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Messages - petekelly

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Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Finally... Sound Forge for Mac!
« on: November 19, 2012, 09:41:25 AM »
Are your thoughts on this one forthcoming, Mike ?

I'm curious, I downloaded the demo, but it wouldn't install on my machine as I didn't have SP3 for Vista and I'm not going to risk the stability of it, just for a demo.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Mobile Listenings
« on: November 16, 2012, 01:06:15 PM »
I'm not saying that I think there is a discernable difference for everyone (regarding 24 / 16 bit), but I like to hear them both out of interest. I should point that I'm no audiophile (I can't afford it !), but I try to get the best gear I can to use and listen to, hence the thread.

Regarding mobile listening devices, things have come on Mike, check this beast out:

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Mobile Listenings
« on: November 16, 2012, 09:18:24 AM »
A fine choice of phones and good to see a purple player - they sound the best :)

I'm not entirely sure but (apart from the 'Rocoo' players), there are other players that play lossless formats. I was keen to try 24 bit wavs, hence my choice. There's a company called 'Colorfly' that also plays flac / wav etc

Good points indeed, but as an example, there's some dudes on those forums who swear that the  hi fi man players are no good, while other rave about them.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Mobile Listenings
« on: November 14, 2012, 04:46:06 AM »
I've been upgrading my out and about listenings set-ups. My venerable Sony NW-HD5 is an old hard disc based player and I think it may be on it's last legs, so I did some 'research' (internet mooching) and got the folllowing :

Sansa Clip Plus (in purple !)
A tiny thing but very good. At first I thought it was a toy, due to it's diminutive proportions. Great sound and with a 32GB micro SD card, lots of space. I've 'rockboxed' it, ( but I'm still not convinced that that's such a great thing as it's made out to be.

Etymotic HF-5s
Poor mans ER-4P, very detailed sound with 'lean' bass (as they say on audiophile forums), great isolation. Replaced my old Etymotic ER6i's.

Rocoo BA
Daft name but a great little player. No Eq or any other sound modifiers, really basic User Interface and no bells or whistles at all, just great sonic performance. Plays 24 Bit wavs - which is great for auditioning work-in-progress mixes and is almost completely hiss free ! My Shure E500s hiss with pretty much everything, but not this beastie.

So, I've now got some good gear to listen to music out and about, certainly not the last word in Hi-fidelity, but pretty good to these ears. Regarding those audiophiles on the Head-fi forums and the like, I was wondering do they really enjoy their music / lovely gear or are they constantly craving the 'even better' model(s) ? I really like the immediacy of in ear phones, but I find all earphones really uncomfortable after an hour or so. However, for that hour or so, listening to high quality playback is something thats important to me (as well as listening to less than brilliantly mastered favourite works as well). 

Am curious to hear what gear are others listening to ? How are mobile phones  / iThings these days for music listening ?

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Eno interview
« on: November 12, 2012, 03:28:29 AM »
I agree, those Warp covers are pretty ghastly, but that's their aesthetic isn't it ? :)

Independent Music Reviews / Re: Wind and Wire is back
« on: November 12, 2012, 03:24:18 AM »
Great news, Bill !

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Eno interview
« on: November 11, 2012, 10:20:19 AM »
Eno interview in the Indy (including some shocking typos !):

Not a wildly exciting interview, but good to see he's still at it. I'm interested to hear this 'Lux' album.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: VST / Software Suggestions?
« on: November 10, 2012, 03:15:59 AM »
Regarding Komplete, I had the opportunity to get it at a good price with a NI crossgrade offer, but I decided not to. The thinking was that I felt I would just spend so much time looking at all the stuff there, where I could use the time more constructively. As things turned out, I bought a Reaktor license instead and now have downloaded over 200 ensembles from the NI Reaktor user library - spending lots of time on that instead !

Incidentally, Second hand NI licences are regularly sold (quite legit) on KVR and there's some great deals there compared to the retail prices.

Reverb - that's a big one, lots of differing opinions there.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: VST / Software Suggestions?
« on: November 09, 2012, 02:56:06 PM »
As it happens, I wrote a 'sound design' blog recently. It's a bit out-there, but it may be of interest:

I find most soft-synths to be underwhelming. For me, the ones that do stretch things sonically are Native Instruments's: Razor and Prism as well as the mighty Reaktor (a mini komplete in it's own right ?)

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 31, 2012, 12:40:05 PM »
'Tam Lin' by Fairport Convention

A perennial All Hallows Eve favourite here at Flame Towers.

Particularly liked this part:

"Do you share the project with friends, label, or musical associates for feedback before making final decisions?"

"In all my solo work the path to the final master is shaped by trusting my own instincts: I don’t look for outside opinions. I do listen to the music in progress in many different settings, especially on my frequent long drives across the deserts between Arizona and California..."

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Interesting Steve Roach Technical interview
« on: October 27, 2012, 03:25:26 AM »
I don't know if this is the most appropriate place for this, but here's the interview :

Everything and Nothing / Speed of light ?
« on: October 16, 2012, 03:32:20 AM »
What are we NOT capable of ? :)

Seriously though, reporting aberrations aside, an amazing feat.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Director Tony Scott Suicide
« on: October 11, 2012, 06:37:47 AM »

The big story over here would have been considered to be in the domain of the 'wacky' before it broke last week:

Listened to my 'Brighter than a Thousand Suns' Killing Joke album on cassette in the car yesterday (it's quite an elderly vehicle), quite a buzz after not having heard it for years - didn't get chewed up either !

As has been said by others, I too have a fondness for tape and the tape era, but apart from as an 'art-object', my nostalgia is offset by their flaws in terms of longevity and sound quality.

