April 11, 2007

And a PC tip, just to even the scales a bit...

by Chris Randall

The only real repeat problem the support staff at Audio Damage (read: me) deals with on a regular basis viz. the PC side of things comes in the form of a letter that reads like the following. Actually, it reads as the following, because this is an actual letter sent to the support address at Audio Damage:

I'm using Sonar 6 PE as a host. If I insert Replicant as an effect insert into an audio track (containing a drum loop) I don't hear any effect at all. Am I missing something obvious ?

Now, for what it's worth, I sort of knew the answer, and have for a long time. Way back in the old days, when real men edited audio by splicing magnetic tape, Sonar was a DirectX host and DirectX was a viable platform for plugins. Cakewalk provided a wrapper with the host (but not of it, natch) that would wrap all your VSTs as DirectX plugs so you could use them in Sonar. A nice side-effect would be that you could use them in all your other DirectX hosts like CD Architect and Sound Forge and Acid (I sense a theme here.) In order for a VST to receive host tempo information (which Replicant needs because it's, like, a tempo effect), you'd have to import it as a DirectX Instrument.

Why Cakewalk didn't just automatically say "all VST effects might or might not need tempo information, sort of like Schrodinger's cat might or might not be dead, and we don't know, so let's not add a layer of complexity for the user, and just go ahead and assume they're all gonna need it" is utterly beyond me. (I'm going to need a life preserver to save me from that metaphor.) But they didn't, so that's what you had to do.

But that was back in the bad old days, when you had to use 8" floppies and MIDI hadn't been invented yet. Nowadays, Sonar (and its offspring Project 5) are true VST hosts so this isn't a... oh, wait...

Actually, you _still_ have to let the VST->DirectX wrapper that Cakewalk uses for all its host products know that a plugin might need tempo information. I find this disconcerting when pretty much every plugin released has some sort of tempo-based gee-gaw. But since the "import as a DXi" thing didn't make any sense at all, they renamed that checkbox, then added another one, just in case you weren't confused enough. Here, provided by the above customer after we figured out what the hell it was really called, is a screenshot of the appropriate checkbox:

Anyways, people that use Cakewalk hosts: you're welcome to keep writing me, and I'll be happy (as always) to keep answering the same way, but in the event you do a Google search _before_ you write me, there are enough keywords in this blog post to virtually ensure that it will come up as the first hit for the search "Replicant doesn't do anything in Sonar" so here's your answer. Configure that little bitch as a tempo-based effect, and you'll be good to go.

(Thanks to Mike Callon for the second screenshot, and I should point out I blatantly stole the first one from this article on the SOS site. Parenthetically speaking, anyways.)




Apr.11.2007 @ 3:46 AM
dan s
Just wondering why you don't release your plugs as directx. Is it because the wrapper is good enough (I myself have never had any problems with it)

Apr.11.2007 @ 7:20 AM
Another thing that Sonar has been known to do (at least in my experience) is import a plugin directly to its disabled list. To put it another way, even though the plugin passes the initial scan for new plugins, it's not enabled in the plugin manager. This happened when I first loaded Replicant, and it took me ages to track down. That being said, Sonar's plugin manager is quite handy.

Apr.11.2007 @ 9:15 AM
I would have thought the #1 PC email you get is "Your plugin doesn't work in Fruity Loops."

I have the Cakewalk wrapper (but no Cakewalk), but I've near stopped using it these days. Only have it for my pre-VST version of Sound Forge, and I only bother wrapping energyXT anymore, since it'll load all of my plugins without jumping through any DX hoops. I assume with DX being dropped by Steinberg and the transition to Vista that the whole DX plugin format is on its way out.


Apr.11.2007 @ 11:28 AM
Chris Randall
As it turns out, in conversing with someone from Cakewalk this morning, this is sort of our fault. There is a particular flag you have to set that says "this plugin wants tempo information", and nobody else makes you set it so we never have. It seems this is the case with _all_ our products.


In any event, the above still holds true for the nonce.



Apr.11.2007 @ 11:32 AM
Chris Randall
Oh, and: as for the viability of DirectX as a plugin format, it is for all intents and purposes dead. There's absolutely no reason a plugin company would need to release in DirectX these days. Or RTAS. (Hardy har har.)

Our plugins work fine in Fruity Loops. Our main problem is that people don't RTFM before they start working on their first progressive trance masterpiece.



Apr.11.2007 @ 12:59 PM
"Our plugins work fine in Fruity Loops."

I know, but that doesn't stop people from saying it. That fixed buffer checkbox thing in FL screws up a lot of new users, I wonder why IL have kept it that way for so long. (no doubt because Didier can be a stubborn bastard)

I wouldn't be surprised if that problem alone accounts for 25% of all support emails IL gets.


Apr.11.2007 @ 1:22 PM
Chris Randall
It accounts for about 90% of our FL-related support email, for what that's worth. Between that, the above post, and Edirol and M-Audio buffer size fiascos, that basically accounts for 100% of our Windows support emails.



Apr.12.2007 @ 10:55 PM
Meanwhile I spent a good deal of time the other day explaining why a 1ms latency between MIDI triggered events to an external device is not a 'broken midi' or a 'broken motherboard'. "But this never happens in FLstudio so it must be broken!" <gag>

Jun.19.2007 @ 6:06 AM
Has anyone used Replicant with Renoise ?

Can you control/activate the big dial and the trigger ring with a midi controller ?, on off control.. so you could use it as a live beat mangler..

I really would like to know if Replicant will work in Renoise, not all sample trigger do, please write a comment if you have used Replicant + Renoise together.. :)




Aug.10.2010 @ 5:24 AM
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