Category Archives: Music

December Already?

Wow, I got really caught up with work, shipping Guitar Hero World Tour Mobile (check it out on a cellular phone near you), and got NOTHING done on any of my other projects. I’m excited to get back to having some time to do anything other than coding.

First up, I’ve decided it’s time to give up on my Presonus Firestudio ever working correctly. The drivers while better, still have issues that annoy me greatly, and it’s no fun being annoyed while trying to make music. I’ve done quite a bit of searching, and I think the replacement that fits the bill is the Echo Layla 3G. It’s PCI, and not firewire, and is about $500. It’ll cost me some extra cash to buy a glorified volume knob to sit on my desk, but it’s really the cheapest option out there that fits my requirements.

The next thing on the agenda is the purchase of an SSL Duende PCIe card. It should be here tomorrow or the next day. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a card that plugs into your computer and has a processor on it that runs plugins for your audio software, saving your computer CPU from other tasks. This one only runs SSL plugins designed for the card, and they’re supposed to be top quality plugins.

I’m hoping I can get back into the shop soon, too, though with it being the holiday season, I expect I may not get quality time there until January. I need to finish the workbench so I can get on with the guitar building.

Anyone have some free time they can share?

Check Your Computer Before You Give Up

One thing I learned today was that the funky powersaving things that computers can do these days, such as not running full speed unless it really needs to, do odd things with audio applications. Make sure you turn off those features so that your computer is always running full speed if you want to do audio on it, otherwise, your sequencer will report that it is more used than it really could be, and you’ll have a lot less processing power to use since the app won’t push it into full speed mode.

I’d come to the point where I thought the drivers for my Firestudio were complete crap because I couldn’t even play back a song at 512 samples of latency on a quad core computer without getting pops and clicks. Now, with that powersaving crap turned off, I can play back at 256 samples, if I want (192 is still a no go, however). The drivers still have some problems, but the thing is not as much a pile of doo as I had thought it was.

New Confusion

A new version of Confusion exists, an improvement, I think. You no longer have to go to the studio page to listen, either. See that player to the left? Yeah, that one. Click on Confusion, and it plays! Imagine that!

At the point where I’m happy with it enough to call it a finished product, the little arrows will take you to a page where you will be able to download it for free or buy it so I can spend more time working on new songs.

An Addendum To The Portal Post

I found out who wrote the end credit song for Portal, and failed to mention it. It was written by a guy named Jonathan Coulton who is, essentially, an internet musician. A while back, he decided to quit his tech job and become a musician, and spent the whole of the next year writing one song a week and posting them to his site, among other places. I’m impressed, really, and he seems to be making a decent go of being a self employed musician in this internet age. He gives me hope that I might be able to make a bit of money from my musical hobby, if I ever get around to recording more songs.

There’s another artist, Brad Sucks, who is doing a similar thing, though the guy behind Brad Sucks still maintains a regular job.

In both cases, they give a very significant amount of their music away, even while selling it from their sites at the same time. The whole idea is sort of interesting, as we’ve seen big artists, Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails to name a couple, basically giving their latest albums away. The mainstream media talks about this phenomenon as if it’s fairly new, and I suppose it is for artists that have had record deals, but Jonathon and Brad have been doing it for quite some time – since 2005 or earlier.

Anyway, I think once I’ve got my music to a point where I’m willing to put a price tag on it (I’m not willing to sell things I don’t think are worth selling), I think I’m going to follow in these guys footsteps a bit. Give it away, sell it, do anything I have time to do to get people to listen to it.

I’ve Got A Fat Head!

Yes, yes I do have a Fat Head. A Cascade Fat Head ribbon microphone. Showed up at the door via the UPS man today. Can’t wait to try it out and see how it does on my guitars. From reviews I’ve read on it, it compares favorably to some other, much more expensive mics, and in many cases, beats them.

I am anxiously awaiting my wife’s return from work so that I can try it out tonight.