Speaking of tape, I'II bet not many people will have seen one of these beasties. I knew a chap who worked at Nimbus mastering in Oxford years ago and this is what was required to get a CD made up from in those days - a CD-R at that, if memory serves me ! This thing was considerably bigger than an ADAT tape and pretty pricey.

I think it may be rather interesting:

An example (?):

'Purple section' - with feeling ! / quiet section (again) / atonal miasma / frogs / lovecraftian nuance / more quiet / space-flutes / frog delay-cloud / etc. etc. etc...

Cassette ! (and other obselete media nostalgia)

My second hand B & O cassette player player finally died and went off to the recycling tip, which made me revisit that big box of cassettes I’ve carted around from house to house for many years. I grew up (musically) in the era of cassette, when the new fangled Sony Walkman was the must have thing of the day. Like everyone else, I recorded onto ‘tape’ and this was my primary listening medium too.

In the eighties, I lived in houses with fellers who were into Hi-Fi, they had high-end cassette decks such as Nakamichi and Denon models, they who would only use premium metal / Chrome tapes and Dolby C, or more esoteric types of noise reduction. It was the best that people could do at the time without spending insane amounts of money on audio equipment. Even though the dynamic range and frequency response of the format was pretty unacceptable by today’s standards, it didn’t stop people recording music and enjoying it at the time.

After my stint of being in bands in the late eighties, I was very keen to record my own ideas, so I bought a very humble Vestax 4 track cassette recorder. This was the start of my ‘home-recording’ activities, I used that thing until it died and learnt an awful lot regarding making the most of 4 tracks. In hindsight, it was pretty dreadful quality wise, but saying that, even so-called ‘professional’ units of the time weren’t great either by modern standards of fidelity. I dare say tape hiss will not be remembered fondly by too many people !
I tried to get the most out of it by using the best quality tapes that I could. I also used a ‘ghetto-blaster’ to record guitar noodlings and jams I had with other musicians and that was even more awful in terms of sound quality, but very useful nonetheless. In the nineties a friend had a studio set-up based around an Alesis ADAT machine, which was a big step up in recording quality and extra had 8 tracks. We mastered onto a DAT machine, as that was considered to be the best format at the time. I recorded an awful lot of material at the time and was very diligent in documenting it and auditioning it, but I came to the realisation that it was just ‘work-in-progress’. None of these (home) recordings were ever released. However, some snippets of the better stuff have been recycled in my ambient work, ‘Colour my World’ from my ‘Hydra’ album being an example.

Four of my Cassette favourites :

Original Text here:

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear Acquisition Syndrome related blog post
« on: September 26, 2012, 07:19:20 AM »
In the spirit of my original post, I've been spending some time revisiting two of my favourite synths - Native Instrument's Prism and Razor.
With fresh ears (so to speak), I found some even more interesting qualities to these synths that I wasn't previously aware of.
The 'sonic exploration' continues !

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear Acquisition Syndrome releated blog post
« on: September 19, 2012, 03:45:03 AM »
Yes Julio,
Perhaps discussion is valuable therapy !. I'm actually thinking of not buying any more new music stuff for a while, I've got to crack on with my next album and the distraction of learning something new might not be such a good idea. I'm saying this after a possible Reaktor purchase, mind you :)

Sonic exploration here we go - it's never considered to be a profession is it ? Musician yes, composer yes, but sonic explorer, not so.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Gear Acquisition Syndrome related blog post
« on: September 18, 2012, 03:12:46 AM »
I think I need a 'purge' ! (Process mini-blog)

I spend an awful lot of time trying to determine as to whether software programs – synths, effects, samplers etc. may be useful (or not) for my musical projects. If I decide to buy a certain program, I spend even more time figuring out how it works. Of course, some things are pretty straight forward, but something like Native Instrument’s ‘Kontakt’ (for example) has an awful lot going on ‘behind the scenes’ as it were, and I’ve spent a significant amount of time with it, trying to figure out how I might find some interesting elements to it which aren’t immediately obvious.

I’m wondering now if I’ve succumbed to that most odious and insidious condition that musicians can be afflicted by – ‘GAS’ (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I have a relatively humble set-up, which probably cost me less than a half-decent 5 year old car would do. Saying that, I have a LOT of stuff and as I’ve said earlier, I spend a lot of time working with that ‘stuff’.
When it works, it’s cool, in that it gets used in my music and I get to broaden my sonic palette and look at new techniques and ways of working. Also, it keeps the old noggin ticking over, I feel it’s always good to try new things out. Some of my ‘core’ techniques have come out of happy accidents with working with some program or using a program in a different way in which it was intended to be used.

However, I’m starting to wonder if is less is more and do I need to stop looking to new ‘shiny’ things and concentrate on what I have ? I think that marketing people know that a lot of musicians are looking for that killer application that will improve their work markedly in some way. Look at the amount of ‘ambient themed’ sample libraries / synths / loops and the likes that are out there. Whole synths are marketed as making great sounding ‘pads’, for example. My feeling is that you need to spend time with what you know in a lot of cases, to come up with interesting results. I’m fortunate in that I’m quite an imaginative chap, so new ideas are never too far away. ‘Ambient X Super synth’ may yield great results, but there’s a lot of satisfaction in the DIY approach, methinks.

On balance, exploring synthesis and sound-mangling techniques is something I’m deeply fascinated by, so even though a lot of this experimentation never sees the light of day in my material, I believe that the time energy ‘invested’ is never wasted in the pursuit of artistic endeavour and it feeds into the final work, one way or another.

Original text here:

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