Acoustica - Software should be easy to use

First Impressions

Support and feedback for Acoustica's Mixcraft audio mixing software.

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ChernobylStudios
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First Impressions

Postby ChernobylStudios » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:49 am

Hello everybody. My name is Scott and I run Chernobyl Studios on YouTube.

For 18 years I was a dedicated Cakewalk user (starting from Cakewalk Pro Audio 9) and when Gibson dropped the news, I took advantage of the cross-grade price for Studio One 3. However, I can't say the transition has been seamless for me. I don't want to say Studio One 3 is a bad piece of software, but for some reason or another - it's hard for me to envision myself using it for the length of time I used Cakewalk products.

I recently reached out to the folks here at Acoustica and I've got my hands on Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio. I wanted to give a detailed first impressions thread as well as some praise and criticism.

Please understand that my only aim here is to give my honest opinion, thoughts, and ideas and I'm in no way looking to start a flame war of any kind.

:arrow: Overall Impression
The program installs without a hitch and loads quickly. The main start tab is sensible, allowing you to already insert tracks or instrument tracks if you know exactly what you'll be doing. Very nice.

The program itself is familiar and quite easy to get the hang of. It does remind me quite a bit of Cakewalk stuff for some reason - especially the piano roll functionality. I make extensive use of the piano roll, so that's a big plus for me.

The overall design of the program is not blowing my socks off and I think Acoustica could consider re-vamping to a more modern look, but that said, menus and options are located in very logical places and I literally had no problems finding the options I needed. In this case, I have no problem forgiving the out-dated design because the functionality of the program is great and really all that truly matters.

:arrow: Tweaks I Made
I dove into the preferences tab pretty much right away to see what I could do. I was both surprised and somewhat pleased to see that the program is simple and it's only got a few options that can be tweaked. Some options I tweaked were:

  • Removed note text;
  • Removed note color changes when being played;
  • Changed default audio/instrument track colors;
  • Switched to "Light" theme;
  • Changed the playback cursor to always be centered;
  • Made it so the playback cursor goes back to the start position on stop;
  • Changed the mousewheel and keyboard combinations for zooming;
  • Removed FX from the tracks in the main clip grid;
  • Removed EQ knobs in channel strips in the docker.

There were a few other changes I made that I can't remember off the top of my head at the moment. I'm more or less happy with how the program functions with the changes I made.

:arrow: Praise
  • Automatic routing with virtual instruments like Kontakt 5;
  • MIDI Editing is fast;
  • MIDI humanization functional contains ability to humanize within a particular velocity range;
  • Interface is not cluttered - everything is easy to find;
  • Separate window for Marker List;
  • Tuner on every track is very useful - especially for quick guitar tuning;
  • Automation is easy to do;
  • I like the meters - very easy to see where I'm at dB-wise;

:arrow: Criticism
  • No keyboard shortcut to open/close docker - having to actually click that tiny " - " symbol is annoying;
  • Everything is grey - tracks could retain their color all the time instead of when only being active;
  • No keyboard shortcut to add submix tracks;
  • Timeline mode is either measures/beats or minutes/seconds and can't be combined;
  • Can't have grid-lines appear on top of clips in main clip grid;
  • Multiple track selection in the Mixer seems buggy - could only select 4 at a time?;
  • No gain staging plugin such as Trim or the Gain knob such as in Cakewalk;

:arrow: Stability & Bugs
Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio has already crashed on me a few times during very routine things such as recording guitar, inserting Kontakt 5, and even when saving and closing the program.

One specific instance was a case where I was testing out guitar tones for a product I'm reviewing. I inserted a new track, copied the FX to that track, and then I had outrageous noise. (The kind of noise you'd get if you accidentally put two or three overdrive pedals before an amp sim.) I deleted the FX on that track, but the amp-simulator remained. I went to "Edit FX" panel and now FX appeared there, yet the amp-sim sound was still there. I closed the program and re-opened it and no changes. I had to make a new project.

When compared to Studio One 3, I can't say that Mixcraft 8 has been more stable for me. In using this product thus far I can see that Mixcraft 8 is starting to make the jump from home hobbyists to the professional realm. I see real potential here and I'm going to begin creating content for my YouTube channel in regards to Mixcraft 8.

:arrow: PC Specs
For those who are curious, my recording rig is:

  • AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 3.4GHz;
  • MSI Core Frozr L Cooler;
  • MSI X370 Gaming Pro;
  • MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming 4G;
  • Eve Audio SC204 Monitors;
  • Samsung EVO 500GB SSD;
  • Western Digital Black 2T;
  • Kingston DDR4-2666 16GB;
  • Seasonic Prime Platinum 650W;
  • 27" Samsung Curved C27F396F;
  • Zalman Z9 Neo Black.

