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Topic: Need advice/info from Pulsar Creamware users

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  1. #1

    Need advice/info from Pulsar Creamware users

    Hi.

    I\'ve been reading a lot lately about Pulsar2 (Creamware), and it seems to be a wonderful soundcard. It\'s asio2 and gsif driver support is a big plus for me, but it\'s analoge software synthesizers is the most interesting aspect of this soundcard for me.

    I\'m a die-hard fan of the 70s progrock :-), and therefore I\'m very picky about what analog synth sounds I want to use in my music. Naturally, my preferences lies toward the mini-moog and arp 2600 (I think, Tony Banks - Genesis sound).

    I\'ve tried out several software synthesizers, but was disappointed with most of them. However, I\'ve played a lot with Propellerhead Reasons analog software synth, Subtractor lately. I found that synth to be much more to my liking, but I still miss some of those characteristic and metallic mini-moog sounds etc..

    I would be very grateful, if someone could tell me the quality and authenticity of the microscope and the other Pulsar2 analog synth emulations. Comparisons to software synths like Reality, Reaktor etc., would be very much appreciated. Since I haven\'t tried out any real hardware analog synths, that\'s a natural comparison for me.

    Also, I have a Dakota (Frontier Design) sound card. Is it possible to connect the adats outputs from Dakota (playing from Gigastudio), into the adat inputs of Pulsar in Asio2 mode in Logic Audio. - So I can have direct multichannel (16 ch) input from Gigastudio into Logic audio, and also the possibility of using both at the same time. This could open some very interesting possibilities, like combining gigastudio with B4 and other software synths in Logic Audio.
    Puh! Did anyone get that? I\'m not sure I did.... :-)
    I use a 900mhz t-bird cpu.

    Anyway, thanks for reading through this long post. Any information and help would be very, very much appreciated.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Re: Need advice/info from Pulsar Creamware users

    Btw.
    I\'ve now read, that you can run Gigastudio and Logic Audio at the same time within the mixer environment of Pulsar2. Any restrictions?
    Can I use plug-ins in Logic like B4, prophet5 etc., at the same time using Gigastudio + pulsar synths?

    And: What kind of ASIO2 latency will I have with pulsar2?

    a7v, t-bird 900mhz, 512mb pc133 ram

    Would really appreciate some help.
    Thanks.

  3. #3

    Re: Need advice/info from Pulsar Creamware users

    Hey Stmikkel

    I\'ve got a PIII800, Pulsar 2, Logic 4.5 nad Giga, 256mb ram, 4 fast drives (2 are backups).

    Neno\'s GSfix may help me, but so far I haven\'t been able to run the audio side of Logic and Gigastudio simultaneously - I keep getting asio errors - even without actually running any audio tracks!

    I\'ve been told to keep Giga on a separate PC.

    Pulsar is great. I don\'t think you can compare the miniscope with the sound of a real mini, but it\'s still a lot of fun. The other synths are great too, and there are some very clevr third party offerings.

    I love the flexibility of the Pulsar environment and the range of devices. The modular looks pretty daunting, and I haven\'t had the time to get into it yet.

  4. #4

    Re: Need advice/info from Pulsar Creamware users

    Thanks Chadwick for your answer.

    I\'ve pretty much decieded to buy this card (I just can\'t stop myself.. :-), but I\'m a bit afraid I\'ll get lots of \"decent synths\", instead of getting one great at the same price (mini-moog, nord lead, etc..).

    Do the synth sounds compare to the best hardware synths out there in sound quality (doesn\'t have to sound 100% alike). This I would like very much to know.
    I read that the Pulsar isn\'t that good for reprodusing think and warm sounds? Is this true? Because I love big, fat analog brass and pad sounds.

    Also, I use the Dakota soundcard now (great card and drivers).
    Will I get more instability and bugs + higher latency (more than 10ms) in logic audio (asio) and gigastudio, if I switch over to Pulsar2?
    What are the latency using Pulsars softsynths? (I don\'t believe that 2 ms hype....) I have t-bird 900mhz, 512 mb pc133 ram, a7v.

    Thanks again!

  5. #5

    Re: Need advice/info from Pulsar Creamware users

    Whatever the latency is, it\'s fine for me. I\'ve noticed crappy latency on instruments like the Roland D50 and Emu II. The Pulsar feels quicker than Giga.

    My point is that the latency isn\'t an issue unless you\'re anal about technical stuff.

