Yaking Cat Music Studios

Tips and Tricks
updated 12/02/99

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*Author assumes no responsibility for the information contained herein*

Maximum recommended lenths of Macintosh video and keyboard cables:
Video = 150 feet using 75 ohn impedance cable RG59U
ADB = 5 meters

Need to capture screen ouputs to text files?  Try this:

1) Journaling while using the monitor's "export" command
"Export" is just like "list" except you don't get the line numbers and 
the entire file spews without stopping. (There is an "Import" too)
You need to press RETURN twice.

2) If you have Interchange you can just transfer to file to Mac

3) If you have Zterm or some other terminal emulation software, you can:

A) hook into your modem port and transfer the file using SYNCOMM.  The 
trouble with this is that the lines are null-terminated whereas the Mac 
expects them to be terminated with control-M.  Applications like MPW are 
set up to handle these different conventions.

B) hook in to your printer port and capture the output when you type 
To avoid getting the line numbers, type "des" (desequence) before typing 
---Submitted by Todd Yvega

Got a voice card going?  Try this:
1)  Load a *MONO* sample
2)  Select  "E. Extra System Commands"
3)  Toggle "E. Voice Diagnostics Test" to "On" with the "Space Bar"
4)  Press a note on the keyboard to listen to the sample through the selected voice.
5)  Step though each voice with the "Space Bar" while listening to the sample.
6)  Note the bad voice.  There are four voices per card.

Re:  termination
The device farthest from the D24 (i.e. closest to the SCSI "out" connector) should be terminated.  However, if some external device is hooked up to the "out", then none of the internal devices should be terminated.  Just terminate whatever is the last device on the chain connected to the "out" SCSI port.
---Submitted by Todd Yvega

Quick DtoD factoid:
If you ever perform the "Erase all projects" command on the 'O' page and you get the message "Direct to disk not ready", fear not!  As the DtoD is completing the command, it "jumps the gun" and suddenly finds itself offline.  This is as it should be since it is busy working.  Just wait a second.  After the DtoD is finished you will soon regain control.
*Todd Yvega says "This is the stupidest thing NED ever did!"*

For S/Link information, go here.

If this ever happens to you:
You have a DtoD slaved to a Synclavier.  You get the message "System not ready to accept commands" in the DtoD 'O' page.  I.O.W. the Synclavier gets a "timed out" message from the DtoD.  Don't know why, but it happens.  Anyway, if you have release 4.02, just click on "MOUNT" in the 'O' page and type "OK".  This is alot faster than rebooting

You can purchase 9 gig Seagate Hard Drives from ICS for about $240.  They work with the Synclavier and DtoD.  Try copying all of your Optical platters to the drive and enjoy the difference in speed (only possible with Release 4.02 or higher).  You will find information about ICS in my Service and Support page.

".AUDIT" is a temporary cue created by the
system whenever you turn on the "audition" feature in the DtoD.
In case you aren't familiar with the audition feature, it simply locks the
current cue to the sequence without you having to place it in the sequence
first.  This is very handy when doing multiple takes in sync with your
sequence (using CueSync mode).  You can play back any cue in sync quickly
without having to place it on a track first.  (Record all your takes now...
worry about assembling a composite later.)
---Submitted by Todd Yvega

What kind of serial cable do I use to connect my Synclavier to my Macintosh?
Null Modem cable, barrel to 25 pin, all serial interfaces

What kind of tape cartridge do my Patriot Drives use?
1/2" streaming tape
Back up tapes #4770150
Cleaning tapes #95556
IBM, 3M, BASF, Blackwatch

How do I set the SCSI id number on my drives?
Mac Hard Drive has SCSI ID of 0
on 80 meg drive the jumpers closest to the power connector would be
:::: as opposed to |:|: which is standard (id 5?)

What kind of hard drives will the Synclavier recognize?
Use Seagate hard drives
Baracuda, Medalist, Hawk
Use 68 pin to 50 pin ide adaptor

Where is a good place to buy hard drives?
Fry's or Rorke Data

I want to add more STMs. How do I do it?
If you wish to combine your STM's with other STM's they must be exactly the same (make/model).

The keys on my VP Keyboard aren't working. What happened?
If your keys on your keyboard are dead, make sure the circuit board backplane is not warped. Try inserting folded pieces of paper between the A frame and the circuit board to push it back into place otherwise you have to trim the top of the wood which the board rests against to have it sit at an angle closer to the keys.

The keys on my VP Keyboard make a "clicking" sound. What happened?
If your keys click together, try shaving some of the offending wood down with a razor (humidity warps the wood on the far end of the keys).

The keys on my VP Keyboard make a "brushing" sound or notes are "sticking". What happened?
If the flags at the end of the keys are too long, trim them.

