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nat whilk II

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Everything posted by nat whilk II

  1. Good question. In no particular order: Solid state drives. Way back in the 80s and 90s, computer technology was improving and changing so fast, that some new feature would blow everyone's minds on a regular basis. Once the technology started maturing, the changes became much more incremental. But firing up my first SSD some 8 years ago or so brought back a bit of the old wow factor in terms of a serious improvement in speed. I still love the sound of my analog synths a bit more than any soft synth I've acquired, but I have to say that the gap in sound quality between the best soft synths and the average classic analog synths has narrowed to a point very close to inconsequential. Soft synths like Diva, Sylenth, Omnisphere, Oddity, etc., don't leave much to be desired except maybe that last hemi-demi-semi particle of true analog magic. The VB3 hammond B-3 emulation raised the bar. I still love NI's B4 and B4II, but for sounding like the real thing in all it's juicy glory, the VB3 gets the cigar - two cigars. Amplitude Fender Collection and Fender Collection 2, if you have the patience to tweak and listen, tweak and listen, a couple dozen times- this software almost cured my yearning for a real Twin Reverb. Almost. But if the real thing sounds better in the room while you're playing, I'm not all that sure it sounds that particularly better in a recording. Ok, if I had a $2K ribbon mic and the perfect room the real thing would win out - but that's never going to happen. nat
  2. So how about the case where the crowd says they like some recording, but the studio engineer has a negative opinion about the same recording. It's way too simple to say, "forget the engineer, the people have spoken." The crowd might like it more if the engineer's advice is heeded. There's no single standard here that can be referred to as the final word. It's no use pitting the production pros against the listening public, saying "who is right?". They can both be right, both be wrong, or one right, one wrong. It depends. Engineers can certainly be over-fussy. The crowd can like perfectly wretched material. Happens all the time. If there's a final word on the issue, it's the musical vision of the original artist, right? Some musical visions include a high degree of technical perfection - some don't. I don't listen to Dylan to hear technically amazing acoustic guitar work - but a crack bluegrass band better have precision chops or they will totally fail. So, if you're the artist, and you're feeling harassed by some picky engineer, forget using the crowd to justify your beef with the engineer. Use your own artistic instincts. If it's good enough and you know it, then just say so. nat
  3. Yeah, shouldn't be any difference between desktop and downloads folder....surely someone else has had this problem?? Does seem like some conversion is taking place. Just to throw out a far-fetched idea - when you listen to your uploads on Soundcloud, do you listen through something like Windows Media Player? Media players have speed settings.... Do the uploaded songs sound slow on any and every computer? Or have you only listened through one computer at home? nat
  4. AJ - do you export from Sonar first to a wav or mp3 or similar file? And then upload that? Or are you using some Sonar feature that takes the soundfile directly from Sonar to these hosting services? FWIW I always export the two-track mixdown from Sonar to my desktop, then I upload from there....I don't have your issue with a changing speed.... BTW - thx for the comments on Soundcloud. That latest song I've uploaded is an old, old thing 1999 or thereabouts - my first attempt to program midi drums, attempting as much realism as I could manage....very tedious mouse work - my absolutely un-favorite way to make music. nat
  5. Yeah, the landscape for PCs is changing out there. It's still true that if you build your own, you can trick it out with exactly what you want and insure that it will be expandable/upgradeable for many years. At the very least, the case and power supply can stay in service as motherboards, hard drives,CPUs, and graphics are upgraded. But in line with what Mike said, the prices on PCs have come down so low. And with a little shopping and patience, you can find deals that are hard to believe. The i7 HP laptop I use as my main recording computer I got from Fry's for under $300. I don't see the DIY option as a frugality option any longer. I do love building my own PCs, 'tho. But to really make it work, you have to do your homework as to the absolute compatibility and sufficiency of the various components. If your response to this statement is "what do you mean"? then you're not ready to build your own box unless someone else who absolutely knows what they are doing tells you what components to buy. nat
  6. I can add some more: John Hall (singer,songwriter, excellent Strat man for Orleans) has had a political career, including U.S. Representative for one of the New York districts. Cyndi Lauper has won some Tonys in the theatre world, plus serious activism for LGBT rights. Thomas Dolby started a tech company that created a hybrid MIDI/sample web protocol for transferring music. Ended up being a major bit of tech for ringtones. Skunk Baxter is a defense consultant and chairs a Congressional Advisory Board on missile defense (quote from WikiP) Personally I don't think Ted Nugent's antics rise to the level of a 2nd career, sorry.... nat
