Monthly Archives: December 2003

Free VST Rack o’ Plenty

Kjaerhus Audio – Professional Audio Software and Hardware

Don’t be fooled by the fact that they are free – they are high quality. Plugins like these normally costs a bundle.

To be honest I haven’t downloaded these but the Classic Limiter comes very highly recommended from a total stranger whose motivations are completely unknown, which (by my typical standards since I’ve been on the Internet) should be good enough to risk running a reformatting-trojan-reemer on a $3,500 DAW setup on the chance of getting a free master/limiter that works nearly as well as the L-1 from Waves that’s part of $1,200 plug-in package that now forces you to find a crack register a copy for each machine you own, even though it is physically impossible for you to use the plugs on more than one machine at a time.

Pick your evil.

Digital Music Stores

I don’t normally forward a link from Slashdot but the BBspot Reviews of Digital Music Stores is too relevant to pass up.

…reviews of each individual service including screenshots from each. Since each of us has different listening habits and tastes, I answer the questions like “How much does it cost?” and “Who would want this service?”

It’s a moving target but it’s all good information to have even as just a snapshot of today’s market.

Guitar Center vs. the Internet

(a.k.a. Why the ads on this site don’t necessarily suck…)

You know, both items I just bought from GC, the MIDI controller and the USB sound card where priced substantially higher than what I found a few days later on the web.

Actually I found them using the Google Ads links on these pages — when Google indexes these pages they match up keywords for the ads, so when I write an entry about

KORG Music Production Station

, about 14 hours later there will be ads from online vendors showing up in the ad tray on the right of this page.

Every time you click on one of those links, Google keeps track of that and at the end of the month compensates me — but that’s beside the point. (Right?) The main point is that GC is a lousy place to gauge prices and I’ve known this for 30 years (I bought overpaid for my first Marshall amp there in ’77) but this last week was especially striking:

I bought the Evolution MIDI controller for $240, the next day I posted something about it here, the day after that I saw an add for it on the post page and followed the link. They were selling it for $30 less. I print out the ad, go back to GC and as I’m telling the salesman what’s up I look up to see the controller has been marked up to $299 (!).

They have a web connection there and if you give them the URL they will go and check and refund the money (in reverse-credit) on the spot if the site checks out. This is cool. I think. It’s more like a shell game. These people can’t check online for a price before they put the price tags out??

Sleazy.

And the OmniStudio USB system? It was $70 less online. Ugh.

If you do end up buying at GC anyway, make sure to check the shipping in the online case because the GC salesmen will say “You would have to paying shipping” to jack the price back up but in many, many cases nowadays, the shipping is free on high ticket items.

This site is a big fat sell-out for me, but I’m having fun and people are telling me they are finding pieces of it useful. If you click on the ads on this site, it doesn’t cost you anything, you’re supporting this site (assuming you care about that) and beating back the sleazoids. Even if you don’t use this site, fergodzsake, don’t be a sucker at GC. I’ve already done that enough for both of us.

Samples at SoundProz

Really good WAV samples at SoundProz.

All sound samples on both this site as well as on our Sample-CD’s are protected by copyright. They can be used royalty free in the downloaders own music productions. It is NOT allowed to resell or give away dowloaded sounds unless you have written approval from SoundProz.com. Officially purchased Sample-CD’s may be resold or given away, but may NOT be multiplied. The samples on our CD’s are only to be used by the person who owns the original CD(‘s).

Sigh. Whatever.

DAW Profile: Scott Andrew

handsome_me_02.jpgScott Andrew has been succesfully creating and selling music on line. He has a remarkably concise DAW setup.

In addition to these items he writes:

I used this setup to record all the songs on my current record. The only thing that’s changed since then is that I now have one of those itty-bitty Behringer Eurorack mixers and picked up an AKG C-2000 condender mic.

The Eurorack seems to be particularly popular since it’s hard to beat the street price of $80.

One of Scott’s “signature” songs is the poppy singalong “The Big Lie that Solves Everything” that I remixed last night using my new setup.

Key to the remix were two pieces of software built into FL Studio: BeatSlicer and Granulizer. No remixer should (or could) live without them or something like them. Basically these are equivalent to REX files in Reason and the Warp function in Ableton Live.

OmniStudio USB

OK, this will be the last hardware entry for a while but it looks like I’ve replaced my sound card and that has meant a serious shake up in my DAW setup.

Here is the short list or rationales I have incorporated into my analysis:

  • My Mackie mixer met with an inglorious end in a recent move.
  • I have recently gone to mixing 100% in software driven by a MIDI control surface.
  • Even though I don’t have a mixer I still need to input multiple instruments. Not a whole drum set and big band, just a couple of boomerific guys and gals and some kids on the tables would be nice.
  • The “cheaper” solution didn’t work, mainly for the reason above
  • I’d like to pretend that someday I may take this act on the road.
  • More likely, the last time I was in a real recording studio doing touch-ups on “Ridin’ the Faders” I really, really wished I could just wip out the laptop and call up FL Studio.
  • I chose the OmniStudio USB. It’s expensive and not perfect but it’s Christmas and when I die I’m going to Hell anyway so I might as well go USB now.

[Update below...]
Continue reading

Numark TT1650 dropping like flies

The prices for Numark TT1650 direct drive turntables are dropping quickly (should be down around $150 USD) in time for Kwanza, Christmans and other excuses to spoil those around you with unrealistic expectations about what life has to offer.

But probably the biggest reason is to make way for the next generation of vinyl turntables with digital chips on board that do pitch control, spdif out and other old-school-with-a-twist stuff.

FireWire 410 (er, no thanks)

firewire_410.jpgLooks like DigiTraxx is selling the M-Audio 410 for $50 less than everywhere else (about $350).

But it’s still not the box for me.

I brought one home a few days ago, plugged it in and was disappointed. Through some combination of spec-obscurity and my own thickness I could have sworn the box could take four inputs. And to me four inputs means four instruments. Which is typically three more than I need when I’m overdubbing wha-wha guitar riffs, but just about right when buddies come over and we break out the beat boxes, synths and decks.

Unfortunately M-Audio’s counting system is different than mine. The box allows four inputs at a time: 2 mono analogs and a stereo SPDIF. And I don’t have any SPDIF instruments. Which is 2 mono jacks — I guess one for guitar (without mono fx) and vocals. Which is really guitar with real world stereo fx. Which is down to one instrument.

So $350 for a box that takes one instrument at a time is just not going to work.
Continue reading