Last Peace, by Zuleikha L

Last night, Zuleikha uploaded her newest composition “Last Peace” to Wikiloops. I had helped her a bit with getting the Addictive Keys Studio Grand into Ardour, so she mentioned me as well on her lovely track. And over the night, she got 11 thumb ups, 5 downloads and 1 remix already as you can see here or on her track:

“Last Peace” by Zuleikha L on Wikiloops

I also like her new avatar there which she drew herself:

And as you can see, she also received a first remix already, which were some jazzy drums & guitar played by João (nickname jjdf) from Portugal. Obrigado!

As always, thanks for reading.

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:

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.

Christopher Hybrid? Sounds good to my ears…

Lately I have discovered another good bass teacher on Youtube, and from his first lesson on I thought wow, that’s a nice sound from his bass there…

… and on his web page, he writes about what gear he’s got. And yes, that’s a nice bass, and wow, even a hybrid one can sound good! Still it’s costly, and I was amused about his remark of that:

That night I made super secret marital arrangements with my wife to the effect that we would find the money to buy the bass, and I would be her slave for life. Our deal worked out pretty well for both of us, I think.

Chris Fitzgerald, about his 6,500$ hybrid double bass

Yes, double basses – a totally different price category than your usual electric “axe”, and no wonder, they’re not that easy to build. The cheapest Chinese models which are made of laminated woods (don’t know about the quality) start at around 600$ in the big shops, but a nice custom built by master luthier massive bass made out of wood which was stored for quite some years can easily be around 20-30,000 Dollars. Or Euros.

Here in Frankfurt, we have a shop which offers “Christopher” basses (also from China, but of decent quality). Their DB100 and DB200 models are fully laminated, the DB300 is a hybrid (laminated with solid top), and everything above is massive. Their hybrid model is listed at under 2.000 Euros, so I wanted to know a bit more, and searched about them. And in this topic I found a very nice sounding recording of such a hybrid Christopher:

Gravel Sea Shanty – Joe Penn Quartet

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? And yes, that instrument was played by someone who knew how to play a bass 🙂

Would be more than enough for me, if I had the money, the space, and the time to really practice it…

How to use free instruments in free software

Just a small example here:

I had integrated the XLN Audio Addictive Keys (windows version) “Studio Grand” piano into Ardour on Linux – but Windows VSTs (virtual instruments) on Linux need something like Wine, and are more resource-hungry than they’d need to be. Meaning that yes, I can play nice sounds from that awesome Steinberg D grand piano somewhere in Sweden, but the cost is that I’ll get lots of xruns (basically buffer overflows) in my software if I need more than one of these tracks.

The solution? Free samples of course – and yes, they exist like free software does exist. So I just set up my latest key presses (on my 49-key MIDI keyboard) to use the free “Salamander” grand piano which is a nicely sampled Yamaha C5.

And there’s an article on LibreMusicProduction on how to do just that, using Ardour, LinuxSampler, QSampler plus whichever soundfonts you’d need.

Maybe I’ll still buy PianoTeq for Zuleikha one day – first, the basic stuff isn’t that expensive, second, it’s a modeled piano, not a resource-hungry sampled one, and third, it even comes in a version for Linux. And this alone should be honoured. It also should sound much better than Zuleikha’s Yamaha Arius piano which she uses to record stuff (that one has a MIDI out of course).

So – let’s make some music… 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Those jazz brushes

And here’s my newest musical instrument, photographed with Mitchie’s camera (my own one is sent for repair):


You can hear these brushes on the unicorn song from the last few posts (different versions).

Thanks for viewing.