Can you resist the tempation of Black Friday

Thanksgiving Sales have started at Newegg, Tiger Direct and NCIX

Since the day after Halloween I have been getting sales flyers in my email for Black Friday.

The deals are too good to resist with cool computer parts up to 60% off. I’m already getting the custom build bug.

Since I was a child, I’ve been building things. Log cabins, Mechano sets, plastic and wooden models. Continue reading Can you resist the tempation of Black Friday

Crash and burn on the tracks Blue Christmas diary

The best time to convert your digital audio workstation software is when you are on a tight time line, right?

Sonar X1 two days of crash on the tracks but now it's great

Tuesday night I was pretty flushed with getting the guys tracks down for our release of Blue Christmas so I did the unthinkable – upgraded Sonar 8.5.3 DAW software to the new Sonar X1.

Update – Sonar X1b now ready for prime time

If anything could sabotage the project, new recording software is about best way to go about it. From my point of view, what could be worse than the trouble I went through trying to get a backing track last week?

What could be worse was two days of misery trying to get the new software working. But I did it and that suffering is behind me. Sonar X1 is a champ.

Unstable DAWs

Maybe it’s me or maybe it’s Sonar but it that always been a flaky tool. Recording audio is like supporting an inverted pyramid of sound drivers and audio files being processed through the bottle neck called a CPU – central processing unit.  People using other programs will tell you their software is better than Sonar. I don’t believe it: the internet is full of support forums with cries of despair.   Continue reading Crash and burn on the tracks Blue Christmas diary

The chorus sang in my Blue Christmas diary

Getting past the glitch in Sonar recording software just in time for the party sing-along

Blue Christmas practice - Debbie Proud, Paula Boute and Diane Ogg practice before recording (photo Wayne Larkin Facebook)

Studio Diary Part 3 – The “n0-sound-recording-in-Sonar” problem had us perplexed on Friday but we got it fixed in time for the singers who were arriving Saturday night for the Christmas party.

Windows sound was blocking recording and once it was fixed everything went smoothly.

The frustration reported in Blue Christmas diary Thursday struggle in the studio didn’t get to me. I would simply work out a plan and fix it.

Friday I had to put the project aside for a client who wanted help setting up a new website for his music business.

When my friend arrived Friday afternoon, we had 2 more sets of headphones. We still couldn’t record. We got his takes on the Zoom R16 again. The Zoom is a nice recorder but hasn’t got dynamics of recording on Sonar, when it works.

Still, I refused to let it get me down and went to Churchill Arms for fish and chips anyway. It was Friday after all.  Continue reading The chorus sang in my Blue Christmas diary

Blue Christmas diary Thursday struggle in the studio

Recording a backing track turned into a nightmare

Zoom R16 recorder saved the night

Blue Christmas Diary part 2

The first step in recording Blue Christmas was to get a backing track with everyone playing the song in time. Sonar wouldn’t work so it was done on a small digital recorder instead.

After that we would record each part separately so it could be mixed and balanced without worrying about bleeding between microphones.

I spent Wednesday getting the studio ready. The mic’s were checked and then the headphone amps to make sure each musician got his own mix. We didn’t have enough headphones for 4 musicians and the engineer.

The guys started to arrive around 7 pm Thursday . They were getting tuned up and we ran through the song a few times. It sounded sweet with a light country flavor.

Tom LeClair brought his upright bass which was inspired. We tried a few mic set-ups until I settled on a large condenser for the bass.

Ronnie brought himself and brushes. Turned out his boss just closed the shop due to health and Ronnie was in transition to another real estate office.   Continue reading Blue Christmas diary Thursday struggle in the studio

Save on Cakewalk V-Studio 700 Music Production System

Offer extended to September 8th in Canada for only $2,500 a $1,500 saving

Cakewalk Sonar V-Studio 700

Update  September 1, 2010 – Roland extends the offer to September 8th

The joke  “Only in Canada you say” seems to be true in this under-promoted special from Roland Canada on their flag-ship digital recording workstation (DAW).

This limited quantity special is available only from some Long and McQuade stores and Axe Music, although Axe didn’t confirm it yet. Ron Huestis, a fellow Islander in Halifax and DAW salesman for Long and McQuade, has the V-Studio at home and says it smokes the competition.

The Cakewalk V-Studio 700 Music Production System combines Sonar 8.5 Professional with an integrated mixing deck, I/O and Fantom VS midi synthesizer. All of those products can be purchased separately but the beauty of the V-Studio 700 is you can get an out-of-the-box experience without the hassles of connecting gear from different companies.

For people who struggle with the complexity of home recording, the V-Studio solution is very appealing. Getting Sonar 8.5 Producer running requires hundreds of complex hardware and software integration decisions. Some people like to play with gear and that includes me but I get tired of the hour setup of the Lynx Aurora to Sonar on the computer to midi connections and the Mackie control surface.  Continue reading Save on Cakewalk V-Studio 700 Music Production System

Ultimate DAW is homebrew MIDI controller

Made by a musician it takes electronic music making to a new level

Engadget – While programs like Ableton Live (and Sonar, Garage Band, etc.)have truly democratized electronic music making, most hardware interfaces can’t hold a candle style-wise to traditional instruments (or even the MIDI gear of the Awesome 80s).
Rather than merely bemoan this depressing fact, however, a musician from Zurich named Zander has built his own controller — and it’s truly a thing of beauty. Based on the MIDI hardware platform, this thing employs custom acrylic knobs, colored LEDs, and a whole bunch of buttons to bring his DAW controls into the real world — while kicking the ass of controllers like AKAI’s APC40 in the process. Beats and Things.

Back in the Vista 64, we don’t know how lucky we are

Windoiws 7, going back to Vista is painful
Windoiws 7, going back to Vista is painful

What did I need Windows 7 for?

This is one sadder but wiser beaver after my brief affair with Windows 7 which is not ready for prime time. How easy it is to get distracted by a pretty face eh?

I’ve always been that way.

I took the original Windows beta home over Christmas to play with for three years in a row until Windows 3. Will, James and I became an official Windows for Workgroups Beta site in 1992 with a fun three-computer home network. Continue reading Back in the Vista 64, we don’t know how lucky we are