    I\'ll have a play when I\'m back at work and see if the synths can do \'fat\' brass stuff. I\'ve been more concerned with getting edgey distorted stuff myself

  6. #6

    Re: Need advice/info from Pulsar Creamware users

    Thanks Chadwick.

    That would be _very_ much appreciated.
    I really love those big\'n\'fat analog brass and pads sounds, and it\'s very important for me to have them in my \"arsenal\". :-)

    Again thanks for helping me out.
    I\'m most likely going to buy this card in early januar.
    I can hardly wait... :-)

  7. #7
    Senior Member LHong's Avatar
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    Re: Need advice/info from Pulsar Creamware users

    No doubt about pulsar II when you like the analog-synths, it also has own samplers like STS-4000/5000 (Optional-feature, see specs).

    Make sure you can afford, you will need two pulsar II boards ($2,500.00) be cascaded in order to have mixing-down within your entire-projects.
    It could be done as well as multi-track-combinations methodology like Giga+audio+other-synths+external-gear fully effected at realtime like a 32~64CH real-digital-mixer, no capture-to-wave as necessary.
    Recommended MIDI-Audio-Seqs are Cubase and cakewalk with PIII(Athlon)1Ghz@768MB or better. Note that, \"the powerful PC just for Giga needed, pulsarII only use about 10~20% system resources\"

    As for me, the setup (Giga with pulsar/scope) would be best instituted-solution for PC-base digital-recording-studio, many ways to expand their features as needed, not many other tools even getting close.
    Hope this helps, have funs,
    Happy holiday-season, guys.
    Pulsar/Scope user
    LHong


    [This message has been edited by LHong (edited 12-23-2000).]

  8. #8

    Re: Need advice/info from Pulsar Creamware users

    To LHong:

    Thank you very much for your reply.
    I\'m sorry, but I\'m still in a bit of doubt after reading your answer. Could you please tell me if my suppositions are correct or not?

    Are you saying that, there\'s so way to record(/audio capture) a entire project (- a song which uses gigastudio, logic audio etc... at once) unless you have two pulsar2 cards? And that I\'ll only be able to use ASIO and GSIF drivers simultaneously (- using gigastudio together with logic audio and other pluginn synths like B4) if you only have two pulsar2 cards?

    Wow, I\'ve been working (and will be working)like a dog all this month, just to afford one pulsar2 card. Now, I learn, that I need two cards to do the things I want to do?
    That\'s nice... :-)

    Are there no other alternative to do the things I want to do, than purchasing two pulsar2 cards?

    What if I kept my (Frontier Design) Dakota card and used it for Gigastudio, and Pulsar for asio and vst synths use? I could patch my dakota via adat cables into Pulsar, and thus getting audio inputs from gigastudio/dakota straight into Pulsar2 and it\'s mixer environment.
    Could I use GSIF and ASIO/VST-synths simultaneous then? Latency?

    If I need a mixdown, I could record all 16 channels from gigastudio (and Dakota via the ADAT connection) into logic audio/pulsar2.
    Then record everyting from pulsar via spdif cable over to dakota in an \"audio capture\".

    Oh boy, this is a lot of rambling. But I would appreciate it very much if you (or any other) could respond and tell me if the things I mention are possible.
    I would safe me from _a lot_ of pondering and grief.... :-)
    Thanks.

  9. #9
    Senior Member LHong's Avatar
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    Re: Need advice/info from Pulsar Creamware users

    Dear stmikkel,
    Wow, you seem to have a lot of experiences in audio system within PC-base solution, though we all also know well about Giga-environmentts that\'s truly bottle-neck of matter in performances on your digital-audio-workstation, right? So, what we try to do here is an enhancement, to reduce the possible over-load on the gigastudio which is used harddisk and CPU-power hungrily. Let\'s say when you don\'t need NFXs from the GS-station, you can have more applications running simultaneously, right? Try your current setup like giga and Dakota card withour NFXs neither any other-soft-FXs, you will gain at least 35~70% more power?
    Let\'s review and answer some of your questions as follows:

