Archive for the ‘Home Studio’ Category

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Upgrade any Microphone! Affordable XLR to USB Converter from Blue

March 11, 2009

Blue Icicle

The Icicle is Blue’s new stylish USB converter and mic preamp combo that allows you to connect any XLR microphone directly into your computer via USB! The Icicle features a studio quality microphone preamp, 48V phantom power, fully balanced low noise front end, analog gain control, and driverless operation.

THE BLUE ICICLE MICROPHONE IS HERE AT DOLPHIN!

Setup is a snap! The Blue Icicle works with both dynamic and condenser microphones, providing high quality and hassle-free connectivity with Mac or PC. Whether you’re using a microphone for digital recording, podcasting, voice messaging, or voice recognition applications, the Icicle is the quick and easy way to get connected.

Hook UP Diagram

Blue Icicle XLR to USB Mic Converter/Mic Preamp Specifications:

  • Sample/Word: 44.1K/16 bit
  • Power Consumption: 200mA (from USB bus)

System Requirements:

  • Macintosh: Mac OSX with USB 1.0 or 2.0 and 64 MB RAM (minimum)
  • Windows: XP Home Edition, Professional or Vista with USB 1.0 or 2.0 and 64 MB RAM (minimum)

Blue Icicle XLR to USB Mic Converter/Mic Preamp Features:

  • Works with Mac or PC computers
  • No Special Drivers Required
  • Studio Quality USB microphone preamp
  • Supplies 48V phantom power for . condenser microphones
  • Phantom power active light
  • Fully balanced low noise analog front end
  • Analog gain control
  • Blue Icicle XLR to USB Mic Converter/Mic Preamp Includes:

Includes 6-ft USB cable

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Metronomes: 10 of the best

February 10, 2009

Allegro

A metronome is any device that produces a regulated aural, visual or tactile pulse to establish a steady tempo in the performance of music. It is a useful practice tool for musicians that dates back to the early 19th century.

The word metronome first appeared in English c.1815 and is Greek in origin:

metron = measure, nomos = regulating

Ludwig van Beethoven was the first notable composer to indicate specific metronome markings in his music, in 1817.

Mechanical metronomes

One common type of metronome is the mechanical metronome which uses an adjustable weight on the end of a pendulum (also known as a double-weighted pendulum) rod to control the tempo: The weight is slid up the pendulum rod to decrease tempo, or down to increase tempo. The pendulum swings back and forth in tempo, while a mechanism inside the metronome produce a clicking sound with each oscillation.

Electronic metronomes

Electronic metronome, Wittner model

Most modern metronomes are electronic and use a quartz crystal to maintain accuracy, comparable to those used in wristwatches. The simplest electronic metronomes have a dial or buttons to control the tempo; some also produce tuning notes, usually around the range of A440 (440 hertz). Sophisticated metronomes can produce two or more distinct sounds. Tones can differ in pitch, volume, and/or timbre to demarcate downbeats from other beats, as well as compound and complex time signatures.

Many electronic musical keyboards have built-in metronome functions.

Software metronomes

Metronomes now exist in software form, either as stand alone applications or often in music sequencing and audio multitrack software packages. In recording studio applications, such as film scoring, a software metronome is often used to generate a click track to synchronize musicians.

10 of the best:

Wittner MT41 Digital Metronome

Digital Credit Card / Digital Metronome Features Convenient take-along credit card size Visual LCD Simple 4-button operation Tempo Range: 30 – 250 times/min. 10 visual and audible beat settings Reference Note: A–440Hz for tuning Earphonek: Monophonic, 2.5mm (0.1″) plug (earphone not included) Memory of last setting Accuracy Metronome: ±0.03% …

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Wittner Metronome – Mahogany-coloured, matte – With Bell

Wittner Metronome – Mahogany-coloured, matte – With Bell Christmas Stocking Filler Gift Ideas Mahogany coloured matt silk finish. With bell.

