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

Tags: Busy Busy Busy


May 22, 2017

Stand Up, Sit Down, Fight, Fight, Fight! Vol. 2: The Reckoning...

by Chris Randall
 

Lo these many years ago (or maybe six years ago), I went and whittled myself a standing desk solution. All the cool kids were doing it, and it seemed like an excellent idea. I didn't, however, take one thing in to account.

If you read the original article, and pay attention to the fourth paragraph, you'll note that one thing I discovered early on was that I needed to get my monitors in direct line-of-sight. Not long after I moved to that configuration, I added a third monitor, a large Dell 10-touch monitor. (The first mass market cap-touch monitor available, as it happens.) This lived directly under the two original monitors, and you can see it in this configuration in many of my videos and photos of the last few years, as I've used this three-monitor system to good effect.

Anyhow, as it turns out, getting old kind of blows. Not long after I went to this configuration, I needed to get progressive lenses in my glasses. Due to the modular side of the Audio Damage Order Of Battle, I've spent a lot of time with my standing desk and three-monitor rig; when developing plug-ins, I work primarily on my Macbook Pro, and just lounge about the house or on the porch, wherever the mood strikes me. But the embedded dev needs quite a bit of infrastructure, and has to be done at my desk.

Since those monitors are basically six feet off the ground to meet my sight-line, I had to tilt my head back to align the reading portion of my glasses with the text on the screen. I didn't even really know I was doing this, but one day I happened to put the IDE on the lower monitor (normally, Live runs on the lower one so I can touchy-feely plugins, and the IDE runs on the upper left, while the upper right gets folder duties.) When it was down low, all the sudden my neck pain went away. Total accidental discovery, as I didn't know what the cause of the pain was.

So, in general, lessons learned from 6 years with a standing desk: if you can see well, it's a better way to work. It was especially nice during music making, when I'm moving about wiring shit up or whatever. However, if you have progressive lenses, it may be more trouble than it's worth. Take your pick: mild back pain from sitting all day, or mild-to-severe neck pain from leaning your head back to read the screens. I decided to return to back pain for the next while, and eject the standing desk.

tl;dr: my office went to bare walls last week. Today I was able to use it again. Sitting down. And it is much more orange than it was before.

 
May 15, 2017

Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury...

by Chris Randall
 



Long-time readers will know how comically funny this screenshot is. (Either that, or a blatant display of hypocrisy. 6:5 and pick 'em.) That right there is Eos 2 as a 64-bit AAX running in PT12. We've just pushed the v2.0.2 of Eos to the store, and the installers on both platforms include AAX. All future releases will also include AAX.

It is worth noting here that the person that we had a "disagreement" with at Digidesign is long departed, and Avid reached out to us with an olive branch. You can also blame almost constant haranguing from Eric Beam and Don Gunn, both of whom have been driving me absolutely to distraction with requests for AAX.

So finally I caved and was like "how hard can it be?" As it turns out, not hard at all. The only difficult part was figuring out the PACE/Eden signing on the Windows side of things, and Sean Costello of ValhallaDSP gave me some very helpful guidance there.

So, long story short, babies under the bridge, throwing the horse out with the bathwater, etc. We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia. Grab that 2.0.2 installer and get yourself some AAX.

 
May 8, 2017

Eos Dos...

by Chris Randall
 



Now that the hardware side of the business is chugging along, we've turned our attention back to plugins. After some soul-searching and rending of garments, it became obvious that some serious re-building was in our future to make sure our rather extensive product line stays pertinent and healthy as we start knocking on the door of our 3rd decade in business.

First one on the block was (depending on how you count) either our second- or third-most popular plugin, Eos. We're rebuilding everything in JUCE, so that we can offer and support all the formats from a single codebase that is well-supported and gives us a lot of different options. So these ports aren't really ports as such, but complete ground-up rebuilds. In the case of Eos, the biggest problem was the user interface. It still held up okay on normal-res screens, but on Hi_Res and Retina, it looked cheap and awful. Also, a continuing point of contention with me has been the lack of a common platform-agnostic preset mechanism.

Early last year, we released FuzzPlus3, which was built with JUCE and made with a completely procedural user interface. (That is to say that the UI is all code, no images at all.) It also had an XML-based preset mechanism that Randy from Madrona and Sean from ValhallaDSP came up with. Several tens of thousands of downloads later, nobody seemed to have any problem with either the OpenGL interface or the preset mechanism, so I figured they were safe to roll in to a paid product.