  7. That HP i7 is a bruiser - more power than anything I'm running. No question it would handle anything you will probably throw at if a few years. For that class of desktop around that price point, I'd probably get something like this Dell - it specs out a bit better than the HP you're looking at, and more USB ports. 4 PCI-e slots. I've owned a dozen Dells, happy with all of them. http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/desktop-and-all-in-one-pcs/xps-tower-silver-chassis/spd/xps-8910-desktop/cax8910w10p140rs nat
  8. I agree that your initial plan doesn't sound like it will tax that AMD computer very much. But the thing about getting started with DAW recording is, at least for lots of people, that you don't end up doing exactly what you thought you would be doing when you first geared up. So I recommend a little over-buying when it comes to the computer hardware. People add to the complexity and power requirements of their setups, however incrementally, but rarely subtract. Track counts tend to increase, and plug-ins, and upgraded power-hungry software, and so on. I put together an AMD based desktop that saw some DAW work for a while. It was subject to heating up some, so I had to upgrade a couple of fans. Have to keep it clean, clean, or the heat starts building up again. AMD stuff is just fine for all sorts of purposes except impressing your gamer friends. If you see an AMD cpu with specs that look similar to an Intel cpu, I guarantee the Intel will smoke the AMD. That's not a bad thing as the AMDs are so much cheaper. But it can lead to frustrated expectations. Count those USB ports and think hard about how many you could possibly need and add a couple. Mouse, keyboard, flash drive(s), printer, scanner, dongles, recording interface, external hard drive for backup, etc etc etc. Best o'luck - you'll have a dandy learning curve, so don't get discouraged. Lots of uber-brains like Phil and Craig here to answer ALL your questions nat
  9. By far the largest popular genre that's been around forever and shows no signs of slowing down is Bore Core. nat
  10. Well, it's the push-pull between the public audience and the artists. Doesn't bother me - I don't have any use at all for total freedom, whatever that may be (I suspect it doesn't exist.) Interestingly, electronic music actually feeds and grows via an endless stream of genre creation. It's silly, sure, but the public LOVES to belong to some genre or other. Hey, all the non-musicians who listen to music for all sorts of non-musical reasons, they have my blessing. Let them have their fun. This site is quite amusing and rude about it, too - the electronic genre map to end all genre maps, with soundclips and other bits of educational material and lot of attitude: http://techno.org/electronic-music-guide/ nat
  11. Hey Mark - my first impression is that the overall production is kicked up a good notch. The mix is clear and serves the music well. And it sounds like an album rather than a misc collection of tunes. The Dole song is my fav so far. But I'll give it a bunch more listens. You're getting better all the time...that's the important thing. In some ways the only thing. I agree with Craig about the drums. A real drummer or a programmer with the chops to make virtual sound real. This is where I stand as regards virtual drums, drums machines, vs. real drums and drummers. It's that the vibe needs to be basically and convincingly one or the other. Either go for an obvious, true-blue drum machine vibe, or what can pass for real drums played by someone with real chops (even if it's not actually real.) Stuff that's in-between - almost real, or drum machine-ish...generally doesn't cut it. Close but no cigar. It's not that the drums are "bad" - it's that "not one or the other" feeling that is just distracting I think is the root problem. I "notice' the drums too much, that they are "off" in some way or another. It might be a totally unfair judgement, but it's one people are gonna make.... Drum loops are typically way overprocessed, too. Makes it really, really hard to drop them into a tune and not have them sound plastered over instead of an integral part. nat
  12. That's a very interesting article indeed. Especially where it describes that it was March 6 that Apache Struts announced the vulnerability and provided the patch to users. By March 10, the hackers started penetrating Equifax. And that, once the hackers were in, they made their own back door, so even once Equifax installed the patch, the patch wouldn't keep the hackers out. This is sci-fi, thriller sort of stuff - too bad it's real..... I appreciate the fact that attention is being given to attacking the root problem, which is the hackers and their sophistication and possible ties to international espionage of some sort. And the general complexity of the entire internet security culture. It's pretty much still the wild west. nat
  13. Yes, I've read about that place - told the wife that's where I want to retire, in one of the apartments above the concert halls and shopping, etc. The new lineup for Tangerine Dream has an upcoming concert there in that amazing big hall. Hmm...how many airline miles do we have??
