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

Archives: May 2007

May 31, 2007

Dr. Device update and a little sound...

by Chris Randall

We've now got Dr. Device basically fully operational, and it's just a matter of tightening things up at this point. When I had put the movie up a couple weeks ago, the correct delay block (that is to say, the one from Dubstation) wasn't yet in the plugin. It is now, and everything is more or less working as we'd like. Here is an MP3 of the final working Dr. Device signal chain.

What you're hearing is thus:

2 Measures of MachineDrum by itself. (Any tertiary effects are coming out of the MachineDrum.)

4 Measures of same pattern through Dr. Device 4 pole lowpass filter, being modulated by the Kinetics.

4 Measures with the delay active. Left side is dotted 8ths, right side is 2x that. Mild regen.

So that should give you a fairly good idea of the general signal path of Dr. D. I'll put up something in a couple hours with all the filter modes demonstrated. First I have to work on full page ads for CM and FM.

EDIT: Here's another quick test of things. Same dry drum loop (more or less), followed by four different two-bar tastes of Dr. Device effects. Right now we're working on usability issues, and in order to do that, we have to learn how to use the plug-in. Hence, we spend the whole day fucking with it, then Adam and I discuss what needs to change, why, and how. Then we do it again. And again. And so on.

May 29, 2007

Monk + Coltrane = My Brain Melting...

by Chris Randall

Okay, I heard about this new "Thelonious Monk Quartet w/ John Coltrane Live At Carnegie Hall" album a few months ago, but I've been putting off buying it. It took me a _long_ time to really get Monk, but now his angular piano playing is so good to me that I almost can't stand it. That descending run that starts out "Ruby, My Dear" just primes the pump, and it's basically all over when he plays the ascending chord progression in to the second half of the first chorus. So basically I'm just done for about 19 seconds in to that track. And John Coltrane, I mean, fuck. "My Favorite Things" is probably my single most favorite piece of music. I know it's clich?, but fuck it. That shit's good. That's how it became popular, right?

Anyways, I've been putting off buying this album because I was afraid my brain would melt when I listened to it. The CD is a couple years old, of a recently unearthed tape in the Library Of Congress. The shows which it documents are, like, Fuuuuuuuck. Have a close look at the poster above, and see what $2.00 could have got you in to in 1957.

But anyways, all I have to say is this: dear Baby Jesus, this record is fucking good.

May 29, 2007

This never gets boring...

by Chris Randall

We might have the makings of a Mario Theme theme week here. Let me start sifting. But the best thing about this one, hands down, is his right eyebrow.

May 28, 2007

It's that time again...

by Chris Randall

I've outgrown the "producer's desk" I made a couple years ago, and I'm of the opinion that there are many things I'm good at, but finish carpentry is not among them. That being the case, I'm going to purchase a new producer's desk, one that is expandable as needs must.

I'm thinking of either the Middle Atlantic system or the Raxxess system. They are essentially the same thing, but the Middle Atlantic ones seem to be LAN shit that has been a little bit reformated for music needs, while the Raxxess system is purpose built. Does any of my fair readers have experience with either of these desk systems? If so, what are the pros and cons of either one?

May 26, 2007

More MachineDrum thoughts...

by Chris Randall

Okay, I've spent the better part of a day and a night working on a track where the rhythm parts are entirely MachineDrum, and I have some more thoughts on the box. Whether you find these useful in informing your purchase decision, or reinforcing it, is entirely up to you. In no particular order:

1. The synthesis methods are quite comprehensive. If I can think of a percussion sound, there seems to be a block in the MD dedicated to producing it. For the most part, they sound quite good, if a bit artificial. That last may not make sense, but I've been using the same 909 sample set I made myself for almost a decade, and I'm just used to the way it sounds; these made-on-the-fly sounds just sound a little made-on-the-fly.

2. I'm having a hard time coming up with a foot that will sit in the mix really well; I've noticed in a lot of the tracks I listened to where I knew the MD was doing the drumming that the foot didn't really sit, and I'm experiencing that here. Since that's the single most important part of electronic music, it needs to be perfect. I'll work some more on that; there's almost certainly a reason for it, and where there's a reason there's a solution.

3. I've settled on a methodology for working with a DAW. I make the pattern(s) in the MachineDrum, then use the Mute Tracks function to mute all but one, and record them individually in to the DAW, so everything is separated out. This seems to work the best for my normal methods. I couldn't see myself actually arranging a song in the MachineDrum. That'd just be lame.

So I guess that's about it for now. The preset kits are kind of lame, but it's easy to touch 'em up or make your own new ones. The preset patterns are essentially useless, but if you buy a $1300 boutique drum machine expecting to use the presets, you might as well save yourself $1250 and pick up a couple disks of Acid Loopz from Sony.


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