At it’s simplest, I just enjoy writing. And every writer wants his work to be read. (this is where you readers come in) I enjoy blogging and I likewise enjoy reading the blogs of others. And I don’t confine myself to reading only Apple related material. I tend to read (and enjoy) any well written blog that has an interesting subject.Another site along the same lines (but with a more direct focus on the subject) is ProBlogger.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
The good news is that I did find something that I really wanted to post about. It is a story that puts some of my faith back in humankind... Or something like that. I don't want to steal the thunder, but it does involve robbers, cops, and expensive music gear. Anyway, its a great story, go read it.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Having a bare bones recording setup is not that expensive. Even the equipment for a mid-level studio is not out of reach for a lot of people (though, loans may be involved). Having a place to put it is the costly part. And how one does that often makes or breaks the studio's back.
The purpose of having a recording studio is to only allow the material you want in the final product into the microphones. There are a couple of things that recording studios do in order to accomplish this goal:
- Isolate the recording from outside noise.
- Create an ideal (silent/comforatble/stimulating/pleasing) environment in which to record.
There is a plethora of information on the internet about designing and building a recording studio. In many cases, though, the information is provided by someone who has something to sell the end-user (you, or me).
Auralex is a good example of this. They have a PDF available for download called “Acoustics 101.” Its very good reading material, and I have nothing against their products--aside from the overuse of purple. This document covers the basics of building a studio, while promoting Auralex products. It is not “in-your-face” type advertising, but that is why they published the document.
[Note: I am merely using this company as an example, there are many others who do similar things. It is not wrong to do this, but it can lead to a one-sided assessment of one's needs. Hence the caution against it. I would encourage you to read “Acoustics 101” along with others I will suggest along the way, and weigh the advice using your own common sense.]
There are a great number of resources online, which, with the help of your favorite search engine, are only a click away. I have found a couple, however, that are particularly helpful. And, the main purpose is to help you have the best studio you can, not sell a particular product. [Click here for an example search.]
Some of the sources I will pull from are listed in links below. These are the best I have found, and will hopefully help you out as well.
- The SAE College site has some of the most comprehensive information out there. While I have never heard of the school, this site has great information on everything from building the room you are in, to setting up microphones, and tuning drums.
- I am not a fan of forums, but the Recording Studio Design Forum has excellent information, as well as free advice.
- Sound Control Room, Inc. is a studio designer and builder, but they also have some useful documents on their site. They also sell certain products.
Friday, February 10, 2006
- It is incredibly cool looking. I want one.
- It looks similar to the design theme found in Blue microphones.
Well, I am not an attorney, nor do I wish to become one. Therefore, I will content myself at looking at a pretty picture of a microphone, and hoping that someday I can purchase one.
I have linked to the home-pages of the companies, both of which have links to documentation of the ongoing legal dialog.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
It was a bit surprising to me to walk in and see a Mackie 32 channel, 8 bus mixer sitting there. Not because one does not need a mixer, but because of the expense involved. Electronics here in Brazil are expensive because most of them must be imported, which at least doubles (and, as in this case, sometimes quadruples) the cost. My surprise was due to the fact that this mixer (and, arguably, a better one) is in the recording software on the computer.
At some point, though, he mentioned that the board is necessary, if only to convince musicians that this is a good studio to record in. The disclaimer here is that sometimes when dealing with technical explanations, translation gets very difficult for my wife.
He paid the equivalent of $12,000 (US) for this mixer. I looked on Musician's Friend, and the current price on this item is about US $4,000. The reason for this difference is the import fees/taxes mentioned earlier.
Here is a shot of the other gear in the studio. He is using a Motu 2048 for his A/D converter, and Nuendo for the DAW software on the computer. He mentioned that he was using Pro Tools, but found it to limiting in some way (though, I am not sure why). Above that unit is a patch-bay, and below it are two Behringer four-channel compressors, followed by a Sony Mini-Disk recorder, and two Alesis ADAT recorders. The two boxes on the floor are power inverters, as the power here is 220, and the gear likes that good old 120.
