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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Drum Session Full Review

I’ve had some time to work with Drum Session in a few environments. This app really sounds great, far better than anything else I’ve tried. I’ve used it with Cubasis, Auria Pro and the newcomer Audio Evolution which I’m really liking. I have primarily used inter-app audio thus far.

There are some things I’ve found in these last few months both positive and negative. Since the samples in Drum Session are top notch, most of my experience is positive. I’ve been keeping an eye on Derricks FaceBook page. He’s posted some images of the reworked UI and ta video clip upcoming iPhone version of Drum Session.

Inter app audio has not been solid, however I think this likely has nothing to do with the Drum Session app. It works the best with Cubasis but crashes with Auria Pro and Audio Evolution Mobile. There’s also a few instances of buggy behavior. More than likely these would be feature requests.

Changing the Drum Kit and saving does not save the changed kit or the loop, see video below:

The video is lacking because I’m holding my iPhone sorry about that. Note the loop settings and the different Drum kit was not saved to the file although, the kit and loop were present when toggling from song to song. It’s only when you close out the Drum Session app that the changes disappear.

These would be features I would think everyone would use and would be a part of the original release. For all I know this could just be my iPad. Derek Buddemeyer the developer for Drum Session has been really good about stopping in once in a while. Maybe he can comment on these feature requests.

Below is a screen shout of the new Drum Session UI / UIX that I believe will be in the next software release:

ss2

This looks fantastic! Very easy to read and much more so the look and feel of a traditional DAW. I am waiting patiently for the next release, I believe this release will be a big step forward for Drum Session.

As I had eluded to previously I was using inter app audio for most of the work I’ve done so far with Drum Session. IMHO inter app audio still has a ways to go but I’m grateful it’s being developed. I’ve moved everything over for the track I am working on into the DAW with Audio Share. I really like Audio Evolution Pro as a DAW but it’s still very new to iOS. Inter app audio  is not very tight on  Audio Evolution Pro or Auria Pro. It’s solid on Cubasis but I find the Cubasis UI difficult to work with.

I give Drum Session a Solid 4.5 stars. There’s a few things that need improvement, but at the end of the day for me it’s all about how good it sounds.

X Lossless Decoder for MAC OS X is amazing!

I’m writing this partially out of guilt! If I weren’t so bloody broke at the moment I would donate at least $20 the Developer of this great piece of free software X Lossless Decoder. At the moment I can’t afford the gas to drive but at leastI can pass along this software to Mac users and Windows users running Wine Windows has good solution(s) for Sound file manipulation but one never knows who uses what. The great thing about X Lossless Decoder is not only the slick easy to use minimalistic interface that does so much and….. accepts Shell (Terminal for Mac users) commands for every function it’s capable of. Now that’s Sexy! Well, to a geek it is anyway.

I have to admit I am very picky about what software goes on the my Recording Studio Computer. I’ve been using Logic and Pro tools with all the plugins and Virtual instruments I’ve purchased for so long and I’m a Linux / Unix geek who loves to get my inner and outer Geek on rather it be Music Geek, Guitar Geek, Studio Geek, Computer geek or gamer boy since I was a wee Lad. I’ve learned Don’t put Crap software! on your studio computer, it causes problems in recording sessions that are time burners. I’m not talking Wow, or Diablo III, I’m talking the plethora of Open Source Software out there that OS X runs easily with BSD (aka Darwin the engine under hood of Apple Computers and Iphones / ipads) or on most flavors of Unix and many Linux as well.

A lot of Developers take the open source software, do a few tweaks if any and release it for Macintosh without decent testing. I’m sure it runs great on the Mac they use it on but that doesn’t mean it will on all unless you take the time to do it properly. I can see why though, they modify open source code, it works for them so they want to share it by offering the binaries (the source code) to others. Therefore I test software on other machines before I install in my studio. X Lossless decoder is developed by one guy with no serious corporate web presence but after testing it on 4 machines I installed it on the Mac in my studio and it runs fantastic. I’ve used it for days now finishing a back log of files that were several steps to convert and manipulate. The backlog exists because it’s such a pain in the backside, now it’s easy!

I have to manage a lot of different sound file types especially Ogg / FLAC / oga / ape / aiff / wav / ptx and of course m4a (apple lossless) Until now I’ve been using several pieces of software to do different things. Toast for FLAC to mp3 / Lossless etc. I just hadn’t found one solution that was written well enough to chance installing in my studio until now. It works very solid, it’s very fast, it doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary when it connects to the Developers server (I checked the logs all looks good so far) for updates and such, and it’s highly customizable. I was really impressed with its speed. Yes I have a huge amount of RAM because DAW loves RAM but I have other software from Major vendors I’ve paid for that takes 10 times as long to do the same simple conversions. Check it out if you’re a Mac user who has lots of Music rather creating it or a listener, it’s very helpful.

X Lossless Decoder – A must have OS X program for Music Lovers.