Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

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JimY
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Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by JimY » Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:22 am

I may only be the only person who finds this extremely irritating...

When you switch it on, it always defaults to the same default preset.

Why can't they default to the last preset used? Given it has non-volatile memory to store user presets, is it too much to expect them to update a "current preset" parameter when you change program and default to that on power-on?

Some do the right thing (Nord), but I've never seen it mentioned in reviews one way or the other. This matters to me because I've decided to avoid gear the uses the same default. After all this time and the low cost and speed of non-volatile memory, I can't think of an excuse for it.

I don't play live much, but surely this behaviour must really annoy many who do - or are you conditioned to "that's just the way it is"?

I have a suspicion that manufacturers want the same default (usualy a factory one) so that will be the first thing prospective buyers hear when they try one out.

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by slicetwo » Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:48 am

All of my digital gear starts up to the last used preset or pattern. Digitone, Digitakt, Virus C, Octatrack. Which gear are you talking about specifically?

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by jmax313 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:52 am

The only piece of gear I owned that ever did this was a Roland D-05

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by Avdvorm » Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:25 pm

And on Roland D05 you can select any preset to do this.

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by WaveRider » Sun Jun 07, 2020 12:34 pm

typically 90ies digital synth behavior... but yeah my new Wavestate does always wake up to preset 1-1, but that could be anything depending of the set list.

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by bobbylandry » Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:42 pm

Almost all my stuff defaults to the last used preset, including effects:

Emu ProCussion
Emu UltraProteus
Ensoniq SQ-R
Ensoniq MR Rack
Yamaha TX81Z
Kawai K4r
Kawai XD-5
Kawai XS-1 (I think)
Soulsby Atmegatron (I think)
Sequential OB-6 (doesn't remember if you were in Manual Mode, though)
MFB Dominion 1 (does remember if you were in Manual Mode)
Akai MiniAK (sold a while ago but used live and kept me where I wanted)
Oto Machines Biscuit (I don't use presets but it remembers the last device state)
Alesis Quadraverb
Ramsa DA7 mixer

Ones that don't are:

Mutable Instruments Shruthi (defaults to an INIT patch, not a preset)
PreenFM2 (I think loads whatever is in bank 1 but I always use an editor)
Casio CZ-3000 (defaults to preset 1)
Alesis Midiverb II (though you can choose which preset to load on startup)
Kurzweil Midiboard (defaults to setup 1)

I have a lot of samplers as well but that's a totally different thing with disk loading and stuff. My MPC1000 can set an autoload, however.

There was no reason for me to type all that out really but I've got a lot of stuff and only a couple behave the way you're describing. I also didn't actually check all of them, this is from memory, so I might have gotten a couple wrong.

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by lisa » Sun Jun 07, 2020 1:56 pm

Never thought much about it but I do have several note pads where I’ve jotted down the patches for each machine in each track and I guess it really shouldn’t be necessary.
909, manic trilling courtesy of Make Noise René and DPO, wavetable bass by Disting and some soft melodies by the Korg Minilogue. I mainly sat and watched it all unfold. :eek:


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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by 3hands » Sun Jun 07, 2020 2:06 pm

My Korg Prophecy does this. I’ve decided “that’s just the way it is”. Still a killer synth.
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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by moremagic » Sun Jun 07, 2020 5:54 pm

lol the polysix i started out on did this so i just programmed a nice EP for slot A-1

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by rowsbywoof » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:06 am

Really never thought much about it. I can’t say it bugs me, but I also agree it’s something that shouldn’t have to happen with cheap, non-volatile, memory. Depends on the synth, though. Older stuff I’d completely excuse, especially if I love the sound, but newer stuff I’d definitely hope for a better user experience. Then again, who knows. Maybe a lot of folks are like me and don’t mind, or actually like the clean slate approach each time to preset 1-1. Hard to know.

