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Author Topic: Fishman Triple Play - First Few Hours; Minimal Install; VSTs; GK3 & FTP  (Read 2528 times)

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shawnb

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I've been sharing my learnings thus far over at Future Guitar Now, in this thread:
http://www.futureguitarnow.com/forum/index.php?topic=1957.0

Since there are so many questions here, I'll pull all the key points here. 

Minimal Install:

I was able to successfully install the FTP controller software by itself.  It did not force me to install any NI or IK software.  Once the controller was paired and connected, the firmware update was applied.  I had a fully-functional FTP in about 5 minutes of installation & configuration.   

I've been playing & learning a lot within my DAW (SONAR X2)!  Tomorrow I'll start to load NI & IK software. 

Hosting VSTs within the FTP App

Of course, there were no NI or IK patches to use within FTP.  So, using the FTP application, I scanned my existing VST folders for VSTs.   Most of my existing VSTs were either bundled within SONAR X2 Producer Edition or were purchased from Cakewalk (SONAR's manufacturer), when they were on sale within another bundle.   Trying to use these VSTs within the FTP app, I learned a few lessons:
  • The FTP software will not load 64-bit VSTs, it only loads 32-bit VSTs.  This is true for Cakewalk & non-Cakewalk VSTs.
  • Some 32-bit VSTs that were bundled with SONAR will ONLY work within SONAR.  They tell you so when you try to use them within FTP...  This is a SONAR issue.
  • Of the VSTs that load with no warnings, FTP creates its own window with FTP parameters as well as the VST's UI.  Two apps within one window...  I'm able to load voices and get them to partially work, however, the VST's GUI does not fully work.  (I suspect this is simply because FTP cannot find all of the Cakewalk binaries; this can likely be fixed with a little more work...)  This is a SONAR issue
  • The 32-bit VSTs for Cakewalk Sound Center, Square I, and Beatscape appear to work perfectly within the FTP app easily with no heroics.
So...  I've gotten very few VSTs that I own to host properly within the FTP app.  This is partly due to some FTP limitations (all my favorites are 64-bit), and partly due to Cakewalk hobbling their bundled/discounted VSTs.

HOWEVER!!!  Everything works quite well within my DAW!  I can choose the FTP as a midi input device for a soft-synth track, and it works BEAUTIFULLY!   I'm still learning how to get the FTP's configs to work exactly as I want them to; I'm still learning about their various mono vs poly modes. 

GK3 & FTP side-by-side

I installed a GK3 and an FTP on a guitar side-by-side, a few mm apart.   Thus far, neither has appeared to affect the other in any way.  (I had installed the GK3 first, tested it, then installed the FTP.)  This is still early, however, using headphones in my home.  I have not played at volume thru a PA. 

I can play a passage, and record both the GR-55's output and the FTP's output side-by-side from the same performance.   More on that later! 

Why Would You Want to Host the FTP App as a VST in your DAW?

I wondered myself, and now I think I get it...   It all boils down to the difference between the controller on its own vs. the controller with the FTP software.  The controller on its own spits out MIDI data, including notes & velocities.

Great...  But what if you wanted to have different velocity curves per different voices?   One size does not fit all.  For example, on the GR-55, you can set VELOCITY DYNAMICS and PLAY FEEL at the SYSTEM level, but you can ALSO fine tune this at the PATCH level using parameters like LEVEL VELOCITY SENSE, LEGATO and VELOCITY CURVE TYPE.   

The FTP app on your PC/Mac provides this additional "patch level" processing for you, including setting mono/poly mode, different velocity curves, sensitivities, and (what I'm pretty sure is) a couple flavors of legato processing.  You do this by pairing some FTP parameters with each synth voice.  It allows you to save these configurations on your PC for future use. 

If you want this additional "patch level" processing done when you are using the FTP within your DAW, you need to load the FTP app as a VST.   This way, it can do the velocity processing described above as it feeds the VST instrument. 

