Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Dear Magix Audio Studio 10

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain"

--From "Dune", a user's manual for software, written by Frank Herbert, a fellow who invented a language called kwisatz haderach, which is, like any good assembler language, inevitable, ineffable (thought explained in dozens of sequel and update releases and myriads of poorly translated adobe user's manuals) and yet ultimately leads to chaos. Mr. Herbert's heirs now carry on his legacy, and rumours are in the works of a new linux version, as well as completion of the "sand worm edition" Cobol platform.

Gentlepersons (or is gentleprograms more appropriate?):

I cannot tell you in simple words how much your Music Studio 10 Deluxe has impacted my life in the few short weeks since I bought it. I had previously been happy with the little Audio Studio 5 I picked up for 10 dollars or so at the local software store discount rack. My reading,though, supplemented by perhaps the most helpful software message board denizen alive, a Bene-Geseritt-quest-worthy male named TheUde, indicated that untold spices awaited me if I upgraded to the most recent update, Audio Studio 10. I plunked down the 80 dollars for the software, which is a bargain considering other brands cost 200 to 300 or so, and I considered myself well-fixed, at least until the day when a felicitious eBay sale yields hundreds of dollars in chess profits and thus permits me to buy Reason 3.0, which must be a cool program because Marco Raaphorst, a musician whose song "Blowing Snow" is rapturously good melodic virtual violin music (and who is worth anyone checking out on, writes sample packs for this software, which caused me, one of the cat's metaphoric murder victims, to read about how Reason 3.0 not only samples, syncs and syncopates, but also makes toast and devises political agendae for the Labour Party. So long as I remain without reason, I was delighted to work with your software.

Let me hasten to say I have no complaints, even though it went on sale for 49 dollars for Easter at your site just three weeks after I bought it for 80. C'est la vie, say the old folks, the old song says.

I write, however, with mild chagrin. Let me hasten to say, however, that my chagrin is in no way connected with any fear that you, Magix, have done aught wrong. Since I got your studio, I have made recordings which
I can improve and alter with a rapidity and grace that even the amazing Audio Studio 5 cannot match. It's true that a few functions are simpler to do in 5, and I still use 5 for them. For some reason, my Slicer sampler likes 5 .wav files better than Audio Studio 10 .wav files, but I simply continue to use it, as the alternative would require me to read carefully about bpm and bit rates and torrents and matches, when just using the old studio requires less thought. Why think, we Americans say, when there is so much reality television to see?

I have used your Music Studio 10 to turn my reed-thin Radio-Shack-recorded voice into a fat and phat if somewhat unpleasurable listening experience. I have made my dulcimer sing at least a well as any shower, and used the vocoder to great effect. Recordings done with Music Studio 10 festoon my music page, like precious water greening a desert planet.

But let me be frank. We are having a problem. All relationships have a problem. Sometimes the problem is about money. Sometimes the problem is named Ralph or Rowena. Sometimes the problem has to do with disposal of cropped nails, or "you say you don't understand, but in fact you do" or "you say you understand, but in fact you don't". But our problem is a bit more elemental--and, I'm embarrassed to say, almost physical.

We have a problem with plug-ins.

Nothing is more intimate in the relationship between electronic musician and home-studio than the use of plug-in synthesizers and effects. I don't mean the tawdry metaphors of the non-virtual world ,but the true intimacy of heart and soul and ear. After all, a plug-in allows one to morph Arrakis into Northumberland. A plug-in effect can take a recoding of a guitar and turn it into a theremin filled with arcane spices.

I knew that Audio Studio 10 did not support full synthesizer plug-ins. I knew that the companion product, MIDI Studio 10, hosted full synths. I use Anvil Studio, an amazing bit of freeware, for my MIDI composition, so I have not used MIDI Studio 10 for all it is worth. Indeed, I am still in love with Musedit, which lets me create beautiful sheet music scores and then play them back in MIDI, even though when I switched computers, the software did not easily make the transition, and I may have to buy a new unit.

I am not quibbling, therefore, over whether House Gurdonark has synth capacity. It is to be admitted that these family nuclears are in my control and ready to detonate. I instead wish to speak to you of Audio Studio 10. I wish to speak in particular of effects.

I use a lot of stand-alone, non-plug-in old technology to morph and reshape sound to take rather humdrum
MIDI compositions and turn them into rather humdrum dark ambience. In my mind, the latter matters more than the former--indeed, the latter is "real" music to me in a post-music era. But I have a dream of being able to flip a switch in my Audio Studio 10 and have a particular song instantly converted into synthesized shimmer.
I want a Drone Machine. I see all reality as being comprised of selective software breeding, all leading up to the perfect device to take a wave file of Gurdonark singing "My way" and turning it into the better sections of "Music for Airports". I'd settle for Tangerine Dream.

My stand-alones let me do this, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and I have and hold many such compositions. Indeed, Slicer, a freeware sampler from IXI software revolutionized my life less than fifteen months ago, converting me from an odd artist to an artist whose oddity can sometimes match the music he hears in his head.

I love that my new Audio Studio 10 has a button that says "plug-ins". I love that it comes with a built-in filter, so that I may alter sound, a built-in chorus, so that I may use echo effects, and a built-in delay,so that I may tinker with sound. I love the flanger, even if I do keep trying to flange things that ought not be flanged, rather like trying to make everything into souffle.

But installing plug-ins? A challenge. It's true that I got one plug-in, a thing called xciter4, installed, which has a way of making a wave file sound as if a Fremen were throwing his knife as a departing skimmer.
Another one, called, ostensibly enough, Byrd-Xandar, does untold things that I cannot even recount, other than to say they are happening and they are fattening and they are all that one can get into the show and
that the adobe user's guide doesn't say what they are, either.

But I've put at least 3 other plug-ins into the "VST plug-in directory", and nothing happens. Their mojo doesn't go-go and it's all become a no-show no-go. I hoped for a thick bassline from one (beats and rhythm not really being my thing at all), but got instead non-recognition, rather like that time I arrived home to the Los Angeles airport and saw that a beautiful woman was waiting with flowers for one of my fellow plane passengers, but he gave her the silent treatment and walked on by, and I had to listen to her wails of "You're going to IGNORE me?", which, thankfully, did not have a Glenn Close coda (and which, in that darker single era of my life, made me realize that I would never ignore a beautiful woman with flowers waiting for me at an airport gate, even if she turned out later to be a secret agent of Ix).

But "ignore" is the operative word. I plug in the plug-in, and the software does not 'see it'. I drag and drop the icon onto a music track, as you recommend, and usually nothing happens.

In a phrase, I am as flummoxed as a ghola in his fifty third life.

I know the fault is mine. I know I am unworthy.

I know I need to ask the software guru "TheUDE" at your message board for the answer. I've been busy
playing blitz chess on-line and watching mourning doves feed.

But could you help me repair our relationship? We could get counseling. We could get therapy. I don't want to look elsewhere for plug-ins and softsynths.

We've got a universe to conquer, you and I, and I can see the future, including the shadows nobody but me sees.

Could you plug me into it?


one who shares water (mostly in tears at present)
with you,


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