Mobius's Journal

mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
836
The "delay" is called "latency". I have 2 MIDI keyboards and I use them in Studio One, there isn't a lag. I DO have a lag with my guitar when I record it, though! The problem is because guitars aren't MIDI instruments and you have to hook it up to an audio box to record in real time. Studio One has their own (PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 2x2 USB Audio Interface), so if you use a different brand of audio box (I have Behringer), there is lag and it's disorienting. When you use Studio One's audio box, they have a faster setting for allegedly no lag. But if you have a MIDI keyboard, you won't have to worry about getting an audiobox (all you need is a USB cord). If the keyboard is not MIDI, then you need an audio box.
Ah, that makes sense. I was wondering if I'd need a box. I'll be sure to make sure any keyboard I pick is USB then; I'd rather avoid the expense (and space, I suppose) of the extra hardware if I can. That's interesting to know about the analog-digital/digital-analog conversion, too--explains what the box is for and where some of the latency issues people talk about might come from.
Lastly, for using Miku's name/image in a song, it's perfectly fine if you aren't making money from it. But once you start wanting to put it on a CD and make loads of cash, then you have to get a character license. They don't care about tiny amounts of money (ex: paying for a table at a convention, paying to print a few short comics, and selling them because you are basically spending and gaining the same amount of money).
Thank you!
I did find a solution, which is usually selecting all notes after the fact and messing with Length, Quantize, and Stretch until I find something I like. I’d never used them before and just revently started to, and it is extremely helpful both with and without MIDI input. I would still say wait a bar or two before playing and just move the part back as to save from the beginning notes potentially getting cut off.
I'm glad you found a fix for the recording problems you were having, Kona! I'll keep those methods in mind, too--I'm sure I'll probably need them for something with/without the keyboard!

It sounds like we're pretty much all in agreement about the general size range I would be looking for. Since my goal is to make note input easier, I'd like to have a decently wide range of notes available without having to hit any buttons to shift up/down. Just as an estimate, Miku's advertised optimal vocal range is a little over an octave wide (though it can go a good bit further on the high end), so composing for her would seem to require 14 keys at a minimum. (As an aside, Ruby (I think? Or was it Cyber Diva....) is more or less similar in terms of breadth, IIRC, and Gumi is crazy wide.) Assuming the instrumental requires at least as much again on either side (since you don't want too many things to be in the same tonal range), I'm looking at 42 keys at a minimum. Honestly, I feel like the 25-key models are probably best for triggering stuff (like beats, loops, etc.) during live performances, rather than actually playing on like a traditional piano. On the other hand, of course, the number of keys looks to contribute dramatically to price, as well as the issue of simple space considerations. So I'd be looking to go middle of the road :) .

Thanks very much to you both!
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
836
Overhead, gray clouds linger, as cold winds rush beneath. The sun comes through occasionally, but it won't try for much longer: the autumn is here. On the horizon, one can feel the coming of change.

I thought this would be a good time to post an update about what I've been doing for the past few weeks.

Melodyne
To begin with, Melodyne is just as awesome a program as I'd suspected. I'm only using it to identify notes from what I've recorded and turn them into MIDI events, but even in that, it's really impressive and useful. There are some caveats, though.

First, Melodyne comes in multiple tiers, and to be able to edit the detected notes inside Melodyne itself, you need to have a higher version than what you get with Studio One Pro--you need Melodyne Editor, at least, I believe. That's like the third tier, the tier below the third version, and it's a few hundred dollars. Melodyne's a badass tool, so I think it's worth the money, but it's something to be aware of. If you do decide to get a paid version of Melodyne, though (Though even their lowest version isn't free; you pay for it along with Studio One Pro, I suppose.), I'd recommend getting the lowest tier you can, as they are very solid about making the pricing tier fair. At the moment, you could upgrade from Elements (lowest tier) to one of the higher tiers, and if you needed to go higher still at some point, you could upgrade for only the difference in price. So you're not losing any money by being conservative in your purchasing. Really, really solid of them, since Melodyne isn't necessarily what I'd consider cheap, though like I said, it's probably worth it.

Second, Melodyne works best when you can give it a good recording. So don't do what I did and try to record on your cell phone in a secluded corner somewhere, as your results will be subpar and you'll have to spend lots of time cleaning up. (I didn't have a lot of choice, though--it was that or lose the idea.)

