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.
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.
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:
and is a huge mess.... :/
This is the main station,
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.
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.
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)
Then there's the rack of stuff I use externally to the "virtual studio" inside SONAR that I almost exclusively use presently.
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.
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.
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. :/
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. :/
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.
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.