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

TriplePlay Tracking vs. Brand X

TriplePlay vs BrandX

I cracked a huge smile at this picture a customer emailed me.  He already had a popular brand (this brand X stuff is really reminding me of the instant coffee and laundry detergent commercials from when I was a kid) of MIDI guitar pickup installed on his guitar.  It was a MIDI guitar pickup, and installed close to the bridge, in the proper location.  To compare TriplePlay, he also installed our product on the guitar.  It was installed further from the bridge (because the optimal position was already taken), in a location that would give the TriplePlay less accurate tracking.  He then tracked both MIDI pickups to two different computers running the same notation software.

The results show TriplePlay accurately tracking what he played on the left hand side, and Brand X with a couple of extra measures worth of notes he never played on the right hand side.  Same performance, but look at the difference in tracking accuracy!  9 out of 10 people I know, in my informal survey, recommend TriplePlay guitar controllers for their friends who use guitar controllers.  🙂

 

One way to connect TriplePlay to MIDI hardware modules through a computer and a DAW

Some folks have written and asked how they can get MIDI information from TriplePlay through their computer and back out to a hardware MIDI device.  As with most setups, there are several ways to do it, but I thought I’d go over one method I used recently with a customer who contacted me.  The customer had a USB audio interface, which also had a MIDI input and output.  He wanted to use this MIDI output to get TriplePlay from his computer, back out to a 5-pin MIDI hardware device (in his case, a sound module, but a keyboard or any other MIDI device with a 5-pin input would be equally applicable).

This could be done with MIDI routing hardware (such as MIDIPIPE on the Mac) but I thought it would be easiest to do this with a DAW.  The fella wanted TriplePlay’s full possible MONO mode output, or, in other words, he wanted to be able to send the six strings as six separate MIDI channels, one for each of the two split regions available in the tripleplay software (purple and blue – the two regions that split the fingerboard by fret, rather than by string).  I suggested he could use the TriplePlay plug-in, with no actual instruments loaded, to create this fingerboard split and control settings such as string bends for each region.

Here is what we did:

1. We used StudioOne, because it was provided with the TriplePlay software and the customer did not have another DAW, but most digital audio workstations that can allow vst plug-ins would allow you to do something very similar.  So, open StudioOne.

2. Under StudioOne in the pull-down menus, go to options and click on the header External Devices.

3. Click on Add and highlight New Instrument.  Name the device, to avoid confusion.  Click on ALL so all MIDI channels are highlighted.  Select MIDI input and output device (in our case, an AudioBox USB device).  Click OK.

Step 3

4. Click on Add again, and highlight new Keyboard.  Create a new keyboard that receives from TriplePlay (or TriplePlay guitar – not the 2nd TriplePlay channel, which has control information) as the input, and set the output to none.   When you are done, click OK and OK to leave the external device windows.  Make sure split channels is selected.

5. Start a new empty song in StudioOne, under File, New Song and choose the empty song format.

6. Go to Track in the pull-down menus and add tracks, once the song is open.

Step 6

7. Set type to Instrument.  Set count to 16 and make sure pack folder is selected.  Set Input to the triple play new keyboard you created and named (in my case, I named it TriplePlay controller).  Make sure ascending is selected.  Set Output to Existing and select the instrument you created (in my case, I named it AudioBox MIDI).  Once again, make sure you have selected ascending.  Hit okay when you are sure you’ve gotten everything right.  This will take your TriplePlay signal in, and send it out to your MIDI output device.  Hit OK.

8. Make sure the track is record and monitor enabled, by pressing the red and blue buttons at the top of the track.  You can collapse the track to its folder by clicking on the folder icon.

Step 8

9. Now, we created a new set of MIDI tracks to allow the TriplePlay plug-in to set how the TriplePlay data was sent from your MIDI output.  Create a track as above, with the Input also set to TriplePlay Controller, BUT the output set to New Instrument, Tripleplay.

Step 9

10. Make sure this is also record enabled.  Click on the keyboard icon in one of the midi channels to expose the TriplePlay plug-in.

