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Messages - Altus

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By "artifact", I assume you mean pumping?

I use compressors just to keep transients under control, or just knock down a band of frequencies. I'd be surprised if I was in the minority . . . likely most of us are using compressors while making ambient music.

Correct me if I'm wrong, folks.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Digital to analog converters
« on: November 24, 2013, 04:45:56 PM »
I'll be turning 36 soon. I don't need a cane yet, but I'm sure I will soon enough.  ::)

Dear Esther is definitely an interesting experience. It's not quite a game. A better definition would be interactive fiction. It lasts around two hours, and is best played in one sitting. And I'll admit at the end I was moved, and shed a manly tear. I blame it on good timing of visuals and music. ;D

Skyrim is in a league of its own in terms of open-ended gameplay and sandbox world. I can't think of anything that comes close. Probably for the best. I don't have time for such extended adventures. The Witcher 3 could be a contender when it's hopefully released next year.

Right now, I'm playing Final Fantasy 14 (MMORPG) on PC, and Valkyria Chronicles (very Japanese/anime turn-based game in alternate reality WW2) on PS3. I'm enjoying both.

Next in line is the re-released Baldur's Gate 2 (going to play through the campaign online with a friend), and The Witcher 2.

Yay games!

Anyone here play boardgames or pnp RPGs with friends?

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Digital to analog converters
« on: November 23, 2013, 08:04:02 AM »
What the fans heard was not the tape hiss and poor quality record but the heart felt words and emotion he expressed. Certainly anyone would want to be able to capture every single subtle nuance of a performance that brilliant gear can do so well but the listener at the other end will be moved by the emotion not the the converters, pre amp or microphones used.

This right here hits the nail on the head for me. I know of musicians who have studios bristling with gear, yet rarely do I hear actual music output from them. I personally know a few people who fall into this category. They enjoy collecting the gear, building and perfecting the studio, yet don't use it for its purpose. When they do, I find myself rarely moved by the music.

Other musicians with limited budgets who rely only on software to produce their music (or simply prefer the simpler workflow of software-based solutions), or just play guitar with some reverb/delays, can produce some amazing music. Music that deeply moves me. They don't care about perfection. They're just using the tools they have to express themselves through music, and that passion shines through brighter than any music created in a pro studio.

Immersion: I'm sorry, but I'm going to single you out here. El culto called you out on this as well. Your advice is good and well-meaning, but in some of your posts you come across as elitist, which I think is fair to say, nobody really appreciates. The impression you give is: "If you're not buying top of the line gear, why bother make music at all? You're wasting your time." or "I suppose you could buy that budget-priced gear, but it's going to sound like shit." I'll blame this impression partially on the fact that we're missing vocal intonation, which makes a world of difference.

All that said, as I was reading through this thread, your clear passion for sonic perfection was obvious. I thought to myself: "I really want to hear this guy's music." (I'm assuming you're male, correct me if I'm wrong)

I suppose I wasn't terribly surprised to find out that you've never actually released anything . . .

Then you go on to say you're mostly using software, which you were poo-pooing earlier. Kind of hypocritical, don't you think?

I applaud you for not releasing the first thing you ever completed. Too many people do that now, resulting in a glut of mediocre content. (I started in 93 and didn't release anything to the public until 98 with a tape release.) You're working toward perfection in your sound design, and no one can judge you badly for that. This is what YOU want. Excellent. Go for it!

But until you can provide proof to your words, you need to dial it back a bit. Realize that not everyone has tons of cash to spend on high-end gear. And if you judge music or the musician purely by the tools that were used, you're missing out!

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Bandcamp
« on: November 16, 2013, 07:39:38 AM »
The main reason they cut it down to 128kb/s is to keep bandwidth usage under control. Given it's a free sample, that's reasonable.

I think it's safe to say that if a listener has a critical ear, such as yourself, they know enough that the streaming version doesn't match the sonic fidelity of the purchased product (be it CD or FLAC), and won't judge the recording based on that.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Windows 8 and your music rig
« on: November 13, 2013, 05:01:44 AM »
I'd forgotten I had written this.

I recently upgraded to Windows 8 six weeks ago (and since upgraded to 8.1). The system, firewire interface (FA-101), DAW, and softsynths worked flawlessly without any hassle. I was surprised to say the least.  ;)

These will fit into racks ju-u-ust fine. We don't need Xserves anymore. Expansion slots? Who needs em? ::)
I have no doubt of the power within that little can. However, can the software take advantage of that power? I know from past experience (at least in the video and rendering side of things), it doesn't take advantage of all the CPU power available to it.

