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Thread: Prism Beta test

  1. #1
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    Default Prism Beta test

    I've just received the new Cymatics VST "Prism" for Beta testing. I am posting on their forum as "Rodulf" if anyone wants to join me there.
    My initial impressions are favorable. Looks very usable and capable. Over the next few days I will do up some meditation tracks and compare them to the older plugins.
    I don't know how much this will cost when released.
    Everyone have a safe, wonderful night!
    "Doubting not
    I give My Blood,
    So I May Enter Hall Up High,
    The Sky Belongs To Asagods,
    As Long As The Raven Flies!"
    Amon Amarth

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Prism Beta test

    After using this for a few days I believe it needs some work. It's OK for a casual user that does not demand too much from the sessions he's making. I can do a hell of a lot more with the old Cymatics plugins. If your ambitions only go to adding BWE to your favorite music, then, sure, Prism can work for that. For more advanced users I would say don't delete your older plugins just yet.
    "Doubting not
    I give My Blood,
    So I May Enter Hall Up High,
    The Sky Belongs To Asagods,
    As Long As The Raven Flies!"
    Amon Amarth

  3. #3

    Default Re: Prism Beta test

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodulf View Post
    After using this for a few days I believe it needs some work. It's OK for a casual user that does not demand too much from the sessions he's making. I can do a hell of a lot more with the old Cymatics plugins. If your ambitions only go to adding BWE to your favorite music, then, sure, Prism can work for that. For more advanced users I would say don't delete your older plugins just yet.
    Yea, I tend to agree at this point. I don't fully understand it though, I might be missing something. Really, all they need to do is add the LFO functions of the old plugin.

    It would work great as a stand alone program the way it is now.

  4. Default Re: Prism Beta test

    Thanks for checking out the plugin and giving your honest feedback! Prism offers more or less everything the old plug-ins did plus a lot more under the hood, so I'm curious where the perception of having less is coming from. Prism is the combination of the old plug-ins (SS tone generators, LFO, and binaural tone generator, plus the new addition of isochronic) into a single plug-in. The old plug-in did not offer proper band limiting/filtering of the high frequency SS/AS tones, which Prism does, as well as things like LED gamma correction (proper linear response from LED output), and a bunch more under the hood that the old plug-ins were lacking.

    The old plugins required you to have at least 4 different plug-in instances/audio tracks for SpectraStrobe (reference, red, green, blue) + corresponding LFO's on each channel, and if you wanted to use the binaural tone generator another additional plug-in instance. If you wanted to sync them all to a single entrainment frequency, this had to be coordinated manually for each plug-in instance or submix routing, whereas Prism has a single global frequency control making the task a lot easier (it controls the entrainment frequency of all colors and sound tones).

    If you still want to break the colors into separate controls/independent frequencies, you can just create separate instances of the Prism, go to settings, and isolate only the tone or tones you want by disabling the others (just ensure you only have one reference tone at a time if working with SpectraStrobe). There is also multibus output routing available if you'd rather keep just one instance of the plug-in and route some of its layers to submixes of your DAW for more fine grained control.

    As the author of both plug-ins, and probably their most prolific user to this point, I can assure you Prism is a superior engine all around and includes nearly all features of the old plug-ins, plus a lot more refinement and better signal processing.

    Would you be willing to share what feels more limiting in Prism? I'd be happy to answer questions and translate prior workflows to the new workflows in Prism. Also, we will be continually working on adding new features to Prism over time, and support more and more architectures and DAWs. The older plug-ins are basically end-of-life and are not going to receive any support going forward (for example no native M1 support on macOS, which Prism already supports).

    Again, thanks for your interest, and let me know if I can help answer questions or explain how the old plug-ins functionality maps to Prism.

    I'm also curious what use cases and feature requests are floating around out there, so feel free to share ideas.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by Cymatic; 11-22-2021 at 08:32 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Prism Beta test

    I get what Rodulf is saying. It’s easier, at least for me to turn the light signals into midi items and treat them like an audio file. Split, fade, cross fade, adjust volume, pan, and a lot of other functions can be controlled easily and precisely. Juggling all this with automation envelopes is quite tedious for complex sessions. DAW envelopes are designed for music production, our range is much narrower.

