Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Friday, April 10, 2009

Just Be-Costco!!!

It turns out that this year I have Saturday classes. Therefore, to make up for it, I'll have most Fridays off. Today was my first such Friday.

COSTCO TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to say that it's nice going there in the morning on a weekday. For one thing, I can actually move! I can get where I'm going without losing all my human decency and resorting to shopping cart manslaughter. It had been a while, and I had a backlog of things I needed to get. Still, I hoped to keep my purchases down so I could save some money for another stop-off at Carrefour on the way home as well as a quick pop into my usual music shop so I could maybe get a Marshall effect pedal (or two) I'd been eyeballing. I'm also thinking of getting a new spring-weather suit since the few that I wear (usually only through the month of April, after which my on-the-job look grows gradually more casual).

Famous last words. I dumped a load at Costco and wound up bagging everything else (no pun intended). I just went straight home, had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch (Hey, it's a rare treat for me!), and went upstairs to my studio to play around a bit.

No new songs this time (yet), but I did rework a slightly old one. "Perspective", the first song I recorded using Sonar 7 and the Sonic Cell, definitely had a lot of flaws. I was fumbling around in the dark when I made it, and it showed. It came up by surprise recently when I was listening to iTunes in shuffle mode, and while I was listening I shook my head and said, "Nope!" The guitar work was fine, but the mix wasn't. The vocals just didn't sound good. And that shoddy drum part... I went back, fixed a glitch I'd made in the tempo and time ruler, remixed it, redid the reverb and delay on the main vocals, and made a whole new drum track (though I had the usual trouble getting it to dub to audio smoothly, something that seems to happen after a lot of audio tracks have been finished. I'm sure it's an issue with buffer settings, but even this imperfect result is a LOT better than the original!). I'm much happier with it now. Please give the revamped "Perspective" a listen and tell me what you think. (I took the old version off my hosting site, but if anyone really wants to hear it, let me know.)

Definitely a productive Friday, if I dare say so myself!


  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 5:03 AM  

  • Revisionist!

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 5:13 AM  

  • Hey, I never said that!

    By Anonymous Comment deleted, at 5:27 AM  

  • Sounds mostly good. I had to turn it up a bit to get a better feel for it. I think your point about getting better studio monitor speakers is something you should do before getting a new Marshall pedal, all though I would wonder how that would sound.

    Some thoughts on amplification and speakers. I have used three different types of speakers on my studio/computer monitor setup. I have found that the speakers don't have to be large, probably an eight or ten inch woofer would suffice, but they do need a midrange driver and a tweeter. I have a couple of Yamaha's currently. These are mounted on speaker stands right at ear level while I am seated. They have a capacity of seventy watts.

    The amp is a hundred watt rackmout with balanced line inputs and unbalanced line inputs. I have a high quality studio sound card which has the balanced line outputs. Try to avoid buying an amp with a fan. Don't try to use a stereo amplifer because the unnecessary electronics colors the sound. You may also want to consider a rack mount equalizer.

    Despite the expensive sounding price, the amp was only two hundred, while the speakers were only one hundred. The speaker stands were like thirty nine or so. Look for a Radio Shack over there. Also, shop online at Amazon for all kinds of deals. The best state side music store for volume of selection, online sales is Guitar Center. However, their prices might be a little high, but its a great place to pick up rack mounted studio effects.

    One of the things I think you will notice when you get good speakers and amp is that there seems to be some sort of dynamic compression going on in the recording process. This can be fixed, but you have to hear it in order to fix it. Record your tracks at the highest possible level without clipping or unwanted distortion.

    I just sent you an email for a book on this topic and more.

    anomali - periodic unexpected encounter of a sea urchin

    By Anonymous Dave, at 6:29 AM  

  • correction - don't try to use a stereo RECEIVER as a studio amp.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 6:31 AM  

  • Don
    Am not!

    The monitor speakers I use are Edirol recording monitor speakers designed for a computer-based setup. They have woofer/mid-range/tweeters, the amp is built in (i.e. less space, less fuss), and they cost considerably less than the setup you have. The sound quality is actually pretty good considering how simple it is.

    The main problem I was running into was the fact that I'd been using studio monitor headphones rather than the monitor speakers. I had also set the monitor speakers at a very low volume. Neither of these gave me a very reliable sound, but I did these things because, unlike you, I have a family as well as neighbors who would NOT tolerate me making lots of noise (which is also the main reason why I'm NOT going to use my amp instead of my POD).

    Bottom line: I have a real life, and I have to adjust to living in it. I believe I've already made that point several times, and I'm really getting tired of having to reiterate it.

    When I remade "Perspective", I simply ditched the headphones, turned the volume up on my monitors a bit, and noted the tone coloring. It was very different. That's what I'll do from now on, I guess, but I'll still have to watch when I do that sort of thing. After all, I live in the real world.

    Radio Shack in Japan? Are you kidding? I wish you could see the electronics shops here...though I will admit that selections tend to be largely limited to mass consumer demand.

    Just out of curiosity, Dave, with all the pain and expense you've put into your studio setup, have you actually done anything with it? I mean, the last recording of yours that I've heard was made on your 4-track cassette recorder back in the 80s. What's the point of doing it if no one's going to hear it but you? Moreover, do you honestly think someone with a career and a family is going to go to that much trouble unless he were sure there was a practical reason to do so? A hobby is a hobby, but I think there are other things to consider.

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 9:32 AM  

  • Alas, I have a limited headroom problem also. In other words decibel suffocation.

    And you make a good point about having all this gear and not doing anything. Which means I am going to have to do something this weekend.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 1:58 PM  

  • Hey, give me a copy if you do! I'm curious to know what you've been up to for the past decade...or what you've been doing with that gear you've accumulated!

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 3:57 PM  

  • I like Costco..

    And is even a sucker for Wal-mart..

    hahaha, but always end up buying too little and too few..

    By Blogger Robin, at 6:01 PM  

  • RobinAlas...Wal-Mart has yet to come to the Land of the Rising Sun. (Of course, that might not necessarily be a bad thing...)

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 12:36 AM  

  • they've opened a Carrefour here... in the huge, new city centre.

    we've shopped there one time... they have tons of stuff! we don't have a costco yet... would love to have one come here.

    By Blogger Um Naief, at 5:12 AM  

  • and now i want a peanut butter and jelly!! :) with milk, of course.

    By Blogger Um Naief, at 5:15 AM  

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