Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

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Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Sep 21, 2015 1:25 pm

I've talked here and there about the music I make (well, made; havent' done anything since the fire really), but not a whole lot on the technical side of it.

So since I have to rebuild the studio anyway, whcih has been in progress since moving back into the rebuilt house, I'll put the technical bits here in this thread. Everything from equipment repairs to wiring to building and setting up the new computer that should actually be fast enough to run the things I used to (possible thanks to several ES member's parts contributions, plus some stuff from local friend Bill and others), etc.

Some pics of the studio room as it is at the moment will be coming once I recharge the camera battery. :oops: They'll be edited into this post, and I'll put progress pics up in it, too, so it's evolution can be seen. If I can find any, I'll also post up pics of how the old setup used to look.

EDIT:
here's some pics of the "studio room" as it is right now, beginning of 2016.

As you walk in, right now, it looks like this:
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and is a huge mess.... :/

This is the main station,
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with a slowly-dying but still working LCD TV /monitor from Bill, that is large enough area but low enough resolution to still let me read everything easily, though not high enough resolution to fit everything on screen. At some point I have to build a bracket to hold at least one more smaller but higher resolution monitor to fit more stuff on screen at the same time, using multiple-monitor support in XP.

I'd prefer to use a touchscreen, cuz of the controls I want to be able to use there, but so far the two old 15" 1024x768 ones I have from goodwill don't seem to work correctly with multi-monitor setups (the pointer doesnt' move around the whole screen; the software is confused--works fine if it's the only monitor).

So eventually I'll get a laptop or other desktop setup with one of those touchscreens, and use it as an "effects box" and mixing console separate from the main computer, with the audio piped over the LAN rather than over audio cables, so there's no loss of signal there, and no worries about getting audio interfaces to work right, etc. Did that before with the old studio sometimes for extra processing power, until computers doing it got hardware problems I couldn't fix or replace. THank goodness for "aux sends" in the SONAR software. ;)

Speakers on the monitor itself I left on because I use them to test mixes on "generic" speakers; if it sounds good on those, as well as my good speakers to either side, then the mix is a winner. :)

Ensoniq ASR88, my main keyboard, is in front of all that, with the unseen harddisk/cdrom for it to the right of it. When all else is not working I can still do composition/etc from just that, but it's sequencer/etc is a (very slow) bear to use, even though I"ve done it enough I could probably do it blindfolded. :/

Below left is the computer itself; it's pieces of different ones from various people configured for a bare-minimum system to do a small part of what I "need" to do. It's what I've been using for this stuff for the last year or so, I guess, a bit more.
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Behind me as I sit at the station is the "computer building table" where I've got a bunch of stuff (mostly from eTrike, some from Bill, some Goodwill, some I don't remember anymore) in process of trying to get it all working like my old setup did--it's a long mess of a project, cuz of something to do with the SATA drivers vs XP vs how I need things to work vs how my XP was setup before.
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To the left of that is a wood file cabinet as a table with more stuff that I need to test and get working in the system(s)
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Then there's the rack of stuff I use externally to the "virtual studio" inside SONAR that I almost exclusively use presently.
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The rack fo stuff includes almost all the hardware I have left from before the fire, as it's all stuff that was still in the old room I hadn't moved to the new one yet when the fire happened. On top is my Yamaha TG33, whcih I made a LOT of music with (before I got the Ensoniq stuff, first an EPS16+ I don't have anymore, and then the ASR88), whcih I need to get the cassettes of made into MP3s into the computer to upload, eventually (there's a lot of it).

Below that is a mostly-working USB-output turntable someone on DIYElectricCar forums sent me, which I've used a few times to input vinyl into the computer, but I don't think I even have any of that anymore. It's not hooked up to anything right now, just there cuz it was convenient. :)

Below that is a post-fire-acquisition, an EMU6400 sent by Hora from Old Home Bulletin Board, to create music with while I was at Bill's right after the fire as what I still had of my other stuff was not working or accessible yet. It's as complex as my ASR88, though a bit easier to use, so I havent' learned enough about it yet to do very much with it--but I had a fair bit of fun trying to learn. :)

Below that is my Opcode Studio128x MIDI interface, whcih uses a serial port to get MIDI in and out of a cmputer, and can also directly route midi from any port to any other port on it, though you ahve to use a computer and some software made for Windows 3.x / 95 to do that. :lol: It's my primary way of getting MIDI in and out of my computer, because it has the most reliable timing and operation.

Then my trusty old Alesis Midiverb III, a midi-controllable effects unit (similar in function to the Lexicon I got at Goodwill, shown above with the guitar stuff, but much older and less complex).

There's a MOTU Midi Mixer 7s below that, which is a regular audio mixer, but controlled entirely by MIDI. Only hardware controls on it are a main volume knob, and gate, and a trim control on each channel including hte aux sends. (and a headphone volume knob). I'm not using it right now because I have no way of controlling it, as I haven't found my software to do that that will work in XP or my present version of SONAR. I have stuff that I can do in a separate older windows, but have to build a computer just to do that, preferably with a touchscreen.

