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Messages - Julio Di Benedetto

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Karel, an ambient cd collector from the Czech Republic sent me this beautiful picture with my new release included...Wow!  Thanks Karel!

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Cans.....Whats on your head?
« on: May 21, 2015, 04:54:46 PM »
First of all thanks for the compliment on Seed Julio, and second I agree with Mike, great post!

I just upgraded my headphones to the new Audio Technicha ATH-M70x and all I can say is WOW! The clarity is stunning. The low end may seem shy to some, but its really more that it is not exaggerated like some headphones.

Hi Paul....Yes "Seed" is a sonic gem not often seen in ambient circles, and naturally that amount of detail is seriously matched by phenomenal music performance and production.

Through headphones lets keep the production level of what we hear at its zenith

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Cans.....Whats on your head?
« on: May 19, 2015, 01:11:34 PM »
Great post, Julio. I love reading this kind of stuff.

I've been considering for a while that I have several pairs of very good headphones, but no great ones. Maybe instead of multiple $200-400 headphones I should try something really high-end. We shall see...

If and when you do Mike I can really recommend  The Cable Co and their headphone lending library..... 

The ability to try before you buy at this price point is pretty crucial and to be able to have 3 of some of the best cans on the market to demo is unheard of.  They will also lend headphone amps as well.  The cost was about $250 for a 10 day trail period which if you buy through them they will put that towards the headphone cost so you are only out of pocket for the shipping.  Very sweet.

Its the best sonic investment I have made.  It has completely changed the way I hear music, for pleasure or for studio work.

Thanks so much for your insightful thoughts have a good sense of the music and its sonic persuasions. Feed back from those that listen to the music is so important, for any artist. Im grateful for your support and taking the time for a deeper listening.

In one sense I have no intent other than the this urge to write music...what stirs this could be many things. 

I never had music in my head that I attempted to transcribe out into real music, into the real world which is odd as when I mostly painted some 25 years ago I used to do lots of sketches, color renderings etc, so that when it came to stretch a canvas I had a clear idea of where I was going. Perhaps this is something to do with visualization whereas the abstract nature of music in that it does not exist unless played and has no tangible form once complete precludes me form seeing it, or pre-hearing it.

Listening to other music can get the juices flowing but often that can be a technical thing, musical structure, musical sounds and how they are used, mixing preferences etc.  Sitting down, or standing and firing up a keyboard usually can inspire a new creation.  Recycling patches already used in other projects often leads to new sonic adventures.  Starting with a blank patch also but can be much more demanding. 

If a musical idea comes it is when I play the piano.....synths inspire galactic travel for me and are not usually the first place for melodic construction if that indeed is where I think I could go.  The piano is also very honest and shows flaws in structure easily whereas a single note on a synth can keep me occupied for hours in wonder at its evolving never ending nature.

I think I do treat the daw as a canvas and the musical instruments I use as the color palette, nothing unusual there but there is still no intent, well yes Im intending to write music and the outcome is unknown and for me that is the excitement.....a journey along which I grow, learn and hopefully become.....not so much better but maybe closer to something...?

Good topic Mike!

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Cans.....Whats on your head?
« on: May 17, 2015, 05:30:24 AM »
Some may have read this elsewhere like rM several months ago and for some reason I did not post it here in a thread I actually started, so hear it is.

A Tale of 3 Headphones & an Amplifier

I had been thinking of upgrading my monitors but had realized that I recorded all my music using headphones and not monitors for a while.  There were times I had not turned the monitors on for months.  This made me think some more…. a monitor investment  to improve upon where Im at now was going to be very costly.  So what was all this fuss about headphones I had been hearing as a way to remove the room out of the mixing equation …..Im not an audiophiles though I do love great sound and you cant mix on cans…..well thats not true, many do with success. 

Then began a lot of reading and anytime someone said neutral sounding or microscopic detail that would suit audio pros for mixing and mastering I took note.  The one headphone that came up constantly in this context was the Sennheiser HD 800.  As I got further into this I discovered that the Sennheiser HD 800 had seemed to have become the standard that all other cans were judged.