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Wittner Traditional Maelzel Pyramid Metronome – Plastic Case – With Bell – Black

Plastic Case Traditional Shape Wind Up Mechanism Swinging Pendulum Tempo Range 40 – 208 BPM Audible Click (with bell – 4 beat settings) Dimensions 117 x 220 x 117mm

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Wittner Metronome Mälzel – Walnut-coloured, Matte – With Bell

Wittner Metronome Mälzel – Walnut-coloured, Matte – With Bell Caring for the Exterior of Your Instrument       Make sure to use a polishing cloth  to remove dust and fingerprints after…

Seiko SQ50V

A quartz metronome with built in tone generator, features two tempo sounds & a dynamic speaker for high quality sound. Tempo: 40-208 Tone Generator: A4, Bb Pitch Shift: A4=440Hz Beat: 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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Seiko DM70

A pocket-sized digital metronome with built in clock. Also features a tone generator. Tempo: 30-250 Tone Generator: C4-B4 Pitch Shift: A4=440Hz Beat: 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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Seiko DM50 – Silver

Christmas Stocking Filler Gift Ideas A clip-style compact digital metronome with built in clock. Tempo: 30-250 Beat: 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Other: 4 levels of volume Silver finish

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Wittner Maelzel System Quartz Metronome – Mahogany

Specifications Quartz Metronome Wooden Case Traditional Shape Tempo Range 40 – 208 BPM Visual Pulse Signal Audible Click Volume Control

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Wittner Taktell Classic Metronome – Black/Silver

Modern Classic Styling Silver or Gilded Facia, Pendulum and Winder Tempo Range 40 – 208 BPM Audible Click Dimensions 85 x 155 x 50mm Weight 177g

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However

A metronomical performance is certainly tiresome and nonsensical; time and rhythm must be adapted to and identified with the melody, the harmony, the accent and the poetry…..—Franz Liszt

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Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. D.I.Y. Studio for new album

January 23, 2009

franz-ferdinand
Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. D.I.Y. Studio for new album

Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. It’s a typically detailed affair from this habitually detail-stuffed band. Kapranos talks about the “narcotic” elements of the song, a throbbing funk number with razor-sharp guitar riffs; about how the Glasgow-based foursome want to look as if they’ve gone “feral” under the influence of paganism.

“I’m really bored by all the guitar music,” says McCarthy, guitarist with the band who, when they released their debut, singlehandedly revitalised British guitar music almost ten years after the glory days of Britpop.

and so….

“Nihil Sin Labore” says the motto engraved on weathered stone above the front door of the old Govan Town Hall. ‘Nothing without work’. Franz Ferdinand know all about that. They have been bunkered in this building – also home to TV production, theatre and fashion companies – for nearly two years. It’s their latest artistic squat. Having met each other through the ever-busy Glasgow music scene, Franz Ferdinand started out in 2002 by occupying an abandoned Glasgow department store. Dubbing it the Chateau and channelling the spirit of Warhol’s Factory, they and artist friends would hold gigs-cum-exhibitions-cum-happenings. After signing a record deal they relocated to an old prison complex in the city.

Here in the town hall they’ve installed a jerrybuilt recording studio. As befits Franz Ferdinand’s status as Britain’s most innovative art-rock band, the group has spent the past 18 months “playing” this environment as if it were an instrument. “We got more sounds here than we would have in studio you’d pay £1,000 a day for,” says Hardy. This set-up even gave the new album its title and de facto theme: after neighbours complained about the noise the band boarded up the windows, shutting out daylight from the recording process. Hence Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, a DIY record bristling with club-friendly and quirky electronic tunes. Saturday night fever, given a postmillennium credit-crunch reboot.

Hardy, 28, who initially came to Scotland from Bradford to study at Glasgow School of Art, gives me a tour. A store cupboard has become a keyboard room stuffed with vintage musical kit with lyrical names (Quartet Arp, Micromoog Synthesizer, Roland Rhythm Composer, King Vocoder). A former bathroom is now the band’s amplifier room, equipment stacked around the toilet bowl. In the Town Hall’s cavernous former debating chamber they set up their instruments in the middle of the floor and jammed. One day McCarthy (34, Blackpool-born, raised in Germany, relocated to Glasgow after graduating from the Munich Conservatory) spent hours crawling in the roof space to dangle and swing a microphone over their heads to create a Doppler effect. It amounts to four seconds of music on Tonight.

