May 12, 2011

Out Of The Office Open Thread...

by Chris Randall

After that last epic conversation, I'm busy congratulating myself for having created a blog that, after years of tuning, can have such a high level of completely bullshit-free discourse. The previous post didn't have a single comment deleted (I only have to delete maybe one a month now) nor a single ad spam, nor a single instance of anyone calling anyone else a Nazi, nor a single "LOL +1" jumping smily face. This is a rare thing on the internet, and I'm pleased to have had a role, however minor, in its genesis.

In any event, the missus and I are rolling to Los Angeles today. We're hitting the MOCA tomorrow for the Art In The Streets exhibit, and going to the JPL Open House on Saturday. A little mini-vacation, if you will. I may or may not post, depending on available time and inspiration.

In the meantime, as a conversation starter, I propose this article that Eno wrote for Wired some 12 years ago. I assume, from the context and time frame, the console in question is a Neve Capricorn, one that I have a similar experience with. Anyhow, here's the keys. Don't break anything.


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May.12.2011 @ 11:46 AM
Interesting, this week I've been musing on a similar observation by Rupert Neve from about 12 years ago. He was pointing to research about the lack of musical frequencies above 20kHz in CDs as causing negative emotions in a listener, see link []

May.12.2011 @ 11:56 AM
I was nearly overwhelmed by the temptation to go to the last post and add a comment along the lines of "LOL, go to this link to buy the pill that nazis use to make their dicks bigger.". I persevered though.

May.12.2011 @ 1:06 PM
that's a great little read CR. funnily enough, i recently bought Renoise (after spending some time with the demo) and having never used a tracker before i'm pretty fascinated by it and especially the fact that it's all controlled by key commands and has minimal mouse usage aside for some drag and drop things and FX parameters.

it's definitely not a typical sequencer, as anyone who's used a tracker knows, and i'm digging the tactile interface that requires you to press keys (buttons) to make things happen.

also, i used a neve capricorn briefly in 1996 and though the idea of 'building' your own console by telling each knob/channel strip what to be (aux send/eq/pan?) was kind of fascinating when it actually came time to do something with it i just wanted to smash it. and what is typical/funny is that after a couple years it seemed out dated, intrinsically less valuable like an old computer or last years ipod... simply by the nature of it being a giant digital device..

May.12.2011 @ 1:30 PM
Hey, one other comment after reading boobs.

Mike Stavrou has written about how different studio tasks require left or right brain dominance, they mention it near the end of this review link []

That process Eno recalls fits right in with how Stav describes having to switch focus between hemispheres.

May.12.2011 @ 1:39 PM
I'll be at the JPL open house on sat as well! My 3yr old space nut is gonna go bezerkers. And my wife wants a rocket scientist to sign her tits...

Pasadena dope food spots:
Saladang Song, Yuejean Kang, La Luna Negra and Pie 'N Burger

May.12.2011 @ 2:53 PM
@bassling: nice link; also fits the 21st-century multitasking musician idea that CR brought up last topic.

Interesting to see how other musicians divide their time when producing tunes. And how (specialist) engineers manage their time. It does seem like people take to one or the other side more naturally.

For the plugin makers: is it all left-brain? Am I mixing brain-sides up? I can see where things like Eos or Room are pretty utilitarian and arise out of a need for a good reverb or whatever.

But like seancostello was asking yesterday, what about things like Replicant or other AD plugs that sort of have their own personality, or an "implicit message"?

Seems like the the nicely crafted tool or instrument, especially one that seems to play itself, can be a piece of art on its own.

May.12.2011 @ 4:19 PM
That JPL open house is 2 miles from my house. I probably should go. I can practically walk it.

May.12.2011 @ 4:28 PM
@Carlos-Serrano: I should point out that Eos (and probably most of the stuff I have worked on and Chris and Adam have worked on) has a very distinctive personality. Chris and Adam were very clear what types of sounds they wanted out of Eos. And they weren't neutral.

To tie this into the Eno link, one thing that distinguishes Eos from some other reverbs out there is that it doesn't provide you with choice overload. Most of the choices have been made for you. Seriously, if you exposed every parameter under the hood to the user, you would have several hundred sliders and knobs to work with. Which would be the greatest thing in the world for a few dozen people, and a huge pain the ass for the vast majority of users, and about 99% of the possible settings would suck.

In the past, restricting the number of parameters in a musical tool was simply economic necessity. The Marshall amp Eno cites consists of a fair number of highpass, lowpass and shelving filters, and several nonlinear gain stages. All of these sections could be brought to the front panel for tuning, assuming that you wanted to have 30 knobs on the front. But knobs and pots cost money. It is much cheaper to hardwire most of these settings by using fixed resistors, which cost a few cents as opposed to a few dollars for pots.

Today, there is no cost on GUI knobs and sliders, apart from development time. If you wanted to create a fully tweakable Marshall amp model, all of the coupling frequencies and gain stages could be fully adjustable. However, the majority of the settings would no longer sound like a Marshall. By using fixed values for these settings, the Marshall designers made the choices for the user. This imposes a particular personality on the amp. Which allows the user to spend less time fiddling with the knob settings, and more time figuring out what notes to play on the guitar. Restricting choices = a tool with character, and a tool that encourages creativity.

May.13.2011 @ 12:43 AM
Well said Sean. This is exactly why I find I'm more productive on hardware, and also why I have no interest in that new DMG compressor. The funny thing is, I'm a tweaker at heart. I love digging into the minutiae of how things work. But it's like a never ending addiction, and highly unproductive. A DAW is my worst enemy. I have to impose all kind of artificial restrictions just to keep from getting distracted. It's so much easier to work within real boundaries. It then becomes a conversation between a bunch of devices with real personalities, and the results are so much more creative and inspiring for me.

May.13.2011 @ 2:35 AM
What Sean said about Eos is basically my argument I make in defense of Apple's design choices. They try to make shit easy for the way 95% of people want to work and know that the 5% will figure it out for themselves. If you need a 3 button trackball and real f-keys on your keyboard you probably know where to get them. Many, if not most, electronics companies put all the stuff the 5% wants in there because the guys that design it are part of the 5%.

Most of the greatest recording engineers in the world like big boxes full of tubes with 2 big knobs on them that have one great sound. That's why those things go for a fortune.

@boobs> I'm also fascinated by Renoise, just because it makes me think about things differently, but I can't totally get a handle on it. Mostly because I like to tweak rhythm a lot manually and fractions of bars doesn't compute in my head. I think in milliseconds.

That article was interesting, maybe I should quit ignoring that Eno guy.


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