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!

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Poison ft Chriss Yell

This is a Tune my close friend and Musical partner and I recorded last summer. I played the drums, bass and guitars, he sang and played some acoustic guitars as well as penned the tune. For contractual reasons I wasn’t allowed to play it publicly until Today. He has this fantastic sounding U87 Microphone clone from JJ audio that sounds so sweet and full, I love using that microphone! Enjoy!

Slate Pro Audio RAVEN MTX

Today Steven Slate released a new video of his new Raven Touch Studio Console. The Raven MTX is now available at gcpro.com in the US and MEDIAPROS.co.uk in the EU. No word on availability of the smaller Raven MTi shown at NAMM. I also might add the Price point is 16.5k US Stereo and $17.5k surround, a lot higher than SS marketing people have said in the past pre release. Also a note of interest it is “Macintosh only” at this time however a windows capable unit is in the works. I think it’s an amazing Desk and, if it works properly, a huge game changer for DAW.

SoundToys Little MicroShift free until the 29th of March!

SoundToys is one of the Platinum premiere Pro Tools Plugin companies in the industry. I think the software they author is some of the best sounding available. Until March 29th SoundToys is giving away the Little MicroShift Plugin free. I  downloaded mine this evening and I can’t stop mixing tracks with this little Gem. It sounds amazing in the mix! A must have for guitar players and vocalist, don’t lose out on this.

You must have an iLok and use this code: 406-2024-803 and register your Little Microshift Here: https://www.soundtoys.com/sxsw2013/&rc=406-2024-803

SoundToys Still creates world-class TDM and RTAS plugins for Pro Tools but now all SoundToys plugins are AU and VST compatible. That’s a big deal to Logic and Cubase users and full of win for us that use more than Pro Tools exclusively for DAW.  Go grab yours now!

My Alter Ego “I am Dead!”

I’m sitting in my studio with absolutely no voice whatsoever but I’m gleefully smiling :D I’ll explain in a minute. I’ve been working on segment music for a Broadcast Radio client of mine that’s been with me since 1995. The music was for a new gaming segment they’re adding to their “Computer Talk” radio program, of course it has to be the metal! (By Request). They want and I quote “a tune that sounds like a hot wheels commercial.” I’m not much of a Metal fan unless it’s Tool or Dream Theater, it seems to me and my taste Metal has all been done before. I don’t play metal at gigs and I wouldn’t audition for a metal gig unless someone tried to pass it off as something else (been there done that). It’s just not my cup of tea as a player.

The timing on this project couldn’t have been better.  I just finished watching “What we do is Secret” the story of the Germs. I was a little to young for the punk scene but I lived in the middle of it being in Los Angeles during Middle School. I remember kids wearing Germs shirts and hearing stories from my brother and his friends about Darby Crash (and his epic Heroin habit) and Pat Smear (Nirvana – Foo Fighters). I already had it in my mind to do some heavy Punk Riffing for fun in the studio because I’m a huge Germs fan and the film inspired me. I’m a huge fan of Punk Rock, I listen to the Dead Kennedy’s all the time still as I never seem to tire of them. Plus I resonate artistically toward the minimalism in Punk and good old 3 chord Rock. Angus RULZ!

In the same day (I know a lot of Netflix but I’ve been really Sick) I watched another film called Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains. I’d never heard of this film but it reminded me of working with scummy A & R people back when I was a young Lad trying to work my way up in the music business in LA 20 years ago. There’s a line from the Movie “Don’t Put Out” that was perfect for this tune so I threw it in there. I liked the film, but I usually like any film that has to do with musicians. Coal miners daughter, Walk the Line and the Pick of Destiny are among my favorites.

This is one of those projects where almost everything went perfect, almost, which is rare. I had some trouble with the drum production but I’m not a good drummer so I have to “fix it”to make it sound righteous in the mix. Outside of that I composed and recorded the music in less than 2 hours. I only did one take for the guitar solo and kept it as hinckey as it is in a few spots. The vocals aren’t going to the client just the arrangement, plus I can’t sing lead (my voice is nasally). So what is it that one must do when your voice is great for harmony but a Vick’s commercial a capella? Why bring out the Cookie Monster voice!

Cookie Monster Metal!

Cookie Monster Metal!

For many moons I’ve used a character  as a catalyst to write with before, the Staten Worshiping, Heroin addicted, on a Murder spree Loki Hendrix Mac Nicol. His mother let the neighbors rape him as a child while his drunk father beat him and his siblings which formed him into a psychopath. Loki is an alter ego kind of character bloody and violent to the core! Loki comes straight out of a Quentin Tarantino nightmare, he gets his kicks by stabbing people in the eye with his needles after he shoots up as a type of murderous mayhem and torture.

