Music performance technology
I haven’t been posting much this week, mainly because it’s Christmas season and that means musicians are very busy. In fact, I have a concert tonight at the local coffee shop. It will be our first concert using computer-based recording.
There are a lot of programs and gadgets to do live music performance, but I’m not going to go into that here. I will, however, share what we are using.
I play an Ibanez EW acoustic-electric guitar (click picture or link for a better view). It’s a work of art. The figured ash body is probably the most beautiful guitar body I have ever seen, and the resonance is remarkably well-formed without being boomy.
I usually run the guitar and mic into a 180-watt Fender Acoustasonic (the first series; they are no longer in production). It’s completely one-of-a-kind — when I got it, the grill cloth was damaged, so I replaced the usual sand-colored grill cloth with a funky flannel. It’s very unique looking.
I play a Kurtzweil SP88 as well. It has excellent onboard piano sounds and works fairly well as a MIDI controller (though I don’t at this point use MIDI live).
I sing into a Shure SM57. OK, if you’re TOTALLY new to music, the SM57 is one of the standard “classic” dynamic mics. It is used for everything from vocals (G Love) to guitar cabinets (pretty much everyone) to snare and tom drums (also pretty much everyone). Most people use the SM58 for vocals (folks like Bono) if they are using Shure, but the SM57 works well for me. It’s probably the most all-purpose mic around.
We have changed our setup recently by adding Cubase LE to the mix. Now, we run everything into a Tascam FW1082 (which I don’t particularly recommend, but hey, we paid for it already). The Tascam serves as an interface between us, the computer, and the PA system (for which we use the Acoustasonic). This allows us to run all the instruments and mic through Cubase, so that we can use the vocal compressor and EQ in the program. Cubase and the FW-1082 support zero-latency monitoring, so the Acoustasonic really does work as a PA. I just have to remember to turn the screen saver off and make sure the computer power is “always on.”
The computer we are running is a C2Q 6600 with 4 GB RAM and Vista Ultimate. We use an Acer 22″ monitor.
So that’s the story. Maybe I will add pictures of the setup to the post after the show.