Back Online!

I’ve spent a good part of my spare time this week trying to get Wire to the Ear back online. The trouble started when I tried the automatic upgrade to WordPress 3.5. I’ve never had any issue just clicking upgrade. However this time I ended up locked out of the backend admin panel where I create posts and moderate comments. The upgrade would just hang on a white screen with the WordPress logo on top. The site itself was still online and I had a full backup so I wasn’t too worried. I received some amazing help from esmi who is a WordPress.org moderator. We tried many things such as disabling the plug-ins using phpMyAdmin, disabling the Wire to the Ear custom theme, re-uploading the 3.5 core files, checked the site’s errors using a debug mode, removing cookies from my computer that could have choking the upgrade and repaired the database. When none of those things worked I then created a new database, used the backup file and a rolled back version of WordPress (3.4.2). Then I think we found the problem. During the upload of the backup file one part was generating an error. I had to remove 2 lines of code from over 5000 to get the upload to work. After pointing to the new database the backend came to life again. So here I am again happy to post music tech, synth and strangeness. The next step is fix all the site errors, update the old theme to be compliant, figure out what those two lines where exactly and try and upgrade again! You may think that all this would discourage me from WordPress but actually the opposite. I love the customization, control and the community was there to help me.

“WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time. The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home” — we’d love you to join the family.” – WordPress.org

For more info: WordPress.org

Wire to the Ear’s 2012 X-Mas Gift Guide

Well it’s holiday time again. Everyone loves gifts and musicians are generally a needy bunch so here’s a few ideas. If you are lucky and get a musical gift don’t forget to return the kindness with a song!

1. Monoproce DJ Style Headphone and Behringer HA400 4-Channel Stereo Headphone Amp

Musicians should have a few good pairs of monitors speakers and headphones around to check their mixes. Another advantage of a second pair of headphones is that when friends comes over they can both put them on and record some vocals together. You don’t have to break the bank for this gift because Monoproce is selling a headphone simply called DJ Style that is getting good reviews and it’s only $21. If your musician’s audio interface only has one headphone jack you can get them the Behringer HA400 4-Channel Stereo Headphone Amp for about $22.

2. Tiptop Audio Happy Ending Kit

The Eurorack modular synthesizer format is becoming more and more popular. If you get a Happy Ending Kit for a friend who is a musician they may at first be bewildered. Once they release it’s the first step to a modular system and some of what the modules do and sound like he will thank you all year. About $150.

3. Gift Certificates to Control and Analogue Haven

If they already have a Eurorack modular case you can get them a gift certificate to one of the two best stores that sell modules… Control and Analogue Haven. Any price.

4. Hiss and Roar Sound Library

With names like TORTURED CYMBALS and Vegetable Violence you may think this isn’t very Christmas like. However your musician will be very pleased to have these Hiss and Roar sounds in his library. You will have fun choosing what insane library to gift. I use them all the time. $50 – $100.

5. Arturia Minibrute

So if your musician has been very very good this year you may want to reward him. Even though this is a luxurious gift this synth is a huge bargain. The Minibrute only plays one note at a time but it’s real analog for a powerful sound that will outshine his/her friend’s Microkorg. If you are going all out like this you may want to invest in the headphones above too because this thing makes some serious wild noise. $500.

“My name’s D.M.C. with the mic in my hand. And I’m chilling and coolin’ just like a snowman. So open your eyes, lend us an ear. We want to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” – Run DMC

For more info: youtube.com/watch?v=OR07r0ZMFb8

Vectrex Regeneration

I always wanted a Vectrex. Vectrex Regeneration for iOS bring those games and all it’s vector graphics to the world today. It works with iCade. Time to take a break from work and music and get your zaps on.

“The Vectrex is a vector display-based video game console that was developed by Western Technologies/Smith Engineering. It was licensed and distributed first by General Consumer Electric, and then by Milton Bradley Company after their purchase of GCE. It was released in November 1982 at a retail price of $199 ($460 adjusted for inflation); as Milton Bradley took over international marketing the price dropped to $150 and then $100 shortly before the video game crash of 1983. The Vectrex exited the market in early 1984. Unlike other non-portable video game consoles, which connected to televisions and rendered raster graphics, the Vectrex has an integrated vector monitor which displays vector graphics. The monochrome Vectrex uses plastic screen overlays to simulate color and various static graphics and decorations. At the time, many of the most popular arcade games used vector displays, and through a licensing deal with Cinematronics, GCE was able to produce high-quality versions of arcade games such as Space Wars and Armor Attack.” – Wikipedia

For more info: vectrexregeneration.com

photo credits: Carlo Fumarola, RealRedRaider and toucharcade

Doepfer A-101-3 Phaser

Check out the above videos of the Doepfer A-101-3 Phaser. I’m not going to pretend that I understand how it works or even how to patch it. It sounds pretty sick though. $425 USD.

