Quick Export (MIDI/Audio)
Gather around kids, I have a tale to tell. The WaveDNA development team was starry eyed and bushy tailed at the end of 2012. You see, we had built our standalone application called Liquid Loops (later it grew up to be renamed Liquid Rhythm), and decided it needed to have friends. Music software will have play dates if it implements a plugin interface such as VST/AU/RTAS/AAX. We sat down and read through the various API, and figured it all out. Those tombs contained within them the gospel truth, we just needed to implement the VST interface, and voila, we will work with almost every DAW in the world! (NOTE: AU for Logic/GarageBand and RTAS/AAX for Protools). We even went one step further, we picked up an interface that unifies all the plugin code into one JUCE. Even better, as long as we could code once to Juce specification everything would be amazing. It would just work!
With this grand insight, pots of coffee, we hid away to hack out the plugin code. We thought, as long as we tested our code on a few major DAWs, it should just work with all the rest. We tested within Ableton, Logic and Protools. After many months of hacking we emerged with pristine plugin code and straggling beards. With pride we released Liquid Rhythm out into the world, only to be dismayed. For you see, sure VST is a standard, but not everyone interprets the same sentences in the same way. We quickly discovered what worked perfectly in our test DAWs, failed in subtle ways in the other DAWs.
This is where our folly lay, for each DAW had some specifics detail that we didn’t anticipate. We know we are going to fix them all and it’s going to take some time. We are a small development team and there’s so much to do.
In the meantime, is there something simple that could let us work in all DAWs? Something that would give musicians and producers a cool way to create rhythm ideas while integrating with their favourite DAW? Well of course, we could quickly support Export Audio Stems (.AIF .WAV) and Export MIDI. Those are standards that can be easily imported into ANY DAW. But how could we make it better?
From this question, Quick Export was born
(Full Disclosure: This was requested by an awesome musician first, that was already using Liquid Rhythm through export/import, and just wanted it to be faster, I am wrapping into a narrative that makes us look insightful – when we have our customers to thank! You guys are awesome).
Running the “File->Quick Export Audio/MIDI” feature, will at the first execution ask you the path or settings. Then every other time, if you hit the key combination or choose it from the File Menu, it will automatically run the previously setup command. All you will see is an update to the ‘Information’ panel at the bottom right, indicating the export was completed successfully. On your DAW side you can import the stem or the MIDI file, as most DAW support this and tend to remember the folder you last imported from. A nice advantage of this technique is you can see the data within your favorite DAW, allowing easier arrangement. With our plug-in integration, you can hear the audio, but you cannot see it in your DAW (except in the special Ableton Max for Live integration).
Below is a quick video that shows the export features. Every time you quick export, it will automatically backup the previous file (adding the extension .bak). In case you quick export by accident, you will find your previous export in the same folder. This works for both MIDI exports and Audio exports. The example workflow is to have both your favorite DAW and Liquid Rhythm standalone running at the same time. Making a change in Liquid Rhythm, and quick export it to see it in your DAW. It allows Liquid Rhythm to become your rhythm idea scratch pad, and you are now off to the races!
Author: Adil Sardar, Lead Developer