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

Archives: April 2011


April 2, 2011

Well, Shit...

by Chris Randall
 

I was going to, at this juncture, put up a lengthy rant about the Roland Jupiter 80. And the person that wrote this slavish bullshit. But then I thought what's the point? Why should Roland give a shit about 2,000 hard-core gear fetishists, when they can sell 10K of these to wedding band keyboard players?

And while that last sentence is, on the face of it, a sad thing, they're a business, and they have shareholders to please. There is a certain sort of company that will endeavor to get people like me or Matthew Davidson or others of our ilk to say nice things, and occasionally even solicit our opinions, and will work to make things that please people like us, and Roland is definitely not in a position where they need (or even want) to do that. The kind of quirky things that please us are inherently only really of interest to the couple thousand people that think like we do. The real music industry exists to please the 50,000 garage bands and the 50,000 wedding bands in the world. This is where the money is. And a corporation is generally beholden to its shareholders. Unless those shareholders are people like me and Matthew, their chief interest is a return on their investment.

Purists like us simply can't be pleased by a product like the Jupiter 80, as there's no room for (to borrow a word that Mr. Kirn uses with wild abandon) hacking. Roland's chief goal with an instrument like this is to make getting a sound that, well, sounds good for what it is supposed to do easy, quick, and thought-free. People like us like to think. We like to find new sounds, and figure out how to work them in to new contexts. The vast majority of the performing musicians in the world are much more concerned with easy access to old sounds, the ones that have already been thought of.

(As a brief aside, if you clicked that link, you'll see that there are 2,170 instances of the word "hack" in its various permutations on the createdigitalmusic.com site. For comparison, I have used the word "fuck" on this site 1,740 times.)

While I was pissing and moaning about this thing on Twitter, someone replied that perhaps I should wait to hear it before casting aspersions. I don't need to. Something like this may have "the best upright bass" a ROMpler can recreate, but it'll never make the bottles behind the bar rattle like a real one. It may have an excellent B3 emulation, but it doesn't have waterfall keys, two manuals, and a Leslie that makes your pantlegs flap. It might have a really pristine sample set of a Steinway grand in it, but it'll never look like polished laquer under a Leko framed just so.

In short, it may have science, but it is utterly lacking in art.

It'll sound like those things the same way it looks like a Jupiter 8: sort of. It will be, no doubt, a high-quality instrument for the paint-by-numbers set. Those guys make good money, too.

 
April 1, 2011

What The Hell Are They Building In There?

by Chris Randall
 



Let me state for the record that this is not an April Fool's prank. Homie don't play dat. This industry's habit of putting out fake press releases on April 1st is right down there with genital warts and Logic on my list of favorite things about the music industry.

Those PCBs are very real. And that's all I'll say right now.

In other news, we're forging ahead with dealing with the 64-bit Boondoggle. The easiest ones are done, and now we have to figure out how to deal with the old products. This is an especially difficult process with the oldest ones, since we've been coding the plugs with this Boondoggle in mind for some time, and the younger plugs (basically from Ronin's re-release on) are able to deal with it in a certain fashion. But anything before that (roughly half our catalog) has Issues that need to be Dealt With.

The upshot is that you'll see me saying "FUCKING LOGIC" on my Twitter feed a lot more often in the next couple months.
 

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