Games I've played/been playing lately:

- Torchlight 2. Your typical Diablo clone. Easy and fun, especially with friends. I especially like the monster design.
- Dead Island: Riptide. I knew this got bad reviews, but I loved the first one so much (again, with friends), I figured how bad could it possibly be? Ugh! It really is a boring mess.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Great atmosphere. Excellent music! The ability to play stealthy and/or guns blazing is nice. Graphics are kind of dated though.
- Final Fantasy 14 (version 2). MMORPG. The first version was an absolute disaster, so they shut it down and re-built it. I've played the various beta builds, and it's worlds better. Proper release is next Tuesday. Looking forward to playing it with friends. :)

Indeed. Thanks for the play as well, John. Much appreciated.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Bandcamp
« on: August 04, 2013, 06:56:47 AM »
I don't think Altus or anyone else is suggesting that artists do not have the right to release their works in any way they see fit.

The point is that are real costs that result from limiting people's access to your work via limited editions or by choosing to not make your work available digitally via legal channels.
Thanks for clearing that up, Chris. That was exactly my point.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Remastering
« on: July 28, 2013, 07:54:28 AM »
Usually remastering means brickwalling the mix. ;)

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Bandcamp
« on: July 28, 2013, 07:48:02 AM »
The "buy now or lose your chance" strategy seems risky to me. It is certainly a way to move product quickly. But it can also be aggravating for fans. I had to get Segue's Pacifica on vinyl, for example, because there was no way to buy a digital copy (and I'm not a torrent type of guy) and the CD sold out quickly. Annoying. (No offense to vinyl fans.)

If an artist is going to do a limited release of that kind and not offer downloads to purchase as an alternative, (as far as I'm concerned) they're asking to be ripped off via piracy. I get the appeal of limited releases, but why piss off your listeners by not allowing them to hear your work. To collectors, downloads have no trading value, unlike a physical product, so they shouldn't be considered the same thing.

My first thought was "Wow! That's a risky move by Adobe." But the more I thought about it, I realized they can get away with only offering a subscription-based model. Their userbase is huge, and pros won't have a problem with the cost because they likely spend it already. I can't think of another company who could pull such a drastic move and not end badly for them.

I believe this model is a little cheaper for one who uses the suite every day, and upgrades when the next version comes out. But for someone like me who only uses the suite a few times a month, and doesn't upgrade every time, it's a tough pill to swallow. Ignoring the introductory rate for the first year, the yearly cost is $600USD.

Luckily, my last upgrade was CS5, and works well for me now and into the foreseeable future. But there will come a time where I'll need to upgrade. I'm not sure how long they'll continue to offer CS6 as a purchasable product, and even at that point, it may not be worth the money. I may have to explore other options, which is disappointing.

You can rent their software on a monthly basis, it just costs more. For example, renting Photoshop for a month will cost $30USD. Renting the entire suite costs $75USD/month.

An excellent choice! If you're playing on PC, I strongly recommend trying out some of the realism (section 400) mods available at Specifically, check out the two Hypothermia mods. But there's tons of immersion/roleplaying mods that turn vanilla Skyrim into an absolutely amazing experience.

Neverwinter came out of beta last week, and you can't beat the price (free).

I had a lot of fun with Dragon's Dogma on PS3.

An excellent site to check out if you're curious about a game is Giant Bomb. They do these excellent--and usually hilarious--quick-look videos that offer a glimpse into a game.

Have fun!

Ahh, classic Rich. Always interesting to see a musician at work. Thanks for sharing. :)

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Vintage Gear
« on: March 29, 2013, 08:13:09 PM »
Interesting read. I completely agree with it.
Reminds me of those who collect tons of vintage synths, build a studio, and yet seemingly never find the time to produce any music with said gear.

I wrote to Steve maybe a month ago about the possibility of releasing out-of-print stuff on Bandcamp as well, but he never got back to me.  :-\

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: What's happened to Depeche Mode?
« on: February 21, 2013, 05:49:22 PM »
I think DM has done a good job in very slowly changing their sound over the past four albums, while still remaining "Depeche Mode". Have you listened to Playing the Angel and Sounds of the Universe? I would consider this new single very similar to those albums.

I think Ultra and Exciter was the exit of the older DM that we grew up on. To my ears, nothing beats Violator.  8)

Do I like the new single? I wouldn't say I love it (the chord progression is pretty tired), but then it always takes time for me to warm up to new music. Ultimately, DM has never let me down (see what I did there?), so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and purchase their new CD.

Seren, reading your comments reminded me of this.  ;D

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