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Everything posted by MrKnobs

  1. Craig, do the specs say how much current that monster draws from the AC supply at 115 VAC?
  2. Another thing to be aware of is the danger of getting on a plane (or diving) with a cold. Most people who fly frequently have experienced the discomfort of having difficulty getting your ears to "pop" which is actually the process of equalizing pressure on both sides of your eardrum. When you're healthy, this is relatively easy and can be accomplished by chewing gum, swallowing repeatedly, sipping a drink, or yawning. But when your Eustachian tube is clogged up (it's the little tube that runs from your middle ear to your throat) it's not easy and sometimes even impossible to make your ears "pop." The result is pain (called barotrauma) which can be moderate to extreme. You might even continue to have this pain and diminished hearing for hours or days after you get off the plane, if it's really bad. Most people recover in a matter of hours or overnight. What most people don't know, though, is that the loss of hearing from inability to equalize pressure can be permanent. Yes, permanent. You could (though it's rare) lose ALL of your hearing in both ears. Scary? Yes it is. What can you do to make sure this never happens to you? (1) Don't fly or dive when you have a cold. This is the surest way to avoid barotrauma and the military will often ground a pilot who has a bad cold. (2) If you must fly, then take an oral decongestant (e.g. Sudafed) four hours before you fly and use an inhaled decongestant as well (e.g. Afrin). This will likely be all you need to do to avoid barotrauma. If you do experience difficulty in equalizing pressure, sip a drink, chew gum, etc, as swallowing opens the Eustachian tube. DO NOT squeeze your nose closed and blow, as you can blow out the round window in your cochlea (hearing organ) and trust me, you really don't want to do that. (3) If despite all precautions, you arrive at your destination in extreme pain and with your ear still "blocked," understand that this is an EMERGENCY and head to the nearest ER to get help. Likely you'll be given oral steroids that will open your Eustachian tube, and, in extreme cases, perhaps a steroid shot and even have a fine needle inserted through your eardrum to relieve the pressure. The steroid shot is to relieve the swelling inside your cochlea, the organ of hearing. Sometimes the shot is given through your eardrum, which sucks, but is still better than permanently losing your hearing. Knowledge is power. I'd have given anything to know the above information prior to a flight I took in Sept 2007. Take care of your hearing, there's no fixing nerve damage once it's happened! Terry D.
  3. There are some "secrets" to using backing tracks live that can determine whether your audience fills the dance floor or fills your ears with boos and catcalls. First, consider the audience. If you're playing a coffee shop where people are used to hearing acoustic acts then you might not want to whip out your JS-10. On the other hand, if you're playing a club where people want to dance they'll likely just be happy with a beat and not worry too much where it comes from. Next, consider WHAT to include on your backing tracks. Drum track or beat of some sort? Good idea if club has people who are used to dancing. Ditto for a bass guitar or a bass synth track. More than this and it gets perilously close to karaoke. You can probably get away with a simple backing vocal mixed low, maybe even a quiet string pad or simple keyboard part used sparsely but if you start putting in horn sections, fiddle players, full string quartets, elaborate vocal arrangements and the like people are going to notice there's only one or two of you on stage. Basically, you want to play and sing the "featured" parts and any prerecorded stuff that takes the attention away from what you're doing live is likely a bad idea. Finally, one of the most important things to do is make the backing track sound "live." That means the level of compression / limiting of the backing tracks should, at a minimum, be the same as the live tracks. This usually means using raw, uncompressed tracks for the backing that have full dynamic range, same as the live performers. You *can* go the opposite route and compress the live parts to match the backing, but then you're venturing perilously close to karaoke territory again. The sole time (IMO) that you want to go this route is when you're streaming music up to the internet, not when you're playing a club in front of a live audience. My group often performs as a duo with backing tracks from my JS-10. We already have all the instruments from our CD on separate tracks, so we create a sparse mix from those and don't compress / limit / master that mix so it sounds more live than recorded. This has the huge advantage that it sounds complex and organic, since after all it was played by a drummer and bassist, not created in a computer program. It's imperfect, it breathes, it has dynamics and energy, it sounds like real drums and bass because it is. An expert programmer can replicate this, but it's not easy. And yes, we have a "bail out" plan in case we get lost (never happens, honestly, we could play these songs in our sleep by now) which is to use the foot switch to stop the backing tracks and finish a capella, hoping it seems like flair to the audience rather than a train wreck. I really wish they made the JS-10 without the speakers attached, they're pretty useless at a live show and make the box bigger than it needs to be. Otherwise, this is one amazing device, quite an improvement over the JS-3 which I used for years before buying this. Terry D.