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by JimY » Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:38 am

My worse offender is the Electribe EMX - made much worse by having a single scroll to get to other programs (though you can speed it up with a shift). The conflict becomes worse where pattern presets can't simply be moved closer to the default without messing up the Songs using them.
A Novation K-station, but at least I can go to a pattern with a few button presses. An Edirol PCR controller which compounds things by not keeping keyboard split/octave setting or saving those with the programs anyway. A VK8-M organ module...

The only thing I have that restarts as I left off is my Nord Electro (which I'm using less and less due to becoming tired of its sterile sound). And considering selling the Nord off makes me wonder what I could replace it with - but the reviews don't tell me what I want to know. Even owners manuals don't all reveal it.

To be honest, I stopped buying digital hardware a long time ago (I didn't realize just how long - at least 5years) - simply because I don't trust it to behave to my liking. And as I said, reviews don't address the subject at all. Where I live, there is no store I can try anything I'd be interested in (they don't try to compete with online for the high tech stuff anymore).

I've been interested in analogue voiced stuff with digital preset control, but I've no idea how the digital side behaves. What does a Moog Voyager do? I'd expect it to at least be able to sync with the panel controls when you switch it on, but I wouldn't bet on it.

A lot of '90's gear had static ram user memory with a coin cell backup. There was absolutely no excuse for them not to start on the last used program - but most of them didn't.

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by hippo1 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:49 am

Just bought (late) a Sledge 2. Same problem, starts at #1; and there's no backwards-wrapping to the presets. Good luck getting back to #97...!

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by Red Electric Rainbow » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:06 pm

some newer synths that exhibit this behavior can be changed in the global settings
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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by GuyaGuy » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:41 pm

JimY wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:22 am

When you switch it on, it always defaults to the same default preset.

Why can't they default to the last preset used?
One of the Sequential designers mentioned that it was a deliberate decision on many of their machines to avoid having to save status in temporary memory--or something along those lines.

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by boingy » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:55 pm

Microfreak always defaults to preset 1 and the factory preset there has a slow attack so you turn it on, press a key and don't get any sound out of it for about half a second! That's slow enough to think you've wired it wrong. And when that sound eventually does arrive it's somewhat underwhelming. The amusing thing is that the patch is called "Disrespectful"! It's an odd one to choose as the first sound most users will hear.

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by teleport » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:15 pm

GuyaGuy wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:41 pm
JimY wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:22 am

When you switch it on, it always defaults to the same default preset.

Why can't they default to the last preset used?
One of the Sequential designers mentioned that it was a deliberate decision on many of their machines to avoid having to save status in temporary memory--or something along those lines.
(eta - on the Sequential Pro-2 there is an action (long press on program iirc), that commits the current preset to be recalled on next startup)

The non-volatile FLASH memory in micro-controllers typically has a limited number of times that it can be re-written. (also true for SSD's - but these have sophisticated "wear-leveling" watchdog systems in place to mitigate the effect to a reasonable degree). If a synth was designed such that it could be powered down at any moment and be returned by memory to the state it was at when it powered down, then logically it would need to be committing to memory the state every time a parameter is changed or a new sound is selected. That would quickly exceed the maximum number re-writes the technology supports.

One work around to this issue that is seen in Waldorf's 90's era machines (just one familiar example that comes to mind), is a "soft shutdown" procedure, where an input action under computer control (rather than a power switch), is used to power down - and simultaneously save the current device state.

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by chvad » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:51 pm

Never bothered me. I always overwrite "first patches" to a default blank template anyway whenever possible to program off of. If I need a synth to go back to anything I just drop in a program change and call it a night. Live? Program changes all day long. My hands are usually tied up on the keys so grabbing a knob to swap a patch isn't something I ever do.

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by JimY » Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:35 am

I really don't think memory write cycle limit is any excuse. If it has NV memory, it's going to use it anyway. It only takes a few bytes to store the current patch. It can verify the write and try another location if it fails. It only needs to write in spare time after the patch has been selected for sufficient time to qualify that you are actually using it (not when auditioning presets when it might only be selected briefly). There is such a thing as battery-backed static RAM. Even old PC's from the 1980's had BIOS settings saved that way and the 3v button cells lasted at least 10 years in my experience (while also keeping the realtime clock going).