    You wrote:
    \"...Are you saying that, there\'s so way to record(/audio capture) a entire project (- a song which uses gigastudio, logic audio etc... at once) unless you have two pulsar2 cards? And that I\'ll only be able to use ASIO and GSIF drivers simultaneously (- using gigastudio together with logic audio and other pluginn synths like B4) if you only have two pulsar2 cards?...\"
    As I discussed, Pulsar II might be an alternative solutions. When I tell you that, you can simply use many applications like Giga, audio, B4, others without any problems could be a good joke! Because your DAW must sharing same resources in the realtime-audio-recording. It\'s meant when your gigastudio is being use less than 50% system resources the other more than 50% can be used on others, I see no reason why not! Why you need two pulsar II? Like CPU-powered, on pulsarII is called DSP-powered, regardless much of system-performance, once it\'s satisfied-requirements, more pulsars would give you more applications can be used like more effect-processing (delay, reverb, chorus, etc), dynamic-plugin (EQ, compressor, etc), external-gears (ADAT, analog, effects, MIDI, others), samplers (akai, wave, MIDI-ctrl), etc, analog-synths, VST-plugin (maybe), Multi-channels digital-mixing, ASIO/WAVE (32-mono-CH), and many others. Let\'s say in the GigaStudio, the NFX-reverb is used about 10~15% CPU (500Mhz-256MB), when your system only has 20% power left, no ways you can have two NFX-reverbs, right? well, with pulsar, you can expand more cards or more DSP chips libe Scope-SRB (15 DSPs about $2,200) or pulsarII-SRB (6 DSPs about $1,000). Up to three cards can be cascaded in any combinations within Creamware products.
    Of course you need to know the performance for which one to determine the needs. Here is an idea as follows: http://www.planetz.com/Pulsar/Performance.html http://www.planetz.com/Pulsar/PerformanceLatency.html http://www.planetz.com/Pulsar/PerformanceMIDI.html http://www.planetz.com/Pulsar/MemoryUsage.html

    You wrote:
    \"...Wow, I\'ve been working (and will be working)like a dog all this month, just to afford one pulsar2 card. Now, I learn, that I need two cards to do the things I want to do?
    That\'s nice... :-)...\"
    I\'m not kidding you, someone here might has experience with pulsar\'s family, just be prepared. One pulsar II is good to start, it could makes your jobs harder, you won\'t have much choices rather having many sub-mixes into audio-tracks. Honestly, I refer to have three instead two. I\'ve known more than 70% users have more than one and more than 15% users have more than two.

    You wrote:
    \"...Are there no other alternative to do the things I want to do, than purchasing two pulsar2 cards?...\"
    Same kinds cost within PC (not MAC) is I don\'t know, maybe mixtreme (without analog-synths).

    You wrote:
    \"...What if I kept my (Frontier Design) Dakota card and used it for Gigastudio, and Pulsar for asio and vst synths use? I could patch my dakota via adat cables into Pulsar, and thus getting audio inputs from gigastudio/dakota straight into Pulsar2 and it\'s mixer environment...\"
    It is okay to keep the dakota but practically, you won\'t gain or loose any benifits whether you use the dakota with pulsarII or not, I\'ll tell you why?
    Again, you setup is now limited by PC-performance not the I/O or others, right? Since you have the pulsarII, you\'ll have one-all-solution which supported all kinda interfaces within the PC. On the other hand, with additional soundcards (not 2nd pulsarII) would generates extremely lattencies and all kind of synchonization problems. This would also requires about 20% or more PC performance compared with only pulsars, even though their interfaces vis ADAT or whatever digital interfaced, they must required ADC/DAC where are CPU processing also being used. It will be explained abit that why you don\'t need others as follows:
    The pulsar is \"All-In-One\" studio solution, it is also an open-architecture-DSP, a recongurable hardware and not much taxing your CPU. When you start to build from begining, it would provides almost what you\'ll need for digital-recording-studio with PC/MAC system (DAW). Here is the sumary features on the pulsar (standard Pulsar II):
    1> 32x16x2-CH digital-mixer (like the Tascam)
    2> Sampler players and sampler program like STS4000/5000 about 32~64 voices (like your Akai, gigasampler)
    3> Analog synths (like Waldorf Pulse, DX7, clasic-roland, prophet5/VS, softsynths-B4, etc)
    4> Support MIDI-I/O, audio drivers like Wave, ASIO about 32 mono output channels.
    5> Supporting GSIF (gigasampler) with 32 output channels
    6> Digital effect/dynamic processing (like your ext-multi-effs or FX-plug-in)
    7> expandable DSP by cascaded more cards, give you more power for your DAW system.
    8> Supporting analog I/O and digital I/O (ADATx2/3, SPDIF)
    9> Third-party supported and future upgraded without changing the hardware (more synths and effs)
    10> Supporting very elegant virtual Graphic-User-Interface

