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Messages - Julio Di Benedetto

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Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: October 25, 2014, 03:11:47 PM »
Actually I just went back in this thread to see your older studio setup.....nice evolution.

Also looked at the the traffic coming through this thread......91,606 today.  3 years ago I mention it was at 53k.  As you suggested Loren it must be the link to Gearslutz you made.  The question is how to make ambient music as popular as, bad idea ::) 

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: October 25, 2014, 02:50:21 PM »
Thats great the everything has been brought within reach more or less.  The modular at one side and the VS & Z1 at the other.  Also like the racks at desktop level are angled.  The KK desk has consolidated your equipment in a very accessible way......thats what a good desk is for.

Curious about your monitors.....they are very deep (physically).

P.S. Thanks for taking the heat off me ;) ;D

Thanks Forrest...I will listen to those.  I did see those titles on Tim Story's website.

APK....not too long ago you posted an amazing performance by Rodelius on youtube here.  It was at an very unusual gallery type setting with someone on and Arp and Rodelius play keys and iPad.  Ive searched the forum but cant find it.  Anything ever come of it to your knowledge?  It was really a good piece.

Looks like Im becoming a collector  :o ::) ;D,  that and I should eat my words.

Any other Story/ Rodelius recommendations....Inlandish?

Recording and mastering @ 24bit makes sense to me.  Why not capture more detail if its available and when I switched from 16 bit to 24 bit recordings there was a difference.  The thing is I now have to use words like "more presence" to express what I mean and this is not science but emotion.  I cant prove it but I hear it. 

Now how high you go in sample for bats says it all.  I have always recorded at the target cd rate, 44.1khz. because I dont feel comfortable with up and down sampling.  For what you gain you will loose or add what was not original there so for better or worse I keep it simple and the only conversion is from 24 bit to 16 bit. 

in other media such as photography there is absolutely no argument over image quality.  An 8"X10" negative captures so much more information than a 35mm, or I should say a 50 megapixel digital back on a medium format camera and a full frame 35mm sensor.  Same size print...the difference is astonishing.  Perhaps our eyes are more sensitive than our ears....i dont think so.  Our brain is not as well trained to understand the information the ears delivers compared to our eyes...perhaps, but the key word is training.  With sight you get what you is how you perceive it that changes what you see, not the actual information. Is the same true for the ears?

There is a lot going on Pete in a very good way.  The diversity really works.  It flows, comes and goes, disappears, resurfaces.  Looking forward to Iris!

Thats a great essay APK.

I have been running my studio through a Lavry AD/DA setup for quite a while.  The man will not create anything above 96k.  Below is an introduction to a paper he wrote.

The Optimal Sample Rate for Quality Audio By Dan Lavry, Lavry Engineering Inc. May 3, 2012

Imagine that you and a friend were standing at the base of a lone hill in an otherwise flat plain, and you start walking up that hill towards the top. Now imagine that when you reach the top, your friend tries to convince you that you can go higher up the hill if you simply walked twice the distance forward from the base. You would probably pause for a moment, look around, and quickly realize that continuing forward would just take you back down the other side of the hill! This concept of an optimum is not hard to understand, but in digital audio circles more and more people are taking the word of their friend the salesman, who tells them to keep on walking.
In this paper, I will cover some of the myths of higher sampling rate and illustrate how higher sampling rates can actually reduce accuracy in audio conversion. Moreover, I will attempt to elucidate the existence of an optimal sample rate and how conversion at higher or lower rates compromises the accuracy of the audio signal......

Heres the link to the continued white paper highlighted above. Have to say a fair bit of this goes way over my head :o

This is what the future of physical product will be....welcome to the  "Audiophile" domain.  Physical media is becoming a commodity.  A collectors game, (obviously not you drone on) where price does not matter, the more limited and the more it costs the more it needs to be possessed.  Why make something and price it as if its out of print when its just released or will be shortly

The soundcloud demo is astonishing beautiful.  I wish in a way it was crap, because that pricing is BS but i have great respect for the artist and love their work so Im torn.

