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

Archives: April 2013

April 30, 2013

The Room In The Elephant...

by Chris Randall

Audio Damage is a month in to its 9th year of operation, and throughout the history of the company, there are some constants. I regularly receive letters that essentially say "your products look great, but no demo = no purchase. Sorry." These have come about once a week, pretty regularly, since the company's inception. There is no question in my mind that we lose sales because of our No Demo policy. However, mathematically speaking, we'd also lose sales by having demos. (The entire point of a demo to see if you like it; having a demo doesn't automatically mean having a purchase from the person that downloaded the demo.)

There are a lot of forum posts from various points of view about our policy, mostly on KvR but elsewhere as well. I look back with amusement at posts on OSX Audio and KvR from c. 2003 or so where people often would say "there's no way this company will stay in business without demos." Those don't occur any more, of course. There were many discussions about why we do this, with most people deciding it was an anti-piracy tactic, which it is not. Whether or not we have demos has had zero effect on piracy, and we never thought it would.

Which brings me to the real point of this post. The following letter, which I quote verbatim, leaving out only the author's name, has become increasingly common in the last couple years; just this weekend I received three letters that were variations on this theme. This one came this morning:

Hey guys,

I'm a huge fan of your plugins and actually got to check em out a pirated version of your software (I am a student so please excuse the lengths I go to to try out what's good before buying). Anyways, I really love your stuff and was wondering if I could maybe make my own bundle with you guys? I know it's sort of a long shot but I'm on a student budget and I'm trying to go by any means to get legitimate software, so I figure it wouldn't hurt to ask. I was wondering if I could get Kombinat Dva, Discord 3, Eos, and Dubstation. I've only tried Dubstation and Kombinat but the others seem amazing as well. Please let me know if there is any way something can be arranged. If not, I very well understand. Thank you so much for your time. Take care.

Now, using cracked software is like masturbation. 90% of the people do it, and the other 10% lie about it. I'm fully aware of this. We've always just accepted it as a fact of nature. I frequently have to do support with people that have been using a cracked older version of a plug (e.g. BigSeq 1, Discord 1.5, the original Kombinat) and then they actually buy a current version and discover their presets don't work, or they're Logic users and the AU cache chokes on the new version. But this sort of letter is a New Thing, and I'm never sure how to respond.

On the one hand, I'll usually give people deals if they're reasonable. And I always want to turn pirate customers in to paying customers. On the other, well, you know. It's a hard pill to swallow.


April 22, 2013

Fresh Coat Of Paint...

by Chris Randall

As you can plainly see, Analog Industries got a site-wide redesign courtesy of my lovely and talented wife. We also moved the site from the Audio Damage box to a grid server (i.e. The Cloud) because that's what all the cool kids are doing. If you have any questions or comments, or run in to anything odd, feel free to post in the comments.

If, on the other hand, you plan on posting "well, the orange isn't my favorite orange," or some other peanut gallery design commentary bullshit, nobody cares, least of all me. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

April 18, 2013

There Might Be Something There...

by Chris Randall

My job, such as it is, is about 50% mining pixels, and 50% researching new ideas (or, as my wife puts it, "watching YouTube videos.") I spend a lot of time hunting down interesting new methods for controlling or creating sound, and pondering how they'll work in Real Life. In the vast majority of what I find or think up, there is very little application to a normal studio workflow, but sometimes that's fine, too. There's a lot to be said for something that just looks cool and gets you away from the piano roll / analog mixer clone paradigm for a bit. In that light, here's a few things I've come across recently that might be interesting.

(Sorry about all the Vimeo embeds; hope they work. That's where people put this kind of stuff.)

Cycles 720 - This was built by Craig Allan (Numbercult) in VVVV to control an M4L patch. The Vimeo description says "rhythm and swing are dictated by the size, number of circles, their degree of separation, orientation and elasticity of each collision." Yeah, sure. I don't know about all that, but it does look pretty. Mr. Allan does a lot of cool things that align with my interests, and his site is worth a perusal.

Cube with Magic Ribbons - This one, created by Simon Katan, has less of a disconnect between what you're seeing on the screen and the result. It is an openFrameworks app controlling a SuperCollider patch, and strongly reminds me of an interactive score for a mid-50s avant garde piece. Check the Projects tab on his site for some other interesting works. Of particular note is the "What Is Life" demonstration.

Hexagrama from lasal on Vimeo.

Hexagrama - This is an interesting take on the tried-and-true Euclidian sequencer, made by Aristedes Garcia. No notes on how it is made, but I assume the usual suspects (VVVV, Cinder, openFrameworks, or Processing, with OSC to whatever.) I think this particular idea merits some more exploration.

There are a metric shit-ton of these sorts of experiments out there. These are just three that I thought were interesting. What's your favorite weird-ass sequencing or synthesizing experiment?

April 15, 2013

At Long Last...

by Chris Randall

Only four short years in the making, the debut RT60 album is now available at Bandcamp, for pay-what-you-want, minimum $5.

I'm not going to go at length in to the process of this album, because there are already about half a dozen posts here on that very subject. Suffice it to say that if you like analog synths, this is none more analog. The equipment list is somewhat staggering, so it's easiest to say "all of it." It was recorded to analog tape, just for the icing on the anachronism cake.

This is also the first release that I'm involved with that has vocals in quite some time. (I believe "The Devil His Due" is the last one, when I was in my "Jesus, I'm getting old. I better get on with ripping off Tom Waits" phase, c. 2007.) Granted, 100% of the vocals are through a vocoder, but still...

Anyhow, hope you like it. We're recording the follow-up in June.

April 13, 2013


by Chris Randall

Forgot to post this here. I put this up last Sunday, a bit of afternoon jamming. No DAW, no plug-ins. Just Analog Four and modular. I was trying to get a handle on the A4's CV outputs, and it turned in to a reasonable track kind of on its own. Like they do.

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