Then the whole notion of open and closed cans came up so I wondered if there were any  closed cans that could compete with the HD 800 reputation… name kept coming up, Foster TH 900….more reading, pros cons etc and yet I had not heard anything, I was listening to words not sound.

I then come across a small ad on the side banner of some headphone forum that said “The headphone Lending Library...listen before you buy”.  It turns out thats what The Cable Company does, they sell and lend audiophile cables and also headphones.  Ok now I can hear what all these words I had read are trying to describe.

The name Audeze LCD X came up on radar….Planar Magnetic Headphones.

I contacted the Cable Co. and after several weeks the Sennheiser HD800, Foster TH900 and the Audeze LCD X arrived at my door for an auditioning period of about 10 days.

Headphones that I considered but for a reason or not decided against.  Beyerdynamics Tesla T1, AKG K 801 & Grado PS 1000e

The Amplifier

As I was researching my intention was to plug the headphones into my mixer which has a headphone amp…..I did not want an independent headphone amp and then when I do want to use the monitors I will need a passive switch which would mean the sources would be difference…...thats where the SPL Phoniter 2 came into the picture.  Firstly a headphone amp thats made for mixing with crossfade and angle capabilities and happens to have a pair of balance outputs designed to drive active monitors.  Sold!  To my astonishment the monitors came alive as I had never heard them before when fed by the Phonitor 2.  Ive had my monitors for 9 years….I know them but what I was hearing had some much more presence, detail and space….I was shocked and this was just the icing not the cake….the cake was for the headphones.  FYI my mixer and Metric Halo uln2 headphone amps drove these cans quite well but could not touch the sound coming through the Phoniter 2

As I write this Im in the middle of the audition period…..heres a selection of music thats being used with these headphones.  These recordings are great sonic examples of performance, recording, mixing and mastering and are reference cds I know.

Donald Fagan, The Nightfly & Morph the Cat
Diana Krall, The look of Love
Pat Metheny, Bright Sized Life
David Gilmore: On an Island
Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon
David Chesky, The Body Acoustic
The Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Peter Gabriel, Security
Beethoven Symphony No7, Academy of Ancient Music, Hogwood
Pieter Nooten / Michael Brooks, Sleeps with the Fishes
Ma Ja Le / James Johnson, Seed

Very little ambient except for Seed….a stunning recording, performance, mixing and these gentlemen put the mix in the hands of a very good mastering engineer. 

The Headphones.

At this level all cans are really very good and it would come down to personal taste, however the Foster Th 900 lacked the soundstage of the HD 800 and LCD X, understandable they are closed and considering they did really well.  The Audeze LCD X was a little disappointing, its hard to say why, perhaps they come across a little bloated by a dominant low end for my taste though I suspect its because of the stellar performance and resolution of the Sennheiser HD 800...everything that you may have read about the HD800, assuming your interested of course, is true.  The soundstage and placement of the music and instruments is breath taking...its not that the headphones disappear, its that you disappear into the music.  The main concern that I read was that the HD 800 is bright and can fatigue, perhaps for an audiophile who is used to listening to silk, cream and warmth they could be fatigued, but to someone who is used to a studio audio / neutral honesty then the Sennheiser HD 800’s are a sonic delight.

For more details and opinions on these headphones search the web….what most people say about them seems to pan out from my actual listening experience and if your in the market for headphone its really worth it to borrow a few from the Cable Co.

How all this will translate into my personal music production has yet to be determined but its sounding good….

Beautiful album cover Julio, I will check this out tonight whilst partaking of a wee dram of Edradour  ;)

Looking forward to both already.

Single malt & ambient music...a perfect match!

The music will be on its way to you shortly....Many thanks!

I worked for several years on this project and when that moment came when it was ready to be shared I had to wish it the best, say farewell and let it go in hope that the music would touch some people, one or two or many.  Its not something I can control.

The first response was critical and one that I understand because Tomas quickly picked up on what I was trying to achieve in production even though it was not to his taste. He clearly stated he likes the musical ideas. Enough said. 

We come here on this forum and others to share with each other our love for ambient so happens this is my music and I am open to any kind of discussion positive and otherwise. Its important that we can interact with on another and exchange ideas and inspire each other.