Is 750 limited?  Perhaps for these two it my be.  Maybe they normally press 50,000 cd's!   

Heres a link....

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: October 18, 2014, 03:06:00 AM »
Thank Loren!

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: October 16, 2014, 05:53:46 PM »
Very nice setup Julio. I too have a KK Audio desk, except mine is this gigantic thing with lots of room for rack gear.  :o I'll try to get some pictures up. Too bad KK Audio went out of business, they made great studio furniture.

How do you like the Solaris compared to the A6 you had, or your Matrix 12? Right now I too have a Matrix 12, except it's not mine, I'm taking it in for repair for a friend.

Loren... I would be grateful for any leads to a tech you may know when the time comes.  I have a short list of names but no actual reassurance . My M12 is working just fine albeit form day to day it can be an M9 or M7 and back to a M12, though usually most things are stable......Thanks so much.

For me a Pro CDR is one that is manufactured by the same cd plant you would use to make a pressed CD.  One would hope that the process would be of the highest quality and control and that the same standards apply as those for pressed CD's.  This is my interpretation. 

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: October 15, 2014, 07:35:48 AM »
The Solaris is looking pretty ! I'd also like to know what you think of it.

Desk is certainly nice, though perhaps not as deep as I'd like ... I do tend to use some flat, desktop gear and controllers that need quite a bit of space.

And are those 3-way speakers really meant for near field monitoring? They look huge  :)

Hi Anthony....the Focals are large but I think the wide angle made the whole room look bigger than it is which is 12ft x 11ft.  I think Im at the limit in small room size for these monitors.  Setup in the correct triangulation as they are with sonic reflections dealt with by the hanging treatments the monitors are just right.  :)  The actual sweet spot is about 2 ft back from the desk.    They are designed for near to mid field.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: October 15, 2014, 07:24:02 AM »
Hi Loren.....would love to see some pictures of the desk.  That is too bad KK Audio are gone.

The Solaris is quite amazing, firstly for its programability, as deep as the Matrix 12, though with more access.  Each "module" and it does feel like programming a modular synth has its own dedicate lcd window with mod sources a button click away.  Its complex yet straight forward.  The A6 was complex and just odd to program

The sound is very unique.  Its virtual analog oscillators sound very good as does the filters but for me having the addition of Waldorf Wavetables & Prophet VS waves under the same hood makes the programming that much interesting.  In a way the sound of the Solaris does remind me of A6 which had a certain bite in a good way to the sound.  I have heard it said that the Solaris has a Teutonic edge to its is bright if thats what is meant.  It is made in Germany, though Design by John Bowen.  Ive only had the synth a few took 10 months to make it, longer than usual but that was due to a delay from Fatar who made the actual keyboard.

The build quality is fantastic! Never touched a synth that felt like this. Bowen put the best he could find into the construction.

Software has a few issues though nothing serious.....there are only 150 made so far so R&D is still on going with the users being a part of that.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: October 14, 2014, 05:17:21 PM »
Some older photographs from a few years back of my studio emerged in a recent I thought I would updated them.

New add ons....wood floor, on top of the Focal Twin Be monitors, an Iron Chef trophy, no not the tv show, a local thing that I won.  Next to that a stain glass fairy my girlfriend made. On the left monitor, a rocket blower for blowing off dust from digital camera sensors with microphone windscreen on top and a little jar that I put my Chinese fortune cookie sayings in.

Oh, almost forgot...a new desk.  KK audio out of LA.

Studiologic 88 weighted Numa piano controller and a John Bowen Solaris Synth.

23" Cinema Display run off the 17" Macbook Pro via thunderbolt....gets really noisy.

Sorry about the grainy quality.....the cheap point and shoot had the widest best lens for the job.

Hi actually said quite a lot that would be worthy of a topic here in the Hypnos Forum.

