Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Vintage Digital Sound Of The Zoom PS04

The Zoom PS04 is not a new recorder by any means, it came out about 10 years ago. However, this little handheld digital 4 track is still one of my favorite pieces of recording equipment I’ve ever owned. I like it so much, I actually bought a second one in case the main one I use ever breaks I’ll have a back up.

There’s some weird quirks to them, like recording on Smart Media Cards, which are getting harder and harder to find, and had a maximum size of 128mb. However, a 128mb card is enough space to be productive and record several songs with virtual takes.

However, there is a certain sound quality they possess that seems to be unlike any other multitrack recorder I’ve heard. They have that gritty, early digital recording sound. Almost like 12 bit samplers like the Akai s900. Even though they are 16 bit, the sample rate isn’t quite CD quality, at it’s highest setting it is 31250hz. I believe this has something to do with the sound quality, but even if I convert sounds on a computer to 31250hz, they don’t quite have the same sound as the ones recorded on the PS04.

I thought I would put together a playlist of the songs I recorded on these little units so you could hear what I mean. If you want to get one for yourself, they are still available on Amazon through 3rd party sellers. 

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Installing 64 Bit Linux on 32 Bit EFI Macbooks AKA Black Macbook

The 2007 and 2008 ‘Macbooks’ have 64 bit core2 duo processors in them, but still had a 32 bit EFI which is sorta like bios and is what is needed for the OS to boot for installation. However if you ever just tried to download the standard Ubuntu 64 bit ISO from their website, it won’t work.

This was a bit of an annoyance for me a while back and I ended up just going with 32 bit. However, as time went on, 32 bit was not going to cut the mustard anymore, mostly because of certain programs no longer offering 32 bit versions like Skype and Google Chrome. Chromium Browser however does still offer a 32 bit, but since I need skype, I had to upgrade.

I knew there had to be a way to do it, so after some sleuthing I found an old bug report that included little bit of c source code that when compiled and ran in the same directory as the 64 bit linux iso, it will ‘remaster’ the iso into one with 32 bit EFI booting capabilities.

I first re-installed my personal Macbook and it worked like a charm! Then I decided to pick up another of the same exact model macbook and do a video on it. Check it out above if you’re interested. If you’re interested in creating your own iso to install, see this post for details . This is a bit of an advanced method and you will need to compile from source.

or if you’d rather just download an Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS 64 that’ll boot on 32 bit EFI. I’ve created one you can get here.

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Aquarian X-10 Most Affordable and Best Synthetic Drum Sticks

A few years ago, wooden drum sticks really started to dry out my hands. I was not about to use drum gloves, so I thought maybe by using a synthetic stick I could avoid the drying of my hands. After trying others in the past, I stumbled across the Aquarian X-10 graphite/nylon drum stick.

It was a little strange at first, but once you adjust to them, wood actually feels strange to me now. The drying out of my hands problem has stopped and I have still yet to actually break one of these sticks and still have the very first pair I ever bought 2 years ago!

I love these sticks and highly recommend them if you’re looking for a wood alternative. They’re also much more inexpensive than other synthetic sticks on the market. Get a pair here!

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Every Single Audacity Preference Explained!

Audacity is a powerful free program that can be used for just about any audio need. The user community is gigantic, and has a wealth of information online, in print, and in video form. However I couldn’t find a video that walked through every single setting in the preferences menus and explained them, so I thought I’d make my own.

In this Audacity lesson I painstakingly go through every single option in the preferences menu within audacity and give in-depth explanations and examples for each one. This is a great way to learn some of Audacity’s hidden features, as well as have a deeper understanding of the software. Time-stamps below for each section of preferences. If you really want to learn nearly all there is to know about Audacity, I recommend the very highly rated book, The book of Audacity.  

