Imitone -- wow! Most embarassing post I ever started

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
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interactopia
KVRist
33 posts since 14 May, 2014

Post Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:00 pm

This should be much quicker for testing than relying on user feedback, at least in the "does it load at all" phase.
First-hand testing tells me more than any other method, yes, and it's faster, yes — I'll be working on that. But user reports help me to prioritize testing and alert me to issues I can't reproduce or wouldn't encounter on my end. The app-not-installed issue (related to the virtual MIDI driver) is a good example. So please continue remarking on success/failure.

(Over the years I've learned that a good beta involves collecting as much data as possible. If the app crashes on a Windows XP machine in Cambodia, the user just needs to press a button and I get a report. I'm hoping to advance the VST's automatic reporting systems to this level as well.)

OK. There is nothing wrong with the standalone version (have not tried the VST yet), but I just can't seem to make it produce the Midi data that reflects the melody I have in my mind. I bought it mostly for entering synth bass lines with lots of pitch bending, but the plugin is not tight enough for that, and my voice not good enough it seems :hihi:

As the problem is mostly my voice, I don't want a refund, which always implies that a product is not good. That's not the case.
Maybe someone else wants my license...
So, this is pretty much why I've chosen to spend years and years on this software in spite of those who've urged me to beeline for a finished product. I don't want to make a product that leaves a user feeling unable to use it despite serious efforts to learn. Getting the tech to that level is long and labor-intensive process — research and development — which I don't even get to spend most of my time on. In this case, my judgment is that imitone failed to serve your needs.

With any luck the next set of advancements (automatic scale & key selection, algorithm improvements, anti-jitter tracking, and a new transcription engine) will change that. Starting into those next month and expecting to spend quite some time there.
imitone: transform your voice into any instrument.

fluffy_little_something
KVRAF
12922 posts since 5 Jun, 2012

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:12 pm

interactopia wrote:
OK. There is nothing wrong with the standalone version (have not tried the VST yet), but I just can't seem to make it produce the Midi data that reflects the melody I have in my mind. I bought it mostly for entering synth bass lines with lots of pitch bending, but the plugin is not tight enough for that, and my voice not good enough it seems :hihi:

As the problem is mostly my voice, I don't want a refund, which always implies that a product is not good. That's not the case.
Maybe someone else wants my license...
So, this is pretty much why I've chosen to spend years and years on this software in spite of those who've urged me to beeline for a finished product. I don't want to make a product that leaves a user feeling unable to use it despite serious efforts to learn. Getting the tech to that level is long and labor-intensive process — research and development — which I don't even get to spend most of my time on. In this case, my judgment is that imitone failed to serve your needs.

With any luck the next set of advancements (automatic scale & key selection, algorithm improvements, anti-jitter tracking, and a new transcription engine) will change that. Starting into those next month and expecting to spend quite some time there.
Don't worry, I really think it is mostly due to my voice, which is a bit broken (especially the critical attack phase) and rather deep, not as solid and clean as it should be for that kind of application I suppose.

User avatar
interactopia
KVRist
33 posts since 14 May, 2014

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:03 pm

fluffy_little_something wrote:Don't worry, I really think it is mostly due to my voice, which is a bit broken (especially the critical attack phase) and rather deep, not as solid and clean as it should be for that kind of application I suppose.
If you're comfortable doing so, I'd love to get a vocal sample from you. If imitone doesn't track your voice very well (whether it's because of the sound or pitch control) then it's likely to make a useful piece of data for my research.

Samples are made inside imitone with the C key and the feedback form. Instructions here: https://imitone.com/munity/viewtopic.php?pid=1143#p1143
imitone: transform your voice into any instrument.

No_Use
KVRAF
2421 posts since 13 Mar, 2004

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:51 pm

interactopia wrote: Q: Why isn't there a direct audio-to-MIDI adaptor plugin?
A: It isn't actually possible to create one with VST3, which uses its own event format. Hosts are responsible for translating from MIDI to VST3 and back. But VST3 doesn't support translating back to MIDI CC and Pitch Bend, which is a bit of a disaster... For obvious reasons, we'll be releasing a VST2 plugin with direct MIDI capability as soon as we can.
Wow, wasn't aware of this. But quick googling finds similar statement from other plugin dev indeed:
The VST3 standard has however one major limitation regarding MIDI events: plug-ins can no longer process MIDI data directly. The main consequence with our plug-ins is that when used as VST3s, they cannot output MIDI CC events like with other plug-in formats. So if you intend to use the advanced MIDI output capabilities of our plug-ins, you should use the VST2 version instead.
https://www.bluecataudio.com/Blog/new-r ... -what-for/

I ask myself WTF Steinberg? :nutter:

(Sorry for the slightly OT rant.)

edit:
To get back on topic, as said by previous poster, given these conditions starting with the VST2 would have probably made more sense imo. (Creating its own virtual MIDI port to work around the VST3 limitation I actually find quite a clever hack though. :))

Taika-Kim
KVRian
1122 posts since 15 May, 2002 from Finland

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:57 am

How is the situation currently with Bigwig, I saw a few people complaining about crashing? Then again if the plugin can't output midi, I guess the standalone version can still export midi? Can it process pre-recorded audio files?

