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Have we reached the "endgame" for music computers?
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Lune
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#1
19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Have we reached the "endgame" for music computers?

I have an Ipod which has retina display. The idea behind this is that the resolution of the screen is so fine that the eye's retina cannot make out any pixalation and its as sharp is it will ever need to get (and I have to admit- it looks like a real photo). This is the "endgame" for still pictures on a computer screen- any improvements from here will probably not be anything you can notice.

Is the endgame "here" or at least approaching for music computers? Have we got so much RAM and processor power that things will sound as real as the real instruments and future improvements won't be noticeable to the human ear? It seems that people are very satisfied with 8GB and i7's and maybe this is all that will be needed for 99% of those of us who want to compose or play from a computer.

I realize that new applications eat up more CPU and a person running 64 tracks may want more- but for the vast bulk of us, have we finally reached an endgame? I, for one, hope the answer is yes. I have been waiting for a while to buy a new computer and don't want to spend money on something that is going to be clearly outclassed in a year or two. I realize that everything in computers is always changing and that any purchase will have compatibility issues in 5-7 years, but if I buy a computer as described above (i7, 8GB)- have I pretty much reached the limits of human hearing and am set for a good long time? (6-8 years)
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19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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"Have we reached the "endgame" for music computers?"

Not even close. With plugins like Ozone 5, FG-X, Nebula, Synth Squad, Diva, etc... I think it will still be many years before computer hardware catches up.
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19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus909 View Post
"Have we reached the "endgame" for music computers?"

Not even close. With plugins like Ozone 5, FG-X, Nebula, Synth Squad, Diva, etc... I think it will still be many years before computer hardware catches up.
Those plugins are easily accommodated I today's hardware. Getting nebula to run in real time....that's a challenge
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19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Far from end game. Next are holographic glasses, then direct retinal implants etc etc
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19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Latency is the biggest problem.
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19th November 2012
Old 19th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lune View Post
This is the "endgame" for still pictures on a computer screen- any improvements from here will probably not be anything you can notice.
I can only assume that you got this misinformation from a bad website article.

The "Retina" display in iPhone/iPod is far from the endgame of satisfying human vision. The Apple iPhone only has resolution of 326 ppi. That's a big improvement from the first iPhone in 2007 but the human eye can resolve 1200 dpi. (That's what laser printers can do.)

Also, the Retina displays or the 27" LED monitors have a limited color gamut that cannot reproduce all colors that the human eye can differentiate.

Quote:
Is the endgame "here" or at least approaching for music computers? Have we got so much RAM and processor power that things will sound as real as the real instruments and future improvements won't be noticeable to the human ear?
There will always be cutting edge algorithms in synthesis, digital emulations, and efx processing that will require the fastest cpus available.

To make up an example...let's imagine if total digital synthesis of indistinguishable human voices was available. Perhaps that future algorithm is so crazy cpu intensive that tomorrow's fastest computers would still require an overnight batch rendering job to create a realistic 4 minute vocal stack of 8 harmony voices. That plugin might have a "lo-quality" mode so you can do some realtime experimenting with mix ideas but final "mastering quality mode" requires many hours to render.

There will always be sound processing ideas that exceed what the fastest computers are capable of delivering in an instantaneous fashion.
#7
20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
Those plugins are easily accommodated I today's hardware. Getting nebula to run in real time....that's a challenge
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Well, it's like with aviation technology: a mere 50 years to go from the Wright brothers to jet liners (i.e. huge strides every decade) and then 60 years of basically minor refinements. As far as music technology goes, we're already in the jet era...

BTW, this is a VERY INTERESTING topic, and I sure everyone would agree. Thank you Lune for starting this thread.
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eat View Post
an yet music hasn't got any better than what was done on 4 track tape. weird, huh
Well, back then you needed skills even to just copy someone. Today all you have to do is use the same loops...
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
I can only assume that you got this misinformation from a bad website article.
Actually, no. I don't remember where I read it but it quoted researchers from major universities. Yes, the human eye, in theory, can resolve at finer levels based on nerve density calculations, etc. but in practice the Iphone retina display achieves 99.99% of what people can really tell the difference in (of course all of us do not have the same eyes).

