December 27, 2007

It Came From The Depths Of The Chinese Music Industry...

by Chris Randall

The various and sundry offerings from China no-name companies for NAMM are starting to rear their ugly heads. Trudging down the pike from Bizarro Land this week is the tragically named Plugiator. This is essentially a little tabletop semi-NOAH, if you're familiar with that box. Or, in English, it runs a couple four Creamware SCOPE plugins, as the complete disintegration of that product line merrily continues. I think I'll take a pass on this one, thanks very much.

I am one of those people that couldn't ever understand the various Creamware platforms before they came unspun, never mind now. I mean, is it a sound card? Is it a DAW? Is it plugins? Can I use these plugins with a real sound card and my normal DAW? What the fuck is going on here?

In other news, we left Phoenix this morning, and now we're in L.A. Hanging with my sister tomorrow, then home on Saturday, and a return to our regular adventures.




Dec.28.2007 @ 6:10 AM
Tragically the Scope stuff is actually of high quality. I was using their cards for quite some time, and I liked them. The routing capabilities were for one thing - enormously flexible. Sidechaining been there for ages. The fx were never that tasty, nor the Creamware out-of-the-box synthesizers (although their Minimoog clone is up to the job). But what really kept me in Creamware land (before I went laptop) was that John Bowen developed for the platform and his creations are absolutely brilliant. The Solaris was his finest moment on the Scope OS (still is - last I heard it got it up to version 5). When the Solaris reaches its hardware form, I'll buy it right away.

Dec.28.2007 @ 8:10 AM
Their analog emulations in the area of synthesizers and effects are top notch to my taste.
I belive their main problem is their aging hardware,
you need to stack and have atleast 12 dsp in order to have somewhat of a workflow and decent amount of synth polyphony when it comes to their modular 3 and clasic emulations (moog and arp emulations).

Also the lack of native capability similler to what Universal audio have with their UAD1 made the system unsuccessful.

I think with the right publicity the new Solaris can be the next hottest thing in the market competing with Clavia and Access.


Dec.28.2007 @ 8:18 AM
Jason Duerr
I worked for a major audio company, and there was a tremendous effort to re-brand these no-name companies products into ours, with no engineering changes.

Yes, slap a badge on it.

We even spoke to companies that were previously found to counterfeit our own products!

The Engineers made their position very clear on the subject. We were not against outsourcing in general, just that the company was outsourcing our core competency.


Dec.28.2007 @ 12:27 PM
SCOPE sounds outstanding. Not just because of the DSP coding, but the SHARC chips sound better. Maybe there's lower ailiasing because of the way they're built or something. I'm a total analog snob (building a MOTM modular synth at the moment) but SCOPE was the only modeling synth that didn't make my head hurt after an hour.

Creamware has separated into two companies, Creamware and the company that makes the stand-alone boxes. They're both buggy as hell, but this box looks interesting for $400.


Dec.28.2007 @ 12:28 PM
As shitty as that thing looks, if it had an LCD screen and allowed me to use Flexor3 I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

sonicore-masterfully squandering goodwill and potential since 1867.


Dec.28.2007 @ 12:38 PM
d wagenbach
the scope stuff sounds great, but the tech behind them is really old. I've been waiting for 4 years for them to come through with new cards...
I got bored waiting and I'm building a modular, too.

Dec.28.2007 @ 8:25 PM
Now, Adding this same functionality to a CME UF-80 via the ASX board does sound interesting. Hopefully I'll be testing out the keyboard action on one tomorrow as I drive past Sweetwater central in wonderful Fort Wayne on my way home from the holidays.


Dec.29.2007 @ 4:57 AM
In general Scope is a product that's definately got its quirks, but a lot of the confusion seemed to be largely due to the limitations of the size the company was over the years and where they positioned themselves in the audio world. Marketing to the middle of the market and the complexity of the Scope (once known as Pulsar) systems meant that many users had a hard time getting their heads around it, especially those who want everything to work like the main piece of software they've already learned. Also many users often owned inexpensive computers (Via/SiS etc) that didn't prove to be good hosts to the card, and/or people had systems configured to do everything (Overclocked with gaming cards and RAID arrays etc). The conflicts this caused meant a lot of confusion, without CW having enough dedicated support staff to ease the entry of inexperienced users. link []">link [] PlanetZ's forums helped many people here, but finding it is somewhat happenstance as it isn't affiliated with any of the companies that make Scope and it's just another link on their websites. Creamware tried moving into the standalone hardware market several times, and imo this is what really hurt the company the most financially. Overall I think they would have fared better if they'd poised themselves as botique hardware and focused entirely on scope, but it's easy to judge companies from the sidelines with the benefit of hindsight. They sold quite well in Europe for a while so again they might have missed some of those sales had they done that.

If you don't mind a bit of reading and learning a new bit of software, imo a Scope system is very flexible and it does synthesis and quite other things very well. I'm a fan of their modelled synths and devices, and a big fan of their Scope Modular with combined with link []">link [] Flexor3 (full disclosure: I'm part of Adern) and Bowen's Solaris as well. The P-100 plate reverb from Sonic Timeworks sounds better on Scope than in vst form, same for the A-100 (and I-100). Also SPL has their Transient Designer and Vitalizer (Pys-Q) in Scope form.

I use my Scope cards in a second system and run it alongside my main box and other gear as if it was its own standalone system, wired to everything else via plenty of analog, digital and midi i/o (and clocked off my main box's RME multiface via bnc). It's flexible enough that it usually plays quite a few roles in a composition for me.

The ASX, ASB and Plugiator tech comes from CW but the dsp code is shared between Use Audio (via inDSP, the r&d portion in India) and SonicCore. I believe the ability to use the ROM loader portion of the code lies with inDSP/UseAudio but SonicCore still seems to be marketing the ASB's so things are a tad confusing even to me. No matter though, what it means is that the best Creamware models are available in a variety of formats: for Scope card users as a Scope plugin, as a tabletop device for those who like external gear with knobs, and as the ASX plugins for users with CME keyboard controllers.


Dec.29.2007 @ 9:20 PM
i was tempted by the idea of haveing a clone version of all this awsome hardware in software form but then i went to analouge haven and well i found modules with cloned filters and all of that idea went blazing down in flames so did all of my cash but hey my stuff never crashs WOOT

Dec.30.2007 @ 1:31 AM
Btw anyone interested in the hardware version of Solaris, John is now able to take credit card preorders on his site.



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