No idea on the specs of the computer, but, by US standards it seemed pretty slow (but they don't care as much here about that sort of thing). That is a Yamaha NS-10 on the wall, and in the foreground is a Korg X3 keyboard.
A couple of general observations: I have never been in a studio where the recording area was so dead. The buildings here are only made out of brick, which does not seem to do much for sound insulation, so they put foam on the inside to keep the sound levels appropriate for neighbors. The mix room was this way as well, but to a lesser extent.
The ability to make money back on your gear here is less here than in the States. As mentioned before, gear costs more here. He only charges about $1400 (US) for a 10-track CD, though. That makes for a long time before seeing a return on investment.
That is it for this “field trip,” but I know there are some other studios here in town, and I would like to visit them. Maybe I will get the chance, and if I do, you will hear about it here. In the meantime, if you have questions, I will do my best to answer them.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Its a USB multi-channel mixer that comes with recording software. There are two versions available; the MSW10, and the MSW12, which have 10 and 12 channels respectively.
The included software is Cubase LE by Steinberg (which I have also not used), and will work with either Mac OSX, or Windows 2000/XP/XP Pro. The system requirements are fairly liberal, so most should not have a problem. Here is the product page.
If you have experience with this sort of thing let me know, I am considering something like this for my setup.
There are many other cool basses here that are worth checking out. Also, if you are interested in seeing/hearing him play, check this out. You may also want to check out his band, which is called Nuclear Rabbit.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Oh, and it does not turn out quite like the picture here, either. While this is a cool effect, the end result is much more black and white.
So, don't get your hopes up to high unless you have an extra DSLR just sitting around. Here is the article.
I was initially drawn in by the ridiculously large drum set he has. And, admittedly, I was skeptical with regard to his musicality. All doubt was erased, however, when I saw the first of many videos of him playing on the Vic Firth website “Artist Feature.” Very cool stuff.
Evidently he is way into solo melodic drumming, which is why the huge drum set. It looks to my untrained eye that he has very good technique. Further, he has an excellent sense of musicality. Fun to listen to, and probably more fun to watch.
This will have me on the lookout for a CD.
Here is his personal site. Here is an interview with Modern Drummer.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Its all about your preferences here. They are trying to figure out what the opinions are, what is broken, and what it might take to fix it. If you have ever had to fight RAW format images, this is for you. Its not a long drawn out thing, either, so get on it!
If you have no idea what RAW images are, just move along, and don't worry about it. :D
Monday, January 30, 2006
Learning to play an instrument boosts intelligence and general well-being and should be a central part of the school curriculum, a study says.So I have this question: With all of the studies out there saying that music education has such a profound and positive impact on the development of higher brain function, why are we still cutting music programs in schools, and at the same time wondering why test scores are going down?
It is interesting that even Plato knew the value of teaching music to children, and we still have to prove to ourselves that it is a worthwhile endeavor:
“I would teach children physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for in the patterns of music and all the arts are the keys of learning.”
I found out this morning: You either have a contract with a record label that puts your music on iTunes (and/or the many other music services on the internet), or you pay an aggregator to store your works, and make it available to the various music stores.
This process will only take 9% to 50% of the profits of your music for the first few years. Which means that, after the iTunes' cut of about 20¢ on a 99¢ track you might, if you got a good deal, make 71¢ per track. Conversely, if you got the 50% contract, you might make in the neighborhood of 40¢.
Considering that it costs around $5000 to record and master a twelve track album, one would have to sell a ton of product to recoup costs. And that is a “budget” album.
If you are a musician who would like to try a different route, check out tuneCORE™. This service lets you send in your album, EP, or single for distribution on iTunes US store, Rhapsody, and any combination of four other iTunes stores around the world.
tuneCORE™ does cost something, but you don't surrender your rights and ownership of your music. It is also non-exclusive. Fees look like this: 99¢ for a one time delivery fee to iTunes US, and if you want to go to other stores, it is 99¢ per store. After that, there is a yearly $7.98 fee per album, EP, or single for maintenance.
