good news from ardour re: midi looping

Have noted several times the errors in Ardour's midi looping. Apparently it's finally going to be fixed:

Tue, 2018-03-27 10:24, paul: MIDI looping will be an area of intense focus for the 6.0 release. It is known to work incorrectly in all existing releases, at least in cases where note boundaries coincide with the loop boundaries (it does work in other situations).

But some people are never happy:

Thu, 2018-03-29 11:44, ccaudle: All these kids and their new fangled loopty loops. In my day we had to play a song all the way from beginning to end, and we liked it that way. :)

Tracktion Waveform 9 - Multi Sampler

Tracktion Software just released version 9 of its Waveform digital audio workstation. I've been learning it because it runs on Linux PCs -- one of the rare proprietary DAWs that does. Version 9 includes a new instrument called "Multi Sampler." It's intuitive and easy to work with. Essentially you drag any sound file into the sampler, cut it up, and assign it to a MIDI note. Multiple samples are assigned to keyboard zones a la Kontakt. It also records and resamples. Best of all (for me), it plays Soundfont files.

Individual sample; some light processing with filters, envelopes and LFOs is possible:


Sample being sliced in the "Record" pane:

multi sampler slices

Keyboard "zone" assignments:


The zones in the third screenshot show a Soundfont file (.sf2) version of a 1990s E-Mu synth module, Orbit 9090 v. 2. This is a kit of electro-style drum hits.

Screenshots, top and middle, were found "on the internet." The bottom screenshot is mine.

LSP oscillator plugin

LSP Plugins: Oscillator plugin tutorial [hooktube]

This Linux audio plugin (I'm using it in Ardour) works as a simple vocoder for speech samples (or any sample). The chosen clip in the demo is "Hello, this is Linus Torvalds and I pronounce 'Linux' as 'Linux.'" Prepare to hear it in a zillion metallic renderings.
Thanks to hooktube -- while it lasts -- for allowing users not to have to link directly to [Eric Schmidt's company] should they so choose.

"Posse on Greenwich (2017 Mix)"

"Posse on Greenwich (2017 Mix)" [mp3 removed -- please listen on Bandcamp]

Some drum and bass type beats I made years ago with Native Instruments' short-lived Intakt plugin were used here, along with some newer "library" DnB beats. The synths used were Zyn-Fusion, formerly ZynAddSubFX (software) and Doepfer A-111-5 (hardware).
After my last post on Tracktion-on-Linux, the company revamped its T7 DAW and it's now called Waveform. The main change is adding a mixer (needed) but unfortunately some stuff broke that was working OK in T7, such as track automation and clip effects. I've submitted a support ticket. In the meantime, this short tune was done using Waveform in its current state of mixed functionality.

"Streets of Passive Aggression"

"Streets of Passive Aggression" [mp3 removed -- please listen on Bandcamp]

As noted previously, I've been working with the Tracktion digital audio workstation, which, amazingly for a commercial DAW, offers a Linux version in addition to the standard Mac & Cheese alternatives. My understanding is its JUCE code is designed to work with any OS, and, on Linux, integrates very well with the JACK audio standard.

I use looping MIDI files quite a bit in my autodidact-ish form of composing -- that is, listening to C2-F3-F2-A2-D3-A3-F3-D#3-C#3 (or whatever) over and over as I write the next part that plays in harmony or counterpoint to that. If I have to keep adjusting the loop markers to keep notes from disappearing -- as happens constantly with Ardour, I get frustrated and go read an e-book or something instead of working on music. Several people on the Linuxmusicians forum noted that Tracktion and Bitwig are "stable" in that regard, so I'm checking out the alternatives.

The good news is Tracktion-on-Linux is incredibly stable for long term editing work with MIDI and audio. It's superior to Cubase and Ableton in its ability to render loops "on the fly" (as they say) and place them in the timeline as you are working. It also has a better browser that allows you to quickly find and move samples from your PC into an open project window, or individual sample players.

The bad news, on Linux at least, is it doesn't handle third party plugins well. They tend to crash, or not have save-able presets. This forces you to use Tracktion plugins -- which are perfectly fine for most effects such as delay, reverb, compressor, limiter, but somewhat lacking for software synthesizer choices. Tracktion has a ROMpler-type sampler, that you can arrange in racks of multiple samplers, and that's what I used to make this track, pulling from my burgeoning, motley sample archive. (Many of these sound files originate "on the internet," including 808 kits, the Legowelt synth collection, and some truly gritty 8-bit "Streets of Rage" samples -- hat tip to kiptok for that last one, I think). The one softsynth used here, Helm (that chirping sound at the beginning and end) is pretty reliable as a plugin as long as you don't care about saving presets -- Tracktion remembers the settings for project, however.

So, for the moment, at least, am treating Tracktion as a self-contained instrument sitting on the PC -- like a virtual Octatrack -- until I get a better handle on the "plugin situation."