I think some might be missing my original point: it is not that we will run into a limit on developing CPU hogging plug-ins; it is that the end product sound will not become noticeably more realistic. In other words- a computer trumpet sounds 99% as close to a real trumpet and further improvements from here on in will be minimal. The human ear is limited; complexity only goes so far! Does that mean we can easily simulate the sound of a subway violin player as the passing trains quickly alter the room acoustics and harmonics of his fiddling? No. But the vast majority of us do not need to do this (actually nobody needs to do this!) For all practical purposes the endgame may be upon us. BTW- this is a good thing! No?
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lune View Post
Actually, no. I don't remember where I read it but it quoted researchers from major universities. Yes, the human eye, in theory, can resolve at finer levels based on nerve density calculations, etc. but in practice the Iphone retina display achieves 99.99% of what people can really tell the difference in (of course all of us do not have the same eyes).

I think some might be missing my original point: it is not that we will run into a limit on developing CPU hogging plug-ins; it is that the end product sound will not become noticeably more realistic. In other words- a computer trumpet sounds 99% as close to a real trumpet and further improvements from here on in will be minimal. The human ear is limited; complexity only goes so far! Does that mean we can easily simulate the sound of a subway violin player as the passing trains quickly alter the room acoustics and harmonics of his fiddling? No. But the vast majority of us do not need to do this (actually nobody needs to do this!) For all practical purposes the endgame may be upon us. BTW- this is a good thing! No?
I agree with you on the quality of the sounds we already have, but I believe there's still a lot that can be done for how we interface with virtual instruments. The Samplemodeling trumpet is so good that I actually fooled a pretty well-known jazz trumpeter here in the LA area. But in order to achieve that, I really had to work a lot on MIDI parameters (and, of course, here is where you appreciate Cubase's Expression Maps...) I spent so much time on that track, it would have been much easier to just hire him (which is what I'd normally do, that was just an experiment...) Not to mention the time I had to spend to learn all the key switches and how to effectively use them.

I'm not a trumpet player, so an EVI or something like that is out of the question. Key switches and foot pedals are incredibly cumbersome to use and they never achieve exact results. Which means a lot of MIDI editing is necessary. I'm sure technology will provide better/easier solutions in the future.
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eat View Post
an yet music hasn't got any better than what was done on 4 track tape. weird, huh
sad but true...
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lune View Post
I think some might be missing my original point: it is not that we will run into a limit on developing CPU hogging plug-ins; it is that the end product sound will not become noticeably more realistic. In other words- a computer trumpet sounds 99% as close to a real trumpet and further improvements from here on in will be minimal. The human ear is limited; complexity only goes so far! Does that mean we can easily simulate the sound of a subway violin player as the passing trains quickly alter the room acoustics and harmonics of his fiddling? No. But the vast majority of us do not need to do this (actually nobody needs to do this!) For all practical purposes the endgame may be upon us. BTW- this is a good thing! No?
I think the analogy is confusing. You are not comparing apples to apples. Digital sampling technology can transparently translate an analogue signal to digital and back. Digital sampling fully covers the whole human audible spectrum and dynamic range. That would be an apples to apples comparison with vision.

Modelling of physical instruments is a whole different story. That isn't so much about which frequencies and levels our ears can detect. It is much more complex and much harder to achieve. The hardest part being the playing. Simply emulating a single played note isn't too hard but emulating something that sounds like a realistic rendition of a talented player intimately familiar with their instrument isn't as easy...

As for computers reaching an end-game for music production? I doubt it. I can max out my rather powerful rig (i7 980X/24GB) with complex mixes. New plugins tend to use even more resources. I don't see us nearing that end any time soon...