  14. Latest news feeds say Tom is still hanging in there, but has had a serious heart attack. A lot of news sources jumped the gun, announced his death prematurely. Check the latest - this is one of those "developing stories" ie, bad reporting first, catch up with the truth later.... nat
  15. Nice article, Phil. Two things: 1 - yeah, the funding issue is important, in spite of my lack of patience with the topic, which is just my quirk. Pro-music folks (and I am one of course) are always pointing up the contrast with the priority that sports enjoy when it comes to funding- football in particular (at least here in Texas most certainly.) I say pick your battles. If you set things up as either/or - music or sports - well, you just lost the battle instantly. Sports will trump music and the arts all the time, every time, as far as what the parental generation is more interested in. So don't set up this losing scenario in everyone's minds. Present it as and/and, not either/or. Just make a positive case and skip the greener, more fertilized grass envy - I think it just works against the cause. 2 - maybe it's a good thing to point up how music seems to be associated with other good results. Some sort of halo effect or other - maybe it helps make the case for more funding. I still have this qualm about justifying music because it serves some non-musical, non-arts purpose. What if some study comes along that says all these rumoured connections between music and "other increases in brainpower" are bogus? Studies come, studies go. Now if there is some big, solid scientific consensus about all this, ok - but are we talking about some report here or there, some stats from limited studies that people have latched on to and run with 'cause it sounds good for the cause? Is it real science? I'm sure I don't know. You know the "baby's brains on Mozart" thing was exploded. Are we dealing with wishful thinking here or something that can really hold up to long-term scientific scrutiny? And I don't think it's a strong sell - to say, "want better math? Have 'em study music!" People will just say, "maybe so, but studying more math has to be a surer bet to improve math." And at least for me, even if the connections are valid, I'd still rather people support the arts for art's own sake. Otherwise, the arts will be judged by criteria other than artistic criteria - which can quickly turn political, ideological, all that mess. It's happened before - start with Plato's Republic and the tendency can be traced, with bad results, all the way to the here and now. nat
  16. Sure, absolutely. I guess I'm not really thinking in terms of genres as much as pedagogical traditions. The nuts and bolts of instruction simply as a practical matter. If you teach a class of kids or a stream of single students, how do you arrange the steps? What instructional books, what videos, how do you plot the learning progression? I vote for the old common practice western tradition of instruction to root the process, then branch out in any logical progression from there. Sure - Ravel to jazz is an obvious branching of great interest. Chorales to hymns to barbershop to do-wop to Beach Boys, etc etc all fine and good. If you've attended many high school choir concerts (a veteran of a zillion, here) you'll notice a certain go-to mix of material. A core of mostly western, Baroque, ecclesiastical material, with a smattering of alternate flavors - jazz, Black Gospel, African, American traditional, show tunes, maybe even a modernish modal sort of thing thrown in. I just bet this menu is served up nationwide - I'd like to hear people tell about the repertoire in various geographies. I don't see a problem here...just as long as this particular go-to mix doesn't become some holy thing forever and ever. The money thing is perennial. The wheel will turn eventually. Folks will get over STEM-obsession and then get all exercised about our cultural poverty at some point. Meanwhile, zillions of kids will get put through their paces in school and private programs as ever. I'll let other people fuss over the funding - I get bored with all that instantly. Ok, I'll fork over $100 to help some school program or other, fine. nat
