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

Archives: April 2011

April 12, 2011

NABster Pt. 2

by Chris Randall

Day one of my trip to NAB is in the bag. Those of you that follow my Twitter stream saw the highlights. Pretty much the same shit as last year, for the most part, and the show is somewhat smaller, as well.

Last year, the catch-phrase was "streamlining your digital workflow." I could't walk 10 feet without hearing some permutation of that phrase. This year, the word is "cloud." Everybody and their second cousin's babysitter has some sort of "cloud" solution. Even companies that were already fairly cloudy to begin with (e.g. AT&T) had all kinds of cloud motifs around their booths. I got a demo of AT&T's media caching/clouding/whatever service, and actually left the booth with less understanding of the service they offer than when I went in to it, taking in to account that I'd never heard of it when I went in to it, so my understanding baseline of their "cloud" media service was zero.

The Microsoft Cloud stuff felt kind of pained. That sort of shit just isn't their style, and there was mute embarrassment all around. I'd like to get all the guys from the New Cloudy Companies together and give them a crib sheet. They could say "it's like Amazon S3 only we charge more," or they could say "it's like Amazon S3 only we charge less." It would really save everyone a lot of time and energy all around. YOUR SHIT, OUR SERVER FARM. LET'S GET IT DONE!

It's really surprising that I'm not a professional pitchman.

I was going to put a little thing up on that Edirol video sampler (the which is sort of like an SP-202, but for video instead of audio.) Except that after I played it, I decided it was basically tragically unplayable, and is a rare miss for their Edirol division. There's like a 1 second pause when the clips start. Maybe it's a software bug and will get fix. I tried to ask one of their booth Bettys, but he was too busy trying to give some lard ass a demo. So I guess we'll never know.

I didn't really see anything else that would be of general interest here that we don't all already know about, I'm sorry to say. The audio side of things was the usual suspects; nothing new. This is the show where the broadcast divisions of all the names you know come out, so you see a slightly different side of Yamaha, SSL, whatever. Kind of fun, but ultimately, it's rather tedious talking to those guys, because you have to put a translation layer over all their terminology.

Anyhow, back at it tomorrow, then back to Tempe in the afternoon to rest my tired feet.

April 9, 2011


by Chris Randall

I'm heading to the NAB convention in Vegas on Sunday. The best way I can describe it is that it's like NAMM if there were no drummers or guitar players, and a fuck of a lot of video post editors. It has a fairly extensive pro audio section, with the caveat that the cool little boutique companies don't show up. Think "yes" to Eventide and Lexicon, "no" to Elektron, essentially.

Its main purpose, though, is video, and all the industries that revolve around same. My question is thus: I'll be more than happy to post any interesting audio stuff I come across, but the vast majority of this vast convention (it is larger than NAMM by quite a bit) is broadcast and post-related, and I was wondering what percentage of the readership of AI was interested in cool post and video production stuff, and if I should add coverage of that to my purview, at least for the two days I'm there.

So, it's up to you. Should I cover interesting post and video things I find? Or should I just stick to the pro audio side of things? There aren't going to be any audio announcements that we didn't see at NAMM. This isn't the convention where those things are done. I'll say that much. So it'll be the usual up-close-personal-hands-on touchy-feely shit I normally spout, no matter what the subject.

April 8, 2011

Messe Redux...

by Chris Randall

It occurs to me that I could just re-post my MusicMesse comments from last year, and nobody would be the wiser. (Synopsis: cool little analog synth from Korg, and the rest of it is kinda whack.) But in the interests of thoroughness, I've gone through every press release so far, and here's some interesting shit that might have got lost in the shuffle, since we're all completely blinded by the awesomeness that is the Roland Jupiter 80.

Alesis Nano Verb 2: There is nothing really outstanding to say about the original Nano Verb. It is what it is. We've all had to use them at one time or another. They're simple little workhorse units that does what it says on the tin, and you can get one on Craigslist for like $40. Alesis has finally revved that model with a Nano Verb 2 that uses exactly the same form factor, but jacks up the available algorithms considerably. I am absolutely certain that it'll be worth the money, but if you wait a few years, it'll really be worth the money, just like the first one. My opinion: Must Buy, in 2015.

