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

Archives: June 2006

June 30, 2006

A Good Deal...

by Chris Randall

An aquaintance of mine is selling a Vintech Dual 72 for the ludicrously low price of $899. I don't need to tell you that this is a really good deal for this box. I'd buy it myself, but I've reached my gear quota for right now. Drop me a line if you are interested in this, and I'll put you in touch with the seller.

June 29, 2006

Using a Rosetta w/ a MOTU box...

by Chris Randall

I got this question in my email this morning from a Bill:

I just ordered a rosetta 800 and was curious as to how to hook it
up to the MOTU. For now, I just want to use as a front-end (not using with
the firwire card). Are there configurations that capitalize on the
conversion that are better than others? How exactly do I hook it all up? Do
I input my external pres directly into the rosetta, or do I just connect
them to the MOTU as always and let the rosetta via optical and wordclock do
the rest? Also, I use the Mackie Big Knob for monitoring .. how do I
monitor the rosetta DA? Does it still come out of the MOTU main outs or
would go out from the rosetta directly into the Big Knob?

I replied, but the mail bounced, and I thought the answer might interest other people, so in the interests of posterity, here 'tis:

It's pretty easy. You hook the Rosetta to the MOTU via the optical
cables (in and out.) I strongly suggest clocking the MOTU from the
Rosetta, rather than the other way around, as the clock in the
Rosetta is much better than the one in the MOTU. You _can_ clock the
MOTU from the ADAT input, but it is generally accepted that the
better way to go is with the Wordclock input.

So get yourself a BNC cable, as well, as you'll need that for the
wordclock. Just run the WC out of the Rosetta to the WC in of the
MOTU, and set the MOTU control panel to clock off the Rosetta. Set
the Rosetta to whatever sample rate you normally work at, and you're

As for the other bit, that's really a matter of taste. As soon as I
hooked up my Rosetta, I sold my MOTU and used the money to buy a Lynx
AES16 card. The MOTU is a nice box, and I made several albums with
mine that I'm happy with, but it just isn't in the same league as the
Rosetta, and I could see that I wasn't going to use it. Also, with the Lynx AES16, you're going to be able to get down to 1ms or less of latency; the lowest I ever got my 896 to run without error was about 6ms. I have the Eventide Eclipse hooked to the AES16 as a send effect, and since there isn't any A/D/A conversion, it is even lower latency, 0.45ms according to the "External Effect" doohicky in Nuendo, which is basically instantaneous, as far as we humans are concerned.

But, if that isn't in the cards, I'd hook all your pres to the
Rosetta to take advantage of its far better A/D convertors, and
monitor from the output of the Rosetta, and just use the MOTU as a
Lightpipe to Firewire convertor, basically. To do this, you'd set the
stereo output of your DAW to be Lightpipe 1/2. Of course, you need a
DB25->XLR cable to get the outputs of the Rosetta, but otherwise
you're good.

I really frown on the Mackie Big Knob, and it is definitely going to
be the weak link in your chain at this point. It uses op-amps in the
signal chain, and colors the sound. At the VERY LEAST, switch to a
Presonus Central Station, which just has relays inside, and has no op
amps in the signal chain for the mains. The Big Knob will kind of
take away the benefits you're getting from having a Rosetta in the
first place.

June 28, 2006

Audio Damage Pulse Modulator Now Available (sort of...)

by Chris Randall

The new issue of Computer Music, #102, is on newstands now, and as I've previously reported, contains a free full-featured Audio Damage effect, called Pulse Modulator. This plug is a triple-LFO tremolo/distortion effect, based on the ultra-rare Electro Harmonix pedal of the same name.

The plugin is for Universal Binary AU/VST on OSX, and VST on Windows, and has all the usual Audio Damage bells and whistles (MIDI learn, tempo sync, etc.).

Most Borders stores carry Computer Music, but you might have to wait a couple weeks, as they run quite a bit late on their copies. Alternately, you can order a copy straight from Futurenet.
Issue 102 isn't in their store yet, but it will be in a couple days. The cost is ten quid shipped, which ain't too bad, considering we'd normally charge $39 for a plug like this. Plus you get all the other Computer Music goodness.

June 28, 2006

No More Wire Hangers!

by Chris Randall

Paul Schreiber, owner of Synthtech, dropped this info on pertinent mailing lists last night:

The EU's import ban on leaded solder begins July 1st. If you are interested in DIY/repair/kit building, I *strongly suggest* buying at least:

2 spools of Kester '245 No-Clean' solder, part # 24-6337-8800 (for repair and wiring front panel parts)
1 spool of Kester '331 Organic' solder, part # 24-6337-5401 (you use this on pc boards, then wash off the flux which is really vinegar).

This entire lead ban has caused quite a bit of consternation among companies that sell kits. It has put a couple European manufacturers out of business, and cost a _lot_ of money for others to become compliant. I ultimately unsubscribed from at least one mailing list because of a more or less relentless bitchfest viz. the RoHS lead ban. (Because, as we all know, there's only ONE way to DIY a synth, god dammit!)

In any case, like the man said, the RoHS ban goes in to effect on July 1st, so if you live in Europe, get your repair stuff in order now, else you might shortly be up Shit Creek sans paddle.

June 27, 2006

Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street...

by Chris Randall

The trumpet player looks like my 9th grade English teacher. That's creepy. Otherwise, fly as it gets. I'd go so far as to say super fly. The vamp at the end is awesome. What a great performance. What I really like is how the drummer starts about 15 bpm slow, and Stevie draaaaaaaaaaaggggs him up to the right tempo before the first verse. Nice.

On a side note, that bass player is working hard. Holy fucking shit.


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