Author Topic: Trying v7 on a Mac, but can't record a thing [RESOLVED]  (Read 8765 times)

forddonald

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Trying v7 on a Mac, but can't record a thing [RESOLVED]
« on: January 25, 2010, 12:23:38 am »
VinylStudio appears to be the ideal tool for the job I (and many others, I suspect) are trying to do: archive new & old audio from vinyl to use as digital media. The sad thing is, at least for this Mac user, it just simply doesn't work. Here's what I'm trying to do, and why it all breaks down:

My phono pre-amp is wired directly to an external ADC, a PreSonos Firebox in my case. This is a standard issue firewire device sold everywhere as a four input audio conversion box with high quality converters and pro audio style inputs (like Mic XLRs and 1/4" jacks).

This connects to the Mac via firewire and gets clock (sampling frequency) from it. Mac OS X Core Audio then recognizes the device and makes the inputs available as sources for the Mac as a whole. This is the first place the VS falls down along with many other audio softwares. Since the Firebox has multiple mono inputs, the user must ID each input in use and specify it as a source, typically in a left/right pair. VS does not give the user any way to view the available sources and bond them together as an input. For an example of this done right, check out Audio Hijack Pro, which has an Advanced tab for just this function.

I was able to get the right sources lined up for VS to use and selected the Firebox as the input. This is the second place VS falls down, because monitoring the audio it was picking up was bizarrely both too fast (chipmunks singing) and all chopped up (music through the blades of a spinning fan). By contrast, Audio Hijack Pro cleanly captured and played the audio back as normal. Even the level meter bars were having trouble keeping up, showing a flicker of color once every 10 seconds.

Did I bring enough horsepower to do the trick? A late-2009 MacBook Pro with two cores and 4G RAM should be plenty. An external ADC over firewire 400 should be plenty. I suspect that VinylStudio is far from optimized to take advantage of the Mac's core capabilities. I realize it's a Windows port, so there's much still to do.

The third place I'm really frustrated is in available codecs. We all need a 'full quality, lossless' codec of best quality capture. On the Mac this has traditionally been AIFF, and WAV on PCs. No AIFF on VS means at least one additional conversion step to use the output in other tools. By the same token, Audio Hijack Pro supports AIFF but no WAV. On the subject of codecs, I think it's safe to say that anyone who spends the time converting a bunch of vinyl will desire high quality output formats, like Apple Lossless and FLAC. MP3/AAC is of little use to me, and can easily be converted to from the previous formats with lots of free tools.

Here's what I have to do today, keeping me form happily plunking down my $30USD for this product:

Firebox -> Audio Hijack Pro record in AIFF -> Max to convert AIFF to WAV -> Process in VS for de-click -> Crop by song files, or back to AIFF for processing in Fission -> Max for AIFF or WAV to FLAC conversion for storage & playback

Here's what I'd much rather want:

Firebox -> VinylStudio [Individual input selection] -> Record to AIFF -> De-click/split by song -> Export to FLAC for storage & playback

Otherwise, VinylStudio is simply brilliant! The minute VinylStudio can support this workflow on the Mac is the minute you get my paid license fee!
« Last Edit: January 30, 2010, 06:19:15 pm by Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft) »

saronian

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Re: Trying v7 on a Mac, but can't record a thing
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 09:39:28 pm »
Just in case you haven't tried it yet, Apple's Audio MIDI Setup can help setup some defaults for Core Audio. Not sure if this will work with the Firebox, but it's easy to test.

Good luck.

Scott

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Trying v7 on a Mac, but can't record a thing
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2010, 05:21:19 pm »
It's true, we do have a few Core Audio issues.  I'm sure Audio Hijack Pro is well ahead of us there as things stand today.  We will address these issues after we have a stable release available to customers who can make do with what we currently have (which seems to be most people).  That is our current priority.  I might get back to you a bit later on to ask you to run some diagnostic tests on your setup, if you would be willing to do that.

We will also support FLAC and AIFF (in that order) as soon as we can.  We recognise that these are important to quite a few Macintosh users.

Thanks for posting.  We find input like this very valuable.  I think your ideal workflow is achieveable, if you give us a little time to catch up.  Your Mac is more than adequate for the demands that VinylStudio places on it - we are actually quite lightweight in that regard.

Regards,

Paul Sanders
AlpineSoft
http://www.alpinesoft.co.uk

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Trying v7 on a Mac, but can't record a thing [RESOLVED]
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2010, 07:48:18 pm »
Update: our Core Audio issues with multi-channel audio hardware are now fixed.  Watch out for a new release next week.  We haven't yet done anything clever with channel naming / reassignment, and may not do, it depends what further feedback we get.

forddonald

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Re: Trying v7 on a Mac, but can't record a thing [RESOLVED]
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2010, 05:30:55 pm »
Thanks for checking into my issues here. I've finally had a chance to try out VS 7.0.1 on my laptop; here's a report on what I found.

* No way to select multiple inputs: No improvement. But, you said there wouldn't be. The question is: what ADCs do you support?

* Choppy fast input from ext. audio device (Firebox): No improvement, and perhaps a step backwards. The chipmunks are gone, but the input is still all choppy (like sound thru a fan). But, now there's less audio than before; about 1 snippet a second. No indication on the level meter bars. No joy there.

* Codec support: No improvement. But, you said FLAC is on the roadmap, fair enough. AIFF needs to be there as well.

I tried something a little different this time and ran into a new problem. I normalized an audio capture in another tool (Fission) and imported it into VS7 after that. The waveform viewer now doesn't show any spikes, making it impossible to edit/splice the file into tracks. This saps another useful feature from VS' list. Now the resulting workflow is even longer!