No_Use
KVRAF
2421 posts since 13 Mar, 2004

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:13 am

Taika-Kim wrote:How is the situation currently with Bigwig, I saw a few people complaining about crashing? Then again if the plugin can't output midi, I guess the standalone version can still export midi? Can it process pre-recorded audio files?
In principle the VST3 plugin can output MIDI using Evan's workaround of creating a dedicated MIDI port. I'm not a Bitwig user so I don't know what's the current state but I can confirm above method works with Reaper at least.

edit:
MIDI output here meaning CC's and Pitchbend. MIDI notes are output in both versions of the current VST3 plugin.

User avatar
ThomasHelzle
KVRAF
5362 posts since 9 Dec, 2008 from Berlin

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:41 am

Taika-Kim wrote:How is the situation currently with Bigwig, I saw a few people complaining about crashing? Then again if the plugin can't output midi, I guess the standalone version can still export midi? Can it process pre-recorded audio files?
The current version crashes in Bitwig Studio 2.3 on Windows 8.1 x64 for me.

I have no idea why - with the VST3 version being unable to output Midi controllers directly - this format was chosen as a first step. :shrug:
Evans mind seems to reliably dismiss simple, straight solutions as invalid. :borg:

The VST3 version that outputs its Midi through a virtual midi cable/port to be fed back into the DAW as normal Midi input should work once the crashes in Bitwig are solved, but I don't know what it does regarding latency. I'm also not sure if that virtual Midi port will be found on DAW start right away the next time I load my session. Sounds pretty convoluted and prone to errors to me. :?:

You can use the Standalone the same as always with a virtual midi cable (included in Imitone standalone) - it does not load audio files nor export midi files though, it's made for live use.

I personally will wait for the VST2 version. I hope it will see the light and be stable in Bitwig before Evan dives into another round of algorithmic optimisations. Those tend to take years.

Funny how this plugins turns out to be the most elaborate cliff-hanger of all times.
I'd have happily used a VST2 version of the first alpha shown on Kickstarter 4 years ago.

Live and learn.

Cheers,

Tom
"Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there." - Rumi
ScreenDream|Thomas Helzle 8) Twitter

GreyLion
KVRAF
3070 posts since 21 May, 2004 from Deep in the Heart of Texas

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:05 am

I've pretty much concluded that this is a self-esteem protection sequence. If he never finishes it, it's never a failure.

I'll give him points for avoiding yearly charges for upgrades to v2, v3, v4, etc.

Taika-Kim
KVRian
1122 posts since 15 May, 2002 from Finland

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:08 am

Oh, damn. I really need it for a production tool, I didn't find yet anyting that does good audio to MIDI conversion with pitch bends. I really want that, since most of the character of a sound comes from that. I've been waiting for this since the 90s, and for some reason nobody seems to get it straight...

I found out about Akoff Composer yesterday, it can process re-recorded files, and can do pitch bends. The demo version can't export MIDI, but using a virtual MIDI port the output can still be recorded onto a DAW. I didn't do testing really to say if it's very good.

Well... I could always play the files I need back through speakers into Imitone :P Because my use would be converting acoustic solo instruments to MIDI.

User avatar
ThomasHelzle
KVRAF
5362 posts since 9 Dec, 2008 from Berlin

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:39 am

Did you try JamOrigin Midi Guitar/Bass? Didn't go deep into the pitch-bending capabilities and it may not be as deep as Imitone there but otherwise its quite good (and VST2).
Imitone is mono BTW., Midi Guitar is polyphonic, Midi Bass is also mono ATM.

For pre-recorded stuff, Melodyne may be good to give a try too. The mono version is free with many hosts and you can drag out the midi into your host.

I guess at one point a Deep Learning/AI tool will do this close to perfect.

Cheers,

Tom
"Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there." - Rumi
ScreenDream|Thomas Helzle 8) Twitter

Taika-Kim
KVRian
1122 posts since 15 May, 2002 from Finland

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:19 am

I've tried Melodyne, it can't export pitch bends in MIDI. Which is kind of crazy, since the accurate pitch data is available, and polyphonic pitch bend is a thing...

