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Messages - Scott M2

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Everything and Nothing / Re: Vinyl Reissues vs Originals
« on: April 24, 2015, 12:57:01 PM »
I tried a little googling on digitally cut vinyl and found some long discussions on the Steve Hoffman forum and such. Apparently some European pressing plants ask for the masters as Redbook CDrs. Also, when you think about it, for quite a while people were mixing to DAT tapes anyway, so while vinyl may "warm" the mix, it's still a 16bit 44.1 or 48 source.

This is just stuff I hadn't really thought about before - I'm not a vinyl nut - though I have a wall of it. I currently like to spend my money on SACDs, DVD-As or Blu-rays with surround mixes. That's my personal audio treat. BTW - I highly recommend Diatonis for excellent ambient music surround mixes.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« on: April 20, 2015, 10:53:28 AM »
(People do amazing things on even an iPhone screen.

Well I'm not an apple supporter, and I think making music on an ipad with my butt sitting on a coffee shop chair is a not a step forward, but if you think it makes you look cool, then go ahead :)

Hey Horizon, I'm with David L. and have never watched a TV program on my phone let alone a film. My wife enjoys watching Netflix on her iPad though. I'm not fond of Apple either but sure like many of  the instruments independent designers have created for iPads. And while "I" think it's cool that I can be working on sound-design for my next show while in a coffee shop waiting for my wife, I'm sure any outsiders assume I'm reading e-mail or playing video games. ;) 

This is bringing back a memory of when I travelled by bus from Ottawa to Toronto back in the seventies to buy a Synthi-AKS. I remember waiting in the lineup at the bus station to return to Ottawa, thrilled to be carrying my new modular synth home and knowing that outsiders saw only a young man with a briefcase. Cheers!

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« on: April 20, 2015, 10:35:34 AM »
That interface should work really well for your guitar Pete. I have their earlier iRig Stomp pedal and it does the job - but uses the headphone jack, which does not support 24 bit audio and (I've read) is prone to feedback at louder volumes.

I was fond of the JamUp amp/fx modeling app until (after recording a batch of parts for a (non-ambient) song) I discovered that the stereo tracks nulled completely in mono. I haven't done proper sleuthing to see if it was the interface/JamUp combo or just JamUp which displayed this behaviour - but neither AmpliTube or AmpKit+ displayed this problem. Besides the recording, it was disturbing to find that guitar played through JamUp would not loop in my Line6 Delay Pedal because the looper sums to mono. The other guitar apps worked fine.

Everything and Nothing / Vinyl Reissues vs Originals
« on: April 18, 2015, 05:23:36 PM »
An interesting tidbit gleaned from a Now Toronto article with tips from Paul Kehayas on buying vinyl...

"New reissued records aren't better than original records - especially when trumpeted as '180-gram audiophile' pressings," says the soundtrack composer and member of Hollow Earth. "This is a marketing ploy and basically bullshit."

According to Kehayas, the golden age of record-making was 1960-1972 for UK and U.S. releases. The majority of those "weigh approximately 130 grams and were analog-cut at the time. Most new records are digitally cut unless they state otherwise on the packaging (most trumpet this because it's so hard to pull off!) or a website."

Records don't sound like records when cut from digital, he says, citing labels to avoid: 4 Men with Beards, Scorpio (which puts the gold 180 gram sticker on its covers), Lilith, Plain Recordings, Simply Vinyl.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« on: April 18, 2015, 12:39:40 PM »
I've been using iPad instruments to make ambient music for many years now (beginning with an iPad1) and I'll pop into this thread to discuss some of my personal favourite instruments later, but I thought I'd have to start by addressing Horizon's concerns.

"I feel that ambient made with these gadgets turns anything into disposable music."

OK, that's just a nice inflammatory/warm-blanket opener along the traditional lines of: "A synthesiser isn't a real instrument." or "You can't make real music with a computer" or "This Rock and Roll/Rap garbage will never last". Well done! I'm guessing you've never actually used one to try to make ambient music.

