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September 10, 2006

The Terrifying Next Steps

So my new, slightly shrunken, home recording studio is pretty much complete now. It's missing a piano-length-and-action master keyboard, and the 6-octave roland JX-10 (strings to die for) is propped up in a corner waiting for me to clear the shelf it doesn't fit on the least so it can be wired up, but the bulk of my 22 years of buying studio gear is collected again in one place.

Since the picture a few posts ago was taken, a few bugs have been sorted and others have been created. The SY77 and D50 directly ahead of youhave been swapped, so the displays are more suited to the lighting (you couldn't see either). The midi's been sorted thanks to Simon. Yay. I now have nowhere to put the computer keyboard and mouse - boo. The monitor is no longer balanced on a shelf but mounted on a nice extending arm.

This has obviously created a flurry of wishlists on eBay. But I've set myself a condition first.

I have to start writing some music.

For the first time in years and years.

And *starting* is just terrifying.

I've powered things up. Flicked through some sounds and enjoyed the reminiscences (would anybody create a patch now called 'Maxi Prst Bass'?). I've also been really impressed at the impact that a couple of years of piano lessons have made on my technique - I seem to never run out of fingers, I play with much more arm weight into the keyboard, and runs that focussed on octaves have now been replaced by big fat spreads around tenths. And I can see wonderful ways to rework Chopin, Debussy et al within this new setup, should I fancy taking on Tomita.

But writing something new is different. It means, you know, having an idea.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 08:50 PM | Comments (2)

September 06, 2006

Questioning the perceived order of things...

The good news about our field is that the really great programmers often started programming when they were 10 years old. And while everyone else their age was running around playing "soccer" (this is a game that many kids who can't program computers play that involves kicking a spherical object called a "ball" with their feet (I know, it sounds weird)), they were in their dad's home office trying to get the Linux kernel to compile.

Finding Great Developers - Joel on Software

Posted by Tom Dolan at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2006


They start young these days
Originally uploaded by tomskerous.
Should I be distressed that Daisy gets more A-list flickr comments than I do?

Anyway, it's still a lovely picture.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

September 04, 2006

Fixing the SY77: No hyperbole here

I think the phrase 'technical genius' is often overused. But I think in Simon's case it applies.

My SY77 had stopped responding on the midi in socket. So this enormous great beast of textural sculpture (a mega souped up DX7, with M1-style sample playback, but with the ability for the fm synthesis and the PCM synthesis to interact, all going through some pretty decent effects processors; shame the keyboard is so clattery) could be used for playing some enormous wonderful sounds, and the sequencer could capture the keyboard being played. But there was no getting it back out of Cubase into the synth after that point.

I'd tried everything. Changing ports on the Midi Timepiece. Complete factory reset. Plugged a cable between two other synths to prove the cable was working and then plugging the definitely-working midi stream into the back of the SY. But still nothing. I was about to send it off to be repaired.

Only Simon had the answer.

Turns out the SY77 is REALLY fussy about midi cables on its input. Some it likes, some it doesn't. Change over to another make of cable, and everything works again.

I don't know how he knows all this stuff, I really don't!

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:21 PM | Comments (1)

Going Underground...

Cellar Studio
Originally uploaded by tomskerous.
Well, after a lot of hassle, I'm finally in. The studio that was evicted from the second bedroom is now set up (in smaller, more compact form) in our cellar. And thanks to the upgrade from 17"CRT to 17"LCD, I'm able to fit pretty much all the rack gear in too.

Hopefully the water table will stay where it is.

Posted by Tom Dolan at 10:12 PM | Comments (2)