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#14
20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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I've never seen a computer yet that someone didn't come out of the woodwork saying that it was not fast enough, did not have enough power, couldn't handle his track count. Didn't matter how fast or powerful it was.
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#15
20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Cool thread idea. Plugins seem to be getting better each new generation . Amp modeling being a good case in point. Seems like a trend that will continue.
#16
20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus909 View Post
"Have we reached the "endgame" for music computers?"

Not even close. With plugins like Ozone 5, FG-X, Nebula, Synth Squad, Diva, etc... I think it will still be many years before computer hardware catches up.
been testing Zynaptiqs Unveil yesterday
think 1 plug per core should be a good starting point in a couple of years
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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lol to the OP. oh HELL no lol. I am so excited about DDR4 for high end PC build. Their is going to be 16GB, 32GB, and 64 GB modules. That would make your standard motherboards go up to 256 GB of RAM and server/workstation motherboards go up to 1TB of RAM. Bottom lines is I will probably run 4x16GB, I will probably use a lot with VI's, session tracks, etc all combined. Arm processors are expected to go up to 32 cores before we know it but I still thing high end PCs and desktop Macs will still have the end. Imagine a MacBook Pro or any laptop with 2x64GB of Ram in maybe 2019 when 64GB modules are extremely high priced.

I look at iPads and other tablets like I look at my PS3, within a couple years this product will be outdated. worst part is my apps will be upgraded and optimized for this new product. eventually I will have to buy another $800 ipad to get the latest and greatest upgrade of my portable synthesis, DAWs, etc.

in 2005 I started with 512 MB of ram for recording/mixing. in 2009 I moved up to 4GB to give me my MAX in Pro Tools. In 2011 I went to 8GB to ensure OS X had enough memory to not disrupt the limited 32 bit Pro Tools given RAM. Everytime I have upgraded I have found a way to get close to 80-85% CPU/RAM usage. I am currently in the process of upgrading my PC to OS X Mountain Lion and 32GB of RAM. I Will probably upgrade from Sandy Bridge in 2015/2016 depending on DDR4 pricing.

edit: In Logic Pro I do hit my max right now.

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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by projektk View Post
lol to the OP. oh HELL no lol. I am so excited about DDR4 for high end PC build. Their is going to be 16GB, 32GB, and 64 GB modules. That would make your standard motherboards go up to 256 GB of RAM and server/workstation motherboards go up to 1TB of RAM. Bottom lines is I will probably run 4x16GB, I will probably use a lot with VI's, session tracks, etc all combined. Arm processors are expected to go up to 32 cores before we know it but I still thing high end PCs and desktop Macs will still have the end. Imagine a MacBook Pro or any laptop with 2x64GB of Ram in maybe 2019 when 64GB modules are extremely high priced.

I look at iPads and other tablets like I look at my PS3, within a couple years this product will be outdated. worst part is my apps will be upgraded and optimized for this new product. eventually I will have to buy another $800 ipad to get the latest and greatest upgrade of my portable synthesis, DAWs, etc.

in 2005 I started with 512 MB of ram for recording/mixing. in 2009 I moved up to 4GB to give me my MAX in Pro Tools. In 2011 I went to 8GB to ensure OS X had enough memory to not disrupt the limited 32 bit Pro Tools given RAM. Everytime I have upgraded I have found a way to get close to 80-85% CPU/RAM usage. I am currently in the process of upgrading my PC to OS X Mountain Lion and 32GB of RAM. I Will probably upgrade from Sandy Bridge in 2015/2016 depending on DDR4 pricing.

edit: In Logic Pro I do hit my max right now.

Sent from my LG-P925

if other plugs would calculate frequency over time like Zynaptiq Unveil does now
12 cores would work like a Pentium 3 in 2005
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lllubi View Post
if other plugs would calculate frequency over time like Zynaptiq Unveil does now
12 cores would work like a Pentium 3 in 2005
yea, I had a lot of errors but you get my point. high end PCs aren't going anywhere, they may get smaller but they aren't coming to an end.