"1. No warmth, no nostalgia from old soundbanks (Why Steve Roach still utilizes the Emu, Oberheim, Nord Lead, Wavestation?) and not an ipad?"

No one is coming to take away your old nostagic instruments or stopping anyone from using them along with an iPad. In fact they go very well together. I'll also bet that Steve, who maintains an inquisitive mind about new technologies, might be interested in adding an iPad or two to his setup after exposure to some appropriate iPad instruments/techniques.

"2. Hardware is made as a whole, including the DAC character, I doubt anything software for ipad will survive 30 + years, back to 1. (repeat often)."

This is very true. Apple's continual updating of their operating system is creating very real problems for instrument designers, who have to try to update their instruments regularly so they work under a new OS. I'm currently keeping my iPad OS at iOS7 because it works well - though iOS8 is the current version. Apple has recently screwed up my future usage of Alchemy, my main laptop VST by buying the company and withdrawing support this summer. They did the same to me when they bought Logic and stopped supporting the PC version. In the hardware world, the issue is availability of parts as the decades pass. I've been able to replace old pots myself on my Modular Moog from time to time, but other instruments are not as simple and various ICs are no longer made. Readout screens are another tricky thing to replace. I'm lucky that many of my instruments are by Roland, who, so far, have been good at keeping old parts and I was able to replace the fading screen on my SuperJupiter about a decade ago.

The quality of the D/A from the headphone jack is, of course, far from perfect but is surprisingly good and useful. I imagine you don't use the headphone jack on your computer. There are excellent DAC interfaces which work well with iPads from Apogee, RME and many others. I love being able to work on sound-design, drum grooves and sequences in my living room, yard, on the bus or anywhere I go and then use it in live performances or into my main DAW later. I use iPads as instruments and not as DAWs so far but I understand that the quality can be very good in Auria or Cubasis. Depending on the app, the word can be 16 bit or 24 bit. I just bought an iConnectAudio4+ which will transfer MIDI and audio at 24 bit back and forth between my iPad and computer without any D/A or A/D conversion. (There are many excellent iPad F/X apps too.) It's just out of the box, so I haven't implemented it yet.

"3. Larger screen is 15 inches up, anything smaller for any kind of production is counterproductive."

I look forward to the rumoured larger iPad supposed to arrive this fall - but the current size is great for portability and is quite playable - depending on the instrument design. (People do amazing things on even an iPhone screen. Thumjam is brilliant as it also includes the use of the gyroscope for pitch-bending, vibrato or tonal shifts through wrist motion.) I like to use external hardware controllers to supplement the screen, just as I do for my laptop.

The new interface possibilities and the portabilty make them powerful new tools. They can be used as compact sequencers or control surfaces for old and new synths too.


Everything and Nothing / Re: Forum software upgrade coming up
« on: March 20, 2015, 01:14:13 PM »
The orange is growing on me.

Get it off! Get it off!  :o

Everything and Nothing / Re: Forum software upgrade coming up
« on: March 19, 2015, 05:26:10 PM »
The gray is OK by me but after the talk about Decal, I tried it and found it more compact. I'm not a fan of orange (titles) but I'll stick with it for now.

Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Forrest Fang news
« on: March 14, 2015, 08:23:10 PM »
"Letters" was the first FLAC I injected into my new Pono. It sounds rich and full with the blend of trad instruments and electronics.  8)

Everything and Nothing / Re: Frippertronics on Midnight Special 1979
« on: March 05, 2015, 04:34:51 PM »
Very nice! I was lucky to catch a Frippertronics tour when it came though Ottawa and it was a delight and my first "exposure" to Fripp's professorial mode between pieces.

Listening: Podcasts, Mixes, and Music Sample Clips / Re: Dishwasher drone
« on: February 19, 2015, 10:59:12 AM »
Wow Forrest... if my dishwasher sounded like that, I'd be loading it up all day and night!

Third System - Living in Canada, I (or Lynn who actually bought Ephemeral for our household) can only leave a review in the Canadian app Store, where the reviews are A-OK.  However...

Forrest - Thanks for your review in the US Store and Triple-Thanks for also including that firm but polite push to contact the developer for help before leaving a negative review!

