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Messages - Altus

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Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Audio interfaces
« on: May 01, 2010, 11:27:52 AM »
The reason I prefer to go with Firewire is because I worry about the other USB devices (mouse, keyboard, midi keyboard, security dongle) interfering with the audio interface.  I like that there's nothing else in the chain to muck things up.  ;)

In any case, I was able to purchase the FA-101 at a decent price ($150 less than MSRP) and almost all my problems are gone.  The squealing sound due to CPU usage is history, and my multitrack playback is clean.  But I still get crackling when using one plugin (video playback for writing music to picture).  Again, no amount of changes to settings for buffering and latency make it go away.

I've also noted in the manual that TI is highly suggested, so I'll just switch out my firewire card and ...hopefully... that'll fix the crackling for that one plugin.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Audio interfaces
« on: April 30, 2010, 05:54:21 PM »
Thanks for the advice, Loren.  I have a number of firewire cables hanging around so I tested them all.  Unfortunately, no change with any of them.  In my forum searches, I have heard of grounding problems with various audio interfaces and had a feeling that might be the case.

I also ran into some instructions on defeating the ground to solve the problem, but I'm interested in opening the box to do such a thing.  Ground wires are there for a reason.  ;)

Black, I have found others who have the same problem (the squealing noise) so I'm not alone.  It seems to be a rare occurrence though.

Who knows... maybe it's just a lemon?  At this point, I really don't care.  I'm just mad at this box, and I'm done trying to get it work properly.  I didn't pay anything for it (it was purchased for me), and I know someone else who could use it, despite its faults.  So I don't see it as a loss.

For anyone curious, I'll send an update once I purchase and test the Edirol.  Fingers crossed everything works out.  ;)
Thanks again everyone for your help and advice.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Audio interfaces
« on: April 30, 2010, 04:13:48 AM »
Hey Black,
Yeah, the 100microseconds is what I get while it's under load.  I get the same problem regardless of DAW.  And it only happens when I'm playing sound files (such as WAV files) within the DAW.  For example, I could be playing back some music in a DAW that doesn't have any WAV files playing.  Just synth and effect VSTs playing, minimize the program, start copying files from one drive to another, loading up a browser and check my mail all at the same time.  Clean output, no clicks.  I can even use sampler-based plugins that stream samples as they play.  It's only if I drop in a WAV file and the random clicking occurs.

I bought the system a couple of months ago:
Asus PT6
Intel i7 920
Kingston 6GB ram

Now I just took a peek at my devices again, and just realized the Startech firewire card I'm using has a VIA chipset (I thought it was TI).  I've read VIA chipsets can cause problems...  Maybe replacing that could solve some of my issues.  I checked Presonus' website, and they do support some VIA chipsets, but I can't get details chipset info from device manager.  Going to have to do some searching.

Edit:  The chipset is VIA VT6306, which is fully supported by Presonus.  Bah!

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Audio interfaces
« on: April 29, 2010, 06:53:05 PM »
Forrest, I have a dedicated drive for OS, another for temp file usage, and the last for music-specific audio file storage.  Oh, and I'm quite anal about keeping on top of file fragmentation.  But it's certainly good advice for anyone.  Thanks!

Blackinfinity, thanks for the suggestion for RME, however their units are overkill for what I'm looking for.  I was pretty sure I tested with that software but I tried again.  It peaked at 100 microseconds during playback, which I believe is normal.  Thank you.

APK, sorry I should have mentioned that the same problems occur regardless of what I have my latency set to.  I can set it to 40ms (the highest option) and still get the random popping.  If it makes any sense, the popping I'm referring to sounds different than latency problems.  I've found latency problems to sound more like grinding.

I'm fairly sure my problems are driver-related, given I'm using Windows 7.

Originally I was looking at the M-Audio Firewire Solo, but I was iffy about it since I've heard a lot of bad things about M-Audio.  The reason I was looking at that device was because they just released new Windows 7 (64bit) drivers, which told me they were still planning on supporting the device.  But delving deeper, I found that anyone using the drivers said they were - for lack of a better word - shit!

So I've decided that if I want results, I need to pay for it.  So I did some checking on the Edirol FA-101, and could only find positive comments, even on tech forums.  Full Windows 7 support, and confirmations from users saying they're rock-solid.  It has way more inputs/outputs than I'd ever use, but not a big deal.

Does anyone have or heard any comments on the FA-101?
I'm still open to suggestions for alternatives.

Thanks again everyone for your suggestions and advice!  :)

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Audio interfaces
« on: April 28, 2010, 07:21:36 PM »
Hey all.
I'm using a PreSonus Firebox and not very happy with the output of this thing.  I get random pops/crackles when the harddrive is active (I've confirmed it's not latency problems).  Very annoying when doing final mixes with lots of WAV files playing in the multitrack.

The output is also very noisy.  When the CPU is under load, I hear sort of a squealing noise that changes in tone depending on the load.  I've contemplated sampling it because it sounds kind of cool, but I digress...  I know it's not a shielding problem.  The 1/4" to XLR cables going from the Firebox to my monitors are fine, because the noisy output doesn't happen under I turn on the device.