Hosting the FTP app as a VST within SONAR (or other DAW)

Once I added the TriplePlay folder to SONAR's list of VST folders and did a re-scan for VSTs, TriplePlay showed up as a VST within SONAR.  Once I did so, things got much better using SONAR's 32-bit plugins.  A couple of lessons here:
  • Oddly, the SONAR plugins that wouldn't work in the FTP app, that gave an "only for use within SONAR" message, still did so.  Even though they were within SONAR.  Actually, they are executing within the FTP app within SONAR...   So unfortunately, I could not get some VSTs to work in this mode, including True Piano.
  • Above, I noted that the GUIs for several of Cakewalks VSTs didn't work properly when hosted by the FTP app.   ALL OF THESE WORK PERFECTLY when hosted by the FTP app within SONAR.  The additional "patch level" FTP processing options appear alongside the VSTi when it is opened.
Bottom line is that you have two main options using FTP within your DAW:
  • You can host the FTP app as a VST within your DAW.  This, in turn, invokes your other 32-bit VSTi's.  In this mode, you get the full value of the FTP app, including it's "patch level" additional processing.
  • You can simply use the FTP controller as a MIDI input source.  This gets around ALL limitations listed above, namely, you can feed 64-bit VSTs and within SONAR you can of course use the "SONAR only" VSTs, as they are running in SONAR.  What you lose in this mode is the additional "patch level" processing.   There are two FTP modes for doing this.  In "Normal" mode, all these notes share the same channel, and the FTP operates in Chromatic mode.  No wheel events are sent.  In "Hardware" mode (power up the controller holding the D-pad UP button), the strings have discreet channels and the FTP is no longer in Chromatic mode - wheel events are sent.   FTP's "hardware" mode corresponds to Roland's "Mono" mode, and is clearly preferred for this type of processing.
Bugs???
  • Synth2 - Synth4 don't work at all within the FTP app.  I had earlier thought that a bunch of VSTs didn't work, but it turns out they work fine under Synth1.  (I believe Elantric pointed out this bug elsewhere & noted that the Fishman folks are working on it???) (5/26 Edit: I now know this is not an issue - follow the color coding....)
  • On occasion the controller seems to go haywire and spits out gazillions of MIDI Control messages.  This usually stops once ANY other message is sent, e.g., a note.  There is no impact on performance.  You would never notice this unless you were recording MIDI automation - OR - monitoring the stream via a tool like MIDI OX. (I now think this is normal behavior-communication with FTP app...)
Latest Status...

Fishman support confirmed the lack of 64-bit vst vspport.    Probable future upgrade.

I have reported the other two "bugs" listed above as well.   No response yet on those.   

So far, for me, this has been very smooth and everything seems to be working very well thus far.

I'm still learning this thing...   As I learn more, I'll share.

In the meanwhile, here's a picture of the Borg invasion:
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 10:28:13 AM by shawnb »
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Elantric

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We are fortunate to have Costas (the developer of the TriplePlay GUI and GTAK) join our sister site FutureGuitarNow.


Here is a sample of updated FTP news from Costas
http://www.futureguitarnow.com/forum/index.php?topic=1957.msg16823#msg16823




Shawnb wrote>
Bottom line is that you have two main options using FTP within your DAW:
  • You can host the FTP app as a VST within your DAW.  This, in turn, invokes your other 32-bit VSTi's.  In this mode, you get the full value of the FTP app, including it's "patch level" additional processing.
  • You can simply use the FTP controller as a MIDI input source.  This gets around ALL limitations listed above, namely, you can feed 64-bit VSTs and within SONAR you can of course use the "SONAR only" VSTs, as they are running in SONAR.  What you lose in this mode is the additional "patch level" processing.   There are two FTP modes for doing this.  In "Normal" mode, all these notes share the same channel, and the FTP operates in Chromatic mode.  No wheel events are sent.  In "Hardware" mode (power up the controller holding the D-pad UP button), the strings have discreet channels and the FTP is no longer in Chromatic mode - wheel events are sent.   FTP's "hardware" mode corresponds to Roland's "Mono" mode, and is clearly preferred for this type of processing.

Costas wrote>
There is a third option: run your VST as normal (not inside the TP VST) just as you did in option 2 above, and then on another track use the TP VST to set up the Controller. To do this you can load the "Hardware Synth" patch in the TP VST - this does not load any VST's but does allow you to change all the parameters in the Controller.

