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Amberwolf's Music Studio Technical Stuff

better use of the drum style, much shorter:

"Only Three Minutes"

All the music other than the drums (sessiondrummer3 in SONAR) is played on the Ibanez 6 string bass guitar.

Played in in about an hour or so, not much editing (probably needs some).
as usual, not finished:
ghosts, rattle the bones

"cover" is peebs "sitting" on the couch front sleeping like he often did, a few weeks before he died
took out some dead measures, cleaned up some note and drum timing. renamed subtitle of "end titles" because that's what it makes me think of as the song evolves during playback.

patterns of behavior (end titles)

sounds better in headphones than small speakers.

some of the songs i've posted up have been as high as #13 (cloudwalkers) on soundclick's main charts...but i don't think there can be very many people actually playing any of the songs there.
Hi AW,

I have a number of full range Fostex FE108EZ's from back in my speaker building days (my hobby before electrics). If you're interested in building a pair of the simple rear horns with the Fostex design, so you can hear what a sweet sounding full range crossoverless pair of speakers is like, I'll contribute a pair.
this speaker?

hopefully it could be driven from something like the only amp i already have

is the cabinet like these?

or these? (which is like what i see in the spec sheet from fostex)

alternately these?

I made a few different versions of quite simple plywood horns for the FE108EZ. Now that I'm looking right at the Fostex design version I made, the bass horn opens in the front, so that pair is larger than my others which were from a DIY design for a rear horn that are much smaller as the wall behind, or even better, corners of a room become the final segment of the horn. What makes them so easy to build is that most of the plywood is ripped into a single standard width that runs throughout the horn.

Driving them is simple because they're high efficiency and can only handle a few watts. I use a little 4 watt tube amp for one of my pairs, and a Denon 30W integrated amp for the other. You'd have to like very loud music to use more than a watt or 2. I've also driven them with those tiny 10W digital T-amps that are dirt cheap, and are in lots of computer stuff, that a lot of audiophiles use in projects due to their very low distortion and high efficiency.
I don't know how much you'd get out of any of these, but the first 4 articles are about modern studio workings.

I have had a number of life-changing events since I last posted (link in signature for some details), but am beginning to recover from them. Since I've been home the last few months, and able to finally focus on some things other than my problems the last couple, I managed to make some new music. The "best" (and most recent) is

Convocation of Lies


The rest is on
I can't seem to leave Convocation of Lies alone. It has grown quite a lot since I started it with this primitive version:
or here

and as of just now, this one is the new "best" (and much more complex) version, perhaps the "best" music I have ever done (certainly the most complex, especially percussively):
or here

I actually like certain small tiny bits of the original (haven't gone back to listen to it in months until posting this)...if I were to do an "extended remix" version, I would probably blend them by taking sections of the original and splicing them in between sections of the latest version, or using them as intros or outros to those sections. (or alternating measures of one then the other, perhaps). I may experiment with this, making a 30-minute-plus version. :lol:

Either way, I have had more fun (and sometimes frustration) making, editing, remixing, fixing, and complexifying Convocation of Lies over the last few months than anything I've done in years.

Now I just have to "finish" :lol: it's "sequel", which is barely started, The Discernment of Candor


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These two are a pair, with a third "movement" still being born in my head:

Convocation of Lies

The Discernment of Candor

(this one is still in-progress, but it's already good; I have probably
3-4 months before I will have put in as much work as I did on the CoL

Best played on something with normal bass, rather than phone/tablet speakers (you'll miss most of the songs on those).
Latest versions of the above; i removed the first few "meh"sures ;) of Convocation of Lies to start it at a flourish instead, and get right into it:

The Discernment of Candor:

Anyone listening to them, I appreciate any feedback of any kind, the more detailed the better. (tough to improve it without that. ;) )

also now on youtube
Today I've got a good start on "Broken Pieces of Yesterday":


I started with nothing other than a blank template file based on Convocation of Lies and Discernment of Candor's sound sets and effects in the same basic track and bus layout (none of the notes or sound samples, etc).

After a few hours, I got to the point you hear in the link above. Now I'm too tired to keep going, so I put it up for y'all's aural perusal.

