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I got bitten by the "all positive gear reviews" po

 
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plurgid
gettin' sounds


Joined: 24 Mar 2010
Posts: 135
Location: Huntsville, AL

PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 1:17 pm    Post subject: I got bitten by the "all positive gear reviews" po Reply with quote

Man ... I'm struggling with how to say this without sounding like a giant douchebag ... because I love Tape Op and it's free and bitching about that is definite douchenozzle territory ... but I don't think there's any other way, and I do think this needs to be said.

Look ... it's the Gear Reviews. I have read before how Tape Op only runs positive reviews, and I can see the value in that policy. I don't think it's a bad idea, but there needs to be a corollary, and that is "do not run a positive review if the gear is actually crap", because it really damages the credibility of all the gear reviews.

Case in point: Arturia MiniLab.

At $99 it is so cheap ... I'd written it off completely as a dollar-store toy. But after the review in the last issue that was glowing so hard it nearly levitated off the page, I went out and got one.

Indeed the sounds are fucking awesome. It has that much going for it.

But for chrissakes ... *it barely works*, and I mean that literally. I have no idea how in the blue hell the author even managed to get through enough evaluation to write the piece. The software locks up, emits clicks and hisses, the knobs stop responding, the plugin sends out of range values to the host, causing the host to crash ... and that's even WITH the latest patches from Arturia installed (which I might point out ... you have to dig for on the Arturia site ... the authorization process presents you with a link to a version of the software called "latest" which is not actually the latest ... and a dead link for the midi control center patch ... one might at least mention THAT in a review).

It is not just some unique tech problem on my side that's the issue. One only has to google "MiniLab Crash" to find literally thousands upon thousands of complaints like this (which, in retrospect is my own failing -- I should have googled the suspiciously cheap thing I was purchasing first).

The software simply isn't mature. There are SO MANY bugs, it truthfully feels like a beta test. The review might have mentioned that, since it is really quite impossible for the reviewer not to have noticed anything beyond the mentioned window resizing problem.

So yeah, I totally love the sounds though I'd have paid $199 for a version that I could actually use on a session, y'know?

Just sayin' ... that was $99 ... will I trust a tape op gear review when I'm ready to drop $2500 on a new mic or compessor? I dunno ...
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2179

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:17 pm    Post subject: Re: I got bitten by the "all positive gear reviews" po Reply with quote

Hmm yeah that's kind of the way I feel about all published reviews really… If I look at the back of Tape Op for gear reviews its either things I can't afford to consider anyway, or overloved cheap crap. Famously in recent history of course…the Monoprice stuff. If I took the reviews literally, all this Monoprice junk just reads way too good to be true, and sets you up with unrealistic expectations. Of course, I pay nothing for my Tape Op subscription, so I expect something under the table going on between the advertisers and the reviewers. Whatever. I don't read Tape Op for the reviews.


If the Arturia is that big of a POS, can't you return it? I have felt similarly about buggy software/hardware purchases in the past and in some cases battled with the manufacturer to push that turd back…I'm not into paying to be someone's beta tester.
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Nick Sevilla
speech impediment


Joined: 03 Mar 2008
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Location: Los Angeles California USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:20 pm    Post subject: Re: I got bitten by the "all positive gear reviews" po Reply with quote

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1001250201
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Nick Sevilla
speech impediment


Joined: 03 Mar 2008
Posts: 4453
Location: Los Angeles California USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:21 pm    Post subject: Re: I got bitten by the "all positive gear reviews" po Reply with quote

Darnit double post.
I hate my iPhone.
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Last edited by Nick Sevilla on Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:13 am; edited 1 time in total
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Nick Sevilla
speech impediment


Joined: 03 Mar 2008
Posts: 4453
Location: Los Angeles California USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:21 pm    Post subject: Re: I got bitten by the "all positive gear reviews" po Reply with quote

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1001250201
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vvv
zen recordist


Joined: 13 May 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:45 pm    Post subject: Re: I got bitten by the "all positive gear reviews" po Reply with quote

Laughing
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plurgid
gettin' sounds


Joined: 24 Mar 2010
Posts: 135
Location: Huntsville, AL

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:51 pm    Post subject: Re: I got bitten by the "all positive gear reviews" po Reply with quote

kslight wrote:
Whatever. I don't read Tape Op for the reviews.


word. neither do I. Perhaps I really didn't need to start this thread. I was just sort of surprised I guess, because Tape Op is usually such an authoritative source, anyhow. I'm certainly not going to stop reading it, LOL.

kslight wrote:
If the Arturia is that big of a POS, can't you return it? I have felt similarly about buggy software/hardware purchases in the past and in some cases battled with the manufacturer to push that turd back…I'm not into paying to be someone's beta tester.


