September 15, 2006

Is it just me...

by Chris Randall

...or do all the new Native Instruments plugs look like they were made in Reaktor? Obviously, it's wise for a company to have a common look/feel amongst its products, something we've been struggling at with the AD line since the beginning.

There are two schools of thought to plug-in UI design. I, of course, am of the firm opinion that if there's a real-world analog for a particular plug-in, the plug-in should look exactly like the real-world device. This solves two problems. First, a customer can tell what a product does just by looking at a screenshot. Even with a small screenshot of Reverence, it's pretty obvious as to what it's all about, and we don't have to spend much time explaining it. Second, the customer already knows how to use the product as soon as he installs it, and the only reason he'd have to consult the manual would be for a technical explanation of a feature, or to learn how to use any "secret" things we've added.

When something looks like FM7, you know what it is, what it does, what it sounds like, and how to use it from the git-go. When something looks like FM8, given the screenshot above, at the _very_ least you have to read a couple paragraphs of liturature to even figure out what it is in the first place, never mind whether it's something you need or not. The only thing you can really tell for certain is that it's a synth, and it probably uses FM.

These are just my opinions. Your mileage, as always, may vary. I already know that there is a fairly even split between people that prefer modern UIs versus those that prefer the hardware look. I wouldn't turn down some thoughts on the matter, if you feel like typing them out.



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Sep.16.2006 @ 2:28 PM
Chris Randall
I agree with that, although I like the visual feedback of a matrix or something. Dropdowns for patching are kind of a drag. I think Urs' UIs are some of the best in the business, for sure. As I said, if I had the graphics skill, I would do stuff like that, instead of how we do it.

Ultimately, at least as far as Audio Damage goes, we make what I can do well, which is the 3D ones. Even Reverence and 914 are done entirely in 3DS Max, even though they are flat-on. You can always tell plugin UIs that were done in 3DS Max or Maya, because the shadows on the knobs are different for each knob. If you look at Reverence, or the URS products, or the UIs of the plugs in Duende, you'll note that each knob has its own shadow, pointing away from a common light source. If someone just did a single knob in a 3D program, but built the rest of the UI in Photoshop, all the knobs have the same shadow.

(Note: for those curious, I do the "silkscreen" lettering in Photoshop, then import it in to 3DS Max as a texture.)

In any case, I think that most everyone here agrees that for simple shit (single-purpose effects) the 3D or "hardware" UI is the prefered method, and for complicated multi-pane shit, something with a modern, yet artistic look (like the MOTU and Logic synths) is best. Does that seem to be a consensus?



Sep.16.2006 @ 2:42 PM
I like my emulations to look like the real thing so in that respect I find FM8 dissapointing.

Honestly if I get another FM synth I'll get Ableton's Operator to complement my FM7 (aka not upgrade to FM8).... pricewise it makes more sense too.

Native Instrument's has been a little dissapointing to me lately. I think Kore is rediculous. They had a lot of great innovative product but most of them now have competitors that one up each one.


Sep.16.2006 @ 4:12 PM
Chris Randall
No shit. I've been a professional musician since the 80s, and using technology all that time. That by way of saying I'm quite comfortable using computers with music, since I've been doing it for a fifth of a century. But I find both Kore and Kontakt to be completely inpenetrable. I can't figure out the purpose of the former for the life of me, and the latter makes so little sense as to be completely useless. Halion, while being a far less sophisticated product, is much more like what the fuck you'd expect a sample player to do.

(And make no mistake, hardly any of the products called "samplers" these days are.)

Basically, it comes to this: someone in charge of Native Instruments has gone insane.



Sep.16.2006 @ 4:46 PM
for me, its all down to feel. the feel of the UI when i move knobs around.

i love absynth and battery, but i hate feel. i like Reverence and RatShack's feel, but i find DubStation and the 914filter not as good, as far as knob feel...


Sep.16.2006 @ 4:53 PM
to continue on that very subjective thought and my bad english...

i personnaly like the feel of Logic s faders, and hate the DP one. Maybe it s just a matter of microsecond reaction, but when you work everyday with these tools, it becomes a bit of a pita and i tend to go the plugs with better feel, rather than the most sophisticated plugs...

btw, offtopic but: Chris, i'm sure AudioDamage would make a KILLER bit reduction/sound destroyer...but do you have a recommendation? (MAC OS X AU)



Sep.16.2006 @ 5:08 PM
Of course, this whole debate about FM8 assumes that it's still supposed to be a DX7 emulation. What if it's just supposed to be NI's new take on FM synthesis? Does not looking like a DX7 really matter then?

Sep.16.2006 @ 5:11 PM
Adam Schabtach
My recommendation is to wait for Master Destrukto 2, the sequel to our sound destroyer that sported bit reduction, sample-rate reduction, and other fun WMDs. :-)

Kidding aside, though, we do talk about doing such a thing sooner or later. If anybody has any particular desires about a sound-destroying plug-in, it wouldn't hurt to jot them down here or send us a message directly. You can take all of the features of Master Destrukto as a given.



Sep.16.2006 @ 6:20 PM
Adam, if you could figure out the Lo-Fi effect on the SP-1200 you would be a king among the rest of the coders.

Heres a loop I presume went through the emu processor from the first quasimoto album

link []">link []

god damn thats warm and fuzzy. ive heard from several zealots it will be impossible to do this with software correctly but since the 1200 was digital through and through I dont see why not.


Sep.16.2006 @ 7:59 PM
Fm8 looks like a it borrows GUI from Live and the Korg Wavestation plug ...and fuck yeah it looks like its created in Reaktor. My Two cents..whether it looks like hardware or its Robo-copped the fuck out I'm all for it as long as it doesnt take too much time away from actually creating music. Alot of Reaktor ensembles for instance sound good but how far buried is the ADSR?? Slightly off topic but slightly relative ..the Korg Karma (just picked one up for practically pennies on craigslist)who the fuck has time to learn that cryptic Karma function when it cuts in to precious creativity time. Some muthafuckaz just wanna play and some dont mind programing.

And a Lofi bit reduction effect by AD sounds great.
D-pole does the bit reduction thingy well and brings me eargasms when I get that harmonic-like hum when the LPF and bit reduction knobs are low as fuck and some chunky bassline is going through it.

Knock our socks off..may the force be with you! And please noone break my balls about owning a Karma around here.It was a price too low to refuse.


Sep.16.2006 @ 10:50 PM
Adam Schabtach
No ball-busting from here: I'd buy a Karma if I found one for cheap.



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