Category Documents

Playing with the Studio Space

The yellow lines represent the spaces which should all be of equal length. Use these tips as a general guideline to perfecting your budget studio space. Read More

MIDI in the Studio (Part 1)

midi-example-3

MIDI Connection Overview

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how all my keyboards are connected. Are they all MIDI connected? How did you wire it? How do you keep it all straight?

I’m not sure how other people with 30+ keyboards wire their rooms, but here is the method I’ve come up with through trial and error. It seems to work well and isn’t that hard to keep track of things.

MIDI Basics

If you already understand the basics of MIDI you can jump to Part 2. If you don’t have a full understanding (or you have a limited understanding of MIDI) I’ll do my best to explain it. Let’s start with a couple analogizes to fully confuse you right out of the gate.

In simple mechanical terms MIDI is like a player piano. Paper piano rolls are covered in holes...

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MIDI in the Studio (Part 2)

midi-overview

MIDI in the Studio

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how all my keyboards are connected. Are they all MIDI connected? How did you wire it? How do you keep it all straight?

I’m not sure how other people with 30+ keyboards wire their rooms, but here is the method I’ve come up with through trial and error. It seems to work well and isn’t that hard to keep track of things.

Let me first talk about how I work in the studio so you can better understand why I’ve configured the studio in this way.

I have a handful of synths which I use more than others. I also have some I prefer to play more than others (I love the sound of the Roland JX-8P but the keyboard action is clunky and terrible). I have others that are about 7 feet off the ground and are hard to play directly...

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Baking Tapes – How to get music off tapes that won’t play

cassette-tapes

Years ago I decided to transfer all my reel tapes to computer. I hadn’t played these tapes for many years. When I loaded them up on the machine and tried to play them I was presented with a nasty squeal as the emulsion shredded off the tape. At first I thought it was a machine problem, considering I hadn’t used it in ages either. I broke down the machine for a complete inspection and cleaning. Once that was complete I loaded up a reel but was presented with the same problem.

I hit up the internet and found this was a common problem with various tape brands. Most of my tapes were Grand Master 456 and sure enough they were on the list. When Disney asked Wendy Carlos to digitally remaster the soundtrack to Tron she had the same problem with her tapes.

As I understand the problem, the tape is ...

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Blot Boxes or Better Noise Through Circuit Bending

maddr

Two weekends in a row I’ve found myself standing in front of walls covered in electronic components, shopping list in hand, with a grand idea..

I’ve bought myself a new soldering iron station, set up a workbench, bought a handful of empty rack-mount boxes and melted the copper off several fiberglass boards into pretty PCB designs. This means I’m either gearing up to make some neat sound circuits or I’ve got a job with SPECTRE and hand building components which will one day be assembled into a great evil machine to blow up the moon – unless my ransom is met.

Oh wait,. the SPECTRE project IS underway but I’m not supposed to talk about it. Shhhh.

Yes, I’m working on some nifty sound circuits I’m dubbing Blot Box(es).

So what the heck is a Blot Box?

Well, let me tell you in a round-about, long...

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The C-Melody Saxophone

For some time I’ve been thinking of buying a saxophone. A few years back I had the same urge to buy a clarinet (I ended up with 3 of them) and I’ve enjoyed learning to play that silly thing. Time to bite the bullet and find a sax.

If you’re like me, and I know I am, you enjoy finding good prices on things. I’ve a collection of crap I want to buy and I scan through paper ads, pawn shops, craigslist.org, and from time to time I slum on ebay. One day on craigslist an entry for an old 1922 silver Buescher C-Melody saxophone shows up.

I bet you’re asking “What the hell is a C-Melody Saxophone?”

I’m not going to go into the complete history of the C-Melody (google is your friend) but basically it is a Tenor Sax in C instead of Bb. Most of these horns were made in the 1920�s.

If I recall, the a...

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