My thoughts on the Apple iPad

After a mountain of hype the Apple iPad is finally here. It’s more an evolutionary product than revolutionary. What I mean is it doesn’t have a front facing camera behind the screen that tracks your movements and let’s you do hand swipe gestures in mid-air. It really is more like a large iPhone. So far the amazing re-invention of the magazine as seen in demos from Time and Sports Illustrated are not on this device. Those are two examples of stuff I would have characterized as revolution. Am I really disapointed? Not one bit because as an iPhone owner I know how amazing the iPad is going to be. The touch screen interface on my iPhone is such a joy to play with a larger more useful sized iPad is going to lend itself to the creation of thrilling new apps. Peter Kirn over at CreateDigitalMusic went on a bit of a rant in a post titled How A Great Product Can Be Bad News: Apple, iPad, and the Closed Mac. He states he displeasure with Apple’s closed system, the choice of an iPhone vs Mac OS in the iPad, lack of ports on the iPad and so forth. I disagree with Peter and think the iPad is going to be an amazing piece of equipment for musicians. How do I know? Because my iPhone is already an amazing piece of equipment for musicians. My iPhone doesn’t need virus protection, App makers make money and I love the look and feel of the thing in my hand. We are musicians right? Don’t we gravitate to beautiful things? Luckily for Peter he has a great option: Android.

So what about the futuristic features some of us dreamed about earlier this week? Front face video chat and 4G are so 2011! Wonderfully, the entry level iPad is $499. Most Americans with day jobs can save that amount of spending money in one week. Ok I’ve done my Apple fanboy post… see you on stage!

For more info:

Analog Drum Zaps on a Minimoog Voyager

A very pretty ash wood and jade green backlit Minimoog Voyager playing some drum sounds. $3,000 for one short real analog and fast envelope drum zap? You bet! Ok yeah we can multitrack these days.

“If you want THE Moog sound, this is it. Period. This has Bob Moog’s legendary synthesizer design expertise in its circuits. Say no more. It sounds amazing, looks amazing, and feels amazing. There is no substitute.” –

For more info:

via Matrixsynth

Way Out Ware iSample 2.0

I’ll admit I have Way Out Ware’s iSample (iTunes link) installed and didn’t even realize it updated to this slick new version. Two features are super slick: “Sample trimming with pinch to zoom, two finger scrolling and scrubbing.” and “Graphical Looper screen that allow you to position samples dynamically while looping.”. You can see them in action in the video above. iSample 2.0 is $9.99. Nice dancing Jim!

“iSample 2.0 is a very powerful sample based music production tool. New with the 2.0 update are an array of features that make iSample a leader among the beat making / pocket studio apps. iSample ships with over 50 MBs of samples created by Mutato Muzika (founded and run by Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh) that provide a great starting place to create your own jams, and also to get started with iSample.” – Way Out Ware

For more info:


Aimee Wilder Analog Nights Pillow

Here’s some nice pillows made in New York. I think they would look cheesy in a recording studio but in a home’s non-tech setting as seen in the image above they make a nice accent. They are available in cyan or grey.

“The Analog Nights Pacific Blue – Cyan Pillow by Aimee Wilder Each pillow is hand-screened and made in New York. Due to the printing process, please expect subtle variation in the design. 16 inches square, 100% cotton removable zipper case with fiberfill insert.” –

If you’re the kind of person who has $50 for pillows like these:

Ethan Winer’s Audio Myths Workshop

Ethan Winer from RealTraps grabs a panel of knowledgeable people at AES to show you what you think you hear may not be reality. Ethan makes some respected sound treatment products in Connecticut. You can download the non-YouTube compressed audio files to go along with this video here:

“This is a video version of my Audio Myths workshop from the October 2009 AES show in New York City. In this video you will hear what phase shift sounds like, compare high- and low-end converters, learn about proper test methods, understand why hearing is not as reliable as test gear, and much more.” – EthanWiner

So what do you think? Is it real or is it Memorex?

via Miro Pajic

The Bridge is Serato meets Ableton Live

Take Ableton’s Session View and mirror it inside Serato’s digital turntable interface and you have what the two companies call “The Bridge”. Every month or so I power up Traktor and make a mix for the car/gym. Considering my Ableton Live addiction I think I’m going to have to give this a shot.

“Huston from Ableton and Nick from Serato go through The Bridge – a new technology allowing communication between Ableton Live 8 and Serato Scratch Live” – SeratoHQ

For more info:

Keep a Limiter on your Master

My all time top tip for getting a nice sound from Ableton Live (or any DAW) is to keep your channel faders low and the Master at 0db. I explain my reasoning in an older post from January 2008. You can read it and the great comments by: clicking here. A safety net or let’s say helper in keeping your Master at 0db is a Limiter. Luckily (finally!) they added a native Limiter to Ableton Live 8. I recommend saving your startup Template with the Limiter in place. How much headroom below 0db you should leave is questionable but mostly I just leave it at it’s default setting of -0.30 dB. I’m guessing Ableton set it there for a reason. Of course you can use Limiters to shape and pump your sound and for something like that I turn to other plug-ins like Wavearts FinalPlug ($199) or a hardware unit such as a Universal Audio 1176.