This is the best solution we could come up with for plugins that are tied to a DAW like the ones that come with SONAR.

cheers,
Costas

hanson

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Quote
GK3 & FTP side-by-side

I installed a GK3 and an FTP on a guitar side-by-side, a few mm apart.   Thus far, neither has appeared to affect the other in any way.  (I had installed the GK3 first, tested it, then installed the FTP.)  This is still early, however, using headphones in my home.  I have not played at volume thru a PA. 
Can you tell us about the differences in dimensions between GK and TP pickups? I think TP is wider than GK, but which pickup is higher (incl. mounting plates/stickers)?
I'm thinking to try to install it on my telecaster.
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shawnb

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Can you tell us about the differences in dimensions between GK and TP pickups? I think TP is wider than GK, but which pickup is higher (incl. mounting plates/stickers)?

With no mounting stuff, side-by-side, the PUs are almost the exact same height & width.   Their mounting plates & stickers are very similar - so you can fabricate almost any height you want.  If you can get the GK there, you can get the TP there.

The FTP, though, has that little L-shaped 'thumb' at one end.  Opposite the thumb is where the wire comes out.  That thumb on one side & wire on the other side prevent you from getting the pickup too close to the GK, in the normal install direction. 

With an inverted install, they could get much closer.   In my testing, I found no interference between the two, even when trying to get them adjacent to each other. 
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shawnb

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I'm having a "Toto, we've been in Kansas all along!" moment. 

Following this "Option #3", I have access to ALL of my VSTi's - even 64-bit, and even the SONAR proprietary ones!   AND I get the full support of the FTP app, including the enhanced pitchwheel processing, sensitivity and dynamics settings the FTP app provides.

My confusion is that I thought the FTP app actually performed the processing and passed it on; this is not the case, the app configures the controller, and changes the behavior of the controller itself.   So you always use the normal FTP controller's MIDI port, even for the 'enhanced' string sensitivities, dynamics & pitchwheel processing provided by the FTP app/vsti.
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BBach

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I cannot get the FTP Vst to link with the controller. I have the FTP configured to an asio driver that is not selected in Sonar x2, but it still does not see the controller. I'm using an M-Audio Profire Litebridge as my Sonar audio driver, and the PropodXT asio driver as the FTP audio driver. The controller works in the Standalone FTP software and is available as a controller in Sonar if the standalone program is closed. If the standalone is open, then Sonar deselects the FTP input as a midi device. So, In order to set the patch performance parameters for tha controller I must open FTP standalone edit a patch parameter, close down FTP standalone and open Sonar and use the FTP as a midi input device. This isn't very conducive to tweaking between the FTP and hardware patches and the included software instruments are only accessible as plugins that are not preprogrammed as FTP patches when using Sonar.

If Fishman thought that this is the way to get previously technophobe guitarists into the world of midi guitar, they should have made this process a little more bullet-proof and less onerous to install, I have been using midi guitar since 1987 and this is challenging for me.

If the audio driver is the bugaboo, they might have just provided the amp sims as regular vsts and forgone mixing the live guitar in with the midi synths (as elegant as that is).
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 03:48:40 PM by BBach »
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shawnb

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I cannot get the FTP Vst to link with the controller. I have the FTP configured to an asio driver that is not selected in Sonar x2, but it still does not see the controller...  The controller works in the Standalone FTP software and is available as a controller in Sonar if the standalone program is closed.

I had a LOT of issues getting things happy in SONAR, but things are very stable now.  I have four thoughts on your challenges here:

(1) I suspect using the FTP VST within SONAR, as a host for another VST, caused instability.  I use the '2nd track' method suggested by Costas exclusively now, and everything works great.

I now use the FTP VST track to change parameters only.  It is on a track on its own, and the synth is 'hardware synth', so it is not, in turn, hosting a VSTi.  I believe that when I tried to use it as a VST host within SONAR it hung my audio driver, which in turn caused more 'controller not found' problems.  On occasion, my audio driver was hung so hard I needed to reboot my PC before the audio driver would behave again; this, in turn, caused 'controller not found' because the audio driver wasn't really there. 

