Ben Morris modifies his Martin guitar for TriplePlay

Here is a really interesting submission from TriplePlay user Ben Morris. I will start with the following disclaimer:

1) In Fishman’s testing, we did not get optimal tracking with acoustic guitars and TriplePlay.  So, this is not an approved Fishman pairing.  Ben’s suggestions are his own, and are neither tested nor condoned by Fishman.  Feel free to try it at your own risk, but your own results and expectations may vary.

2) Additionally, some of the information below involves altering your mounting hardware or your nice acoustic guitar.  We haven’t tested these combinations, and if something goes wrong and damages your TriplePlay or your guitar, it isn’t our fault.

3) Finally, as we mention in our FAQ, to get better tracking, I’d add the suggestion to use ferrous (ie magnetically sensitive) strings instead of bronze on your guitar.  GHS White Bronze and DR Zebras are two such types of strings.

My own personal comment on the information below, as a luthier, is wondering how well the metal mount is attached using only double stick tape.  Doesn’t seem secure enough to me.  I might prefer to change to a screw in type endpin that would hold our bracket more securely.  And WE LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.   Feel free to send any TripleTalk submissions you may have to us through support@fishman.com with TriplePlay in the subject.  But, enough of my disclaimers, onto Ben’s installation and results:

 

Hi Frank,
I previously had a Roland GK-3 pickup installed on this guitar, so I was no stranger to installing this type of pickup on an acoustic guitar.  By the way, thanks for the string tips too!  Currently, I have a set of Elixir NanoWeb strings with the anti-rust coating, and it is tracking like a dream. If things go south, I will try the strings you recommended.
Items needed for the job:
a. 90 end pin bracket
b. Razor blade to modify the 90 end pin bracket
c. Double-Sided Tape (3M extreme mounting tape works well)
d. Plastic controller mount with magnets
e. Pickup Mounting pad (mine was a #2)
f. String spacer tool
g. Mini-screwdriver
Installation on Martin Acoustic Electric:
I prepped the mounting surfaces on the guitar by wiping them with a slightly damp cloth, then a dry cloth.
I installed the pickup mounting pad as close to the bridge as possible, of course using the mini-screwdriver to adjust the hexaphonic pickup height, and checking the string tolerances with the string spacer tool.
Next, I needed to install the 90 end pin bracket.  Since the end pin bracket does not reach the end pin on an acoustic guitar, I had to affix my bracket directly to the surfaces of the guitar using double sided tape.  The top of my guitar is softwood; therefore the laminate side of the guitar was a better choice on which to use the double sided tape. This required a slight modification to the 90 end pin bracket.
I used a razor blade to remove the protective cork on the side of the 90 end pin bracket that had the slot for the end pin.
Next, I acquired some double sided tape. The 3M Extreme Mounting Tape works well, as it is advertised to hold more than .5 lbs per inch used.
I put double sided tape on the end pin part of the bracket where I removed the protective cork.  And, I used the razor to cut the slot out so that the tape is not visible after installation.
I checked to make sure there was enough distance from the 90end pin bracket location to the bridge. In my case, the hexaphonic pickup came with just the right amount of cable. There wasn’t a centimeter to spare!
I peeled the protective coating off the double sided tape, and pressed the 90 end pin bracket to the guitar, making sure to press and hold it in place long enough that the double sided tape had good adhesion.
Once the 90 end pin bracket was in place, I affixed the plastic controller mount (with magnets) to the 90 end pin bracket.  Then, all I had to do was slide the hexaphonic pickup into the pickup mounting pad, and stick the TriplePlay transmitter onto the magnetic mounting surface of the 90 end pin bracket.
As you can see, the TriplePlay pickup looks like it was tailor made for my guitar.  I played with the unit for hours last night, and it tracks like a dream. Best of all, I can use the TriplePlay sounds along with my onboard guitar pickup (also made by Fishman) to get that rich acoustic sound that I love.

 

 

Trouble with Kontakt: crashing when Kontakt window is closed

Native Instruments has a known issue with their newest release of Kontakt Player, 5.3.0, when used in 32-bit software like the 32-bit version of TriplePlay.  For this reason, we’ve suggested not updating Kontakt in the TriplePlay installation guides, but this may create an issue with a few of the default patches.  There is a workaround.  You can update to a newer but not the newest version of Kontakt Player by going to the Native Instruments Website.  Login, using the username and numeric password (this is not a password you chose, but a number emailed to you when you registered your NI products originally).

http://www.native-instruments.com/en/support/

Then, click on support, downloads, updates.  Once there, you can select your registered product, and you’ll see the various downloads.  Choose Kontakt Player 5.2.1.  If you have already installed 5.3, and are experiencing the bug (NI will crash if you open Kontakt in TriplePlay and then close the Kontakt window), you can downgrade simply by installing the older version above.  The installer will recognize that you are attempting to downgrade, and will proceed when you give the OK.

