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Messages - Altus

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Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Spectrasonics - Omnisphere
« on: February 03, 2009, 05:20:49 AM »
Very nicely played.  A somber mood, which I love.
Have you considered playing on live show at  They'd eat this stuff up.

I enjoyed this release in bed last night, very soothing.  The final track "Heavenly Ascension" I especially enjoyed.
By the way, I'm really digging your new netlabel.  I like the fact that it caters to one style of ambient music... it means that there's a very good chance I'll enjoy every release.  :)

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Spectrasonics - Omnisphere
« on: January 30, 2009, 05:15:00 AM »
I haven't played too much with the effects within Omnisphere.  For now, I've been turning them off and using my standard tools.  On another note, I like the added information they include with the samples, such as how they produced the sound and with what synths, processors, etc.  You can tell a lot of love went into this tool.  :)

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Spectrasonics - Omnisphere
« on: January 29, 2009, 05:41:47 PM »
I recently got Omnisphere as well.  It's interesting how Atmosphere had a "sound" to it, and I find that Omnisphere has it's own "sound".  I agree that a lot of the patches are too complex/busy to write music with (Atmosphere had the same problem), but I use them as a base and edit them to fit my needs.  Also, heavy reverb will smooth out the sharp parts.  The hard part is trying to make it not sound too much like Omnisphere, which I usually fail at.  haha.  Oh well, fun synth in any case.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient music and Mastering
« on: January 29, 2009, 05:36:07 PM »
I'm in the EQ camp as well.  While writing, I use a 7-point parametric EQ to roughly "sculpt" the sound.  Then in the mastering phase, I'll use a 30-band EQ to fine-tune it.  I've never used compression, however I will use subtle limiting if I get some stray peaks hitting 0db.

Another thing I've been doing for years when EQing is dropping the 1k range down 3-10db.  Not to the overall mix, but to tracks within the mix that need it.  It opens up the sound beautifully.

For reverb, I'll run separate instances with their own settings for each "instrument" since I find simply putting reverb at the end of the chain is too limiting in what I'm trying to achieve.

It's interesting to see how others master their work.  :)

The ability to shut out the world with headphones makes it my preference.   I also enjoy hearing the little nuances you might miss listening on speakers, as well as allowing one to hear the stereo field clearly.

For nearly three years I have been working on Dynamic Stillness. This 2-CD solo release of all-new pieces is coming in a few months on Projekt. It inhabits the Immersion, Mystic Chords and Magnificent Void dimensions, but deeper and further "inside".
Ok, he's definitely got my attention!!!  :D

Everything and Nothing / Re: It's a new year... let's introduce ourselves
« on: January 21, 2009, 08:42:45 PM »
Greetings from Mike Carss (aka Altus) from Ottawa, Canada.  31 years old.

I've always felt I could express myself better with music than words, hence why I'm usually lurking around not saying much.  But this is a fun thread so I decided to come out my hidey-hole and say hi.

My actual job is in the film and television industry, working with many companies as a consultant, and supporting them in terms of mastering and duplication of their work.  I was planning on starting a film company with another producer, but given our economy, that'll have to wait.

Music has always been a big part of my life, and my need to create music seems to be ever-growing as the years go on.  It's been over 15 years since I started, and I'm finally at a point where I'm completely happy with my work.  So that probably has something to do with my release schedule.  ;)

I'm quite new to your forum (a couple of years), but it's a pleasure knowing all of you.
Here's to hoping 2009 is productive to all of you, no matter how to express yourself.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Dreamlike/ambient Classical Music ?
« on: December 21, 2008, 05:19:35 PM »
Sorry for derailing this thread a little more, but I felt I should mention this.  If anyone is curious in dabbling with stretched audio, check out PaulStretch.  It creates beautifully smooth, extremely stretched audio... just like "9 Beet Stretch".
This is for PC, however I have seen a Mac version online somewhere.

Very fun program!   :D

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Dreamlike/ambient Classical Music ?
« on: December 19, 2008, 08:14:34 PM »
Your description reminds me of Kit Watkins' release "Unraveled"

Everything and Nothing / Re: Tinnitus
« on: December 09, 2008, 05:19:44 AM »
That's funny; I can hear that horrible ultra-high whine from TV's, computer CRT's, etc. when no one else can.
Heh, you too?  I'd often hear the TV in the other room, left on by accident on video mode (so it looked off) and my parents would always wonder how I knew it was on without seeing it.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Tinnitus
« on: December 08, 2008, 08:40:03 PM »
Even though I've never exposed myself to high volume sound/music (even as a teenager, knowing my hearing was something important I wanted to have my whole life), more and more I think I may have mild tinnitus.  I've never done any research into it, so I was unaware it could be hereditary.

Like SunDummy, I've always has very sensitive hearing... and it's to the point that I can't go to a movie theatre without plugging my ears.  Loud levels cause my right ear to make a distorted crackling sound... Needless to say, I invested in a home theatre solution where I had control over the volume.  ;)

I noticed the quiet whine in my early 20s.  It hasn't changed since and I rarely notice it, so I hope that with care the problem won't get any worse.

Does anyone know if tinnitus is degenerative?