I don't get how making the default patch your "home" is any use. Even if you can change what that default is, what's the point? It's still necessarily not the last thing I was playing?
If you have a set arrangement for things - a master controller - and everything all midi'd up, then you can always set everything to the right presets with midi messages. That's not how I work anymore (been there done that) - I don't want to work with anything that organised. I just want to switch off, do something else, come back, switch on and carry on without any buzzkill thank you.

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by teleport » Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:01 pm

JimY wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:35 am
I really don't think memory write cycle limit is any excuse. If it has NV memory, it's going to use it anyway. It only takes a few bytes to store the current patch. It can verify the write and try another location if it fails. It only needs to write in spare time after the patch has been selected for sufficient time to qualify that you are actually using it (not when auditioning presets when it might only be selected briefly). There is such a thing as battery-backed static RAM. Even old PC's from the 1980's had BIOS settings saved that way and the 3v button cells lasted at least 10 years in my experience (while also keeping the realtime clock going).

I don't get how making the default patch your "home" is any use. Even if you can change what that default is, what's the point? It's still necessarily not the last thing I was playing?
If you have a set arrangement for things - a master controller - and everything all midi'd up, then you can always set everything to the right presets with midi messages. That's not how I work anymore (been there done that) - I don't want to work with anything that organised. I just want to switch off, do something else, come back, switch on and carry on without any buzzkill thank you.
I hear ya. The flash issue wasn't presented as an excuse, but it is the reason for this trend (eta - at least as far as it being the current conventional wisdom repeated by FW devs who I've spoken with about it, and seen repeated online). It's being driven by the fact that micros these days offer substantial on-chip flash memory, so no extra RAM chips are needed outside of the micro keeping BOM costs low. The example of the battery retained memory would require extra components and would run counter to the current design trends and cheap parts availability.

[random side tangent - did see recently where Macronix, a Taiwanese flash mfg. developed a method for radically increasing the number of writes the chips can survive, they accomplished this by adding highly localized and hyper-controlled heating elements into the chips which have the effect of essentially softening up the sections that have withstood excessive writes and relieves the internal stresses that occur and lead to failure]

Good idea about only committing a patch to be the "wake-up" location after some span of time or level of interaction, this could be implemented with a FW update on lots of existing gear - a possible shortfall there is that it wouldn't capture last set of edited parameters without an additional action, (which may or may-not be an issue, but could be a problem if the user isn't expecting a reversion- have seen "saved/unsaved" graphics elements used to alert to this potentiality).

Totally agree with you though that it's a fairly user-hostile outcome for gear to always launch on patch #1, it disrupts the whole mise en place psychological memory-castle thing that (imho) really becomes essential for efficient work (esp. after a setup grows to some critical complexity). (I suspect that's one of the issues - designers may be focused on their product as it exists in a relative vacuum - users not so much). Whether any of this matters probably depends a lot if one is expecting to have an ever evolving/developing session with their gear, or is happy to have regular clean resets, (either by choice or enforced architecture in this case). I tend to leave my digital gear on forever because of this issue, (probably isn't great for the power supply caps, but in modern low power stuff it's less of a concern). The Venn diagram of times I feel like making sounds and managing gear memory/reconstructing yesterdays/last-weeks session is basically zero.

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Re: Really annoying basic behavior of some digital gear.

Post by IR » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:14 am

Since the gear I use tends not to be new, I blame the age, although probably even 25-30 years ago they could have made it default to the last slot used before turning the machine off.

On the other hand, this may have required an extra function, which I'm not even sure would have been worth the extra cost.

Some gear I have may do this, I don't think about it much. Or at least it defaults to the first user pattern instead of the first non-rewritable preset.

(hmm, and it seems my older Yamaha QY20 does go to the last pattern used, while my Electribes don't, and they came our a couple years later)

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