Sunday, 27 November 2011

Moving to Lion - Install Log Part 2

Finally I got a firewire cable!!! Did not imagine that it was so hard to get one quickly. Had to stop at Maplin on my way home.
Even in London non of the shops I passed in victoria station or kentish town had none.

- Home now, installed version 2.3.2 of the ProFire 2626 drivers, shutdown the computer, switched on the Interface: no sound...
> had to switch through all the outputs in the router until I heard someting, but then again I suspect my Interface beeing weird since I unpacked it and it somehow does not sync the settings with the os... however, it works now. Does anybody has a later firmware of that thing but 1.0.10? Please comment if you have.

- back in Logic I started experimenting with buffer sizes, thread usage and sample rates. Forcing it to use all 4 threads makes it run a bit smoother.  switching the samplereate of the project to 96 khz does not cause any crackles with 4 sculpture instances, even though Logics CPU meter is haevily in the red at 128 buffer size. (this also reminds me how painfull the sample rate modifies sculpture presets, you really have to write the rate in the preset names to get the result you expect on recall). The problem with low sampling frequencies is that they introduce more latency.

- Next I connect a firewire cable to the second port of the profire and start up my old macbook in target disk mode to get my files from the old machine. I did not use migration assistant here because I want to be in control of the files transferred.

- moved my /Library/Application Support/Camel Audio/Alchemy files over.
> works, all presets showing up

- install overloud TH2 > works

- Drink a cup of tea > nice

- install AudioSpillage Drum Spillage > works

- install blue cat free pack > works

- install green oak crystal > works

- install TAL stuff > works

Thats it then... almost but I am too tired today to install toontracks SD 2 + Metal foundry, but I bet it will work as well.

Lion makes an overall great impression and the three finger drag is one of the best workflow improvements. What I miss on the trackpad is the 3rd click mode? How am I supposed to open links in a new tab? Do they really expect me hold a modifier key for clicks while surfing the web? Worse: Blender 3D is unusable without 3rd mouse button...better keep the mighty mouse arround then.
Also the M-Audio interface is not always switching the sample rates correctly. For example opening a song in logic with a different samplerate but the default one results in crackling logic playback while playing back a sound over the browser works flawless at the same time. Tascam interfaces seem to have the same issue. I suspect the lack of sandboxing awareness on the driver side again.

The move was definitively less hassle then moving to snow leopard and running stuff on a current computer was well worth the hassle.
I hope these logs help some of you out there.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Moving to Lion install log 1

A lot of people are warning to move your studio setup  to Lion at this point. But since I got a new computer I had to move ahead, and to my surprise it is amazing (just don't expect a snappy user interface)!

This is my install log:

u-nboxed the computer and connected the additionally ordered Apple minidisplay port to VGA adapter with one of my old Philipps 170V screens (I am on a budget here, thats why I opted for mac mini in the first place).

-Starting the computer: works great, image quality as expected. Also nice: built in speaker with great quality for a small tin can like the min, impressive!

-After going through the usual registration, mobile me, user account etc stuff the first thing I do is run software update. There is quite a lot. After the update my system is on 10.7.2

-Once software update is through I run it again after the restart, just to make sure but there is nothing.

-setting up the Trackpad I ordered along: Amazing way to work :D Make sure you enable three finger drag, once this is on you will never go back (especially in XY controllers etc).

- Aaarg, can't connect my 2626 because I borrowed the only Firewire 400 to 800 cable to someone I do not remember :/
But I checked for a driver, it is still on the same version as before but shows up under OSX 10.7.2
Will test this as soon as I found my cable ( or got a new one)

- next I fire up the Mac Appstore. Go to the purchased tab and click install for Aperture, Final Cut Pro X, Motion, Compressor, Pixelmator, Unarchiver and Hype.
This is running smooth and reminds me of the advantages of digital distribution (being back in town with decent broadband) Afterwards I ran software update to get the additional content. Great, works, and works damned well! Did I already say that this mac mini is a real powerhouse? wow! Did not expect that, honestly.

- Now time for Logic, a yeah, there was something in the description saying that there is no optical drive. Starting to create an image on a different machine using disk utility because I do not want to interrupt a setup due to whatever reason (ie disconnects) over cd/dvd sharing.

- downloading Renoise, Reaper and macvim. All running great after install as usual.

- Logic image is done.
Copy it to the mac mini, start the installation.
Deselected all Content and Loops in custom install because I have that on an external drive.
After the installation, before starting anything from logic studio I run software update again.
Logic is on 9.1.5 afterwards plus some proapps/kit updates etc.
Starting logic, running great. Dragged my apple loops folder from the external disc in the loops browser > works.
Will transplant my old ~/Library/Application Support/Logic folder later.