Songs
For those of you interested enough to read my journal, you will probably be happy to hear that I'm currently working on 3 songs. That is, there are three songs that may hopefully potentially see the outside world. (That second sentence probably is a bit of a let-down, but as I've scrapped a few songs/versions of songs by now, I'm trying to be honest.) Though the most recent one, I should admit, is extremely tenuous--I only have the lyrics for it (most of them, anyway). It's a cool idea where Miku beatboxes (Does that count as music? The planned instrumental for it would be really really simple....). The trouble is, I think it's really too dark and could hurt some feelings of people who would never hear it anyway; it's not like it's explicit, but still, it's something I should be careful about. It's the second iteration of a particular theme/subject, and I scrapped the previous one, too, partially for the very same reason (Which makes you wonder why I bothered generating the lyrics for version 2....). The other two, though, are more promising, and I'm really hoping that both of them will finally make it!

Vocal Doubler Plugin
I want to put a shout-out here to a free plugin I found, which I'm planning to use for one of the above songs. It's another iZotope one, the Vocal Doubler (Vocal Doubler Overview).

The premise behind it is one I sort of noticed on my own by accident and also read about elsewhere: if you have two identical instruents doing the same thing in your DAW, you'll only hear one instrument when you listen, and it will sound louder/fuller. That's basically the essence of doubling. People have been using that effect for a long while, apparently, simply by rendering the output of an instrument and layering the wav file over itself multiple times (i.e., putting the same wav file on multiple tracks and playing them together).

You could easily do that with your instruments/vocals, but the nice thing, I think, about this plugin is that you can continue editing your Vocaloid's output without rendering a new wav file each time. I don't know how well the plugin might work with instruments, though it's possible I'll try it out someday. Additionally, if you look at this blog post about the plugin (Double Tracking: 2 Basic Vocal Doubling Techniques), you can see that it can be set to change the amount of "space" between the original signal and the "double" signal, which can lead to different effects. I'm really looking forward to experimenting with it and am hoping for some good results!

(I'll also mention that I've been using the Nectar plugin, also, so I'm really glad to have been pointed toward iZotope back during the Nectar Elements giveaway!)

Lyrics
I'll close by mentioning that I'm also thinking about having Miku address the audience (so a large crowd of people) with a call out of something like "I love you!" during one of her songs. Thing is, having her use Japanese in the first place when it's not my primary language (or secondary language, outside of a few words I've picked up) is intended as a reference to/acknowledgement of her Japanese heritage, and the Japanese, as I understand, don't necessarily say those words with the same freedom/shades of meaning as Westerners do. I've done a bit of research and found 11 possible ways of saying "I love you" in Japanese (https://www.fluentu.com/blog/japanese/i-love-you-in-japanese/; There was another result that listed something like 45, but I'm sure that must be so excessive as to be nearly useless.), but the fact remains that this sentiment seems to be rarely expressed, even among married couples. As this is intended as a nod to Miku's cultural identity, I'd like to avoid eliciting the ire of the old-generation anime Japanese guy in my head who yells, "Loose, moral-less, ultra-Westernized girl!", so I'm wondering if anyone knows an expression that might be appropriate for this situation? As it is, assuming I go through with it, I'm leaning toward "aishiteruyo" (Which is supposedly such a strong phrase that using it is regarded as a joke; it's sometimes yelled by FANS of performers on stage. So somewhat the reverse of what would be the case here.), or possibly "sukida yo" (Which is somewhat shier and more reserved, as I understand.).

Ruby Pronunciation Trick
Oh, one more thing (So, I guess I wasn't done yet before.)--here's a pronunciation trick I picked up while working with Ruby. I don't know if other Vocaloids behave this way at various times, but I did see it with her:

Sometimes you might notice that your Vocaloid will pick a different pronunciation depending on what pitch you're playing. If you have Ruby sing "u:" at E3, you'll get a pronunciation that sounds like "oh;" if you move that up to F#3, you'll get "ooh." I wanted "ooh" at E3, but I was stuck for a little while on how I might get it.

It turns out that Ruby was picking her phonemes based on what pitch she was singing as per the piano roll; if I cheated and had her sing "u:" on F#3, but then used a flat pitch bend to shift that down to E3 for the duration of that note, she would sing "ooh" at an effective E3. Yay!
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
836
Streams of icewater drips pour from the eaves. The summer sun, warm and gold, offers a final show of valiance against the coming cold, as the icy wind clears the sky.

Hey everyone!