Can I put things on top of my keyboard without worrying about Electromagnetic Interference?
It's ok to place speakers on your keyboard as long as they don't crack the wood.

I want to put a DSP card in my tower. What should I know?
The DSP card is very prone to static electricity

Has anyone written their own software for the Synclavier that is for sale?
There is a new music notation program from Alan Talbot. His compay is called Graphire. Note:  The software, now called Music Press, runs on desktop platforms not the ABLE computer.

Can a 3200 be anything more than a MIDI slave? Can it also have a VP Keyboard?
A 3200 can have a keyboard interface and more voices. Just shove in a card and punch a connector hole/add another case with a polybin and Beldin the two together.

My Synclavier book says I can have two poly bins in my 6400. How?
Why does the book mention that a 6400 can have 2 bins? Mistake! (pg39/book 2) A 6400 is a 3200 with a keyboard supposedly.

I have Patriot Drives that don't work. Should I repair or replace?
The Patriot Drives are notoriously difficult to repair.

I am using a Synclavier with a Mackie Mixer. How should I wire it?
Wire your Synclavier outputs to the BALANCED LINE Inputs of your Mackie for much improved headroom!

Quick FM factoid.
It supposedly possible to have unlimited FM voices (albeit at 128 polyphony max)

Quick Hard Drive factoid.
Users have had good results with larger than 4 gig hard drives.

How can I print
Grab any postscript printer with a serial interface and a null modem cable (see above) and print away on both your Synclavier and Mac

Quick Voice Card factoid.
Mono Voices SUCK! The DDV's on a 3200/9600 are harsh. The PSM cards are much more musical but have 6 db more crosstalk.

Can I upgrade my mono/3200 voices to panning?
There are two versions of the 3200 voices. Though both are just like 9600 voices
1) The pcb board will accept the additional DAC for stereo panning
2) The pcb board was made without any additional holes for soldering any additional components

Can I get my Synclavier even quieter?
Mitch Marcoulier knows how to lower the S/N ratio buy customizing the shielding and grounding.

Quick guitar factoid.
If you sneeze, the Guitar WILL TrIgGeR!

I want a floppy drive located at my VP Keyboard. How do I make the reset switch work?
You can have a remote floppy drive as the boot up drive by swapping connectors and making sure to wire the RESET switch from the remote drive to the current connection.

My machine is too hot. Why?
Exhaust fans are MUCH better than intake fans. So reverse all fans (including bin fans if necessary) and spin you machines around so you don't recycle air form your other hot machines. Many earlier machines had their fans competing against eachother.

My Synclavier II too hot. Why?
The Synclavier II had exhaust polybin fans and intake rear-mounted fans - this combination could fry an egg!

Quick Sound libraries factoid.
The stock Synclavier sound libraries generally suck.  Ilio squeezes down the sampling rates of the NED timbre library through their own proprietary software. Sample your own!

How do you access Harmonics 24 - 36?
Good question.

I have 32 multichannel outputs. How can I get them all to work?
Good question.

Is it possible to have the ADX/DAX work when you use SFM with the current software/hardware configurations?
Good question.

Is Zappa the only composer to have taken the Synclavier for a 200mph ride while the rest of us cruise at about 25mph (no, I have NOT left Todd-The-Brainiac-Yvega out!)

Quick Zappa factoid.
Zappa had 768meg ram, 32 multichannel (easy to switch to FM), 96 sampling voices, 32 fm voices.

Quick Synclavier factoid.
Some owners use SYNCOM to link their machines accross the country. According to Todd, there is an even better program used solely for printing.

How can I import Synclavier "text" files into my Macintosh?
Use the Printer Port to dump text into Mac-based editors. Capture the output with a terminal program.

I want to print my scores on large sheets of paper but I can't afford the printer. How can I do it?
Use the Printer Port to dump scores into Mac-based editors, save to disk, then bring to a publishing house to have printed in a large format.

Why does my screen in RTP give my tons of "beeps" and "hangups"?
On Quadras and Power Macs, the baud rate must be set to 9600 because Apple disabled xon/xoff communitcation among other things. These machines just cannot keep up with the throughput unless you get a really fast machine or an update in software from Demas.

How do I set the Baud Rate in my Synclavier?
On the D40Q card, "000" is 9600/"010" is 38,000/"100" is 19,200.

What is the best Macintosh Operating System for the sake of stability?
Use OS 7.5.1,.3,.5 or 7.6.1 or 8.1 not 7.5 or 7.6 or 8.5.

Why can't I scrub audio on the Macintosh in Editview or RTP on my PowerMac?
System 3.11 fixes Editview or get 4.0 to fix powermac/quadra bug on scrubbing

Quick PowerMac factoid.
Power Macs with NuBus, 6100, 7100, 8100 (6100 CANNOT display high resolution). The 8100 can run up to 110 mhz.

