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

Archives: 2005

October 2, 2005

Audio Damage Update...

by Chris Randall

For those following along, work proceeds on the Mutron Bi-Phase clone, which we've imaginatively named Phase Two. (Our marketing department, me, in other words, decided that it was wise to harken to the original in the naming process.) For those not in the know about such things, a phaser consists of a metric fuckton of allpass filters. You need one filter for each "pole" of the phaser. Since the Bi-Phase is actually a pair of 6-pole phasers, well, you do the math.

But anyways, measurements are made, the allpass is built, and things are being assembled. The UI is made, and as soon as we freeze the features and determing that this damned thing actually works, I'll throw it up here for your perusal. Yes, it is cel-shaded, to save the obvious question. It is also, by far, the nicest UI I've done. I'm rather proud of it. So, Phase Two is in the oven. It will be available some time Real Soon Now (read: two months? No way to predict) for AU and VST. When we get closer, I'll have a price for you, as well as the UI. As always, watch this space for details. And make us feel generally good about ourselves by going and spending $39.00 on the only analog delay plug-in worth a shit.

October 1, 2005

Master Control Center 101

by Chris Randall

Since I'm about to start accepting commercial clients in my (thus far private) studio, it is time to address the issue of my desk/console/whatever. The current Rube Goldberg assemblage of Metro Shelving and Quick-Lok stands just ain't gonna cut it any more. First, it doesn't look professional, and second, it's just asserific.

So, I'm going to build myself a desk/console/whatever that better suits my working methods and compliment of gear. Spending a couple minutes in 3D Studio Max to (copping a phrase from our friends in the movie industry) previsualize the final product was very illuminating. The first thing I noted is that I need at least four, and preferably six, rack spaces directly in front of me. These will hold the stuff that I have to twiddle most often (my Neumann EQs, Central Station, mic pres, et al.)

The next thing, being primarily a keyboard player, is a keyboard controller. Now, this took some thinking. I wanted to have some options in the way things are layed out here. I could move the controller to live with all my synth stuff (which is immediately to my left, as I am left-handed) so it would be wise to make this area deep enough to hold a dedicated fader extravaganza for working with Nuendo. In browsing all of these various devices, it looks like the best bang-for-the-buck, without all the stupid bells and whistles, is the Tascam US-2400. Now, I've never laid eyes on one of these in real life, so I can't speak to the build quality or anything, but it looks well enough, and the reviews I've read seem to be uniformly "this is fine." I'm very much a control-keys and mouse mixer, so I don't really know if this would aid my workflow enough to justify the expense.

Anyways, that's down the road a bit. I made enough room on the desk portion to hold one of these, should I go on a wild spending spree and decide to purchase something like this. The nice bonus here is that the Tascam unit is one of the larger devices of this family, and if it will fit, most all of them will. (Except the Mackie one, which is deeper by a couple inches, and I already know I don't like that one, having spent some quality time with it.)

Some further thought on the matter, and it occurred to me that the base of the unit could hold my pair of PCs, and if I spent some time with that sound-mat shit that the Hi-NOS Tunerz use, there would be a little iso booth in the bottom to kill the sound of the computers.

I should point out that I stridently refuse to buy anything that I can build myself, and that goes quadruple for shit that is made out of MDF. I WILL NOT purchase anything made out of MDF ever again. I've learned my lesson. "Hey, that desk is cheap, and it looks nice! I'll take one!" and then 6 months later it's all bent to shit because you put your speakers on it, and it couldn't take the weight. Then you move one time, and the corners all get rounded off. Thanks, but no thanks. Cabinet-grade birch plywood will be our medium of choice here.

I'm open to thoughts on this matter. I won't be doing anything ridiculous like that bent birchwood thing we had in Gear pr0n couple weeks back. My cabinetry skills lend themselves to austerity, so keep that in mind.


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