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Cold, Cold Summer…

Cubasis and iPad

Cubasis and iPad

Without revealing too much about my personal life, the last twelve months have been interesting. Sometimes changes in your life are subtle, sometimes they are sudden. But at any rate, our lives changes. That’s the basic rule of life and there’s nothing we can do about it. So, we’d better not to fear them but to embrace them. One of the changes is that it’s summer again. This summer has been weird. First, the summer came early. Then, it sort of went away. It’s still too cold but well, that’s what Northern summer is all about. You never know what it’s like.

Anyway, one of the most interesting questions this summer has been: “How to upgrade my musical equipment?” I’m talking about my guitar amplifiers as well as my audio recording equipment. Both are getting old. They still work, though.

I’m thinking of two modelling guitar amplifiers. Kemper Profiler or Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II. Naturally, they are bloody expensive widgets, so I need to save some more money in order to get either of them next winter.

But things get a bit more complicated when it comes to new audio recording equipment = the equipment I use to write and record the demo versions of my new songs. Basically, I’ve got four options:

  1. Something I have right now: a Windows desktop computer with an audio interface and Cubase.
  2. A Windows laptop with an audio interface and Cubase.
  3. A MacBook with an audio interface and Cubase.
  4. An iPad with an audio interface and Cubasis.

With all of these alternatives, I’ll be able to create MIDI drum and keyboard tracks and to record guitar tracks and even some vocal tracks (if I want to and the demo version requires some vocals). In addition, I have two main things that matter: price and mobility.

In theory, I’d choose #2 and #4 with Steinberg UR44, an audio interface that fits both PC and iPad + Line 6 Sonic Port. That combination would be almost too mobile. And slightly expensive, too, around 1500 euros which happens to be the price of Kemper Profiler as well. The price of this combination would be around 3000 euros. That’s a lot of money, isn’t it? In practice, I’d like to start with something new but inexpensive. An iPad with Cubasis and an inexpensive audio interface. That would be something around 400 and 700 euros, perhaps.

Too bad Google hasn’t been interesting in making Android good at handling low-latency audio software. Well, things are perhaps changing.. But slowly. I mean I already have an Android tablet that could be used for something.

Anyway, it’s funny how things have progressed. In the 90s, EToS wrote many songs with computers and many songs at our rehearsal rooms. In the 2010s, we still do the same but in theory, we can also write songs with our phones and tablets. In the 90s, that would have sounded amazing.

I’ll end this blog entry with another question. “What should I write once I get my new equipment?” Well, EToS is naturally one thing. In addition, I’ve got two or three different styles I’d like to try. There’s the 10-year-old project that’s (once again) heading in a new direction. And there’s some other things I’d like to try, just for fun. Trying new things is what makes me going. And if nothing new comes to my mind, my inspiration just disappears for a while.

So, have a nice summer!

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2014!

Happy new year everyone!

First of all, I suppose you can guess what happened to my ambitious project? It was a total failure, although not a complete failure. During the last months of 2013, I read many (well, several) books, listened to a lot of new music (meaning: music that’s new to me), watched some excellent movies and television series and so on.

2013 was not a bad year at all. In short, it was a better year than 2011 or 2012. And 2014 has already been a bit different. I’m talking about my dear computer i.e. my media center and my music studio. I half-accidentally got rid of Windows 7 and started using Linux Mint.

Why? The most important reason is: Linux Mint 16 is faster than Windows 7. And a bit safer to use, too. And much cheaper!

But after installing Mint and installing nearly all the software I needed, I still needed to get answers to three questions:

  1. How to use Netflix and other services that use Silverlight?
  2. How to use Office?
  3. How to make music with Linux?

The Netflix question was relatively easy to solve. http://namhuy.net/1867/how-to-install-netflix-on-ubuntu-linux-mint-and-fedora.html The only problem is that as the solution is a bit complicated when it comes to technology, the FPS on my old computer is not as good as it should be. So, I’ll use Netflix on my tablet.

The Office question was simple: Mint is equipped with LibreOffice. Besides, I also have Google Keep and Google Docs, which is where I keep most of my documents, anyway.

But the third question remains. How to make music with Linux? After using Cubase on Windows for ten years, that is a quantum leap into the great unknown. VST on Linux? Perhaps, as far as I know.

In the end, all I need is a nice environment to make drum beats, to record some guitars and additionally to have some virtual keyboard tracks on top of everything else. I’m still working on it. I’ll let you know when I come up with something interesting.. I hope.

 

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