Training and blogging from NYC.

Sitting in BPI Training

When I first starting blogging I kept my eye on other blogs that had tips and tricks for bloggers. One tip that came up consistantly was to never make a post stating, “It’s been a while since my last post.” or “Sorry for the lack of updates lately.”. The basic idea is that while some people do come directly to your site daily more than half read your site through an RSS reader or by finding a post via search result. If your reading by either of the latter two methods apology posts aren’t necacessary.

at_work

All that said I thought it was time to chime in with a site update. For the first nineteen months this blog was up I posted at least once a day. Since I got my new job at Energy Management Solutions my posts have been cut in half. I don’t think a post every other day is too bad but I do want to make those posts mostly original content. My new job has me in Manhattan at different job sites. An eight hour day plus travel is fairly time consuming. I can tell you I never washed my hands so often! The last two weeks they have been certifying me to be an official Building Analyst (check out BPI.org). I welcome all free training and learning but I was not prepared for the amount I have to learn in such a short time. The course which is approved by NYSerda (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) is well full of math and each day the class has been crazy hours such as 2pm-10pm. The photo above is an example of an inefficient steam heat system in a 5th avenue high rise. They are paying over $400,000 a year to ConEd to supply them with the steam. I’ll be working to figure out a way to replace that system. The building is 49 stories and houses the Girl Scouts of America and part of the Rockafeller Group. This isn’t the kind of project you want to get wrong. So for now school has to be top priority.

While I’m starting to find my new job more and more interesting I have to say music is keeping me sane. I few slams of detuned madness on my Electrocomp-101 each night really helps the right side of my brain from committing suicide. My plan is once school is over and I pass the test (fingers crossed) I will redesign Wire to the Ear and get back to a regular posting routing. My plan is a new faster loading theme with less ads, a better commenting system and more video.

By the way some of those pro-blogging tips and tricks sites include: ProBlogger and Weblog Tools Collection

Update: I passed my BPI certification test!

Gummi Bears Make Music.

What’s my secret to making music? I let my Gummi Bear friends do it for me! Normally they are camera shy but today they let me take photos of them recording a song. There are 10 photos and captions in total so be sure to click “Continue…” to see them all!


Red and his twin brother (also named Red) team up to add more noise into the signal chain of an Electrocomp-101 vintage analog synthesizer.

Green helps Orange change the Control Mode to Envelope 1 on an Electrocomp-101 synthesizer.
Green helps Orange change the Control Mode to Envelope 1 on an Electrocomp-101 synthesizer.


Green and Red need some inspiration before they go back to making music so they lie down for a bit on a Roland SH3 synthesizer keyboard and stare at the studio’s acoustic cloud.


Yellow and Red team up and jam on a Vermona DRM1 MKIII drum machine. Yellow changes the resonance on the snare while Red messes with the highpass filter on the lazer zap.

Continue reading →

Use Warp Modes and Grain sizes in Ableton Live.

Ableton Live - Warp Mode

One of the greatest things about working in modern DAWs is the ability to stretch or shrink audio with ease. Warp markers and the variables that go along with them are incredibly useful tools which should be looked at carefully. Here is an example how I used these features to perfect the timing of an analog synth I recorded.

Sometimes to make my first vocal in a song stand out I make an intro that pulls the ear away from center. Then when the first verse begins I bring the notes and sounds into a center space. I know this sounds a little abstract so listen to the audio sample below to know exactly what I mean:

The bright bell like synthesizer melody that plays before the vocals begin is my Electrocomp-101. What you don’t realize is that the last note before the vocal begins is actually only half as long. I used Ableton Live’s Warp Markers to stretch the that last note. This is something wonderfully easy to do. Inside the Clip View click the Warp button on. Once it’s lit yellow you can now double click on various places over the wave form to create Warp Makers. All you have to do now is drag the markers around to change the length of the individual areas. Use you ears to get the timing you like.

But most people stop there and that’s not using the full potential of this feature set. You can improve and tailor the sound of the Warping engine on a given clip by adjusting the Warp Mode. The following audio sample is the Electrocomp-101 melody Warped to fit my song but with the default Warp Mode “Beats” selected:

Do you hear that last note? Not smooth or natural sounding is it? Ableton can do better. To get there I clicked the Warp Mode drop down menu and selected Texture Mode. I also now experimented with the Grain Size and Flux setting until the last note sounded like it came from the Electrocomp directly at that length. Keep in mind that the last note was really only half as long. Take a listen now:

Most other sequencers now offer similar features. Of course you can get wild and mangle your audio on purpose. The next time you wish you held a note longer or screamed “GO!” for just a few more seconds select a Warp Marker!