Two Brewing, Nothing in the Cup (yet).

"A Mystical Bond Between Man And Machine"

"A Mystical Bond Between Man And Machine"

Well the previous post mentioned a tune in the works… Well, that has turned out to be two tunes in the works. Both are established with starts to ends but each tune is missing something. Surprisingly it is two different things for each. I would have thought they would both be missing some similar trait that would make them “Finished”.

One is in need of a solid bass line (still!) and needs to be structured in a DJ “friendly” format. The other is a underscore piece that has meandered (as my tunes often do!) and it needs to be reigned in and structured.

Neither one is what I have in my mind as the quintessential representation of what ultrameek is to be about! That sound is still resting, waiting to be found. I am going to find it soon…

Got Something Brewing

Well I have managed to begin (and continue) to work on a new tune. It has a way to go – But it was my excuse to post a new blog. I have been neglecting it lately.

I just happen to have a great deal of ther things I have to handle on a daily basis. You might think the music suffers – but in this day and age of P2P file sharing, combined with a pleasant back log of song ideas in my head – It’s not so bad an arrangement presently.

Anyhow, there is a new tune in the pipe and it will most likely be released under a different alias for my own specific reasons. More on that later. Until then…

Happy Birthday Mazzy!!!

My Girls!

My Girls!

Sure, you don’t know Mazzy – she is my eleven year old daughter and today is her birthday… er, um… So technically TODAY she is eleven years old. At 5:21 PM to be exact! My younger daughter Muriel just turned seven last month… It gets kinda tight in the wallet around this house from December thru April!

m e e k RADIO blend No.2

Hiya folks – below is a link to my latest little adventure using Logic to mix sets. This one is a Hip Hop / Trip Hop collection. Enjoy.

**WARNING – Explicit lyrics abound**

hiptropblend2009

Again: Beat match junkies beware – This is a “Blend” of songs and NOT a traditional DJ Set using DJ gear / rig. I used Logic Pro to simply lay the audio out and create fades and effects modestly. This is a single audio file that can be downloaded as a Quicktime file if you like. If you do download it – all I ask is DJ credit and a link to this blog when possible. Thanks!

RE-POST of a 9 / 2008 set mix

I decided to re-post a mix set I did using Logic – not the best way to do that sort of thing – SO, the mix is more of a DJ radio set that’s blended together rather than strictly “Beat Matched“. I found it to be a nice collection of electronic tunes spanning all types of sub-genre’s… And maybe you will like it too?

9-2008-mix-v1

As I mentioned – it is NOT strictly beat matched but merely a set of mixed / blended electronic tunes that I happen to fancy. No expectations but highest hopes that some of you will enjoy it.

If you click the link above or the image link below, you will be taken to a single page with the audio file on it. You are WELCOME to Download it to a QuickTime file by left clicking on it and selecting the proper choice from the menu. Please feel free to share it – and also feel free to leave comments no matter the subject – critical and honest is all I ask – good or bad.

ultraart-9-2008

Thank you for taking the time to listen and show interest in the audio creations I indulge in. I hope you find at least a small portion of the pleasure from them that I do. Cheers and always; No Worries!

What Do You Get When You Laydown 18 Drum Channels?

You get the work in progress that is my latest aural playground.

votderfunkshun-d1

“VotDerFunkshun” soon to be renamed I think but none-the-less I present to you this work in progress. This is one of four manifestations of this tune. This one is the first to try and include a little vocal hook sample. I just loves me some drums!

drummy

It will need more bass-line in it… But I am not sure much else. The more I hear it the more I kind of like it the way it is. Maybe you have an opinion? I would love to hear it – any criticism is welcomed!

The Perfect Audio Production Home Studio

logic-automation-screen

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…or rather; One Type of Perfect Home Studio for Independent Electronic Musicians, DJ’s and Soundtrack / Underscore Composers.

But that would have been a really long post title and I differed to the shorter version.

Throughout this post I will provide many links to words / phrases I think might be unfamiliar to newcomers. These links will define or explain in greater detail the idea / products being discussed. It saves space and time going over information that is plentiful and readily available.

