Second snow

No, it’s not snowing here – in fact it almost looks like spring right now. But this is a track which I just uploaded back to the ‘loops:

This track is embedded with the friendly permission by the creatives on wikiloops.com.

List of musicians, so far:

Thanks for listening. Musicians, come and join us at Wikiloops; it’s fun!

One from Snarky, and some from Cologne

And together they make my video of the day:

Bill Laurance feat. by WDR BIG BAND – RED SAND | Rehearsal

I like that piece from Bill anyway, also in his very good recording with Snarky Puppy and some guests (like strings). But the WDR Big Band is in my opinion one of the best in the world, and always worth a listen. Thanks for publishing this, guys!

Edit: … and here’s another one from that fabulous Big Band, with Lucy Woodward. Enjoy…

Lucy Woodward feat. by WDR BIG BAND: Money | PURE SOUNDS

That old line from Roger Waters (“the root of all evil”) just made my day… and so did the performers who are all awesome.

My weekend of week 6, 2019

Yesterday I had some “fun” (read: work) again with Mitchie’s new computer. It started with lots of slow updates of Windows 10, about which I wrote already in my last post, and it went on after I finally got a nice new external casing for her SSD which came with the machine.

As it turned out, I had forgotten or at least not considered the fact that before installing both Windows and then Linux on her new SSD I had switched off SecureBoot in the machine’s UEFI (formerly called ‘BIOS’). Tho Ubuntu could have dealt with it as well as Windows, it just didn’t seem worth the hassle. But what I hadn’t known and considered was the fact that Lenovo was so friendly as to turn on Bitlocker encryption on the drive as well, so even with jumping through several hoops to even get that key from Microsoft, I still couldn’t get Windows to de-encrypt the whole shebang again. In the end I gave up on this – there are things to do during your lifetime which are more worth of your time than dealing with stupid stuff like this. And the fact that a commercial vendor like Microsoft has keys to your machine which they don’t even tell you about seems more than questionable to me… So I formatted that old SSD and put a FAT32 partition onto it, so that it can be used as a bigger (and much faster and more reliable) USB “stick” with 128GB.

One more positive side note about Lenovo: their support pages are first class. If you allow them, they scan your machine and install all the drivers (for Windows of course) you might need. That’s almost as good as Linux which simply installs them without even bothering you with it.

Another topic:

Mike Johnston wrote a nice short article titled “Mike’s Seven Laws of Lenses” on his site The Online Photographer. And – not for the first time – he included a photo of a lens which he seems to love, and which I even have:

Panasonic Leica Summilux 25mm/1.4 on Mike’s page

This is a nice one indeed, and well worth having should you consider a Micro Four Thirds camera (or even have one already). With my copy of that lens I took the following snapshot of Mitchie’s new machine, with the additional SSD leaning against it:

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Mitchie’s new machine, with an additional SSD leaning against it, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2019

This is btw such a dark scene that I had to underexpose it in camera with -2.3EV to keep the blacks real black (pictures such as this one confuse the metering of even the best cameras, they would turn the photo into an average grey instead of mostly black). Anyway, you see her new “USB stick” (her old SSD) and its size as well. The machine with its 13.3″ screen is tiny, the drive even more so.

So that was my Saturday. My Sunday started with getting another new piano which was described in an article (in German) on Delamar – an online magazine from musicians for musicians from Darmstadt (ca. 18km from here). That virtual piano was interesting me because it’s some kind of hybrid between a sampled (=recorded), and a modeled (=computer generated) one, and because the sound sample on Delamar’s page sounded really nice (and some of its users even claimed that it’s better than the commercial modeled Pianoteq which I’ve tried (and liked) on Manjaro lately).

Of course like so many other “freebies” this piano comes as a Windows or Mac plugin only – but thanks to falkTX’s Carla the loading of an unencrypted Windows VST is no problem on Linux anymore (except of course that you’re running an additional Wine layer to emulate some Windows resources on Linux, but that’s not falkTX’s fault). So after downloading that freebie I could look at and listen to it on my Debian machine – looks like on my screenshot of it:

Screenshot from 2019-02-10 12-45-57
the freebie “NeoPiano” from Soundmagic, a Windows VST running on Linux (thanks to falkTX and his Carla plugin rack)

And yes it sounds nice tho I haven’t tried much until now. But now that Zuleikha has Mitchie’s old Core i5 notebook from Dell, she will be able to test it as well – she’s the pianist in the family, not me. 🙂

So next time Zuleikha comes up with a new composition of hers, we can compare it against the commercial xln Audio ‘Addictive Keys’ Studio Grand (a Steinway D sampled in a studio somewhere in Sweden), and the other free ones we have already like the Salamander (Yamaha C5) or the ‘Piano in 162’ (another Steinway). The files she uploaded to Wikiloops so far were all done with the commercial xln one.

And now let’s have some more coffee, and a piece of cake 🙂 As always, thanks for reading.

Ibrahim, Oum, and why our music has 12 shades of grey

Here’s Christian McBride for Jazz Night in America about Ibrahim Maalouf:

It’s much more than the idea of “quarter tones” between our normal half ones. Here is composer David Bruce explaining it better than I could:

So there’s a world way beyond anything we’re used to – and it’s beautiful, and full of colours.

Thanks for viewing.

Lucy & Snarky

What a powerful combination – Lucy goes all Jessica Rabbit, and Justin just kills it on the organ:

Enjoy…

About a mixing legend, and kisses on the bottom

I’m currently watching an interview of Al Schmitt through Warren Huart on Youtube, which is so nice.

