More fiddling about, this time, with sound and pictures. Ooo. Aaaaah.

So, Happy New Year guys.  It’s January first. The last of my new years guests has just left after several rounds of Coup – a game I never picked up because I don’t enjoy the whole deception thing – but learned quickly this isn’t actually a necessary component of the gameplay, and it went really well.

With the guests gone, the fridge, once again, bursting at the seams with food, and me chilling out for the remainder of the day before returning to work tomorrow, I sat down once again with my new set of musical tools and decided, after all this talking, I should put together something I could share with you.

I kept things simple and just did a bit of an arpeggio thing, and then fiddled around with some of the plug-in effects built into the system, but it should at least give those of you who, like me, may have only ever used Audacity or your cell phone, an idea of what sort of sound you’re getting out of this little guy.

For this one, I used the guitar, and didn’t run into much of the line noise I’ve been experiencing with the uke, so that’s clearly something that (for reasons I have not completely sleuthed out yet) has to do specifically with the ukes. There’s a little bit of fuzz through the headphones on guitar, but not enough to really bug me, and as long as it doesn’t show through on the recordings, I’m willing to live with it-this is entry-level equipment, after all.

Also! I finally figured out how to start with a blank file and not a template. There’s a little checkbox you can untick that I managed to overlook the first several times opening the program. The blank file vastly improves the amount of time I have to sit around waiting for things to load.

So, I’m starting to get a feel for the basics of the program. Basically, what I did here was record a track raw, as clean and noise-free as possible (due to reasons described in my last post), and then made a few duplicates of that track with which to fiddle with some effects.

protools-test

And, the end result of that noodling about is thus:

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7 thoughts on “More fiddling about, this time, with sound and pictures. Ooo. Aaaaah.

  1. Congrats on starting to find your way with the Scarlett Solo. 😉 That recording sounds great. I like the contrast between the chords and the arpeggiated notes a lot. It adds depth and dynamics to what you’re playing.

    This AM, I had to stop practicing on my bass because my fingertips got to the point that they were too tender to continue – that’s a new thing for me. I think its because I’m working on lessons that focus on the G-string, and its narrowness gives it teeth that the thicker strings don’t have. I didn’t realize it was like this for guitarists! I ended up reading through some stuff on Talkbass and wandered into forums I don’t usually read.

    One of the threads had to do with Focusrite interfaces. There was some talk about the Solo and some other models, and recording talk (“silky smoove” is really knowledgeable about all of this stuff – I read posts by him on other threads as well). I don’t think the Solo Is necessarily a beginner device. It looks like it has the same recording electronics as Focusrite’s more pricey models. The big difference seems to be in the number of inputs. The thread eventually went in other directions, and I don’t know enough about recording to follow it, but you might gain some insights from it:

    https://www.talkbass.com/threads/focusrite-usb-interface.1257990/

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    1. I tend not to have that issue when I fiddle on bass, but that’s very likely because of also working with the guitar, that fishing line thin High E string on guitar can be murder after a while. By comparison, bass strings are comfortable and thick, but it’s definitely a thing if that’s the thinnest string your fingers are used to manipulating, so can definitely see that being the case. There’s also something to be said for running consecutive exercises that hit the same spots on your fingers wearing you down a bit over time. My skin doesn’t have a lot of elasticity, and I find after working a while I have to give my hand a break not from pain so much as from needing the skin to bounce back out since my chords are getting muddled and I need to press harder to get a clean tone from a badly indented fingertip.

      I love that chord/arpeggio thing for some reason. It’s working really well for me and something I’m noodling with a lot because the concept is one that I think is going to work really well as backing tracks. It’s also really similar to some of the recent recordings I’ve done, which I think gives a good basis for sound comparison.

      And, while it’s true the Solo mostly has less ports, it is still considered their entry level device, and ProTools First is a pared down version of ProTools, with less options, so it does count as entry level (though it’s true that some pros also favor the Solo, and devices like it, as a sort of portable device that you can easily throw in a suitcase). I’ve also read recently that the preamp in the scarlett line is fairly low end compared to other things on the market(this ended up coming up when I was trying to figure out why it was so quiet), so I guess it depends on your point of view. I don’t think “entry level” automatically equals low quality, but I do have lower expectations when I choose the cheapest device on the market. At the moment, the main battle I fight with it seems to be volume though, so things are going fairly well, all things considered.

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  2. Your lanes look a bit weak. Your peaks should be higher, and that will help in your mix later on. That might be the reason for the noise with your uke, along with not having a dedicated preamp . A weak signal amplified will reveal more noise. The preamp in the Scarlett series are OK, but a dedicated preamp is a must. I use a Grace M101. It made a big difference in my recording quality. ART has a few good ones that are less pricey but still good. Templates can be good, especially when recording drums. The template that I use routes Superior Drummer drums on their own individual tracks, as opposed to only two mixed tracks. That allows me to export one drum to outboard hardware, like a compressor or no use gate. Looks like you’re on you way to serious home recording! Feel free to email me if you get stuck. I think that I made every mistake possible along the way.

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    1. ATM, I have zero need to autofill a template of 10 tracks so I can delete them all to record one or two. It’s just excess baggage and load times in a program that already eats RAM like a ravenous beast. I have nothing explicitly against templates (ok, well, I do a little, if I’m honest because I find them cumbersome), but I don’t think it should be my default to the point I couldn’t find the blank option at first.

      Without almost max gain, that’s as much of a signal as I get on the little thing when playing with bare fingers. Add a pick and it’s a different game, where I have to fight in the opposite direction. I can always boost by micing an amp if necessary, so I’m not overly concerned for now. It’s plenty for my immediate needs.

      Also, was not home alone, so intentionally kept my volumes considerate here.

      The line noise in the Ikea seems (for now) to be connection related, just haven’t pinned down which end of the connection yet. Hasn’t been a priority yet, but is most likely on the uke end rather than the interface end.

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      1. I’m sure protools is as much of a resource hog as cubase. Wait until you start loading up on vstis. Brutal. I never liked templates until later in the process, at which time they helped with studio efficency/workflow. Sorry if my lane comment seemed heavy handed – it’s just that I’ve had takes that were excellent lost to low line levels. Just trying to help.

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      2. Not heavy-handed(heck, I learned the word ‘lanes’ in this context), but also not something that I’m hugely concerned with an long as what’s coming through the headphones is sufficient. You’re working at a completely different level than I am. When you’re only working with one instrument track and maybe a vocal track, there just isn’t as much necessity for concern, I think. It’s easy enough to amp the volume and depth a bit after the fact, since there just isn’t much in the mix to make it play nice with, so at this stage, and for current projects, I just don’t think it’s a big deal. If things get more involved later, it becomes a different conversation, but I’m not there yet.

        As far as protools, the crap of it is, I’m on the lite version, so it’s nuts that it’s hogging so badly. I have an i7 processor (mostly because running Photoshop on anything short of an i5 is painful), so there’s no reason I should be experiencing this kind of hassle with only 3-4 tracks. I play racing games on my lappy with no lag at all, FFS. Very annoying.

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