(EDIT 5/6:  FYI - I have attempted the various scenarios that used to get FTP and my DAW (SONAR X2) to crash earlier, and it no longer crashes.   No matter how hard I try.  And the Synth2-Synth4 flakiness was probably all me also.   
Now that I understand FTP better, I'm having no issues whatsoever...   Funny how that works...  Still, when having issues, I recommend starting simple & working out from there!)
   

(2) SONAR, SONAR, SONAR...  When you insert a soft synth track, SONAR adds a synth in the "synth rack".  When you delete the track, the synth remains in the "synth rack".   Even when you delete it from the "synth rack", it sometimes appears to the app like there is still a 2nd copy out there.   (This behavior has impacted me with other apps, not just FTP.)

This can confuse FTP, as it thinks you have multiple FTPs running.  To fix your project, delete all tracks that have FTP VSTs.  Delete all FTP synths in the synth rack.  Close your project & exit SONAR.  Go back into SONAR, and make sure you only enter ONE FTP soft synth, and that there is only ONE corresponding FTP entry in the synth rack.  Save it.   

(3)  The audio device specified in FTP standalone is ONLY used in FTP standalone mode.  When you're in SONAR, the FTP VST is using the audio device you point SONAR to.  In other words, it's OK to use the same ASIO device in standalone FTP as in SONAR.  Just not at the same time.  If you're working in SONAR, do all of your work within FTP within SONAR, there is no need to use the standalone app. 

(4) The FTP release notes include this:
Quote
[#633] When more than one instance of TriplePlay plugIn Selecting the 'User Here' button in a TP VST instance displays "Receiver not found" but appears to work.
Since only one FTP works at a time anyway, I don't think it makes sense to have multiple FTPs in your project.  (Given the FTP app configures the controller, and you have only one controller, there can be only one configuration active at any time.)

Bottom line:  I have only ONE FTP VST in my SONAR projects, on a track on its own, and it is driving 'hardware synth', meaning, it is not in turn hosting a VST itself.  The parameters entered configure the controller for all tracks.  And I am no longer having issues within SONAR.     

Some of this is definitely SONAR, and some of it I suspect is early FTP software instability. 
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 10:46:19 AM by shawnb »
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BBach

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Shawnb, once again, thanks
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BBach

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Shawnb, do you use any of the NI or IK Multimedia software included with the FTP? I guess you would have to invoke six instances (in mono mode) of whichever synth were used in the FTP patches and manually copy the parameters on six tracks in Sonar to reproduce an original FTP patch. Most FTP patches probably need some tweaking anyway, but this method (which I am thankfull for) kind of defeats the sort of self-contained all in one package. If it's only in Sonar, I guess it made sense to release the version 1 software in this somewhat half-baked state. I expect subsequent releases will work in the way they envisioned it.

One advantage of this method is that it is fairly easy to do alternate tunings by simply transposing each channel to taste.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 05:47:31 PM by BBach »
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shawnb

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Shawnb, do you use any of the NI or IK Multimedia software included with the FTP? I guess you would have to invoke six instances (in mono mode) of whichever synth were used in the FTP patches and manually copy the parameters on six tracks in Sonar to reproduce an original FTP patch.

So far, I've been primarily playing around with & re-learning to program my old HW synths (Roland SC-880, Korg M3R, E-Mu XL1).  The SC-880 and the M3R in particular do the 6-channel thing fairly easily, and it's real fun to re-familiarize myself with these old voices.   THIS IS WHAT I BOUGHT THOSE SYNTHS FOR!!!  Oh, a decade ago...

SampleTank presets are ALEADY setup up for 6-channel mono, and it's already easy to save presets for alt tunings, it's just another patch, see the screenshot below. 

I haven't yet played deeply with Kontakt.  I absolutely love the out-there-ness of Reaktor, I've played with that more than Kontakt - & poly mode is perfect for what it does.  (I suspect aliensporebomb would like Reaktor...)

