Things I’ve learned about iPad DAW in the last 30 days

In the last month I’ve been in the wood shed daily working with the new iPad, the Presonus interface and new apps. I’m having so much fun! I really think the challenge of the learning curve is something I needed and truly enjoy. Challenges for me like most people are great in life especially, musical challenges. Doing what you love and workig diligently at it.

Most of what I’m going to share is about are the apps I’ve purchased:

  • Bias FX
  • Bias Amp
  • Bias JamUp Pro
  • Bias Final Touch
  • IK Multimedia SampleTank for iOS
  • DrumPerfict Pro

Positive Grid’s Guitar Plugins are IMHO the best you can purchase for the Macintosh platform. Although I usually mic up Guitar amplifiersin the PC realm, I use Bias Peak with Logic and Pro Tools to re-amp and layer. Bias Amp sounds just as good to my ears as it does on the Mac. I am blown away by this app on the iPad. Bias FX and the amps in JamUp Pro are just as great on the iPad.

Final Touch was something that was somewhat of an impulse buy because it was on sale. I’m quite happy with this mastering suite and grateful I picked it up. I’ve loosely mastered two demos with it so far, the tracks really came to life nicely. On labor day I paid a whopping $4.99 for the app on sale, Positive Grid has amazing holiday sales. The Memorial day sale prices are still current, GO BUY THEM!

 

  • Bias FX- Normal Price $29.99 Now  $9.99
  • Bias Amp Normal Price $19.99 Now $4.99
  • Bias JamUp Pro Normal Price $19.99 Now  $4.99
  • Bias Final Touch Normal Price $29.99 Now $4.99

 

I’ve always thought SampleTank had great sound samples, the Neil Peart Drums are awesome. I’ve had the free version of SampleTank for iOS on my iPhone for years, I knew the sounds were solid. Since it’s on sale for $15.99 for fathers day I pulled the trigger. It has great organ and electric piano samples, I’m happy I purchased it.

DrumPerfict Pro is touted as the Superior Drummer 2 / BFD for iPad. I can tell you it is no such thing. Firstly, the drums samples are horrible, I mean really bad. I can’t believe this has the positive reviews it has. Drummer inside of garage band sounds light years better that DrumPerfict Pro.

Second, the user interface is a train wreck. It’s a mishmash of screens that have no rhyme or reason other than the grid screen. How could you screw up a grid UI yes? After thinking it over I am going to ask Marinus J.G. van de Molengraft for a refund. While I applaud his efforts to bring a product like Superior Drummer to iOS, he falls miles short.

Lastly, I just ordered an iRig keys 37 that should arrive at the end of the week. I’m pretty excited about that. I have some really nice samples but no vehicle to bring the sounds to life.

 

 

 

 

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Mesa Cab Clone Yum!

This is an integral piece of studio gear that I have a tremendous need for. Palmer does a bloody brilliant job in this arena, but their products are very pricy. However, this item manufactured by a great well known”tried and true” amplifier company (Mesa Boogie) has me very intrigued and excited.

This is on the top of my “Musician Radar” at the moment to demo.

$299 US street price FTW! Nooice!

She’s the one!

The Luthiers who’ are doing the Crowning and over all “Meat Removal” of the far to square and über tall frets on my Les Paul standard text’d me some shots of the process. It made me just a bit uncomfortable to see the nut off the neck :O I can’t wait to get her back, She’s the one! (what can I say I name my geetarz) Ohhh and I love her sooo….

She’s the one came to my arms via selling some old vintage Mutron gear (one piece I’ve had since 1983, thanks Pat!), a tough trade off for sure…. But I knew I wanted a Les Paul and I knew She Was the One. When I was a Kid my First electric guitar was a tobacco burst Hohner Les Paul Copy, I was Twelve. When I brought home my Baby, it was like coming full circle. I can’t wait to get her back :)

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Capo 3 Review

A while back I posted a Video for the Capo 3 titled “This looks very cool.” Looks can be deceiving, here’s my review.

Capo claims to have fully automated cord detection, that’s very subjective. It can’t detect a VII cord major or minor, in fact it can’t detect any VII, 9, 13 or bV cords period. The major and minor chords are sketchy at best. This feature does not function properly in my opinion.

