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Messages - Altus

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Independent Music Reviews / Re: Wind and Wire is back
« on: November 13, 2012, 05:04:32 AM »
I had your blog in my news reader all this time, and was surprised to suddenly see new updates. Good to see you back at it!  :D

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: VST / Software Suggestions?
« on: November 09, 2012, 07:32:24 PM »
I'm in the same boat: preset tweaker. While I've certainly built some patches from scratch to match something I've heard in my head, I don't have the patience to do it "full-time". Those who do, I tip my hat to you.

I've been using ArtsAcoustic Reverb exclusively for many years now. If you're looking for a long tail, I recently discovered it allows for up to 226 seconds. And no, I've never required a tail that long before.  :o

If I were in your shoes, I would choose Komplete over Alchemy.

Have fun!

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Windows 8 and your music rig
« on: October 27, 2012, 06:19:46 AM »
As we know, it's smart not to install a new OS on a mission critical computer (aka your PC/Mac you use for making music). At minimum, I'd wait a year until the kinks were worked out. However, it seems Microsoft might've done something...right? Crazy, I know, but hear me out.

Check out this in-depth article from Cakewalk about using SONAR in Win8.

Here's a few snippets:
Desktop apps still have access to low level audio and can communicate with drivers at a low level to get low latency performance. There are no changes to how drivers work as far as desktop applications go, so its very likely that your Windows 7 drivers will work on Windows 8 without modification. (unless the driver installation prevents it)

The results of the benchmarks were surprisingly good! Windows 8 performed better than Windows 7 across the board in all categories, and in many cases with fairly dramatic performance gains.

Very curious given OS upgrades generally run slower on the same hardware, and in doing so, breathes new life into an aging rig. I guess they finally decided to remove some of the bloat. Haha!

Software is generally forgiving when running on a new OS, and will run without a hitch. My biggest concern is normally driver support (especially for older hardware), and how the hardware interacts with the OS. The possibility that Win7 drivers will work in Win8 is very encouraging. I know that Vista drivers sometimes worked in Win7, but it seemed a rare occurrence.

Obviously, there'll still be bugs to work out, but it seems we're so much more ahead than ever before when dealing with a new OS. I noted Mike G's message on FB that it was quite different. Personally, that doesn't scare me. A new experience can be fun, as long as the change provides improvements to the user experience.

Has anyone taken the plunge or test-driven Win8? What are you thoughts?

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Srg? Any info?
« on: October 06, 2012, 05:26:45 AM »
I was in the same boat for years. I'd discovered his long-form work and immediately fell in love with two pieces in particular: <- This one is pure melancholic magic.

But like you said, it was impossible to find any information on the artist. Early last year, to my surprise, he contacted me because of a short review I left for his work on the page. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to finally chat with him.  :D

His name is Sergio De Vega, and he's since released new work on Earth Mantra.
Here's some more details on him, along with the ability to contact him if you like:
And here's his album "The Edge of Forever":

To clear up any confusion: While ALAC & FLAC use different algorithms, they are sonically identical to WAV (or any uncompressed format). There's zero loss in fidelity. That's why they're called lossless formats.  ;)

And yes, I know there are people out there who insist there is a difference between lossless and WAV (or AIFF). Let's just call them crazy.  ::)

Here's more info on all the lossless formats available out there:

Here are few sites that sell FLAC, however their selection is fairly limited:

I'm the same as you. I have a problem paying money for compressed audio, so I still buy CDs and rip them (for pay for lossless if it's available). Like you, I prefer to do the conversions myself. I'm such a control freak. :P

While I don't use iTunes, I was under the impression that lossless was an option now, though it could be just for select albums. In any case, don't waste your money buying music from there. Everything is in a MP4 (M4A) container, which makes it annoying to deal with outside of iTunes. At least they got rid of the DRM. ::)

All that said, I think purchasing CD is still the best option.