Half of the room housing their office is filled with a vintage Flickinger mixing desk, as beloved of Sly Stone, Ike Turner and Funkadelic – found for the band in Chicago. To record the new song What She Came For, Franz Ferdinand also decamped to the town hall’s cluttered basement, jammed in among boxes and flight cases. Hardy, a keen photographer, has images of this set-up on his lap-top. Thomson, 32, the sole Scotsman in the band and only dad (he has two young children), is pictured with his bandmates crowded round his drum kit. “We were playing right in each other’s faces,” recalls Kapranos. Why? “We wanted the end of What She Came For to sound like a nuclear explosion,” the singer beams

The band have performed around a half dozen tracks from the album live. A recent show in Brooklyn found the band on great form, playing new tracks with the titles ‘Bite Hard’, ‘Turn It On’, ‘Katherine, Kiss Me’, ‘Ulysses’ and ‘What She Came For’.
Produced by Dan Carey, the album should see the new Scottish gentry re-affirm their status as a top class musical machine.

Franz Ferdinand release their new album ‘Tonight: Franz Ferdinand’ on January 26th.

Source:The Times

First Single…

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Prog Rock Britannia! – BBC Documentary

January 6, 2009

kingcrimson

One of the most influential times in British music has recently been the the topic for a season of broadcasts from the BBC.

This series ran over the festive period and is repeated on BBC Four today and tomorrow.

It charts the growth and rise of the ‘Progressive’ musician starting with The Nice and Soft Machine moving onto King Crimson, ELP and of course The Pink Floyd.

Progressive rock (often shortened to progressive, prog, or prog rock) is a form of rock music that evolved in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a “mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility.” The term “art rock” is often used interchangeably with “progressive rock”, and while there are crossovers between the two genres they are not identical. Prog Rock was the first steps of pop musicans and rock and roll musicans begining to get bored playing 12 bar blues. This was the sound of musicians who wanted a little more from their music than repitition

Progressive rock bands pushed “rock’s technical and compositional boundaries” by going beyond the standard rock or popular verse-chorus-based song structures. Additionally, the arrangements often incorporated elements drawn from classical, jazz, and world music. Instrumentals were common, while songs with lyrics were sometimes conceptual, abstract, or based in fantasy. Progressive rock bands sometimes used “concept albums that made unified statements, usually telling an epic story or tackling a grand overarching theme.”

Progressive rock songs either avoid common popular music song structures of verse-chorus-bridge, or blur the formal distinctions by extending sections or inserting musical interludes, often with exaggerated dynamics to heighten contrast between sections. Classical forms are often inserted or substituted, sometimes yielding entire suites, building on the traditional medleys of earlier rock bands. Progressive rock songs also often have extended instrumental passages, marrying the classical solo tradition with the improvisational traditions of jazz and psychedelic rock. All of these tend to add length to progressive rock songs, which may last longer than twenty minutes….Sounds Great Doesn’t it!

gg

Another super cool aspect of Prog is the avid use of technology to aid their timbral exploration. Progressive rock bands were often early adopters of new electronic musical instruments and technologies. Emerson Lake and Palmer pioneered use of the Moog synthesizer, and the mellotron was a signature sound of early progressive bands such as the Moody Blues, King Crimson, and Genesis. Pink Floyd utilized an EMS Synthi A synthesizer equipped with a sequencer on their track “On the Run” from their 1973 album “Dark Side of the Moon“. In the late 1970s, Robert Fripp, of King Crimson, and Brian Eno developed an analog tape loops effect (Frippertronics). In the 1980s, Frank Zappa used the Synclavier for composing and recording, and King Crimson utilized MIDI-enabled guitars, a Chapman Stick, and electronic percussion.