The blue/green rack is the exernal connector box part of my audio interface, GadgetLabs Wave8*24. That, along with my first ASR88, I actually bought new back when I worked at a better job and could afford to do that sort of thing--it was like $700 then, and well worth it, but the company folded a while later, before they delivered the promised advanced drivers needed to actually use it as intended. Eventually, a user rose to the occasion and made his own drivers from scratch, with some help from one of the designers of it; they've been updated a few times since then, and may still be in development even now, something like 20 years after the device came out. That's pretty unusual, and makes me glad that this was the unit I'd picked--AFAIK there aren't any other pro-audio interfaces that old with drivers still being written for new versions of Windows. :lol: Anyway, there's a near-full-length PCI card in the PC itself that connects to the box via a DB-25 cable.

There's a Yamaha FB01 along the side, I think, an FM bass module I play with sometimes.

On the cart below the rack is assorted stuff like mics and adapters and cables, and a Realistic (radioshack) mixer from Goodwill I still need to fix; it's connectors are messed up and need to be replaced. I've seen better mixers there since then, but unfortunately I already spent the money on that one so would need to sell it first (and it's not really worth much, especially without fixing it first), and I don't *need* a mixer enough right now to actually worry that much about it. Mostly wanted it for the mic preamps and turns out those aren't all that good and only usable for dynamic mics, not condenser types. :/
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On a shelf there is the presently-unusable audio interface I'd bought used along with the used ASR88, not long after I got back here into the house after the repairs. It's an AVID 2-channel USB unit with mic preamps and phantom power, etc., which when I was buying it via Guitar Center was told things like it'd work with Windows XP, etc., and none of which turned out to be strictly true--it DOES get detected and installed as a USB audio device iwth the default XP drivers, but the drivers from Avid that actually let it be usable for it's features and higher bitdepth and sample rates, with low latency, will not install on XP, only Win7 (which I can't use, presently). It also doesn't have a MIDI port, which the original from M-Audio that this model replaces did. I used to ahve one of the original, and it was GREAT, nearly flawless, but I loaned it to someone I trusted who then lost it. When I went looking for another, this was the closest thing I could find to it, and I was fooled by marketing-speak and "reviews" into thinking it was as good, or as usable to me, as the original, when it isn't, and doesnt' even have all the features the original did. I should just sell it. :/
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I found this USB MIDI interface, single port, just in and out, for $2 at Goodwill a week ago I think it was, and it works perfectly even though it is also almost 20 years old, too--was made to work with Windows 98, IIRC, maybe even Win95! By MIDIMan, the company later bought by/turned into M-Audio, whcih was apparently bought by AVID sometime in recent-ish times...leading to my dismay and problems above. But this thing still has a driver out there for XP, etc., I think even for 7 and 8 and maybe 10. It's purpose for me will be to add a MIDI port to a laptop when needed, so I can noodle around with the keytar (see later posts) without being in the music room or having all the other stuff hooked up and on. (this will entail finding a laptop capable of running the stuff I need to run, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon, but it's possible). It can also be used for any other computer to hook up as a "networked synth" using either SONAR or Brainspawn's FORTE (a virtual synth rack, basically), to host synths and effects on a separate computer from the main one to take some CPU load off of it, enabling me to have more realtime synths and effects, which helps a lot when composing as I choose sounds and effects and tweak a song and/or it's mix.
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Then to the left of the rack of stuff, there is a pile of stuff I am still sorting, fixing, and integrating in, including bunches of wire and cables I am trying to fix or cut up for stuff to fix other cables I need more than those. (I have a LOT of re-cabling to do, and it is tedious and annoying and I tend to put it off until I absolutely HAVE to have a specific cable for something; I probably had what looked like a few MILES of cabling in the orignal setup. :lol: ).
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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Sep 21, 2015 2:15 pm

First up is a repair of a 4-channel x50w audio amplifier with 7-band auto-eq that I've had for almost 25 years, acquired at an auction with a blown channel. The channel itself I'd like to repair, but that probably wont' happen, as it uses a specialized IC rather than separate FETs and drivers, and I doubt that chip is available anymore. I didn't need more than two channels before, so never bothered at the time. I just used the fader knob to push all the signal to the front amps instead.

Sorry there' nothing in the way of internal pics; I'll get some later if there's a request.


I don't remember exactly what speakers I used to use with it (not very good), but what I'll be using now are a pair of AR (Acoustic Research) AR-18's from Bill, which sound clear and good, and which are probably comparable to the 2nd Gen Powered Partner AR-570s I have (which are my favorite, but one of which has a damaged woofer from being knocked off my music setup down several feet onto a stone tile floor by a drunk at a hotel during a convention, so itrubs the voice coil and distorts with many low frequencies, making it hard to use for music composition and sound design. EDIT: I found that the woofer itself wasn't damaged, just the mounting and the casing around it, and after I epoxied the casing together so the screw mounts for the plastic faceplate can now correclty hold it to the metal base, it works fine with no low-freq problems now. :) ).