I haven't tried to record the vocals, but the words are below; they scan to the lead well enough though you have to sing some of the words quickly or as a single note to line them up right; it still fits, mostly. I didn't really intend the imagery; it just came out like this. (I actually didn't intend any words at all, but...I was looking at my "song titles" notepad file (where I store nifty song titles I think of, and sometimes lyric pieces), and right above the title I used for this song was a partial lyric "dead pixel"...much of it scanned to this song, as I was playing it back while I looked thru the file. So I rearranged phrases to better fit, and so here is what I ahve so far:

broken pieces of yesterday
littering my mind
cracks across the screen
with colors running green
and pink and blue and black
the picture's not coming back

My world is covered in bits of all of you
images corrupted
by colors interrupted
with lines of things I never saw
among blocks of life I once had lived

bits missing from my life
circuit incomplete
with loss replete
all files delete
lights go on
lights go out

broken pieces of yesterday
littering my mind
vias sundered by swollen layers
separating memory from me
An "acoustic" one (actual guitar, only synth is the drums) I've wanted to fix up for a long while now; it took a lot of fixing.... :oops:

Dark Blue Rain

It's been so long I don't recall for certain, but I think I used the bass guitar for all the guitar parts.

I keep hearing a grungy piano here and there; might have to put that in there too. But not not tonight; I'm wiped out. ZZZzzzzzz
Powerful, and delicate:

Just Give Me a Voice
(to Speak the Words and I Will Say)


The above song, Just Give Me a Voice, has been updated with significant changes.

For those interested, a crosspost from another music thread where someone asked about technical stuff:

The Toecutter said:
What tools/software are you using to generate these sounds? I'd like to learn how.
In case you were specifically wondering about this song (Just Give Me a Voice)

I started with just the bass guitar (an Ibanez basic 6-string electric bass guitar), which like all my externally-generated audio is recorded in dry, using realtime effects in the track bins (and the bus bins those feed into) to create the specific sound I'm after, so I can alter it if necessary to better fit a mix, or even to completely change the character of the sound, etc., played to a drumtrack generated by SONAR's included Session Drummer 2 or 3 drumkit, played with Sonic Reality's brit kit.

The guitar is actually split between two tracks, which I cut and fade between for various parts; one is stereo and the other mono, but both fed with mono recorded guitar audio. Stereo version effects are, in order:
--Shred1.06 (free vst) Lainee Custom FrankenAmp with some tweaks to make the delay fit the song tempo (600ms left 450ms right) and lowering the feedback, etc.
--VX64 Vocal Strip (incl with some version of SONAR at some point), on Telephone preset, controlled via envelope to cut in and out and change amount of effects, for various sections of the song.
--Sonitus FX multiband EQ (incl wiht SONAR), with only a couple bands active as shelving low and high, to do a more extreme version of the telephone effect, also automated over parts of the song, primarily the fadeout at the end.
--CakewalkFX Reverb (incl with SONAR), automated to help with the fadeout.
Mono version effects are the same except no reverb (track not present at end)

The bass guitar track started as a copy of the last section of the guitar track, copied over and over, but later I created one from scratch using hand-drawn MIDI note control of the included Cakewalk Session Instruments Bass Guitar with the Blown Speaker preset for sound, not using any patterns though. Same Shred effect/preset as teh main guitar, then the FX EQ, differetn bands and different automation timing/etc. One short section of the bassline is actually the guitar track of that same section copied and pitchshifted a couple octaves down, then pitchshifted up or down a few notes to complement the guitar notes at that time instead of matching them.

The piano part is Cakewalk TruePiano (incl with SONAR, but avialable as a VST from 4Front as well), with the Bright Amber module, and reverb off. FX chain is VX-64 Vocal Strip with hip hop vocals preset, then Channel Tools (free VST) set to widen the track, then Cakewalk SonitusFX Delay (incl with SONAR) set to 1:3/4 with "host sync" to match song tempo (of 99BPM), then SonitusFX Reverb as a slightly modified "short and sweet" preset, then the Sonitus FX EQ with a few active bands, automated as needed thru the song. The actual piano part was played in by hand, modified thru the built-in arpeggiator using settings that create a "round", whcih modifies itself as I played the part. This I tehn commited to a "hard" midi track without the arp and then edited the clips to what you hear. Some bits of this I then matched some of the bassline's MIDI notes to at the end of various bars.