10_string_chapman_stick

10 string chapman stick

The whole genre obviously imploded and was finally killed off by a combination of Rick Wakeman performing  ‘On Ice’ style shows and the new wave of punk (which was created by ex prog fans).

Prog the early days

Allmusic cites Bob Dylan‘s poetry, The Mothers of Invention‘s Freak Out! and the BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as showing the “earliest rumblings of progressive and art rock”while progressiverock.com cites the latter as its “starting point”, although earlier albums such as Rubber Soul and Revolver had begun incorporating Eastern music and instruments not common in rock music. This would later be followed by progressive-rock acts such as Yes and King Crimson. However, Piero Scaruffi claims that “technically speaking … progressive-rock began in 1967 with Cream and The Nice”, which he describes as “groups that reacted to the simple, melodic, three-minute pop of the early Beatles”, and notes that if “a more stringent definition, one that considers ambition and pretentiousness” is used, this “would push the birth date [back] to the Pretty Things‘ S.F. Sorrow (1968) and the Who‘s Tommy (1969).”

Freak Out!, released in 1966, had been a mixture of progressive rock, punk and avant-garde layered sounds. In the same year, the band “1-2-3″, later renamed Clouds, began experimenting with song structures, improvisation, and multi-layered arrangements. In March of that year, The Byrds released “Eight Miles High”, a pioneering psychedelic rock single with lead guitar heavily influenced by the jazz soloing style of John Coltrane. Later that year, The Who released “A Quick One While He’s Away”, the first example of the rock opera form, and considered by some to have been the first prog epic.

mike_oldfield-tubular_bells-frontal

There is so much to cover in this topic it impossible to cram it all here. Mike Oldfield’s  ‘Tubular Bells‘ was a breakthough track demonstarting the poswer of the studio. Mike played every instrument himself onthe recording and the song became a staple stone for sound technology enthusiasts everywhere.

Tubular Bells stayed in the British charts for over five years, reaching the number 1 spot after more than a year and taking there for one week the place of his second album, Hergest Ridge, thereby becoming one of only three artists in the UK to knock himself off the first spot. It sold more than two million copies in the UK alone and according to some reports 15 to 17 million copies worldwide. The album went gold in the USA and Mike Oldfield received a Grammy Award for the best Instrumental Composition in 1975.


In 1967, Jeff Beck released the single “Beck’s Bolero”, inspired by Maurice Ravel‘s Bolero, and, later that year, Procol Harum released the Bach-influenced single “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. Also in 1967, the Moody Blues released Days of Future Passed, combining classical-inspired orchestral music with traditional rock instrumentation and song structures. Pink Floyd’s first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, contained the nearly ten-minute improvisational psychedelic instrumental “Interstellar Overdrive”. In 1968, Big Brother and the Holding Company incorporated Bach’s prelude from The Well-Tempered Clavier into their cover of George Gershwin‘s “Summertime”.

2009 promises alot following yet another British invasion of Prog bands. A scene taking influences also from post punk and experimental music has emerged spearheaded by bands such as a.P.A.t.T., Kling Klang, The Laze and Stig.

Here is footage of some of the more over looked genius’ not featured in the BBC documentary.These are the American and European counterparts. These artists have all strived to make advancements in their art, whilst maintaining a ridiculous air.

Prog Rock Britannia Tonight.

  1. 06 Jan 2009
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  2. 07 Jan 2009
    03:15
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Online Recording Program – Need A Session player quick??

December 10, 2008

2567595SP002_music

It is now possible to record online,  in real time and with other musicians!

Bizzare to think but very possible now with ‘digitalmusician.net’

So if you need a part for a song for example,  using the community within the site you are able to meet and hook up with the player you need then you are able to exchange the relevant files and literally record a  take online through your already existing Sequencer software (Cubase etc).

The digital musician link (DML) plug-in is a VST 2.0 plug-in. You can start the DML in your music software (assuming it is compatible) and then connect to musicians and producers from all over the world. Using a standard broadband Internet connection (ADSL) you can record audio in CD quality and MIDI online in sync with your playback.

What is digitalmusician.net?

digitalmusician.net is the place where the international music business community (musicians and producers) meets and works on joint projects.