  4. Good article! I would add that foam can work really well at bass trapping in the corners but you need some seriously thick foam! I'm a materials scientist and what I mostly do lately is design some seriously large noise solutions like the 3 mile long absorptive barrier on IH-30 in Dallas Texas. I mention that because I have daily access to some excellent measurement gear including sound intensity probes, impedance tubes, and reverberation analyzers which I borrow to check out acoustic solutions in my home studio. I've tried a lot of things, and I measure them in place. That's really important as subjective evaluations are important but only go so far. I won't list all the things I tried that didn't work (as I'd be embarrassed at how much money I've wasted over the years) but the things that DO work for me are Auralex Mega Lenrds (they're two FEET thick!) and a homemade and tuned tube trap to reduce my terrible 90 Hz standing wave in my small control room. The regular LENRDs are just too small to get down to the problem frequencies common to small rooms with similar wall dimensions. The big LENRDs fit well into corners where you probably weren't using the space anyway, and they're heavy enough to stack without needing to mount or glue them to your walls. I also use a few of Ethan Winer's panel absorbers, which are much less effective with low frequency standing waves than the LENRDs, but they have the advantage that they don't absorb the high frequencies too like the LENRDs do. As carefully measured, my control room is as flat as I want it to be while still being in the preferred range for reverberation time. You don't want a completely dead control room. Terry D.
  5. In Austin we're blessed with an abundance of inexpensive rehearsal facilities. You can rent a rehearsal room for as little as $8/hr with PA and microphones. You can use their guitar amps, bass amps, or even a drum kit for a few dollars more per hour so you don't have to hump your gear if you don't want to. Typically my band spends about $30 for a night's rehearsal split between 5 people. If that's not compelling enough, the same facility has a recording studio you can rent by the hour, a full service music store / repair / gear / snacks facility on the premises. This is a HUGE advantage over rehearsing at someone's apartment or house. Let me lay it out for you: Practice you should do at home, rehearsal you should NOT do at home. Sound proofing, noise complaints, playing with strangers or near strangers who might swipe something, spouse / partner irritation, parking issues, drugs, liability, wear and tear on your house, bathroom use, the list goes on and on. I realize that not everyone can live in Austin (please don't, we already have more than 10,000 bands according to the local paper!) but you can find rehearsal facilities in most large cities and save your gear, your home, and maybe your marriage!
  6. And this is still here. I did keep a copy of the groupie story. Terry D.
  7. I've only seen the trailers so far. It's kind of weird seeing rami malek as Freddy, but that's just because I've seen all the seasons of Mr Robot where he was an schizophrenic hoody wearing hacker. He does look quite a bit like Freddy Mercury. Terry D.
  8. I clone my drives every two weeks. Just rotate the drives keeping one set at home in a locked file cabinet and the other in a safe deposit box at one of my banks. That covers everything other than possibly being set back two weeks if worst comes to worst. If you buy western digital drives for the clones, you get free clone software that works great. You can pop the clone in to your computer and you don't see any difference, other than some software asking you to re-register. Gets the operating system perfect. Just snap in and go. Terry D.
  9. You chose one who could support you, every musician's dream! Terry D.
  10. It was much better to be easily amused. Terry D.
  11. I record whatever kit they bring in, then augment the tracks with Steven Slate samples. Strangely I was comped the SS stuff but I could never get their plug in to work with Adobe Audition which is my preferred DAW (stop laughing!) so I still use Drumagog with the SS samples. SS has by far the best samples I've ever heard / used. Terry D.
  12. ... nor sitting together but each one's attention glued permanently to their iPhone. Terry D.
  13. I forgot to mention that I downloaded the stand alone (.exe) version of GWX and it seems to work so far as I can tell. I didn't have any pre-cached Win10 stuff on my hard drive as I've been very careful about allowing windows updates. Terry D.
  14. OK back on the topic of Win 10. I'm staying with Win 7 on my machines, reason being I have some very expensive legacy hardware and software that took me many hours to get working on Win 7 and probably won't have a work around on Win 10. Problem is, Microsoft now employs malware techniques to push Win 10 on you. It's well documented that sometimes the update to 10 starts without your permission and there's no cancel button, only an option to revert to 7 or 8 AFTER you've been updated to 10. I, myself have allowed innocuous looking Windows updates with no mention of Win 10 in either the short description by the update or the longer description going to their website for that KB. So I googled up some info, and discovered someone has written a very reliable program to stop that and remove any pre-cached preparation for the update along with all the nagware as well. http://winsupersite.com/windows-10/use-gwx-control-panel-stop-windows-10-upgrade-prompts (review of the program) http://ultimateoutsider.com/downloads/ (program download: note there is a stand alone exe version). Terry D.
