Saturday, April 27, 2019

Right At Home

My studio is complete.
The only thing that was missing was a pair of studio reference monitors. The thing that is special about such speakers is that they are designed to produce an uncoloured result when listening to audio. They have a flat frequency response and can only be slightly adjusted to suit the environment they are placed in.
My first choice was to be the KRK Rokit RP5 G3 monitors but I was advised that despite them being good speakers the Yamaha HS5's were better. This was based on testimonies from people that owned the KRK's but that had then listened to the HS5's. I could have gone for the 8 inch cones but in my small mixing space that would be overkill.
I plugged them in, set everything to 0 and played a track from Bitwig through them. Even without having broken in the speakers it was obvious where my track mix need some work. Muddy bass and not enough high end was my first thought. I know how to adjust my mix and the mastering won't need too much work after that.
The black and white speakers are very much at home on my desk next to the similarly coloured panda.
Expect results soon.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Grinding To A Halt

All good things come to an end.
Things like long Bank Holiday weekends and trackballs. I'm a huge fan of trackballs. There has been one on my desk for well over a decade. They're extremely accurate and you don't have to have your hand flying around knocking over coffee cups. My Logitech above is on its last legs. The occasional bump on the desk is needed to wake it up. I'll get another trackball but it'll be a wired one this time. There's a lot to be said for plugging stuff in. It just works. Unifying receivers are a bit hit and miss without the proper drivers especially on Linux. I'm surprised mine has behaved as well as it has.
The other thing that didn't work tonight was my CD ROM drive. Well, I say it didn't work but it did. It showed up in the file system but it wouldn't show the contents of any disk that was inserted. I'm trying to grab samples off old Computer Music magazine CDs. I'll try another drive at a later date.
In the meantime I had my small Sony dictation machine out today and recorded the ambient sounds of the road outside my front door. The most notable sound I sampled was of a Blackbird singing. That was loaded into a sampler in Bitwig and I granulated and then further processed it. By the time I'd finished I had something usable. I'll add it to a track in the future I imagine.
I hope you've had or are having a decent break.
For me it's back to work tomorrow, or should that be today.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easing Easter Ears

It's nearly 4am and my ears need a break.
After deciding that what has for years been a ballad would now be a Drum & Bass track I've quit Bitwig Studio for the morning / night.
It's always good to challenge how one sees one's own work. It's like walking down a path and promising yourself that you'll only take the right hand forks only to end up back where you started. Writing music is like that. One can develop a style and sit comfortably in it for years. That's probably good if one wants to be associated with a certain genre but for me, I'm not going to be widely known for anything so I'm allowed to experiment.
If I were to be pigeon holed it would be for electronic music but there are so many sub-genres in that space that it's easy and productive to wonder off course. That's how I've been spending my Easter so far.
The only thing about music creation for me that isn't so great is that the time I get to work on it, usually between midnight and 5am. That means headphones and after a few hours of sound design and composing it's time to call it a night no matter how far I am into a track.
I'll be doing some monitor mixing next Saturday, the day after I buy my new studio monitors. I hope the neighbours understand that the loud(ish) classical music that will be emanating from the house for three hours next Friday afternoon is totally necessary. New monitors need breaking in.
Hopefully the neighbours will be at work.

Sunday, April 14, 2019


Here is the start of something new.
As I've mentioned before my inspiration usually starts with either bass or chords but not this time. I was trying to create a multi-layered instrument, which I did, but to test it I threw some fairly random notes into a loop and voila! A weird thing that when played on my keyboard came out sounding like some 70s inspired acid track. Not old skool acid but more modern, along the lines of Luke Vibert. Anyway, I liked it so much that I saved everything as a preset and started a new track. That's the second one this weekend.
I haven't attempted any beats for either track because I'm not inspired at the moment but it'll come. I know roughly what I want but the ideas need a little maturing before committing them to Bitwig.

Sometimes I think that a little ignorance goes a long way. Take the example above. If I'd known exactly what I was doing I'd have missed this serendipitous opportunity. There would be a preset saved somewhere without an idea to utilise it. I have learned something along the way and that will pay off at some point in the future but simply messing around a bit has actually got me somewhere.
It'd be a good thing if we could all do something that required us to just have a go without having to learn and follow the rules.
Life has too much regulation already.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Enjoying Myself

It's a rare thing for me to get a decent amount of time to actually enjoy myself.
I've taken some time off from work between hospital check-ups and managed to fill it with stuff I like doing.
In that time I've struck a deal on a pair of studio monitors in a local music shop. Worked on my current track in Bitwig Studio. Had time to browse second hand books and found a few gems. There's also been time to kick back on a couple of evenings and enjoy some fine food and drink. All this with no pressure to fulfil and specific duty the next day.
Of course it couldn't last and I have my final appointment tomorrow and also have to swing back into a pattern of sleeping during the day. I'll use the long night tomorrow to arrange the track I'm working on and do a stereo mix.
It's also good to know that with Easter coming up I won't have to work a full week again this month.
April has been a good month.