It’s feature touted as the spectrogram display does not come anywhere near to normal wave output graphic detection such as DAW or Melodyne. It has many diagram artifacts that make the visual feature unusable. Trying to outline notes of a guitar arrangement as they illustrate in the video is a FAIL. Ears would be much quicker in this case. This feature does not function properly in my opinion.

The loop feature is broken, it does not loop whatsoever in version 3.0.2. This is a huge bug, the software is really hard to justify paying for. (See Video Below)

As for the other functions of the software, I didn’t test them. After taking it for a test drive It’s obvious this is not a very good piece of software. Overall this app should be free, it’s not worth $29.99 price tag. I hope the developers over at Super Mega Ultra Groovy actually improve upon this, it’s a great idea.

I give it 1 star and I’m so thankful I didn’t purchase it but instead opted for the trial. Don’t waste you money on this one just yet, it has a very long way to go.

Lou Reed, Velvet Underground Leader and Rock Pioneer, Dead at 71

Rolling Stone

Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died today. The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May.

With the Velvet Underground in the late Sixties, Reed fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry. As a restlessly inventive solo artist, from the Seventies into the 2010s, he was chameleonic, thorny and unpredictable, challenging his fans at every turn. Glam, punk and alternative rock are all unthinkable without his revelatory example. “One chord is fine,” he once said, alluding to his bare-bones guitar style. “Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.”

louLewis Allan “Lou” Reed was born in Brooklyn, in 1942. A fan of doo-wop and early rock & roll (he movingly inducted Dion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989), Reed also took formative inspiration during his studies at Syracuse University with the poet Delmore Schwartz. After college, he worked as a staff songwriter for the novelty label Pickwick Records (where he had a minor hit in 1964 with a dance-song parody called “The Ostrich”). In the mid-Sixties, Reed befriended Welsh musician John Cale, a classically trained violist who had performed with groundbreaking minimalist composer La Monte Young. Reed and Cale formed a band called the Primitives, then changed their name to the Warlocks. After meeting guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker, they became the Velvet Underground. With a stark sound and ominous look, the band caught the attention of Andy Warhol, who incorporated the Velvets into his Exploding Plastic Inevitable. “Andy would show his movies on us,” Reed said. “We wore black so you could see the movie. But we were all wearing black anyway.”

“Produced” by Warhol and met with total commercial indifference when it was released in early 1967, VU’s debut The Velvet Underground & Nico stands as a landmark on par with the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde. Reed’s matter-of-fact descriptions of New York’s bohemian demimonde, rife with allusions to drugs and S&M, pushed beyond even the Rolling Stones’ darkest moments, while the heavy doses of distortion and noise for its own sake revolutionized rock guitar. The band’s three subsequent albums – 1968’s even more corrosive sounding White Light/White Heat, 1969’s fragile, folk-toned The Velvet Underground and 1970’s Loaded, which despite being recorded while he was leaving the group, contained two Reed standards, “Rock & Roll” and “Sweet Jane,” were similarly ignored. But they’d be embraced by future generations, cementing the Velvet Underground’s status as the most influential American rock band of all time.

After splitting with the Velvets in 1970, Reed traveled to England and, in characteristically paradoxical fashion, recorded a solo debut backed by members of the progressive-rock band Yes. But it was his next album, 1972’s Transformer, produced by Reed-disciple David Bowie, that pushed him beyond cult status into genuine rock stardom. “Walk On the Wild Side,” a loving yet unsentimental evocation of Warhol’s Factory scene, became a radio hit (despite its allusions to oral sex) and “Satellite of Love” was covered by U2 and others. Reed spent the Seventies defying expectations almost as a kind of sport. 1973’s Berlin was brutal literary bombast while 1974’s Sally Can’t Dance had soul horns and flashy guitar. In 1975 he released Metal Machine Music, a seething all-noise experiment his label RCA marketed as a avant-garde classic music, while 1978’s banter-heavy live album Take No Prisoners was a kind of comedy record in which Reed went on wild tangents and savaged rock critics by name (“Lou sure is adept at figuring out new ways to shit on people,” one of those critics, Robert Christgau, wrote at the time). Explaining his less-than-accommodating career trajectory, Reed told journalist Lester Bangs, “My bullshit is worth more than other people’s diamonds.”