Once you’ve downloaded the installer, you must open it and then double click on the installer file to proceed.  Native Instruments is actively working on this bug, so this should hopefully not be an issue after an update to 5.3.0 (presumably 5.3.1) is released.

TriplePlay Tele Installation Pt. 2

Check out this pretty simple modification to an old school 3-saddle bridge that a TriplePlay owner performed himself. He used a file to cut slots in the bridge plate, making sure to cut them both simultaneously to ensure that they were straight across from each other. Then he cut a small piece of a cork coaster to go under the edge of the hexaphonic pickup where the  wire connects. One slight modification he realized after the fact was that he could have trimmed the screw for the middle saddle a bit in order to fit the pickup slightly closer, but he said it still tracks great. The best part of this mod is that genuine Fender replacement bridge plates retail for around $11, so you don’t have to sweat it too much if you make a mistake while filing the slots.  Better yet, on a vintage guitar, modify the replacement bridge plate, and save the original in case you want to return the guitar to vintage condition at a later point!

We’d suggest replacing the cork coaster in this picture to the installation tip in Tele I, as using a bit of a different height pickup bracket, instead of cork, allows the user to continue to use the height adjustment screw for the pickup.

It’s great to see cutting-edge wireless technology existing happily side by side with what is basically a 60 year-old design!

New Beta version of TriplePlay software features AAX support for ProTools 11 and above

Pro Tools 11 AAX

TriplePlay users have always been able to use the product as a direct controller for Pro Tools, in the past, but we didn’t have a compatible plug-in version of our software that could be hosted in the ProTools software.  Lately, we’ve been working on an update that includes an AAX plug-in.  Currently, only the Mac version of our Beta software has AAX support.  We are still working on a release that makes Windows AAX compatible.  Note that TriplePlay will not host AAX plug-ins and continues to only host VST.  We’re likely going to be posting stable Beta versions of new TP releases going forward, which is really cool. But, since we don’t have them up currently, now that the Betas seems stable, I thought it would be good to put links here on the blog. NOTE THAT THESE ARE BETA VERSIONS. This software has been tested in our software labs and is considered stable, but has not been completely tested and released. Until officially released, support will be limited, so it is not recommended to be installed in production environments. All TriplePlay releases, current, beta and legacy, can be found here.

Release Notes:

  • TriplePlay AAX plugin is now available for use with Pro Tools (Mac Only)
  • Numerous internal improvements to hardware synth functionality, including data processing, patch display elements, parameters, and program changes
  • Added improved foot pedal integration and enhanced functionality
  • Patches that are missing one or more VST synths and therefore will not sound correctly are listed in red
  • Improved audio interface settings, buffer size, and sample rate changes within the TriplePlay preferences window
  • Improved launch time for the application
  • The Performance pane now accurately lists all synth/plugin names under all conditions
  • Improved save times for patch edits
  • Data artifacts generated by plugging or unplugging an audio interface are now filtered from appearing in the output channel of the mixer
  • Plugins that fail to load after being scanned are now listed in red in the Sound Selection window
  • Implemented code improvements to the Songs window functionality
  • Greatly improved the caching process of patches within Songs to facilitate live performance and enable near instantaneous patch changes
  • Navigating through the Menu Tree with the controller’s D-pad no longer incorrectly dirties the patch under specific circumstances
  • Clarified language for patch change warnings under the Options menu tab
  • Fixed an issue where sounds from certain user patches could end up in other user patches if they had been dragged to the user list in a specific order
  • Sounds no longer inadvertently appear in the No Sound patch after scrolling through patches
  • An update to the firmware will correctly maintain splits’ parameters after a receiver/controller connection is lost and then recovered, due to interference, distance, etc.
  • The controller will automatically power itself off at extremely low battery levels when performance of the device will be adversely affected by the low charge
  • Cancelling ‘scan for sounds’ in mid-scan no longer clears the list of already scanned plugins
  • Changes to patches made within a DAW session are no longer inadvertently applied to those same patches in the TriplePlay standalone
  • Improved stability when instantiating TriplePlay plugin within DAWs
  • String sensitivity is now adjustable when using within a DAW

Copying a sound from one synth fader to another

This could be a really simple post, folks.  Answer: you can’t do it.  But, there are some shortcuts to using the same sound from one of our factory patches on a different synth channel.  Let’s take SampleTank, for example.  Let’s say I wanted to create a split that had the factory default sound from the patch Blues Organ (#1 on my list) from frets 1-12, but I wanted the sound from the Piano default patch (#8 on my list) for leads on frets 13 and above.  You can’t copy sounds from one patch to another, but it is possible to identify our sound from a default, and then load that sound in another instantiation of the plug-in.  Here is one way to accomplish the mission example above:

1) Open the patch for Piano to identify its instrument default by clicking the correct patch in the Patches dialogue.  Close the Patches dialog to expose the main window of the TP software.

