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psychogenetix
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11 posts since 18 Oct, 2017

Postby psychogenetix; Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:41 pm Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

Hey everyone.

When automating various knobs in Zebra 2 x64 in FL Studio I encounter a precision issue which causes switch motions (instant 0-100 transition) to be impossible, instead resulting in quick sliding motions.

I have attached an image as an example. The square patterned automation controls the volume knob for Osc 1 in Zebra2.

It's supposed to sound like a rhythm but instead Zebra processes the automation into quick shifts in volume instead of instant shifts, resulting in this sound (note ONLY the volume of the synth):

https://soundcloud.com/theworldwave/aut ... ip-problem

With that said, Zebra2 automations in general in FL Studio have precision problems for me. Which is to say, beyond a certain speed the parameters don't even reach the intended max or min value but float between them, as if the parameter knob's motion is smoothed or slowed in some way. And smoothing is disabled.

What gives? I asked this on the Image-Line forums as well, to see if it's from their end, but other plugins seem to work fine with switch automations.
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Urs
u-he
 
22009 posts since 7 Aug, 2002, from Berlin

Postby Urs; Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:23 am Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

What you see is a feature, not a bug. We smooth parameter changes to avoid "steppyness" aka "zipper noise". As a general rule, you can either have precise automation and take zipper noise into account, or remove zipper noise and get smoothed automation. The removal of zipper noise and smooth parameter sweeps is commonly preferred.

For all other intentions and purposes, pretty much all of our synth plug-ins support MIDI Controllers 2 (Breath) and 11 (Expressions), which have a smoothing preference. Those can be used to create very fast and precise modulations.
psychogenetix
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11 posts since 18 Oct, 2017

Postby psychogenetix; Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:01 am Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

Hi Urs, huge fan, thanks for replying. I think it's redundant to say that Zebra2 is by far my favorite synth out there.

Is there a way for me to disable this feature? It's too harsh and has always been an issue for me. FLStudio supports automation smoothing from the link panel, outside of Zebra, so I can always control it from there in case zipper noise became a problem. In fact, I'd LIKE zipper noise in some cases.

It just feels like Zebra loses out on automation clip precision by doing this.

EDIT:

Applying expression or breath as the mod source for the volume knob and automating them via automation clip raises even more issues, Zebra doesn't take in the input right and misses steps, as well as causing sound artifacts and a bit-crushing sort of interference. So there's no way to work with that.

EDIT 2: The problem seems to be fixed if the automation clip doesn't DARE to come close to the 100 value or the 0 value. This seems to be a bug with expression / breath taking automation input.

Still, my gripe is with smoothing. Can I disable it?
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EvilDragon
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16293 posts since 6 Jan, 2009, from Croatia

Postby EvilDragon; Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:28 am Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

You cannot disable automation smoothing. You can only disable MIDI control slew in the Preferences pane, which is probably what you will want to do, considering what you got when using MW/EXP.
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Urs
u-he
 
22009 posts since 7 Aug, 2002, from Berlin

Postby Urs; Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:37 am Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

psychogenetix wrote:Applying expression or breath as the mod source for the volume knob and automating them via automation clip raises even more issues, Zebra doesn't take in the input right and misses steps, as well as causing sound artifacts and a bit-crushing sort of interference. So there's no way to work with that.

Ah, MIDI learn is not an option here (it uses the parameter smoothing, just like automation does). You need to modulate the mixer or Master using the ModMatrix.
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Urs
u-he
 
22009 posts since 7 Aug, 2002, from Berlin

Postby Urs; Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:42 am Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

That said, I'll ponder over the options to change the behaviour... there *are* techniques to make large changes less smooth than small changes, but they do involve more CPU - which, with 900+ parameters may be an issue.
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EvilDragon
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16293 posts since 6 Jan, 2009, from Croatia

Postby EvilDragon; Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:50 am Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

...or just have a preference to disable automation smoothing altogether, like it exists for MIDI CC?
psychogenetix
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11 posts since 18 Oct, 2017

Postby psychogenetix; Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:30 am Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

I'll take the preference to disable. It's really hard to create complex automation patterns through the MSEG alone. And having only 2 parameters that can take non-smoothed automation is too little for some use cases.

EDIT: I gotta add, Urs, that your forum activity and willingness to improve upon customer input is highly commendable. Thank you for your support man.
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EvilDragon
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16293 posts since 6 Jan, 2009, from Croatia

Postby EvilDragon; Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:36 am Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

It's not just two parameters, it's four, I think (modwheel, breath, expression, aftertouch). Not 100% certain about AT, but I think so. Pitch bend is always smoothed (which makes sense).
psychogenetix
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11 posts since 18 Oct, 2017

Postby psychogenetix; Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:51 pm Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

Thanks, 4 parameters is pretty good

You're saying I can prevent the bit-crushing noise by turning off midi slew?
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EvilDragon
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16293 posts since 6 Jan, 2009, from Croatia

Postby EvilDragon; Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:06 pm Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

Not sure, but at least it will not smooth the incoming MIDI CC stream for those CCs. For better or for worse.
psychogenetix
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11 posts since 18 Oct, 2017

Postby psychogenetix; Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:48 pm Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

I used the four parameters you mentioned and they work fine, though I think having the option to disable modulation smoothing altogether would be much better. Zebra2, although virtuous in its own right, competes with synths that can do this and honestly it's a big loss with a simple fix. This would allow me to modulate the parameters directly, instead of modulating a value that modulates a value and complicates things.

FLStudio offers to smooth modulation input in the link panel, so applying smoothing to an input is simple in case it's disabled in the synth. I'm guessing other DAWs can do this as well.
psychogenetix
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11 posts since 18 Oct, 2017

Postby psychogenetix; Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:19 pm Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

Just to TLDR this thread for future google searches by Zebra 2 users:

If you're looking for unsmoothed, more precise, and rougher automation inputs, you can use Modwheel, Breath, Xpress (Expression) and maybe Aftertouch as mod sources. These can be used to create precision hard gates, quick and rapid modulation, etc.
psychogenetix
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11 posts since 18 Oct, 2017

Postby psychogenetix; Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:18 am Re: Zebra2 in FL Studio 12.5 - automation precision issues

Just bumping this up to remind U-He that it will be amazingly awesome if they added the option to disable automation smoothing in Z3 or Z2.8.

Thanks alot for the support and availability, really appreciate the new facelift in 2.8.

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