They also handle your album artwork, and the liner notes, so that those are available to your adoring fans.
Sound cool? Check out tuneCORE™, and if you decide to try it, let me know how it works out. I don't have an album yet, but I am thinking hard about it, and this looks like a good way to distribute.
Friday, January 27, 2006
I found a temporary solution this year though–NAMM Oddities. Barry Wood has done an excellent job of compiling some of the more interesting/offbeat things he ran across at the show.
Theses finds range from the absolutely fascinating, to the just plain odd. There are pictures, and videos available. He also provides links to the home pages of the respective companies. Great site.
Also of note is the O'Reilly story along the same lines (in fact, it was inspired by the page referenced above).
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
First we have the Manzer Pikasso I. You may have seen this around if you are a Pat Metheny fan, as it was custom made for him. It has four necks, and a ton of stings. The string tension on this puppy is around 1000 pounds (1000 pounds!!!).
Be sure to check the link for more pictures, and many other fine instruments (including the Manzer Pikasso II).
Next up is Phil Sylvester's site. There are many one-of-a-kind guitars and amps here, and they are all playable. Some of the designs are way out there, but still very cool. It looks like they are all for sale as well, and the prices don't look very reasonable.
There is a page for his guitars, and a page for his amps; I recommend taking the tour of each.
Finally, and probably my favorite (I am biased here, and I'll tell you why in a moment) Mike Doolin is a luthier who makes very fine guitars. This guitar was custom built for Justin King, and it sounds amazing–as do all the Doolin guitars I have heard, and I own one (hence the bias).
Though the Doolin guitar you see here is highly customized, standard instruments are available. This is what I own, and I could not be happier to own it.
Have fun drooling over all this linkage!
The available equipment is within the guidelines set out by Adobe, however, it is at the very bottom end of things. The application runs okay with 5 megapixel .jpg files, but I shot in RAW for the birthday, and it ran a little slower with the larger file size.
I have only run into one bug so far. Some of the user interface did not collapse (it froze in the outward position) when I changed the available preferences.
- The overall workflow seems very well thought out, and makes the development process much easier than any experience I have had in Photoshop.
- I really like the ability to customize the user interface in so many ways.
- The ability to “turn down/off the lights” is really useful as well (this basically puts a black screen around the photo workspace).
- The in-built noise reduction does not seem to do much for me, though this could be the result of a mediocre camera sensor (i.e. so much noise in the first place that there is little the application can do).
- Hardware requirements. This probably will not be as big of a deal to most people, but this application takes a lot of system resources. It would be nice if it took less.
- Exporting photos was a bit strange. I did not see a way to batch export, and the export status is not completely obvious to find. (To be fair, though, this is one of the areas they are still working on.)
- Price? I have not seen any kind of price yet, but if you have ever looked into purchasing an Adobe application...
I like using this app. Its fun, well designed, and I don't find myself wondering where to find things. I am curious to see what improvements are made as we go along (and I will keep you updated as I find out more).
Monday, January 23, 2006
Below are some excerpts from articles and links I thought would be of interest, and use:
It is inevitable that the government will start to seek out data for other purposes if it succeeds with Google, Burke warned. “The implications of [Google's subpoena] are profound. People have got to come to realize that, eventually, everything they search for is information that may be shared with government,” he said.Here is a good article from Google Blogoscoped, and here is a “how-to” on BoingBoing.
In the future, a database of search terms could be combined with other databases the government maintains, Burke conjectured. “A person may find himself having to explain why he wanted to find such and such on the Web without the benefit of any context.”
Another serious potential problem could arise due to misfiling or mishandling data through error. Burke noted that he has represented children and other people who have erroneously wound up on the No-Fly list in a number of lawsuits against the government. Burke's own name appeared on it, he said.