I think it goes without saying that you should back up/copy that disc ASAP. :o You're correct that the label side of the disc is very close to where the data actually resides.  The bottom side is very thick in comparison.
Given your description, I'm very surprised it reads at all. Is the artwork/silkscreen print coming off, or is there another layer on top? If the artwork is okay, that would explain why it still works.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: September 16, 2012, 06:32:01 AM »
I haven't seen any new Pearce releases for a while. Does anyone know why his output is on pause?

Starting last year, he released a series of twelve singles every month (constituting an album worth of music).

Any thoughts on this? This is the dream duo of ambient, and I am eager to get this.
It doesn't break any new ground, but still an enjoyable listen. I would call it inoffensive ambient music. ;)

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Har / Altus - Shadow District
« on: August 27, 2012, 04:52:37 AM »

Har / Altus - Shadow District (MP3 & FLAC)
1. Descent to Street Level  [ 12:50 ]
2. Abandoned Playground  [ 07:51 ]
3. Borough of Shadows  [ 10:25 ]
4. Victims of a System  [ 07:49 ]
5. Burning While They Watched  [ 08:13 ]
6. Along The Shattered Waterfront  [ 08:49 ]
7. Betrayal at Twilight  [ 14:10 ]

Words from Darrell Burgan (Earth Mantra):
[...] the raw emotion barely held at bay in this powerful music, the palpable sense of despair and determination, of pain and hope, of disastrous loss and hard-won victory. One can picture the grit and grime of this dark underworld, of this merciless street that punishes so many and allows so few to escape to the light of day. And yet one can also sense the moments of triumph amid the ruins, when the human spirit rises above its miserable surroundings to fly free despite all odds. The duality in this music both inspires and awes the listener, with something for fans of nearly all ambient traditions to love. Truly magnificent work.

Har / Altus - Shadow District (Promo)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Overrated Ambient
« on: August 25, 2012, 05:07:49 AM »
They are intensely pleasurable in the way true ambient can be, and not tainted by the need to be annoyingly avant guard.

This a thousand times.

I get there's an audience for the really weird stuff, but sometimes it just sounds like they're trying so hard to be "cool" by making it as un-listenable as possible.  ::)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Stephen Phillips
« on: August 24, 2012, 05:08:25 PM »
I managed to get in contact with Stephen.

I'm glad to report all is well with him, but unfortunately he's lost his muse and hasn't been making any music lately. "Real Life" has taken hold as well, being a father of two children.
He's been staying creative though, finishing a book of poetry he'd been working on, although didn't provide any details on that.
He certainly plans on producing music again... just not sure when.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Stephen Phillips
« on: August 14, 2012, 04:13:14 PM »
Yeah, he sort of fell off the map around 2010.

It's curious that you bring him up. I was listening to StillStream a few days ago, and suddenly heard his voice... his usual "you're listening to" blurb during live shows. He hasn't been a host for years, but I checked to see if he was just doing a random live show (which he used to do from time to time). Nope. I assumed whatever was playing happened to have his voice recorded over top for some reason.
Anyway, it was kind of weird.

I know a few guys who were close to him. I'll ask if they know anything.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Soft Synths....What do you like?
« on: July 27, 2012, 06:14:43 PM »
I agree, the GUI for Absynth is bizarre, but I love it the sounds you can get out of it. As I mentioned before, loading in presets and tearing them apart teaches you a lot very quickly. The only issue is it tends to have a colder, more sterile sound... nothing a few effects in the chain can't fix, of course.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Soft Synths....What do you like?
« on: July 26, 2012, 07:28:15 PM »
Yes, I agree that's a problem.  But it think underscores the need for more curators on the netlabel scene.
While I agree, I still think netlabels have a stigma they need to shake.
Curators need to be strict in what they'll accept, and not be afraid to turn someone down because it isn't up to their standards. There's no question you have to pick through the chaff. But like any label (record or net), once you find artists who have output you enjoy, you can just follow them.

