Presets management : will it ever get fixed ?

Ahhhh…Mediabay ! Don’t want to bash, but well… Here is an example that gives an idea of the state of Cubase preset management more than 5 years after the release of the VST3/medaibay system with C4 (september 2006…)

I will use my beloved MrRay Mk2 (categorized as a VST 2.4 instrument in the ‘Plug-in Information’ window). To be sure that I use the VST3 system, I immediatly converted all the factory presets to the VST3 standard with the ‘Convert Program List to VST Presets’ command. Checking in Mediabay, they are indeed all appearing, as expected (8 vstpresets).

  1. As I like to tweak my VSTis, I change one parameter (the ‘Phaser speed’) of the ‘Underwater’ preset and save it as ‘Underwater_Modified’ with the ‘Save preset’ command in the plug-in window. It appears in Mediabay at the right place with all the other ones (9 vstpresets, the 8 original plus the newly cretaed one, see ‘Mediabay_NewPresetCreated’). Fine…
    …Until I go to the ‘Program selector’ in the inspector : no trace of my newly created preset. Playing the instrument, I get the sound of the preset that I created, but the list in the ‘Program selector’ display the original one, with only 8 presets listed. No trace of the one I created but selecting ‘Underwater’ gives me the sound of it, which means that the original factory sound is lost…

  2. I close my project and start a new empty one. Adding an instrument track, I browse for my newly created preset and select it. I get what is in ‘Project2_UnderwaterModifiad’. The sound is the one of the ‘modified’ preset, but the one displayed in the ‘program selector’ is the original.

  3. Expecting to retrieve the original preset, I delete in Medaibay all the vstpresets that I created at the beginning and select again ‘Underwater’. Result : the modified preset is still applying ; no way to get the original ‘Underwater’ sound.

  4. The only way to retrieve the original sound is to close the project and start a new one and selecting the original ‘Underwater’ preset. But then, you don’t have directly access to the preset created in 1).


    All this means that creating a new preset from a pre-existing one leads to either the lost of the original one or the inavailability of the new created one. There is no added preset in the ‘program selector’ list and the reference for the sounds is broken. I tried the same procedure with Sylenth 1 (VST 2.4 also) : exactly the same issue. The only difference is that the Program selector list has a different layout, with a filter field.

Clumsy workarounds :
a) select the presets from Mediabay, but at the expense of creating a new track !
b) Start a new project with the original sound, but you do not have access to the one you have created.


Is this normal and how comes that the new preset is not appearing in the ‘program selector’ of either the inspector or the plug-in window ? Thanks for any enlightment…

P.S. : maybe it is needed to try twice to access to the images uploaded. The first attempt can lead to an error.
Project2_UnderwaterModifiad.jpg
Mediabay_NewPresetCreated.jpg

you don’t use the “right” menu for loading “vstpreset” you use the old vst 2 fxp/fxb menu you have to use the little “logo” at the left of the “open vsti” logo

I’m not sure that I got your answer, but if the ‘little logo at the left’ is the ‘Extract sound from tack preset’ then Ok, you can select all the sounds that you saved previously, this with the factory presets. Fine… But two problems remain :

  1. The program selector refuses to updates accordingly, and so do the one in the plug-in window. This leading to completely confusing situation : which preset are you really dealing with ? The one in the ‘Program selector’ or the one in the ‘Extract sound from tack preset’ ? I never created a trackpreset during the whole process, by the way, and there are a lot of things to say about them also. I just try to focus on the present issue…

  2. The ‘Extract sound from tack preset’ doesn’t filter at first the presets applicable to the VSTi you are presently using. Which means that you have to browse 2781 presets, in my case. OK, you can reordered them, but I think that, at least, the presets should be filtered accordingly to the instrument you are using.

We are all using a ‘high-end’ sequencer host, aren’t we ? A reliable and efficient presets management should be a part of it, IMO…

Are you making things more complicated for yourself than you need to? And are you expecting more of the mediabay than it actually is?
And, if the answers to the above being definitely a No, are you missing a small but vital detail somewhere about it’s operation?
I tend to keep the library and FX and saved presets for anything minimal to keep it tidy as, over the years, I have fallen into several holes in all sorts of software that in some ways does not do all I think it said on the tin.

Preset management, going the other way, might actually be more complicated as it might also depend on Windows management as well. So where you save the preset may also depend on where the Project or Template it was saved in has been placed. So if you move presets from Project to Project things might not be where one would expect.
You would then have to ask, why has that been done that way.
Just a few thoughts to see if there’s a lightbulb. And will it light up. :smiley: In my head and yours.

this.