I like your sound, artwork and format....a tape nonetheless,  I cant actually play it though I know there are tape aficionados out there.  Any digital downloads?

As Pete and Forrest suggest your input and musical perspective would be most welcome here.

Hope to see more of you!

PS...start to check the number of  reads this thread gets and you will get a sense of the people that can move through this forum/thread once a conversation has begun.  Participation only brings more attention to yourself.  Eventually the promoter in you will be equalled by the enjoyment of participating in conversations with very knowledgeable and respected musicians who will support you, nurture you and tell it like it really is!

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 13, 2014, 04:24:59 PM »
Been enjoying a more electronic & techno flavor recently.......Underworld, specifically Born Slippy which for me has the quintessential anthem chord sequence. Love it!

Underworld - Born.Slippy (Official video) on Vimeo

This live performance is much better than the studio/Trainspotter film track version.... YMMV

And before they were Underworld.....Freur  8)

PS Youtube pisses me off for locking everything.....but then things are not so instant access, no work, no discovery ::)

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Seaboard Piano
« on: October 13, 2014, 06:06:17 AM »
Heres the link to Richard Lainhart's videos using the Haken controller with the Buchla 200e.  This is really a great demonstration of the 200e but also shows the expressive of the controller.

Link takes you to his Buchla page and then look below for July 27, 2007 piece & Chorale piece.  The introduction video is also a nice look at the Buchla 200e system.

These are quicktime so I could not embed them here....the site is worth visiting anyway.

Link :

From Projekt Record & Black Tape For A Blue Girl's Sam Rosenthal.

On Friday afternoon, I hung out with the people behind the electronic label Spotted Peccary Music. They release great CDs plus they're the company that serves up Projekt's 24/96k high res files.

We were sitting at picnic tables in the open-air back-porchy-like room of a typical Portland-styled drinking establishment. Wood-planked walls, beer signs over the steps to the bar, a food-cart belching scented smoke as it turned out Philly-styled Italian food. I'm painting a picture for you, a little setting of reality before this blog heads off and becomes cerebral. We're sitting there, drinking our what-have-yous, having a really great brainstorming session concerning many tangents in the music industry, including physical vs. digital, will people pay for music, and the new landscape for survival.

Howard looks up and asks a question, I begin to answer, but then go off topic and start talking about how fans interact with bands. In "the old days" (the mid '90s), Projekt could release an album from a band with no image (and a lot of mystery), mention it a few places, buy a few ads, send postcards and catalogs, and wham! We'd sell 2-3000 copies. People were itchin' to hear new music, and Projekt was a reputable source for interesting new acts.

But that's not how you get involved with music, these days, is it? Let's face it, "fans" can access most music for free, if they really want to. The old model of a label releasing a faceless band, you heading to a record store to buy their CD, and then hearing their music for the first time when you get the CD home... that's sort of over. What I find through my blogs, Facebook, and Kickstarter campaigns is that you want a connection to the artists you're excited about. Few bands can survive, reclusively hiding in their bedroom-studio-caves. Yes, maybe a few legacy bands can get by on that, but certainly not younger bands; and certainly not older bands who never successively made the transition to the promotion-connection of social media in the modern age.

I see this problem, over and over. I speak with artists who haven't had an album in ten or fifteen years, and they pull out absurd examples for why things should be a certain way; "Back in 1994, when we toured...." or "When the old label was placing the ad campaign for my last album in 2006." Man, that's a million years ago. The record industry doesn't work like that anymore!

Well, I could shorten that sentence down to, "The record industry doesn't work."

This is the point where my brain shoots off onto a hundred different tangents. Try to follow me here.....

What motivates us artists to keep going?
For Xmas 2009, I posted a blog concerning the topic of Success. In it, a number of Projekt (and related artists) talked about what success means to them. Hold on a minute, I am going to go back and re-read it now, with five years of perspective.
Yep. I still agree with what I wrote back then: " the end, what I really enjoy is successfully making the artistic statement I want to make. When each album is fresh and new, it is the most accurate statement of where I am, creatively. At that moment, I am complete."

