Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
April 2, 2008

And now for something we hope you'll REALLY like...

by Chris Randall

As I mentioned two posts ago, we're holding off on the release of Kombinat for a little while, in order to allow for the fact that Adam has to do a do-over on his aborted Japanese vacation of last year. We could get it out before he leaves, but he wouldn't be around if there were issues, as I mentioned, and that's no good.

So, in the meantime, we're going to give you this bad boy, hopefully by the end of the week. Witness Dubstation 1.5. The main change is one long-asked-for feature, a "HI CUT" knob. How it works is thus: at full on, Dubstation will work just like the original, with the delay time setting the high-cut filter frequency. In this manner, you're able to bring in a touch (or a lot) of high frequencies just by rolling back the knob a bit.

Also, as should be obvious from the image above (whack that bitch for a full-sized iteration) the UI has received a fairly major upgrade, to bring it in line with our current product line and do away with the oft-heard complaint that the tilted view was annoying. (Now, you can complain that it is too dark, or the cartoon look was more conducive to creation, or something. Ho, ho, ho.) We're also doing away with the split personality nature of the delay time knob; it will now work just like it does in Dr. Device, with no hidden parameters or anything.

The downside for OSX customers is that we're deprecating 10.3.9 support. You will need 10.4.1 or better (preferably 10.4.9 or better) to use Dubstation 1.5. Obviously, your install of Dubstation 1.0.whatever will still work fine, as long as Apple doesn't decide something silly.

This will be a free update to existing Dubstation owners, and Dubstation's price will remain at US$39.00. Also, it will have a different ID and name, so you can use both. The parameter list has changed and VST projects that use the original one would have issues with the new one if we didn't do it like this. So existing customers need not worry in the slightest; your projects will be totally safe. We're just tidying up the Windows version; the OSX VST and AU should build straight away, and we don't foresee any issues there, so this should be available by the end of the week.

April 1, 2008


by Chris Randall

On the one hand, I find the recent decisions by Radiohead to be mostly cool, as you all no doubt know. The "pay what you want" model for "In Rainbows" obviously didn't hurt them in the slightest, and the "live" concert they did as a webcast and on Current was a stroke of genius. (It doesn't hurt that the album is really fucking good, either.)

I have to say that this Nude remix thing on iTunes is kind of foul, though. We'll set aside the inherent humor of a bunch of poor Garage-Band-driving saps trying to "remix" a song that is in 6/8 for the now (are there even any included AppleLoops in 6/8?), and focus on the fact that they're charging for the stems. Personally, I don't think this is cricket, but maybe I'm old-fashioned. Granted, it's only five bucks, but even so, in a situation that is fundamentally aimed at the amateur/hobbyist, this smacks of taking advantage of fans' largesse. I would expect it of Guns 'n' Roses or My Chemical Romance or some other stupid shit like that, but not Radiohead.

It is, in short, not cool. In that, it goes directly against what they've been trying to achieve in the last year and a half. Just my opinion. YMMV as always. Perhaps it is cool after all and I'm missing something.

March 31, 2008

Various Things...

by Chris Randall

As was noted in the previous thread, Grindhouse has moved outside our little circle. Case in point: Radio Slave's "Grindhouse Tool" (which, although it doesn't have enough 'verb on the foot, follows the tenets of the faith rather closely). This is obviously minimalist Grindhouse. I've been listening to the track for like five and a half minutes now and it doesn't appear to be anything but a drum beat and some verby sounds, which I personally think takes the concept a little far, but what the fuck do I know?

I can't find a link to the Dubfire remix that is causing all the hullabaloo, so please do provide it if you have knowledge.

In other news, we're probably going to postpone Kombinat's release a little bit, as I optimistically forgot Adam was going to Japan in two weeks. While we could probably release before he went, he wouldn't be here if something should go awry, and you really don't want me poking around in the code trying to fix things. I can code in the same way that I can cook. It gets the job done but it isn't pretty and it doesn't taste too good.

What we do have coming in the next couple few days will amuse some and amaze others, and make about six people really happy. More on that maybe later today.

Next, our new commissioned banner is running on KvR starting today. It gives me a case of the giggles every time I see it, but some people don't get it. You be the judge.

And finally, for some reason I got on an Old School (har har har) IDM kick. I actually had to re-buy several records that I had lost when a CD wallet got misplaced/stolen, and these included the Sgt. Pepper's of IDM, Tri Repetae. I haven't listened to this album in several years, and frankly I didn't like it that much when it came out. For some reason, it is really appealing to me now. I think, in my advanced age, I'm able to appreciate the subtlety of the album. Dunno. But IDM is a genre that moves rather slowly, so it doesn't sound dated at all, compared to other forms of purely electronic music. Or maybe they made it so advanced that it is actually current now?

Who knows? Anyhow, I was going to post a thread-starter on IDM production techniques, but the exact wording hasn't come to me. Perhaps later today.

March 28, 2008

Audio Damage Update : Kombinat...

by Chris Randall

I spent the whole day finishing the UI for Kombinat and chopping it in to little pieces for VSTGUI. Once I got that done, I decided to have a little fun and make the traditional glamour shot a little early. In the process, I got some fancy new lighting profiles in to 3DS Max, which gave me (and the image) some warm fuzzies.

Whack that image above, and you can see the full-sized PNG in all its... err... glamour. It is easily large enough to make out all the controls, and it should be fairly apparent what's going on. A brief rundown of the signal path follows:

1. Equalizer: If you have Live, this will be immediately obvious. It is essentially exactly the same as the little 3-band "EQ Three" DJ EQ in that DAW, with the exception that you can gain the bands a bit more, for the purposes of overdriving the distortion engines. On the bottom of this section, you'll note the "MODE" switch. In "MULTI" mode, each band gets one distortion engine. In "SERIES" mode, you get the EQ, then all three engines in series. This obviously means massively huge signal destruction.

2. Distortion: These are the three distortion engines, obviously. As you can see in the image, there are eight possible configurations for each engine. If you're one of the few people that bought our first product, the Mayhem suite (no longer available, obviously) you'll note that each engine contains Master Destrukto in its entirety. There is also a fairly cool ring mod, the distortion part of FuzzPlus, and a custom "gating" distortion block which follows the modern boutique pedal trend currently making the rounds. The number of knobs available changes depending on the type selected, from one (FUZZ) to three (RING). There is also a pass-through, called THRU, amusingly enough.

3. Output: Here's where the magic happens. The "FILTER" section is the 4PLP self-resonating model from Dr. Device. No particular reason to include it in this unit except that everything is more fun with a fat-ass lowpass filter in it. Under that is the "COMPRESSION" knob, which loosely follows the compressor found in ReBirth in all its single-control glory. It basically goes from "off" to "more." The "INPUT" knob can overdrive the whole unit (coupled with the gain knobs in the EQ section, you get a total of 14db of gain over unity), and "OUTPUT" is obvious. The whole mess has a nice clipper.

So, there you have it. We still have about a week of work on the Windows version, then however long the OS X stupidity takes. (Anyone that is a frequent reader will know this is completely unpredictable.) Kombinat will be US$49.00. I'll start putting up samples next week, once we have everything tuned to taste.

March 28, 2008

I, for one, welcome our new 23-secret-ingredient-wielding music business overlords...

by Chris Randall

Of course, if we're incredibly lucky, it won't actually work. But if history is any judge, we won't be lucky. At least we'll get a free can of soda out of the deal.

This is kind of like the polar opposite of NIN/Radiohead, in a weird sort of way.


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