You Should Click The LinksI think they all will be very helpful and informative.

In this post I hope to help any musicians out there seeking a quality music production set up at a modest cost . A lot easier to do in 2009!

Remember: This post is geared towards a niche group of musicians – Musicians wishing to primarily make Electronic Music for dance floors, head phones, soundtracks, video games and such.

When I decided to begin making music once again – I searched the Internet for hours researching what I thought would give me the most use for the money. Unfortunately for me, I decided to get back in to it about a year to early (2006).

In the time between 2006 and present, my current D.A.W. (which I will discuss later) had it’s features upgraded while simultaneously cutting it’s price tag in Half! Bonus for the people coming in on it today.

I found many helpful sites, but I thought – just maybe I could compile some options here in one place. Just an example of the base Needs of a home based Electronic Musician. Then list some optional gear for DJ’s, Remix Producers and Soundtrack Composers.

The key words in the previous paragraph were: “Home Based”. I don’t want any aspiring composers to think that the proposed configurations are adequate for all facets of the business.

This is NOT for the “Traditional Musician” playing a guitar, drums, bass, etc. etc. – Needing to run a Pro Tools recording studio. You will not be treating your entire room with acoustic sound dampening tiles and such.

(Though it would not hurt you to do some strategic acoustic tiling in your chosen space.)

This is more for the musician who lives at home raising a family and has a spare room and some excess money in hand. I will make sure to put a link to some power options regarding the computer as well as additional software and plug ins.

(Those options can certainly increase your cost, sometimes  by drastic amounts.)

I won’t bother with breaking down my current rig because it is almost three years old (minus the DAW upgrade).

I will use “On The Shelf” hardware and software – So you know you should be able to walk into a store (or hop online) and buy these things as soon as you finish reading this if you like. So here goes:

The Computer

Apple iMac

Apple iMac

Yep, that is an Apple iMac. I am not saying you can not do this with a Windows PC (although the DAW I will suggest is Apple specific) – What I am saying is that in the almost three years I have owned my Apple computer…I have yet to have it crash.

Even running the DAW – (unfortunately most DAW’s are infamous for crashes…I suppose that is a testament to my preferred DAW too)!

The iMac is the entry level machine for making music with a computer. Yes, you could skimp even more and maybe have a Mac Mini run the rig. But for a little more money you can almost triple your head room.

If you click on the link above (or here) you can read the various specs for the iMac. Below I will list the minimum specs I think you should be shooting for. Remember: This is the minimum that I think you need – You may decide differently?

Minimum iMac Specs:

The rest of the specs are really not important save for other applications. The lowest 128 MB video card they offer is just fine even for graphics programs like the Adobe Creative Suite.

I will give more robust Mac suggestions at the end of the post. For now I will keep things under the $4,000.00 US budget range.

The Peripherals

  • MIDI Controller (I use a 61 key MIDI piano – they come in 49,61,72,88 keys)
  • Audio Interface – Fire Wire (my choice) or USB device for connecting audio lines IN / OUT
  • Studio Reference Monitors – I use a particular brand but there are many, many choices
  • If you can’t swing the monitors – try Studio Reference Headphones

The studio reference monitors are especially important! You must get Studio Reference MonitorsNOT JUST SPEAKERS – They are called (“Studio Reference Monitors” for a very good reason).

You need the sound coming out of your monitors to be as “True” as possible. Normal stereo speakers “color” the sound with or without an EQ to help taint the True sound.

The links to each of those things should help you find your way to pricing too…But let me point out why I did not dwell on those items:

Each of those items is especially user preference choices – The prices vary slightly, but the general same “class” of peripheral as the ones linked to, would be in similar price ranges. Each one being quite affordable for the person with limited funds who is serious about building a home studio.

I will give a simple, comprehensive list of all the base items at the end of the post – So you can have a quick list to reference.