I considered taking the amps out of the AR PPs and putting them into the AR-18s, but decided not to, as the PPs are still very good and useful other than that issue.

(FWIW, newer versions of these things don't sound as good; the company has been sold and resold since it was AR, and the quality of the products has gone down every time. I have had some of the Advent stuff that was made by them and it was terrible--I mean, it sounds good enough for watching TV and listening to movies/music/etc with lots of thumpy bass and all, but it isn't crisp or clear nor is it's response ever flat, no matter what you do with it, short of getting in there and redesigning it. I still have a set of Advent computer speakers made to look like the PPs, but they're junky crap with tiny speakers and no amp in them. I use the subwoofer from another slightly better set to check some of the sub-bass stuff but don't generally use it for more than messing around, as it's muddy at best.

So without a source for original parts, I haven't been able to get a replacement for the damaged one or a new woofer for it to match the original. )


So...this amp will be used to drive these AR-18's, even though it's not the best amp by any means, I'm used to it's issues, more or less, having used it as a comparison sound source during mixing for almost as long as I have been doing this stuff.


The amp itself is unknown brand, but it is mad using parts from a Gelhart GXV 328 50w x 4 car audio "computerized 7-band eq". The Gelhart name on the PCBs was painted over with green paint brushed on that area, and the sticker on the outside only said "made in Thailand", unlike the original Gelhart stuff that's made in Germany. I think all the PCBs inside were actually Gelhart, but the whole thing was assembled in Thailand for whoever sold these units. The only other external differences are the power button actually says "Power" on mine, while the original is a 01 thing, and the auto-eq button on mine is AEQ while original is CLC (Computer LInear Control, according to the ad copy below):
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Since it's a car audio amp, it runs on 12V (10-15V, most likely), and when I first got it I used to use a car battery with a trickle charger to actually run it, with the charger always on it, keeping it topped off between uses. Later I modified a computer PSU to run without a motherboard, made it fanless with bigger heatsinks (to minimize noise), etc. That PSU wasn't with it, no idea where it went (it had been attached, but someone cut all my wiring off the back of it when moving things, since it had been hardwired in rather than making plugs; most of my wiring from the studio was simply missing after the cleanup).

So the next step after the repair will be to mod another PSU for it.



On to the problem(s): Somehow the amp was separated from the other music-room stuff in the cleanup, and packed in with heavy motor stuff, so it's got a few bashed-in places, and a broken button on the front, cracked bezel, etc. But the worst problem was that the front panel didn't appear to work at all except for the Power button.

I opened it up and found the broken button is missing the little stub of plastic that pushes the actual button on the PCB, so that's easy to fix if I need to. It's just one of 4 memories, so no big deal right now. Even not seeing the EQ display/levels, nice but not required. But not being able to use the auto-eq to have it "fit itself" to the speakers on it and the room space it's in, to get a flat response out of it, well, that's one reason I like it so that has to work. :/

So tracing things out with a meter, eventually I found that the 5V that was showing up in places on the control and display PCBs was a "ghost" leaking backwards out of something, and not sufficient to actually drive the 5V logic/etc on the boards. That 5V should be coming from a TO220 style 7805 regulator on the back plate of the unit...near one of the smaller dents. After about 3 hours of tje above troubleshooting I eventually found a tiny crack in the input trace to the 7805, right at the edge of the solder pad--enough to prevent sufficient current output from it under any load, but not enough to let the 5v show up. (which doesn't make any sense, but that's how it was...and solder bridging the crack fixed it, so....).


So now it is working, tested for now using the 3s 12.3V tap off my 4s EIG NMC lighting pack from the trike&bike.
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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by beast775 » Sep 21, 2015 2:55 pm

I like where this is going,and at the right time.im thinking of firing up my old fostec 1 channel down from bad connector and do a bit of recording.. since i have a cement work room now,took 18 yrs to get it! :lol:
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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Sep 23, 2015 2:39 am

Feel free to post it up here (or make your own studio thread if you like), when you get to it. :)


I thought of another way to power the amp: I have a 12V server PSU from Icecube57, meant to go in series with the big Sorenson for charging stuff. It should have more than enough current capability for my purposes. But it has a VERY loud fan; I'll probably have to add a speed control to it, so I can turn it off or way way down, for this use. Otherwise it will be louder than the volume I typically have the music at!


I've also got a little mixer ("realistic" brand, I think) that I've gotta use for at least a while to mix the main sound sources together, until I can setup a computer with a touch screen and older version of windows and cakewalk to use "studioware" software panels in it to run my old MOTU MM7s midi mixer.


The little mixer has intermittent problems with it's connectors, so what I am probalby going to do is simply solder on external wires and connectors that go directly to the things I want to plug it into, which eliminates one connector and one plug on each wire.


The MOTU mixer doesn't have any front panel controls except for a trim knob on each channel; all the volume, gain, pan, etc controls are all controlled by MIDI data. That can be drawn in or recorded with controller devices into MIDI sequencers (like Cakewalk / SONAR) and played back to control the mixer during playback, or it can be done via "control surface" either hardware or software.

