Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
 

Archives: March 2006


March 25, 2006

Focusrite Liquid Mix...

by Chris Randall
 



Another addition to the family of DSP sidecars for your DAW, which includes the PowerCore and UAD-1. This bad boy is the Focusrite Liquid Mix. Obviously a permutation of the Liquid Channel; I assume it uses the same cloning technology. There is enough DSP in the box to run 32 EQs and 32 dynamics processors, which is more than enough for most projects, and certainly more than either the PoCo or UAD1 can pull off. (A total of 64 simultaneous plugs. Think about that.)


Each individual plug can be controlled from the UI of the unit itself, or via a small generic VST/RTAS/AU plugin GUI. All in all, it seems to be a pretty slick unit. I imagine this is embargoed until it is announced at Messe, but
someone jumped the gun
and thus I reproduce it here, in the public interest. The price? ?499, which I think is pretty reasonable for what you get. I'll certainly wait until someone who's opinion I trust gets one and provides a thorough review, but this might be the outboard DSP I finally talk myself in to getting.


 
March 24, 2006

Hard-Core Gear Porn Friday!!!

by Chris Randall
 



You always know that when I put up a picture of Vangelis or Tomita or Wendy Carlos gear, I consider it something of a cop-out, but I had a really busy week, and was unable to do my normal Thursday afternoon search. (Read: no one sent me a link this week!) On top of working on Discord 2, our label had a release, and I'm doing ads for the UK music magazines.


So, I head to my "gimmees" folder and pull out another old standby. Pictured above is part of the absolutely ludicrous synth collection of Vince Clarke. I, like everyone that spent their teens in the 80s, was a fan of Depeche Mode and Yazoo. I always found Erasure to just be a little bit too gay for my taste. (Nothing against music that tends gay, of course. I'm secure enough in my masculinity to think that Oscar G. & Ralph Falcon's "Dark Beat" is a pretty thick track.)


Anyways, I don't even know what to call half that shit, and I'm pretty well-versed in matters analog. Some better pics of the studio here, including Vince & Andy. And, of course, the most famousest of all the pictures of the Dome can be seen here, from a late-80s issue of Keyboard.


Interestingly enough, with all that shit, Erasure has gone pretty much all soft-synth (Oh, the tragedy! The shame!) according to the Ask Erasure page on their site. Well, Vince, if you're looking for somewhere to store all that gear, I would be glad to offer my studio...


 
March 23, 2006

Thoughts on the New Moog...

by Chris Randall
 

If you're not subscribed to the Analog Heaven list (and who can really blame you?) there's been quite the go-round in the last few days about the New Moog. Of course, the same issues have appeared on many other forums. It's really quite annoying how many armchair quarterbacks there are in this business.


In any case, I posted my ideas to AH, but since this site has far more visitors than are subscribed to that list, I thought I'd paraphrase them here for mass consumption. Several (dozen) people posted about how it didn't have this feature and that feature, and who on earth would buy this hunk of shit if it didn't give you a backrub? etc. etc.


My thinking is thus: Moog hand-makes high quality products. If they're not for everyone, so be it. In my experience, the Big Briar-era Moog products are of an exceptional build quality, and sound like they're supposed to. This quality and sound comes at something of a premium in price, of course.


I find it ironic that most of the people doing the bitching are exactly the sorts of people that pay a grand for a 303 or a Source. This new synth is head and shoulders above the Source (an incredibly flawed instrument), I don't think anyone would deny that fact. And it will street for only a couple bills more. Quite frankly, I think that the new Moog will be exactly what it was billed as; a half-priced Voyager with half the features.


So, my big plan is to wait until there is a playable unit within my grasp, and play it, and see if I like it. If I don't, or I can't afford it, I'll just not buy it. How's that? In the mean-time, perhaps I can go to the snack bar and pick everyone up a large order of Shut The Fuck Up, with a side of Quit Your Whining?


 
March 22, 2006

Komp This...

by Chris Randall
 

If you recall, a couple weeks ago I was pattering on about "getting the comp out." Well, it's out. Shipping next Tuesday. So, if you find yourself needing a helping of the Posi Stylee, you can go grab yourself one, and in the process help support this site and its parent company, Positron! Records, which is the best record label in the world, and I'm not just saying that because I own it.


As an aside, you'll note that our store software is most fly. My wife Lisa spent several months writing a shopping cart from scratch that is basically designed expressly for independant record labels, because everything currently available for that purpose was a pretty brutal hack. It's an entire content management system and shopping cart suite for an indie label, and as you'll plainly see, enables us to sell digital content directly.


So we took the rather drastic step of giving the customer the entire album digitally even if he/she buys the actual CD. So the customer purchases a CD and has to wait 1 to 3 days (US + Canada) or 5 days (the rest of the world) to get it, but in the meantime he/she can still rock the fuck out of his/her iPod with the whole album.


We encoded all the albums by ripping the gold masters with EAC, then hitting the "alt--preset--standard" on LAME. They sound pretty good to me; in fact, I have a hard time telling between the master and the MP3 in some cases, on material I made myself.


I'm not going to out and offer Lisa's services to any indie label that wants or needs something like this, because she's got enough on her plate as it is. But if you own an independent record label, and want to have a conversation about what is involved, drop me a line with the "contact" button above, and I'll be happy to talk about it. I think this system is top-flight, and if every indie label had something like it, the world would be a better place for customers, that's for certain.


 
March 22, 2006

w00t! and furthermore niiiiice....

by Chris Randall
 

If you kids happen to pick up the current issue of Future Music (the April issue, which is on sale today), there are reviews of both BigSeq and Phase Two. That, in and of itself, isn't that big a deal. What _is_ a big deal is that both plugins got the Future Music Platinum award, and also both got the Value award.


Time for me to add some gee-gaws to the product pages for both, heya? Here's the digits from the reviews:


BigSeq

Stability: 10

Value for money: 10

Ease of use: 10

Versatility: 9

Sound/results: 9


Phase Two

Stability: 10

Value for money: 10

Ease of use: 9

Versatility: 8

Sound/results: 10


There are plugin companies out there that have never got reviews in FM that good, and here we are with the first ones out of the chute just killing. I'd like to think that it's because we're so fucking good, or something like that. In any case, this is a big, big deal for us, and I'm busy for the rest of the day running around and waving my arms, shouting "A! D! A! D!" until the neighbors call the cops.

 

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