Tuesday Oct 25, 2005

The other half of the picture

Excuse the mess in the background! Here's the other half of my music setup.

rack

On the top is the output mixer, which sends sound from the piano, computer, external MIDI devices and so on to the monitor speakers or headphones. Next shelf down, we have a PSA-1 modelling guitar preamp, a TX-7 (rack version of a DX-7), and a drum machine. In the bottom, we have the computer which runs the soft synths and does the recording, and a mini-mixer connected to the input side of the sound card. The mixer allows me to have the preamp and a microphone plugged in, and select between them without juggling cables.

Thursday Oct 20, 2005

More music toys.

I got a dedicated USB music keyboard to use with my virtual instruments. It has a classic "synthesizer" touch, rather than the weighted piano-style touch of my P-200. I have it on top of the piano, with the monitor for the computer behind. That works okay, but I have to figure out something ergonomic to do with the mouse. Here's a picture of the setup.

keyboards

Friday Sep 30, 2005

Yet more musical emulation

I liked the Prophet emulator so much, I bought the same company's Hammond clone too. Now I can pretend to be Jon Lord being harrassed by Ian Gillan about his organ not working...

Tag:

Thursday Sep 22, 2005

More computer music fun

When I was a teenager I always wanted a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5. That's a synth keyboard, for those of you not old enough to know. I never got one - it was pro gear at the time, and much too expensive, and these days they seem pretty rare. But thanks to the magic of emulation, I now have the next-best thing — a Pro-53. I got this program today, and it is a hoot. Having never played the real thing, I can't say how realistic it is, but a lot of the preset sounds are surprisingly familiar from those eighties tracks...

Also, the latency problem is apparently not hardware-related, since running this synth as a standalone program and controlling it from my Yamaha piano produces no noticable lag. Excellent.

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Saturday May 14, 2005

Wannabe luthier

I confess, I'm a wannabe luthier. I've always enjoyed building things (although I don't make any claim to be a great craftsman), and I love playing all kinds of stringed instruments. So why not combine the two? I love early Martin guitars, the small-body 12-fret models. But even though they don't command the ridiculous price that the Dreadnought models do, they aren't exactly cheap. Also, they aren't exactly vegetarian! So I fondly hope that I can build a bunch of instruments inspired by those Martin 0-, 1- and 2-size gems, but minus the pieces of dead animal.

How am I doing? Maybe not so well. I've been seriously interested in doing this for over a year, and I've bought a bunch of tools, plans, exotic woods, and books. How many guitars do I have to show for it? None! But I have started on a warm-up project. I'm building an electric guitar, inspired by the venerable Fender® Telecaster®. I've collected all the parts I need, and I'm currently working on the neck. I figure I'll learn to build necks from this, then that will be one less new thing to learn when I come to the acoustics. I'm hoping to have the Terrycaster finished by the end of June.

Incidentally, I'm working from plans published by the Musical Instrument Maker's Forum, which is an invaluable resource.

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terryh

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