynamic range is included, and the better the resulting samples. (An offshoot of the Nyquist Theorem.)

I generally record with peaks at -10dBfs on the input, and generally mix the same way. My final render is at -8dBfs, and I make up any gain on the ass end; this gives me a lot of room to EQ on the master, plus I can use a multi-band limiter to its best effect, rather than just slamming the whole track in to a square wave.

Of course, it depends on the kind of music. If the album is largely electronic in nature, it's a lot easier to slam it and not feel bad than if it is mostly acoustic instruments. But the last three records I mastered I did much lower overall volume than I have in the past, and I was happier with them as a result.

But all that aside, you can always make up the gain later. It is much easier to mix a project that has tracks recorded at -10 or so than it is to mix one where everything is clipping. The internal summing buss on the DAW is generally happier with the lower levels, as well. If you're stuck ITB, you're much better off recording lower signals, IMO. Better to not have any clipping to begin with than to have to deal with it later. If you dither on the input (like I do) the dither will work a lot better with the lower signal, too.

As a semi non sequiter, has anyone here tried the Crane Song analog dither?

link [www.cranesong.co...]">link [www.cranesong.co...]



Jun.06.2006 @ 4:05 PM
So then, my assumption that it was sloppy butcher work was correct. I'll sleep better tonight knowing that.

Jun.06.2006 @ 6:19 PM
Synth Maker is still in Beta, so documentation has been on hold while new components were added. It wasn't like SE where there was a feature freeze - new components were coming thick and fast for a while there.

there has been a lot of comment on the SM forum about the lack of documentation, but currently it just makes us 'in the know'guys feel smarter than the newbs. ;)
the documentation status thread is in the Early Adopter forum, which makes me completely out of line by posting this ...

Malc said (Mon May 29)> "The good news is that the software is complete enough now to allow us to focus on getting some decent documentation out of the door. I spent some time over Christmas getting this started (yes it was that long ago). Unfortunately the many efficiency issues that came up post Christmas threw me completely off track. I resumed again several weeks ago, doing a little each day. The user guide is over half complete now and hopefully it won't be too long before it's finished"

Oh, I really cant wait for the day it hits V1 and the documentation is released - then instead of the forum being full of cool stuff like this
link [www.synthmaker.co...]">link [www.synthmaker.co...]

it will be full of people saying "hw cn I make a 303 drum mchine, I am l33t producr !!!1111!!1"

/end sarcasm


Page 2 of 3



Sorry, commenting is closed for this blog entry.