Posted tagged ‘music’

Using technology to help the poor

January 26, 2009

The nonprofit sector needs technology too.  And in the business of improving the world, technology makes impossible things possible.  In this case, one person has a vision to help the poor through music technology and Webcast.  I’m talking extreme poor.  Families who literally live in a dump outside Manila, in the Phillippines.  Check it out:


Cubase LE 3 compatibility with Vista

January 15, 2009

I recently bought a Tascam FW-1082 FireWire interface for my home recording studio.  I won’t get into my issues with that just now, but I will mention this – it came bundled with a copy of Cubase LE and a copy of Gigastudio 3.

Gigastudio wouldn’t run.  Period.  It’s a Vista thing – it crashes the PC every time the app is opened.  So much for that.  But Cubase is mostly functional.  I wanted to mention this because it’s a classic case of “almost compatible.”  Really, most issues work fine.  It used to crash when I attempted to close it (or was that Finale 03?  Can’t remember – if it did, it doesn’t anymore.).  But it’s a lesson – if you can, get v4 if you use Vista.  If not, try to use v3.  Although it’s not supported, it does work to a large extent.

Though, I should mention that version 4 is supposed to be significantly better, especially for synth lovers.

Cool gadget gift for your aspiring air guitarist

December 29, 2008

One of the interesting things about technology as it matures is that the toys get better and better.  A huge segment of the technology and electronics field is devoted to making toys.  I will pass on the opportunity to poke fun at our social condition and why we are so dependent on playthings, and simply skip to the toys.

My friend’s wife got this for him for Christmas.  It was one of the cool “fun” gifts that I saw this year.  Really not very geek-esque (or maybe it is!), but it’s a great way to apply simple technology in a marketable way.

Use the comments to refer any other interesting techno-gifts you saw this year.  If they are cool enough we will feature them in a post.

Music performance technology

December 19, 2008

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.

EW20ASENTI 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.

Help me win this scholarship!!!

August 11, 2008

OK, I haven’t written in a while – I’ve been very busy.   One of the things I have been busy with is this video.  Watch and rate on YouTube.  The more views and ratings I get, the better my score.  The better my score, the more chance I have of winning.