Yeah, I could ... but it's only $99, and I love the sounds. They're really that good. The review wasn't wrong on that point. At this point I'm still hoping Arturia will get their shit together and release some patches, because if it would just stop crashing all the time, it'd be pretty damn awesome.

LOL, looks like I'm not the only one in that boat:

http://www.change.org/petitions/arturia-musical-instruments-this-petition-requests-fixes-that-pertain-to-arturia-s-hardware-and-software-the-encoders-and-software-are-severely-unstable-regardless-of-the-recent-updates-this-problem-has-been-neglected-for-almost-a-year
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2179

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:10 pm    Post subject: Re: I got bitten by the "all positive gear reviews" po Reply with quote

plurgid wrote:
kslight wrote:
Whatever. I don't read Tape Op for the reviews.


word. neither do I. Perhaps I really didn't need to start this thread. I was just sort of surprised I guess, because Tape Op is usually such an authoritative source, anyhow. I'm certainly not going to stop reading it, LOL.

kslight wrote:
If the Arturia is that big of a POS, can't you return it? I have felt similarly about buggy software/hardware purchases in the past and in some cases battled with the manufacturer to push that turd back…I'm not into paying to be someone's beta tester.


Yeah, I could ... but it's only $99, and I love the sounds. They're really that good. The review wasn't wrong on that point. At this point I'm still hoping Arturia will get their shit together and release some patches, because if it would just stop crashing all the time, it'd be pretty damn awesome.

LOL, looks like I'm not the only one in that boat:

http://www.change.org/petitions/arturia-musical-instruments-this-petition-requests-fixes-that-pertain-to-arturia-s-hardware-and-software-the-encoders-and-software-are-severely-unstable-regardless-of-the-recent-updates-this-problem-has-been-neglected-for-almost-a-year


Yeah but good sound or not, I just can't accept paying for something that is unusable out of the box. For example, I pledged on the KMI QuNeo Kickstarter and (eventually) got a QuNeo. Really really buggy, intermittent at best, not at all like advertised, missing a lot of features (to this date, even), and very poor unresponsive support. Took months, and they weren't willing to give me my money back until I was publicly bitching about it on Gearslutz. So never again, will I spend money on a Kickstarter tech project (that lives/dies by its software), I only buy things like that with clear return policies.
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danagum
audio school


Joined: 05 Jan 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:52 pm    Post subject: Steps to reproduce/sheepish apology? Reply with quote

Hey folks - so, I'm the guy who wrote the review of the MiniLab & AnalogLab software.

Without discounting the issues you describe above, I honestly back up everything I wrote in the review - in summary: the sounds are stellar, the controller itself is, well, portable at least. But I read your posts above and they concerned me! I have been trying to think back and remember if I ever had any of the severe issues you are describing, and I can't remember any deal-breakers during my testing like the stuff you mention above. I'm particularly picky about audio drop-outs and inconsistencies, so any of the above would have been a big red flag for me.

I pulled out the MiniLab today. I have it fired up right now with the standalone AnalogLab application, and although it seems to function as expected with no problems thus far, I'd be interested in trying to reproduce some of the issues you describe. Here's my testing set-up:

MacBook Pro (Retina Display) 2.3 Ghz Intel Core i7.
16GB RAM.
55GB available hard disk space.
OS X 10.9.1
No other peripherals attached at the moment.

I know you described a variety of faults, but if you could post the steps you can take to consistently generate a particular error, maybe I can repro that here. If a reproducible issue can be found, then clearly, some action should be taken! We definitely don't want to mis-lead our readers, or make them feel like they've been conned into buying a POS! Believe it or not, I take pride in the stuff I write for Tape Op, so I wanna make sure MY experience with the product wasn't some weird (positive) anomaly.

Respectfully,
Dana
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alex matson
re-cappin' neve


Joined: 25 Jun 2003
Posts: 786
Location: portland

PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:04 pm    Post subject: Re: I got bitten by the "all positive gear reviews" po Reply with quote

I bought the Minilab last month. I have a 2007 MBP 2.4 Intel Core Duo, and the software hasn't crashed once. Unlike U-he Diva, I've never maxed out the processor either. Maybe there's something else going on.
I bought this at guitar center, and the guy made a point to tell me that it wasn't a returnable item...funny since the software part is a download. He also tried to get me to spend $20 on a warranty. I took my chances.
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