On the positive side, latency is practically zero.

Anyway, I'm looking for an audio interface that "just works", and would love to hear what you guys are using/happy with.
Oh, to add to my problems, I'm using Windows 7 (64-bit) so getting driver support for a lot of these units narrows down my choices.

Thanks for any advice you might have.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Free speech samples
« on: April 21, 2010, 04:26:33 AM »
Freesound is an awesome resource.

If you're looking for NASA stuff, you can get tons of recordings off their site.
I just typed 'nasa recordings' into Google, and this came up:

I'm going to assume they had a catalogue like this for all their missions if you hunt on their site.
Just be careful using NASA stuff directly, it's very cliché... but I'm sure you knew that already.  ;)

Wow, I've never received so much feedback before.  Thank so much everyone.  :)

Thanks again for your comments everyone.

Nuun, what you're hearing on "Sodium Glow" are french horns sampled at a very high rate, and then played back at 44.1k.  I use lots of drone-y guitars in the first two tracks though.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: RP-VERB (WOW)
« on: April 16, 2010, 04:20:36 AM »
Thanks for the heads up.  I've been using ArtsAcoustic for years and while I love it, I've grown tired of it's "sound".
I'll definitely be checking this out.

Everything and Nothing / Re: E-readers revisited 2010
« on: April 03, 2010, 02:58:00 PM »
Yeah, I've seen the keyboard in landscape mode, and it's pretty much the same size as a proper mac keyboard.  Two-handed typing is very doable.

Glad to hear you're enjoying it so far.  :)

Everything and Nothing / Re: E-readers revisited 2010
« on: April 03, 2010, 06:51:17 AM »
The biggest issue with using the iPad as a ebook reader is the screen.  Whereas the Kindle and Nook require light to be viewed (e-ink), bright light on the iPad LCD screen will make it very hard to read.  The whole idea behind e-ink was that it's identical to looking at a book (ink on paper), which I think is brilliant since staring as a LCD screen for an extended period of time can give people eye-strain.
I'm one of those people.  However, I can read a book for hours on end and my eyes are fine.
The other obvious one, which has been mentioned already, is that the battery life of these e-ink devices is extremely long.

Mike, I'll be curious to know how you like your iPad after a month or two of usage.  You know, once the hype dies down.  ;)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Earth Mantra netlabel
« on: March 28, 2010, 06:28:22 AM »
I know that Kit Watkins has two DVD releases on Earth Mantra:
This Time and Space -- Very trippy stuff...  ;D

The Gathering -- Haven't seen this, but it appears to be a recording of a live performance.

Thanks much.  Enjoy!


Black Trees Among Amber Skies

Promo Video
on YouTube.

The latest from Altus is now available to download in MP3, and FLAC for those who rather to burn to CD.

Ambient music for night-time Winter walks in the city.
Originally planned to be released in early January, this album was put aside for other projects... Hence the reason it's an out-of-season theme.  Even if you're not a lover of Winter, don't let that stop you from enjoying the album.

Full-length previews are also available at

Thanks for sharing my music in your podcast again.  Much appreciated!

Does any one here know, or wish to debate, the differences in animation/video compression? (I'm actually serious.)
I could probably help you in that area.  What types of codecs are you wondering about?

Everything and Nothing / Re: Projekt wants you to fight piracy!
« on: February 20, 2010, 06:29:23 AM »
Getting burned by artists/labels from purchasing a disc of awful music (to your ears) isn't really an excuse anymore.  For the most part, free samples are going to be readily available either on sites like amazon. Or in the case of ambient music, directly on the artist's website.

While doing my daily evening shopping (bread and other stuff) today I was listening to Ambient on my headphones and once again I was realizing that most other people out there probably don't have the slightest clue about this music.
I've been in the same situation where I'm shopping, and suddenly realize that if the people around me heard what I was listening to, they'd likely take a few steps back in confusion.

I've always liked the fact that ambient is such a fringe genre of music.  It makes it feel more like "my own".  It's like a secret only a few people in the world share, and I'm in on it.

Anyone else feel that way?  :)

Everything and Nothing / Re: Projekt wants you to fight piracy!
« on: February 15, 2010, 11:21:22 AM »
It's a shame that artists need to take matters in their own hands to get results, but as the saying goes:  If you want something done, do it yourself.
I'll be sure to spread this link and info on my blog.  Thanks for the heads up, Loren.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Mastering from The Masters?
« on: February 15, 2010, 11:12:04 AM »
Currently listening to Sibelius' 1st Symphony and I really love those huge dynamics in the music. Almost inaudible Flutes and then *bang* the entire orchestra. Wouldn't Ambient benefit from such dynamics? Do you know any ambient album with huge dynamics?

Heh, your description sounds exactly like the beginning of one of my releases:

Another release where I very deliberately mixed in a "classical" style was Winter Embrace III.  Most of the longplay is fairly quiet, meant to be wallpaper ambient, but there's two times where it comes to the forefront and demands your attention.
I received one e-mail from someone asking why it was so quiet.  Clearly, not everyone gets it.  ;)

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