Frequently Answered Questions (FAQ)

Here you find answers to frequently asked questions. Click on the questions in the table of contents to jump to the respective answers.

    Music Prototyping

    1. How steep is the learning curve?
    2. Don't I rely on someone else's music?
    3. To which extent will all generated songs sound similar?
    4. Will I infringe someone's copyright when importing MIDI files?
    5. Does Cognitone claim any rights on the music I make with their tools?
    6. Shouldn't I better be learning a real instrument?

    Using The Software

    1. Which skills are required?
    2. How does the software sound like?
    3. What extra equipment do I need?
    4. Can I use VST and AudioUnits?

    User Account

    1. I can't seem to be able to log into my account anymore
    2. I can't find any software to download from my user account. Why?
    3. How do I change my password or my email address?
    4. Why am I required to provide my real name?
    5. What is my phone number needed for?
    6. Why does Cognitone need my address?
    7. May I use a P.O. box address?

    Download and Installation

    1. The installation aborts, halts or fails. What can I do?
    2. How do I install LoopBe30?

    Authorization and Licenses

    1. Why Copy Protection?
    2. How do I activate my installation?
    3. I don’t have Internet connection from my computer. What now?
    4. Can I use my product installation without authorizing?
    5. Do I need to authorize an installation again, if I change my computer’s components?
    6. Am I allowed to use a second installation on my laptop?
    7. Both of my allowed installations are exhaused. What now?
    8. What if I need to replace hardware components when I can't go online?
    9. What is deactivation good for?
    10. Do I need an email address for the authorization?
    11. What kind of information is transfered during activation?
    12. What does Cognitone do with my activation data?
    13. How secure is online authorization?
    14. What happens to a license that is being upgraded?
    15. What if I want to continue to use the previous product?
    16. What happens to my license in the event that Cognitone no longer exists?
    17. What do I have to do if I want to sell my license?

    Troubleshooting

    1. Problems with installation & startup
    2. Problems with sound

    General Questions

    1. What does the animal logo stand for?



    Music Prototyping

    How steep is the learning curve?

    Synfire is not a DAW. Harmony Navigator is not a 'Chorder'. Understanding the unique concepts and workflows takes some time. Be patient and stick with it. It's worth it! Our software is based on the established consensus of the theory of music that existed for centuries. You do not waste time with someone's exotic technology. The things you learn will benefit you for the rest of your life as a musician.
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    Don't I rely on someone else's music?

    No. If you avoid using the included example phrases too much, you're free to create any music as original as you want it to get. Collect your own figures and build arrangements from that. Even if you import other people's MIDI files, you will use only small, heavily modified portions of that and therefore get very different results. Composers of all eras have picked up on previous work and developed their personal musical language.
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    To which extent will all generated songs sound similar?

    This entirely depends on you. Synfire doesn't generate music from a built-in scheme. Any musical style is supported and you are in control.
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    Will I infringe someone's copyright when importing MIDI files?

    Nobody cares how you compose music. Only the result matters. If an unsuspecting listener recognizes your work as that of someone else, you may be in trouble. There is no copyright on chord changes and harmony, nor on rhythm, so all these are free to use. What's critical is melodies. Respect other people's creative work. If you are importing melodies, make sure you modify them to a sufficient extent, such that your results will be something new and original. With Synfire, this is very easy.
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    Does Cognitone claim any rights on the music I make with their tools?

    No. The music you make is completely yours.
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    Shouldn't I better be learning a real instrument?

    That's a great idea, because the immediate physical experience of making music is something you can't get from using software. Your new musical skills will enable you to feed the software with much better input. This way you get very personal raw material that originates from your own performances.
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    Using The Software

    Which skills are required?

    If you have an idea of what chords and scales basically are, you can start right away. You need not be sophisticated in any way. Traditional notation skills are not needed here. You will learn about many aspects of harmony and music simply by playing around.
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    How does the software sound like?

    Synfire hosts VSTi and AudioUnits, so the sound you get depends on the plug-ins you use. Harmony Navigator generates MIDI data only. Depending on the MIDI equipment you connect to it, you will get different sound. External samplers, synthesizers, expanders or E-pianos will all work fine, so do virtual instruments hosted in a DAW and addressed through a loopback MIDI driver, which is included with HN2 Advanced Edition.
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    What extra equipment do I need?

    By default, HN2 uses the built-in software synthesizer of your operating system. This works fine on the Mac. On Windows, this comes with a latency (delay) that may not work well for you. Using a replacement for the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth is highly recommended. You may want to host virtual instruments in a DAW and have HN2 send its MIDI output to there through a MIDI loopback driver (HN2 Advanced Edition includes one). For recording and live input, you need a MIDI keyboard and external MIDI interface.
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    Can I use VST and AudioUnits?

