June 15, 2014

I Downloaded This Amazing Free Plug-in, And You Won't Believe What Happens Next...

by Chris Randall

I'm experimenting with clickbait-style post titles. Other audio blogs appear to be testing the waters with this information abortion, so I figure "hey, why not join the crowd?" How am I doing?

Anyhow, this is just a general info-dump of goings-on in my little corner of the world.

1. Unless you live under a rock, you know about the Eventide freebie, UltraChannel. I actually wouldn't normally bring it up here at all, as even though the Eventide guys are BFFs of ours and make stupifyingly good plug-ins (and even better hardware), their plugs are iLok only. However, as a result of a UI contract I'm currently doing, I had to install and tame an iLok. (And, god forbid, PT11.) Since I have one now, I was all "fuck it" and furthermore "whatevs." And got myself an UltraChannel. (And all the other Eventide native plugs while I was at it.) I'll say this much: UltraChannel is almost worth sucking it up for iLok. A fantastic, creative channel plug that is light on the CPU, yet extremely capable. If you have an iLok, or are thinking about buying one of those little buttplugs, here's where you get the Ultrachannel; use coupon code 0F736710. It'll be like $249 or something in a month or two, so if you're gonna do it, do it now.

2. Just in case you think I might have changed my mind or am in any way endorsing it, fuck PACE and fuck iLok.

3. I'm pleased to report that my schedule, which was a bit hairy there for a while, is returning, slowly and surely, to its normal lazy, meandering ways, which means I'll be able to finish off the Audio Damage DRM Removal Event, and also bring the next Audio Damage plug-in to the finish line while Adam flails about in his Code Hole whipping Sequencer 1 in to shape. It was a little ridiculous there for a while, but I've cleared a majority of the nonsense now, and am back to being my usual self.

4. And finally, a question: what constitutes an "album" these days? Throughout my (first) career, I was all 10 SONGS OR BUST but the idea of a complete record seems to be slipping through the cracks in favor of a burst mode kind of release system. I tried this out a couple years ago, by pooping out 4 of what our oldsters call "EPs" in a row, and it was somehow... uh... unsatisfying? Even without physical media, there's just something about a cohesive chunk of music that is more visceral, at least to the maker. So my general takeaway: it is far easier to come up with 5 cohesive songs than 10, and the consumer seems to be indifferent. My forthcoming release that I'm just finishing up now is 10 tracks, but I'm left with the lingering impression that I should strip it to a pair of 5-track releases. Thoughts?


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Jun.20.2014 @ 8:14 AM
I strongly dislike dongles. I fucking hate handshaking dongles that hold up opening my DAW. I've used (a paid version) Logic since Studio Vision was shut down and, at the time, a dongle was required. I STILL have to use that dongle to authenticate an upgrade (and every now and then when preferences poop out). When that thing shits the bed, I'll likely have to suck it up and buy a full new version just to get away from it. I hate that.

I got pseudo tricked into the Arturia dongle several years back when I bought some software in the box for a great deal. It typically works fine until I get a new computer and/or transfer hard drives. Typically THOSE are the plug ins that gave me the most grief...it typically takes a several days of support calls/emails just to get it back up and running...

Dongles, in the beginning, weren't necessarily a really big deal to me because I only used one computer for most of our writing. Now, I have a laptop, a home computer and a studio computer - and a writing partner with his own setup (and the shared studio boxes). On top of that, I have several actual USB synth controllers. I'm running out of room for ports and I don't like having to keep track of some little USB shitjack that I NEED to make something work.

Having to have a hardware dongle is like selling me a hardware synth under the guise of softsynth because I'm dependent on the stupid dongle to use the damn thing. The least iLok could do would be to put a filter sweep knob on it! Make it in anyway useful. For me, no thanks. I love eventide software, though... :-/

As far as tracks...Eh...I just completed the 6th album for my band. It took almost 5 years to finish and we took the long, hard and most expensive route to make it. It's a double-cd cohesive, conceptual piece packaged in a completely handmade, custom packaging - with real wax stamps and die-cuts and taping together by hand...We've done the EP, LP, Singles, Remixes...I stopped giving a shit how anyone else wants to digest and just took my sweet time doing something utterly silly..but, completely fulfilling. I suppose, in the end, it's all that matters from the artist standpoint. From a consumer standpoint, I LOVE albums, still. I've been on a vinyl kick lately and, since I work from home, I've had more enjoyment going back and really digesting full albums at a time...I only listen to singles on shuffle when I'm needing some background noise - which is far less satisfying to both consumer and artist at the end of the day...

Jun.21.2014 @ 9:16 AM
maybe we'll get lucky and gibson will buy Pace/ilok for no reason other than to put it on the shelf next to studio vision (rip).

Jun.21.2014 @ 9:18 AM
oh, totally an album guy but i love a good ep too. what i hate is filler on albums. if you have more than 4 tracks but less than 7 it should be an EP unless one or two of the tracks are longer than 8 minutes.

so, i think 45 minutes of music can be an album. less than that is an ep imo.

Jun.21.2014 @ 2:44 PM
This one weird plugin will change the way you mix forever...

Jun.21.2014 @ 6:02 PM
I'm with boobs.

Jun.21.2014 @ 7:01 PM
PACE: my iLok is at work with ProTools. My fun is at home with a whole bunch of other dongles plugged into a big USB hub, sick of that shit.

ALBUM: it is a sculpture, as large as is needed to tell the story that it holds. Some sculptures are very small and simple and other elaborate but they give the feeling of a whole. The packaging is part of that whole, and you hold this thing in your hands or mind and it seems right and fair to you. What I'm working on will be a physical album, with a good solid weight to it and enough listening that you can pick favourites.

Jun.23.2014 @ 3:31 AM
So I can only find nine tracks but it won't fit one one side of a C90- so it is a modern album.

Jun.23.2014 @ 6:28 AM
I'm with boobs.

Jun.23.2014 @ 9:03 AM
I'm glad to see that you went with 9 tracks to show the MAN that you weren't going follow the whole '10 tracks an album does make' rule. It's a very welcome addition to the discography too, sir. Been too long.

Jun.23.2014 @ 8:27 PM
Ghost Gum
Recently decided to give iLok and Waves stuff a try, and it appears Waves has gone tits (or possibly Boobs?) up... Now I feel the pain people have been talkin about here and I don't like it at all!!

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