It's been awhile! I've been kind of buried since the last time I wrote here (still am and will be for awhile, as a matter of fact), so I haven't been around as much as I'd like. But there's lots to update on.

I'd like to begin with a big thank-you to @Kona and @uncreepy for the info they've offered over the course of the last month or so!

Keyboard
The first item related to the above is the fact that I've picked out a MIDI keyboard! I got a 49-key Nektar, so it's sort of a combination of both of their recommendations. It was the only keyboard I examined that actually said it was designed with Studio One in mind (Not that others wouldn't have supported it, but none of them prominently claimed it.). Plus, it has both velocity-sensitive keys and the ability to adjust the velocity curve, or, I believe, make it flat. I can see the use of both, but it's good to have the flexibiltiy. I've tried it out, and it seems like a solid choice. As per the diagnostic steps they offered, everything seems to have mapped up perfectly, and I'm really looking forward to using it for actual work...once I get a little time to do some actual work. Getting the keyboard situated in the MikuCave (Which is what I sometimes call my studio, not because it's crammed with Miku merch (which it isn't), but since my work with her has a largely Rukia Kuchiki-like existence.) was a good bit of work, but it came out really well.

Sound Sets
The other item related to the above is the Zero-G sale, which concluded a few days ago. Thanks to that info, I picked up a number of useful things that should be useful for projects I've thought of over the past two years. There's a little for New-Age music, a little for a summery piece I've had in mind, and some other things besides. I'm really excited about what kinds of use I can make of them!

Kontakt
I've also started exploring Kontakt, as you can tell from the Kontakt resource I put together. The full version of Kontakt is...really expensive...but the player is free. I think to make use of effects and such, you might have to have the full software, but the player is really really useful for a starting point. It opens the door to a whole other instrument ecosystem outside of the VSTs sold by PreSonus/other places, and I've found some really good-sounding instruments there (also related to projects I've had in mind). Their workflow/documentation are somewhat confusing, from my point of view, so hopefully the resource will help with that for anyone else who is coming into Kontakt from scratch.

After all that, I'm really looking forward to getting back to actual work. Bargain-hunting is useful (and there's been a lot more opportunity for that lately than probably at any other time I've experienced), but buying new stuff alone isn't what makes better music--it's the work you do with it. So I'm glad to stop this somewhat alarming shopping spree and put these new tools into action.

(As an aside, it hasn't really been the best couple of weeks, aside from the above. Lots of pressure, lots of stress, though I've had worse. "Así es la vida," though it's easier to say that at the moment than it would have been a few days ago. I did have a really nice morning one Monday, though: I fell asleep Sunday after watching a Mirai video and woke up Monday morning with "Sand Planet" in my head. That made for a very nice day.)
 

mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
836
Something I forgot about yesterday: it seems that winter is more or less here, and whether you've seen it already or soon will, for many of us that means the arrival of snow and ice, along with the associated travel difficulties. I have no idea how it happened, but a number of years ago I realized that I'd developed a reasonably successful technique for coping with walking over ice. So I thought I'd share it here, and maybe people will find it useful.

How I Walk over Ice
It goes without saying that the wisest thing is to avoid walking on ice whenever possible. But sometimes you can't see it. Or sometimes you do what I sometimes do and take your life in your hands when the alternative is a huge detour, accepting the fact that if you slip and crack your head, it's your fault and you may or may not get help in time :miku3_move: (Don't do that if you can help it, it's stupid....).

Anyway, a few ground rules/points to keep in mind that don't really fall under the umbrella of "technique." This is as best I can figure it out from having avoided falling on the ice a number of times and having to look back and wonder how I did it:
  • I'm a reasonably self-aware person, by which I mean, in this context, that I'm aware of the state of my body and its position in space. This is really something that everyone is, and I honestly have no frame of reference to compare my own awareness to anyone else's. But some of the things I have done over the years have impressed me with the degree of cognizance I seem to have in this area without realizing it.
  • When I'm walking, I'm not focusing on much else. Not that walking is so difficult that it requires intense concentration or anything; I just typically don't let my mind wander too much while traveling for whatever reason. Probably because I'm often in a hurry, for one thing.
  • When I walk, I don't lift my feet too far off the ground. I'd estimate that my heel stays about 1" off the ground; my toes maybe 2".
The latter two of those three points might be immediately actionable; the first, I don't know, maybe focusing on that area, one could practice it if they wanted? Directing one's awareness onto the state of his/her own body is one of the techniques people use to begin to induce a meditative state, so I suppose it should be possible to practice/develop that capacity, as well.

