Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Of Monitors and Pianos

Went down to Chappel's of Bond street today to check out Monitor speakers, tested out the HS50Ms and MSP5s. I can't really say which one is better... the HS50s definitely lacked bass, but the rest of it sounded very clear and sharp. The MSP5s on the other hand had a much stronger bass, and a smoother overall sound.

The lady who was demoing them to me also switched on the SW10 subwoofer, dang, that made a BIG difference. Not going to consider that as it's like more than the price of two MSP5s.

So, what next? The HS50Ms are almost a third cheaper than the MSP5s. I guess it's time to save up. I also listened to the MSP7s briefly, but could not hear what's better than the MSP5s.

The thing is, do I actually need a pair of monitor speakers? At the moment, using the VRM box is pretty good on the whole, the main issue I have with headphone mixing is levels. It is really difficult to adjust the relative levels - I rely on a small mono speaker for that at the moment, and would like a proper monitor to at least gauge my levels correctly. Given that apart from speakers, accessories like stands, isolation pads, cabling etc needs to be considered. Expensive hobby, this is.

~ pianos ~

On my way out, I though to try out the Clavinovas. The one I tried was the Yamaha CLPS408PE. And dang, the keybed is sooo good. The sound samples seemed to be very good as well, I thought I was much more expressive on it than my CP33. I think this is because it uses the GH3 keybed, and the RGE sound engine is probably lightyears ahead of my AWM engine. The touch is definitely closer (as I imagine) to my teacher's grand, though probably lighter, and no escapement.

There was also an AvantGrand in the shop but another customer was playing it so next time I visit Chappel's I'll see if I can give it ago.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Keep Moving Forward: Piano Composition.

Again, homework for my compo class. I think I explored too many kind changes to the groove and the changes come upon to sudden.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Finished remix

No audio samples, I'm afraid, but yes I finished up the FF6 remix last night. This little exercise (~40 hours over the last 16 or so days) gave me a lot of though on my instruments, production and composition.

I'll probably write more once we are allowed to post the pieces.

Short summary:
a) I need better melody line instruments - instruments with proper legato for example.
b) I could really do with some monitors and
c) While my harmony is getting up to speed, my humanization sucks bad.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

More piano thoughts

Just back from a long walk along the Thames Path. My feet are killing me...

Anyways, I had another piano lesson today, and I'm slowly getting a feel of the differences between my CP33 and my teacher's grand piano. Now that I am quite acquainted with my CP33, I can easily say, it does not feel at all like my teacher's grand piano.

For a start, it does not take much effort at all on my teacher's grand to produce a note, and it is quite difficult for me to play softly on it. The tail end of the sustain on a real grand is also insanely long, unlike the CP33 that tails of pretty rapidly.

I think I'm going to be spending some time soonish looking at Pianoteq, Truepianos or Pianissimo. Pianoteq's sound, from their samples, does not float my boat at all, but I'll reserve final judgement after I've tried it. I like the sound from Truepianos. Pianissimo.... sounds quite clean. Will see how it goes.

EDIT: Pianissimo is out - windows only.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Logic's built-in Binaural plugin - nice!

Been using my lunchtime to work on the my piece for the OCRemix competition, and just used the laptop's audio out for now. Tried the binaural plugin on the master bus today, and once I got in-the-zone adjusting CC values,  I realized with a jerk that OMG, was I working with my headphones unplugged?

Evidently my phones were still plugged in nicely but heck that binaural plugin definitely works. Same effect I get from the vrm box really - obviously without the various room/speaker emulations. Good stuff emagic!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Done arranging, now "humanizing"

I'm using a solo Oboe instrument in Logic to get a mournful kind of sound I feel that is suitable for the start of the song I'm working on the OCRemix compo. Unfortunately, the solo oboe found within the EXS24 is only has two layers (not even velocity layers!), one of which is vibrato and the other non-vibrato.

After fussing around with the sampler - it is actually quite straightforward for the basic needs I require - but I really would not have understood how it work without youtube. Tutorials rock!

In any case, I decided to drop the vibrato layer, and just use one layer, and utilize the pitch shifter mapped to the mod wheel to create a pseudo vibrato. In addition, the default setup only utilizes the velocity of the keypress for the volume over the length of the note; this is not as flexible as I want as I would like to control how the note dies off over time, and not just end abruptly. To combat this issue, I simply remapped the channel pressure to velocity (manually drawn), so I can get a note that I can control vibrato and volume independently. And now I have to go through my other instruments to get custom variants made. GAH!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Don't Look Back: An original Piano Composition

Now, if only I can play it. The section with the chords I can't yet play at speed, but once I can, I'll upload something. My CP33 sounds really good with the pedal down.