Quick Quadra factoid.
Quadra 840AV is 80/40 instead of 66/33, which makes it the fastest of the Quadra series because of an AT&T DSP chip

Quick Macintosh factoid.
You cannot use the trackball with newer-style mac keyboards. It won't work reliably. I don't know why.

I need more sequencer memory. What can I do?
Up to four 512k cards can be installed. FM and sequences store in extended memory. If you want four cards:
1) the first card can be of any manufacture date
2) the rest of the cards must be beyond manufacture date 1/87
3) the last card has ID#3. The first 2 dip switches are up; the last three are down.
4) Cards are located in 15,16,17; put fourth in 11. First card is 17.
Actually the maximum is much greater. It ultimately rests on the availability of slots.

How can I use my Nubus cards in my PCI computer?
The Blackbox Catatog sells products that let you use NuBus cards in PCI slots
Second Wave sell products that let you use NuBus cards in PCI slots ("Bridge")

Qucik STM daughtercard factoid.
Analogics 410132 1988 rev 2/3, filters J15- are interchangable
Look for AM40316 "mod 3" sticker-if not then test using the neat DtoD diagnostic software.
If power to STM motherboard is less than 4.87 volts TTL Minimum with 1 khz signal applied, there will be pronounced spikes every 3 or 3 samples at 15khz. Get fixed! Even if power is not low; it can still distort!
Spikes below -100dbr are fine.
Madonna (Twin Peaks), 50 hz between spikes is bad.

How can I play back 100khz recordings on my DtoD?
To play back 100khz you must have Wren6 or higher. Look for the ast number on sticker on hard drive.

Quick terminology factoid.
Able 0 is bottom
Able 1 is top

Communications card is in 10-MFC1 very top one terminal, bottom one reset.

I hear a "snap" at the tail end of sample. Whay?
Use DtoD diagnostic software to see "snap". Make sure your power is good. Otherwise your output cards can be adjusted.

How can I get the best audio out of my Synclavier?
Wait five minutes for voices to warm-up to help DC offset.

Quick Floppy Drive factoid.
If you are trying to load a floppy disk and your machine is beeping, the alignment between the drive that wrote the file and the drive trying to read the file is perhaps too far off. Try another drive and if successful, re-copy the files.

My Synclavier stopped working when I installed a surge protector. Help!
If you "lose a power supply", your drives spin up but there is no sound, etc. check to see if the surge protector hasn't gone "low" expecially if its rated at 15 amps. Turn off whatever is connected to it and power-up the core only. If everything is fine, get another power strip for the other components and plug the Synclavier straight in the wall!

Quick power factoid.
Check your the power output of your supplies every once and a while. They float and can pose a problem when you expand your system.

Quick Quantum Drive factoid.
Quantum Q280 drives are notorious for bad viscosity with grease. Actually do yourself a favor and don't buy ANY Quantum drives.

How can I really check the data integrity of my hard drive?
"Jack Hammer" by ? or "SCSI Director Pro 2.0" by Apollyonics Software Development, Inc. really checks a hard drive!

Quick modem factoid.
Use twisted-pair cable for connection between modem and house (pick up 1.2k in speed!)

Quick compostion factoid.
Reverse-compile and "pitch-row" the notes. Many variations of the same sample, cycle through each one.

Quick compostion factoid.
Reverse-compile and "shuffle" pitches to different tracks for hocketing.

Quick guitar factoid.
The Roland "Gibson SG" copy guitar is a 303.

My guitar doesn't track. Help!
Turn the sensitivity of the guitar to its lowest without dropping its dynamic range for accurate tracking. You can even adjust the A to D's on the cards themselves. Try different string gauges. The 303 is probably the best when it comes to tracking. Learn to avoid the "trouble spots" on the neck- this depends on what pitch the guitar resonnates at. Different guitars have different "trouble spots".

What are the best backup drive for the DtoD?
Hewlet Packard 1533C back-up drives are the most reliable. Twice the speed back-up.

Quick terminal emulation factoid.
VT640=Retrographics=Tektronix 4010

Quick DtoD factoid.
DtoD has two Model D cards. A stand-alone tower slaves to a second tower.

Quick syncronization factoid.
The VITC option is just a matter of having the latest SMPTE card.

If your drive belt on your WORM drive keeps falling off:
1) Use rubber conditioner on the belt if not too worn or cracked
2) Use alcohol on the the pulleys

"My sequences sound out of tune." or "Are you telling me my sequences are out of tune?"
Use the new freq table for better tuning
1) Pitch Class+Start=new
2) Pitch Class+Stop=old

If your ribbon controller is "sketchy":
1) use pure alcohol sparingly on the metal "string" and on the resistive plate