I'll sleep better tonight knowing people may not be frightened away from Ephemeral because of the whiff of a bug. Contacting us to help reproduce and fix any problem that might arise is rather like the way I would personally replace a defective dreamSTATE CD (and throw in a bonus) if someone reported one to me. (Hasn't happened yet - but I think most of us care about a great listener experience over just a sale.)

Again... Thanks Guys! 

Thanks for your reviews Pete and Third System... Ephemeral is now represented in the UK!

In the US, sadly, someone, who actually liked Ephemeral, lost their audio and couldn't get it back after pressing the Mute button and posted a one star review instead of contacting us via our support page to let us know their iDevice and iOS# to help ReFla5h try to reproduce and cure their problem - and we have no way of contacting them via App Reviews. Sigh. This new way of releasing our music presents new complications... but we'll learn from the process and keep refining. Thanks again for your support!

Thanks for leaving a review Chris! The fact that it does not appear in the Canadian App Store (where there are a couple of Canadian reviews) confirmed for me that each country's App Store only displays reviews by its own residents. I can understand that viewing reviews in an other language "may" not be desirable, but it means that your review will also not appear in the UK or Australia App Stores - where that's not a barrier. No wonder so many apps have those popups to remind people to leave a rating/review! (Don't worry, dreamSTATE will not implement those popups in our iAlbums - but I'm glad I suggested leaving ratings/reviews here.) There's so much to learn about this new approach that we're exploring. I WAS able to see your review in the main developer tool, iTunes Connect, where there's a dropdown menu where you can observe reviews by country. Thanks doubly for your time and your words. Cheers!

Picked this up last night and spent a good part of the day listening to it. Super cool! Well done, Scott! I'm enjoying this immensely.

Excellent... Thanks Chris! Feedback from the deep ambientheads here is truly appreciated.   :)

* Please allow me to be a pain-in-the-butt and request that anyone digging Ephemeral City to leave a rating or a little review at the App Store. I'm told that this is an important aspect of promotion within the Apple environment. THANKS!  8)

Interesting, seems to be a trend. Well done. While I'm not an app user myself, I will take this moment to say that dreamSTATE was quite important for me in my early days of exploring ambient music. Thanks for that.

Thanks so much for letting us know. That's good for my soul!

Downloaded the app onto my ipad mini yesterday. This is very good indeed. Beautiful music and enjoy the graphics also. Zapped it onto my iphone and touch also for mobile Ephemeralising.

Interesting concept this. I have the Robert Rich Somnium app but this one takes it to a whole new level. Great stuff , congratulations Scott.

Thank you Third System! My favourite mobile listening on my iPhone has been walking the dog through the back streets late at night.

I too have the Somnium app and turn to it when I'm in the mood for a sparce deep soundscape. I notice that it has disappeared from the App Store now, which is a real shame. :(

Hmm, could be a nifty little business turning peoples ambient works
and graphic sets into evolving iOS apps !  Quit yer day job, Scott.

 ;D Fortunately I have already have too many dreamSTATE projects to complete to consider such a micro-business, though I will mention it to ReFla5h, our programmer. Thanks.  ;)

Hi Pete, So glad you're enjoying exploring Ephemeral! I'll give the whole game away.

Ephemeral City is based on concepts from our first ambient installation back in 1996. There are 3 stereo streams playing at all times (though you can thin the mix down to 1.5 streams of generally lighter or darker elements using the Mix control). Each stream is shuffled independently and the possible juxtapositions start to skyrocket after the first few minutes of each play. There are some elements which are restrained to preserve their freshness and hopefully provide some small extra pleasures upon their return - for those who listen many times. I've spent many hundreds of hours over the last few years listening intently to ensure that every element will work with all the other elements and I still experience new passages that I know I'll never hear again.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Edgar Froese in tribute
« on: January 23, 2015, 09:15:21 PM »
Thanks for sharing that Darren.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Camel Audio stopped business
« on: January 23, 2015, 09:11:59 PM »
Since I like to manipulate samples, in the future this could end up as my replacement for Alchemy:

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