FXpansion releases Cypher2

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
AnX
KVRAF
4130 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Post Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:12 pm

i gave up on C2 in the beta stage (never used C1)

the modulation is so convoluted it drove me nuts, absolutely killed workflow

robbmonn
KVRist
101 posts since 1 Jul, 2018

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:52 am

perfumer wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:48 pm
robbmonn wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:05 pm
edited for meh whatever.
Pro et contra, as always.

Look, a UI redesign that would satisfy your compaints means a complete rewrite, because the UI (not colors but layout and functionality) is integrated with the rest of the code, not slapped on top of it.
That's not how GUI development works. The GUI is always abstracted from the model/guts in software development and could be redone without a complete rewrite. The GUI itself wouldn't need to be rewritten either, just reworked. Also, I'm not saying they should fix it, I'm saying it is a mess. They need someone with UX/Product focus working on their team if they want to make a good product, which this is not. It is user-punishing. If they were to refocus on making the tool work better they would be more successful, their tools would be more widely used and they would make more money.

But by all means argue against someone advocating for the users.

machinesworking
KVRAF
1582 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:40 am

robbmonn wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:52 am
perfumer wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:48 pm
robbmonn wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:05 pm
edited for meh whatever.
Pro et contra, as always.

Look, a UI redesign that would satisfy your compaints means a complete rewrite, because the UI (not colors but layout and functionality) is integrated with the rest of the code, not slapped on top of it.
That's not how GUI development works. The GUI is always abstracted from the model/guts in software development and could be redone without a complete rewrite. The GUI itself wouldn't need to be rewritten either, just reworked. Also, I'm not saying they should fix it, I'm saying it is a mess. They need someone with UX/Product focus working on their team if they want to make a good product, which this is not. It is user-punishing. If they were to refocus on making the tool work better they would be more successful, their tools would be more widely used and they would make more money.

But by all means argue against someone advocating for the users.
A lot of logical fallacies here
You're arguing for all users now?
Because you don't like the UX does not mean it's bad, I really do not get why some people will never understand this? You can't even truthfully say that Cypher2 is a universally panned UX/GUI, because some people don't like it does not logically make all people hate it.

People used to come on the Live forums and argue for skeuomorphism, because all the other DAWs used it, therefore Live sucked for not using it in it's design. The same applied in reverse to Live users arguing against complexity in Live, and to this day Live has a limited fixed set of key commands because Ableton and Live users both decry anything that isn't simple as needlessly complex. The success of Live and the multitude of successful DAWs with more complex key command implementations point out that it's possible that a huge set of key commands is a design choice, and there is no right answer there.

The point here is simple, some people were not confused by and even like the modulation system in Cypher2, so you're not "advocating for the users", you're advocating for your personal opinion on a plug in.

robbmonn
KVRist
101 posts since 1 Jul, 2018

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:57 am

I have never publicly written that a tool was bad before in my life (or at least since Reaktor 4, lol.) This is a first.

I am not arguing for all users, I am advocating for the user. That's different. I am allowed to do this.

When I say the design is bad, obviously I'm speaking for myself. But, in my case, myself is someone with 25 years experience in software development, with a few degrees in computer science, and who has been leading teams doing app (and GUI) development for the last 8 years. That doesn't make me any more right than anyone else, but that's where I'm coming from.

Design is NOT merely how a tool looks. UX is not cosmetic. It is a discipline, very well defined, regarding creating a great user experience. It is more difficult, by my measure, than development, but it is very important. A bad design can make a synth "kill your workflow" or make a nuclear power control station a deadly thing. A good design can make things possible that simply were not before. Live has a good design. What you currently have to do in Live to get MPE to work is terrible design. Some parts of Mac OSX have amazing design, but having to edit a .plist file to make Spotlight work properly is an example of terrible design. Being pedantic or defensive about design isn't productive... offering a critique and calling a spade a spade about when design is broken is very productive. What would be good would be ROLI and fxpansion seeing users complain and making it a priority to do better. That's how it should work.