But, I would clarify that.

To me, success is having my artistic statement received by the listeners. I like when that communication is completed.

And yet, that's not what my brain thinks about. I need to do some self-reflection, to understand why I still have a money-centric definition of success.

Units and Dollars
Hereís the thing, Black Tape For A Blue Girl and Projekt was huge when the music industry measured success in units sold and dollars earned. Back in the 90s, bands like Blacktape could sell a lot of records. As mentioned last blog, at the peak Blacktape's 1996 Remnants of a deeper purity sold around 16,000 copies.

( That was then. I don't live in the past. I only expect a fraction of that, for the next album. )

And yet, I find that I cling to that old belief: units and dollars indicate success. I am using an outdated measuring stick.

I know there are fans of my creations; people who really connect to what I am working on (and what I have created in the past). And yet, I am still thinking that the way to measure that success is the same as it was in the mid-90s: by looking at a spreadsheet containing units and dollars.

Iíve been asking myself, "What is success to me?" or "Why did I want to make art in the first place?" The answer, as I said above, is: I want to communicate. For me, successful communication is the goal of making art. What matters is that people receive my work. They experience it. And that is not at all related to profit. In fact, I probably have more 'success' (by my own definition) now, then 20 years ago. Why do I say that? Because anyone can hear my work, without the barrier of having to pay for it.

So, why doesnít that feel good to me?

Well, part is because I cling to the old paradigm about sales.

And the other part is I have this underlying belief in "fairness." If I spend the hours doing the work of being an artist, I should get paid!

A friend wrote -- when I asked him why this "getting paid" matters so much to me -- "Perhaps it's a matter of ethics, not so much the actual number but the idea of getting paid. After all, you try and pay people what you say you will pay them, on time and quite accurately; then I think you expect the same of others."

I don't want my favorite artists to be amateurs.

I really want to live in a world where artists can focus on their art. Would I want John Cale to have to work as a viola instructor, so he can take off two weeks a year to play some shows? David Bowie, maybe he's a graphic designer? Marc Almond, he's probably a drag queen, or turning high-end tricks with members of the Houses of Parliament :) . Voltaire is a bartender, the one that you visit every week because he's so damn entertaining. Think about it! It's a very weird world where the-average-joe expects to be paid for their labor, and yet people are generally OK with the artists they love working some other job so music can be their hobby.

That's not really the way I want the world to be.

My first job was archaeologist...
My first job was computer graphics

You all know that Projekt is my day job. But that wasn't always the situation. In the late 80s/early 90s, I created speaker-support-graphics for a living. I worked long freelance hours, creating dumb graphics that were projected at conventions for the corporate executives from the likes of Taco Bell, Denny's, Acura, Mazda, etc. etc. (This was pre-PowerPoint, but the same general idea.) It paid really (really!) well and allowed me to fund the early CDs on Projekt.

Around the time Projekt was having success with Blacktape's This lush garden within and the first Love Spirals Downwards release, I realized I was sacrificing the label's potential. I wasn't at my desk answering faxes from journalists and my overseas distributors; I was somewhere around the country doing freelance work. This was in the days before the internet; it wasn't easy to keep in touch remotely. I'd return home and have a month off between jobs; and then I worked on music and the label. But too often, I'd leave Projekt unmanaged for two to four weeks, and that was getting to be a problem. I made the decision to stop working the freelance jobs, and focus on Projekt.

Things really took off, there was a lot of interest, and slowly Projekt ate all my time; my own art suffered. By the end of the 90s (because of all the obligations to the bands on Projekt plus the 11 employees), I rarely made time to work on my music. Then into the early 2000s, and the downsizing (mentioned last blog), and I had plenty of work to do (and I had a son!).

