Thursday, April 14, 2005

A New Song For Spring

So, I wrapped up my taxes yesterday and now I am free to get back to my hobbies.

I've been experimenting with the effects processor built into the Emu Emulator X soundcard I bought a while back. This card is chock full of features. Unfortunately, the device drivers have been very troublesome. I notified Emu over six months ago of a confirmed bug and they totally dropped the ball in responding to my report. I recently contacted them and Sony about the ASIO driver bug and have finally gotten acknowledgement that they are aware of the problem. No date on when I can expect a fix. Supposedly, Emu will release updated drivers in May. I can only hope they start to solve the problems so many have experienced.

Anyway, I hadn't gotten around to testing out all the onboard effects presets for guitar that are included with the Emu patchmix application. I've stumbled upon some very nice sounds. The advantage here is that I can apply the effects before I send the audio to Acid so I can record the modified signal. Acid doesn't support ASIO direct monitoring like Sonar and other apps so that you can hear VST effects in real time while you record.

I was noodling around on the guitar and came up with a minor key jazzy chord sequnce that I became enamored with. I wasn't planning on creating a song out of this but one thing led to another before I knew it I had pretty decent short tune. I call it Tax Free. It reminds me a bit of John Abercrombie's great 80's quartet. On a whim I decided to incorporate the Edirol Hypercanvas soft synth to add piano, drums, and bass. I was particularly pleased with the drum sound where I use a lot of cymbals. I'm still learning my way with MIDI drums but I like the result I got this time. The piano and acoustic bass sounds fell into place and I believe the song hangs together fairly well. I've uploaded it to Acid Planet. I hope I get a few listens and comments.

Amazingly, Acid was rock solid throughout the entire recording session. I even switched to ASIO for recording the MIDI parts in order to get better latency. I'm not sure why things worked so well this time when I've had problems in the past. I did stick to standard 44k 16bit resolution. Also, I had just rebooted after installing the latest Microsoft security updates. A puzzle, but I am not complaining as long as it allows me to be creative and not fight the hardware/software.

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