Take some time when you can an just listen to the music.  Its there...its finished...this part of my journey is over, perhaps the music may offer something towards your journey. 

Thanks for your comments, Pete, Phobos and Forrest,

"Overexposed music".....perhaps its an FX plugin, different from a saturator and a distortion unit, maybe more like tape saturation, no that could be too subtle.  In the right hands overexposure in photography is a very creative method of expression....perhaps there are pixels in music!

It has been more than 2 years since my last releases....Original Light was finished rather quickly or so I thought, sometimes a music project needs to sit for a while to give it some space or space for me from it...... It was a sequence of sketches that suggest something but needed time to show the path ahead. A project can be realized in a short period, more often it takes time for me to come to terms with what has been done and consider if it is ready for release.

This looks good. Can't wait to listen to it in full.

Thanks Harry....Enjoy!

Thanks so much Chris....beginnings and ending....yes!

FYI...Original Light really shines when listened to on headphones. The music was mixed in the tradition manner on studio monitors but pretty much 100% of production was done through headphones.  I feel it shows.

Hey Tomas,

Interesting points that you make and the "over exposed" that you mention is quite accurate. The metallic and shiny nature of the music is intentional. 

The job description to the mastering engineer was that the music was composed with the idea of original light being not dark and brooding but full of energy, destructive, and consuming.  It was not the light that gives life, at least not yet.  The mastering was just right and pull out all the distortion and glitch....not necessarily to everyones taste but it was what I had in mind when I mixed, actually a large part of that came in production and my natural tendency when I program is to be on the brighter side yet the music has a solid low end to support the "overexposure"...I just love that, overexposed music....that could be something Tomas

As always, I appreciate you technical and artist perspective.


My new cd release "Original Light" is now available for purchase and download.  Please stop by my Bandcamp site and give it a spin, thanks.

Composed, performed & produced by Julio Di Benedetto 2012-2015 using synthesizers, piano, iPad apps & laptop processing.

Mastered by Don Tyler @ IO Mastering

Photography & Design : Julio Di Benedetto

Downloading Iris it touches on many areas and comes together in a beautiful celebration, in most parts, of the guitar. Really love the way you have created space for the instrument to shine.

Really Fine work!

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Thinking of buying a new synth?
« on: March 07, 2015, 07:09:49 PM »
The trio of instruments playing together on a few of the videos on the website really sound good, glitchy and offers some unusual rhythmic possibilities.  Very odd yet exciting interface.

Everything and Nothing / Re: My Mom, age 72, has a boyfriend! Ugh.....
« on: December 15, 2014, 08:07:34 PM »
Once you have gotten though the Xmas dinner be sure to pull out a nice bottle of single malt whisky or whatever, do some research and find what he likes.  share a dram or two and let him be comfortable because he maybe just as strange about it as you.  Your Mum can go do the dishes, I say that with respect as you two enjoy some xmas libation, man to man, break the ice for the both of you and hopefully come to enjoy each other and then you will be really happy for her and want to have them over on a regular basis.....if you dont drink then go to plan B

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Arturia - Prophet V
« on: December 06, 2014, 05:11:23 AM »
Cheese 80's lyrics but fun....mostly Matrix 12 and much better than the Arturia video  ;D

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: New David Sylvian, Steve Roach
« on: October 30, 2014, 03:47:49 PM »
  Haven't heard it though but with his extreme experiments in sound these days I'm not getting my hopes up. 

What are your (sorry to quote you for this word) "extreme" hopes and expectations for this artist - once more the usual and well known deep Ambient from Roach?

Though this was a miss placed quote I do agree with Tomas's words.

Sylvian cd on its way to me...I was interested in the book but it seems to be currently unavailable.

Im for the fully available album and I like the "name your price" option.  I have found that people are very fair and pay what a download is worth....and thats anything from $1 to $10 though it rarely gets that high.

I would never order anything through cdbaby because of the 30 second sound clips.  I have bought through them only when I have heard the music more extensively elsewhere and cdbaby is the only source.

Actually Pete I have listen to your albums on band camp and bought several and sometimes I like to go back and listen again. Perhaps I passed on music that did not register with me the first go round but did the second or there are some advantages of having all the music accessible.

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