The Yousician Rant is by far the most infamous post on my blog (which I will not link to here because I’m sick to death of that post), and the one getting the most hits from google. And, when I say ‘by far’, I mean that stats on all my other posts are dwarfed by comparison.  I was recently told that googling yousician brought this post up as one of the first results, and I thought two things.

  1. Really? How the heck did that happen?
  2. Well, now it makes sense.

Now, I’ve never once googled ‘Yousician’. Never. But, after getting that bit of intel, I decided to check. It does not, in fact, turn up on the first page when you google ‘yousician’, nor does it turn up on the first page when you google ‘yousician review’. It does, however, turn up on the first page when you google ‘yousician problems’, which – by process of deduction – forces me to assume that the majority of the people finding my blog post are having problems with the program and finding me that way. I have no other explanation as to why I can’t shake this post and move on with a nice, zen sense of inner peace.

It does lead me to wonder where the people who keep saying ‘I’m not having any problems’ are coming from, though, as clicking 5 pages into a “yousician” google, my blog still has not turned up. I have an opinion about that (not to mention I find it a little suspicious), but will let you form your own conclusions on the matter.

However, what I also recently found out is that Yousician has since added ukulele to it’s list of instruments. When I was ranting about the program, they offered only guitar. They added piano not long ago, and now they have added ukulele as well. This leads me to believe they are far more interested in marketing their product to as many people as possible than they are in figuring out what’s going wrong to put an end to people like me who keep running into problems and keep vocally complaining about them on the internet. Their choice. Not the one I would make, as it seems unwise to keep loading new data into a system that’s got a glitch in it, but it’s not my program, and I’m not paying for it, so if a fatal error happens along the way, it doesn’t affect me much; I have other options.

Still, I have not touched yousician in months, and the knowledge that ukulele has been added made me decide to open it up again and see if there’s been any improvement. I want to say I really was hoping. And, I want to reinforce, once again, that the sound set-up on my end is not the problem. I’m adept at adjusting my sound settings, and know what my system can handle, because I have been using the internal speakers on my laptop as a primary recording method for a while. That may not seem important right this second, but bear with me; my reasons for reaffirming that will be made clear in a moment.

So, I open Yousician. It’s been a while, so it takes several minutes to update. That’s fine. I was expecting it; as I said, it’s been a while.  Next step is to go into settings. Check which mic option is selected. Okay, default mic. Good. Just to be on the safe side, I went from there to my sound settings to confirm the levels were high enough. Sometimes when I switch between mics and cables, this will get knocked down to 17%, which is not loud enough for much of anything, let alone Yousician, but everything there was gravy. Back to Yousician, in the settings menu, select ukulele, and we are ready to go.

I grabbed my Kala uke, which is the loudest in my collection. Used my snark to tune it up, and the first thing Yousician does is ask me to tune it. Fine. Makes sense.

At this point, I’m already having a sound recognition issue. It recognizes the ukulele, but not that it’s in tune. In fact, it thinks the uke is not just out of tune, but GROSSLY out of tune. This is just blatantly not true. I’m pretty sure if I tuned the uke half as sharp as Yousician wanted me to tune it, the strings would break. Or the tuners. One of them would definitely give under the strain.

Fine, let’s try a different ukulele. This time I grabbed my Ibanez, because I had a sinking suspicion I might need one that I can plug in. Again, Yousician is registering a perfectly tuned instrument as grossly flat – checked against both my clip on snark, and the tuner built into the ukulele.

Just to make sure it’s not just the tuner in the Yousician program that’s having a freak out, I decide to try the first lesson, juuust to confirm what I expected – and sure enough, it registered the chord once and only once.

Alright, FINE. I grabbed my rocksmith cable and plugged in. Checked the settings again to make sure the cable was selected. Checked the tuning again. Now Yousician registers the tuning just fine.

Tested the first lesson again, and registering all the chords (including one or two where it shouldn’t have, really, because I hit the chord badly enough I should have been told ‘no, that sucked. Do it again.’

Now, for further testing, I decided to try my usb mic, so I unplugged the rocksmith cable, plugged in my samson meteorite, checked that the right sound input device was selected, confirmed my sound settings again, and went back to the same lesson. Well, I’ll be damned, it registers just fine.

This leads me to my trial and error observation that once you use a usb device for your sound in yousician, the program will never register sound properly without one on that machine again.  

Now I initially tried the Rocksmith cable ON YOUSICIAN’S SUGGESTION. This appears to mean I am now chained to a usb sound device with the program for the life of the computer, when (and I repeat ad nauseum) there is absolutely nothing at all remotely wrong with my built in speakers. Sure, they’re not top of the line, but they’ve been perfectly good enough for everything else I’ve thrown at them.

I happen to have recently bought a usb mic for a different project, so I can use it with the program. It is absolutely an option available to me. However, it should not be a requirement. The fact remains that since the first time I plugged in my rocksmith cable for use with yousician, Yousician has not responded to my internal speakers. It acknowledges that they’re there, but will not utilize them to anything even remotely near their actual potential.  It’s a bit like trying to talk to someone who’s turned off their hearing aid and isn’t particularly good at reading lips; it knows you’re talking, because your lips are moving, but beyond that has really no clue what’s going on.

So, to those of you considering using a usb-to-instrument cable or a usb microphone to help yousician with sound recognition I say this:

  1. Yes, it will help. Probably quite a lot if you’re dealing with sound recognition errors including, but not limited to: the program deciding at random to just stop recognizing certain chords, the tuner in the program not functioning properly, and/or the chord trainer making you seriously consider killing your computer in frustration is as a potentially viable option to save your sanity.
  2. Be ready to use a usb device with yousician for the life of your computer. There is a very real chance you will not have an option from that point forward. 

So, I want to say “hey, guys, guess what! I used yousician today and there were no problems! I guess they finally fixed that glitch! Yay!’ But, I can’t, because there were problems, and they were the same problems I had when I first ranted. Nothing has changed. And, I don’t particularly want to discuss it because I’m damn tired of being ‘that chick on the internet who rants about yousician.’  It’s such a diminuitive part of my practice routine that every time I sit down to write about it I have a complete FML moment.

Up side, if you are a free user, and you are learning more than one instrument, each instrument has it’s own counter. This means you can get your 15 minutes with ukulele, and still get your guitar time, too. You don’t have to choose an instrument at the exception of the other, which is rather a nice feature for someone like me.

So, that’s where I stand. If I want to use yousician at all, I have to use it with a USB device. Honestly, it wouldn’t bother me so much if they would just own up to the fact that this is something that may be necessary for some users.

That said, knowing that a little condenser microphone like the meteorite resolves the issue means that I now have the option of using full acoustic devices with the program, which is something I wasn’t able to say before.

Until Next Time, please don’t make me talk about this post until the day I die, too, okay? I don’t think I’d be able to endure another zombie post.

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