So far I haven't needed to do the 6-track thing in SONAR.  You're right, I may need to do it for some Kontakt voices. 
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shawnb

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At the request of Fishman, I have attempted to recreate the instability issues I had earlier.  Can't do it.  I updated my earlier posts as appropriate.  I can use Synths 2-4, I can have multiple instances of FTP within SONAR, etc.  I can't explain it, I used to have issues trying this.  Maybe the various resets I've done have changed behavior.   Or maybe I just understand it all better after a few weeks' usage.  Anyway, clearing up some posts that might lead folks to believing there are issues. 
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Elantric

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Quote
  Anyway, clearing up some posts that might lead folks to believing there are issues. 

Thus shows my preference for a Forum (vs a Yahoo Mail list), to communicate to the masses , because everyone can go back in time and re-edit his old posts, to update bad early info and change it to reflect accuracy, and today's reality. (impossible to do that with Email)

Rather like my own issue here, with posting my own assessment of FTP Latency back in February 2013.
After I realized this latency was due to a too large buffer size in the AudioBox VSL NAMM Demo Audio interfaces, I went back and corrected the bad info I posted.

Not to knock any of ShawnB's excellent work, but anytime a new hardware product ships that is as complex as the FTP, there is often much "wrongly assumed  mis-information" posted by the first adopters , that all becomes a mute point after further experience with the product.

Thanks for all you hard work on the FTP Shawn!   

Quote
Can you tell us about the differences in dimensions between GK and TP pickups? I think TP is wider than GK, but which pickup is higher (incl. mounting plates/stickers)?
I'm thinking to try to install it on my telecaster.


Refer to this document for comparisons of all mag hex PU dimensions
http://www.vguitarforums.com/smf/index.php?action=downloads;sa=downfile&id=41
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 08:02:14 PM by Elantric »
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shawnb

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You know, I'm baffled.  Like BBach, I had a LOT of issues.   And mine, frankly, actually crashed my UA101 driver and/or SONAR.  Hard.  I had to reboot a lot, whenever the UA101 driver froze & became inaccessible. 

No new UA-101 driver.  No new SONAR patch.  No update to FTP. 

I can't crash things no matter how hard I try today.  Gremlins?  Solar flares?  All those device resets I did?

Those freaking MS updates last week?  (You might as well blame the weather... Which, long story, but there may be truth to some of my issues being weather-related...)   

Confused, but happy!
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Elantric

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Confused, but happy!

While things are working - Suggest make a "Ghost" image copy of your current hard drive asap.

then disconnect the internet and disable "MS Update"
I hate wasting hours trying to fix an audio gremlin in my DAW box, that was due to some automatic Microsoft System Update that broke my Audio system.

shawnb

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Update to this thread:

Fishman has acknowledged a bug, that makes Kontakt appear to hang when run within the FTP VST within SONAR (and likely other DAWs):

It's easy to make Kontakt appear to hang, by loading voices, changing your mind & loading other voices.  The "Replace Multi (pressing "No" will merge in the new instruments)?" prompt gets stuck behind the Kontakt window.  Since the Kontakt window has no minimize button, it's impossible to get to the prompt to continue loading the voice.  You may not even realize it's there; how would you?  It appears to hang.  So you go into Task Manager & kill Kontakt.   THAT's when things go very wrong, actually, is when you use TM to kill Kontakt.  Once you do that, your DAW and possibly even your audio interface hang hard.  I need to reboot to recover.

This only fails when loading Kontakt 5 into the FTP VST within your DAW.  No problem when loading Kontakt 5 as an instrument in a track, and no problem loading Kontakt within the FTP app (outside of your DAW).

To work around this:  If you experience this, do not kill Kontakt within Task Manager.   Instead, go into Task Manager, right click on Kontakt and choose MINIMIZE.  You may need to do the same thing to the Fishman TriplePlay app as well.   Once you've done this you can respond to the "Replace Multi" prompt.

In hindsight, these Kontakt "hangs" may be the reason I had a lot of issues when I first used FTP within SONAR. 

(I also posted this in the VST thread, a bit of duplication here...  But this is an important VST usage issue.)
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 09:47:54 AM by shawnb »
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