Monday, July 15, 2019

This is what I get for my $2600?

(image left fuzzy - to give you a sense of the sound...)

Good gravy. 

I had to get an MRI on my right knee today - it finally got that bad. Alas, a 5:30am appointment to anything is never going to be good news, but at least the Minneapolis traffic wasn't too bad!

So I get in there, they set me up, then ask me "What kind of music would you like?" I asked what they had, and they said they'd play a YouTube playlist (*first warning*). I said "Try Pat Metheny" - then spent the next 10 minutes helping them understand how to spell it. It took me a minute before I realized I was talking to medical professionals, at which point I said "Meth, plus an E-N-Y". The got that.

Then they gave me these MRI-safe headphones. Given that I'd had to fill out a huge form about my lack of piercings, metal fingernail polish and embedded intestinal camera, I was wondering what these would be like. They were horrible - they fit nice, but the whole think sounded like I'd just gotten out of the pool, and couldn't shake the water out of my ears.

Combine that with the variety of bangs, whizzle-whirs a zim-zazzles that the Siemens MRI machine was making and I came up with two realizations:

1. There is a market for better sounding MRI-safe headphones, and
2. I should have chosen The Utah Saints for my MRI soundtrack.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

And a Side Benefit...

So, after putting the handle on the side of the case, I found myself swinging this thing onto my lap a lot more often - and a lot easier. However, I also started running into a hellhole - there is no way that the power supply is held into its place other than the friction of the plug.

What does that mean?

It means that there have been several times where I've been working on something, adjusted my chair - and the power unplugged, killing the unsaved work I was in the middle of performing. Piss me off? Oh yeah it did.

After the last time it happened, I found myself grumbling: "Grrr, why don't they have one of those little PS wrapper things to prevent the power from getting pulled out?" Then I looked at the handle, and I looked at the power cable.

And I ran the cable through the handle...

... and haven't had a power outage since then. Simple solution, right? But a great side benefit to the handle that I didn't expect, but has become a real treat.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Getting Out the Tools.

OK - I had to crack open the toolbox today. I've got an Intellijel 4Ux104HP case for my 'living room synth'. I love the thing, and the 1U row is perfect, holding modules for inputs modules, a mixer, the random toolset and an oscilloscope. The main row is a 1010 Music Toolbox, 1010 Music Bitbox, Zadar, Overseer and Supercell. Damn, I can make a lot of interesting noises with that setup.

But it's got a real flaw - and one that you won't notice when you are looking at the case on the Sweetwater site. When it is full of modules, there's no way to hold it! There's no built-in handle, and there is no way to grab it without squeezing the life out of one of the modules.

So I went over to the local hardware store, bought a closet handle, a tap (and handle) and a set of machine screws. Measure twice, drill once (for each hole), tap the holes and screw it in. Next thing you know, I've got a way to lift up the modular without threatening damage to one of my modules, and it also reinforces that I don't want to set it down on the side with the power switch.

Workin' for me!


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Josh Eustis Reveals

Dayam, that's a great little video. I love Josh's work - and it's cool to see/hear him put things together.


Monday, June 24, 2019

Well, that was answered!

OK - I get asked this question so often, and ELPHNT actually answers it in a useful and complete way. Thanks, dude - I owe you one!


Sunday, June 16, 2019

XAOC Zadar - experience

So, I had 10 hp left in my Living Room Modular, and I really wanted some envelopes. I'd been using an Intellijel Quadra, but after getting a 1010 Music Toolbox, I'd run out of space. One of the things I like about the Quadra was that each envelope could double as an LFO, but I wasn't happy that any voltage control required the 12 hp expander and it was too big anyway. So I starting fishing for options, and ran across the Zadar.

I loved the look of it, but wasn't too jazzed on the idea of menu-heavy functionality. I also couldn't tell - no matter how much I watched videos, read the mini-manual or read online postings - whether you could make the envelopes act like LFOs without triggering them. Nevertheless, I decided I had to go this way for maximum flexibility, and thought that I could used LFOs from the Toolbox to trigger LFO-like action if I had to.

It came in just before I headed out on vacation, and I was blown away. I spent the evening searching stuff out, to find:

- If you set the repeat count of an envelope to infinity, it knows that you want and LFO and just starts running. YOU READ IT HERE FIRST, APPARENTLY!
- The module doesn't save its state on power down. You can force a save by pressing and holding the menu button; it works, but you have to remember to do it.
- The controls that they chose to put on the four knobs are brilliant. Within 10 minutes, I was intuitively reaching for the right thing quite naturally.
- The warp control for curve manipulation provides way more flexibility that I would have expected. When I was researching the thing, I was obsessed with the waveforms that it implemented. But with the warp control, even the simplest triangle wave can provide a ton of modulation-worthy fun.
- The menu use is less invasive than I thought it would be with one exception: that LFO thing. Having to jump in to spin the repeat level up is a drag.
- I wish there was a bipolar output option (especially for LFOs), but maybe that is for V2?
- The single incoming voltage is pretty easily routed to the right place; super-intuitive.

There's more for me to explore - there's some sort of chaining system that might allow me to make that one-button-symphony I've always longed to make. But generally, I'm loving this little module, and having envelope times approaching 30 minutes (with only a few spins of the wrist) is brilliant fun.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

A Little Diversion

For the last almost three weeks, I've been on vacation. What do I choose to do on vacation? Something fun - and educational. So in addition to reading a ton of books, staining the deck and moving our photo library to the cloud, I ran through the Kadenze Academy class on plugin development using the JUCE framework.

I'd been using JUCE indirectly through the Max SDK, but it was fun to dig into the 'normal' way of using it. There are some things that are phenomenally good (like the mechanism for storing presets...), and the knowledge I have from years of programming Max stuff comes in really handy. But this was a great way to imagine a different way of doing audio work, and I suspect there might be more of this in my future!