I am glad you like this tool. I do not. And I think that it has the potential to be a great tool if it were better designed. This is my opinion and I'm entitled to that. Aside from it being my opinion, I am also of the opinion that I am right, and that if fxpansion were to do what I am suggesting they would make something much better than what they have -- which I would very much appreciate. I am able to abide your disagreement with this and will do so in silence.

machinesworking
KVRAF
1582 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:42 am

robbmonn wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:57 am
I am glad you like this tool. I do not. And I think that it has the potential to be a great tool if it were better designed. This is my opinion and I'm entitled to that. Aside from it being my opinion, I am also of the opinion that I am right, and that if fxpansion were to do what I am suggesting they would make something much better than what they have -- which I would very much appreciate. I am able to abide your disagreement with this and will do so in silence.
I'm not at all asking you to be silent. I'm simply saying that if you want to dog on a product you must at least explain what you do not like. Me and others have responded to some of your frustrations, and you have not acknowledged that. When you claim things like this:
There are 24 windows for the mod sources at least and then many more.
You have to explain that or it comes across as hyperbole. There certainly aren't 24 windows for the mod sources, window squares in the main GUI maybe.
You say you can't tell from the GUI what's modded or not, and that's not accurate either, anything in the GUI you hover over has it's modulation exposed. Shaded mod sources are actively in use, selecting them brightens the mod graphics on the knobs and sliders etc. etc.
Knowing this, explain how to make that better, it's pretty straightforward to me, but I'm open to improvements. Bear in mind when you write opinions on a public forum others will not always agree with you, that's not the end of the world.
The frustrating part for me about people (not just you) and public discussion, is thoughts like this:
I am not arguing for all users, I am advocating for the user. That's different. I am allowed to do this.
"The user" as a generic term = all users, it's not possible to say you're arguing for a higher level "user" as if your personal opinions on what "the user" needs are somehow universal, in fact it's an obvious dismissive, if someone disagrees with your argument for this nebulous "the user", it's implied flatly that "all users" are not benefiting from your fight for their best interest, and the conflicting opinion is obviously a lessor opinion to that of this implied majority user.

With all this, again, where are the examples of complex soft synths with elaborate routing options that do it better? Honestly I can think of quite a few that are worse, and I can't think of a single one that has all of the modulation routing exposed in a single window? In fact a lot of them don't even expose the modulation at all, you see the destinations only in the modulations panel, not at the destination.

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ThomasHelzle
KVRAF
5300 posts since 9 Dec, 2008 from Berlin

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:37 am

robbmonn wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:47 pm
So. I have a lot to say.

I think that fxpansion has made a synth with a lot of potential, and a great sound. But it has, without exception, the most ponderously bad design that I have ever worked with. It is with respect, Himalaya, that I must disagree. If it were not for the fact that this synth has all the features that I want and need for MPE under the hood I would have thrown it forcibly out the window long ago. I rarely say anything negative about a product or the development team, but fxpansion needs to get help if this is the nature of their offerings.

First and foremost: the claim that the synth panel on this is a single pane. It is not: it is many, many windows and has many features well hidden. There are 24 windows for the mod sources at least and then many more. Then, the right click behavior for the parameters with long, long lists of sources, many of which have similar names, some of which are not usable depending on other things. THEN, just on the conventional level there are other panes for fx and sequencer as well, and other menu drop downs.

Aside from that the rest of the GUI is a total mess. As is the license manager, which, just as a for-instance to illustrate the point, makes downloading and installing an update a many-clicks affair requiring the user to intuit, among other things that a small play triangle is what must be pressed to actually run the update after it has been downloaded. These GUIs are, again, the worst of the worst. A designer is needed on staff at fxpansion immediately.

Then, once you use the mod system you need to press through these 24 mod source buttons many, many times to see all the mappings. Sure, I love the fact that you can have many to one and one to many mappings but this is not how you show them. I don't know the right way, but we have some prior art. Patch cables, a normal mod matrix, etc. But they are all hidden, or nearly all hidden at any point in time.

