Some more virtual pianos, and a real one

About a year ago or so I’ve compared virtual sampled pianos myself, and I did that using a downloaded MIDI file with Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”, played by someone I don’t know anymore (forgot to save that information together my my download as I’m afraid of). Anyway, for the purpose of pure sound (and effect) comparison, you can read the articles:

Take Five backing track, version 3 (from April 28. 2017),
Take Five backing track, version2 (from April 27, 2017), and
Trying my hand on… (from April 1, 2017)

The first two of these links have the XLN Audio Studio Grand, which is a sampled Steinway, and in the “Trying” article I used the free “Salamander” download, which is a sampled Yamaha C5 Grand Piano.

You can also listen to these three versions here if you wish:

(XLN Audio Studio Grand, Jazzish Preset)

(XLN Audio Studio Grand, tweaked with ‘cellar reverb’ by me)

(Salamander (Yamaha C5) Grand, which comes as a free download)

I like them all, and they’re more than enough for what I could play on any of these. But they’re nothing when compared to the real thing. Here is Bill Laurance, playing a Yamaha Concert Grand in Union Chapel, together with some of the Snarky Puppy musicians, and some classical strings and a horn:

The difference between a virtual piano and a real one is not only the sound – it’s more the feel, and hard to describe, but even *I* (as a non-piano player) can feel it. To understand what this is about, watch Josh Wright who explains it far better than I could (also demonstrate):

Enjoy… and as always, thanks for reading.

Warren Huart about mixing

Another set of ten useful quick tips from Warren Huart:

Of course you don’t really need all of his plugins, or his Mac and ProTools setup – Ardour and some free tools will do as nicely. Like he says, use these tools wisely and sparingly (a dB or two can make a big difference) – and create your own signature sound.

Recommended viewing for music/video and other content producers.

An interview with Paul Davis

Almost a year ago, I reported about the keynote speech of the Linux Audio Conference 2017 at the Université Jean-Monnet, Saint-Etienne (UJM). That one was given by Paul Davis of Jack and Ardour fame, and very interesting not only for Linux Audio users. It’s still online if you want to see it.

Effects on Shi's vocals

Ardour, and some of the Calf Plugins (which are available on Linux only), running on my computer, to work on vocals of a great singer who’s on Wikiloops)

Now, as I found via the Ardour site (and via the Linuxaudio Planet first to be correct), there’s an interview (from January 2018) with him again, by Darwin Grosse of Cycling 74, at the Art + Music + Technology site.

Find the 1 hour podcast and interview with Paul there.

It’s always interesting to listen to people like Paul, and this time you’ll learn a bit more about his personal history, how he got into music making with computers and Linux, and also about the close relationship between Ardour and its commercial sibling, Harrison Mixbus. Another thing I didn’t know so far was that the founder of Ableton was also heavily involved in Ardour at some point.

Paul also talks about the differences of linear workflow tools like Ardour, ProTools, and Cubase (just to name a few), and newer products for a more groove oriented workflow, like Ableton Live, Bitwig, or Fruity Loops (again, to name only a few).

Especially interesting for beginners, or for people who might play with the idea of switching over from Macs and Windows-based machines to Linux Audio are his two advices, like:

1. if you have already a workflow, and that is based off of plugins which might exist for Windows and/or Macs only, best forget about it, and

2. if you’re still interested and just don’t know where to start, try AVLinux.

(to which I might add that yes, AVLinux has the best of all available documentations about it all that I personally know of, but there are others which do more or less the same, like KXStudio, or even Ubuntu Studio (Zuleikha is using the latter on an older laptop, and all of them can be downloaded as Live images to put them onto a bootable USB Stick). The repositories of KXStudio are probably the way to go if you happen to run Debian Linux already, like I do.)

So in case you’re interested, go and have a listen. I always learn a lot from just listening to guys like Paul. And we owe them a lot.

So this is recommended listening for musicians, and even for video producers, or film music composers.

As always, thanks for reading.

Warren Huart about budget

You probably don’t know who Warren Huart is, but he has recorded and produced some top acts already, so gear-wise the man should know what he’s talking about.