Thats weird… it always updates immediately for me whenever I create a new preset.

Hadn’t the time to answer till now. So :

@Stealth : for my GSi instruments, it doesn’t. But I admit that the presets management part of Guido’s instruments isn’t the best of them. You are supposed to rely on the host for this, hence the problem.

@Conman : I thought that Mediabay was supposed to be the ultimate media management system ; it is marketed as this. But if I missed a ‘vital detail’, perhaps you could enlighten me…

Beside this, I made few more tests with other VSTis at my disposal. Here are the results :

  • Loomer String VST (VST 2.4) : again, a new layout of the ‘Program selector’ list which seems to be a reduced Mediabay one. For this VSTi, there is simply no ‘Convert presets list to VST prests…’ option. Which means that if I want to use the vstpreset system for this one, I will have to convert each preset one by one. There are nearly 120 of them…
    I converted few ones and choosed, in the original list, one that I didn’t convert. Again, the ‘Program selector’ doesn’t reflect the actual one loaded. IMO, if the preset hasn’t been converted, the ‘Program selector’ should be empty, instead of confusing the user.

  • True Pianos (VST 2.4) : exactly the same issues : no ‘Convert presets list…’ option and the same ‘program selector’ behaving…

  • Alchemy (VST 2.4) : same thing with several hundred of presets : I have purchased additional libraries with it…

  • Emulator X (VST 2.4) : this one is a multi-out sampler, so I set a MIDI+VST Instrument track combination (F11) when I use it. Result : nearly the same problem as the previous ones but, as EMu-X uses a bank system to store presets and samples used, the bank is reloaded each time you select a preset in Cubase ‘Preset selector’, no matter if the preset is already in the bank loaded or not. Which means that if the bank is a hefty 800 Mb one, well, you have the time to open your mail during the loading process…

  • Ivory II (VST 2.4) : one more different layout of the ‘Preset selector’ ! This time, it is replaced by a bank+preset selector combination. It is not the same at the one in the VSTi window, which lists ‘Untitled 1’… ‘Untitled 32’. If I save a vstpreset it doesn’t appear in the list : I have to use the ‘Load preset…’ command to use it.

I’ll end here. Thus, my questions to Steiny development crew :

  1. How comes that I can get 4 different layouts for Cubase ‘Program selector’, as all my VSTis are 2.4 compliant ?

  2. How comes that the ‘Convert Presets list…’ command is only available for some of them ?

  3. How comes that the preset selector shows a wrong preset when there is no exact equivalent vstpreset saved ? It seems as the whole system works more or less as a one direction system : if you use only the ‘program selector’ (providing that you have converted all the native presets and carefully saved every changes made) it works. As soon as you tweak something in the VSTi and save it with the native VSTi preset system, it doesn’t : mismatching everywhere and confusion about what you actually have to reliably use. The ‘Program selector’ should, at least, either be empty to avoid any confusion or, better, display a ‘edited preset’ message, or something equivalent.

  4. And the one that has been asked already several times : why ditching the saving of FXP/FXB files ? The vstpresets cannot replace it reliably at its present state, and there is also a compatibility reason : what do you do if a specific preset is needed on a host which doesn’t support the VST3 system ? The problem, actually, is that some VSTis (the GSi ones in my case, among others) rely on the host for presets saving. Otherwise, I wouldbn’t even bother.

More than five years after its release, the whole system isn’t VST 2.x efficient. To each VST 2.x VSTi its issues. To be honest, I would like to use the Mediabay/VST3 system and have an efficient tool to manage all the presets I have : presently, I can’t, thus the frustration.

And I purposely avoided the trackpresets system which adds even more confusion and could be another thread subject. Thr ‘Extract sound from trackpreset’ selector could be a part of it.

You can’t use MediaBay for VSTi:s that have their own preset file browser e.g EMU X.
They are simply not in a “saved state” good to be converted into a MB preset.
It can’t happen and it’s out of reach for Steinberg to do anything about it.

Ditching the FXP/FXB paradigm was their fault, however.
Bullet wounds all over their feet …

OK… So :

  • Why displaying a ‘Program selector’ on VST 2.x VSTis tracks and window, if it is not reliably usable ?

  • Why does Steiny refuses to admit that the whole VST 2.x compliance is broken, while stating (manual, p.213, about the presets) : “Once converted, you can use all VST 3 features” ?