I don't have a hardware surface, but there is an old version of the software that runs in Windows95 (maybe 98 too, possibly XP but probably not), so if I can setup an old laptop to run that, and use an external monitor I have with a touch screen, I can use that as a "hardware surface", with it setup to hibernate instead of shutdown for it's power button, or to boot directly into the software at startup if it can't hibernate. I have a number of really old laptops that I can probalby get to work well enough for this purpose; they dont' need a working screen, whcih helps.

No idea how long that will take, though, so it's not a high priority yet. Once I have enough things working that I need more than two sound sources, though, I'll have to get the MOTU setup, as it has 8 channels.

Theoretically I can still use it even as it is, using the trim knobs on the front as volume controls, but that doesn't make the signal-noise ratio very good, or allow any of the other functions (like effects sends/returns) to be used, just does a straight mixdown.


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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by beast775 » Sep 23, 2015 11:57 am

AW i remember quite a while ago listening to your music,i thought it was awesome....I recorded in 1985? a 6 track cassette and one of the songs became a #1 played song on the local university station,i should try and take the cassette :lol: i have and download to cd- mp3,ive never done it before.
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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by The fingers » Sep 23, 2015 12:40 pm

My daughter blows me away with the recordings and videos she does with just her IPhone and ear buds mike. :oops: "It's just a setting" she says that makes it sound and look so good. I have the exact same phone, but for me "it's just a phone". :x
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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Sep 24, 2015 2:37 pm

There's quite a bit of stuff I have done with equipment not originally intended for the purpose ;) or thigns that "can" record, but nowadays I find it "easier" to do it all digitally in the computer, cuz with SONAR I can just cut up the waveforms of audio and eliminate bits I don't want, noise, crackles, etc, do just about any kind of effects on it, and all non-destructively so if I screw up or change my mind I just "undo" and it's right back where it was...and I can save every version of it. :)

Plus, since most of my music starts out as me playing or poking at a MIDI keyboard, generating the soudns electronically, I can record everything as MIDI (kinda like a player piano scroll, but more complex), and edit which notes are actually going to be played, how loud they'll be, etc, before any audio is even generated. Since I can't really play very well, and make lots of mistakes, this is how I make my music as good as it is (and if I understood how could probably make it a lot better).


Anyway, I didn't get much done with this yesterday, though I'd kinda planned to--delays in the trike project and my "internet router computer" suddenly dying kinda nuked the day for me. The former got finished enough to test the trailer with both dogs on a trip to my workplace and back, and the latter only finallly got worked out about 10 minutes ago today. :/


More on the studio stuff hopefully later this week. :)

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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Sep 24, 2015 2:47 pm

beast775 wrote:AW i remember quite a while ago listening to your music,i thought it was awesome....
Thanks--I wish it was that way to more people; I might've been able to sell all the CDs and not have lost thousands (that I didn't really have) on making them, instead. :/ Might've stayed in music stuff, not gone into retail store work, and never gotten into ebikes.... :?

Eh, it is what it is. :)

I recorded in 1985? a 6 track cassette and one of the songs became a #1 played song on the local university station,i should try and take the cassette :lol: i have and download to cd- mp3,ive never done it before.
That's actually pretty easy, relatively, with free software.

If you have a Windows computer, with a soundcard that has a "line in" jack, you can get Audiograbber
http://www.tucows.com/preview/193549/Audiograbber
or others like that (can't remember the name of the one I've used a fair bit), and record in right off a cassette deck, saving right to an MP3 file.

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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by beast775 » Sep 24, 2015 5:44 pm

Thanks for the audiograbber link,i will try and figure this out,i have a mid 70s marantz cassette deck and can rca out to a newer amp and try it.. i would buy a cd :D .
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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Nov 04, 2015 2:56 pm

I have a thread in the for sale section for the cd's; I'll have to dig them out and PM you about it. It's all older stuff on the CD cuz it's from 1996, if I have any blanks I can also send along a CD or two of newer stuff (though most of it is "unfinished", still needing various edits and stuff; it's good enough to listen to according to most people that have).


I guess I forgot to post it, but I switched from using my lighting pack off the bike/trike to power the speakers, to using 4s of my 60Ah Thundersky cells, so they are at least getting used and not just sitting there. Had them on there with a Turnigy Watt Meter connected for the last few weeks, using the amp intermittently, leaving it in standby (zero amps) most of the time but still powering the TWM, and it's only down to 12.6V (12.1 under load), about 20Ah used. Am waiting till the cells are run down near LVC before I recharge it, to see how the Satiator works on that large a capacity of pack. :)

I don't seem to have any pics; I'll have to get some. :/

I tried a bunch of other 12V supplies, and ALL of them introduce large amounts of noise into the speakers, even with various filtering schemes. :( So it's just gonna have to be battery powered.


I also found another keyboard controller unit at goodwill; it's a keytar style two-octave, with a bunch of functions, I think it was a bit over $3 on half price day a couple weeks back or so. Made for "rockband" game, it also has wifi ability but I can't use that, so the MIDI out port on the side works for me (not something usually found on game controllers!). It's also velocity sensitive, and can change the curve of that too (unusual even for cheap controllers made for music!).