    I get what you’re saying too. What I am thinking of doing is creating a Prism track and using it to create midi items for RGB which I will drag into their own track. Now, I need to control the frequency with a common LFO through a buss or folder. I usually do tones like this too, and modulate music or drones. The old plugin all I had to do is make a track with the LFO, automate Frequency, and put my colors, tones and music in a folder. Im not seeing how to do that with Prism

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Prism Beta test

    One thing I feel was much better in the original plugins was using a sound file to modulate the light. Adding drums or thunder to a track that triggered a light show. This function in Prism does not have the oomph (Scientific term from advanced quantum thermodynamics meaning power.).
    It is much easier using Prism as a single plugin.
    I am now experimenting with using two instances of Prism...one for straight entrainment and one for sound-driven light.
    "Doubting not
    I give My Blood,
    So I May Enter Hall Up High,
    The Sky Belongs To Asagods,
    As Long As The Raven Flies!"
    Amon Amarth

  7. Default Re: Prism Beta test

    JoeV: It sounds like you might still be using the 0.9.3 version. In the 0.9.4 beta we streamlined Prism, removing MIDI preset/scene triggering in favor of a parameters-only approach. This is exactly how the original Cymatic Labs plug-ins also function. We feel that creating "scenes" of parameter states that can be recalled via simple sequencing triggers is still a valuable concept vs. parameter automation, but ultimately decided that it would be best to implement it in a standalone version. For instance, since MIDI is event-based, proper timeline scrubbing is impossible (as opposed to automation envelopes where the exact state is known at all times). Since 0.9.4 is more similar to the original plug-ins, most of your workflow and approach should translate. We will reach out to you directly to see if we can assist with any remaining issues.

    Rodulf: Audio input modulation functions much the same between the two plug-ins. It's possible that somehow gain stages or levels are slightly different between them, but this is something that should be easy to compensate for by boosting either audio input gain before Prism, and/or Audio Input Gain within Prism. One difference however, is that Prism by default applies gamma correction to make LED output brightness more linear on the LED glasses. It is possible that since the old plug-ins did not provide this correction, you experienced disproportionately bright modulation from the input source. In Prism's settings you can try adjusting or disabling Gamma Correction to see if the brightness curve more closely matches your prior experience.

    Updates to Prism's input modulation are already in the works, and you can read about them here (as well as discuss feature requests).

    Additionally, we're trying to cover some of Prism's frequently asked questions here.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Prism Beta test

    Quote Originally Posted by Cymatic View Post
    JoeV: It sounds like you might still be using the 0.9.3 version. In the 0.9.4 beta we streamlined Prism, removing MIDI preset/scene triggering in favor of a parameters-only approach. This is exactly how the original Cymatic Labs plug-ins also function. We feel that creating "scenes" of parameter states that can be recalled via simple sequencing triggers is still a valuable concept vs. parameter automation, but ultimately decided that it would be best to implement it in a standalone version. For instance, since MIDI is event-based, proper timeline scrubbing is impossible (as opposed to automation envelopes where the exact state is known at all times). Since 0.9.4 is more similar to the original plug-ins, most of your workflow and approach should translate. We will reach out to you directly to see if we can assist with any remaining issues.

    Rodulf: Audio input modulation functions much the same between the two plug-ins. It's possible that somehow gain stages or levels are slightly different between them, but this is something that should be easy to compensate for by boosting either audio input gain before Prism, and/or Audio Input Gain within Prism. One difference however, is that Prism by default applies gamma correction to make LED output brightness more linear on the LED glasses. It is possible that since the old plug-ins did not provide this correction, you experienced disproportionately bright modulation from the input source. In Prism's settings you can try adjusting or disabling Gamma Correction to see if the brightness curve more closely matches your prior experience.

    Updates to Prism's input modulation are already in the works, and you can read about them here (as well as discuss feature requests).

    Additionally, we're trying to cover some of Prism's frequently asked questions here.
    Read the directions first? What a concept! This is a behavior unnatural to men lol. Maybe I should create a hypnosis session to facilitate this before Christmas

    Can you elaborate on Gamma Correction and what that does for us in practical terms? I imagine that if I render each color as a soundtrack and mix them that way, the gamma correction goes out the window, correct? What are the advantages of using Prism for light encoding over the old plugin or using a tone generator? Is a color preset palette possible with Prim? In MWS, you could right click a point (node) and choose a color from Windows color pop up, or mix your own color presets. You could set it to fade from the last point, or change instantly. Using the old plugin or generated tones, there are too many parameters involved to do something like that.

    can you also elaborate in practical terms what Sync Mode does, and how it can be used in session creation?
    Last edited by JoeV; 11-24-2021 at 09:24 AM.

  9. Default Re: Prism Beta test

    Re: Gamma Correction --- Similar to sound, the human eye doesn't perceive light brightness in a linear fashion, it's an exponential relationship between LED output power and perceived brightness, which you can read more about here if you are interested. Computer monitors, for example, apply a gamma correction curve to color output so that as we adjust a color from say 0% brightness to 100% brightness it has the appearance of fading smoothly/linearly. Without this correction curve, this means that your eye will be very sensitive to changes in brightness at low levels of output, but the perception of different levels of brightness will be reduced exponentially as the light output increases. In practical terms this means the gamma correction curve Prism applies creates a more 1 to 1 relationship of perceived brightness and color in the LED glasses as it compares to the color you see on screen with your computer monitor (it's not guaranteed to be exact, but it's very much in the ballpark). Gamma correction in Prism applies to all colors, so if even if you mix them into separate channels, they will still have the gamma correction applied (unless you disable it in the Settings per instance of Prism).

