Studio setup 102. Gateway to the stars and beyond.

My studio sequencer is Logic Pro running on an M1 powered 13 inch MacBook Pro. It has the “pony” accessories for the lowest price. The M1 makes up for a lot of shortcomings. The small SSD storage leaves only about 100GB free to work with. I have an old 320 GB Western Digital SATA sitting in an external cradle. I may pick up a bigger hard drive if this setup seems to work out. It’s a 7700 rpm fast drive. You can get this size for about $20. I’m not sure about the interface. That may be a bottleneck. I’m not sure how to tell.

But for practical purposes, it has some room to store things like project folders and I might buy a few of these 320GB drives and just use maybe one per song. My songs don’t tend to be large sequences, but it would be nice to store all the stuff that goes with it, like photos, or found sounds.

So at this point, I’ve got the Proteus/2, Proteus/2 Orchestral and the Ultra Proteus going. The TX-81Z’s are useful sometimes. It’s nice to know that I can always reach out and get these kinds of sounds and just record them on their own track. No CPU overhead and the E-MU Proteus is 24 bit 192 KHz samples, so I’ve got a good piano there in the Ultra Proteus. The Proteus/2 has lots of orchestral samples that came from an E-MU III sampler.

Of course, the TX-81Z’s are 4 Operator tone boxes, like a little DX-7 and they still have some neat purposes. I’d use them for bass, or for textures. I now think recording each box separately would give the most flexibility and the best sound.

So that’s the Studio sequencer. I also have a live sequencer used for backing tracks and effects for live performances. It’s a Dell XPS-13 and is a little less powerful than the mac, and is running Windows 11 and either Tracktion Waveform or Reason. This one is good for giving a play list and let it pull up songs in the performance. It’s not very flexible. You have to give it the settings you want and go with that when the time comes. But it can be fine tuned to do lots of things.
I generate each track by synthesizing it and then freezing it in the DAW so that CPU demand is kept to a minimum and at that point, I don’t want to be changing anything about it. I used to have 2 effect units that I could use on vocals. Now, I would probably use the reverb built into the mixer or perhaps use the sequencer to do some mixing as it plays. I’ve cleaned up my act quite a bit nowadays.
I wouldn’t dare take my studio setup out for a live gig. Too many failure points. MIDI is great but if a cable goes bad or gets unplugged, it can ruin everything. So that’s where the live sequencer comes in. Its job is just to coordinate everything and play the backup tracks. It is hooked into the mixer so that I can balance live and pre-recorded parts to get a good performance.

The files I work with in the studio are higher resolution than the live backup. This keeps the live sequencer from bogging down, and the human ears can’t really distinguish those audiophile hi resolution settings. It helps when you’re recording and processing to keep plenty of overhead for dynamics.

So this is based on my experiences playing out in the past, but I don’t have anything to expect that I’ll be able to do performances locally. I’m thinking about doing Internet live on either Facebook or Youtube. I want to increase my following before that just to make things interesting. I think I could use the camera built into the Mac and replace the audio track with the mixer’s output. I’ve got lots of microphones to choose from, so I’d rehearse with the microphone and maybe wear headphones. I have some high grade headphones that I thought would be good for recording but they are open backed, so it bleeds over into the recording. I’ve got an inexpensive set of Tascam headphones that works better than that.

I would use the OBS video mixer software. It lets me produce tracks that have audio and video, and then I add my parts along with that. I think it could be made into a monster if we just pull together as a team.

These are long term projects, and I’m only working on the mechanics of how to put my show together and go live with a little warning given to my followers that the show is coming up. I’m thinking about how to improve on the live shows I did during the opening days of the plague.

Section Two: Operating

I started by finding a couple of voices I liked on the Proteus family. I’ve got stereo Grand piano on the Ultra Proteus. So I can begin by playing something on the piano. I would probably switch from that to some synthetic strings perhaps for padding. I’ve got another Proteus/2 voice for bass that has a cool sound. I’ll try to pull that one back up. Then I’ll toy around with playing those two, until I think about any other voices I might add. Probably some cheesy synthesizer voices.
I’m thinking about having some honey nut cheerios now.