My best friend often reminds me that I cannot pass off responsibility for the decisions I made. And he's right. I chose to put my energy into Projekt, rather than my art. It seemed like a wise move at the time: Projekt was getting very successful.

At any other record label, the biggest artist (Blacktape) would have been begged, cajoled, and bribed to get back into the studio. The label needed its biggest act to keep releasing music (if for nothing else, for purely profit reasons). But I was the guy at the label and in the band, there was nobody at Projekt pushing me, to get me on track. If I had a manager, he would have asked, "Do you really think it's smart to keep putting all your energy into dayjobia, rather than into your music?" That was the thing: Projekt was a new day job and just like computer graphics, this job took lots of time away from my art.

It seemed like a wise decision at the time. However, what ended up happening was that I supported 30+ band's careers, while letting down the most important thing: my own creativity.

I let my art go cold for years at a time.

If I had been focusing on my own work for the last 20 years, would I be surviving at it? Would I be like Steve Roach or Voltaire? Spending a huge chunk of my time making art?

(I hope this doesn't come across as regret. That is not the intention, per se. This is me reflecting with awareness of choices I have made in my life, and contemplating whether I've gotten to the place I intended to go.)

It brings up the question, "Could I survive off my art?" I told myself many times over the years, "I don't mind that Projekt is taking up so much of my time. If I had to support myself from my music, I'd have to make compromises to get by." Yeah, sure, a guy in his early 30s can say that. But I'm older now, and I see Steve and Voltaire creating without compromise. And I ask my younger self if that argument was just an excuse, to avoid the hard work. To avoid having to lay it all on the line, and be an artist. If 'an artist' is what I am here to be, then was I chickening out? Hiding behind a reasonably justifiable excuse for not making more art.

Ben Franklin looks around the bar

Ok, so back to my meeting on Friday with Spotted Peccary. The smell of Italian sausages fill the air again, Howard looks up and poses another question. "What's the future for record labels like ours?"

And I reply, "I'm sorry to say it, but there is no future. Projekt will not be able to continue as the label that discovers amazing new acts and releases them on CD. Because these CDs just don't sell anymore. I cannot keep investing in CDs, when the demand is for less than 250 copies."

Some will misinterpret that statement, so to be clear: Projekt is sticking around! I will keep releasing exciting music on my label. But the logic of releasing acts that barely sell? There is no logic in that at all.

I have to be realistic.

For me, personally, I want to make a transition back to being an artist who runs a record label, rather than a record label guy who has a (mostly) dormant artistic career.

I have thoughts on how to do that (which I will discuss in an upcoming blog).

The intrinsic value of music

For now, I have to be aware of my old connection to dollars and units. I have to recognize that my goals as an artist are not tied up in those numbers. Yes, I definitely believe there are ways to make a living creating music. But even more than that, I believe I can foster a better connection with each of you. Many of you are fans of what I create. And you still value music. It's the core of what matters to you. It's your soundtrack. It's what gets you through your days, both good and bad. And I am told over and over (via email, Facebook, and Kickstarter) that music is worth a lot to you.

You are the completion of the circle that gives what I do meaning.

Music has an intrinsic value to you. It is important in your life. The same way NPR is important, and modern dance companies, and historic art house theaters. You don't want to see music disappear, or become the realm of amateurs.

We're thinking the same thing. Music has value, and it's something that's worth supporting.

I'll post some great new ideas about this shortly.


Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Seaboard Piano
« on: October 12, 2014, 09:25:42 PM »
I agree Scott...Animoog is very cool.  I dont use it that much, or I should say record from it but I do find myself playing with it a lot.  I thing it sounds good and suggest what the future could bring, Touch sensitive monitors / computers controlling complex software in a exciting and visually stimulating way.

Ive seen other Lainhart videos playing his own music on the Buchla modular with the Hakem Continuum.  I try and track them down.

Peter Gabriel quote from the Kate Bush documentary......"Creativity comes from the freedom to fail"

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