    Yes. Synfire supports plug-in hosting out of the box. For HN2, you will need to send its MIDI output to a DAW through a MIDI loopback driver (included with HN2 Advanced Edition). Please refer to the HN2 videos on our YouTube channel for detailed instructions.
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    User Account

    I can't seem to be able to log into my account anymore

    The login form may accept your name and password, but won't let you in after you submit. If no error message is displayed, the last login cookie stored with your web browser may have become invalid. This is what you can do to fix it:

    1. Make sure Cookies and JavaScript are enabled for your browser.
    2. You may be using a wrong domain name. The correct domain is www.cognitone.com. Click here to visit the correct login form.
    3. If this didn't help, please open the browser's preferences and go to the Privacy section.
    4. Look for a button, a menu or some other means to view and delete Cookies.
    5. Find the cookies associated with cognitone.com and remove them.
    6. Make sure your browser is allowed to accept cookies (at least from cognitone.com) and that JavaScript is enabled. Some very strict security settings may prevent this.
    7. Quit your browser once and then try again.
    8. If all that doesn't help, please check your email history whether you possibly have created two or more user accounts over the years and are now confusing the logins and/or passwords. This happens more often than you might think. Contact support at cognitone dot com to get this fixed.
    Now you should be able to login again.

    If the above does not help, please also try a different web browser (Firefox, Chrome), if available, only for a test. Sometimes cookies seem to get stuck, especially with Safari. Usually the cookies expire after a few hours, though.


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    I can't find any software to download from my user account. Why?

    You probably have created two users accounts and are confusing them now. Please check your email history for messages related to Cognitone. You will likely find the other account you created earlier. Please contact customer support, so we can delete the obsolete account to avoid future confusion.
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    How do I change my password or my email address?

    Login to your account, goto "Settings" and enter a new password. Your email address can be changed there too.
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    Why am I required to provide my real name?

    Your name is embedded with your personal copy of the software. This proves you are a legitimate owner of a license. Your name is also used to embed a copyright notice with all documents you create, which protects your work. If you do not provide your real name, license and copyright notices may be legally invalid.
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    What is my phone number needed for?

    Under normal circumstances, Cognitone will never call you on the phone. Your phone number is required by FedEx, DHL, and UPS for international shipping. It may be needed in case problems arise with parcel delivery (e.g. if you address was accidentally typed wrong) or customs clearing.
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    Why does Cognitone need my address?

    A valid address (country and city) is a legal requirement for the accounting of taxes. Stating a wrong address may be considered a fraud attempt by your credit card company or our payment service provider and may be prosecuted by local customs and tax authorities. A valid address also ensures we are able to reach you, in case to restore access to your user account if your email address became invalid. Last but not least, knowing the geographical distribution of our user base helps us with planning local workshops and events, so we can invite all users in a certain area.
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    May I use a P.O. box address?

    No. We can not ship to PO boxes. Please provide us with a full street address in order for your packages to safely arrive.
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    Download and Installation

    The installation aborts, halts or fails. What can I do?

    Please consult the README file that accompanies your downloaded files. On Windows, please make sure you extract the entire ZIP file to a new folder before you install. Running SETUP.exe from within the ZIP will not work. Find more troubleshooting tips here.
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    How do I install LoopBe30?

    Harmony Navigator 2 Advanced Edition includes a license for LoopBe30 Internal MIDI Ports, a MIDI Loopback driver (You don't need that on a Mac: Use the Apple IAC Driver instead). When you install, be sure you don't miss the tick box for LoopBe30. You can repeat your installation, if you accidentally missed to include LoopBe30. For more information on the driver, please visit www.nerds.de.
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    Authorization and Licenses

    Why Copy Protection?

    Authorization, also known as activation, is a simple means for copy protection. Without measures to limit piracy, small specialized products would no longer survive today (this may possibly be different with mass products for big audiences, but that's not what we have here). Moreover, a working copy protection also has avantages for you as a customer:

    1. Safety: You can be sure your copy is the original product that was not tampered with or modified by third parties, possibly infected with malicious code. The majority of sites offering pirated software does merely use it to attract traffic and lure people into other suspicious activities. No matter what that is, it doesn't contribute to your safety.
    2. Convenience: You may create backup copies of your installation files and keep them in a safe place. As these files are personalized already, you can install them immediately without the need to enter a lengthy serial number.
    3. Stable Pricing: Dropping sales due to piracy would require us to sell our products at a much higher price in order to compensate for that loss. We don't think that's fair. We believe that everyone using the software should contribute to the project in order to keep it healthy and alive.
    4. Sustainability: Ongoing research, development and support is time consuming and expensive. These are full-time day jobs we need to make a living off. Only a working business model ensures we are able to continously deliver the quality you deserve and protect your investment in this project.

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    How do I activate my installation?

    Simply run the installed software. If your installation is not yet activated, a dialog will show up offering you the option to authorize. Select "Activate Now" and follow the instructions. Alternatively, you can run the original SETUP program from the Help menu of the running software (Harmony Navigator only, Synfire doesn't require this).
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    I don’t have Internet connection from my computer. What now?