The Digital Audio Workstation

(or, The Software That Has All The Sounds and Functions You Will Need To Make Electronic Music)

Apple Logic Studio Audio Suite

Apple Logic Studio Audio Suite

Yep, that is the Apple specific audio software suite that will only run on a Mac. But I think once you click the following link (Logic Studio) you will see all that this amazing software suite has to offer.

I can honestly say – and I have seen it written many places too – that Logic Pro has all the features an aspiring Electronic Musician / Composer needs…All in ONE BOXAll for $500.00 US plus tax! (Yeah, really – Logic 7 was $1,000.00 US! “Studio” is Logic 8.)

All of that and much more for $500.00 US. Yes, there are many other DAW’s out there that are comparable to Logic Studio – But I say you would be hard pressed to find one as stable as Logic running on a Mac.

Stability and security in your rig is second only to creativity for the Electronic Musician. Again I am only telling you from my experience. I have many friends who use PC and Sonar or CuBase with Reason (all of which can be used on a Mac too).

The problem with PC’s is that most folks have them bogged down with tons of personal stuff as well as professional. My experience has been that most Mac users have one machine they use for production and another for personal use.

PC’s can be allocated this way to – But, well – They just crash a lot. Sorry, they just do. (Love them for games though! And I admit to having a Dell in the living room – But it is only out of the lack of being able to get another Mac!)

Three years – No crash. Enough said.

So here is the comprehensive list for the base home studio on a budget:

  1. Apple iMac ($1,400.00)
  2. Apple Logic Studio ($500.00)
  3. Fire Wire or USB Audio Interface ($350.00)
  4. MIDI Keyboard / Controller ($325.00)
  5. Studio Reference Monitors ($400 to $800.00 US)
  6. Misc. Cables and Adapters ($80.00 to $500.00 depending on quality and the distance between each piece of gear)

Studio Reference is what you need to look for, not just speakers!) or Ref. Headphones ($80 to $120.00)

That is the Short List for the beginning Electronic Musician who is serious about getting started on a modest budget (under $5,000.00 US)

You may also find yourself in need of microphones and all the things that go with vocal recording – But that is a separate discussion within itself.

Just Below is a link to the computer that will give you the most power, flexibility and upgrade ability:

This Is The Big Daddy Computer To Shoot For – But it will cost you!

Additional Software Considerations For the Electronic Musician / DJ

  • Abelton Live – I have yet to use it but I know many DJ’s and Producers who swear by it.
  • Kontakt – This is another I do not own but have used. It is a great DJ Interface mixing software.
  • Serato Scatch Live – The choice for most DJ’s I know, but requires you own turntables.
  • Reason – The preferred plug in choice for additional software synth sounds
  • Vienna Symphonic – A world class symphony software instrument. You pay for what you get and you will need to beef up your rig!

Now there are countless others out there too – Sample libraries, samplers, tube pre’s, etc. etc.. These above were just examples of some of the most prominent applications in there field.

Each artist will surely come to their own decisions about what they really need and what works for them. The amount of funds available will have a lot to do with their decisions too.

I have found that a Mac and Logic out of the box has not left me wanting too much else. I certainly don’t need more – There is SO MUCH to learn about in Logic! The software instruments are very customizable and the whole program is fairly user friendly considering the depth and quality.

I would guess that the absolute beginner might do well to go with Logic Express and upgrade if they are comfortable with the program and it’s learning curve.

I would strongly suggest finding Online Tutorials over trying to tackle the several bibles that Apple calls User Manuals packaged in Logic. They can be very, very, very intimidating upon first glance. After you are familiar with the program I am confident the manuals will read much easier for you.

Here is a short list of Very Helpful web resources about Home Studios

There are many, many, many other sites that can help you – Those are just some of the most helpful I have found – Also, once you decide on your gear make sure you frequent gear specific forums! They are immeasurably helpful in trouble shooting.

Well, this post was not as informative as it could have been but it is late and this is long already! I will post again soon with more comprehensive information about a Mac and Logic Studio as a affordable and content / application piled audio software suite.

(I did not even mention Quick Time Pro and Soundtrack 2 that are bundled in there too!)

So as you can imagine – There is much more to say about Logic Studio Suite.

More later. Thanks!