DM-Recorder software is a free online multi-track recorder which is available to all DMN members. Besides the “normal”  recording functions the programme allows you to mainly record projects on and offline with other musicians using a normal Internet connection. Use the DM-Recorder as a multi-track machine with other musicians that have a basic broadband connection.
dmr_main

The advantages of the DM-Recorder are:

* Offline collaboration with partners. Data is saved on a server and updated by other project members each time a project is reopened.
* Performances can be bought or sold directly via the DM-Recorder.
* Direct connection to partners and real-time recording via the Internet as if you were in the same studio (online collaboration) It offers you, for example, the possibility to find and sell music jobs via the Internet. This way you can further your career without even leaving your studio.

You can:

* Make professional contacts worldwide
* Find music jobs and make money
* Record songs together with other members without travel or hotel costs
* Choose music projects that you would like to work on
* Find suitable partners for your projects (using the „”Studio & Artists” database)
* Place  “adverts” for your own services and sell them

DML is an abbreviation for the digital musician link plug-in. You can download the PC or Mac versions of the DML plug-in here.

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Christmas Gift Idea: Headphones 5 of the Best

December 2, 2008

smh_noisy_3011

With Christmas looming and the idea of many new sights and sounds omitting form your house,  please do consider the neigbours in this season of goodwill.


One sure way of keeping all those keyboards, guitar amps and what-nots at a decent volume is to simply plug in a pair of headphones. The quality is generally the same (if not better depending on your headphones) but it is kept ‘personnal’. Ideal for those late night mixing sessions of even jamming along with your practice amp.

Here are five of our best buys this season:


Numark HF125
Buy Now

Numark HF125

Clarity & Comfort For The Modern DJ One place a DJ can’t compromise, is in how they hear their mix. The Numark HF-125 headphone set delivers the goods with flexible 7-position independently adjustable dual ear cups, large 40mm Mylar speaker drivers, 6′ tangle-resistant cord with 1/4″ connector, and padded headband and ear cups.

Sennheiser EH 150

Closed, dynamic hi-fi stereo headphones. a great introduction to the Sennheiser brand at very good price.

Sennheiser HD 215

Enjoy excellent sound: The HD 215 has both outstanding sound characteristics and excellent attenuation of ambient noise. The rotatable ear cup for one-ear listening and the single-sided coiled cable make them ideal for DJ monitoring. The HD 215 comes with a convenient protective pouch for storage and transportation. Features Excellent stereo sound Spatial sound image …

Shure SCL2 – Clear

An excellent introduction into premium audio via sound isolation, the SCL2 features single dynamic microdrivers for full sonic range and resonant bass. Features Sound Isolating Technology – The Shure E2c’s in ear design, using foam or flex sleeves, naturally blocks background noise. This allows lower listening volumes in loud environments. No batteries or extra equipment are needed for sound…

Sennheiser HD25 mk II

Whether in the studio or in live sound recording: detailed sound reproduction, ease of use and excellent attenuation of ambient noise is what you expect of a pair of monitoring headphones. The HD 25 offers all this – plus an extremely rugged construction with a steel cable for high durability. The closed-back HD 25-1 IIs are purpose-designed, professional monitoring headphones…

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Christmas Gift Suggestion: Roth Audioblob 2

December 2, 2008

This is a perfect Xmas gift for any audiophile looking for a good and affordable, 2.1 System!

 

The new Roth Audioblob2 multimedia audio system is an idea partner for PC or Mac based music/multimedia systems. This system has been developed in partnership with audio engineers from Tannoy, with many years experience in designing the very best home audio systems.

Audioblob2 provides superlative audio quality for music/multimedia & gaming and is configured so that you can control the overall audio volume and the sub-bass level separately, thereby providing subtle and discreet volume control, up to an annoy-your-neighbours, floor-shaking level 10 – The choice is yours !

Now available for just £45, this is quite simply an amzing deal! Save a massive £104.99 – 69% off SRP!

More about the Roth Audioblob2 on the product page.