We have wireless MIDI with products such as the Kenton MIDIStream. An assistant professor at MIT seems to be on the verge of bringing wireless electricity to to world. You can read about Marin Soljacic and his work here: www.fastcompany.com/magazine/132/brilliant.html But let’s live in the today where if you have a recording studio you have miles of wires strangling you like an evil spider’s web. There is a $10 piece of metal from Ikea that can make your studio beautiful again and it’s called Sigmun.
“Collects your electric and computer cables together; makes it easier to keep your work area tidy. Separate trunking for cables that are sensitive to interference.” – Ikea
I don’t have a desk in my studio (or home) without one or two Sigmun’s attached underneath them. Power strips and power bricks all nest happily out of eye sight. Besides making pretty you will have less dust bunnies clinging to rivers of wires. Let’s also not forget that without wires all over the floor the less tripping and ripping sockets out of gear will happen.
Here’s a great find via Bjorn Vayner. If you think this video took a bit of work to create you would be correct. If you “head” to the Neurosonics Audiomedical website you can see a long list of credits and photos detailing the behind the scenes work.
Today is the big day. Run to the Apple Store and get the new Operating System. Snow Leopard is only $29 and it’s got a lot of nifty new features. It’s faster, smaller, and has a new Quicktime, Expose among a hundred other nips and tucks. But wait! All this jiggering may affect your favorite audio software right? You bet. Peter Kirn has set up a Snow Leopard Watch page listing what works and what doesn’t. Be sure to head there before the Apple Store: http://createdigitalmusic.com/snowleopard/
“10.6 is not officially supported yet, as we’re currently testing it with Live 8 and based on the results we will release a free bugfix update during the next weeks that will officially support 10.6.” – Ableton
In general Ableton, Propellerheads and NI have said things seem ok but to hold off a little bit. I’m going to give myself a month or so before I jump in. I may even do a full on clean wipe to maximize the speed bump and clean out old apps and files with cobwebs on them.
I once owned a Oberheim DMX drum machine. It’s a large early 80s drum machine based off samples. You can burn sounds using EPROMs (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory). The key to this and many hardware drum machines is the groove/sequencer. Beats just sound super tight. The outputs also add a certain grainy loudness to the samples. They have started to rise on price on eBay and for good reason. Goldbaby, the guy who releases sample packs of drum machines and other gear recorded onto analog tape has released an excellent pack of DMX samples. He even created the video below showing the EPROM burning process. I’ve never seen EPROM burning in action so big thanks to Mr. Gold for the video!
“The DX was a lighter version of the classic DMX drum machine. In fact its look, features and programming method are basically the same as the DMX. The DX has individual tuning knobs for the drum tones and an external trigger input. Its sounds are sampled recordings of actual instruments. The DX only has 18 drum sounds and the DMX has 24. Both drum machines have a number of human like feel effects such as a great swing function, rolls, flams and other weird time signatures and grooves. Best of all it’s easy to operate. There are also 6 individual outputs like the DMX for easing studio use. It has been used by Hip Hop artists since the very beginning of Hip Hop! It has been used by Apollo 440, Daft Punk, and Jimi Tenor.” – www.vintagesynth.com
I honestly believe a person would get more out of a DMX and Prommer than a new Elektron Machinedrum.
Goldbaby Custom DMX is available now for $24: click here
Here’s an interesting find on SoundCloud. A guy named Shin Ichiro A from Tokyo is posting audio clips titled “test model 002”, “multi 001” and “65.406Hz + theta frequency”. I love audio that propels my mind into Stanley Kubrick space. I hope Sia (as he also calls himself) posts more!
I was watching videos shot with the Canon 5D Mark II on Vimeo last night. The Canon 5D is in the new class of DSLR cameras that also shoot HD video. The innovation is that you can use all the different lenses available to SLRs. The footage you get from the 5D is the best I’ve ever seen outside of a movie theater. I must have missed the above video on Matrixsynth. It’s stunning and it really makes me want to put my synths on the floor and call my brother over to play for a while. When the red Macbeth M5 appears my jaw dropped!