  17. Ok, I grant your point - same old same old is not good enough and never was. And exposure to various traditions I can go with, too. But I just don't know what a curriculum would look like, and how it could be effective, if it doesn't stick to some basic tradition as the main organizing principle of course structuring. With forays, definitely, into other traditions, for breadth, but not at the sacrifice of depth in the all-too-familiar diatonic, western, common practice stuff. Maybe there's some deeper principles of music that underlie all the traditions that could be defined, and a whole new "holistic" approach developed. That sort of thing is way beyond me, 'tho. Especially in this age of web-enabled endless alternatives, one molecule deep and a universe wide. I certainly don't think technology will show up as some savior of the situation. Music still needs to be programmed into living human beings. Music isn't anything if it's not internalized deeply into actual human brains, muscles, and nervous systems. God help us if music becomes simply a commodity that any AI thingy can produce to meet consumer demand. Any musician worth his/her salt knows that music is something you do, something you have in you, not something you buy or click "like" to. nat
  18. Our experience seeing the kids through this and that music program, both in school and private lessons, made it clear that things have generally improved since the ancient days when I played in the school band and took some private piano lessons. The music departments in the schools have more resources. Parents are more involved. The private teachers now include a lot of adjunct profs, trying to supplement the pisspoor wages they make from their insecure, untenured positions with the local colleges and universities. (That's another topic I can rant about, but will stifle meself.) It still remains a clear fact, however, that music teachers in general are a rather odd bunch, wouldn't you agree? So the luck of the draw is still probably the definitive factor in any kid's music education - whether the kid gets one of the terrible teachers, one of the angels, or one of the middling mass of bored and boring, partially effective instructors. What about technology? For all these devices with children attached, right? Sure - they are potential tools. But music is music is music, and so very little equipment is actually needed when it all comes down to basics. A listening and observing teacher giving a kid individual attention is still the best way to impart the subtleties of musical performance and understanding. Should the schools and teachers embrace popular music? Should the music curriculum be democratized and treat all music genres equally, etc etc? Is this now a political/educational issue? I don't have much to say about this very tiresome subject except that I personally think the old western musical tradition is a cultural treasure that I hope survives the current political sensitivities. It might not - nothing lasts forever, ok, I get that. And hell, yes, the non-western traditions are amazing and should be somehow worked into the curriculum, I certainly get that, too. But a student learns best following the well-worn trail of a specific tradition at least for the basic training. Pick a tradition and stick with it, whether jazz or common practice Western, or bluegrass, or blues, or gamelan, or Indian classical, whatever. Get rooted in one identity, then branch out. Now there's no way public schools can offer deep training in all these various traditions - they should probably just stick to the same old same old, with some review of the various traditions out there. I also know that there's a special magic to music for kids that lies outside the parental world, free from adult commentary and control. It might be crappy music, sure. Or it might be great, too. But for me at least, bringing the kid's music into the adult world to be managed by adults would just be the kiss of death for whatever music gets that treatment. I don't subscribe to the "kids must rebel" mythology (although a little troublemaking is good for the soul) but kids need a place where they can take small vacations, away from Big Nurse and Big Brother and Vice-Principals and all their ilk. Software for teaching music has, at least to my knowledge, not fulfilled it's potential. There are lots of exercises, lots of musical concepts, that software can guide students through, obviously. It seems the most natural of subjects to supplement certain repetitive learning tasks, listening exercises, basics, and so on. Maybe there's good software out there I don't know about - if you know of some, drop some names, please. What about DAWs and their role in music education? Sure, why not? But again, DAWs are of little or no interest to the average musician, right? What does the 2nd chair oboe player need a DAW for? For composing musicians, for recordists, sure. But in spite of the growth of DAWs, they are a "later on" sort of interest for musical types with specific interests. Sure, have a class or two on them if there's someone who can teach them and there's a budget. But DAWs don't have much to offer in terms of the basics of becoming a musician. Looking forward to your article, Phil. nat