The string part is Cakewalk Session Instruments Strings (incl with SONAR) whcih emulates a string section using a distict bass, cello, and violin section, in this case using the FastAttack program for sounds (but not using any of the patterns). There's two independent copies of this synth in the song, with the same effects chains, driven by separate sets of MIDI tracks. One of them just plays some copies of the piano's MIDI notes, and one of them is some extra stuff I played in as MIDI and a few bits I drew in by hand. FX chain is VX64 with Backing Vox Silky Smash preset with some of the Compander and EQ parameters tweaked to fit the rest of the sounds, the same Sonitus FX Delay as the Piano, and the same Sonitus FX Reverb as well. Some of the notes of the played-in strings are copied to the bassline to have the bassline match and fatten the strings, and some of the guitar notes were figured out using a tuner (because I don't know what notes I'm playing, I just go by sound), and copied as MIDI to the strings to fatten the guitar in certain spots.

The drum track is the Cakewalk Session Drummer 3 using the Sonic Reality Brit Rock Kit sound preset, and started out as a set of patterns (loops) of MIDI notes including with Cakewalk, by Groove Monkee, in the Soft Rock section, the "072" series. I actually just imported a bunch of the series and then began placing them not exactly randomly, but not with much care for which type of loop it was for which part of the song it would be for, but when I was done they somehow nearly just fit and worked as they were (sometimes this just happens to me, where things work out the way I want them without a bunch of faffing around). I ended up doing a fair bit of trimming to remove extraneous notes and then moving various bits of the loops around, trimming stuff off, adding some bits, to fit it all better to the actual music, most of this done late in the editing process. This synth has independent outputs for each drum if you want them, but in this case I routed most of the stuff to a dry track, but the kick and snare go to an FX chain with PX-64 Percussion strip (incl with SONAR) with The Heat preset, and the cymbals and crashes to a chain with that same Sonitus FX Reverb as the strings and piano.

The piano and strings are routed to a bus that has another VX-64 using the Tracking Doubler preset, which then routes to the Master bus.

The two guitar tracks are routed to a bus that has the VX-64 using the Female Cleanup and Presence preset, then the Sonitus FX EQ with the bands set to notch around where the kick and snare are frequency-wise, as well as where some of the sparklier piano sound is. This then goes to the master bus.

The bass track is routed to a bus that has the VX-64 Warm and Fuzzy preset, then it goes to the Rhythm Comp bus.

The drums go to a bus that has the LP64 Multiband compressor (incl with SONAR), set to the Mastering (lighter) preset, then to the Rhythm Comp Bus.

That RC bus has just the Sonitus FX Mulitiband Compressor (incl with SONAR), with the Smooth preset, and the output limiter at 0dB, then out to the Master Bus.

The Master bus uses the Vintage Master Hard preset of that Sonitus FX Multiband Compressor, also with output limiter at 0dB, then out ot the speakers.

Most of the "mastering" and bussing stuff I've learned from various websites found via google that discuss this sort of thing, and then just experimenting with my mixes using those ideas and the tools I have already (many of the sites talk about using multi-hundred-dollar or even multi-thousand-dollar mastering plugins which I will never have, so I adapt their techniques as best I can to the stuff I do have).

(Side note: I actually recorded the original track guitar track using the bass guitar a few years ago (2019?) and didn't have anywhere to go with it then, so it sat just like that until a couple months or so ago when I was listening to old unused stuff and got an inspiration. I use the bass guitar to play a lot of the lead guitar parts because my regular electric guitar is not very good and the bass has a much better sound for almost anything I need to play with a real guitar--the First Act frankenlectric guitar is alright for using with MIDIGuitar program to create MIDi tracks that then control various synths, though).

The Toecutter said:
You've definitely got a talent for this, even if your overall style isn't my preference.
Thanks. :) I've found that my style(s) aren't most people's preference, but it's what I have fun doing, it's the stuff that's in my head.