Finally, the point: as I'm walking in a hazardous area, I try to take small steps, not stretching my leading foot out too far or letting the other foot fall too far behind. If I become aware that one of my feet has lost traction (Because, theoretically, you should only lose traction on one foot at a time while walking.), I immediately stop the movement of everything from the waist down. Everything from my waist to my feet tenses up and freezes. Both feet should be on the ground at this point, and even if one of them has no grip on the ground, it should still be useful for maintaining a balanced weight distribution, provided I can keep that leg from sliding forward and making me fall on the ground. Once I've stopped the motion of that foot, I can take a moment and get myself back into a stable position before continuing on. Even if both feet slide a bit, as long as my legs are locked and my body is balanced, I should be able to ride it out until I stop moving and have a chance to figure out how to continue safely.

As you can see from the above, I didn't mention my arms at all. I usually don't have a problem with overcompensation, but you hear about that issue all the time: someone overcompensates, and that's why they fall. Maybe I've just been lucky, but handling things with my legs, I typically only really compensate by shifting my weight from the waist and maybe lifting my arms out for balance a bit. It's hard for me to give advice here, because that reflex is so automatic. It's possible that I don't overcompensate because my entire being is focused on stopping moving.

That might be the crux of this whole rambling post: when you slip, your goal isn't to get out of the way of something or to escape from some danger, it's to arrest your current motion so you can regroup and move forward with yourself back under control. Your goal is to stop. I really feel like if you keep that in mind, when a slip happens, your body might do what it has to to make it happen automatically.

Hopefully all that helps someone. It's not like I'm...certified?...to teach this kind of thing, and it's purely what I've made up after observing my own behavior, so your mileage may vary. But maybe this will help keep people around here from getting hurt.
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
836
Another quick update, this time on the MIDI keyboard front. I got inspired and used my keyboard for a little actual work last night.

:kaito_smile_lili:

Love that thing. It's so nice to be able to try out different notes without having to precision-point my mouse and jab the key on the virtual keyboard in Studio One. Ignoring that, you can get away with the virtual keyboard for single notes, but chords are obviously pretty impossible to test there, short of laying the chords out, listening, editing/deleting, and trying again. The keyboard, of course, makes that easy. I had a blast trying, discarding, and putting together chords into a potential melody. :)

I kind of wish the volume came out louder by default (Connecting the keyboard doesn't change the track's volume in the DAW, at least until you use the keyboard to tell the DAW to change the volume, but hitting a key on the physical keyboard is a good bit quieter than hitting a key on the virtual keyboard. I'm sure there's probably a setting somewhere for that, or else volume adjustment I can do in the DAW, though.). The keys are also a bit less sensitive than I might like, but I wouldn't be surprised if you had to push the keys on a physical piano down a bit before you get sound, too--being physical hammers/strings and all. It wouldn't be good if the keys were too responsive, either, and it could be there's some kind of setting for that, too.

All in all, good times :kaito_move:.

Edit: What do you know, just found instructions for editing the velocity curves. That might well fix both of the above items. ;)
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
836
I wanted to add something here about a discovery of mine from a little while ago that I didn't mention earlier: a program that comes with Windows 10 called Video Editor.

Video Editor seems to be the current successor to Windows Movie Maker. Based on a little poking around inside, it seems like it lets you put in photos or video clips and add a music background.

This is a good find for me, since I've been wondering if/how I could put together a video to share the songs I create. The discovery of Video Editor means that, with the tools I have now, I could at least put together a simple video.

The only thing is that the program is really...simple, to put it kindly. Simple is good at this point, as is cheap/free (since video editing isn't something I've ever done before), but simple things like animating the text or changing the text color aren't possible, and I think it would be hard to get the text to look good/clear if you were using it for something like lyrics. I've also hoped sometimes to put in little visual effects, but that is something I've always acknowledged is probably the domain of non-free video editors.

There is a way around those deficiencies, though: hypothetically, I could use some graphics software to put the text on the background, and then use a different combined (text + background) image at each point where the text changes. As long as there's no transition animation, it would just look like the text is changing. That is a questionable choice from a disk space perspective, since there would be a bunch of image files just to change the text, but it might be workable if I don't want to get some better software. Even the little visual effects might be doable, if Video Editor will accept an animated gif...but that might be a bridge too far...? Or you just do it with the usual pictures, provided you can make Video Editor switch them fast enough so that they appear animated.

