Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Recording in Cubase 7.5 using the Tascam US-366

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

I upgraded my audio recording setup to Win8.1 and Cubase 7.5 (64bit) and installed the Tascam US-366, a USB-soundcard.

At first, I had a hard time finding the correct settings for recording but after a bit of fiddling I am able to record a drum track (drum computer) and a guitar track at the same time.

If you’re still lost, read on. Please be warned that this post is very basic. I’ll explain how to record mono tracks and I still have some questions regarding my own setup. But I hope I’ll be able to put you on the right tracks *chuckle*

1) Install the US-Tascam 366 as explained in the the guide. Make it your default sound device in Windows. Set it to Multi Track (switch on the back)

2) Open a Cubase project, set the VST connections – Input as follows:

vst_input

That is, if you’re recording a mono track. Also, I’m not sure if these are the default settings for the TASCAM. These settings work for my setup, maybe you will have to change them.

3) Set the VST connections – Outputs as follows:

vst_output

* Note: You can test the output settings quite easily: Import an audio track into Cubase (menu File -> Import -> Import audio file…) and play around with the Outputs until you can hear the music playing. Make sure that the correct Audio Device is selected and that you can also play audio files in Windows e.g. using VLC

4) In a project, add an audio track. And here comes the tricky part: In the track inspector, the correct input and output must be set as well:

track_presetI used this track for the guitar. The second track for the drum machine has the input “Mono In 2”

Basically, that’s it! Hope this helps you some, be creative!

Bonus tip: If you want to record both tracks at the same time, open the mixer (F3) and select the tracks you want to record – provided you set them to separate inputs as explained above:

MixerOf course, naming the tracks helps the overview quite a lot…

 

Update:

I wrote I’m using Win 8.1 for recording. Please don’t get me wrong. Win 8.1 and its farked up mix of GUI paradigms is the worst version of Windows I’ve ever come across. Usually I prefer to work on Ubuntu but Cubase does not come with a Linux version. And Mac OS X is getting worse and worse. I know there are alternatives on Linux, thank you. But I’ve visited an expensive course for Cubase, so that’s that.
Anyway, the only good thing about Win 8.1 is its quick boot compared to Windows 7. And once you install Classic Shell you basically get a usable Windows version.

Guitar tab for Miles Of Machines Main Arpeggio by Jeff Loomis

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

After transcribing some part of Devil Theory, here’s the transcription of Miles Of Machine, the main arpeggio.

Youtube: miles of machine by Jeff Loomis

Originally  transcribed using tuxguitar, I exported it to ascii so I could add the fingering and the chords.

Transcription: miles_of_machines_jeff_loomis

HTHYGP (hope this helps your guitar playing)

Guitar tablature for Devil Theory by Jeff Loomis (delay arpeggio section)

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Youtube is a wonderful tool for musicians. I recently started learning some guitar solos shown on youtube.

One artist whose playing I admire very much is Jeff Loomis (Nevermore and solo artist).

In this post (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDs9EKJtpTs) he uses a classical basis with some delay to create a stunning little piece. I spent 3 afternoons transcribing this using tuxguitar, then export to ascii so I could add the fingering.

devil_theory_jeff_loomis

HTHYGP (hope this helps your guitar playing)

 

Don’t let Banshee scare your removable device!

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

As you might know, Banshee replaced Rhythmbox as default media player in Ubuntu as of 10.10. Apart from being written in Mono (which I consider a weak point), Banshee is a more temporary media player with support for many portable media players and online stores.

I sport a Transcend MP860 which I described in one of my earliest post. So far, I was just manually copying files to and back to the device using the shell or Nautilus. It works but I wanted to see whether I can use Banshee for that as well, since my music collection of 5800+ songs is already being managed by Banshee.

The first couple of tries were not succesful. Dragging folders from 1) to 2) didn’t work as I was hoping.

Dragging folders from 1) to 2) didn’t work

Banshee would start converting the .ogg files to .wav files. As the MP860 can play .ogg files, no conversion should be required.

The context menu of the device in Banshee was not helpful either: right-clicking the “8.0 GB FileSystem” and selecting “Device Properties” does supposedly allow you to change settings, but in my case only .wav was available.