    You wrote:
    \"...Could I use GSIF and ASIO/VST-synths simultaneous then? Latency?...\"
    Something comes down to the lattency is tough. We know Giga has huge of lattency but not that much to compare with a VST-synths. Maybe in future technology is better but now I just doubt about using the other VST-instruments. You need to do some experinments before to purchase it. I could tell you why as follows:
    here is some helpful tech-informs about VST:
    \"VST Instruments run through the audio engine of the host program so they benefit from being mixed together and having the same effects and eq possibilities as audio tracks in the sequencer, and you only need the one soundcard. The downside is latency which is a word you\'ll hear a lot and is something that becomes very obvious when dealing with VST instruments. Latency (in this case) is the time between striking a key on your MIDI keyboard and actually hearing a sound generated by the VST instrument. The latency time is competely subject to your soundcard and how it communicates with the host program. A normal windows soundcard, like a Sound Blaster Live, doesn\'t have fast custom drivers (ASIO - Audio System In Out drivers for Cubase/Logic) so it can have a latency value of around 750ms - that\'s three quarters of a second between hitting a note and hearing the sound! VST instruments become playable at around 40ms or less, so if you want to use VST instruments make sure you invest in a soundcard that has a very low latency...\"
    The pulsar can provides about 3ms~25ms lattency which should be better than enough for most of VST-apps, but don\'t forget that, the VST is not using the DSP-power, so you will need to provide the PC-system-power, then your PC is as a same bottle-neck. That\'s also to answer why some of you can\'t run Giga and VST simultaneously. I see maybe the analog-pulsar-synths and digital-pulsar-synths would be a solution for this. No doubt about quality, some of those even better than gigasampler-sounds.

    You also wrote:
    \"...If I need a mixdown, I could record all 16 channels from gigastudio (and Dakota via the ADAT connection) into logic audio/pulsar2.
    Then record everyting from pulsar via spdif cable over to dakota in an \"audio capture\"...\"
    As be explained, it depends on kind of music you try to produce, it\'s impossible to have about 80 tracks mixdown at once, but 16-CH\'s gigastudio (no NFXs) is piece-a-cake, with only one pulsarII without Dakota, no need any ADAT or spdif at all. Giga would takes GSIF then route to 32-CH-pulsar-mixer which can be mixed-down to ASIO/WAVE into the audio-program like cakewalk, Logic or Cubase. Of course the effect-processing is built-in the pulsars to determine by DSP\'s power which would be two pulsarII as appropriately used.

    Anyway, this information is provided base-on my experiences with the pulsar/scope, gigastudio160, cakewalk and external-gear via ADAT (not kinda marketing informs from Creamware). So I also recommend that, you should get some other advices from Creamware about your current setup and what need to be done to meet their requirements such as some issues about Logic-audio and AMD/VIA-chipsets like this path as follows: http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?id=106901&article=3641

    Hope this helps,
    A Pulsar/Scope user
    LHong



    [This message has been edited by LHong (edited 12-24-2000).]

  10. #10

    Re: Need advice/info from Pulsar Creamware users

    To LHong:

    Wow. :-) Thanks for your very long and informative answer. It\'s really great when people spend so much of their time, to help out another person they\'ve never met.
    A very interesting and rewarding read indeed.

    Yes, it seems like the Creamware soundcards certainly is the standard for the future. As their drivers continues to mature, I\'m sure they (scope/pulsar) will come very close to have a virtual studio inside your pc.

    Money seems to be the problem though. The thing that really triggered my interest for these cards, were it\'s synthesizers. Now that I constantly learn more about what the Creamware products stands for, it seems like an incredible concept. Those Creamware guys are going to make a fortune on this, and already have I guess. The prices on those cards seems very high though. Are those sharks really that expensive? Seems like they charge a lot of $$ for their software.

    I\'m definately getting my Pulsar2 early in January. (I constantly find new things to spend my money on. When will it stop?!
    :-> )

    Like you said, it seems a \"dangerous\" buy. I\'m sure I\'ll be soon enough longing for a scope and STS-5000 (starting to get fed up with all the limitations of gigastudio; poor/simple filters, few effects, few editing functions, bugs etc..). The New Briar synth is also coming out this spring. That\'s something I just gotta have too.
    Damn, I need more money!! :-)

    Well, enough talking.
    Again thanks for your help.
    It\'s very much appreciated.

    C\'ya

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