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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by projektk View Post
high end PCs aren't going anywhere, they may get smaller but they aren't coming to an end.
True. High-end macs, however, are most likely going to disappear, since they aren't very profitable for Apple.
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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"End games" usually trigger the beginning of something else...

What's that old saying? If we could jump 100 years into the future, what we would see would would look to us like magic.

Abracadabra.......
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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in SoCal View Post
True. High-end macs, however, are most likely going to disappear, since they aren't very profitable for Apple.
I think an iMac Pro is in the works. All 27 inch based monitors however one half of the line up will include a Thunderbolt Display in it's price. The other half line up will include a Thunderbolt to PCIe Chassis from Apple. I expect 2-4 Thunderbolt ports possibly a PCIe 3.0 TB port which features a discrete GPU in the chassis.

Regardless I think they will keep the current Xeon Mac Pros up until there are absolutely no sales for a while.

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20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lllubi View Post
been testing Zynaptiqs Unveil yesterday
think 1 plug per core should be a good starting point in a couple of years
Please note that the UNVEIL CPU "hunger" can be somewhat tamed by using large I/O buffer sizes (we recommend 1024 samples or more, shorter buffer sizes increase CPU usage), and in ProTools you can use a multi-mono instance to spread the load across cores.
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Depressionman View Post
Latency is the biggest problem.
This. We still have a long way to go before all our mixes run without latency


Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in SoCal View Post
True. High-end macs, however, are most likely going to disappear, since they aren't very profitable for Apple.
New Mac Pros will probably come in 2013.

I wonder how long they will be around.
So far there is no decent alternative to the Mac Pro except for a custom Windows computer, so I doubt Apple will drop the line.
1. The current line up of iMacs and Minis is still a long way from beating the 12-core mac pro when it comes to RAM and processing power.
2. The expandability most people buy a mac pro for is theoretically there with thunderbolt. In practice though it is not that stable if you want to run 2 UAD cards a soundcard, 2 screens and 4+ HDD/SSD drives.
3. Because of the integrated design (read: fan in screen), anyone who doesn't want a computer in his studio will switch to Windows. I can already see the ads...
4. Mac Pros are the only evidence that Apple can actually build fast computers and not just some fancy designer toys (I like the designer toys a lot, though)

But of course Apple is all about profit, so they might just take the 'loss' of a group of dedicated Mac users and drop the Mac Pro. Time will tell.
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Not really,example: ideally speaking the plugins of the future would model every part of an 1176 (or any hardware aside from mics) in high resolution so that plugins can finally surpass/equal hardware. The processing to do such a job well would be high especially if you do a high res model of an EMT plate.
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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It's a perpetual thing... As faster computers are released, the software becomes more complex and processor intensive to make use of that power.

We've seen this repeat over and over again already, and I believe it will continue to do so for many years to come.
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Lune
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20th November 2012
Old 20th November 2012
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Again, not questioning any of this- plugins will always grow and there is no end to the number a person can plug in (guess that's why there called that), the question is: are the quality differences from here on in really that noticeable or are we talking about the next 10 years of innovation to gain just that last 1-2% of sound quality that mainly won't be noticed by 99% of the population anyway?
#28
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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end game? hahahahahahahahaha

the future is megahertz sampling rates. true "analog" sound can only be achieved that way.
#29
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eat View Post
an yet music hasn't got any better than what was done on 4 track tape. weird, huh
No come on, totally disagree..

Some music is pure awesome these days - electronic and guitars mixed with real orchestras etc.. Hans Zimmer's Inception soundtrack for example...

Only possible with today's gear pushing the envelope.

EDIT: Having said that, Windows 8 seems to be a step backward for professional applications, imo/
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#30
21st November 2012
Old 21st November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eat View Post
an yet music hasn't got any better than what was done on 4 track tape. weird, huh
LOL
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