As so often, Google to the rescue! Sometimes it’s frustrating though. Nothing but bug reports about format conversion problems or promising hints that end in 404 error pages. Fortunately, I found another post that treats a similar sort of problem with Banshee and removable devices. The steps outlined in that post helped me fix my problem. I will show you what I needed to change to fit it my requirements…

Below is a screenshot of my MP860 when I connect it via USB to the pc:

The directory structure on my MP860

These are the default directories and the MUSIC folder contains my audio files in a two-tiered structure e.g. <band>\<album>

Now, in order to make Banshee recognize the MP860 player as a media player that’s capable of playing .ogg files, I needed to touch the following file in the root of the MP860:

cd /media/disk (<– your player might be mounted with a different name)
touch .is_audio_player

Fire up your favourite text editor and edit .is_audio_player to contain the following lines:

audio_folders=MUSIC/
folder_depth=2
output_formats=audio/ogg

It’s probably self-explaining, but here you are:
The first  line must contain the path to your music files.
The second line… I actually don’t know. My directory structure is two levels deep… I have no idea where Banshee would copy files if the folder_depth were 3.
The last line specifies the output format that your player knows. If the file format in Banshee matches the output format specified in that line, no conversion will take place. The files will just be copied. In his post (see the link above), Activ8specifies several non-ogg formats, separated by a comma. Check out his post for the exact syntax or feel free to experiment!

HTH some.

 

太好了! Realtime monitoring when recording with a GT-10 via USB

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

With my recently acquired Boss GT-10, I wanted to make some sound recordings via USB, just for the fun of it. Connecting all the devices was no problem at all and I was quickly able to listen to my playing on the pc’s audio output.

Recoding however was a different beast. The manual says to connect the GT-10 via USB to the computer and turn off  direct monitoring and all should be well. Hm… almost. As I’ve seen in the rolandforum, there are quite some people who can record but they all complain about the same problem: During the recording, there is no “live” sound, they can only hear what they played after the recording.

Here’s how to fix that on Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty):

1) Start the GT-10, click on “SYSTEM”, open the USB submenu.
Change the settings as follows:
Driver Mode: Advanced
Monitor Cmd: Enable
Dir.  Monitor: On

Restart the GT-10

2) Connect the GT-10 to the computer

3) Open the sound preferences.
On the tab “Input”, select the GT-10 as input device:

Set the GT-10 as the default sound input device

Switch to the Output tab.
Set the GT-10 as the default output device.

The GT-10 as output device

3) Connect your headphones to the GT-10

4) Record something and rejoice!

I think the main problem is that the manual focuses its descriptions of the difference between “Standard” Driver Mode and “Advanced” Driver Mode on the fact that in “Advanced” you can also send MIDI commands to the GT-10.
Another explanation as to why this is working might be that keeping Dir.Monitor “On” and plugging the earphones into the GT-10 rather than into the computer makes it work.

However that might be, if you follow the instructions above, you’re set for some USB recording with your GT-10.

Enjoy!

Guitarist’s pr0n Part II

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

As promised, some more photos of Her Awesomeness “S5470 Prestige”, made in Nagoya, Japan.

These few pictures are also my first try at doing some macro shots. Unfortunately, the shots didn’t turn out very well. It’s not possible to put some different objectives on the Canon Powershot S3 IS, so I had to use the standard macro mode with a minimal distance of 10cm to the object.

How slender she is!

The first you thing you notice, when you play the instrument for the first time: how slender and lightweight this guitar actually is.
On the right, there’s a 1 EUR coin to give you some comparison.

And how curvy she is!

Due to all the cut aways, the right arm position feels very natural. No edges, no resistance.
Despite the compact size, it’s a very stable guitar. The neck is reinforced by a Titan rod.

Adjustment for the tremolo bar

Turning her over, you can see the adjustments to the tremolo that you can make by simpling turning a knob. No need anymore to unscrew any plates.

The ZR tremolo

Turning the knob will raise or lower the tremolo. The tremolo itself is floating. No more edges where strings can easily break. Strings are also easier to replace than with standard FloydRose tremolos.

Awesomeness down to the last details

Unfortunately, it’s a bit hard to see in this picture, but there’s actually some rubber around those knobs, to make sure you have grip even with sweaty hands.
The arrangement and the perspective of the picture with the reflections are a lucky combination but make for a good shot, methinks.

The inlays

Another example of a not perfectly sharp picture. I don’t know if I was too close or whether there was some other problem. Anyway, the inlay on the fretboard is just as beautiful as the rest of the guitar.

A brunette!

If the head is brown, that makes her a brunette, right?
Someday I will have to remove those tags. Until then, they stay on. On one of the tags, it says: “Final production check: Mori”. It’s actually my first guitar of which I know who handled it in the factory. What a feeling! ご苦労様、森さん! m__m

Guitarist’s pr0n Part I

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

This is gonna be one helluva sexy post…

Sometimes, a man just can’t help himself and he falls for those curves. And when there are even strings attached… beware, o world! (and wallet).

For quite a while I felt I was in a musical slump. The equipment I previously used was old and showing it’s ages. It became therefor my  primary goal to get some gear that would allow me to do anything musically. The secondary goal was also to free up some space at home by getting rid of some guitars that I don’t use anymore.

In the end, I treated myself these two honeys: *cue sexy music*

A Boss GT-10 and a Ibanez S5470 Prestige BH

Let’s unravel the GT-10 first…

A virgin GT-10

The box is surprisingly heavy and designed like a spaceship. It immediately makes you add “can shoot lasers” to the list of imagenary features. Remember to aim away from face!

