Author Topic: Tips window at startup  (Read 8769 times)

Offline Paul Legovitch

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2009, 17:00:52 »
Interesting discussion about sample loops :D
Maybe I will add a tip like "Samples should start at a zero level (half height of the signal) to avoid click sounds. You can highlight the start of the sample, click the amplify button and select 100% + fade in."
But isn't it what the ramping slider of the instrument does too ?

Anyway, here's an attempt at writing plugin tips.
Code: [Select]
Tip#XX - Install plugins :
VST plugins are easy to install : drag & drop all your .dll files from your file explorer directly into modplug's window.
In the general tab of your song, go to the plugin area, click "select" (next to "FX1:undefined") and double-click on the plugin of your choice.
Then you can assign this plugin "FX1:VST_name" to any instrument (in the instrument tab), or any channel or the master output (general tab).

Code: [Select]
Tip#XX - VST chain :
If you want to apply more than one plugin in an instrument, you can chain plugins together (FX2->FX5->FX6 for example).
In the general tab : choose the first plugin (FX2) and click on "Output to" (Mix settings area) to choose the next plugin of the chain (FX5). Same thing with FX5 to FX6.

Code: [Select]
Tip#XX - Turning VST knobs can be recorded live :
In the VST window, select Info->Macros->SF1:unused (or any empty slot), then turn the knob you want to automate.
Select Options->Record Params, then turn the knob while playing your track, the parameter is recorded in the pattern :
|.. 02 ... SF1|
|.. .. ... /23|
|.. .. ... /2A|
|.. .. ... /30|
You may have to add manually the instrument number before SF1.
Don't forget to uncheck Options->Record Params once you're done.

I'm omitting the Zxx Macros window which I think would be a bit hard to sumurize.
It can't be perfect in just a few lines, but it's an encouragement to look more into it. 8)
And remember I'm not a VST user myself, so please correct me if I'm wrong here, and please add some more tips that you know of.

Offline Saga Musix

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2009, 17:05:51 »
Quote
Maybe I will add a tip like "Samples should start at a zero level (half height of the signal) to avoid click sounds. You can highlight the start of the sample, click the amplify button and select 100% + fade in."
But isn't it what the ramping slider of the instrument does too ?

That's what click-avoidance in gernal does. The best thing is to remove DC Offset first and then fade in the first few (let's say 10) and last few sampling points of sample. That way, it also sounds alright in players with click avoidance disabled.
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Offline Paul Legovitch

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2009, 22:36:56 »
Quote from: "Jojo"
That's what click-avoidance in gernal does. The best thing is to remove DC Offset first ...
Is it not vertically shifting the signal for perfect +/- balance to obtain the maximum overall volume ? I'm often working with very short (one wave) sample loops and DC Offset removal can be very harmful to these. Also my guess is the +/- balance is calculated over the total time of the sample, and lengthy samples can have positive local DC Offset at the beginning and negative one at the end, and still be in perfect overall balance. Maybe I'm missing something here, but it's not the panacea for me, I use the normalize button preferably.
Quote from: "Jojo"
...and then fade in the first few (let's say 10) and last few sampling points of sample.

Yes, so what about this :
Code: [Select]
Tip#XX - Sample optimization :
Samples should start at a zero level (half height of the signal) to avoid click sounds and have a maximum amplitude for best quality.
* Either try the "Remove DC Offset" or the "Normalize" button to maximize the volume.
* Highlight the first few sampling points to apply a quick fade in (click on "amplify" and select 100% + fade in).
You can also apply a quick fade out at the end.


That reminds me how sorry I am every time I want to zoom in the sample more than the 1:1 ratio (as it is already possible for very short samples with display set on Auto).  :(
That would make my life a lot easier to create perfect loop points with the draw function. Should I open a request for 2:1, 4:1, 8:1, 16:1... display ratio ?

Offline Sam_Zen

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2009, 00:17:23 »
A better zooming would be nice.

I never used this ramping slide, but I suppose it's a kind of fade in.
I think that's a hearable fade, while the fade in the sample correction is very short, so unhearable.

And DC offset is a rare phenomenon with digital signals nowadays.
Only microphone recordings tend to have it.
If a sample is sloppy cut, then there can be a 'jump' at the start, but that doesn't indicate a DC offset of the whole sample.
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Offline uncloned

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2009, 04:38:30 »
excellent initiative!

