Archive for Home recording

Making A Roadcase

Posted in Carpentry, Design, Gadgets, Home Studio, Lifestyle, Music with tags , , , , on 03/24/2016 by Baghead Kelly

Road Case Blog

Roadcases are fun little projects to encase and protect your precious electronics. This is the second one that I’ve built and I’ve enjoyed both of those endeavours. My old one became superfluous after I blew up the amp (I have a habit of doing that) and as these projects are bespoke by nature, it was time to update.

I’ve had this Yamaha EMX 512SC for a few years now and I cannot speak more highly of it. It has a great sound with lots of bottom end when paired with my A15 speakers. The big surprise for me though was the cheap arsed Chinese DMX lighting controller that you see on the top. My lighting system consists of this unit and 10 x ADJ Mega Par Profile plus a couple of laser lights. DMX is 80’s technology which basically is a standard for lighting systems. I didn’t know much about it but today you can buy these units very cheaply from your electronics store and they are very versatile. Paired with DMX standard lighting you can change the colours, intensity, focus and direction of your lighting. It depends on the light what you can do with it but with the controller you can also program lighting shows to match a song or play.

Anyway these two units complemented each other perfectly and so it was a natural progression to pair them into one unit. This way I had only one power point to plug in plus two speaker cables and one DMX cable daisy chained to the lights. An easy set up.

I had to also include an electronic fan and venting to ensure that the P.A. was happy with access to the reset on the ELCB within the unit. It is quite heavy for the size of the unit and so I added the wheels. The trick with wheels is to have two fixed wheels and two lockable, swivel wheels to steer with. I incorporated a lockable drawer and a shelf to stash the microphones cables and torch.

I used ¾” construction ply for the construction which used to be 19mm but seems to have been downsized to 17mm these days. The last time I built one of these I added corner protectors which you can get in plastic or metal but this time I didn’t feel the need.

The last tip that I can impart on this project was that I got an RCA to 1/8” jack so that the kids could use the play lists on there cell phones and run them through the P.A. It worked a treat so long as they didn’t play around with the phones whilst songs were playing. You can get some pretty harsh sounds with any loose connections.

Party Lights

Home Recording Reno

Posted in Carpentry, Design, Home Renovations, Home Studio, Lifestyle with tags , , on 04/22/2012 by Baghead Kelly

My little music room is only 8ft x 9ft. With space at a premium I had to be careful because over the years I had collected a ridiculous amount of  music paraphernalia. The idea of this little project was to store my music collection but also give me room underneath so that I could store and access my amps and speakers etc. The bench was supposed to provide an area where I could work on my guitars but in reality it is always covered in crud and I do that work on the dining room table. I have some large music books that have never fit into standard bookshelves and so the lowest shelf is built to accommodate those. Then there are 6 shelves for my CD’s which are also slightly higher than standard to accommodate special editions and so forth. I left the centre shelving out to provide for my little Jimi shrine (the walrus was Paul) and the top shelf is for music DVD’s. The roof of the shelving is wider than the rest and I use it for box sets and smaller books. All up that is a bucket load of weight supported by two metal frames I welded up underneath and some 3 1/2″ x 2″  stud work. I really enjoyed this project and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I incorporated two minor details that improved the design. The rounded corner on the bench I reciprocated on the upper and lower shelves which gave a slight art deco feel to the piece. Secondly I airbrushed the edges of the bench slightly darker to reflect my sunburst guitars which hang next to it – it doesn’t look much in the photo but in real life it turned out very effective.

 

Hey Hip Doodies – You Too Can Lay Down Some Whack Beats

Posted in Home Studio, Lifestyle, Music with tags , , on 03/28/2012 by Baghead Kelly

LoopMash Free by Steinberg

I realise that I am stuck in the past musically speaking and so Soundcloud has been a revelation to me. There are 10 million users and counting. It is already the next big thing. For me, the most glaring ear opener, so to speak,  is the prevalence of house, dub step and hip hop music. It would be hard to estimate but the majority of music on Soundcloud would be of these  kinds of genres. Now I would hazard a guess but music software must be at the forefront of this revolution. Anyone can be a musician these days whether you play a traditional instrument or not. So if you have an iPhone then Steinberg has this tricky little app that is based on its LoopMash VST. The old Bagster rates it at 4/5 rubber chickens and if your too lazy to read the instructions then watch this video;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U3i_7I5YOA