Okay, I’m back. The damn lights are flickering, so hopefully it’s not a fire hazard. The workers have left us alone. I’m so glad to see their backs. I parked in the driveway for the first time in months. It finally feels like my house, but we spent all our money on this house. I do like the floors. It seems like a bigger house without carpeting. The natural reverb matches the cleaning we have to do now.

This seems to be way off of my original topic. I no longer have anyone to talk to in this life, so I guess anything goes. I’ll always have me to relate to. My mirrors tarnish with no help.

I’m still interested in doing a music show on Facebook Live. I guess that would be a good place to start. Youtube is a little more complicated. Or at least it seems that way to me. There are details that I don’t know about, like how to put buttons at the end of the video, the sort of details that would make it look more professional. I’m tired of everything I touch being half-assed and inadequate to the point of driving people away.

I’m thinking my next project will be called “Real Life” and feature my own music, but try to make it sound like real instruments instead of the cheese that everyone else seems to despise. It’s too bad I really like cheese. But I’ve been having some success with the sound modules that Sam left me. They contain orchestral sounds that I like. One of them has a nice stereo grand piano voice that is probably the best piano I’ve got here. Some of the samplers I’ve got have some forms of sampled pianos. This one is nice and bright, and I’ve plunked around on it, though aimlessly, and lacking any kind of direction.

It’s hard for me to think too deeply about realism while sitting here listening to Gary Numan. I missed the post punk train in 1982. I guess it was over by the time I was just getting started. I tried to duplicate things I’d heard for years, but I never had any equipment that could come close. Now I’ve got these software instruments that sound really luscious to me, but it all seems like a waste since nobody wants to hear synthesizers any more. Was it really such a short lived instrument? I wanted all these sounds. I’ll find some way to use them. It will be a while before I can buy any more gear. We spent everything we had and more on these house renovations. 

I halfway expect GPT-4 to answer me when I press Enter. 

I worked on NLP software for decades only to be leapfrogged by somebody else. I feel disgusted about it. I tried to implement GPT-4 in a texting experiment but it was during a time when their system was overcome by visitors. Screw it.

DAY 3:

I guess if I am to be alone in the world, at least I have myself for company. It could be worse believe me. I’d rather be alone than spend 5 minutes with some people. I won’t name names because this isn’t a memoir. I don’t want to make enemies in case I ever decide to just post this to Facebook or something.

I have a marketing expert In Bangladesh who helps me promote my music. The problem is that I have zero funds and all my efforts to raise money have failed. It’s kind of a catch 22 situation, but I think the key to unlocking it is to make good music.

What if I start repeating myself? That would be terrible. I don’t know who would be reading this. I thought about telling someone or broadcast on Facebook the name of this document. I don’t think it should fall into the hands of anyone out there right now. Maybe I’ll put it on a thumb drive every so often and stick it in the safe. That way, perhaps someone closer to me would find it. I’d almost rather make it public domain than to have the wrong person get it and either ignore it or just throw it away out of ignorant stupidity. Who will be the next to die?

You know I’m not really that smart. Just a drug fueled maniac.

I’m trying to think of something musical to work on. I want to use more realistic sounding instruments. So I guess that will mean the E-MU proteus synths. I’ve got 3 different kind. Proteus/2, Proteus/2 Orchestral, and Ultra Proteus. They’ve got banks of sampled instruments that you play by MIDI from your musical keyboard controller. I use 2 controllers so that I can either play two modules separately, or sometimes I learn with both hands, so I can use 2 keyboards to play different sound modules like a bass with lead melody or something simple if I’m playing it. 

I’m influenced by my cats. All 9 of them. I don’t know if it shows in my behavior. The things I do are like a stream of movements, perhaps on a very short time frame. As they are portrayed, we see how an individual would react to certain things. Or we hear what they would say to us if they were real people. What if our behaviors corresponded to the notes in a series, like the keys on a piano keyboard. In physics we learned that each note is the product of the note before it times a constant series makes a note in our 12 tone scale. The scale could be an array of notes or perhaps integer indexes to a note table.

I’ve always kept journals. I don’t know why.  If you’re reading this, I must be dead.  To you I say, greetings.

No, not really. No really.

Where is Steve Henderson when you need him? Ah yes, I remember, the old ones. When men were cars.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. No sympathy for the devil. You buy the ticket, you take the ride.

I’m so glad that big fucking dumpster is gone. I can finally park in the car port again.


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