That sounded like it was made by a professional.
Thanks--I'm definitely not professional, but I've very slowly gotten better over the decades; the hardest part is mixing, which I've gotten decent at, and then "mastering", which I still haven't mastered. ;) (which is why my stuff always seems like half the volume of real music, even though it shows on meters and waveforms the same volume that real music does).

Actually...the hardest part is chopping out pieces of a song to make the rest of it work. :/

What tools/software are you using to generate these sounds? I'd like to learn how.
My DAW (digital audio workstation) software is an ancient version of Cakewalk's SONAR, v8.3. A much newer version of it is available for free as "Cakewalk by Bandlab", but it broke really old stuff I have that has to work for various projects I still work on, so I can't have it on the computer I do my music stuff on.

Most of the synths and effects I use are free VSTs, or things that came with SONAR over the years (used it since v1). A few are things I beta tested and got as reward for that. A couple I bought, like MIDIGuitar/MIDIBass that convert the audio stream from a guitar into notes, pitchbends, etc., very useful for creating more realistic guitar parts when there are things I simply can't play realtime (but can edit together from the pieces I *can* play separately). Or for stacking synths and stuff along with the guitar, or using as timing trigger tracks for percussion, etc.

If you can't play anything and can't deal with the tediousness of hand-creating MIDI data, there are a bajillion sound libraries out there, many with free "light" versions, that can be used to edit songs together from.

I have a thread here:
with more detail on some things here and there. I don't really use much external equipment anymore. All the sounds (except for an actual bass guitar and an acoustic and an electric guitar, none of which I can actually "play") are computer-generated or sampled via microphone and modified as needed for the sound I want, mostly using realtime effects within SONAR itself (sometimes hand editing the sounds in external editors like Audacity, etc). Some newer synths and effects don't work in SONAR, so I use another software "rack" to host them, VST Host by Hermann Seib (also free from his site); it has it's quirks but it's easier to "wire" audio out to it and back into SONAR than learning a whole new DAW program just for that stuff (since the new programs can't use a lot of the old stuff I still need to use, and some of the DAWs have just plain retarded UIs).

Anyway, you can get everything you need software-wise to do stuff like this for free, though you can get "better" stuff for quite a lot of money if you have it to spend. It does take a lot of CPU and RAM to do synths and effects, and everything works better with a good low-latency ASIO-driver audio interface, but these are often available cheaply used on ebay or guitar center, etc (just get a big brand name one so you have a better chance of good ASIO driver support--cheap stuff doesn't even make drivers, they depend on windows default drivers which suck). Good ASIO (or low-latency versions of WDM) drivers take less CPU, shorten delay from the time sound starts being generated to the time it gets to the speaker jack, which makes a huge difference trying to do any kind of realtime playing or editing--more than a millisecond is difficult to deal with.

You can post in this thread or that studio thread with questions about stuff, processes, etc., either now or when you start trying this out yourself, etc.

Neither one would really be what I'd listen to; I couldn't go very far in, but the starts were interesting.

I wanted to skip forward to try different parts but YT retardedly no longer allows that via the player control bar or any other method. For some time now it only plays things from the beginning to end and no key shortcuts work either, so I stopped using it for anything, including watching or listening to anything, or posting new stuff there. (they've done this before, then put it back to the way it was after a few months, so I'm hopeful they'll do that again someday).

Years ago I used to do long involved intros to things but people seem to get bored and stop paying attention so I started just jumping right into things right off the bat instead. More people pay attention for longer, of the very very small sample size I can get (very few listen to my stuff, perhaps 3 or 4 for any new song posting, virtually none ever post/talk about it afterward, since it's not really good enough for that).

Of your own tracks I've heard, this was pretty cool:
It has a bit of a Perturbator vibe to it, just not as dark.

Thanks--there is a greatly extended version of it I've been poking at for a while now, which will probably end up at least twice as long, mostly between the "chase music" and the ending. Everytime I think I have found the right transition from one to the other, I find the transition itself is a whole new section. :lol:
More heavy chiseling at Just Give Me a Voice
(to Speak the Words and I Will Say)

Give it a listen:


New track Under the Frozen Sky
(There is a Hunger Like No Other)


This one started out very simple and very synthy, but grew suddenly complex into this new track with a few more orchestral things, leaving the synths for the frozen sounds and some other bits.