“This is not a new phenomenon. It happens repeatedly in the private sector too,” he remarked.
I am certainly reconsidering how I use the internet is light of this controversy. The problem is that it is frustratingly simple to let your personal data be shared on the internet, whether it is convenience, or lack of technical knowledge (i.e. what you don't know can hurt you).
The bottom line here is that big brother is watching you, whether it is your shopping, your searching, what you do with digital content–somone is able to follow your digital trail, and can learn an awful lot about you.
The Advanced Access Content System (AACS) will be used by both formats, and will restrict the resolution to 960x540 when viewed over an analog connection. This is to prevent pirates from copying at the full resolution of 1920x1080.
Of course, never mind that the pirates (the real criminals here) will be able to find a way around it, and continue on their merry way, while the average consumer who has a HDTV with only analog inputs will be looking at substandard pictures.
What good are these advancements when, before they even come out, they are crippled by a middle-man?
In honor of this, as well as a related issue, I thought I would pass on this little treasure:
[via AT and Darkgate]
Also, I forgot to mention that in another AT article they point out that Setnator Gordon Smith (R-Oregon) has drafted legislation which would, for all intents and purposes, render any type of copying illegal. Looks like he was handed a wad of cash to write it too.
In light of all these things, and since both Republican and Democrat “representatives” are complicit in this, and other privacy concerns, I find myself wondering what party I want to be associated with.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Imaging Resource has a review of the Nikon D200 up. They like the camera a lot, in spite of an apparent imaging problem having to do with a “banding” or “corduroy” effect from intense light glare.
The review above is detailed, but not as in-depth as this one. However, the former review is done with a full production model (models, as they had two), while the latter was done with a pre-production model (which should soon be replaced with a full review of a production model).
Friday, January 20, 2006
So, if you have the hankerin' for a new Strat, Tele, Jazz Bass, or Precision Bass you are in luck. They are only available until the end of the year (as in December 31, 2006), so make up your mind before then.
I have my 1980's Japanese Strat that I am very happy with, so I don't see myself getting one of these. But one always needs a good back-up axe, then don't they?
One can wish...
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Gibson USA will dazzle NAMM attendees this week by unveiling 15 new models for 2006. Utilizing innovative designs while drawing on the rich history of the company, the new guitars include the genre-specific Menace and New Century models, the high-performance GT line, Las Vegas–themed semi-hollowbodies, and the beautiful and functional Vixen and Goddess series, among others.I also saw something somewhere about a new Jimi Hendrix “Flying V” model, but alas, I could not find a link for that.
One of those “others” is Logic Pro by Apple. I have never used this program, but it looks good from the screen shots I have seen (not that that is everything...), and I am interested in giving it a test-run at the very least. At $1000 for the application it is a good bit more than Pro Tools LE, and a good bit less than a Pro Tools HD system. Of course one would still need hardware after that initial $1000.
Enter Apogee. They have partnered with Apple and created an A/D D/A converter for the Macintosh platformed Apple software. Its called the Ensemble, and it has four pre-amps, and other I/O ports enabling up to 36 channels of simultaneous audio. (More info here.)
It looks like one of the coolest features this has is the ability to digitally control the I/Os digitally via software UI. This is a feature that I do not think is available for Pro Tools hardware (at least at the LE level, which is where my experience lies).
Also of note is the Symphony, a PCI Express card for Apple's G5, which allows up to 192 simultaneous channels of audio. More info here.
Another thing that is important about this, is that many of the top studios are bypassing the Pro Tools I/Os in favor of Apogee's Digital/Analog conversion. This could be big. The major hurdle would be the PC/Apple gap, however, most major studios are already running on Mac's anyway.
This 'Vette was recently for sale on eBay Motors. I am not sure who was more out of their mind: The car's “creator” or the person who had the winning bid (USD$ 30,000!!!!!).
I am going to crawl into a hole and try to figure out what this world is coming to...