Reed’s ambiguous sexual persona and excessive drug use throughout the Seventies was the stuff of underground rock myth. But in the Eighties, he began to mellow. He married Sylvia Morales and opened a window into his new married life on 1982’s excellent The Blue Mask, his best work since Transformer. His 1984 album New Sensations took a more commercial turn and 1989’s New York ended the decade with a set of funny, politically cutting songs that received universal critical praise. In 1991, he collaborated with Cale on Songs For Drella, a tribute to Warhol. Three years later, the Velvet Underground reunited for a series of successful European gigs.

Reed and Morales divorced in the early Nineties. Within a few years, Reed began a relationship with musician-performance artist Laurie Anderson. The two became an inseparable New York fixture, collaborating and performing live together, while also engaging in civic and environmental activism. They were married in 2008.

Reed continued to follow his own idiosyncratic artistic impulses throughout the ‘00s. The once-decadent rocker became an avid student of T’ai Chi, even bringing his instructor onstage during concerts in 2003. In 2005 he released a double CD called The Raven, based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe. In 2007, he released an ambient album titled Hudson River Wind Meditations. Reed returned to mainstream rock with 2011’s Lulu, a collaboration with Metallica.

“All through this, I’ve always thought that if you thought of all of it as a book then you have the Great American Novel, every record as a chapter,” he told Rolling Stone in 1987. “They’re all in chronological order. You take the whole thing, stack it and listen to it in order, there’s my Great American Novel.”

DV Mark amp emulator, effects unit and stereo amplifier

I’ve had the pleasure of using The DV Mark doing some overdubs this week at a local studio. My Egnater needs a new transformer so I decided to record some takes to get the tone I wanted and pay for it. Studio time is really cheap where I live because there’s a lot of competition. I’m not a fan of Mark Bass heads at all, I think the newer ones sound mushy. But I have to hand it to Mark Bass, this little amp emulator is really cool.

I went to this facility because they have a 50 watt circa 1970 Plexi I’ve played before that sounds just like what I’m looking for. You know, kind of like my Egnater but better :) I walk in and the house engineer is just cranking this Mark digital emulator and it sounds fabulous. I don’t like digital emulation because you can’t roll the volume knob off on the guitar to clean up the tone, not so with the DV Mark.  It reacts just like a tube amp with Volume swells and tone settings.

I did a little looking around after I returned home because I hadn’t ever seen one of these before. It’s placed in the market place to compete with the Kemper Profiling amp and the Axe-FX II. I’ve tried the Axe-FX II but you really had to spend a lot of time dialing in tones, not so with the DV Mark. It’s set up just like a typical 3 channel amplifier and really easy to use at half the price. I really want one after a few hours of play time, it’s the next on my list. Check out the videos below.

Amazing Random Email

I received this in a random email today, so rad!

The highest role of music is to inspire and uplift consciousness — to give us an experience of something greater than ourselves. As performers, our goal is to connect with inspiration and learn how to access it on a consistent basis. As listeners, we have our deepest experiences

My Friend Leo’s Gas!

My Friend Leo has been having serious G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) to the nth degree. I haven’t seen him in 4 weeks now that our old gig is no more for the time being so I had him over to hang out on Saturday. He came bearing his latest decadent ebay purchases, it was so awesome to play these Jems all afternoon. They are as follows:

  • 1958 Silvertone U1
  • 1960 Silvertone U1 bass
  • 1965 Straotone by Harmony
  • 1939 Vega Vitar Lap steel
  • Dan Electro Eric Clapton Reissue

When I picked up the Vega Vitar it rang like an acoustic. I kept telling Leo “dude this has to be hollow or have a major chamber inside.” He popped the bottom off, one big hunk of of Mahogany. Amazing! The bass is really something, totally Paul McCartney Hoffner Beatle tone, really something special. The 1958 Silvertone (Dan Electro) plays really well for a non truss rod piece and sounds brilliant. The Clapton reissue sounds KILLER! It doesn’t play as well as the 1958 U1 but if my buddy, who’s also incidentally a Luther in training in his third year with a builder here in town, can get it playing nice it will be something very special. The 1965 Stratotone is really unique, it sounds like the perfect slide guitar and much of my fretboard time on it Saturday was utilized playing just that.

All in all pretty exciting guitar geek stuff! If you’re a guitar nerd that is….. I snapped a couple of pictures just to make you all out in WordPress land Jealous :P I’m hoping to get some more time playing on them and maybe cutting some tracks with that sweet sounding Bass.

Enjoy!

 

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