“Module A-101-3 is a 12 stage phase shifter with vactrols as phase shifting elements. Our design offers access to each of the 12 input and output stages leading to a lot of new filters that cannot be obtained in other ways. Especially the free patchable feedback loops.” – doepfer.de

For more info: doepfer.de/A1013

Thanksgiving 2012

Well it’s that time of year where Americans pig out and say thanks for all they have. I do have a lot to be thankful for. A good job, friends, family and health. So thanks for that and I mean it. More importantly thanks for inspiration. I’m making a lot of music and somehow I’m not repeating myself. Since this is an American holiday I posted two videos above that show some of America in action. Sure I could post our troops at war or something like that but honestly most of us are just working and playing.

“We will use this runway right here. Eyes outside”.

For more info: wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving

Brian Biggs

A few weeks ago I went to Philadelphia and met with Brian Biggs. Brian is a Children’s Book Illustrator, has a very large Pitbull/Greyhound dog named Cyrus and has a nice Eurorack Modular system. I’ve been thinking about which “sampler” module to get. I was looking at the ADDAC Systems Wav player, Make Noise Phonogene or The Harvestman Tyme Sefari. I noticed Brian had both a Tyme Sefari 2 and Phonogene so I basically asked him if he was interested in some show and tell. I wasn’t expecting a proper invite but that’s what I got! As you can see by the photos Brian has a pretty nice set up. A few things I discovered include: a CV joystick is fun, The Harvestman Polivoks VCF isn’t as cool as my Toppobrillo Multifilter, the Teenage Engineering OP-1 is amazing and lastly I want a Phonogene. Brian was interested in checking out my Ekdhal Moisterizer so I brought it with me and we got some proper CV going through it. You can see a few more photos here: flickr.com/photos/thin…

“Brian Biggs (b. March 9, 1968, in Little Rock, Arkansas) is a Children’s Book Illustrator. He has been published by HarperCollins and Random House, among others, and has illustrated a Little Golden Book.” – wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Biggs

For more info: dancerobotdance.com, twitter.com/robotdancerobot, soundcloud.com/dance-robot-dance and mrbiggs.com

Psychology of Music

Libby from the University of Florida sent me a link to the above infographic. Be sure to click it or click here to see the entire thing. Yes it’s an advert for their school but it’s true and music in education is very important.

“I wanted to shoot over an infographic regarding the psychology of music- how it effects the mind. I saw your blog and thought it might be of interest. Check it out!” – Libby Mead

For more info: musiceducation.arts.ufl.edu/psychology_of_music

Come in we’re open

Wire to the Ear is back online! Sorry about the hiccup yesterday. Long story short it was entirely my fault. A few years ago this site was hosted by iPower. It was on a shared server and well for a site this size that’s not a good thing. The site was slow and any popular story made the site go offline. I switched to my own server with Wiredtree. Wiredtree is one of the best providers. It costs be a bit more but well worth it. All my domain names are with Hover or Godaddy. At least I thought they were! Apparently eons ago when I started Wire to the Ear I purchased time on iPower servers and my domain name from them. Anyway you can see where this is leading. When I canceled with iPower they assumed I wasn’t renewing my domain name with them. I never recieved any notifications it was about to lapse so Thursday night the site dissapeared. Luckily when this happens there is a grace period where no one else can buy the domain name. Surely the world goes on without Wire to the Ear online but it felt pretty strange to me!

“The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical distributed naming system for computers, services, or any resource connected to the Internet or a private network. It associates various information with domain names assigned to each of the participating entities. A Domain Name Service resolves queries for these names into IP addresses for the purpose of locating computer services and devices worldwide. By providing a worldwide, distributed keyword-based redirection service, the Domain Name System is an essential component of the functionality of the Internet.” – wikipedia.org

For more info: wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_Name_System

Vocal Recording with Robert Owens

Here’s a look into vocal recording with house music vocalist Robert Owens using Logic at UK based Point Blank music school. I really enjoy watching other people record.

“Robert Owens (born 1961) is an American contemporary R&B and house-music vocalist best known for his work with the Chicago house group Fingers Inc. in the mid-1980s. As a solo artist, he has placed several songs on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, two of which hit #1: “I’ll Be Your Friend” (1992), and “Mine to Give” (2000, a collaboration with Photek).” – Wikipedia

For more info: pointblankonline.net and wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Owens