EDIT : September 2006, i clearly remember that when I purchased the Cubase studio 4 upgrade from SL3, it was the first thing that shocked me. During a countless time, I tried to find workarounds, saying to myself “nah, they could not have broken like this something so important” : to no avail.
February 2012 : the present state is as frustrating as it was these days…

Hear, hear. I’d rather go back to the old system of presets. Maybe leave the Media Bay browser, I love using it for sourcing sound effects, but I find the combined presets hard to distinguish from “normal” presets (in fact, it’s hard to distinguish anything from anything in MediaBay’s dull, blue Arial-font-ed world!), and I miss just being able to load things from the drop-down menu, like you can still do with the EQ in the Channel View, for no discernible reason.

It’s the same deal as 32 bit vs 64, if your plugins aren’t compliant, then don’t use them.

I really don’t know what’s your problems I converted Thousand original VSTi preset (most of them are still VST2.4 plugins) in VST3 Preset format with no Problems at all (Native Instruments/Spectrasonics/Arturia/AAS/Camel Audio/Uhe etc…) & thousand VST FX Plugins (Sonnox/Slate Digital/UAD/Powercore/Relab/etc…)
Just use the little “lozenge” (don’t know if “lozenge” is the right translation for “losange” in english sorry) to load/save your VST3 Preset (& That’s not track Presets !)
& The preset menu (old fashion FXP) of the VSTi/VST is not steinberg menu is VSTi/VST Manufacturer that still use this for other DAW !
& yes the command to convert all the “factory bank” are not allways here you have to do this one by one ! (lot of work & times) !
I have more than 16000 VST3 Preset (Only VSTi & like I say before most of them are sill VST2 not VST3) converted now & the use of Mediabay is great !

@artisan
This is clearly admitting that the present presets management system has broken previous compatibility with the whole VST 2.x standard. Thanks for this ! A subsidiary question : care to tell me which VST3 synths or sampler you are using ? I’m curious…


@Home Studio 87
Did you really read my previous posts about this and do you consider normal that, again :

  1. There are 4 different layouts of the ‘Programs’ list in the inspector for VSTis that are all in VST 2.4 format ?

  2. That what is available in the drop down ‘prohrams’ list in the inspector doesn’t show all the presets actually existing for the VSTi involved ? This means that you can’t rely on it for VSTis which is host depending, presets management wise. I already showed this with MrRay MkII example.

  3. That you have, for most of the VSTi you use, to convert each preset one by one ?

  4. That you have, for using a new system which clumsily displays a more or less accurate listing of presets, to say goodbye to the compatibility with nearly any other host available (only Studio One is compatible, presently, more than five years after the release of VST3 ; correct me if I’m wrong…) ?

I’ll end up here…

Hi Cubic,

Put it this way, if I can find replacement(s) for anything that does not work as expected, previously used tools will vanish from my audio arsenal in many cases once I have firstly written to the developer in order to gauge their appetite for change.

My most often used plugin would be kontakt 5 player, with the free libraries and sampletank free however the latter does not work so well with User Account Control on windows vista.

I also use Halion Player and TC powercore.

Previous preset formats are mostly unusable in newer versions of Cubase and while the convenience factor may have been lost to a degree, always are my presets available in any version I’ve tried be it Cubase studio 5.5.3 up to Elements 6 and C6, as the .vstpreset format is compatible between each application and instances on first load so to my mind the trade off is rather insignificant, so long as I can get a good sound and usability.

On a related note, VST 2.4 compliance has nothing to do with a programs’ ability to save and/or recognize preset format(s), it is only the audio handling that is concerned at that level and to a lesser degree MIDI if implemented.

I work mainly with Cubase but I do work with other hosts too. Sadly, with the new preset saving system I can’t share my fx presets.
Since loading .fxp is still possible why don’t you give us the chance to also save in this format? I don’t get it why Steinberg had to break something that was already working fine.

Steinberg have broken nothing, rather they have built in greater support for a far superior VST preset format, which allows sharing between multiple applications on a single machine, as well as program-wide integration of preset handling.

@geroyannis and bduffy :
Thanks for your support ! It makes me feel that I’m not the only one bothered with the present situation, here… :slight_smile:


@artisan :

  1. In all the plug-ins you listed there is not a single VST3 one. It’s a fact…

  2. Did you try to use your vstpresets in anither host (I mean, not a Steiny one…) ? How do you do so ? I thought (naively, perhaps…) that VST was supposed to be an opened standard. You’re going to tell me that it’s up to other hosts developers to conform to the new version, but, IMO, the fact that they didn’t do so, tells itself a lot…

  3. Steiny itself claimed many years ago that the format that will guarantee a optimal use with VST3 is VST2.4. The latter has even been released mainly for this purpose.