Warren has this Youtube channel, and I was following him a while, especially during my beginnings with computer audio (and also video) recording. A time when I thought about which interface to buy, which software to use, how to place the microphones (well not really, since I have learned this in real world studios in my youth) 😉

So maybe the following short advice from Warren might be useful for you:

He’s right on all points, and he has very nice stuff (you see that big mixing console and lots of speakers and some 19″ rack beside and behind him). But now that I play with lots of musicians on Wikiloops who all use their own home studio setups I *know* that it’s not that important, and in some regards – cost-wise – I think I even do better than Warren, using the absolutely free (as in rights *and* in cost) Linux operating system and Ardour as my DAW of choice.

But like I said, it all doesn’t matter that much. Some people on the loops record with Audacity (free for all systems), some even with an iPad or some other tablet, and some surely have nice big Apple machines or something like ProTools.

Anyway, Warren’s list of what you need is still helpful. I have everything except a good pair of (nearfield) studio monitors, because even for them I wouldn’t currently have the space. So for me my nice Sennheiser headphones have to do, even if they’re open ones (have to be very careful when recording using my microphone which will pick up *anything* you might usually not even hear).

So, additionally to the very good tips in the Wikiloops forae I thought I’d (re-)introduce some of you to a pro, and let you hear his words about it all.

Hoping that this would be useful, as Warren (from Great Britain) would say, have a marvelous day recording and mixing your music!

A useful software list for Ubuntu 18.04

If you’re using – or planning to use – Ubuntu 18.04 (Mitchie has just upgraded to that), here’s a list of 22 things to do after the upgrade / install.

Of course you won’t have to do all of this, and most people using Linux will have some of that knowledge already. There are however useful hints and programs even for oldtimers like me. Didn’t know that “Gummi” editor for instance…

And even a link on how to configure Conky – my favourite system monitor – is included. Cool.

Recommended reading, maybe also for users of other distributions.

An awesome change

Wow. Just discovered a change on Wikipedia: if you search the German Wikipedia for a word it cannot find, it now shows suggested findings from other languages, in this case from the English sister site – with a 100% hit:

Cool job, everyone, bravo and thanks a lot!

Oh, and if you don’t know what “Frobscottle” is, look it up, and maybe watch the mentioned movie – it’s fun!

Thanks for reading, and cheers…

Gonna support Richard

I just discovered and then joined wikiloops at the beginning of this year (2018). And I will become a supporting member as soon as I’m back home today. Here’s Richard, the founder of this cool project:

See it like this: it’s like your rehearsal room for which you pay a low monthly rent. But into this rehearsal room come people from all over the world, and they sit down and play and sing and do great stuff. Now if that isn’t fun then I don’t know what would be.

I played along my first track yesterday, and it really is a lot of fun!

Thanks for your awesome and continued work, Richard!

P.S.: rather than explaining what this is all about, watch this:

– and it even has parts of my name 🙂

Enjoy. And join us if you’re a musician, too!

Preparing the next (musical) collab

I just put one of Al’s (jonetsu; nominal6) latest pieces into my Ardour multitrack recording software – looks like this:

Screenshot from 2018-01-19 20-48-48 - the next collab

Al asked me to play some bass onto that, after I suggested more collaborations. I will link to the final version or embed it here when it’s done.

I love this at least as much as photography. And who knows, maybe we’ll put up some musical collection which could then be used again for videos or whatever? We’ll see.

Thanks for reading.

Auf Deutsch: Workshop – Die komplette DAW fürs Mini-Budget – aktualisiert für 2017

Im deutschsprachigen Musiker Board hat der User @mk1967 – ein wohl professioneller Radiomacher aus Krefeld – einen wie ich finde ganz hervorragenden Workshop bezüglich Tonstudio in Linux veröffentlicht. Den hab ich auch im ebenfalls deutschsprachigen Forum hier weiter verlinkt.

Also für Alle die des Deutschen mächtig sind und die sich für eine quasi kostenlose Aufnahmemöglichkeit mit dem eigenen Computer interessieren – absolut lesenswert!

Danke für’s Lesen.