I will take a look at JamOrigin! Hmm, there is no demo for the VST version? That is so 90s :P These days I expect a good fully functional demo, that's the way to show people how the software really sounds. Well, Imitone does not have a demo at all...

I will still probably take a look at Imitone, since it's not that expensive and people seem happy with it.

User avatar
interactopia
KVRist
33 posts since 14 May, 2014

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:33 pm

Hey, all —
I personally will wait for the VST2 version. I hope it will see the light and be stable in Bitwig before Evan dives into another round of algorithmic optimisations. Those tend to take years.
My next priority is fixing the obvious bugs with the VST3, Bitwig and a couple other hosts. After that I'll be putting together a VST2. I'm currently in a time crunch on another project so I'll be putting out small patches weekly or so.

Research and development was slated to begin in mid-to-late March but I'll seriously consider fleshing the plugins out a bit further before I go into that in full force.
I have no idea why - with the VST3 version being unable to output Midi controllers directly - this format [VST3] was chosen as a first step.
VST2 was deprecated almost ten years ago and I wasn't immediately aware of VST3's deficiencies with regard to controllers. There is no official source for complete VST2 SDK, though as it turns out the most crucial components are provided in the VST3 SDK. I get the idea that most VST2 developers are just grabbing the old SDK wherever they can find it. It would be easy enough for a third party hosting those files to implant malware and infect the machines of the developer's customers...

Anyway, I've taken some time to review the code components and cobble together a clean VST2 SDK. Implementation is simpler than VST3 so the eventual port should be pretty quick.
I ask myself WTF Steinberg?
I'm not the only one who likes to overthink things. Steinberg made a serious (maybe even commendable) attempt to innovate with per-note controllers, but they broke compatibility with MIDI and I think this is why VST3 didn't do so well. IMO these kinds of innovations should be left to the MIDI Manufacturers' Association (of which I'm a member) with its Next-Generation Protocol project (to which I'm a contributor).
The VST3 version that outputs its Midi through a virtual midi cable/port to be fed back into the DAW as normal Midi input should work once the crashes in Bitwig are solved, but I don't know what it does regarding latency.
The VirtualMIDI driver's latency impact is negligible (<1ms), especially in light of the natural latency limitations involved in harmonic pitch tracking (1-2 periods at the fundamental frequency). So I wouldn't worry about it. I expect Virtual MIDI to be a useful option even with the VST2.
Did you try JamOrigin Midi Guitar/Bass?
JamOrigin's pitch tracking is pretty great, even for voice. Their scale "filtering" method leaves a few things to be desired for untrained vocalists, though. They've always been my first recommendation for an alternative tool; and importantly, they're out of beta with mature plugins.
I'll give him points for avoiding yearly charges for upgrades to v2, v3, v4, etc.
We're not even at V1 yet!
imitone: transform your voice into any instrument.

User avatar
ThomasHelzle
KVRAF
5362 posts since 9 Dec, 2008 from Berlin

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:14 am

Evan, thanks a lot for the feedback.

I would really appreciate if you would work on the plugins and the VST2 some more first, before going into more R&D. This will enable many people working with DAWs to really start using Imitone and put it through it's paces, which again may provide you with more valuable feedback to work with.
I personally didn't even try the standalone version anymore for a long time now, since it just does not work for how my system is set up. I also don't really think I'll go down the VST3 road other than a quick "does it run at all" test.

VST3 was maybe the most underwhelming update to a de-facto-standard ever. There are still a lot of major companies like Native Instruments etc. who do not deliver VST3 versions of their plugins - and I personally actually thank them for it, since VST in reality doesn't offer me anything worthwhile over VST2 and is a major pest in some regards. I personally did hope that a VST4 SDK would be out much sooner, removing some of the more silly problems and limitations, but it doesn't seem to come about.

Good to hear you are working with the Midi Association!

All the best luck for your work!

Cheers,

Tom
"Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there." - Rumi
ScreenDream|Thomas Helzle 8) Twitter

User avatar
interactopia
KVRist
33 posts since 14 May, 2014

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:50 pm

New update should be hitting inboxes now. I've got it working with Bitwig and made some modifications to get VST3 presets working. VST2 and a proper installer are my next priorities.

Give it a try and post the the vst3_calls file if you run into any trouble.
imitone: transform your voice into any instrument.

User avatar
ThomasHelzle
KVRAF
5362 posts since 9 Dec, 2008 from Berlin

Re: Imitone -- wow! Best live voice-to-midi I've ever seen

Post Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:10 am

:tu:

Thanks Evan!
"Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there." - Rumi
ScreenDream|Thomas Helzle 8) Twitter

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