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Using cheap automotive covering as drum wrap

One of the oldschool ways to cheaply re-wrap drums was with contact paper for shelving, but this always looked pretty poor and styles were pretty non-drum looking and very limited. Recently I was putting together a drum set from random drums I’ve collected from the trash and Craigslist, and was trying to think of ways I could re-finish it without spending a lot of money. After searching through Amazon, I found a very cheap way to rewrap drums that looks very nice!

This stuff is apparently for covering automobiles as an alternative to painting them or for adding details. It is definitely not as durable as real drum wrap, but this particular one I purchased was only $5 per roll! One roll is quite large and I was able to cover two toms with a single roll. It’s also wide enough to use on the kick drum. It is pretty thin however, so I don’t expect it to be very strong or resistant to tearing. You could possibly put a clear coat on top of it to strengthen if needed though.

The drum set you see above was re-wrapped with this exact wrap, except for the two 14″ and 15″ slingerland toms on the left above the floor tom. They match incredibly well and the chrome finish is surprisingly good! The cool thing about this stuff is there’s also some pretty exotic styles out there that would make very interesting looking drums, like Carbon Fiber.

If you want to see the full process of rebuilding this drum set and wrapping it with the $5 auto wrap, check out the YouTube playlist below.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

8 bit performance on a Korg nanoPAD 2 and nanoKONTROL

This is something I put together a while ago, but still really happy with it. I wanted to make an 8 bit trap song in real-time using Ableton Live and my Korg nanoPAD2 and nanoKONTROL. I first found and created all of the samples I needed and loaded them into Ableton’s drum rack, then I spent some time working out some beats and setting up arpeggiators to create the hi hat roll sounds. Once I had it all together I just had to practice for a few days then I made the video.

Korg’s nano series is a great way to get inexpensive and versatile controllers for Ableton. The fact that they are so small and come in different categories too makes them really great for creating modular setups for your needs.

You can pick up your own nanoPAD2 here

Or if you want a nanoKONTROL, get that one here

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Getting started with Ubuntu Linux

You’ve thought about it and you’ve heard other people talk about it. It runs servers and is has one of the largest growing user communities of any other operating system. It’s the only other OS sold on Dell’s high end “Developer Edition” Laptops. But how do you get started? And why choose Ubuntu and not some other flavor of Linux like Mint or Suse? Well the simple reason to use Ubuntu as opposed to any of those others is just because it is so popular. Popularity means more users, more forums, more software, and more help if you need it.

So how do you get started? A lot of people recommend using a virtual environment to try it out, but as a Linux user for over 15 years, I do not recommend this method. If you install it on a virtual PC, you won’t really dive in with both feet, and the performance will suffer. The best way to learn Linux, or more specifically Ubuntu Linux, is to use it. And I mean REALLY use it. If you don’t want to get rid of your Mac OS, or Windows Operating system just yet. I recommend getting an older Dell E6410 or a similar system that is known to work well with Linux. Install it, and make this your primary PC for a few weeks or longer.

Once you have your computer selected, you may want to watch some tutorials on YouTube, or pick up a copy of The Official Ubuntu Book, which is a comprehensive beginner’s guide to not only using Ubuntu, but also the history and philosophy behind the wonderful Operating system. I think you’ll be surprised to find that a lot of things won’t be that different than what you are used to. If you’re coming from a PC environment, you be pleased to be no longer bombarded with adware or the likes. There are some learning curves, but you’ll catch on fast. You’ll also become acquainted with the joy of computing that gets lost in the dummy-proof and restricted Mac OS, or the junk-filled ad-laden Microsoft Windows.

One of the biggest problems people have with Ubuntu or Linux in general is the question “Can I run ______ software to do my_______?” This is not the right question to ask. Can it run MS Word? No, well not without serious nerd power anyway. Do you need to run MS Word? Absolutely not. Right out of the box, Ubuntu has web browsers, mail clients, music players, full office suites, photo management, and much more is available it a simple click or command away.

Remember the best way to transition from a beginner to an expert is to begin!


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