Some look better lying on the back

The list of effects on the package is longer than that Charlie Sheen’s coke dealers.

Open up and say "Aah"

The GT-10 comes with a thick manual that’s probably needed very much. Although I’ve noticed some quite well-made videos on youtube where proficient people show you their tips’n’tricks on the GT-10.

A close-up shot for the kind of people who like close- up shots

This will probably be one of the few times where I’ll actually fill out and send in the warranty form.

The electronic equivalent of contraception: not sexy but necessary

I haven’t checked the voltage this adapter can take but it looks like playing abroad would take a cheap power cord (not “powerchord”) and you’re ready to go.

There she is, naked and ready

The last layer before the fun begins… matter of fact is, I haven’t gotten any further yet. But like all new stuff, the GT-10 even smells electrifying (talk about an all sensory appeal)

And now, ladies and gents (I doubt there are any ladies here anymore)… the curvy, luscious main guest for tonight! Slender, well-built, not cheap but promising to hold onto you for ever… the S5470 Prestige BH (Black Haze)

The case is built like a tank...

… and reveals nothing of the beauty it’s carrying. But hold on!

Tada!

If that ain’t sexy, I wouldn’t know what is. The lush interior screams ‘comfort’ and the guitar fits so tightly into the case, it has to be slightly pushed into it.

That glare is not the flash of the camera, it's pure awesomeness! ^_^

At one point, I’ll have to take off the advertisement for the ZR-II locking tremolo but that’ll be later…

Greek philosophers were wrong: Beauty is not a vase, it's an Ibanez guitar!

The last overall shot for now. Next time, I’ll post some details. Excuse me please, I have to go change me pants :->

 

 

5 music albums I like very much

Monday, March 15th, 2010

This article proved to be harder to write than I imagined. To choose an appropriate title was already quite difficult. Going along something similar to “favourite albums”, “of all time” and such usually doesn’t hold true for me. We all change ever so slightly and what we like now may feel old and treaded in a couple of years. Hence I decided to go for a more general title.
Also, five is so arbitrary… I could easily mention 10 or 20.
Last but not least, chances are 99.9999% that your picks are different from mine. Feel free to write a comment but don’t start a flame war! *cheers*

#1 Sieges Even – The Art of Navigation by The Stars (2005)

A progressive metal concept album of the highest order. As the name implies, most songs revolve around the sea and the sound shows. Heavy, pressing sections interchange with quieter parts likes waves in the ocean.  Technically very demanding sections precede and follow grooving sections like the tide.
I’ve been listening to this for a year or longer on my digital music gadget.

#2 Queensrÿche – Operation: Mindcrime (1988)

Another classic progressive metal album – if you don’t know this one, you are missing something. A story of manipulation, love, power and misery.

#3 Fates Warning – A Pleasant Shade of Gray (1997)

Definitely not the easiest album to listen to. Many songs are rather dark and yet one of the finest achievements in songwriting by Fates Warning or rather Jim Matheos who composed all songs. He must have felt very drained when he was done with the songs. Many fans of Dream Theater without doubt will also relish the piano and keyboard parts played by Kevin Moore.

#4 Extreme – III Sides to Every Story (1992)

Different to the predecessor, III Sides to Every Story is more subtle and philosophical as the title already indicates. The sound of the latter half of the album is also much more symphonic than the previous albums “Extreme” and “Extreme II”.
Although the critics were not over the moon with this album, I particularly like the courage it must have taken the band to release such an album. Given the success and hyper-funkiness of the previous album they probably acknowledged that they couldn’t possibly beat that and decided for artistic integrity rather than quick cash.
Incidentally, many of the lyrics (in particular “Stop the World” and “Am I Ever Gonna Change”) echo my perpetual doubts about the world and make listening to the album not only  a musical discovery but also an exercise in philosophy.

#5 Yngwie Johann Malmsteen – Concerto Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra in E Flat minor Op. 1 (1998)

An album of classical music but this time the electric guitar is in the lead. Regardless of what prejudices pundits of classical music may have against such a combination, Yngwie proves them wrong. I think this makes for an excellent mix and maybe an easy introduction to classical music if so you haven’t been open towards such music.

As mentioned above, I could easily have added another 5 or ten albums such as White Lion’s Big Game, 1984, Dream Theater’s Six Degres of Inner Turbulence, Toto’s The Seventh One, Symphony X’s The Divine Wings of Tragedy, Summoning’s Oath Bound, Annihilator’s Alice in Hell, Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, Metallica’s … Justice For All and so and so on. These are all albums that make me wish I could play the guitar better than I do. I promise to practice more once I hit retirement age (if there will be such a thing in 30+ year…)