While at the moment most of the music on the server is in the electronic music area (Trance, Trip-Hop, Techno, etc.) it is open to all forms of music. They started out being geared exclusively toward the electronic musician, and changed focus last year.
I have not used the site in the capacity of a musician, but it looks like a good way to promote. If you try it out, or have tried it out by all means comment and let us know how it went for you.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
So, we have a poll in the upper left. I will let you know what I think, when the poll is over in a week. So far it looks good, though.
I also love the sound of the Hammond B3 organs. I have often said that I would learn to play keys just so I could play that instrument (the chances are not high, though).
Enough about me though, this is about CreamWare Audio's asb B400. It is a MIDI box that has all kinds of controls for emulating a B3 organ. As the site says: “The real B3TM is about 200 kilograms and sounds marvelous. The ASB is about 198 kilograms less. Sounds marvelous, too.”
There is only one picture, and no sound samples yet, but those are expected soon. No release date, or price yet either, but the “asb” stands for authentic sound box. Createdigitalmusic.com (where I found this) says that similar boxes in the “asb” line have gone for under a grand–which is also cheaper than an actual B3 by two thirds or so.
There is an in-depth comparison of the new MacBook Pro to several other high-end laptops at NotebookReview.com It is done by a person who uses both platforms, and seems well-balanced and informative.
Whether you are interested in switching to Mac OSX, or just curious about the new MacBook Pro, this is a good place to start. It comes with a chart (more accurately: several charts) comparing the new Apple model with other competing brands based on specs.
Here is a quote:
A durable lightweight PC is not cheap to assemble so it obviously isn't cheap to sell. If durability and portability matter to you than [sic] you are probably willing to pay a little more for it. If these characteristics mean nothing to you that is fine – you have tons of choices and none of them will be an Apple.If you are not interested in the entire article, there is a concluding summary, which does a good job of communicating the author's opinion.
There are two major systems of measurement in the world: The Standard system, and the Metric system. While most of the world uses the latter, the US is stuck with the Standard system.
I was taught the metric system in grade school, and then it pretty much just became that parenthesis on the grocery store label (as well as the occasional wrench in the garage). More and more of my wrenches are metric, but I was told in grade school that we would be changing over to the metric system entirely.
What happened? Why have we not switched?
Living in Brazil has given me much time to think about the differences, as well as to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each. Here are a couple:
- It is much easier to do the math in the metric system; it is based on increments of 10, 100, 1000, and so on. I can tell you what 1.36 meters would be in centimeters without a calculator (and I am terrible at math). Without using a calculator, or writing anything down, and in less than one second tell me what 1.36 yards would be in inches.
- The only good thing I really have discovered about the standard system, is that measuring temperature in F is more accurate.
- The previous point is cancelled out, though, if one uses decimals after temperatures in Celsius.
- For the most part, science uses the metric system exclusively (there are other scales for temperature especially, such as Kelvin).
I guess there are a couple of good reasons, like changing the speed limit and mile-marker signs. Kilometer marker signs would run a few million-billion dollars. Also, changing peoples minds about the metric system would be difficult. In many ways, though, those are really pretty small things.
Maybe I am just ranting. At any rate, wherever you are today, I hope it was less than 38º C.
This article makes it sound as if Cuban was proposing that all video content be a premium item on the internet–in fact, that anything taking a large amount of bandwidth would cost a premium.
By no means do I want to just write off the entire Roy Mark article, though. He has some valid arguments. It just seems he jumps to some conclusions that are not founded in the Cuban post, and fails to acknowledge that.
Mark makes it sound as if Cuban would have one users applications (all of them) communicate at a different speed from someone who is paying a premium. In fact Cuban is arguing that a specific type of application be accorded special expedience (i.e. bandwidth) over the internet.
Cuban used the illustration of a grandmother getting an exam of some sort over the internet and getting (paying for) a higher priority than the grandson who is uploading video of his latest prank. That is wonderful (though, I am not sure how probable the illustration is). It leads one to wonder, though, what it would take to pirate the higher bandwidth throughput; which is more likely to happen than not.
