[MPA] Where are we with DAW in OSX?

Scott Jacob Loehr scott.loehr at verizon.net
Fri Mar 7 04:39:50 PST 2003

>We were happy that Adobe had taken the time to ship a great product, 
>instead of worrying about being first.  Is MOTU in this vein?

I've been using Digital Performer since version 1.4 (I'm using 3.0 
now), and I've been in fairly regular contact with their tech support 
every upgrade step of the way.  (Speaking of which, in my experience, 
these guys are the GREATEST.  They'll take whatever time we need to 
figure it out when something glitches, and they've always been 
polite, patient, and conscientious about follow-ups.)  I use their 
24i, 2408 mkII, and 308 interfaces, as well as two MTP-AVs and a 
Digital Timepiece.  Even have a couple of old MidiExpresses.  My 
experience has always been that MOTU errs on the side of caution, 
definitely more interested in getting it right than first.  Of 
course, things do get pretty competitive, and they regularly 
advertise new stuff several months before shipping.  Who doesn't 
these days.

>The sterotypes I have heard about the DAW programs are DP is great 
>for recording real audio, but weak on MIDI compared to others.

Interesting... the stereotypes I hear regularly is that DP has the 
most to offer when it comes to MIDI, and ProTools' MIDI 
implementation is closer to being the most utilitarian.  From a 
real-world POV, I've sequenced tons of MIDI-only stuff in DP, and 
I've never found any limitation.  A lot of my work consists of 
original scores for Industrial Film & Video (corporate stuff), and 
the Time Signature and Tempo changes (represented in the 'Conductor' 
track) get absolutely rediculous in order to keep all the music cues 
frame-accurate (you should see my charts, but that's another tome). 
I've frequently got over 100 tracks of MIDI data flying around 
between my various samplers and tone modules.  I do get occasional 
timing errors, but if I slave the sequence to something external, the 
tempo stays rock solid (even on internal sync, stuff stays 
frame-accurate for durations of well over twenty minutes).  Most of 
the timing errors are eventually traceable to the samplers and tone 
modules, more often than not during moments when I'm approaching the 
unit's maximum polyphony.  That's when I take the audio outputs of 
the offending modules and record the tracks (usually one MIDI track 
at a time) into DP as audio, at which point I can mute the original 
MIDI tracks and free up lots of polyphony.  Typically, there are 
three main offenders:  Drums/percussion, long pads with many held 
notes over many seconds, and piano parts with tons of notes and tons 
of pedal data.

>I am looking for some solid advice on whether to hold for DP or look 
>to Logic 6 (or maybe something else).

If you already own DP and know how to use it, I don't think you could 
go wrong by sticking with it.  Actually, I'm a lot more skeptical 
about Emagic's future than MOTU's.  I could be totally wrong (but I'm 
a...), though, and I'm certainly fascinated by what's in store for 
all of us.  The most amazing part to me is that we now have more 
firepower in our bedrooms than The Beatles, Elvis, etc. EVER had. 
Bottom line:  we can get as tech-nuts as we want, but it all still 
comes down to the basics.  Write good stuff.  Otherwise, we're just 
you-know-what polishing.  ALL of the main DAW programs are capable of 
handling a Masterpiece.  But they won't compose, arrange, perform, or 
produce it for us.

>I hate working in OS9. I am really new to MIDI although my desire to 
>use DAW was so I could use the Mtron VST plugin and go to town with 
>that jewel (sorry...I am terribly Beatles influenced).  I want to 
>record a lot of acoustic guitar, and great sounding electric stuff 
>via the POD.
>Rick Rutherford

I love working in OS9.  It's got its quirks, but I've been doing 
MIDI, Digital Audio, and CD mastering since System 7.0, which was 
apparently a GREAT time to jump in, just like my foray into Finale at 
version 3.0 was perfect timing, as well.  I'm using 9.2.2 now, and 
I've found it to be the most stable MacOS to date for my work, and 
I'm pretty skeptical about moving to Jaguar.  Or Panther.  However, 
I'll jump immediately when DP for OSX hits.

I'm a big fan of the POD.  I don't own one yet, but I may pick up one 
(plus the bass version) for players that don't have one.  For the 
acoustic stuff, the choice of mic and placement takes front seat. 
It's amazing how little processing you have to do with stuff that's 
played and recorded well.  For the money, I've been completely 
pleased with my Shure KSM-32 and KSM-44 mics.  I use two of the 44s 
on grand piano all the time, and they even compare favorably to 
high-end, small- or medium-diaphragm condensers as stereo pairs for 
classical stuff.

In further support of MOTU, this Mach 5 thang looks like quite a 
kick!  Maybe we'll see it by 2004?....

Take care,
Scott Jacob Loehr

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