Focusrite Control 2802: Like another British company, Focusrite is trying to come up with a marriage of a small high-quality analog console and a DAW controller. The 2802 is a little more analogue than its competitor, and almost certainly cheaper. Focusrite has been doing their damnedest in the last few years to dilute their brand in to meaninglessness via slapping it on every piece of worthless Chinese kit imaginable, but they can still make something pretty slick, given the desire. Although I assume this is also Chinese kit, seeing how "Made In The UK" isn't plastered all over the marketing material. In fact, if you look closely at the high-res image of the backplane, under the Focusrite logo, it looks like a little Photoshop smudge tool was applied to the image, to ostensibly hide the "Made In China" text. My Opinion: I'll skip it in lieu of American and European-made gear, of which there is no shortage, unless someone can prove to me it wasn't made in China.

Kosmonaut: I don't have any opinion about this one way or the other, but the Gearjunkies report provided me with a good chuckle. Note the last sentence before the picture, "[t]he user-friendly layout guarantees an exceptional playing experience." Then look at the picture. I'm giggling again just typing that. Too funny.

I'll amend this post if anything else catches my eye. Back to working on this plug-in UI that is fighting me every step of the way.

April 6, 2011

adm02 - 2io...

by Chris Randall

Since the intrepid sleuths over at the Muff Wiggler forum essentially deduced what it is, and in order to at least have the facade of a certain amount of control over the information, we've gone ahead and released the highlights. That being the case, there's no harm in doing a "coming soon" kind of thing.

As most of you have figured out by this juncture, Audio Damage is about to wade hip-deep in to the Euro Rack modular market. The reason for this is that we wanted to start releasing hardware as the next logical step in the progression of the company, and the infrastructure provided by the existing Euro-Rack market makes an entrance in to hardware releasing less risky than, say, making a Jupiter 80.

Anyhow, market-speak aside, we've designated a new catalog line, adm (which is obviously "Audio Damage Modular"), and the first product released will be adm02, the 2io module. This is a USB1.1 class-compliant audio interface with two inputs and two DC-coupled outputs. Its main claim to fame is that it will be fully compatible with the iPad, enabling you to use any CoreAudio-compliant iPad app in a Euro-Rack modular environment.

Next, our reasoning was that in a Euro live performance rig, you might want to use plug-ins as send effects, and this would enable you to use a netbook or whatever, and a simple ASIO host, and have low latency insert effects or audio sources with your modular. (We might have a plug-in or two to recommend in that context.)

And finally, with DC-coupled outputs it can work with Volta or Silent Way as a method of controlling a modular. With only two I/O, this isn't its prime directive, but it'll work in that context, should you need it to.

Here are some pictures of the prototype:

It is a 4HP module, and is just shy of 40mm deep. And that's about all the info I have at this time. When we have panel art and videos and more pictures and all that, I'll drop info bombs left and right.

A couple points. First, you'll note that this is adm02. Yes, there is an adm01. Due to this being somewhat easier to make, it is coming out first. Second, this shouldn't affect the software side of things. We're not giving up plug-ins to make hardware. We hope to develop the two side by side, with a mind to eventual complete integration (and independence.) And finally, we don't know the price yet, nor the availability date.

April 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Muddy Waters...

by Chris Randall

My general theory is that if you have style in your delivery, everything else (production, lyrical content, the music itself) is fairly unimportant, and Muddy Waters went a long way towards supporting that theory. I mean, if you listen to his records or live shows, they're kind of a mess. The music is all over the place, everyone on stage or in the studio was self-taught, you can tell they generally tuned by ear, and the gear is the 50s/60s equivalent of Behringer shit.

But these dudes delivered more style in one note than most of us can manage to conjure in a lifetime of playing and performance. No histrionics. No cutesy bullshit. No outlandish outfits. No backing tracks. No video. Just a sharp suit and a huge wallop of attitude.

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