And, to even get to the point where you can say something like I have said one must (or I had to) read the documentation, which is simply not up to the task of explaining how this synth works unless you already have it pretty much figured out and watching youtube videos which are fine, but... I don't know how to properly put this. Kontakt is easier to figure out from scratch than this synth. FALCON is easier to figure out from scratch. I use modular synths, I've been hacking at VSTis since they were introduced.

My view is that this is a terrible design, just a horrible design. The graphics are not that great but I could live with that. This is a synth that was without proper product oversight and it shows. I certainly wish that it was better as, like I said, I am pretty much forced to use it for the MPE related work that I am doing, but... man!

There is a huge difference between potential, capability and how a tool is actually able to be used. This synth demonstrates this well. The fact that it took me DAYS to finally figure out that there was a bug in the cc74 (slide) implementation is a measure of that.

I write this because to a. release some anger, and b. so that someone just getting started doesn't feel stupid trying to use this. Listen to me: you are not stupid -- this is a poorly designed tool in manifold ways.
+42 couldn't have said it better... :-)
Get professional help with UI and usability and you have great products.
The sound is great as Himalayas work shows but the interface is among the worst I've ever seen.
And it's not about a better colour scheme or some small things here and there.
It's a complete clusterfuck of not understanding how the human brain works.
Talk to some pros and let somebody external help you who doesn't think it's awesome or good enough.
It's neither.

Cheers, I'm outa here now, it makes no sense to preach to the deaf I guess...

Tom
Last edited by ThomasHelzle on Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
"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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ThomasHelzle
KVRAF
5300 posts since 9 Dec, 2008 from Berlin

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:38 am

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

machinesworking
KVRAF
1582 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:06 pm

ThomasHelzle wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:37 am
+42 couldn't have said it better... :-)
Get professional help with UI and usability and you have great products.
The sound is great as Himalayas work shows but the interface is among the worst I've ever seen.
And it's not about a better colour scheme or some small things here and there.
It's a complete clusterfuck of not understanding how the human brain works.
Talk to some pros and let somebody external help you who doesn't think it's awesome or good enough.
It's neither.

Cheers, I'm outa here now, it makes no sense to preach to the deaf I guess...

Tom
Sure, go ahead and insult people who disagree with you. Great way to make your point. :dog:

Again, break down a synth as complex as Cypher with a better UX experience. I'm more than willing to give any credit where credit is due, but I do not think generic attacks are helpful at all.
the interface is among the worst I've ever seen.
Does not help anyone. Maybe people are "deaf" because you're doing nothing but screaming.

Sinisterbr
KVRist
30 posts since 11 Mar, 2010

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:58 pm

machinesworking wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:06 pm
ThomasHelzle wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:37 am
+42 couldn't have said it better... :-)
Get professional help with UI and usability and you have great products.
The sound is great as Himalayas work shows but the interface is among the worst I've ever seen.
And it's not about a better colour scheme or some small things here and there.
It's a complete clusterfuck of not understanding how the human brain works.
Talk to some pros and let somebody external help you who doesn't think it's awesome or good enough.
It's neither.

Cheers, I'm outa here now, it makes no sense to preach to the deaf I guess...

Tom
Sure, go ahead and insult people who disagree with you. Great way to make your point. :dog:

Again, break down a synth as complex as Cypher with a better UX experience. I'm more than willing to give any credit where credit is due, but I do not think generic attacks are helpful at all.
the interface is among the worst I've ever seen.
Does not help anyone. Maybe people are "deaf" because you're doing nothing but screaming.
Well.. several people have expressed their critics in the last few pages of this thread, and you really don't seem to take them into account, so.. Yeah, "preach to the deaf" didn't sound like a bad analogy to me, personally.

