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

Archives: March 2007

March 28, 2007


by Chris Randall

I'll be out of the office until Sunday. Adam is leaving for Japan tomorrow, as well. So things will be pretty quiet around here for the next couple days. In that vein, this is an open thread for Messe announcement discussion.

March 27, 2007

This Amon Tobin record...

by Chris Randall

So I got the new issue of Remix in the mail the other day, and there's a story about the recording of Amon Tobin's "Foley Room" album, and it piqued my interest enough to go buy the album. (It should be noted that, eclectic tastes aside, I'm usually a latecomer to the "latest and greatest" electronic acts, simply not having enough time in the day to sift through all the dreck to find the diamonds.)

Whether you like the whole slice-n-dice thing or not, this record sounds fantastic. He mixed in Cubase, but summed with an Apogee DA16/Chandler Mini Mixer rig, through a Manley Massive Passive. The difference in sound quality between this record and another of its ilk done totally ITB (I'll use Forss' excellent "Soulhack" as example) is quite vast. The analog processing really knocks the edges off the inherently digital nature of this sort of music. Anyone that doesn't think there's any difference between mixing ITB and using a system like this is quite simply deaf, plain and simple.

In any event, this is a fucking phenomenal mix job for an electronic album; very pleasant and non-fatiguing to listen to. Two thumbs up.

March 26, 2007

Messe Rumors...

by Chris Randall

MusikMesse starts tomorrow, the great grandpa of all music-related trade shows. Any rumors of New Hotness you know about? Apple Insider thinks that a new iteration of Logic is coming out tomorrow. According to them, Apple's briefing with retailers should be taking place right about now, so I imagine we'll have leaks here in a couple hours.

Other than that, anything exciting coming that anyone wants to share juicy tidbits about?

March 24, 2007

Acid Screamer...

by Chris Randall

While it may be the single most played (and by that I mean "tired") sound in electronic music, it still has its place, and the 303 never sounds better than when it is being run through a good distortion pedal. This fellow has made a distortion box specifically for shredding the 303. The sound samples tell the story. Pertinent to your work? Hard to say; I'll let you be the judge of that. Thanks to Wim for the heads-up.

March 23, 2007

Whack-A-Mole, Replicant Iteration...

by Chris Randall

Okay, if you're a Replicant owner, go log in to your Audio Damage account and download the installer again, and you'll be blessed with a version that has a lot of fixes. The new Windows VST version is 1.0.2, and the OSX versions are 1.0.4.

As I mentioned in my last post on the subject, there are four distinct events which caused brief audio spikes ("clicks" in the vernacular) in Replicant. We've fixed three of them. The fourth is avoidable, and requires a massive rewrite of the audio engine to fix, so we've left it in for the nonce. When Adam returns from vacation, we'll readdress it.

How it occurs is thus: if a trigger event happens while a slice is anywhere but its natural beginning and end points, and there is audio in the buffer, there will be a brief "click" as the stream switches from the old event to the new one. This occurs because the audio event is getting switched and the audio isn't at a zero crossing.

To put this another way, if you have a slice that is 1/8th note long, and you have a retrigger at 1/16th, the slice will only play half way before a new event starts. When it switches to the new event, you'll get a little click _IF_ there is audio in the buffer. With drums, this isn't a problem as there usually isn't audio in the buffer. On, say, a synth pad, there will be, so there you go.

This is easily avoidable by not having triggers midway in slices. If your slice length is 1/8, don't put any triggers on anything but 1/8 spots, and you won't hear any clicks. The trouble shows up when you have a lot of randomization on loop length or triggers via the "random beats" slider.

Now, the other caveat: there was a small pop on _EVERY_ slice joint, no matter what, in the original Replicant. There were also clicks when the filters turned on and off. We usually turn them off when they're not in use to save CPU; in Replicant we defeated this behavior, which got rid of the filter clicks and gave it maybe a quarter of a percentile more CPU usage on a normal modern machine. Since some of these clicks happened at the same time, there was some phase cancellation. Now that the only clicks are the loop cutoff clicks, they are a little bit louder than they were.

Like I said, Whack-A-Mole.

In any event, the vast majority of problems that have been giving grief to customers that want to use Replicant on sustained material have been solved. The simple rule to avoid pops on sustained material altogether is thus: don't have trigger points closer together than your maximum slice time, and you won't hear any clickin'. Nuff said. We'll address the last problem when Adam gets back from vacation.


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