Home Recording Tip

Posted in Home Studio, Music, Songwriting with tags , , on 03/25/2012 by Baghead Kelly

Now I’m not really a person qualified to hand out home recording tips but I do have this one. When I built my little home studio I also made the little sheet music rack that you can see on the wall. Essentially it is just a slanted plank with a trim nailed to the bottom to hold the pages.  – What I do is I use masking tape to join my sheet music together in sequence. I usually have the lyrics typed out on the first page, the rest music. Only masking tape will do and I’ve got sheet music over twenty years old treated in this way. – The rack is sized to fit 6 x A4 sheets but if I made it again I would make it for eight sheets. The trim at the bottom creates a half inch (15mm) lip and in hindsight I would double the size of that as well. The reason being is that I usually pile song sheet on top of song sheet and a full inch would be better. The whole shebang is suited to my height (I like playing standing up) and I have a microphone installed from the ceiling above it. I can just stand there and do my thing and it all works a treat. So if your building a home studio then here is something that you might like to incorporate into your design.

Cubase 5 Review

Posted in Home Studio, Music with tags , , on 03/06/2012 by Baghead Kelly

I have had Cubase since August of 2009 (they keep records) and Cubase 5 since the following year.  Essentially it has taken until recent times for me to get my head around the product and I am a long way from mastering it. That’s a long wait for a silver lining. If your thinking of buying Cubase 6, the current version maybe you might want to read about my experience first.

 

Now I may not be the brightest spark but I’ve self taught myself many things over the years without too many issues. Learning and dealing with Cubase on the other hand has been an absolute nightmare.

 

Cubase is the brain child of Charlie Steinberg but his company Steinberg was bought out by Yamaha in about 2005. Don’t quote me on that. Here lies a possible reason for my bitter experience with Cubase. Picture this; An Australian music enthusiast buys a German made product who’s parent company is in Japan. There has to be a few communication issues there.

 

The first hurdle for me any ways was a communication issue. These people spoke a different language. A language of initialisms; D.A.W., ASIO, VST, PFL, GUI the list goes on. For technicians this might seem perfectly normal but for poor old baghead I had to learn a whole new lexicon. The manual is extensive all 672 pages of it plus a 200 page start up manual. On top of that there are a series of appendix manuals on various subjects. I hate that thing. I have poured over it, I have highlight markered it, I have cried on its pages.

 

There are forums to help the frustrated customer who might be thinking of demanding a refund. Steinberg have an in house website which includes a forum and what they call a knowledge base. They are full of desperate users with the same problems that I personally have experienced.  If the technicians can’t resolve the issue and there are too many people with the same issue the forum is archived. I could be wrong but my impression is that there is a head in the sand kind of approach down there at Steinberg. Go and read the archived forums and make up your own mind.

 

My other issue is with the overly complicated licensing system. If I’m going to spend big bucks on what for me is essentially a hobby I don’t want to be screwed around. Yamaha/Steinberg have every right to protect their intellectual rights but that eLiscense system sucks. Both in the application and the very fact that the dongle takes up a precious usb port. I would suggest that the customer is the good guy and it’s the bad guys that need to be fucked around.

 

Part of the problems apart from communication is compatibility. From what I’ve read Cubase is more compatible with a Mac than what I have a PC. Personal computers these days are all pimped a little different and that creates unforseen issues. You just have to work through each problem as it arises. The best support that I have gotten has been through Youtube videos not through Yamaha /Steinberg. There are some amazing people out there who are willing to give of themselves from a totally altruistic perspective.

 

Now do I think that Cubase is the way of the future? Absolutely. The issues that I have had with Cubase may well be resolved in the new version I don’t know. There is no doubt that the product can do some amazing things and although I don’t have any experience  with Pro Logic I will stick with Cubase because I have invested so much time and money in it.

 

From a personal point of view I would like to see better after-market customer support. I would also love a cross-referencing system in the manual. That’s one thing that Microsoft do well. If your trying to learn one concept and it references other concepts that you have no idea about you could type it in to the search box.

 

My journey with Cubase 5 has been a rocky one. Now that I’m starting to understand its little ways I am getting great enjoyment from it. Its always been about the music and any diversion from the main game is not good. As for my beloved old Yamaha 4 track, well the time might have come to embrace the future and the future most certainly is digital.