  15. Wow, they've managed to exactly simulate the actions of network admins in the workplace! Many times I was working on a proposal or deadline and suddenly my computer was bogged down as the university network admins pushed an update. I called them and suggested maybe they should consider doing this late at night or on weekends. They replied that "You don't want an unattended update" and "we don't work evenings and weekends." I tried to point out to the guy that his salary and job indirectly depend on my ability to get millions of dollars in research grants for the Center, he didn't believe me. After about a year of that I bought a router and connected it between my computer and the university internet. That was heaven for a few months until they came by in person to see why their push updates weren't getting to me. After that I had to switch over to using the Wifi at the sandwich shop next door, then later to using my own laptop when I didn't want their nose in my business. I finally caught a lucky break when our assigned admin came to solemnly tell me that one of my employees had porn on his computer. She said it was her business to check for that. I tried the "so what, boys will be boys" thing but she wasn't having it. She made me open the guy's office door to allow her access to his computer. After a few minutes, she said, "Oh my gosh, I've made a mistake. I get Doctor xxx and Doctor yyy (both Mexican nationals, post docs) confused! It's the other guy." I told her "So you came to their supervisor and carelessly accused one of them of hosting porn? You couldn't distinguish between them because they're both Mexicans? Do you realize how serious that is? Do you realize what might happen to your job if I report this?" After that I OWNED her and could do just about anything. Then a couple of years later she married the deputy director of our Center.. and that's a whole 'nother story. Terry D.
  16. I deleted a bunch of spam from this forum at about 3AM this morning. The spam seems to be one offs, thankfully. Terry D.
  17. Back when Julie and I were gigging I had many "epiphany" sorts of moments, this one being germane to the topic of the thread. A guy sometimes opened for us, a singer songwriter, he was actually pretty good. I noticed that he always had a big stack of CD's by the venue door marked FREE. I also noticed that the stack was always much smaller by the end of the night. This set the wheels in my mind to turning, I wondered if what he was doing was a good idea, if it was advancing him toward his goals in any way. I wondered how much it was costing him, as he was doing the musician thing full time and didn't look like he was wealthy. So, that night, for the first time, I actually talked to him. Not just the usual mandatory boiler plate, "Hey Man! Great Set! Always love playing with you!" but real conversation. I was curious about his CD "sales." Here's what he told me, as close to verbatim as I can remember: HIM: "Yeah I wasn't selling sh*t, and I had a ton of these made, so I figured why not give 'em away, at least people would hear my music and maybe come to gigs." ME: "How's that working for you bro? Seems like you must be spending a lot of your gig money making CDs." HIM: "No dude, it's actually not costing me much at all. A lot of people pick one up cuz it's free, but about half to three quarters of them that make it out the door I find laying on the grass or parking lot unopened. I just pick them up, wipe them off, and give them away again the next night. The only problem I sometimes have is with the club owners, one of whom yelled at me to 'clean that sh*t up" and compared them to 'dog turds lying in his yard.'" I guess free is only good if it's something you actually want. I surmise that picking up a free item gives momentary pleasure that expires surprisingly quickly. That conversation and that imagery made me depressed for about a month. Terry D.
  18. If you can listen to something on your computer you can steal it, period. Even if some terrible operating system patch was created to stop you from routing the stereo output of your computer to recording software, you'd still have music coming through wires going to your speakers to record the old fashioned way. The same is true of video, it's just a bit more complicated. What killed musicians' livelihood was the invention of recording. Before recording, if you wanted music at your wedding or barn dance or party or funeral or whatever, you had to hire musicians to perform. The musicians can only be one place at a time (except for Giant Smiling Dog, ask if you're curious) so a lot of musicians worked various functions all over the planet on any given night and made their meager living that way. The good musicians made more money and the hack musicians made less or none, just as with any other job, but nearly no one got rich playing music. Now, thanks to recording, Beyonce can be singing at thousands of weddings at the same time and there's no need for live musicians at all, they're a luxury. There's no putting the recording genii back in the bottle. For a short time (as Notes describes), a few musicians made millions (mostly for the record companies) and most musicians played for a few bucks, a few beers and the love of it just as they do now. Those were further decimated (along with the bars) by tightening of alcohol limits, severe drunk driving penalties, high quality audio with digital TV, Internet availability instantly for any music ever recorded (free or for pennies), karaoke, etc. etc. The "stars," the "one percenters" of music got the big bucks and everyone else was impoverished; now they're complaining too. It's not about today's music being "bad" (every generation thinks their kids / parents' music is awful), it's not about education (you don't have to teach kids to love music, it's innate), it's not about DJ's, it's about the widespread societal belief that music is free, because the reality is that IT IS FREE. Nearly everyone wants the instant gratification of hearing the exact song they they want precisely when they want to hear it for FREE or very close to FREE (Spotify, etc). What digital did was add to the devastating stratification of recording, reducing the cost of reproduction