What color would you like your new Leipzig-k?

Do you remember this post about the new Leipzig rack mount synthesizer from Analog Solutions? Well first off that synth is now shipping and some tasty audio samples are online including this one:

According to the Analog Solutions website there will be a keyboard version coming soon. If you prepay you can choose your own limited edition color. I’ll take mine in white and pink with blue leds.

LEIPZIG-k … coming soon. Keyboard Leipzig with extra functions, like 2nd LFO, LCD editing (of MIDI setup), CV/Gate/CV2 inputs & outputs on rear panel, and more! (Above) is first prototype metalwork, the wooden side panels are missing! Production model will be BLACK, but if you prepay you I might give you a choice of limited edition coloured editions! Contact me if you are interested. Expect the price to be around £799 exc. VAT and delivery. – www.analoguesolutions.com

I am beginning to wonder if there are now more new hardware synths being manufactured new than ever before. Of course I want them all.

How to place a subwoofer in your recording studio.

When I first started making music I worked at a ridiculously loud volume. I had to feel every kick drum in my chest even if I was working for hours at a time. Over the years I learned my mixes came out better if turned the volume down below eleven. Today I work very quietly; slightly below talking level. This lets me work for long periods of time without fatigue. However, I think it’s a good idea to have a subwoofer with lots of power to check the low frequencies of a recording from time to time. The best scenario is to have the sub attached to a speaker selector so you can turn it on and off separately from your nearfields. I use a Presonus Central Station with the CSR1 remote control for speaker selection. Another good option is to have the sub attached to a foot pedal. M-Audio BX10s are a an example of a subwoofer that has a foot pedal attachment.

A subwoofer can cause audio mayhem unless it’s placed properly. Here’s a good way to find the spot on the floor it should be placed:

1. Create an even full bass sound in your DAW.

2. Record that bass note stepping up over a low octave.

3. Move the chair you sit in while you work out of the way and put the sub-woofer in that spot.

4. Play your low bass octave. Have it looping continuously.

5. Get on the floor, on your hands and knees and move around the room listening to the scale. In some parts of the room one or more of the notes will feel weaker or less loud. Those parts of the room are bad places to put the sub. When you find a place that every note has equal volume and quality you found a good place to put your sub!

I should point out the better your room acoustics and treatment the easier it will be to find that sweet spot. In general most small studio rooms need a serious amount of Bass Traps. Room acoustics is another full post (or book!) but if you want my fast recommendation I would say go spend 2.5k at RealTraps.com. Take a look at their Mini and Monotraps. You can make your own traps for less money but it will take some research and sweat and they wont look nearly as nice as the RealTraps stuff. For a huge amount of info and help regarding room acoustics head to the John Sayers forum: click here

photo credit: phunkstarr

Discogs is a great music database and community.

You know about Discogs.com right? It’s a detailed online database of music releases. The best part of the site is the fact that it’s user driven. Anyone can join and add a release to the database. The input system is detailed so releases on the site are complete with information including artwork, liner notes and related links. All the data is moderated and voted upon keeping things tidy. There is also a comment system where you can review releases and add artist and record label blurbs. For example, Frankie Bones wrote the following about my label, “Things To Come does exactly what the name suggests, and that gives the future something to look forward for…..” (Thanks Frankie!).

If you visit the site you will see multiple pages for what seem like the same release. However, if you look closely they will be different somehow, either being on different labels, or having different remixes, artwork, something. This is great as I often check to see if there was a bootleg of one of my releases or another label somewhere in the world released something of mine without permission. Over the years I have found quite a few unauthorized 12 inches!

Discogs, short for discographies, is a website and database of information about music recordings, including commercial releases, promotional releases, and certain bootleg or off-label releases. The Discogs servers, currently hosted under the domain name discogs.com, are owned by Zink Media, Inc., and are located in Portland, Oregon, USA. Discogs is one of the largest online databases of electronic music releases and is believed to be the largest online database of releases on vinyl media. Across all genres and formats, over 1,019,000 releases are catalogued. It also features listings for over 874,000 artists and over 87,500 labels. The site has around 200,000 visitors a day. – Wikipedia

Discogs is also the best place to buy and sell vinyl. They have a good working system called the “Marketplace“. Most of my friends tell me it’s better to sell records on Discogs than on eBay. Your user profile can have a a wish list, list of things your selling and even a list of records in your collection.

One thing I am looking for is the ability to embed the my own label’s Discogs page and releases into my own website. I see that Discogs has an API. Does anyone know how to do this? As of today I maintain my own database but it’s a pain to keep up especially considering there is already a great one auto updating on DIscogs. How about a Discogs widget? I would love to have one that displayed all my releases that I could put on my MySpace or Facebook page. Please let me know in the comments if these things exist.

Trust your ears even if it disappoints you!

Last week I stopped by my neighbor’s studio. He records voice overs for Jamster. If you live in Europe you know the company because they are the ones who torture you with ring tone commercials like the dancing annoying frog. I noticed he had a SE Reflexion Filter sitting on his couch. I asked him what he was doing with it and if he liked it. He said he did use it for a while but he just built an all new vocal booth and it was overkill. He told me he was selling it and I could take it and try it out.

Although my studio is well treated it’s still not perfect and I always was very interested in the SE Filter gizmo. It sure looks cool. I took it into my room and tried to hook it up. I say tried because the thing is very heavy and even my strong mic stand wasn’t good enough. Eventually I rigged it up to work and got to testing it out. I recorded a bunch of audio files with and without the filter. So what happened? Nothing. What do I mean?