And to repeat/add to what APK and Mike said, the other issue is where artists will release EVERYTHING they produce, resulting in mostly mediocre music. I think that's the quickest way for an artist to tire their listener base and lose them.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Soft Synths....What do you like?
« on: July 25, 2012, 05:39:45 PM »
I donít see anything particularly elitist about learning to create sounds on your own.
You misunderstood my incoherent babbling. ;) I have a deep appreciation for those who enjoy the art of making sound, especially from scratch (Saul Stokes comes to mind). I'm talking about listeners who don't give music a chance simply because an artist uses software (VSTs and softsynths) instead of hardware (synths, outboard effects, etc) to create their music.

Also, I  prefer CDs to downloads, too---sorry!
So do I, but that's doesn't stop me from enjoying music released through netlabels (which is download only). I'm talking about those who turn their nose up at free music because they assume it's all crap.

I read this statement several times and still think it is a weird comment.
You're right. What I meant was to say was:
Just because you can pay for it, doesn't mean you're getting quality music.

I hope that clears things up on what I'm trying to say. Again, this isn't an attack on anyone, just general venting.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Soft Synths....What do you like?
« on: July 25, 2012, 04:18:21 AM »
Heh, thanks for taking my spaziness with a grain of salt. It wasn't aimed at anyone in particular. I'll admit I was in a 'mood' yesterday evening and sort of regret the tone in my post. In saying that, it's still something that really bugs me.

I seldom let people know the tools I use to a make music, simply because I know some people would judge me by the tools I use, rather than the music I produce from said tools.
These same people generally don't give netlabel/free music a chance simply because they believe it to be somehow inferior to a paid product... and I think we can all agree: just because you paid for it, doesn't mean you're getting quality music.  ;)

And then those who will only listen to music on CD. Download only is somehow the devil...
Like I said: elitism. It drives me crazy! Aughh!  :P

Ok, sorry... I'm getting all worked up again. And off-topic. I'll stop now. I swear! ;D

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Soft Synths....What do you like?
« on: July 24, 2012, 04:08:50 PM »
I've never tried Omnisphere, but I find it bizarre when a synth is marketed as an 'ambient synth'...
To clear up any confusion, Omnisphere is definitely not an 'ambient synth'. It's a diverse library, and the sounds you can make with it cover a lot of ground.

Judging from the posts here (and I could be reading you guys wrong so tell me if I'm off base) but I sense a tad bit of elitism that personally drives me crazy. It's not just here, but on other forums as well.
Whether you use hardware or software, it really doesn't matter. Judge an artist by their tools, and you're missing out. Because that's what they are: TOOLS!

It's how you one uses those tools that make all the difference.

Sorry for the vent... straw that broke the camel's back and all that.  ::)

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Soft Synths....What do you like?
« on: July 22, 2012, 06:58:58 AM »
What Im noticing as I demo the software discussed here is that some of the best have a tendency too take away a certain amount of the joys of layering sounds that is so crucial to ambient music.  I say take away because these virtual instruments do it for you in the most seductive manner.
This was a concern I heard voiced from a few artists when Omnisphere was released. I would say a quarter of the sound/sample sources in that library are too complex to use in useful manner. Most of these complex sounds contain built-in chord structures that severely limit their usefulness.
But the best part of excellent pre-made patches (built from simple and layer-able sound sources) is to deconstruct and learn from them.  :)

Computers, Internet and Technology / Re: Purchase advice requested
« on: June 28, 2012, 07:10:21 PM »
Even if you were to use an external Blu-ray unit, I'm not sure Apple supports Blu-ray playback. And the "DVD Player" software that comes with the OS is (for lack of a better word) shit.
I didn't have much luck finding any third party DVD player software either, but that was a year or two ago so things might've changed.

Mike, jkn: Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with PS3. :-\ I have the old 40 gig fatty and it's still working fine after many years.

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