Playing around with sculpture: amazing, never before could I run this many instances. This synth just shows how much of a bargain logic studio is. For sculpture alone I would happily pay the price of logic...but I am drifting off here.

- next up is automap 4.1. works flawless with a first generation remote sl 32

- now Native Instruments Komplete 5:

mounted the image > custom install > unselected all the Libraries (have them on an external drive) > works flawless, but it did not create a "Native Instruments folder, so I had to create one and move the apps.

Next thing: trying to start service center: fails
Downloaded flash 11 from > service center crashes
Downloaded service center from
> works

- try to activate product > unknown error > go back > try again > works

- 10 updates available > click download > waiting ...
- Still waiting
- cleaning the room a bit...
aaah, done :D

- double click on Absynth installer: not reacting, none of the Vise installers react until I reach the battery update mpkg > unable to locate standalone app.
- service center > overview > change path of every program to the location inside the native instruments folder.
try again > works!

Starting up logic in 32 bit mode, all plugins running great!

- Download Camel Audio Alchemy, works perfect.

- downloading blender 2.6a: 64 bit, works great.

Thats it for today.

Next up to do:
Toontrack Superior drummer 2 plus metal foundry, Drum spillage, TH2, Virtual Bass Amp and all the free stuff I use. Then hunt for the latest Korg Pad Kontrol and Roland Fantom drivers.

Will keep y'all posted about progress.

Now of to London for tomorrows Amond Tobin ISAM show :D

Saturday, 12 November 2011

10. Musical things about Linux

I love Linux. I Love it for its liberties, the spirit and most: Raw performance!
It is just a pity that there is not more commercial software available for it, because it usually offers the best designed workflows.
Here is a list of 10 reasons that spring to my mind why one would like to run Linux. This is not an attempt to persuade anyone to ditch their current setup and go full on Linux. But an attempt to show that it has its place in media production outside of 3D Graphics and storage but also in Audio.

1. Realtime Kernel allows for ultra low latency, unmatched by any other OS!

2. The trinity of Jack Audio and ALSA, held together by Pulse allows you to route any audio or midi signal to any software inside your computer and over the network.

3. Linux can run on very old computers, this helps you reactivate unused boxes. I use a 10 year old laptop as additional synth!

4. DIN is noise, a fantastical and unique digital instrument.

5. FreqTweak

6. Harrisson Mixbus

7. Bristol

8. Korg Kronos. Yes, its all linux under the hood

9. Muse research Receptor. Again, a music dedicated Linux box to run your windows vsts on a lighting fast OS.

10. Graphical package managers. You think the appstore concept is new? Think again, in Linux this is ages old. Search, click install, thats it. You just never had to pay for packages.

There is a lot more to discover, just check out this wikipedia page:

Or just dive in and download a complete multimedia production suite FOR FREE!
Check these out:
Ubuntu Studio
Studio 64
Planet CCRMA

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Alchemy Mobile, a Marketing Lesson.

EDIT: Syncing your own sounds is now possible according to the changelog, but I had no time to test this.

Alchemy on desktop is one of my absolute favorite synths ever. As I learned that there will be a mobile version I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I got it now and played around with it.

Though, Alchemy mobile is more like Alchemy player mobile rather then full Alchemy, but this is ok since the initial download is free :D
Just like the player it consists basically of the synth engine, the performance area and basic tweaking knobs for filter and envelopes. In addition it features a neat loop player, allowing you to import loops for playalong.

The pro version is available as in app purchase allowing you to remote control Alchemy on your computer and import sounds from libraries you purchased. But other then Alchemy or Alchemy player: It is not possible to import the sounds that you created yourself. According to Camel audio this feature is planned for the future.

But the features are not very inovative, I have the same control surface already created in midi touch and touch OSC. Furthermore the bold marketing claims of Camel audio set the wrong expectations, toning the experience down a bit: Alchemy is not the most powerfull synth on the iPhone, this does injustice to Jasuto, Crystal etc. who allow you to create your own patches and not just alter existing ones at a lower pricetag. Also the claim that Alchemy is the first dedicated remote for a soft synth is not true: Spectrasonic Omnisphere TR is out since ages. 

Don't get me wrong. All in all Alchemy Mobile is great fun but the price for the pro version is completely injustified for a mere toy. This will change as soon as it will be possible to import your own sounds, but until then let this be a marketing lesson in how not to advertise your product. It is also not a good idea to start with a high intro price and lower it later. It is better practice to announce a low intro price period: you will sell shitloads of software and then later go to a regular price. This way you do not annoy your early adopters.

That said, I encourage everyone to get the other amazing products from Camel Audio: Alchemy and Camel phat end up in almost every track I create and are rock solid, efficient, inspiring and versatile tools!