Everything and Nothing / Re: How the CD format compromise the music
« on: December 05, 2008, 07:24:50 PM »
Deepspace brings up a point that is just one of many reasons I love listening to and making ambient music.  There's no rules.  And that, um, rule can break all the rules.

As for a track or overall release being too long... if the soundspace that has been created is enjoyable, there's no such thing as "too long".  And I can't think of one instance where I felt a release was too long.  Am I just lucky, or forgiving?  ;D

Immersion bringing up Roach's "Immersion 2" reminded me of something I've been meaning to do for a long time.  My question to myself was, are the Immersion releases really just looping every minute or so?  I loaded up a few of the Immersion tracks and viewed them in a spectral frequency display for the answer.  Actually, I just needed to see the waveform once it loaded up and my question was answered.  There is constant change happening throughout all the Immersion releases.  I suspected that was the case, but now I know.   :D
Was anyone else wondering this?

Everything and Nothing / Re: Wasting time on the web... Auditorium!
« on: December 05, 2008, 07:03:20 PM »
Heh Jim, you're supposed to eat and play.  ;)
Thanks for the hint SunDummy.. that got me past 3:4.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Wasting time on the web... Auditorium!
« on: December 04, 2008, 08:54:03 PM »
Thanks for the link, it's lots of fun!  But I can't get past Spring Act 3:4.  Did you finish it?

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Black Hole Reverb
« on: November 26, 2008, 08:56:34 PM »
I tried out the "donation-ware" Ambience plug-in.  Pretty impressive for a free plug-in!  However, it gives off a dead sound if that makes any sense.
My plug-in of choice is ArtsAcoustic Reverb (  When comparing the two, AA give a patch a very nice full sound (almost giving it a life of it's own), whereas Ambience sounds hollow.  Also, AA allows for a 45-second tail (and longer if you fool around with the EQ crossover)... which was the first reason I bought it.  ;)

Anyway, they have a demo for it if you want to try it out.  I've been using it for years and still haven't felt the need to search for another reverb plugin.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: I am trying to imagine...
« on: November 10, 2008, 05:22:02 AM »
You bring up the exact same thoughts I've had.  And after doing much testing on my own, I discovered you can take the cheesiest sounding synth and make it sound awesome with effects (for me, that almost always reverb with little to no dry signal going through).  There's obvious tweaking required, especially in the EQ department, but I'm sure you'll agree a good reverb will take you a long way in helping create the soundworlds you're looking for.

I'd also love to hear a "dry" Steve Roach to hear what's going on before the effects.  ;D

Netlabels have a lot of potential.  But I find that, as Forrest mentioned, they'll release anything just to say: We have a new release.  I find even the big players, for the most part, release too much mediocre music.  Or more often stuff that's just so off the wall that it's not that enjoyable (at least for me).  I enjoy a good drone/glitch/noise release every now and then, but 50 of them?  No thanks.

By the way, I just want to stress that there's no ill will towards you guys who feel the way you do about free music.  I understand your feelings completely, and in some respects completely agree with you.  (I guess that makes me a small hypocrite as well)  It's just that this isn't the first time this topic has come about and seems like the next "bad thing" that people turn their nose up to, like using softsynths.   ;)   But that's a whole other can of worms.  heh

APK, you just released "Land" as a free download.  I'm saying this in the nicest way possible:  From your comments here, doesn't that make you a hypocrite?   ;)

Personally, I enjoy the simplicity of uploading my music to my site and having it readily available to everyone.  Generalizing that an artist giving away his/her music means that they didn't put a lot of time and work into it is silly.

Judging from the numbers of my only release that isn't available for free, I could have enough money to buy all those music-making tools I've been drooling over.  But it's more important to me that people have unlimited access to my work.  Sure, there's going to be a lot of people who may download a release and never even listen to it.  But there's also going to be a lot of people who will enjoy my work, but wouldn't have purchased it because they didn't want to take a chance on an unknown artist.

In the past, a label decided who was heard and who wasn't.  It wasn't really a problem because we didn't know what we were missing.  Now, thanks to the Internet, everyone has the ability to be heard.  We all have a choice of who we want to hear, but as you mentioned the drawback is a huge dilution of music.  Nothing is perfect and you have to take the good with the bad.  I'd take dilution over never having the chance to hear a particular artist.

In my opinion, there's no right or wrong way to distribute music... only different thoughts on what's right or wrong.  I have no problem with an artist charging money for their hard work.  But it boggles my mind if you feel that my choice to release my music freely is ruining the genre.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Favourite dramatic piece of music
« on: July 13, 2008, 07:05:18 PM »
That's because the piece is not in fact by Thomas Tallis, a 16th c. church composer, but by Ralph Vaughan Williams, an early 20th c. secular feller
Heh, sorry I guess you misunderstood.  I know that was written by Vaughan Williams.  My point was the piece doesn't sound at all like Tallis' style to me.  However, I haven't listened to THAT much Tallis so maybe that's why.

Vaughan Williams on the other hand... I'm a huge lover of all his works.  But his 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 9th symphonies are my favs.

But for sheer dramatic (and emotive) import I'd go for Maurice Duruflé's Requiem. Its beautiful and sublime.

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