Thanks to everybody for reading this very TL;DR and if I'm wrong or have yet to find functionality that would help me, I'd be very eager to hear about it.

Once again, big thanks to Acoustica for everything!
Scott, Chernobyl Studios
[https://www.chernobylstudios.com/portfolio.html]Check out My Portfolio[/url]
Chernobyl Studios on YouTube

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ChernobylStudios
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Re: First Impressions

Postby ChernobylStudios » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:05 am

In working with the program a bit further, I'm running into an interesting situation. The situation is as follows:

:arrow: Recording Guitars
  • Arm record with input monitoring;
  • Record a take;
  • Don't like the take, CTRL+Z to step backwards in order to re-record;
  • Arm record is red, everything appears normal, but no sound is emitted from the program;
  • Try to record anyway - no sound is captured;
  • Dis-arm the record button, re-arm, sound returns;
  • Hit record, sound disappears again;

I've found that if I hit the "Delete" key to remove a take that I don't like, I have more success, but the situation still occurs. I have to dis-arm and re-arm the track for recording multiple times before the sound returns.

Please let me know if I'm doing something wrong. :?:
Scott, Chernobyl Studios
[https://www.chernobylstudios.com/portfolio.html]Check out My Portfolio[/url]
Chernobyl Studios on YouTube

Ampfixer
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Ampfixer » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:07 am

As another noob coming from Sonar I can agree with your general impressions of the product. I think they're similar to mine. We differ on the highs and lows and I think that's normal. Everyone has their own particular take on what software should do, or not do.
The only place where I see a big difference is in our experience with buggy behaviour. I've been lucky. It's been running very smooth with no hangs or crashes. IN terms of stability there could be improvements. For example, if I'm tracking and hit the save button as I'm recording, there can be a brief glitch and audio dropout. I experience similar behaviour trying to add plugs on the fly. I can work around both of those things but it would be nice if it didn't happen.
Overall I think it's a really good deal and the support I've needed has been great.

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Mark Bliss
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Mark Bliss » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:43 am

Hello and welcome new users!

ChernobylStudios wrote:
Criticism
  • No keyboard shortcut to open/close docker - having to actually click that tiny " - " symbol is annoying;
  • Everything is grey - tracks could retain their color all the time instead of when only being active;
  • No keyboard shortcut to add submix tracks;
  • Timeline mode is either measures/beats or minutes/seconds and can't be combined;
  • Can't have grid-lines appear on top of clips in main clip grid;
  • Multiple track selection in the Mixer seems buggy - could only select 4 at a time?;
  • No gain staging plugin such as Trim or the Gain knob such as in Cakewalk;

All worthy feature suggestions IMO, with the exception of the "Multiple track selection in mixer view" which appears to be a bug, and I can confirm the behaviour here. It is not working as expected.
I will check to see if it has been previously reported.

ChernobylStudios wrote:
Stability & Bugs
Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio has already crashed on me a few times during very routine things such as ............... when saving and closing the program.

I can also confirm that the "not responding" fault upon closing is frequently occurring in the current build, as well as confirm several others I have spoken to have been experiencing this. It has been reported and documented and I am sure it is being looked at.
Unfortunately when it happens, I am usually in a situation with little time to invest in looking for a cause.
Things I have noticed in the pattern lead me to believe it has to do with closing various or specific plug ins, and that it seems to occur far more frequently when a mix of 32 bit and 64 bit plug ins are being used.
And though forcing the program to close hasn't been too much trouble, on one occasion it appeared to be the cause of a corrupted project file and the loss of about four hours of work for me, so..... It would be nice if we could get it to quit doing that huh?

Though It has been reported, more data never hurts the trouble shooting process. I think it might be helpful if we attempt to capture a few log files and submit reports. Instructions for doing so are included in the support ticket path, via the support tab at the top of this page. 8)
Stay in tune, Mark

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My SOUNDCLOUD Page

freightgod
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Re: First Impressions

Postby freightgod » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:31 pm

Great intro post. I can't argue with any of your conclusions. I think it truly sums up where Mixcraft stands at this moment in it's development.

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Acoustica Greg
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Acoustica Greg » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:43 pm

Hi,

In regard to the multiple track selecting in the mixer, it seems to work perfectly well for me if I take care not to click on any controls. I mean, if I click on the header for the track, it works perfectly every time. If I click on the fader, tracks get de-selected. I'll file a problem report on this, but the workaround is pretty easy.

In regard to the recording issue, we'll take a look at that.