With all that in mind, I set to it. I decided on a darker look for Eos 2, and instead of a static background, I used a GLSL shader to give me a little animated blob that responded to knobbing, which I thought was a clever trick. We also bared some previously hidden controls (high and low crossover points, which are the corner frequencies for the high and low multipliers) and added a fourth algorithm, Plate 3, which is a derivation of Plate 2 with a somewhat different rendering loop that results in a less dense tail with a wider stereo image.

All in all the port only took about 5 days, and then we spent a week with the testers tracking down all the silly bits. The testers were surprised to hear from me, not having got a new AD plug for some time now. But they were all still game, and now Eos 2 is available for purchase in the Audio Damage store and at Splice. The full version is $59.00, and the upgrade from v1.x is the difference between the two, $10.00.

This version is built with the absolute latest JUCE 5, the current VST3 SDK, and current Xcode and Visual Studio, against the current APIs from both Apple and Windows. So it should be solid for a good long while. Aside from the usual 32/64 VST and AudioUnits, a side effect of using JUCE is that we pick up the VST3 version for free. So that's included, and will be included in all our upcoming rebuilds. This version also removes the anti-denormal math, which caused a very small amount of noise to be added to the signal path. We figure not many people are using a Pentium 4 for music any more, and the ones that are probably can't run a bleeding-edge OpenGL-based plugin anyhow, so that's that.

We haven't decided what we're going to do next; I'm about 70% finished with Basic 2, which is a polyphonic version with much more extensive modulation. We've also got a couple new plugs we've been cooking up, and would like to port some of the advances we've made on the hardware side of things back in to plugin land.

 
April 9, 2017

Booth, With Occasional Super...

by Chris Randall
 



Hectic April continues. The Audio Damage event this week at Perfect Circuit was outstanding. Huge turnout, and Baseck did a crazy excellent set. Much love all around, and thanks to everyone that came out and put up with my stream-of-consciousness presentation style. (Roughly akin to standing there and going "BLEARRRGHGGHGGHHH!!!!" for 30 minutes. Good times. Good times.)

Next on the agenda: the very first box of Eos modules will be arriving here tomorrow; I'll have time to test them and turn them around. They're all going to Control in NYC, so until l get back from Europe, that'll be the only place on the planet you can buy them. I'm going to get the product page up today, with specs and at least one overview video.

I buried the lede in that last paragraph. "...get back from Europe." Superbooth is right around the corner, y'all! The marquee event of the Eurorack World is April 20-22 at Fex in Berlin, and AD (in the form of me) will be in attendance, showing off Ensō and Eos, and all our other products. I'm very excited for this; it is, by far, my favorite event of the ones we do yearly, and I'm really looking forward to it. Instead of flying direct to Berlin, I'm going to Prague (much cheaper) and renting a car to drive to Berlin. I'll only be in Prague a couple days, but if any AI readers live there and want to grab a beer and whatever it is that Czechs eat, I'm totally down.

So, tl;dr: LA was fun. The Czech Republic and Germany will be fun. First Eos will be out the door Tuesday. Crazy times!

 
March 31, 2017

Demo Daze...

by Chris Randall
 



That right there is a mockup of our new baby, Ensō, which is an audio buffer module in 22hp, with 50 seconds of stereo 48/24 audio memory, and various ways for looping/triggering/etc that buffer. We're done with the hardware design, and are working on the software now.

You can come see it (and the new Eos module) in person if you're in the LA area. I will be doing an Audio Damage clinic/Q&A at Perfect Circuit in Burbank this Wednesday, April 5th, at 7PM. Facebook event page with all the deets is here. Derrick Baseck will be doing a performance, and I'm given to understand there will be pizza and beer, two of the three major food groups. We will be giving away a couple modules, and buttons and stickers and the other usual shit, and I may extemporaneously perform for 15 minutes myself.

In other news, the first articles for the hardware version of Eos will be on the way to me today. So just a beta-testing round and then that will be shipping. Figure two weeks to stores at this point.

And finally, we will be attending Superbooth in Berlin again this year. I'm flying in to Prague on April 15, and then driving up to Berlin a couple days later. If you are in town and want to hook up, get at me in the usual methods.
 

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