Ah_Dziz
KVRAF
2544 posts since 2 Jul, 2005

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:29 pm

I unfortunately can’t really rely on it. I’ve been on it since the beginning of the beta and it hasn’t been very stable ever. I love the way it (and strobe, which does run smoothly on my system) handles modulation and especially MPE modulation.
Don't F**K with Mr. Zero.

Dasheesh
KVRAF
3317 posts since 22 Nov, 2012

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:20 pm

The only issue i see or have experienced is that my mouse sometimes grab the mod ring instead of the controller, which does suck. other then that I love it. have no idea what you are bitching about.

machinesworking
KVRAF
1582 posts since 15 Aug, 2003 from seattle

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:12 pm

Sinisterbr wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:58 pm
Well.. several people have expressed their critics in the last few pages of this thread, and you really don't seem to take them into account, so.. Yeah, "preach to the deaf" didn't sound like a bad analogy to me, personally.
Not really, several people have said Cypher is bad UX, and not a single example of good UX for a synth as complex has been presented. I really don't know how many times I have to point this out?

You don't like something? fine, point in the direction of what you do like as an example, otherwise it sounds like static. Simple example, I like Zebras matrix over Falcons tree view of signal flow. I could argue that it's better etc. It gives a starting point at least for discussion, if you don't establish what is better GUI and UX, then all you're doing is panning something.

yellowmix
KVRian
965 posts since 11 Aug, 2012 from morf frmo omfr form romf

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:36 pm

Cypher 2 has the greatest number of mod sources of any fixed-arch synth I've seen. There is no more compact way of displaying all these options than in a hierarchical list, and the list does a good job since it's only got one level to avoid menu-diving. Additionally, several sources have no UI component; they are purely abstract, so drag and drop isn't a possibility.

I find the descriptions to be sufficient, but when they are assigned to Transmod they get turned into abbreviations. However, hover over the Transmod slot and the center pane shows you the description and what the signal currently looks like (just like Pigments before Pigments even existed). I'm absolutely mystified people are having a hard time understanding what these mod sources do. If there's something better than this I'd love to hear it for my own edification.

Additionally, the sources are reduced to 24 slots, which puts it on par option-wise with many other synths that employ the list paradigm. I like that the Transmod slots are always on the page, which makes targeting easy. I thought about other synths and how it can be painful. Biotek 2 is particularly egregious, with sources on several pages, then having to switch pages to get to the targets (I prefer the mod matrix). VPS Avenger has drag and drop and everything on one page but is just as, if not more busy than Cypher 2. Synthmaster 2's got right-click menus but not as many sources which works in its favor. If there's a synth out there that gets it "right" would it work when it has as many sources as Cypher 2?

They all, however, have a mod matrix where all assignments can be seen and made. Cypher 2 is missing a bird's eye view of all assignments. There are two views that are useful: source-first and target-first.

I personally don't need this, I usually hover over a modulated target and the related Transmod slots get highlighted, which I find elegant. But I can see how other people would require it. It is pretty abstract. Honestly I find a mess of modular wires to be harder to grasp holistically; I have to scan along each cable to know the pairings. Know what would be cool? A system that constantly photographs your modular rack and generates a mod matrix list. Anyway I've gone off-topic, but I hope this can be more productive and actionable.

nusound mind
KVRist
118 posts since 21 Jan, 2017

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:12 am

Yeah I loved the original Cypher, and for 60 bucks or whatever it was for the crossgrade-intro price I was pretty set on picking it up but the gui was off putting enough that it prevented me from buying it.

As several people in the last few pages have already mentioned. Tbh wish I could use the first Cypher still but it crashes my daw every time I close a project so it's too risky in terms of losing work to use really.

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fisherKing
KVRAF
1758 posts since 6 Aug, 2009

Re: FXpansion releases Cypher2

Post Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:59 am

i had issues with it on my macbook pro, but my new imac handles it well, and i enjoy using it. it's different... but that's the point. and it's singular... i like that, and the sound, and am having fun incorporating it into projects.

and yes, i'ts complex... so it goes... 8)
always one plugin short of perfection...

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