11. Remember the customer wanted to split his fingerboard at the 12th fret.  He wanted the purple region to be sent for the full length of the fingerboard and the blue region to be everything above the 12th fret.  For this setup, it means that everything in purple (the whole fingerboard) will go out to MIDI channels 1-6 and everything played above the 12th fret, in blue, will also go to channels 11-16. This is done by creating a fret split and clicking the show splits button at the bottom.

Step 11

12. Now click and hold for the synth regions where you want to work and load a Hardware Synth (in newer software releases this may be called External Synth).   Note that you must only use MONO rather than POLY, if you want fingerboard splits to work.  You could also use splits for synth 2 and 4 regions, if you want their settings to be different (pitch bends, etc.)

13. When you create a hardware synth setting for the channel, you can adjust the Parameter settings to the left of the dialog window, and these settings will translate through to your MIDI output device.  In this case, the customer has selected to transpose up 5 semi-tones and set his pitchbend for Smooth in the purple region.  This is a patch you’re creating, so if these settings are useful to you in the future, consider saving the patch to your user patches.

14. You should be done.  MIDI from your TriplePlay hardware is now being routed through the DAW and out to the AudioBox.  It is being altered by the settings you have created here.  Note that you could also load virtual instruments in these channels.  But, realize that any of the parameter settings you create will be carried forward to those MIDI channels being outputted to your hardware device.

What is the deal with GuitarRig?

I can’t remember the last time I read a user guide for any product I’ve bought.  I mean, I have to be really desperate to pull that thing out.  My wife thinks I’m nuts, but I just like to poke around and figure out how something works on my own.  That’s how I learn.  So, I’m not surprised there are new TriplePlay users who can’t figure out why they’re not hearing anything coming out of the audio channel on TriplePlay.  This is the first channel in the TriplePlay software, to the left of the synth channels, which has GuitarRig loaded in many of our Fishman factory patches (the sounds that come with TriplePlay if you install our partner software).  Another related question is, “Why do I get a screaming high pitched feedback whenever I go to certain patches?”

TriplePlay Preferences Setup For Traditional Guitar

In our TriplePlay literature we call the sound that comes from your magnetic pickups on your electric guitar “traditional guitar” audio.  That is what this first mixer channel in your TriplePlay software is for.  But, this audio is not transferred from your guitar to the TP software with the wireless setup. That wireless tripleplay transmitter and receiver are only for MIDI information.  If you want to get traditional audio into your computer, you need to do it by plugging your guitar’s traditional output into an input on your computer.  What should you use for an input?  Well, for best sound, I’d suggest some type of analog to computer audio interface.  If you hope to record more than MIDI and guitar on your computer, consider a small interface like these ones that allow you to plug in a microphone, as well.

Once you have an audio interface (and you could just plug into your computer’s input port -usually 1/8″- with an adapter if you didn’t want to spring for a $100 interface), you can plug your guitar into the computer.  Go to preferences in the pull-down menus and specify which input you want to use for your traditional guitar audio.  This is where the screaming feedback question comes in from above.  The default input for your traditional guitar audio, especially on many laptops, may be set as the internal microphone in your computer.  So, you have a microphone going through a bunch of guitar effects and outputting through a speaker right next to the microphone.  Anyone who has stuck a vocal mic in front of a monitor speaker knows what that sound like.  Ouch.

So, if you’re not using traditional audio input, either because you’re only interested in MIDI, or because you’re plugging into a terrestrial guitar amp on stage, then just turn off the audio input in your preferences so you don’t have to worry about feedback on any of the patches where the audio channel is active and unmuted.