I use different controllers for different types of instrument sounds or playing styles, because they feel different and my figners work different on them, some have muhc lighter touch and can be used even when my hands hurt too much to play the ASR88's weighted action keys, for instance.

Still wanna find a replacement for the G10C guitar controller I lost in the fire....
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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by beast775 » Nov 05, 2015 5:18 pm

AW, I will get a cd from you,you can pick \the one you think is your fav, whatever is easiest for you mp3? but i prefer a cd... I finally got my 1985 cassette done,i couldnt do it, so had some help. now i gotta figure out how to get a squished mp3 out of it, my friend even did a cd cover,its pretty easy ish recently to get product done now- on the cheap. :)
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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Nov 23, 2015 12:27 am

I'll have to get back with you about the cd stuff.


I seem to have made an oops with the batteries. The TS cells were getting down to 3.0v each without a load, and 2.95v with a load, so I decided to recharge them with the Satiator, to 14.4v for the pack, or 3.6V / cell, at the 8A rate, which for 60Ah cells is only 0.133C, shoudl be safe enough, right?

Well, apparently not. As they got up toward 3.5V / cell, the yellow cases started swelling, so I cut off charge there, at 39.2Ah. They weren't balanced, either, some at 3.41v, some up toward 3.5v/cell, so I unbolted the terminals from the series configuration and put them all in parallel.

Let that sit overnight (outside, cuz of the swelling), while I drained them down slowly with a resistive load (12v lamps in parallel plus a heater element, no glow no heat but about 0.01v drop under load, though I forgot to measure the current. When I checked on it periodically, it dropped about 0.015v/hour, -ish. Got down to about 3.38V before I called it quits since it didn't reduce swelling any, and I had to go to work.

I haven't got back to them yet, theyre still wired in parallel, still stored outside, till I can find a compression method to help not swell up the remaining cells if I decide to use them for this.

Dumb thing is, I know these things still requrie compression, but I mistakenly thought it woudl be when they are used near their c-rate, or charged near full-charge rate...neither of which I'm doing here, not even remotely close. :/

Oh, well.

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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Nov 29, 2015 6:04 am

Am still using the batteries above for the amp; just not leaving them in the house when not in use.

Managed to get a song of sorts done tonight, about 30 minutes to get the majority of it conceived and recorded, but technical issues and whatnot with the old computer, and not yet having the studio actually fully wired up and functioning all at the same time, along with the usual mixing decision waffling took several hours more to get it down to this still-unedited mixdown.
Exploration I

STill has a long way to go to call it "done" but it might never get any further than it is right now, if it's like most of my music.

Rest of the music presently available on the web is up here
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default ... dID=675355

Play all in hifi:
http://www.soundclick.com/player/bandra ... i&newref=1





Now, about how the song came about:

I use SONAR v6 by Cakewalk for my composition and editing. It is a multitrack audio and midi program for Windows, and it can host both effects to make things sound different, and synthesizers/samplers/etc that create sounds by playing them as instruments, either live (via midi keyboards or other controllers) or by drawing in the notes/etc directly into the program.

So...I was experimenting iwth sounds of a couple of interesting free synths I'd once played with demos of, M51 and M52, by Algomusic. They have quite a few interesting sounds, and after a couple of hours of messing with them, I found a start of a song in there.

I changed sounds a few times, and began adding stuff to it.

I use a "drum machine" called Musiclab Slicydrummer lite (comes with SONAR) which will ccreate a 4-bar pattern from some basic built-in patterns, and it sends that as midi to whatever sound generator you want to use. For this, I used a sampler called Dimension, also comes with SONAR. It has some decent sounding drumkits, and at first I used a regular dry drumkit, but then switched to a processed kit, cuz it fit the sounds better.

I also used three sounds on my hardware workstation, the Ensoniq ASR88, which is an 88 key keyboard, and has a sequencer, sampler, effects, and sounds on an external SCSI harddisk. I don't use much of it's capabilities most of the time, but when I don't want to deal with the computer's complexity or it isn't working, I can use the basic sequencer in the ASR88 to record 8 tracks of stuff, either 8 different sounds with separate tracks for each, or mulitple tracks of the same sound(s).

Those sounds can be controlled externally, by the computer, as well, adn that's how it's used in this song. In this case, all 3 are stacked to make the same notes, along with another sound used on the computer itself.

That 4th sound is a sampled dry acoustic guitar (a Martin, I think) in another instance of Dimension, processed thru an effects setup that emulates a complete guitar amp, cabinet, effects, etc. I forget the name of it, but there are a few. Revalver, Amplitube, etc. This one is a "lite" version that comes with SONAR, and it only has a few of he possible options enabled. Good enough for my purposes, which is a distortion lead guitar with a spacy sort of delay (added as a second effect after the other stuff, in the Sonitus effects also included in SONAR.


There is a lightly distorted guitar undertone here and there, whcih is an actual electric guitar (Raine's) fed into my GadgetLabs Wave8*24 soundcard input, then processed thru another SONAR-included effect, the Lexicon Pantheon reverb, for a really spacy sound (reminicent of SG-U).