“The Limiter effect is a mastering-quality dynamic range processor that ensures that the output does not exceed a specied level. Limiter is ideal for use in the Master track, to prevent clipping. A limiter is essentially a compressor with an innite ratio. To ensure that your nal output will never clip, place Limiter as the last device in the Master track’s device chain and keep your Master fader below 0 dB.” – Ableton Live 8 User Manual

For more Ableton tips and info:

Happy Birthday Mr. Chesler you’re 40 now.

Happy Birthday Oliver! from Oliver Chesler on Vimeo.

Today is my 40th birthday. Before I went to sleep last night at midnight my wife presented me with a cake and candles. The cake presentation is a tradition and I do the same for her every year. Yes it’s a Dunkin Hines cake (upon request) and yes my cat Zoe likes to eat cake too! I woke up to an onslaught of Facebook Happy Birthday messages. There were so many I have to say I’m touched.

Turning 40 really does mean something special. During the past year at my day job in the energy biz I noticed a lot of older people looking to me for answers. I’ve reached the stage where I have gained some wisdom and yet am still full of fight. I can see why to become President of the United States you have to be at least 35 years old. I’ve also noticed lately that I look at people in their 20s and really think they are kids. I’ve read a lot of studies stating that you get happier as you get older and that has definitely been my own experience. When I was seventeen I wanted to wipe humanity off the face of the earth. Today I love spending time with my family and close friends. I can’t help to think that my parents may not be here a decade from now to see my 50th birthday.

So far life has been an awesome ride. I never thought I would touch such dark lows and feel such wonderful things. Here’s two songs I am working on that I recorded this past week leading up to my birthday. Strangely they are sad tunes locked in the past but they surely don’t reflect my current state of mind. Keep in mind they are still “in progress”. Enjoy….

Two Songs on My Birthday by thingstocome

I’m not sure if I will get any musical gifts this year but either way I think I will grab something for myself ;) Thanks in advance for well wishes, etc…! If you have any recommendations for people in their 40s let me know.

FunkBox Drum Machine iPhone App

FunkBox looks like it will be the most fun drum machine emulation on the iPhone yet. Coming soon for $1.99.

“Demo of the FunkBox Drum Machine iphone app from Synthetic Bits. FunkBox is a pocket-sized emulation of a classic vintage beatboxes, along with all their dirt and quirks.” –

For more info:

UPDATE… Available now: click here (iTunes link) Definitely fun!

Wire to the Ear’s Winter Namm 2010 picks

The NAMM Show acronym stands for “National Association of Music Merchants”. The event takes place twice a year. There is a summer event in Austin, Texas but the bigger of the two happening this week in Anaheim, California. There are many websites covering NAMM down to the very last detail. I’d like to only list here what I personally think are the most interesting new products. So without further ado here is Wire to the Ear’s Winter NAMM 2010 hot picks:

Soundcloud Integration With Audio Software. I’m a full on web junkie and I like my stuff in the cloud. I think redundant servers spread out around the world are far better places to store my precious files than my own home and Lacie hard discs. I also love to share. That’s the point of being a musician no? Soon you will be able to render and send a file from Ableton direct to SoundCloud. My music from me to you faster than ever. I like it! link

Mungo Enterprises State Zero. A giant hardware interface full of knobs. 8 voice polyphony. Anything to anything patching. Patches store in memory. If this is real analog and less than a price of a car I’m sold. If it’s digital or crazy expensive I’ll play with the one you buy. link

Jomox M.Brane 1_1. Wicked snappy sharp analog snares and percussion. I have the Jomox Mbase 01 kick module and it’s wonderful so as soon as the M.Brain is available it’s mine. I’ll trade gigabytes of snare samples for one real analog snap. link

Dave Smith Instruments Mopho Keyboard.
(photo credit: Synthesizers) The spiritual descendant of the Sequential Circuits Pro-One has arrived. The Pro-One was the main keyboard used by Vince Clarke on the amazing Yaz albums so you know the Mopho’s got mojo! Why waste desktop space with a empty Oxygen 8 or like controller when you can slap one of these new Mopho’s in its place? Thanks to internet nagging the price will be right on this new guy too. link

Akai iPK25. A real hardware piano keyboard for the iPhone. If other Apps can access the keys then this is nice. If not it’s a full on dud. link

Teenage Engineering OP-1. Here’s a product that looks like special care has been baked into it’s DNA. A small super stylish hardware TAPE sampler with a FM receiver, G-Force Sensor (Wii), OLED display, speaker and USB connectivity. TAPE mode is awesome. The graphics on the display are awesome. If you’re a musician with a sole you have to want one. If you want to show up your hipster friends with microKorgs this is the guy to do it with. The bad? It’s still away off and who know’s what the price will be. link

So how are you going to spend your money in 2010? Do any of these or other NAMM new releases tempt you?