“Once a year, analog synth enthusiasts gather to socialize and play rare and unusual musical instruments. I captured the May 2009 gathering with a Canon 5DmkII and a 50mm f/1.4 lens. I simply sat the Camera on a tripod, frame the shot as I would a photo, focused and captured. The music was produced using a Euro-format analog modular, controlled by Volta. Aside from the drums (MOTU BPM), everything was analog.” – stretta
I know many of you follow links from my Twitter and Facebook pages here and some of you are not musicians. Therefore I present you with a Squirrel shot with the Canon 5D M2:
Awe, ok now back to camera chat. I think it’s vital musicians all make their own music videos. I don’t practice what I preach but that’s going to change soon! To see more gorgeous footage check out Canon 5D footage on Vimeo: click here
In the 90s I used a Tascam M1600 mixer. As studio life went ITB (in the box) most of the large mixer sat unused. After I while I got sick of cleaning the dust off it and switched to a Presonus Central Station to handle my monitor controlling. It’s passive which means my audio doesn’t take a trip through DSP chips. The “passive” bit was the selling point for me and why I recommend it over a Mackie Big Knob. It’s nice but the Avocet from Crane Song is the Lamborghini of monitor controllers.
“If you’ve been following Gearwire’s visit to Boiler Room Mastering, you know that Collin Jordan doesn’t have any lousy gear anywhere near his mastering suite. Here, he shows us his jewel from Crane Song, the Avocet Class A Studio Controller.” – Gearwire
I owned the original Nord Lead and I always regretted selling it. The Nord’s are beautifully designed virtual analog Swedish synthesizers with stone modulation wheels and wooden pitch knobs. I really liked the fact the original Nord Lead didn’t have any effects. I also still think that it has an original sound to it. It doesn’t sound like an analog synth or a VA copycat. Although some people say the now discontinued Nord Lead 3 sound was compromised no one can argue the LED knobbed interface wasn’t amazing (pic below). I wonder why they stopped producing it.
“Nord Lead 2x FX / Abstract, all sounds programmed by WC Olo Garb. Video editing by WC Olo Garb.” – Jexus
The new Nord Wave is really interesting as it allows you to load samples into it and then allows you to further synthesize and play. I hope to get my hands on one and load some of my own vocals into it and see what happens. For an interesting Wave video showing VSTs and Reason Synths loaded into it: click here
Good old AM/FM. The last time I listened to regular radio outside of my car was in the 80s. I used to listen to stations for hours just to catch and record a song I liked onto cassette. Lucky for me that habit created a giant box of tapes recorded from the airwaves which I will make digital someday. These days most radio is harsh, loud, repetitive and loaded with more than 60% commercials. Since I moved back to New York from Berlin I bought a car and so I’ve been listening and seeking through stations.
The craziest thing happened. I find myself stopping on 106.7 Lite.fm more than any other music station. Lite.fm is one of those you know adult contemporary stations playing elevator, oldies and love songs (Joe Cocker). You still can hear a lot of Korg M1 sounds on this station! I got to thinking what’s keeping me at this part of the dial. I think it’s the fact that these songs are full of melodies and clear vocals/lyrics I can understand. If I don’t know a song I like to follow along and hear the message. I’ve noticed a lot of songs I once thought were really horrible cheese are actually pretty good. I’m not leading this blog post to some profound point I just wanted to share. I know your going to say I’m getting old. That maybe but I still love me some kill evil music. They never really played any of that dark stuff on the radio anyway. Sometimes I check out 89.1 WFDU (Fairleigh Dickinson University) radio but it’s hit or miss depending on the DJ. When it comes to AM NPR is where it’s at.
My radio listening days are almost over as I finally ordered a new radio with an iPhone hook up. Pandora, Last.fm, Slacker, Simplify Media, podcasts, audiobooks here I come!
A recording I made on the 6 Train going uptown in New York City. As you can hear the train sits there more than a minute before it heads from 23rd Street onward. I used an iPhone 3G and the FiRe application which uploads directly to SoundCloud.
Check out my growing set of Field Recordings: click here