Saner Days

7:58 pm General

OK… so this is the first time in recent memory – or hell, extended memory for that matter – that I’ve actually had a better computer system at work than the one I personally own and use at home. I can’t decide whether or not it’s a good thing I recently updated/upgraded my home system. If I hadn’t, I’d definitely be spoiling for a new one right now.

On balance, the new job has definitely been a positive change. I suppose fifteen years of contracting/consulting and/or working for (both real and imagined) startup companies can have a tendency to make one jaded, but the past four days have been quite a pleasant surprise. Facilities are nice and the people are genuine and very friendly, which I wasn’t expecting from a large, “impersonal” corporation. Benefits: excellent, plus. Also, I’ll be getting formal product training right off, which I think is extremely cool (it’s the way I’d do things, anyway, if I ruled the planet).

I’ve already had several deep technical discussions with the team, and it’s apparent the last five years’ experience will definitely be valuable (and valued – what a concept!). The project is pretty much at the start, so I’ll get a good chance to pitch ideas, which is always fun whether or not they’re ultimately used. And the folks there seem more than open and interested in actually listening and considering, which will be a welcome change.

Plus, I ran into Mark – a drummer with whom I played briefly about 10-11 years ago in a galaxy far, far away! That was pretty cool. He’s still going strong (check out here and here), which is great to see. Didn’t know he was working there. Wonder who else I’ll run into.

I’ve finally done some more audio experimenting and learned a few new things.

Thing One: the LarrivĂ©e OM-09E’s L.R. Baggs iMix Notch system turns out to have a very distinctly ‘digital’ sound when direct-connected to the Tascam AI (with or without an in-line preamp). I can’t decide if it’s square-wavey or sawtoothy, but it’s definitely not anything approaching the nice, round sine-wavey sound I hear coming out of the thing acoustically. This is kind of a bummer, actually, and what’s worse – I didn’t notice it before – but now I can ‘hear’ this not only in recorded tracks but coming out of the amp when I plug it in, as well. Big, big difference from the (much nicer) recorded sound I get from acoustically mic’ing with the Rode condenser. One might say that’s to be expected, but I would have thought the electronics in the guitar would produce something that’s a little more faithful to the actual acoustic sound, given that it’s far from a low-end instrument (and system). Almost kind of glad I didn’t have one put in the Lyle, now – which, by the way, will positively, absolutely, definitely, no-way-it-won’t be home on the 27th (yes, smartass… of this month!).

Thing Two: having done mostly one-the-fly mixes of multitimbral MIDI synth stuff up to now, it has occurred to me that I’ll be needing to do some creative patching to mix multiple audio tracks down to stereo. I may be missing something obvious, but it’s certainly looking like I need some way (like an SPDIF cable, etc.) to feed the mixed output back into the Tascam in order to capture and record it in SONAR on a stereo track (or pair of mono tracks). More reading needed…

In other news – I’ve been watching the John Adams miniseries on DVD. Very fascinating stuff. Quite different how the violence of the time period has been consciously played down – happening ‘off camera’, as it were – in favor of showing its actual effect(s) on the individuals. This puts a lot more demands on the dialog and the actors, IMHO. Oddly, the music strikes me as a combination of Greg Edmondson’s work on Firefly and some of the passages from Last of the Mohicans (either Edelman or Jones – not sure which). It fits, though some of the scenes depicting The People singing seem a bit strained. Might be intentional, as the times were most definitely strained, to say the least.

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