I don't completely agree with Cuban, either. His analogy of the HOV lane for the internet falls apart rather quickly for me. I have never had a problem getting to a site. I have had problems with a site loading. Most of these cases have to do with the amount of traffic at the server where the site is located–which would be a parking lot analogy, rather than a freeway analogy. The freeways are open and moving just fine. The focus needs to be more on the surface streets and parking lots of the internet.
The comments on the Cuban post are pretty insightful as well, the 14th one in particular.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
It is an ad for a Honda Civic in which all the sounds are created by a choir, which is shown in the commercial. Very kinetic, very cool.
I finished watching the clip the second time, and had to wonder if the commercial would be successful in the sense that I was more enamored with the cool factor of the message vehicle than the vehicle itself (that was a convenient pun).
Link. (Flash site, large video)
As we rang in the New Year this year, there was an extra second added to the atomic clocks around the world because of the slowing of the earth's rotation. In honor of this extra second, the Create Digital Music blog called for one-second compositions.
The results are posted here, and I think its pretty cool. You might want to check it out, its not that long.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Engadget has a post about the worlds smallest GPS receiver.
Its great that it is so tiny, which could enable a watch-sized GPS unit, among other things. The first thing that came to my mind, though, is that its other uses could be slightly more nefarious.
Wait, I think I see a black helicop...
This was the first I had hear about the former Pink Floyd member writing an opera, which was fascinating in it own right. However, the pictures that are played along with the opera (a slide show with a chorus singing, as opposed to the traditional opera) in the link provided were absolutely stunning.
The opera is set in the days leading up to the French Revolution, and images from all three acts are on the site (it will take some time to view them all).
It is a large Flash presentation, so if you have dial-up, be forewarned. I still think this is one of those things you should look at, though (I would if I were on dial-up).
Here is the link to the slideshow. The photographer is Mark Holthusen.
E-Commerce News is reporting that Nikon will be discontinuing all film models except the F6 and FM10 bodies.
This is no surprise to market analysts, according to the article.
I just wonder how long it is until film cameras become like the all-tube stereos of yore.
First, from the Telegraph:
All streams of Islam believe in a divine saviour, known as the Mahdi, who will appear at the End of Days.[...]Personally, I experienced an erie sense of foreshadow as I read that.
He is said to have gone into “occlusion” in the ninth century, at the age of five. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed. After a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.
This is similar to the Christian vision of the Apocalypse. Indeed, the Hidden Imam is expected to return in the company of Jesus.
Next, we have a follow-up on the Pat Robertson case; from the Time Magazine Online Edition:
Scour the Bible all you like for an apologetic prophet—one who publicly regrets having been “insensitive” to his audience—but you'll come up empty. Not so in today's world. Take Pat Robertson, Christian Right pioneer and host of the 700 Club. Last week, within a day of Sharon's massive stroke, the televangelist asserted that it had been God's punishment for leader's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip[...]I am not sure that Mr. Robertson ever claimed the mantle of prophethood. But I am sure he meant what he said, and pulled it back because of the threat to his pet project in Israel (see article). There is also the possibility that he re-examined the Bible, and found reason to misinterpret reinterpret it.
Call me cynical, but this guy is making a mockery of Christianity, the Bible, and all they hold true.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Audi has a V-12 diesel that is 5.5 liters, and exceeds 650 hp with 812 lb.-ft of torque. All this with regulation twin turbos at 43 psi, and regulated intake diameter. (In other words, this thing could rock a few more steeds with larger, higher-pressure turbos.)
This redlines around 5,000 rpm, which is just slightly lower than gasoline powered hp equivalents which redline in the 8,000 to 12,000 rpm range (I don't remember for this class of cars, the more exact numbers).
I wonder what it sounds like. I also wonder what kind of transmission configuration they had to do to to get it to speed.
Well, one may never know. Here is the link to the original article that I found on Jalopalink.