Loki Hendrix Mac Nicol

Loki Hendrix Mac Nicol was here!

As I’m doing the vocals on this project my voice is just getting tore up but I saved one last blast for the blood curdling scream Loki lets out in the intro. Oh my freaking Lord it hurt! The end of the story, I had so much fun doing this arrangement, more fun then I’ve had in quite some time solo cholo. FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN!!!! It wasn’t work, it was an enjoyable process especially when everything goes as easy as this one did. My Egnater Tourmaster sounds just brutal on this track, I cranked it up so loud I had to run cables all the way to the bathroom on the other side of the house to stop the bleed over. Check out my *cough* Loki’s blood curdling scream in the intro, I don’t think I will be answering the phone anytime today :D

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Oh, and remember to play this FUCKING LOUD!

VHT 12/20 Review Part 2

I’ve replaced the shite power tubes that came with this amp in favor of a matched pair of JJ 6v6’s from Eurotubes.com. It brought the amp to life in many ways but it’s still lacking a good tone without any versatility.  It’s my Belief that a full set of additional Pre-amp tubes and a decent speaker will make this amp plausible, thus far I’m not nearly as impressed with this amp as I am the Special 6 ultra.

The World Didn’t END!!!! VHT Special 12/20 Review

I recorded this VHT Special 12/20 Review tonight after waiting for months to hear someone else do the work so I could eat the fruit! The speaker in this amp needs a lot of breaking in, you can hear it’s a little harsh after 10 hours of play time. Still, I can clearly hear now that with a set of JJ’s from Eurotubes.com (Because Bob Pletka kicks ass!) this amp is going to be freaking killer daddy “O”! It very much thrives in a closed back cabinet like a big smoothly.

Remixing, whats it all about?

Remixing, whats it all about and can a musician remix with real instruments as opposed to a DJ? What’s ethical and what’s not? I have serious questions and I’m not quite sure where to get the answers, I desire to explore these here with the press community.

A couple of people I’ve worked with in the studio are two artists as well as friends are pretty slick at remixing, Chris Enve and Weapon X. I’m a guitarist, Bass player, Horn Player, a pretty fair Piano player ( I can get the job done if I wrote the song) and a fair drummer when using Alesis Pads with a Roland kick and High Hat trigger running through a sampler such as Superior Drummer or Native Instruments Abbey Road Drums. I really can create all of what I hear in my arrangements by myself so I’ve never had a need to remix.

However the thought has been on my mind ever since I fell in love with the greatest band in the work the Monophonics (can I get an amen!) Daily, and I mean every day I improvise to Goliath, Balboa Tree, in your Brain and Soul funk 45. This kind of Jazz-Funk-Fusion is an exciting place for me as a guitarist to explore improvisation, I never run out of ideas when I play with the Monophonics. It’s like a garden of musical melodies inside my head running on dilithium crystals, golden! and it’s different every-time, Platinum! Now I’m thinking I want to do a 3 song monophonic remix of Goliath, Balboa Tree and in your brain but wait, I’m a Guitarist not a DJ. Am I crossing some sacred line in Musicology? Is this going to be poo poo’d on? What’s the rules?

I guess at the end of the day maybe I should just go ahead an do it but i don’t want to anger anyone, I’m a fan I dig the Monophonics. Comments not only welcomes but needed.

I know leave you with the greatest band in the world, From San Francisco California

THE MONOPHONICS!
Peace!

The Return of Pro Tools 10!

I’ve been a Mod over at protoolsusers.org for a couple years shy of a decade now but have done less and less with Pro Tools in the last 4 years for various reasons which as of now are no longer an obstacle.  One, I was the owner of a 003 Rack running Pro Tools LE 8.x in the distant past that of course required Digi Design Hardware. The 003 wasn’t happening, the mic pres where fair to middling and the D2A converters down right sucked! I had it for importing my sessions and exporting them as pro Tools sessions to work with others over the internet as a first purpose with the hopes I could record with it as I eased into the learning curve which wasn’t very steep. This never panned out period, not because I didn’t like pro tools, because the hardware wasn’t up to snuff for sound and useability. Even with my Black Lion Audio moded MOTU A/D converters ADAT optical connected from the 003 the mic pres sounded edgy and sharp not mellow and transparent. Even great converters couldn’t fix bad!

Pro Tools Non-HD systems back then were made IMHO to have a measurable amount of latency even though computers have long been plenty powerful enough in RAM and processing  to overcome latency issues even back then. It was a marketing ploy to keep their industry standard flagship HD systems selling that clearly backfired so badly at one point Apogee was making a killing selling I’O for use wit Pro Tools that were even Windows compatible. With all the industries competitors having zero latency to the human ear available for then, back in 2005 and 2006, Digi Design had egg on their face those years as their other then HD market share died rapidly. Finally someone in power at Avid / Digi Design saw the light and decided the RIAA management style was a FAIL and opted for WINNING! in its place at the very last moment Pro Tools was hanging on as the industry standard by a thread.