In regard to any crashing, you should quit Mixcraft and send us your mixcraft-log.txt file immediately after a crash so we can see if we can figure out what's causing it.

To find the mixcraft-log file, highlight the following line and press Ctrl+C to copy it:

Code: Select all

%appdata%\Acoustica\Mixcraft\


Press the Windows Key+R to pop up the Run box in Windows. Click in the Run box and press Ctrl+V to paste in the line from above. Finally, click OK to go to the location of the mixcraft-log.txt file. Submit an Acoustica Support Request and attach the log file along with a brief description of the problem.

Thanks for the suggestions!

Greg
Mixcraft 8 - The Musician's DAW
Give it a try here: http://acoustica.com/mixcraft/
Check out our Mixcraft University video tutorials.

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Mark Bliss
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Mark Bliss » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:59 pm

Hmm, isn't it often the way it goes.

I previously experienced odd behavior as described about the track selection. Exclusively in the mixer view and after reading the OP reproduced it first try. (And yes, I believe I was clicking on the header area, not on controls.)

Now I try to repro to show it happening and it wont do it.

If I get it to happen again I'll try to get a screen recording or something. For now, no problem!
Stay in tune, Mark

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My SOUNDCLOUD Page

bigaquarium
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Re: First Impressions

Postby bigaquarium » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:23 am

.
Last edited by bigaquarium on Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

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ChernobylStudios
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Re: First Impressions

Postby ChernobylStudios » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:04 am

Thanks to everybody for the constructive conversation here! I'm not giving up on Mixcraft 8, only giving my findings and honest thoughts. I do believe Mixcraft has some real potential here and I'm looking forward to seeing how it grows from here on out.

In the future I'll send those mixcraft-log files your guys' way as well.

By the way, one other very cool feature I just discovered last night is that Mixcraft 8 uses WaveRT, which allows screencapture programs to record DAW audio at the same time. As a YouTuber, THIS is very, very cool and will definitely come in handy in the future.
Scott, Chernobyl Studios
[https://www.chernobylstudios.com/portfolio.html]Check out My Portfolio[/url]
Chernobyl Studios on YouTube

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DaddyV
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Re: First Impressions

Postby DaddyV » Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:00 pm

Welcome SONAR Refugee brother....my experience differs in that I've had NO CRASHES YET....I dig the mixer view but it's eq is useless. Some of the built in vst's are killer tho

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ChernobylStudios
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Re: First Impressions

Postby ChernobylStudios » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:50 am

ChernobylStudios wrote: :arrow: Recording Guitars
  • Arm record with input monitoring;
  • Record a take;
  • Don't like the take, CTRL+Z to step backwards in order to re-record;
  • Arm record is red, everything appears normal, but no sound is emitted from the program;
  • Try to record anyway - no sound is captured;
  • Dis-arm the record button, re-arm, sound returns;
  • Hit record, sound disappears again;


I wanted to give an update on this issue. I've found that this happens when using WaveRT. When switching to ASIO, everything works as normal without any problems at all.
Scott, Chernobyl Studios
[https://www.chernobylstudios.com/portfolio.html]Check out My Portfolio[/url]
Chernobyl Studios on YouTube

sjoens
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Re: First Impressions

Postby sjoens » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:50 pm

No trouble selecting all tracks here. Once selected, moving any knob or fader moves all track's knobs & faders.

I'd like to know how you "removed EQ" in the mixer view. I can't find any way to do that.

As far as updating the look. There's no reason to remove the current theme (80's vibe?) when new themes can be added along side it. 8)
Last edited by sjoens on Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mixcraft 8.1 Pro Studio (418), Windows 10 Alienware laptop, Windows 10 64 bit, Behringer UFX1204USB mixer/interface.

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Acoustica Greg
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Re: First Impressions

Postby Acoustica Greg » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:05 pm

sjoens wrote:I'd like to know how you "removed EQ" in the mixer view. I can't find any way to do that.


Image
Mixcraft 8 - The Musician's DAW
Give it a try here: http://acoustica.com/mixcraft/
Check out our Mixcraft University video tutorials.

sjoens
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Re: First Impressions

Postby sjoens » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:03 pm

Doh! Hiding in plain sight. Never thought to look there. Thanks!

Also nice you can rearrange the order to suit.
Mixcraft 8.1 Pro Studio (418), Windows 10 Alienware laptop, Windows 10 64 bit, Behringer UFX1204USB mixer/interface.

guitbuddy
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Re: First Impressions

Postby guitbuddy » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:41 pm

Hey,

I own studio one. On first use it was too picky on hardware -- wouldn't recognize my interface.
I figured that was the attitude of the whole program, so - after wasting money - have dropped it.


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