Author Topic: Opcode Vision 2.0.3 (article - june 1994)  (Read 2550 times)


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Re: Opcode Vision 2.0.3 (article - june 1994)
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2014, 03:12:55 AM »
~~~1994~~~  8)


I loaded up a MIDI file which had been created originally in Mastertracks Pro on another musician's rig. The track names immediately showed up in the Tracks window, and the data was displayed in colour in the Overview part of the window. The next step was to assign suitable instruments from my MIDI rig -- this was extremely easy, thanks to OMS. I had previously set up an OMS Studio Document, where I defined every instrument in my MIDI rig connected to my Opcode Studio 4 and MOTU MIDI TimePiece interfaces. The Studio 4 is fully compatible with the MTP, and you can link them together to provide a 16 x 16 matrix of MIDI ports. Each MIDI port can handle a set of 16 MIDI channels in its own right, so I could have one port capable of sending data on any of up to 16 MIDI channels to my Akai S1100 for instance, and still have masses of channels left to deal with my other, mostly multitimbral, synths. I have recently added a Digidesign SampleCell II card to my Mac, and this appears in my OMS setup also. OMS automatically made the instruments I had previously defined in my OMS setup available for direct selection within Vision, with no more ado!

I also use Opcode's Galaxy librarian and editor software. OMS works with Galaxy and Vision and the Mac operating system to allow the program or patch names from each synth to be 'published' by Galaxy and 'subscribed to' by Vision. This takes just a couple of simple moves to set up, and then the program and patch names are also available in Vision for direct selection. A pop-up menu on the control bar allows me to select a patch from whatever synth is selected in the pop-up menu of instruments, which you can 'thru' connect your master keyboard to.

I did run into a problem with my D110 and DX7II synths, though. When I chose Patches for the D110 or Performances for the DX7II, everything worked OK, and I could select the Patch or Performance I wanted from the pop-up menu on the control bar. Unfortunately, when I switched to Timbres for the D110 or Voices for the DX7II, although the pop-up menu listed the Timbres or Voices correctly, the synths still played the Patches or Performances as before.

But on the whole Vision 2.0.3 was a joy to use, and I was able to set up the tracks to communicate effectively with my MIDI rig much more easily than with any other Mac sequencer. Other sequencers, like Mastertracks Pro, might be more suitable for entry-level, or even intermediate-level users, but for professionals with large MIDI rigs, Vision 2 with an Opcode Studio interface, and a range of complementary software like Galaxy, has to be just about the best choice you can make.

I think that Opcode could still learn some tricks from the other sequencers, like Performer and Notator Logic, but if I had to choose just one MIDI sequencer to be marooned with on a desert island it would now almost certainly have to be Vision 2. Congratulations are certainly due to Opcode for producing such an excellent upgrade. During the week I was reviewing Vision, I attended an excellent demonstration of the software at UK distributor TSC/MCM's demo room, given by Keith Borman, Opcode's Director of Sales, who came over from the States to help launch the new version. Later that week, Opcode's Marketing Director, Paul De Benedictis, came over to London so that he could run through the features informally, and explain some of the finer points. Paul stressed that Opcode's central aim was to make their software 'musician-friendly'. I believe that they have achieved their aim very effectively, thanks to the close integration with Galaxy, and with the Macintosh in general. Both of these guys impressed me with their efforts to cater for UK users, and professional musicians can certainly rest assured that their interests are being well looked after. Vision is one of the most well-behaved, and 'bullet-proof', pieces of MIDI software available for the Macintosh, and sets a standard which others will now find very hard to beat!


Improved interface, including full-colour windows and buttons, unlimited sequences per file and improved window control.

New notation editing and printing features.

The Tracks window significantly enhanced, with features such as movable tracks, track locking and, most importantly, the new track Overview features, which include a graphic view of subsequences.

Global editing. You can now select multiple tracks and set Global edit points in any editing window.

Groove Quantise.

Menu/windows updates. The File window is now called the Sequences window; the Sequences window is now called the Tracks window; the Program & Note Names window is now the Names window; Players & Queue is now a separate window. The Mogrify menus have been replaced with windows pop-ups or the windows sub-menu in the 'Do' menu.

Drum-machine style recording now available. You can quantise on input and enter a series of 16th notes by choosing 16th note quantise, then holding down a note on your MIDI keyboard for as long as you want 16th notes entered.

Vision requires a Macintosh running System 7 (or later) with four or more megabytes of RAM. If you wish to view or edit more than 12 tracks of notation at once, you will need to increase Vision's memory allocation by getting info (in Finder) and setting the Current Size to 3Mb or more. You may well want to use various other music programs in conjunction with Vision. Opcode's Galaxy offers synthesizer librarian and editing, Sound Designer II offers sample recording and editing for a range of samplers (from the Akai S1100 to the SampleCell card), Infinity offers advanced looping tools for Sound Designer II files, Time Bandit features advanced time-stretching for your SDII files, and SampleCell editor software lets you playback SDII files using a Digidesign 32-note polyphonic sample playback card which you can install in your Mac. All of these programs need fairly significant amounts of RAM, and I reckon that 24Mb would be a good amount to start with if you are intending to run several programs together under System 7 -- and you could double this amount without going over the top!