There was absolutely no difference between the audio files using the filter and without it. I have read on many forums that this thing works. However, now I suspect that most of these people got this home and convinced themselves it was doing more than it was. I’m not saying for sure it can’t help you but this is not a slam dunk product. I clearly heard my room reflections and computer fan in pretty much the same way with or without the thing. I listened very carefully and set it up in many different positions.

I tested the Reflexion Filter extensively and found that it definitely reduced room reflections. I tried it with vocals, both sung and spoken, and it gave me a tighter, more focused sound. – emusician.com

The thing was I had the money to buy it from him, it was new looking and I could had it for almost nothing. Before I tried it I had myself gear lusting for it. Even after I knew it was useless to me I had to sit down and snap myself out of buying it. After all the thing looks pretty nice with its chrome curves!

My point is trust your own ears. Even if everyone is telling you the sky is green if you see it blue call it blue!

A video of Erasure using the Reflexion Filter: click here

My top 5 albums of all time in Storm Magazine.

There is a new magazine that just launched in Germany which covers alternative music and style called Storm. For the debut issue they asked me to write my top five albums of all time and a blurb on why I think each album is so great. I posted this on my record label’s blog too but I thought it would be interesting to you guys here also.

To read the article: click here

Space Echo, Gearslutz and human nature.

Gearslutz is a probably the most populated pro-audio forum on the net. There is a serious amount of traffic going on there. You find find threads discussing the minor details of a five thousand dollar micpre that go thirty pages long.

Yesterday I started reading a thread started by someone who just found on a vintage Roland RE-201 Space Echo to purchase. The RE-201 is a fantastic vintage tape echo machine. Soon after Mike Manthe’s first post claiming he finally found one another person “tstu102” answers him also mentioning he just located one and how happy he was. Do you see where this is going? Yep. It didn’t take too long for them to realize they both were talking about the same unit. Seems like the seller said yes to both because the second guy was willing to pay more money.

At first Mike thought thought tstu102 had read the thread and went after the unit. But then tstu102 did a good dead and told the seller he wasn’t going to buy the unit and he should honor his first deal. I thought it was a pretty interesting read about the Space Echo and human nature. Read the thread yourself: click here

I’ve used a real Space Echo and they are very meaty. If you can’t get a real one there a nice emulation for the UAD-1 or the new Boss Space Echo RE-20 hardware pedal. Although not quiet the same beast I find myself turning to Fabfilter’s Timeless for a effects in that ballpark.

photo credit: Lorenzo Desiati

D16 Drumazon and Devastor video.

D16’s Drumazon and Devastator. from wiretotheear on Vimeo.

Here is a screencast I put together showing a few features of D16‘s incredible Roland TR-909 emulator Drumazon and their new distortion plug-in Devastor. I really like both of these. After watching the video I encourage you to head over to the D16 website and download the demos.

I’ve owned a real Roland TR-909 for many years. In fact I bought mine from Chaka Kahn! I can honestly say Drumazon is a better replacement. It’s a joy to use and you get all the nicesties of software (presets). You also get features a real 909 doesn’t have like random and automation. When you add a quality multiband distortion unit like Devastor to it you can’t help but smile. This is audio software at its best.


Do you own any of D16’s products?

Only $390 Billion to start a record label? Not enough!

So apparently some guy in Texas tried to cash a fake check for $360,000,000,000. When confronted he said it was a loan from his girlfriend’s mother to start a record label! Doesn’t he know he can use Tunecore and get a bunch of albums on iTunes for less than $100? He doesn’t need print advertising and billboards right? He can just post news of his releases on forums and MySpace right? Well the truth lies somewhere in between $100 and $390 Billion.

A man has been accused of attempting to pass a $360 billion check, which he claims was given to him by his girlfriend’s mother to start a record business, Fort Worth police said. Charles Ray Fuller, 21, of Crowley, was arrested on April 22 on an accusation of forgery, police said. Mr. Fuller was also accused of unlawful carrying of a weapon and possession of marijuana, Lt. Henderson said. Lt. Henderson said he did not know if Mr. Fuller and his girlfriend were still together. – www.dallasnews.com

This story is funny on so many levels. Then again, this guy just pulled an awesome publicity stunt. Too bad they don’t have his MySpace URL in the news article because I would have checked it out! Maybe the real point of this post is 15 minutes of fame is not enough if you want to make it in the entertainment world.

Would you do anything illegal for fame?

In the studio working on a song. I Know Your Pain.

I’ve been in the studio a lot lately. I finally finished a string of remixes and now I can take the rest of Spring and Summer and complete my next album. I already have a few songs done and about 30 half finished songs. I’ll now go and listen to those ideas I started and pick about 10 to complete.

The song I am working on now is called “I Know Your Pain”. I get a certain audience at my shows… people like myself. I can really relate to them. I guess they feel the same way and thats why they show up! This song is more or less how I say “Yes I know how you feel”. I know when I go to a concert of a band I really like I feel connected with everyone else there. Everyone there has something in common. This song walks around that concept.

The following audio sample is completely at the demo stage. Just pure simple drum, bassline and vocal. I usually work this way without much trickery until I get a full arrangement done. The kick is my new Jomox Mbase 01, a snare sample being smashed by D16’s Devastator and the bassline is a secret (sorry). Nothing is on my voice except a little compression.

I’ll step away from this song now and not listen again until next week. When I do put my ears on it next I will be ready to move parts around and add fills and effects. The first new fresh listen is critical because I will hear it as “new”. Only then can I be a proper judge of what’s good and what sucks.