    The SETUP program offers several alternative methods for authorization. You may submit your authorization data on another computer (using a standard web browser), send an email to us or print out and fax or snail mail a registration form. The online authorization however, is the quickest and most convenient of all (recommended).
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    Can I use my product installation without authorizing?

    (Harmony Navigator only:) You may use your installation for a period for 30 days without authorization. During these 30 days the program will run almost without limitations (only a few bonus features disabled). Within the grace period, you may chose to authorize the installation at any time that's convenient for you (Harmony Navigator only, Synfire doesn't require this).
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    Do I need to authorize an installation again, if I change my computer’s components?

    (Harmony Navigator only:) A re-authorization is only required when main components of the hardware configuration change significantly (Harmony Navigator only, Synfire doesn't require this). This is the case when replacing, for example, the mainboard, the system hard disk or the operating system. When your computer is online, re-authorization is as easy as entering your login and password.
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    Am I allowed to use a second installation on my laptop?

    (Harmony Navigator only:) You can have Harmony Navigator installed and activated on up to two computers at the same time. Synfire uses the iLok, so you can install and run Synfire on as many computers you like.

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    Both of my allowed installations are exhaused. What now?

    (Harmony Navigator only:) In the event that your hardware happened to crash or you needed to install a new operating system from scratch, it was probably impossible to properly deactivate your old installation. You may visit your account under "Installations" and permanently discard the installation as "lost" to make room for a new authorization. This, however, can not be undone. Please carefully read the instructions on the website before submitting such a deletion.

    Synfire uses the iLok, so you can install and run Synfire on as many computers you like.

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    What if I need to replace hardware components when I can't go online?

    (Harmony Navigator only:) Any significant change of the hardware configuration will start a new 30 day grace period during which you may run the program almost without limitations. You merely need to authorize your installation for the new hardware at any time within that period.
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    What is deactivation good for?

    (Harmony Navigator only:) You can 'park' a currently unused installation by deactivating it. You should deactivate an installation before installing a new operating system, for example. You may also use the same installation on multiple computers by deactivating the currently unused installation respectively.
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    Do I need an email address for the authorization?

    Yes. A Cognitone user account is required to store your licenses and installations, which means that you also need an email address.
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    What kind of information is transfered during activation?

    (Harmony Navigator only:) Your product's serial number and a hardware key. The hardware key is kind of a random number computed depending on the presence of hardware components in your computer. This number doesn't contain any particular information about the hardware or software installed on your computer, nor any personal information. It's sole purpose is to distinguish your computer from other computers.
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    What does Cognitone do with my activation data?

    (Harmony Navigator only:) Cognitone uses your hardware key and serial number solely to keep track of how many installations are active for each software license. The information is useless for other purposes.
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    How secure is online authorization?

    (Harmony Navigator only:) Authorization data transfered over the wire is useless for third parties. It makes sense only in the context of your particular hardware and can not be abused. As it doesn't contain any sensible information anyway, there is nothing to worry about.
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    What happens to a license that is being upgraded?

    The license you upgrade from (e.g. Harmony Navigator) is retired and replaced by the new license you upgrade to (e.g. Synfire Pro). After the upgrade, the previous license is no longer available. You can not sell, transfer, or use a license that was upgraded already. This is very much like returning your old car in order to get a new one at a discounted price.
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    What if I want to continue to use the previous product?

    In this case you would need to purchase the new license separately, rather than upgrading it. However, with a few marginal exceptions, the product you upgrade to includes all the features of the smaller product anyway. Under normal circumstances there should be no reason to keep the old product around after you upgraded.
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    What happens to my license in the event that Cognitone no longer exists?

    Cognitone would publish a patch free of charge for all customers that will eliminate the requirement for activation. We warrant that to all our customers.
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    What do I have to do if I want to sell my license?

    The license you originally purchased is personal. Therefore, you can't just hand it over to someone else. If you want to sell it or give it away, please let us know once you found a buyer. Please deactivate and uninstall the software on all computers prior to selling it. We will terminate your license after that and the buyer will obtain a new license from Cognitone. This service is free of charge for downloadable products. For products that require the shipment of a new DVD to the buyer (Synfire Pro), we might eventually ask for a small fee that covers the costs involved (at this time we don't).

    Note that the same license can not be resold more than two times. A second hand owner may resell it once, after the second resale, the license receives NFR status (not for resale). Please if you have sold your license or have any further questions.
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    Troubleshooting

    Problems with installation & startup

    Please consult our technical knowledge base.
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    Problems with sound

    Please consult our technical knowledge base.
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    General Questions

    What does the animal logo stand for?

    It's a prehistorical gecko under hard X-ray penetration. That's really not healthy. You should never try this at home. We guarantee, however, that no live animal was hurt during the production of this picture.
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