I didn't get to editing the midi notes of what I played in, just chopped up some of the drums here and there, and deleted a few bits but it stil need some major editing for ooopsies and rearrangement.

I'd left open part of the last minute or so to do somthing but I ran out of time/energy/ideas, and wanted to mix it down to get an audio file I oculd upload.

So the rest of the time was spent tweaking effects and mix and mixing down parts of it, recording in the external tracks from teh ASR88 so they could be part of the audio file, and exporting an MP3 to upload.


It sounds a fair bit different from what I started with (I might see if I can record that version directly to a file; nto sure if I can with what I have available), and I like some features of both versions, so someday I might play with it some more.

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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by beast775 » Nov 29, 2015 3:45 pm

Diggin it :) , for some reason i get a 80s vibe of Mcgyver getting ready to build a wind tunnel out of nothing, listening to your stuff, or The A Team getting ready to attack :lol: . buildup music?

I would like to use your music,if i get your blessing, for my 50/50 Art Collective show in the spring as background music, every song is very different, its not to busy and theres no lyrics which i like...im still trying to get my cd to squished mp3, but at least the cassette was ok it wasnt played for 30 + yrs it sounded better in a old 80s boombox than the marantz tape deck, go figure and the boombox had rca out..
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I spent all my money on bicycles women and beer the rest i just wasted.

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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Nov 29, 2015 7:59 pm

beast775 wrote:Diggin it :) , for some reason i get a 80s vibe of Mcgyver getting ready to build a wind tunnel out of nothing, listening to your stuff, or The A Team getting ready to attack :lol: . buildup music?
I probably have better stuff for that purpose, somewhere. :)

I would like to use your music,if i get your blessing, for my 50/50 Art Collective show in the spring as background music, every song is very different, its not to busy and theres no lyrics which i like...
Sure--it'll get more people to hear it. It'd be nice if there's a sign somewhere with the artist and music website on it. ;)
im still trying to get my cd to squished mp3, but at least the cassette was ok it wasnt played for 30 + yrs it sounded better in a old 80s boombox than the marantz tape deck, go figure and the boombox had rca out..
Depending on the deck it was recorded on originally, it may sound better just because of head alignment.

Some stuff also sounds "better" on some equipment because it has a built-in EQ or filter of some sort to make things sound good on it's own built in speakers, which may also make it sound that way on other speakers.

Sometimes those RCA outs are before the EQ/filter, and sometimes they are after. So the actual output to the comptuer or whatever may actually sound the same from either deck, when played thru the same speakers (will, if the RCA outs are before the filter and the decks are both aligned the same, etc).

Plain tape decks with nothing built in for speakers usually put out as flat a spectrum as possible, and then you'd use a separate EQ/amp to make the output match your speakers (if they are not flat response), and your room (which rarely has a flat response unless built for that purpose), and your ears and preferences (which are different for each person).

For instance, the AR speakers are pretty flat response, whcih means they give the truest playback of the source material, vs the other car speakers I have tried on the same amp, which are boomy and bassy but also very muddy, mostly because of the box design they're in (both are in the same box, too, whcih doesn't help). The car speakers sound "bigger" and fatter, but they lose high frequencies, and what there is left of them is all mushy and unclear, so I cna't really tell what's going on up there when mixing/etc.


WHenever doing the original mixing/recording/composing, a flat response works better, because then it will be more predictable what it will sound like on everyone else's systems. To be sure of what it would sound like, I also use headphones, different speakers / amps, spaces, etc., to playback on, and then remix it if it sounds bad on most of them vs the flat-response stuff. Usually I end up with either too much or not enough sub bass, because the ARs don't reproduce that part so well.



I used to adjust my speakers/etc to make the music sound good...now I adjust the music to make the speakers sound good, and that works a lot better for mixing for othe rpeople to listen to. :)

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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by beast775 » Nov 29, 2015 11:32 pm

I like the vibe of the music you write :) ..Im just working on sculptures to get the art show cookin, but there will be credit on the music,probably video also and the music will be playing 40 hrs a week for 2 weeks non stop..im unsure if the music will match my sculptures? but i sense it will :wink: , will do a test run at home first.

I spent 12 yrs on and off in recording studios starting in 1982 and learned alot but it was all with tubes and 2 inch tape so im a dinosaur. I was the bass player in Wicked Angel we had a #1 hit in Italy in 1983 and the opening music on a popular sitcom in Italy, kinda cool.https://youtu.be/lGjzYVSL9vo the video has multiple cameras so you might not like the switching back and forth.
wb#2.jpg
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I always figure you see everything here,but thats impossible.so i put in a pic of 1 of my mixed media sculptures they take about 200 hrs give or take and are made out of used coat hangers- salvation army blankets-foil-glue-paper and recycled paint.96% ? recycled junk.
2 FINGER SALUTE TO ESSO.no buying gasoline for 7 years now.
I spent all my money on bicycles women and beer the rest i just wasted.