to zero and putting that ability in the hands of the masses. There's no putting that genii back in the bottle either for ANY sort of intellectual property that can be reproduced for $0. It's simply not possible to prosecute or stop the illegal reproduction of music when such a large percentage of the public is doing it. All the above is describing the water we're drowning in. So what do we DO about it? The first response by many artists was to remember that music is entertainment. How can rendition of music be made more entertaining so that people will leave their comfortable houses, drive downtown, brave the cops and their 0.08 blood alcohol level, and pay through the nose for imperfect music and overpriced drinks they could stay home and get for free or nearly free? The answer was to borrow from theater and make the performance a show. Choreographed dancing, elaborate lighting, pyrotechnics, stagecraft, costumes, being part of a screaming crowd, dialog with the audience, all those loud, brash, unpredictable and excitement factors that carefully recorded music, even big screen TV doesn't provide - immersion in a visceral spectacle. That works! And best of all (depending on your viewpoint) it requires a record label, sponsors, endorsements, large elaborate venues so that the man once again gets the biggest cut. We're back in business! Or are we? Tours and concerts cost a lot of money to put on, often more money (even with sponsorship) than they make. Oh well, we'll make the real money selling albums, videos, downloads, recordings, etc. Oh wait - recorded music is FREE. You can't sell it, at least not for much or to many before anyone who wants it has stolen a copy of it. Still this this works for famous artists fairly well and that's why you see them still touring. But what about the little guy who's playing for beer and girls at the local bars and music venues? They don't have a record label but then again, the cost of recording music and video and reproducing it is FREE to them too. YouTube picked up on this as a way to monetize their video storage by sticking adverts into them and paying the little guys a few cents or medium $$$ if their video goes viral. The most successful bands I've worked for have put all this together and make a middle to upper middle class living from it. They maintain a standard of excellence, they play events that would not be appropriate for a DJ, they play for clients who can afford to pay them well, they dress and act and move and work the crowds in a way that create excitement, they monetize their music in all the various ways I've described above including selling downloads at shows and putting video up on YouTube. They're entertainers, artists, songwriters, recordists AND they're businessmen always looking for the next step up. They're selling a personal experience, not an impersonal one like listening to a recording. There's no other way to succeed at music right now, there never has been. The only difference is the musicians do everything themselves now. Maybe someday neural science will reach the point where one person or group can simply THINK improvisational music and have it transfer directly into the audience's brains, sounds and colors and melodies and rhythms and harmonies and emotions. Even then, it will still be about creativity, emotion, excitement, and entertainment. Terry D.
  19. I find it alarming that Microsoft has essentially become malware with regard to Win7. Many users now report that rather than just spam and nag you to "upgrade" to Win10, MS has now resorted to forceware. They've been using a forced update to Win10 with no cancel button. Instead, they just install Win10 and then ask if you'd like to revert to 7 or 8. I kinda doubt that lengthy process and its reversal would put your computer back the way it was. I can personally attest to the fact that some of the "Important" Windows 7 updates are Win10 preps, nags, and spyware in disguise. You CAN see this is so by going to the MS website for every single update description but what a pain that is! They should include "Win10 related" in the short description you see during the update process, I think. In any case, for me it would be a disaster to have my machines update to 10 as I have a lot of old, expensive, irreplaceable hardware and software that I could barely manage to get working on 7. So, I've resorted to this: http://blog.ultimateoutsider.com/2015/08/using-gwx-stopper-to-permanently-remove.html So far it seems to work great. Terry D.
  20. Long read, but fascinating to anyone who is or has been a moderator. http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/13/11387934/internet-moderator-history-youtube-facebook-reddit-censorship-free-speech Terry D.
  21. Mindless pseudoscience crap in the video but... I have found that when I'm actively writing, recording, live mixing, and performing music I tend to analyze everything I hear. By that I mean if a song comes on the car radio I'm immediately thinking things about song structure, choice of chords, harmonies, instrumentation decisions, choice of percussion samples, mix decisions, etc. In fact I can't turn that thinking off and I can't NOT pay attention to the song playing whether it's music I enjoy or not. I'm compelled to analyze. In contrast, now that I've taken a complete two year break from all the above music making and become just a listener again, I've rediscovered an emotional appreciation for music without constantly analyzing it. It's actually quite wonderful to just hear music and feel it just as I did in my adolescent teenage years. My two year break from all things musical has ended this week. My longtime keyboardist friend and I are assembling the crew and embarking on a new project this week. I guess I'll see if this happens again. Terry D.
  22. The first (or maybe second) thing you want to do is LOOK at the blown fuse. If there's splatter inside the glass, or blackening, odds are you have a strong short and it doesn't matter if you use a fast fuse or a slo-blo fuse. A fuse that is blown from a slight overload just has a broken wire inside, sometimes you can't even tell by looking until you tap the housing. Terry D.
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