Ramping up the creative process

I had to very abruptly move this last summer. I moved back into my old neighborhood after being gone for 3 years which had changed for the worse. I could not stay there and feel safe any longer. I had a heroin addict OD on my front lawn and the neighborhood had turned into a den of drug dealers. All my friends except one family had moved away.

This really threw a curve ball into putting together my creative space. I am now at a point where I have a space in my home but it needs a lot of work especially sound reinforcement. That is going to be pricy and I’m thinking maybe I should just mix my projects elsewhere. The room I have available is like an reverb chamber, it’s so wet in here I feel like I need a hoodie on my head.

As I ramp up for the rest of winter and spring I am having to rethink my process from A to Z. Not because I want to, because some of the technologies I was using 3 years ago have changed and much so for the worse.

One of these technologies is MacJournal, my go to daily writer for over a decade. MacJournal has been a train wreck since i installed it on my new Macbook Pro. It looses journals entries during sync from the iOS app (Which I just shelled out more money for) and Dan Schimpf the author does not seem to support it any longer. It’s a shame because it was such a fantastic piece of software. Sadly his website has a copyright year of 2016 in the footer, the sign of slow software Vaporware and yet it has an SSL certificate. Very odd indeed.

The Distributor Mariner Software doesn’t even try to support the product. Back when people actually used MacJournal Mariner would hand off Tier II requests to the developer Dan Schimpf, not so now. It’s just no longer supported at all it seems.

I looking for a suitable replacement I have quickly come to the conclusion that there isn’t one. Day One seems to be the leader in Journaling software, I have been using the iOS version on my iPad pro for a few years but rarely. When reviewing the MAC OS app for purchase it quickly became a fucking joke. Everything is stored on their cloud with zero flexibility for backups in the new version, at least not that I can find.

Day One also has a subscription revenue model, that model is garbage. The subscription model is nothing but an avenue to increase top line revenue at the end users expense. At $35 US per year it’s a bloody joke, what’s next? It looks as though Journey may be my only alternative. I am downloading the trial today, if it doesn’t hit it out of the park in the first hour I am going back to word. At least I will know where my content is.

The next mode of technology I had to replace was MasterWriter which I have also used for more than a decade. For writing song lyrics and basic charts MasterWriter was the best tool out there for years. Then they also got greedy and went to a subscription model like Day One Journal did. I have been down this road in my daytime gig, it’s not something I am willing to spend personal finances on.

I did find a replacement, I don’t know how well it’s going to work out for me but it wasn’t expensive. After a few nights of chatting with other writers on some of the boards most of the MasterWriter community moved to a program called TuneSmith. I’m not sure if this is a viable replacement yet, I figure I will know more in a few weeks.


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New iOS app Drum Session

Just when I had all but given up on using iOS for music production a new app just hit the app store. Drum Session by Derek Buddemeyer looks very interesting. In most cases I’ve quickly purchased any percussion app that looked promising, but I’m holding off on Drum Session. I have a folder full of Drum apps, all have been quite the disappointment. Plus, on Black Friday I spent plenty on iOS deals. I’m hoping I may win one of 3 giveaways over at the Music App Bolg.

One of the appealing things about Drum Session is the creator Derek Buddemeyer is a guitarist. Guitarists have different needs when it comes to writing and recording compositions.  The fact that the UI (user interface) has a midi roll to tighten up any transition licks and alter any beat is something other apps have lacked.

midi roll

midi roll

This may very well have a downside as well. From the looks of this part of the UI I don’t see any features to “humanize” the beat. Perfectly quantized Stale sounding percussion is the worst. Those drum beats sounds mechanical, fake and can kill any groove that any potential great song should have.

I’ll patiently wait for reviews and opinions on Drum Session before I click the Buy Now button. I think the Drum app folder has enough company for now.

 

The Verdict on iOS music Creation

I’ve been working with the iPad Pro for the better part of 6 months. I’ve purchased 3 DAW’s, Garageband for iPad, Auria and Cubasis. They sound pretty Legit, Cubasis having the overall best sounding Virtual instruments (GarageBand a very close 2nd). If I were recording electronic Music only, I wouldn’t use anything other than an iPad. You can do just about everything you can carry out on a MacBook Pro in that realm.

For making organic analog music using Real Drums that have true groove, it fails blatantly. I’ve purchased the Real Time alternatives to Superior Drummer and BFD, Sonically they all fall VERY short but one. The best sounding acoustic Percussion with any decent workflow was Garageband’s x drummer. If you use it for Logic X and you like the sound you’re golden.

I like the sound of X Drummer, but it’s not very flexible in the choice of sounds and tones. For instance I could never get Full Kit sounds like some of the Steven Slate libraries I own for Mac and PC. You can get true non-quantised human groove like a Superior Drummer or BFD. That’s really important to me.

I also like how every thing plugs in seamlessly with AU. With the release of iOS 10 AU became more useful and feature rich. I rarely used AudioBus even back under iOS 9 with the Previous version of AU, the exception was Auria. Using X Drummer in GarageBand for iPad as a plugin to Auria or Cubase is a walk in the park with AudioShare. It’s actually easier and more seamless to use plugins, even whole DAW’s plugging into each other in iOS (more so than a PC).

I think you can make really great Acoustic instrument Demos giving the restrictions of iOS music creation. I don’t think you can create something professional and polished for Pandora Radio etc. The two pieces that are missing from all 3 DAW’s are:

Flexible good sounding Percussion creation somewhat resembling the Mac and PC world.
The feature that allows one to do several “takes” or “comps” of the same passage of music.

I believe as time moves forward these issues will be solved sooner more than later. There’s too much open market opportunity here for software companies.

EDIT: I forgot to tag this with categories and Keywords and originally posted this a few days ago, I was really tired! I reposed with the right SEO information.

Presonus AudioBox iTwo unboxing

Finally! The Presonus AudioBox iTwo has arrived, and I only had to pay for 3 of them!  I thought I would make a little unboxing video with the new iPad Pro since I have not shot any video yet. As you can see you really need a tripod to shoot video with an iPad haha….

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!

R.I.P. Bill Lawrence

The iconic guitar pickup designer Bill Lawrence has left the building. All Hail Bill Lawrence Huzzah!

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With great sadness in our hearts, the man we know as Bill Lawrence in the music industry passed away on November 2, 2013 at approximately 9:20AM.

BL1Bill was a strong and courageous man. Even in his last few days, Bill fought to live. He’d talk about Music, Pickups & Guitars — and Life, and we, at his company, were still working because this is what Bill Lawrence wanted to know — that his company & legacy is carrying on as usual.

We will miss the Bill Lawrence Mighty Force. Bill brought so much, and he wanted to stay here on earth to keep giving. One thing, yesterday as preparing the necessary paperwork, required is Designation of Race. In Honor of Bill Lawrence and his wishes, we included Human.

A Memorial Service will be held Friday 11/8/13 at 3:00PM Fairhaven Memorial Park 1702 Fairhaven Avenue Santa Ana, Orange County, CA 92705 — 714-633-1442

Love, Becky

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.