  19. I followed the link to the arstechnica article - it's a bit hard for me to follow, not being versed in apps like Apache Struts and such.... Correct me if I'm wrong here: boiled down, the article says Apache Struts is a "framework" for developing Java apps "that run....Web servers." Ok, so I take that to mean Apache Struts is some sort of high-level programming language or app that enables users to produce customized apps to run complex arrays of Web servers. So Apache Struts must help users integrate all the various modules that come into play running servers like this - and security would logically then be one of the main "modules" or "protocols" or whatever tech term is used for custom programming with pre-written, high-level subroutines these days. So we have all these government agencies, banks, large internet companies, and "Fortune 500 companies" who use Apache Struts to develop apps to run their servers, and Apache Struts issues patches, like all subscription software apps do, to fix this and that, and to try and stay abreast of security vulnerabilities. Now it gets interesting, and I recommend folks follow the link to the Apache Struts Foundation statement issued Sept 9 just past. Here are some italicized quotes from that statement: We are sorry to hear news that Equifax suffered from a security breach and information disclosure incident that was potentially carried out by exploiting a vulnerability in the Apache Struts Web Framework. At this point in time it is not clear which Struts vulnerability would have been utilized, if any. So my interpretation is that they are sorry to hear the bad news, but they say the Equifax breach may or may not have been caused by a problem with Apache Struts. ....the security breach was already detected in July [5], which means that the attackers either used an earlier announced vulnerability on an unpatched Equifax server or exploited a vulnerability not known at this point in time... Ok, Apache Struts says there are two possibilities - either Equifax had not updated all their servers and got hit with an attack that could have been prevented had they completed their updates, OR the big hack used a vulnerability that Apache Struts does not know about, ie the hackers have simply won this latest battle in the ongoing data wars. So they at least leave open the possiblity that Equifax (or Apache Struts) is not really to blame. Onward - this next quote I find fascinating: ...once [Apache Struts is]..notified of a possible security issue, we privately work with the reporting entity to reproduce and fix the problem and roll out a new release hardened against the found vulnerability. We then publicly announce the problem description and how to fix it. Even if exploit code is known to us, we try to hold back this information for several weeks to give Struts Framework users as much time as possible to patch their software products before exploits will pop up in the wild. So Apache Struts will learn about a vulnerability, dig into it, and come up with a patch. This process will take some variable amount of time. Once they have the patch, they send it to all the users (remember we're talking about big companies, governments, banks, etc.) and hold back publicly announcing the vulnerability "for several weeks" to give the users time to install the patches and cover their butts. So I'm defining in my mind an intrinsic problem with this whole process, and it's a doozy. The public notification is at the very end of a potentially long period of time that is the sum of these time-variable activities: > however long a vulnerability actually exists before someone finds it and reports it to Apache Struts, > however long it takes Apache Struts to analyze the vulnerability, to write a patch, to test it, and to deploy it to the user base, > "several weeks" is given to the users to install the patch (hopefully) before "exploits will pop up in the wild." After all of the above time passes, then the public is notified. So it seems to me the entire process is geared to announcing things publicly only after the "all is well" has been sounded. This protects the users - it protects Apache Struts - it keeps any crisis covered up until, hopefully, all is fixed. But hey, the pop-ups in the wild can and do happen during this cover-up period. Big pop-ups. I feel a screaming need here for some sort of regulation - once a vulnerability is known, at least some notification to a governmental agency should be required. And some some sort of process whereby the users can't get away with delaying patch installations due to whatever internal problems they might have. Like mandatory shut-down if an announced patch is not installed by date X. In the public interest - hence the need for regulation. This is all too big to leave to failures to manage on our behalf.... nat