If you want to know more about it, and don’t want to poke around in the user guide, we have a specific tutorial that relates to setting up your traditional guitar audio:Tutorial #2.  It is worth checking out all the tutorials.  They can be found along with the rest of the TriplePlay documentation here: TriplePlay tutorials, FAQ and documentation

 

TriplePlay Tele Installation

TriplePlay Tele Installation

A customer sent a really clever Tele installation.  Tele owners putting on a TriplePlay pickup may notice the product doesn’t fit really easily on these types of bridges.  The pickup mount sticks to part of the bridge and the rest floats out in space over the edge.  Worse yet, there is a tendency to put your palm right on the pickup levering off the part that is actually sticking to the instrument.  The method here is to cut and use two different height pickup mounts, the thin one for the bridge itself, and the thicker portion to go on the guitar.  The installer figured out where the pickup mounted, and then made a mark on the pickup mount where it needed to cut short of the edge of the bridge.  They then cut the other side of the pickup from the thicker mounting bracket, using the first cut as a template.

Now, stick the thinner mount to the bridge hardware where you’ve measured it will go.  Slide the thick portion of the mount onto the pickup itself and remove its adhesive.  This, I thought, is the cleverest part:  slide the pickup into the thin bracket portion on the bridge so it is in the correct position, with the pickup and its thick bracket portion, hanging off the side of the bridge and slightly off the top of the guitar.  Then, using our pickup height adjustment tool, use that adjustment to lower the thicker bracket portion to the body of the guitar until it touches.  Once it touches, you can press down on the pickup to make sure the thicker side is stuck.  Then, carefully slide the pickup out of its mounts (you can kind of hold the pickup mounting bracket (especially the thicker portion) to the guitar to keep it from sliding around as you take the pickup off the guitar).  Now, with the pickup removed, but the brackets in place, burnish and set the pickup brackets so they are secure.  I tried this on my own tele and it worked like a charm (although I did end up reinforcing the mounting sticky stuff on the short portion to something more substantial).  All props to Jeff Donaldson who wrote in with the suggestion.  Anybody with other suggestions or tips should feel free to drop an email to us through our website: Email Fishman TriplePlay Support.

 

TriplePlay and iPad

I got an email today about iPad, and I thought it would make a good post.  Here’s a few random thoughts about iPad:

1)  TriplePlay will work on just about any USB compliant device that can receive MIDI information and provide compliant power to our receiver.  This includes the iPad, if you connect with the proper Apple brand USB camera adapter (make sure to get the right one for your type of iPad – here is the one for the lightning connector iPads).  Just plug our receiver into the iPad through the kit, and if your receiver is paired with the transmitter, you should get signal.

2) Can you use Fishman’s software on the iPad?  No, the iPad uses Apps that you download from the App store.  What Apps should you use?  I couldn’t say other than to give a personal opinion, but any App that receives MIDI should do SOMETHING with the Fishman connected.  For my own gigs with TriplePlay and the iPad, I’ve used SampleTank.  It has a nice smattering of different instrument sounds for 20 bucks.  From what I’ve found, most MIDI receptive software from the App store is more specific, like a particular type of keyboard, etc.  And that is great, but I was looking for something more generic to do a bunch of different stuff easily.  Also, SampleTank locks up nicely with our controls.  The D-Pad will engage instrument up/down functions in the software, and the synth volume control works.  Pretty cool.

3) The downside of using a device like this is that you just don’t have the quality of sounds, control over functionality and many other features available with using a laptop. For me, I was just trying to bang out a flute track in one song on one gig.  I carry my iPad around anyway, so it seemed easy.  Apparently, you can do the same thing with the new iOS and the iPhone, too.  But, if I was looking for a full function MIDI guitar rig for stage or studio, the tablet or phone would not be my ideal option.  Go with a computer.

4) Latency.  There is more of it with my iPad setup.  I’ve read online this can be minimized by closing open apps and so forth.  There is no buffer setting available that I could find, so the latency is what it is.  Get used to playing ahead of the beat, and it is usable.  Long legato things are easy in this regard (see flute above).  I’m not sure I would have had as much success using the iPad for piano chords.

5) I just had to mention the iPhone again, because it is so NEAT.  Previously, if you connected the USB adapter to iPhones, you got a response that it wasn’t a supported device.  But, the new iOS 7 LETS YOU DO THIS.  Here is a picture of us playing SampleTank on our iPhone!

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