Now, few comments, if you don’t mind. Guess what ? I can live with most of my VSTis under Cubase present state, otherwise I would have already switched to something else. And I know exactly why I keep on using Cubase (perhaps, if you have time and are interested, you could take a look at this thread in KVR : http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=347827 : It tells a lot about how I feel about Cubase, presently, and also about the way users of Cubase which are not posting here consider the presets management).

Now how do I do so ? Simply by using the internal presets management of each of my plug-ins. This means that I can never use Mediabay in a reliable way. I made a cross on it and this, since a long time. problem is that few of the VSTis that I am using is dependant of the host for presets saving.

Now the solutions (no, I am not bashing…) :

  1. bring back the FXP/FXB support, this, at least, for VSTis which use this format and is dependant of the host for managing presets.

  2. Clearly distinguish between VST2.x and VST3 formats for presets saving. In the inspector, as well as in the plug-in window :
    a) if the VSTi is developed under VST3, the '‘Program’ should list all the vstpresets related : ONLY these and with one and ONLY ONE layout.
    b) if the VSTi is developed under VST2.x, the ‘Programs’ field should display only presets which are created under the FXP/FXB format if the involved VSTi uses it, otherwise it should not even be displayed, this to avoid confusion and clearly showing that the presets management is only under the self responsability of the plug-in

  3. Mediabay should display all sounds resources, including FXP/FXB, and manage them as they are : files which are sound resources as well as vstpresets. No clumsy mix of the two or conversions : VST2.x are VST2.x and should stay so. Same thing for VST3.

The main problem since the origin of the present implementation is that the whole thing is completely prone to confusion and doesn’t even display reliably all the presets created (see again my first post in this thread). This is, IMO, unacceptable for a high end host such as Cubase. The frustration is still the same as it was when I first installed Cubase Studio 4.0.1 : no improvements since…

Cubic

VST 2.4 compliance doesn’t guarantee any preset format will work in a given host. As I say, if I have issues converting to the “VST3 Preset format” then I will likely dump the plugin unless it has it’s own internal method (usually non-steinberg) that works.

VST 3 plugins that have presented no issues that I’ve tried were from FabFilter and they have their own internal format, so I’d never want the old fxb/fxp system since due to being VST3 compliant, preset saving is guaranteed by the host unlike older plugin formats.

As for your statement about no change since 4.0.1, that is not entirely true because 5.5.3 can refresh between Mediabay and the mini-browser automatically. And for your information, any plugin that has a VST3 implementation, automatically generates a VST2.4 plugin version in addition, which is fully compliant with preset management in the host software.

  1. I never said that : I said that the VST 2.4 format was supposed to work without issues in a VST3 environment.

  2. Fine, but this doesn’t solve my specific issues. See my previous posts.

I know that VST3 plug-ins work fine : I use Cubase bundled plug-ins enough to know it. The problem is in the VST2.x ones, so, let’s agree to disagree… I’m glad that you are satisfied with the present state of Cubase presets management. I’m not. And I think I explained enough why, already.

Still hoping for someone from Steiny crew to chime in, without holding my breath. I would also be glad to get experiences from users who use like me VST2.x synths which are host dependant for saving presets. And how they manage compatibility problems and deal with four different layouts for the ‘Program’ field in the inspector/plug-in window, this with a unreliable list of the presets at their disposal.

Cheers,

Cubic as I said the VST version has nothing at all to do with preset formats, it is for the manufacturer to conform to specifications additional to the VST format in order to allow specific other functionalities to operate.

In other words Steinberg specifications are completely modular, which is without doubt the main reason why the DAW is so prolific throughout the world of music and media.

  1. I never said that either : see again the first line in my previous post. VST 2.4 plug-ins are supposed to be fully compatible with a VST3 environment. If it was so, the FXP/FXB format should never have been dropped, this to keep the so called full compatibility.

  2. Sorry, but this seems like an advertisement claim to me : if it was ‘fully modular’, how do you explain than since september 2006, there are so few plug-ins developers who made the VST3 switch ? And, this is what is important to me : how do you explain the flaws I am experiencing with my VST 2.4 ones in such a basic task as presets saving ?