  20. Does anyone accurately understand what you've actually done if you post a video of your personally-created music to FB? Have you somehow given away some rights and/or ownership to FB by doing so? FB is getting so cluttered with FB-bot postings of endless videos and "have you seen this?" postings from people I've never heard of. Maybe there's a way to turn all that junk off....FB maintenance however is not high on my priority to-do list. My go-to procedure has been to visit FB less often, much less. And when I do visit, I scroll and skim and scan, hardly paying attention, bored in under a minute. Except for Ken Lee's posts about his photos - love those! nat
  21. Never have used software for help in that way. I use a rhyming dictionary, thesaurus, and I read a good bit of poetry. It's perfectly ok to find a poem, steal the rhymes, take some ideas, rework a few lines into something you can call your own. Rework them into something different enough to avoid plagiarism. I'd recommend a human partner for help songwriting before any software solution, absolutely. Can't imagine software could do anything but churn out cliches or gibberish. Of course, most pop lyrics are cliches or gibberish....but just sayin' nat
  22. I certainly want whoever's to blame to be blamed. As for analogies with a personal safe...in all cases of robbery, the robbers are the primary bad guys, no? A business like Equifax should have a fiduciary duty, of course, to take all reasonable measures to keep the data safe. If they fail that duty, then sure, let the legal proceedings proceed. They could have taken reasonable measures and still been hacked. I'm just claiming that there's no way to know if they took reasonable measures or not without diving deep into the technicalities and the legalities. It will be complicated. The public doesn't like complicated when they are upset. And I don't deny that so much stuff sound fishy regarding Equifax's actions. But what if you went to court, charged with something, and the judge said, "What I read on the internet is really fishy and makes you sound guilty - I'm going with that, guilty as alleged, sentence is death by angry mob." It's the rush to judgement that bothers me - millions of armchair judges, juries and executioners. Happens all the time - they should teach kids in school how hard it truly is to determine the truth in complex matters, how difficult to figure exactly what happens, who did what, who is to blame, what the appropriate actions the justice system should take. But the crowd is not interested - if the crowd is angry, the crowd is heavily, heavily biased to uncritical condemnation right off the bat. All it takes is for something bad to happen and a few articles insinuating guilt and that's good enough for most people to set their jaws and sign the death warrant. It's not good enough for me. If I'm going to condemn someone I damn sure better not be talking out of my hat motivated by outraged self-interest. I better listen to all sides of the story and go through something like a critical analysis, listening to people who know more about this kind of thing than I do. If I'm too involved to be objective, I should hand it off to someone else to assess. nat
  23. Wow, everyone is angry at the company that got hacked - no mentioning the hackers themselves. I thought they were the real bad guys in these situations. Sure, maybe Equifax was lax in their procedures. Or maybe not. How can I know? I can't take a few things heard off the web or in conversations somehow as solid proof of guilt. If I ran that company, would I have done things differently? How could I answer that question unless I knew a thousand more facts of the matter than I do now? Society runs to judgement so quickly, it's scary. Looking for someone to blame, some target to take the heat. I totally agree we rely too much on these faceless outfits that have our personal info. I totally agree that the internet+business=profits scenario has both enriched and endangered us. But only a very few people really worry about the dangers - until they experience them. Then it's all calling down fire and brimstone - I also think the average person is extremely lazy and fatalistic when it comes to internet and digital privacy issues. Any new convenience, however insecure, however risky, gets grabbed up and used right off the bat. Everyone hides in the crowd. So here we go - the whole crowd has now been data-robbed - oops, that tactic didn't work, surprise, surprise. You can protect yourself pretty well regardless of all this data-hacking. And I don't mean by going off the grid. However, there's no such thing as 100% safe - just relative degrees of safety that the wiser among us find out how to achieve. When has life ever offered us more than that? nat
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