Patches Window

2) Double click on the purple box beneath the synth 1 fader to expose the SampleTank plug-in and its parameters.

3) Make a note of the parameter settings on the left…

SampleTank dialog

and the instrument used (in this case Dynamic Piano).  You will need this information later, so literally make a note of them you can recall at a later point.

4) Close the SampleTank dialog and and open the default patch Blues Organ.

5) Click and hold on the blue box beneath Synth fader 3 and load SampleTank.

6) Recreate the parameters from your notes on the parameters in the left of the open SampleTank plug-in window.

Parameters

7) Click and hold in the top part of the plug-in window where it says “LOAD” and select the instrument from your notes (in this case dynamic piano)

Load dialog

8) Close the SampleTank dialog

9) Create your split by pressing the Show Splits button at the bottom center of the TriplePlay window.

Splits

10) Click on the purple region of the fingerboard to expose its handle, and drag the handle so (in our example case) the purple region covers frets 1-12.  Click on the blue region and use its handle to drag the blue so it covers frets 13 and above.

11) Click the red Disk icon (or Patch/File Save as) to save your newly created patch as a new user patch.

Native Instruments ends support for OSX 10.6.8 Snow Leopard

So, we say our software package is compatible with 10.6.8, and it is.  The software we provide is compatible, including Native Instruments, SampleTank, TriplePlay, Progression and Studio One.  Unfortunately, for our provided NI factory patches to work within our TriplePlay software, it requires updating the product within their Service Center program (the Native instruments registration and update software).  Specifically, TriplePlay needs the Reaktor Player 5.8 or higher update to work properly.  However, Native Instruments has just released update 5.9.  That is fine, unless you’re using Snow Leopard, because 5.9 is no longer compatible.  You’re put in an awkward position, because you need the update for TriplePlay to work, but NI no longer provides the update you need, if you’re a 10.6.8 Snow Leopard user.  What to do?

I went on the NI site and couldn’t find this legacy updater.  But, we’ve posted a copy online here: reaktor_5.8_update.dmg

10.6.8 users can download this legacy updater and get full functionality from NI with their TriplePlay software default patches.

Native Instruments Service Center

What is this latency thing I keep hearing about?

There is a lot of talk about latency when it comes to our wireless guitar controller, but some folks don’t really understand the different types of latency and where they come from.  There is a slight delay between when you play a note and when it is received wirelessly from your controller.  This is VERY slight, like blink of an eye slight.  And, there really isn’t a significant difference, functionally or apparently, between this wireless setup and the wired setup you may have elsewhere.  So, while this could be called latency, it isn’t really what people are dealing with when they are talking about long delays between playing a note and hearing back from the computer.  That is LATENCY, and it exists because of buffering.

This is a simplification, but your computer is trying to turn digital information from your virtual instruments (or really any digital audio) into analog sound from your computer’s output.  It tries, but sometimes it simply can’t make this translation from digital to analog fast enough to provide you that information in real time.  When it can’t, you’ll get digital clicking and popping sounds from your recording software or TriplePlay or whatever.  So, your software and hardware will allow buffering.  Basically, your computer is able to process larger packets of audio samples more quickly, per sample, than small ones.  So the bigger the packet, the less processing  power is required by your computer to get the job done.  How long it is saving up data and waiting to give it to you in audio form has a direct effect on how long a delay you hear between playing and hearing a note.  Low buffering settings are nearly inaudible, and this is sometimes referred to as near zero latency.  To your ear, it will sound like you’re playing the note and hearing it at about the same time.  But, these low settings require more processing power than larger ones.   If you’re interested in some more detailed analogies and discussions of audio buffering, there is a great thread here.  The fellow David Nahmani who posts at the bottom really nails the description of what buffering is and why it is necessary.

How can you adjust this buffering to get a lower delay? Latency settings are usually listed by the amount of data being saved up, but in our user interface, we make a direct correlation to the amount of delay you will hear as well.  You can find the latency settings in the TriplePlay preferences dialog window, available from the pull-down menus under options.  Experiment with lower and lower latency settings, until you hear some artifacts (clicking and popping) and then raise the buffering back up until they go away.  Note that your audio drivers also impact how low you can get this setting before artifacts.  Windows audio is fairly slow, in this regard, so consider using an ASIO driver like ASIO4ALL if you don’t have a dedicated audio output device with its own ASIO drivers.  On my own fairly slow Windows machine below, I manage a 64 sample buffer using the computer’s built-in audio card outputs and the ASIO4ALL driver.

buffering settings found under Options=>Preferences
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