Good suggestion Paul!

Offline bvanoudtshoorn

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2009, 05:41:46 »
My tips, and trivia (because it's always interesting to know about the program you're using). Clickable links as appropriate, of course.

1. If you find a bug, or you're after a missing piece of functionality, head over to the ModPlug Central forums and let us know!

2. OpenMPT is developed and maintained by a few dedicated volunteers who are always looking for bug reports, good ideas, and patches. The developers hang around at ModPlug Central and in #modplug on irc.esper.net, so why not drop around?

3. Although OpenMPT can work with just about any sound device that Windows supports, you'll find that using an ASIO device will make tracking easier, as you can lower the latency right down. There are many relatively inexpensive sound cards available that support ASIO -- head over to the ModPlug Central forums to find out more.

4. OpenMPT runs on every version of Windows since 98, including 7. It can make effective use of everything from a Pentium 100 to the $20,000 beast that guy in your office keeps bragging about.

5. Although OpenMPT has good support for VST and VSTI plugins, it can't handle them all. If you find that you have a plugin that doesn't work, try using Xlutop Chainer -- it's not free, but it enables OpenMPT to handle every plugin you can imagine. As an added bonus, it greatly enhances OpenMPT's plugin i/o routing capabilities.

6. If you open the "About" screen, then press and hold [Ctrl], [Shift], [4], [PgDown], [Right Arrow] and [P] whilst frantically hitting the [\] key at a rate of no less than 2Hz for at least thirty seconds, pretty much nothing will happen. Except maybe injury.

Offline Saga Musix

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2009, 06:26:18 »
Quote from: "Paul Legovitch"
Is it not vertically shifting the signal for perfect +/- balance to obtain the maximum overall volume ?

Yes and no. DC Offset as it's done in MPT calculates the mean of all samples and then shifts the sample up and down. That way, maybe 99% of all DC Offsets can be removed.

Quote
I'm often working with very short (one wave) sample loops and DC Offset removal can be very harmful to these.

It may look very strange in the sample editor, but even a 25% pulse wave can generate a DC Offset if you look at the complete tune. That won't happen if you remove the offset.

Quote
Also my guess is the +/- balance is calculated over the total time of the sample, and lengthy samples can have positive local DC Offset at the beginning and negative one at the end, and still be in perfect overall balance.

That is a highly theoretical assumption and never happens with "real" samples. Sure, you could introduce such an DC Offset synthetically by yourself, but who would be that stupid?! There are two types of common DC Offsets:
- Static (0 Hz) DC offset, that won't change over the sample. MPT can remove those. They're mostly introduced by cheap A/D converters.
- Varying DC Offset that represents a periodic waveform. MPT can not remove that, you need a steep Highpass Filter at around 20 Hz in this case. This can for example be introduced when recording LPs.

Quote
Maybe I'm missing something here, but it's not the panacea for me, I use the normalize button preferably.

If a sample has a DC offset (i.e. it's visibly shifted up/down), there's no damn reason to not remove it! It will just steal you headroom in the final mix!

Quote

And DC offset is a rare phenomenon with digital signals nowadays.
Only microphone recordings tend to have it.

Not really. Especially with cheap consumer soundcards, every recording you make has a recognizable DC Offset.
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Offline Paul Legovitch

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Re: Tips window at startup
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2009, 16:18:42 »
Quote from: "bvanoudtshoorn"
My tips, and trivia (because it's always interesting to know about the program you're using). Clickable links as appropriate, of course.

Thanks, I've added them in the first post. I'm not sure about the last one though, it's a quite complex feature that would be more suited in a fully fletched section of the Help manual I think. :D I continued the 4th one with :
Quote
OpenMPT also runs on Linux via the use of Wine (minus a few functionalities).
Is it ok ?
Also, Is it possible to create links in a tip-of-the-day window ? For now I added Click on the red exclamation mark button of the main toolbar or go to lpchip.com/modplug.
Maybe the tip-window could have a "modplug forums" clickable button (see mockup).

Two little requests :
1) I think it would be good if the user could highlight-copy-to-clipboard the tips (like in MadTracker but unlike in Renoise).
2) Is it possible to display the tips in a fixed width font (like courrier) to be able to display track examples correctly ? (see mockup)

Mockup :


Edit : OpenMPT  :?