In 2006 My Logic Pro DAW ran with less then 5ms of measurable latency like a champ in every way through my MOTU 896HD with full black lion modifications which sent me farther and farther from the industry standard Pro Tools. Logic has always used less systems resources then its competitors and still does to this day but the pack is catching up and Pro Tools is second IMO. Logic Pro also came with amazing sounding Virtual instruments, the best sampler of all time the EXS24 and an array of EQ’s, Compressors etc that rivaled the aftermarket Plugins easily pulverizing  many of them in shootouts by professionals.

By the Time Pro Tools 9 was released in 2010 I was so immersed in my improving speedy workflow I wasn’t interested in buying another DAW that didn’t support many of the Plugins I was using due to the fact most came bundled in Logic Pro. The ones I had had purchased separately would but without additional RTAS EQ’s and Compressors that sounded up to my standards I could never mix with the accuracy I could in Logic Pro. Plus the fact that I had to own an ilok was unappealing to me, I had lost one before and it took a year to get my software back from the vendors simply because Pace ilok had no support whatsoever!

Since 2010 Pace has released the ilok II with a much improved user web interface to manage your plugin licenses, an ilok  design that is durable sturdy (not like the original that was a POS) and although very, slow a customer support ticketing system to give support. Pro Tools also now comes bundled Virtual a few instruments that are not very functional but the plugins are. With the addition of Avid’s channel strip from system 5 and the additions to Audio Suite, Pro Tools comes with some nice sounding tools that weren’t included in years past. However the  major change is not requiring Digi Design Hardware to run pro tools, Pro Tools 9 and 10 will Run on Core Audio for Macintosh and any ASIO driver equipped Windows sound device.

I purchased an ilok  from my friends at RSPE and of course it was on my doorstep in 72 hours. However I only plan to use it for pro tools, I don’t trust pace enough to put Celemony’s Melodyne Studio, RMX, Superior 2.0, BFD, Omnisphere, Sonik Synth 2, Native Instruments Komplete 8 etc. licenses in the hands of Pace, probably not ever.

Now you can run Pro Tools on almost any interface from the top of the line Apogee line to a cheap line 6 UX1 equipped with USB 2.0. As far as I can surmise at this point the latency is now gone and you can record a vocal without an echo of your voice coming through the headphone mix (pre-processor processed) 500 Milliseconds later. My testes omit USB 2.0 because it’s not a good platform for D/A conversion with Low or No latency. I’m excited to start working with Pro Tools again and to be a Part of the Newly Redesigned Protoolsusers.org

Lastly an update, I’ve been extremely busy writing software and with my day to day normal duties. The next part of Garageband for iOS review is chugging along. It’s progress has been slowed by work and Captain Obvious here, who’s tried far to many arrangements to see what sounded good in an attempt to be ridiculously anal for a tech article to be syndicated by webzines and such. I’ll get the project to part IV as soon as I can :)

Until Next time Stay Melodic!

IK Multimedia Sonik Synth $29.99 US/€24.99 2 days only!

WOWZA! IK Multimedia has a new holiday-inspired discount program called Krazy Deal. IK Multimedia is offering  Sonik Synth for $29.99 US/€24.99 normally $199.99 US for father’s day. Very Nice! I haven’t updated this Virtual Synthesizer in so long I had to purchase the new version even thought I use it all the time, especially for integrated Web Flash soundscapes. They’ve added so much sound content since my last Version that especially focuses on Strings I’m giddy with joy. I have needed to update this software for a long time but wasn’t willing to dish $200 for it.

My current creative obsession is owning the sounds of the Vienna Symphonic Library, only Danny Elfman has $10,000 to spend on virtual instruments. However they are what creates all that magnificent music you hear in the new (since 2005) Doctor Who and Harry Potter movies. It’s an incredible tool, especially if you can read and write music scores. Thank you (my High School Band director) Danny Wagner! If you’re a savvy Engineer they sky’s the limit with VSL. What I could do with the 11 years of band geekdom my public education passed me with a tool like that, well I can dream for hours. Back to the point, Sonik Synth’s normal street price is $199.99. This is a great deal, check out the link. I downloaded several additional libraries that came with the new version totaling well over a 1 GB compressed as a .dmg file. I would say in size its new sound library is large enough to be the next thing in line to Omnisphere after playing around with it.

Check it out here: IK Multimedia Sonik Synth $29.99 US/€24.99 2 days only!