Firebox -> Audio Hijack Pro record in AIFF -> Max to convert AIFF to WAV -> Process in VS for de-click -> Crop by song files, or back to AIFF for processing in Fission -> Normalize in Fission -> Max for AIFF or WAV to FLAC conversion for storage & playback

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Trying v7 on a Mac, but can't record a thing [RESOLVED]
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2010, 06:32:27 pm »
Sorry you are still having trouble.  Replies follow.

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What ADCs do you support?

Anything Core Audio supports, in principle.

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Choppy fast input from ext. audio device (Firebox): No improvement, and perhaps a step backwards. The chipmunks are gone, but the input is still all choppy (like sound thru a fan). But, now there's less audio than before; about 1 snippet a second. No indication on the level meter bars. No joy there.

OK, could I ask you to send me a couple of things please?  Please email them to p DOT sanders AT alpinesoft DOT co DOT uk.  Thanks.

1.  A brief sound sample (about 30 Seconds, saved in MP3 format to keep the file size down, use Save Selection As from VinylStudio's Cleanup Audio Window).

2.  The contents of VinylStudio's Console Log (you will find this in Finder menu -> Go -> Utilties -> Console.App and then FILES -> ~/Library/Logs -> VinylStudio.log  You might need to tell Console.App to Show Log List).

In the short term, you can probably record from your Firebox via something called Sound flower:

http://cycling74.com/products/soundflower/

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I tried something a little different this time...

Well, as you say, we can only import WAV and MP3 files currently.  Nothing has changed there.  We will support FLAC and AIFF (in that order) as soon as we can.  But why are you exporting stuff back to Fission?  VinylStudio is purpose-built to split songs into tracks and although it currently lacks a Normalisation function (which we plan to add next up) you can use the Preamp slider in the Graphic Equaliser to do much the same thing.  Pending FLAC support, the recommended format for saving tracks in VinylStudio is currently high-quality AAC.  When FLAC support comes along, you will be able to save all your tracks again in a single 'batch' operation.

I take it that Audio Hijack Pro cannot record to WAV.  Perhaps you should bug them about that :)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 06:49:29 pm by Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft) »

forddonald

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Re: Trying v7 on a Mac, but can't record a thing [RESOLVED]
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2010, 09:30:52 pm »
Quote
I take it that Audio Hijack Pro cannot record to WAV.  Perhaps you should bug them about that

Indeed I have, and on FLAC support as well. The response from Rogue Amoeba Support was that they're only interested in Apple audio formats, as they're only shipping Apple software. So, go pound sand, effectively.

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Anything Core Audio supports, in principle.

But, truthfully, only those simple, two channel audio converter appliances, like iMic and USB turntables, wouldn't you agree? Anything like an M-Audio, PreSonos, Lexicon, MOTU or anything else we'd find for >$100 at Guitar Center in the US would be out in the cold, because those require a tad more configuration for the inputs.

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OK, could I ask you to send me a couple of things please? A brief sound sample

Glad to! Check your inbox.

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The contents of VinylStudio's Console Log

Done!

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But why are you exporting stuff back to Fission?

Let me clarify, and explain: AHP and Fission are bookend products intended to compliment each other, and I already own them. AHP gives me one thing I need: record from any input there is, most importantly any input on the Firebox. Very few products get this right; I tried lots between free and $100.

Fission gives me two things I need: normalization of audio samples and track splitting. VS7 does the second job brilliantly and I much prefer it over Fission, but I must also normalize, which I can only do in Fission in AIFF.

The workflow in Rogue Amoeba product is what I have been using, but VS7 brings much more to the table, which is why I'm simultaneously excited and exasperated about it. Here's how it used to go:

Hijack Firebox in AHP, selecting channels 4/5 in the Advanced tab -> Record needle down to needle up -> Open AIFF file in Fission, don headphones -> Clip off wasted lead-in/out audio, find track breaks, split it up -> Type in meta data about each track -> Normalize -> Save results & pass them thru Max for conversion to FLAC.

All the above is done lossless in 48k Hz sound samples until conversion. But, there's no declick and no linking to external meta data. VS7 automates or solves some of this jumping around, but not until I can use it as a recording source or have it use my samples directly. Using found track lengths is beautiful, de-click is a huge bonus.

A quick note on lossy vs lossless codec use, as I suspect there are many others out there in the same situation. I only use lossless codecs for audio archiving. Disk space is cheap. I'm up to my eyes in Apple products but I refuse to use Apple codecs for the same reason I refuse to use Microsoft Windows Media codecs: vendor lock-in. AIFF is cross-platform, WAV is, FLAC is, Oog and others are. My primary music serving platform is the Squeezebox family, and I listen critically thru them. Lossy codecs simply are a non-starter for me; why throw something away when I don't have to? AAC MPEG-4 and MP3 might as well not exist. I'm forced to use AAC Lossless on iPods for obvious reasons.

Thanks!

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Trying v7 on a Mac, but can't record a thing [RESOLVED]
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2010, 10:49:04 am »
OK, thanks, I will take these points on board. I will see if I can squeeze some simple form of normalisation in to the upcoming maintenance release.

For now, try recording through Soundflower.  It can route specific inputs to specific outputs.  Our support for multi-channel devices is not as poor as it sounds.  Core Audio offers a 'preferred channels for stereo' option, and we use that.  But that said, I acknowledge that our knowledge of high-end audio devices is currently rather weak.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 07:22:04 pm by Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft) »

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Trying v7 on a Mac, but can't record a thing [RESOLVED]
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2010, 07:23:03 pm »
Update: Pending confirmation from Ford, I believe the problem recording from this device is now fixed.  This fix will be in V7.10, as will a simple (but effective) normalisation facility.