Al is a legend of a recording engineer, and he recorded and mixed them all, his story is totally worth the time even if you’re not a technical person or interested in how music is produced – the list of artists alone, and what he says about them is so remarkable.

He mentioned that he recorded Sir Paul McCartney’s “Kisses on the bottom” album which is in my opinion a super classy jazz album through and through – the title track alone leaves no doubt as soon as you hear that double bass on it.

But I wanted to show you another example of Paul (and this is also for my brother who likes Mrs. Krall) and orchestra, recorded and mixed by Al Schmitt, and later put into an official video with two others. First, Sir Paul:

Sir Paul McCartney – My Valentine (Live Kisses) ~ 1080p HD

Then, the awesome official video:

Paul McCartney’s ‘My Valentine’ Featuring Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp

So nice. I love seeing and hearing pros at work 🙂 And Al Schmitt’s book is on my Amazon wishlist, even if I won’t ever sit in front of a 72 track SSL console or put 200+ tracks into ProTools…

Thanks for reading & viewing.

Must dash (with daddy’s cash)

Found an awesome track with percussion, drums, and vocals – and even a nice story, and who could resist that? So I added some simple low notes to it:

This track is embedded with the friendly permission by the creatives on wikiloops.com.

Left the door wide open for additional musicians, and played it simple in G major. Oh, and I added a BassFX track with that nice TAP EQ and Flanger/Chorus (all of which come included for free with Linux music stuff). List of musicians, so far:

Thanks for listening.

white by jjdf

I’m happy and proud to be included into another album, this time from João. He called it “white”:

white by jjdf

I’m on the first track of it, with this one:

This track is embedded with the friendly permission by the creatives on wikiloops.com.

Obrigado João, both for your nice album, and also for including me. 🙂

A short comparison of studio monitors

Today I have a day off, and since I’m thinking about getting new loudspeakers for my PC, I went to our local music store to compare some studio monitors.

My original purpose was to compare one I was really interested in – but which is kind of expensive – with cheaper alternatives. But that didn’t work out, since the space around my computer monitor is restricted, to put it politely, and so I had to look for the smallest available ones. Which were just two, the smallest you can see on the photo I took:

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Studio Monitor Comparison

The smallest one you see here is the Genelec 8010A, against which I wanted to compare cheaper alternatives. Instead, I went to compare it with the Focal Shape 40 just next to it. And in the end I also connected and listened to a Mackie XR624 which is the one under the Genelec. But that one’s definitely way too big for my desk, and entirely out of the equation. I just wanted to check against something bigger (with a 6.5″ speaker against the 4″ of the Focal and the 3″ of the Genelec).

So how did they sound? Well, that’s hard to describe – which shows that these are good products, since studio monitors should be as neutral as possible.

And that is exactly how I would describe the Genelec. Unobtrusive, utilitarian, it does its job without trying to shine or to shout: “Hey look at me – ain’t I cute?”. It is a wonderful speaker, and from some Youtube videos I knew that already.

Switching to the Focal made the sun shine brighter, life more enjoyable, and gave some kind of sparkling to everything you offered to it. Hard to describe again, because it also didn’t do too much, it wasn’t like it tried to be a “HiFi” speaker, not even “High End”, but it had this little extra which instantly makes one smile. Half of the time I preferred the Focal, the other half the Genelec – which isn’t even a fair comparison, because against a 4″ Focal you should compare a 4″ Genelec – but the store didn’t have one available. It speaks volumes that even the 3″ Genelec compared so nicely, and that for some things I even preferred it.

That Mackie? Not really that interesting for me because I wouldn’t know where to put it – but as you’d expect it had loads more bass than the other two, and it was also quite a bit louder – I had to reduce its level all the way down and crank up the others on the Mackie Big Knob switch to get them to more or less the same level. The Focal needed more boosting than the Genelec by the way, and both of these two also shine when listening not too loud.

Bass response? Quite good, even on the 3″ Genelec which sometimes managed to sound even fuller than the slightly bigger Focal. That Focal on the other hand had quite a wonderful bass, maybe because it has these passive radiators on each of its sides, while most monitors have bass reflex ports. In that lower register, the term “unobtrusive” fits the Focal quite well – but the bass is there, and even wonderfully defined.

Which music was used to listen to these monitors? In the beginning it was the music which was available from the store’s content databases, since the music player – a Tascam SS-CDR200 – didn’t really want to play something off of my own USB stick. But then I went and got some CDs out of the car, and so I could listen to music I knew pretty well – since I both played *and* mixed it. Like this one for instance:

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Listening to Wikiloops music on nice monitors

It was really wonderful to listen to my friends singing and playing, and I was even reminded of Mark, who is in a hospital right now, while listening to his nice saxophone on “Present for You”:

This track is embedded with the friendly permission by the creatives on wikiloops.com.

So after this comparison, all of a sudden that small and lovely Genelec was the bargain in the group. And that Focal? Wow, a piece of art which even looks as nice as it sounds. For what I need tho, with having these monitors more or less at arm’s length, the Genelecs would be perfect (I tried exactly that distance in the store). For a bigger desk or even the top of a mixing console I’d probably opt for the Focals (or some bigger Genelecs, Focals, or Neumanns). And in our living room, we have some 8″ speakers next to the TV set already.

So in case you’re interested in some studio monitors, go and have a listen. I didn’t really want to stop listening 🙂

As always, thanks for reading.