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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Nov 30, 2015 3:36 am

I put up a few more minimally-edited "concepts" up on the soundclick site, created in the last couple of months whiel I was playing around with the equipment to get it working.


And, well, there's many hours of music on cassette tape that someday I'd like to get into the computer (some of it is not in any kind of computerized form, as it predates me using a computer to create music...). Some of the tapes are of stuff I created on the Amiga, pre-Windows/PC, which I also still have in Amiga format on floppies, if they're readable, and perhaps I still have working hardware to access them (probably not).

I dunno that what I have left of open-reel stuff is even playable anymore, or that it would be worth doing anything with, given it's from the beginnings of me learning music/playing/etc. :oops:

There's also some on DAT that I would need to get the DAT2WAV software working with one of my DAT DDS SCSI drives to be able to get onto the computer (or find a DAT player for next to nothing; been looking since a bit after the fire, no luck yet).

There's almost as much music on the computer, most of it not yet recorded as audio, just as midi data, most not edited down. A lot of that I don't have the notes telling me what sounds were on what tracks, and what effects, etc., so I'd have to experiment and rebuild those from what little memory I might have of them. I've kept them around cuz I might get to that someday...but probably not--it could take days jsut for the basics of one song.

Then there's all the stuff that's still on the ASR88's sequencer harddisks, and floppy disks. A fair bit of that is decent stuff, just not edited much.




I think I've seen that pic somewhere on the forums before; it is interesting; not my style though. :) But I like that it's recycled stuff given a new purpose.

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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by beast775 » Nov 30, 2015 12:19 pm

DAT :( worked with it a few times and it got confusing for me. i will get an hour of your music and put it on playback repeat,so will just find what i like and let it fly.havent seen a floppy disc for sooo long, im still riding my ebike with a multimeter :lol: ..
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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Nov 30, 2015 3:07 pm

DAT is about as easy to use as cassette, or at least it was with the machine I had back then (Teac DAP-20). There were options that were more advanced that I didn't really use, like markers (bookmarks), bitrates, etc., that might've been more complicated, but just recording and playing back was easy. And finding songs on a tape was even easier than cassette cuz it automatically made markers for start/end of each recording.

I miss that machine, actually.


Multitrack DAT I only used a little, back when I was at DeVry in the recording club, and once at a studio I visited while a local band I knew (The Narrow Way) was recording their stuff (happened to be the same model).

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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Dec 14, 2015 3:46 am

Another "idea sketch" up:
http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13273155
which i started out trying to build another piece of the "suite" this
http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=13262920
will eventually be part of, but I don't know that I got anywhere close to what I was after. :(

Still, it's just an idea, and all of it can be changed up as needed. I don't even have the sounds right yet, I think.

I might be doing something people like, though, cuz the second one up there says
"» highest in charts: # 122 (328,130 songs currently listed in Electronic)
» highest in sub-genre: # 12 (32,765 songs currently listed in Electronic > Experimental Sounds)"

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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by beast775 » Dec 14, 2015 2:04 pm

Just signed up at soundclick to put up the cd i have, but im getting wma files instead of mp3, im sure there is a way -i looked but im unsure. i will get some help tomorrow .i like the new track, ive sent a few folks to your amberwolf soundclick, its doing pretty good :) ..
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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » Jan 02, 2016 9:35 pm

If you're getting wma files out of the cd conversion, try Audacity (it's free) to do conversions from one thing to another. It's easy enough to use, but has features for advanced stuff if you want to learn them.



I've built another really cheap frankentar
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out of most of a very low-end "first act" electric guitar body,
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plus a 1/4"-20 nut&bolt (to get the lowest two strings off the frets at the right height, since it's missing the normal mounts for those two strings)
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and the strings off my first frankentar (a disintegrating acoustic left behind by a sibling years before) that I'd tried to fix up after the housefire took my Takamine Jasmine).
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I had to resolder some things in the controls and the wires to the "humbucker" pickups, whcih didnt' have the screws/springs to hold the module in place so used paper towel bits around the module for friction to the body, and the output jack is still a little funky, but it's neck is straight and it holds a tuning so far.

It's an interesting sound with the acoustic strings on the electric body, sounds "fuller" than I expected it to, though I can't play it any better than any other guitar. :oops:

Would like to find a MIDI guitar again to replace the lost Yamaha G10-C (turned to goo in the fire; still have the main control box for it but no idea if it works without the guitar part, and a new cable; faceplate is damaged from smoke and heat, melted knobs, etc).

I hook the new frankentar up to an effects box I'd also found at goodwill a long while back, and then either to the PC via the GadgetLabs Wave8*24, for recording it, or just to one of the AR Powered Partners for noodling around.
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THis is the new frankentar to the right of a Yamaha acoustic that Thud sent me after my attempts with the other one didnt' work out so well, shortly after the fire when I was still at Bill's looking for a temporary place to live until the house was repaired.
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I also edited in some pics of the studio itself in the first post(s).