Offline Saga Musix

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2009, 18:03:15 »
Quote

Also, Is it possible to create links in a tip-of-the-day window ?
At the time of writing, no. See also my next statement.

Quote
Is it possible to display the tips in a fixed width font (like courrier) to be able to display track examples correctly ? (see mockup)

Since I don't consider "tips of day" as a tutorial or something similar, I wouldn't put complete pattern examples in there. And for the sake of readability, I would just use the default font.

Quote
I think it would be good if the user could highlight-copy-to-clipboard the tips (like in MadTracker but unlike in Renoise).

I don't think that's a problem.
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Offline Paul Legovitch

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2009, 21:16:53 »
All that into consideration will I take. 8)

Quote from: "Jojo"
Since I don't consider "tips of day" as a tutorial or something similar, I wouldn't put complete pattern examples in there.

You're right. What about these, inspired by your track Phase One :
Code: [Select]
Tip#XX - Create a phaser effect :
* Duplicate the channel of your lead melody : right click on the channel label -> duplicate.
* Add a fine portamento (FEx) on the duplicated notes to detune them.
Example : |C-5 01 .. ...|C-5 01 .. FE3|

Code: [Select]
Tip#XX - Create a phase shifting effect :
* Duplicate the channel of a drum loop : right click on the channel label -> duplicate.
* Add a small offset (Oxx) to the duplicated notes.
Example : |C-5 01 .. ...|C-5 01 .. O02|

Offline LPChip

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2009, 21:43:41 »
The tips and tricks should display functionality that you might miss if you don't read everything about OpenMPT.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline Saga Musix

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« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2009, 21:59:25 »
Indeed. Phase shifting and phaser are not MPT functionality, but very basic accoust effects. They do really not belong in a "tip of the day". As I said, it's not an audio tutorial, and especially not one about audio tricks.
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Offline Paul Legovitch

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Tips window at startup
« Reply #27 on: November 12, 2009, 00:01:37 »
Quote from: "Jojo"
Indeed. Phase shifting and phaser are not MPT functionality, but very basic accoust effects. They do really not belong in a "tip of the day". As I said, it's not an audio tutorial, and especially not one about audio tricks.

I can understand that, but...
[rant]
There's a great chance that nowadays most tracker newbies will learn how to track with modplug, as it is admitedly one of the best and most renowned free tracker available.
And newbies won't make the difference between tracking usage, effects and tricks and modplug's usage, features and tricks. It comes in the same music-software package : Modplug.

Now, if you want I can remove tips about audio/tracking effects from the list, but take in consideration that :

1) Other trackers like Renoise give out such audio/tracking tricks amongst tips of the day, and I (and many users I'm sure) easily learned some of them this way.
2) This kind of knowledge is not obvious at all, and nowhere to be easily found for the non-specialist.
3) I would certainly not qualify phase shifting and phaser as "basic" for the average user but it's true that once you know about it, it's really simple and obvious, so don't keep it all for yourself and spit it already ! :P
4) I'm almost certain that no user will think "but tips and tricks should only display the software's specific functionality".

Look at it again :
Quote
* Duplicate the channel of your lead melody : right click on the channel label -> duplicate.
* Add a fine portamento (FEx) on the duplicated notes to detune them.
2 lines and there, you know the trick, and nobody's been hurt.
By the way, you did learn a modplug feature : duplicate a channel.

Most of us will simply uncheck these tips on startup : we already know almost all about modplug and tracking. But you can't consider the average modplug user as a veteran that knows all about tracks and is only eager for new functionalities to ease his work. So tips are aimed at trackers new to modplug but also at users new to tracking in general (the majority I would guess). Remember, they don't know how to track let alone using effects. I think tracking tips would quickly help them.
[/rant]

Ok, for now I will focus on the modplug-only workflow features to avoid writing for nothing, but I'll try again to convince you to pass on the knowledge.  8)

Offline Sam_Zen

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« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2009, 02:37:49 »
No need to convince me.
Tips could be about the basic functionality, but tricks are workarounds to achieve non-obvious things.
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Offline Saga Musix

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« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2009, 08:21:59 »
Paul, I'd rather put effects like that in a tutorial song than in a tip, since they heavily depend on the sample you choose. Someone might want to try them out and just has a bass drum sample handy, so what's this going to sound like? Right, nothing.
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