I guess the only thing to be sure of at that point is your rights regarding what you can do with the picture(s) you use. If you create them yourself, that's fine, but if you borrow them from someone (via Piapro, say), you would need to know that you have the right to edit the image by adding text to it/possibly cropping it, etc. (Though in a certain sense, that's no different from what you'd be doing with a regular video--videos are just still images flipped past each other really fast, so on a basic level you're always adding the text directly onto the original image, even if you're using better video software.)
 
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patuk

Passionate Fan
Oct 8, 2019
239
Openshot is a pretty decent free option, it's not super complex compared to other editors but it's not as bare bones as Video Editor. If you just need simple video editing it should get the job done, maybe give it a shot? I'm not sorry for the pun.
 
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RoboCheatsyTM

That one Sukone Tei stan
Sep 21, 2019
355
www.robocheatsy.com
There's also DaVinci resolve. I haven't used it much because it doesn't support the AVI container that I render MMDs to, but it's pretty much the same thing as higher-end stuff like Premiere Pro, but it's free. Might be worth playing around with! ^^
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
836
I've been relatively swamped with work and other things, but I had a little time recently to pick at the first of my new songs.

Mostly, that involved working with a small chorus of Vocaloids. Getting them to work correctly together was a little more difficult than I'd thought it would be, mostly because I apparently screwed up at some point when tweaking the intended/base melodic line for each of them, so relative to each other those notes weren't falling correctly. (I wish there were some way to copy notes from one to the other better, but when you're making a chorus, the notes don't end up being the same anyway, or at least mine won't be. Maybe if I'd used a transpose command instead of dragging notes manually....) I also had to second-guess my transcription abilities again; things sounded a lot better after questioning if all the intended notes were correct in the first place. And, of course, there was the obvious point to re-remember that when you're doing a chord in C-major, you don't use the black keys. What was it about the copy-pasting and editing of the MIDI sequence between singers that made me forget that, and just move each note up two semi-tones instead? orz It still seems kind of weird when dragging notes on the piano roll, with the intention of making the singers mirror each other but at a higher/lower pitch, but it won't always be a flat same number of semitone rise/fall. And it really will sound better afterwards; staying on key improved it much.

Something else I learned, as I should have probably expected: as anyone who has put multiple CDs into a playlist on an MP3 player knows, not all CDs are rendered at the same volume. The same goes for Vocaloids. I'm guessing this is true at the least when they're from different companies, if not possibly just between individual VBs in general. Luka had to go all the way up; most of the others went all the way down; I think Avanna is somewhere in between, or at least was at one point.

Anyway, it might not be entirely done yet, but I think that little chorus bit is close. It doesn't sound exactly like what I imagined, but I think it sounds like how my synths would sing what I imagined.

My few hours of picking also gave me the chance to use some of my new tools. My chorus has Nectar working on it. One of the instruments is from Kontakt. It isn't new, but Miku (who's getting in on things, too) has a volume adjustment on her, too--I'll always wish the default volume in Studio One was set to something like halfway along its adjustable range, rather than up at like 60-70%.... And that doesn't include the effects from inside Vocaloid 5; Ruby's using a style with like 4 effects on it.

All in all, still a good ways to go, but the work's been interesting and fun. And, at least we are working! :miku_ani_lili:

Edit: Almost forgot--I'm sure I'll be around between now and then, but I hope everyone who observes it has a good Thanksgiving!
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
836
This might be a weird question, and I don't want to make something out of nothing, but did I do something wrong in that last post? I'm kind of getting a vibe like I broke the first rule of Fight Club or something.

I mean, the post did its job, and I feel better now, and I might even delete it soon, but I'm surprised by the awkward silence.

Edit: I've deleted the post I mentioned.
 
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cafenurse

Still misses Anri Rune
Apr 8, 2018
593
18
USA
Haha, I don't think you did anything wrong Mobius. Maybe people just missed it. I don't usually tend to comment on journals even if I read them.
 

mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
836
Ha ha, thanks, I'm glad I didn't do something weird. Yeah, it could be that people missed it, or don't comment on journals as a rule. I think the latter's pretty common. I did basically say I was alright, too (which was true, despite not feeling great), so that could be the reason for people's reaction, too. Come to think of it, I might've done the same thing.
 
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