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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » May 15, 2016 11:11 pm

After Tiny's death, to keep me from going more insane, I busied myself a lot with stuff like cleaning up the studio room so it could more easily be used. I didn't get very far, mostly made different stacks and more mess, and ending up with everything disconnected and unusable to even listen to music, much less make any.

But today, while looking for something computer-related, I ended up getting most of the room reorganized, useless stuff tossed out, and the "studio" basics re-hooked up to almost what it had been before the above, so I could at least make some music.


The main differences are:

-- some shelves on the wall behind where I sit at the studio desk, to hold a bunch of computer parts and media (cuz the cabinet and red bins aren't enough to let me organize them usefully).

-- Moving the MIDI-capable organ over to the opposite wall, next ot the closet, replacing the chest of drawers that ahd been there (which is now in te bedroom where I should've put it to start with).

-- Setting up the original (damaged, not completley functional) ASR88 on it's stand in pplace of the organ. It's not wired up yet, but eventually will be, so it can be used as a sound source for the times it actually boots upa dn works.

-- Moving the computer desk from the midle of the room to between that ASR88 and the studio desk.

-- Moving the studio desk back to the wall, taking the big car speaker out of there cuz it's just muddysounding anyway--good for "loud" but not clear enough to be useful yet--have to modify it's cabinet.

-- Moving the white rack and stack of audio stuff to the corner between that desk and the computer desk. Not ideal but only place for it. Can still get ot wite rack shelves by going under computer desk.

-- Moving wood file cabinet to rigth end of studio desk, to hold up big networked laser printer (rarely used, but needs a home rather than digging out each time, as it is huge and heavy). Eventually the drawers willb e modified to hold computers, with cooling hoses from outside the cabinet, to help keep all the noise from drives and fans out of any acoustic recordings taht have to be made.

-- Moving all the old computer cases to the corner to rigth of organ, until such time as they eitehr get turned into computers or removed to the sheds or recycled.

-- Mvoig all the remaining boxes of better-sorted computer bits and cables to a stack between those and the shelves. Eventually all these cables will be tested and eitehr recycled or used or sorted into bins for use as needed. Most have damaged connectors and so ar egood for wire, at best. If I coudl afford it I'd just recycle them all and get new ones, but I'd probably need a few hundred dollars of cabling to do what I want with the room, at a minimum, so making new cables out of old is necessary, repairing connectors if need be as those are also expensive.


That covers the basics.


Some details:

-- The adapter I'd used up to now to separate sub from main speakers isnt' very good at it. Jim gave me an old Rotel surround sound processor that has a stereo mode where it still separates out sub from main, so I wired that into the setup and it cleans up the muddiness pretty well, making it much easier to mix with a sub. It also gives me a fine main volume control, so now I can just leave the main speakers/amp on full and use that to control input. WOrks much better tan doing it inside the software for every session, or diddling with the knobs on the speakers, cuz some days I want it loud enough to drown out noises coming from outside the house, and some days I like it really quiet, etc.

-- I setup the future main computer and it's monitor on that computer desk, so I can work on it and get it going again. IT's actually what started this whole thing today, trying to find the Vista Bill gave me so I could install that on there and at least get it working, since I have gone thru everythign I can manage to get XP up again but can't get past the BSOD from teh SATA drivers trying to boot to it. :( Vista ought to be ablet o deal with that. WOuld rather try 7 if I have to do antyhing other than XP but don't have that, do have Vista. Hopefully it will be ablet o upgrade the existing XP, leaving all my installed software intact and working...if not, I'll have to reghost XP back and find some way to make that work, or else I simply can't upgrade my setup unless I can find an identical motherboard (with matching CPU/RAM) to what I had before the fire.

Never did find the VIsta box, though, so maybe some other day in the future I'll be able to get back to it. (only was able to do this today because I could't deal with the heat enough to do the yard work needed today, and woke up too late to do it when it was cooler; will be other days like that in summer I expect).


I played arond and made some "music" while I was at it, but that is still uploading so will post a link to it later. Or if you like just go to the soundclick link earlier in the thread; the page linked will display newest stuff first

There are a few newere ones there already, that I uploaded after Tiny died but before I took stuff apart to "make it better". As usual, it's mostly ideas rather than finished works.


I need a partner that will "fix" my stuff into something more finished without taking away the things I like about each one. (musical collaborations are hard to get started; I don't think I've ever actually managed to get anyone really interested in it. One person, not counting family, has come over to work on stuff; two others have sort of worked with me on one thing each but neither was really interested in doing it and skipped out on anything future--they really just wanted me for tech support on their own stuff; that's the only time I ever hear from one of them, and the other hasn't gotten back to me in a decade or so).



I'll edit the pics in in a little bit. Right now Teddy is laying on me and I don't want to wake her up (she's slept tru all this typing but won't if I move to put the camera card in the reader).

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Re: Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

Post by amberwolf » May 16, 2016 2:06 pm

PIcs below (rather than edited into the post above).

First two are the once-again-working studio desk stuff, first without flash and then with flash
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The rest of it is after I'd finished moving stuff around but hadn't hooked it up yet.
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And Teddy, totally bored with the whole thing, including not caring about the music itself.
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.

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