    Re: Color palette creation/picking --- SpectraStrobe creates different colors using additive mixing of red, green, and blue signal levels, and so both the old plug-ins and Prism both have separate level controls for red, green, and blue output (a 1 to 1 matching of the underlying control scheme). We also recognize the value in being able to simply pick a combined RGB color from a color picker and then fade between colors in the timeline, but this is more of a limitation of DAW workflows and how parameter automation works. This is something that could be more easily addressed in a standalone version, where we would be free from the limitations of DAW-specific workflows, and able to more readily apply our own approach. That said, there still may be some clever workflow enhancements we could consider when working with color mixing within a DAW environment. Would you consider carrying on the discussion over in the roadmap/feature request section of the Prism forum?

    Re: Sync Mode --- The standard mode of entrainment frequency control in Prism is a free/manual control of frequency, directly specifying the desired value in Hertz (Hz). However, setting the sync mode to Multiply or Divide will allow you to control the entrainment frequency with the tempo of the composition in the DAW (as a function of the beats per minute/BPM). There is a Frequency Sync Ratio parameter, and when Prism is set to either Multiply or Divide, then 1 beat at the current beats per minute tempo will be used as the period for the entrainment frequency. For example, if you set your project's tempo to 60 BPM, that would translate to 1 beat per second, or a frequency of 1 Hz. Dividing this frequency by a sync ratio of 2 would result in a 1/2 note in musical terms, or 2 Hz in frequency terms, dividing by a sync ratio of 4 would be a 1/4th note (quarter note), and would result in a frequency of 4 Hz. Multiplying by the sync ratio has the opposite ffect - a sync ratio of 2 would double the beat length, resulting in a frequency of 0.5 Hz.

    The utility of synchronizing Prism's entrainment frequency to the tempo of your composition is the ability to match entrainment frequency with the tempo of any music or percussion in your composition.

    Another benefit is if you are modulating or tempo syncing any other aspect of your DAW that is not Prism (another synthesizer or a DAW LFO for example): in this scenario, if you wanted to keep all of the individual elements/plug-ins oscillation/modulation rates locked while changing frequency over time, you would have to individually automate all applicable frequency parameters on all elements of your composition separately. Instead, you could tempo sync. these elements (many plug-ins, especially LFOs support this), and just automate the master tempo of the composition up or down, and all other sync'd elements will follow the single source of timing (the BPM value).

    When you put Prism into a tempo sync mode, the resulting frequency in Hz, as a combination of the current BPM, sync mode (divide or multiply), and sync ratio will be displayed in Prism on the Frequency tab.

    Cheers!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Prism Beta test

    Quote Originally Posted by Cymatic View Post
    Re: Gamma Correction --- Similar to sound, the human eye doesn't perceive light brightness in a linear fashion, it's an exponential relationship between LED output power and perceived brightness, which you can read more about here if you are interested. Computer monitors, for example, apply a gamma correction curve to color output so that as we adjust a color from say 0% brightness to 100% brightness it has the appearance of fading smoothly/linearly. Without this correction curve, this means that your eye will be very sensitive to changes in brightness at low levels of output, but the perception of different levels of brightness will be reduced exponentially as the light output increases. In practical terms this means the gamma correction curve Prism applies creates a more 1 to 1 relationship of perceived brightness and color in the LED glasses as it compares to the color you see on screen with your computer monitor (it's not guaranteed to be exact, but it's very much in the ballpark). Gamma correction in Prism applies to all colors, so if even if you mix them into separate channels, they will still have the gamma correction applied (unless you disable it in the Settings per instance of!
    OK, so this only applies to matching the preview on the screen to the color on the glasses?

    Re: Color palette creation/picking --- SpectraStrobe creates different colors using additive mixing of red, green, and blue signal levels, and so both the old plug-ins and Prism both have separate level controls for red, green, and blue output (a 1 to 1 matching of the underlying control scheme). We also recognize the value in being able to simply pick a combined RGB color from a color picker and then fade between colors in the timeline, but this is more of a limitation of DAW workflows and how parameter automation works. This is something that could be more easily addressed in a standalone version, where we would be free from the limitations of DAW-specific workflows, and able to more readily apply our own approach. That said, there still may be some clever workflow enhancements we could consider when working with color mixing within a DAW environment. Would you consider carrying on the discussion over in the roadmap/feature request section of the Prism forum?
    Yea, there are so many ways to adjust color (volume) with a DAW. It was a cool feature with MWS though. That and more discussion will happen on the Prism Forum

    So, Sync mode makes it easy to adjust flicker rate to the tempo of a song for entertainment purposes, but most of the time I am trying to align a song’s tempo to a specific frequency for entrainment purposes.
    Last edited by Andy; 12-04-2021 at 05:13 AM. Reason: Fix Quotes

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