Line 6 POD FARM 2.5 Update and POD FARM FREE Announced

Line 6 quietly announced the release of POD Farm 2.5 today.

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For current users the biggest changes seem to be:

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  • No hardware requirement – can use with any USB device (not an isssue with the iLOK version)
  • 64 Bit support
  • Stand alone version also available
  • if you currently own version 2.0, 2.5 is a free upgrade.

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This is NOT Pod Farm HD – but it’s a cool upgrade. For new users, the introduction of the POD FARM 2.5 FREE option is good news (perhaps the Amplitube free option with pay-per addition, was a factor in this move). In any case, I think it’s a smart decision by Line 6.

It seems like the free version is more of an unlimited trial version of POD Farm that you can use indefinitely but Line 6 has been  generous with the offerings on the free/trial version.  Here’s what you get (taken from the Line 6 website):

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POD Farm™ FREE (i.e. trial version) includes:

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• 2 guitar amps

  1. “Wide panel” Fender®  Deluxe Reverb®, and
  2. Marshall® JCM-800

• 2 guitar cabs

  1. 1×12 1964 Fender® Blackface Deluxe Reverb® and
  2. 4×12 1978 Marshall® with stock 70s

• 2 bass amps

  1. Ampeg® SVT® and
  2. Ampeg® B-15 1×15 Ampeg® B-15

• 2 bass cabs

  1. 1×15 Ampeg® B-15 and
  2. 4×10 Hartke®)

• 13 stompboxes and studio effects

  1. Teletronix LA-2A®
  2. Electro-Harmonix® Deluxe Memory Man
  3. MXR® Phase 90
  4. Fender® Deluxe Reverb®
  5. Tremolo
  6. Arbiter Fuzz Face®
  7. Ibanez® Tube Screamer®
  8. Arbiter Cry Baby
  9. L6 Vetta Comp
  10. L6 Sub Octaves
  11. L6 Vetta Wah
  12. L6 Digital Delay
  13. L6 Standard Spring Reverb and
  14. L6 Cavernous Reverb

• 2 mic preamps

  1. API® 512c with API® 550b EQ and
  2. L6 Solid State Console

• Dual Tone functionality and A/B/Y box

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For a free app, to run a dual Marshall/Fender rig with delays, distortions, and reverbs is a lot!  You can certainly get a useable tone with the variations they have here.

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In contrast:

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POD Farm™ 2.5

($99 for Standard or ILok Standard)

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has more amps (16 total), cabs (24 total), bass amps (5 total), more bass cabs (5 total), more stomp boxes/fx (29 total) and 6 mic preamps.

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POD Farm™ 2.5 Platinum

($299 for Platinum or ILok Platinum )

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With the platinum version you get: more amps (78 total), more bass amps (28 total), more bass cabs (22 total), more stomp boxes (97 total)

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You’ll need a decent processor to run Pod Farm (see requirements here), but how much you’ll need the additional amps and fx available in the paid versions will depend on what you need to do.  You can download and test drive the standard version for free – but as I said before with the tools that they’ve given you – you may not even need to upgrade – but with the additional flexibility you’d get – you might want to.

Thanks for reading.

-SC

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GEAR

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A Game Changer? The Sonuus i2M musicport overview

I haven’t done a gear review in a while – so I thought I’d bring something exciting to the table this time.

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Lately, I’ve been thinking more about Midi guitar.  Not in the traditional sense of, “wouldn’t it be great to get some flute sounds out of my guitar for this smooth jazz solo?” but using it in (potentially) some more subversive ways.

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Midi conversion as an improvisation tool:

The first thought that occurred to me was midi guitar is a glitchy proposition to begin with. Even optimizing everything (picking technique, muting, pick choice, tracking parameters, etc) – there was still a lot that could go “wrong”.  This excited me from an improvisational standpoint because it meant that I could have other notes spit out at me that I didn’t play – and that I’d have to actually improvise with what was happening there.  To me, this is much more in the spirit of improvising that playing the same 40 licks I’ve worked out over Stella by Starlight.

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Midi conversion as a texture:

Additionally, the glitch effect can work really well in sound scape ideas where I might be generating different sounds over (and within) a loop.  That’s appealing to me as well.

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Midi conversion as a transcriber:

The real interest for this idea though came up with the dvd instructional material that I wanted to generate.  After seeing clips of John McLaughlin’s instructional dvd and realizing that he was simply using a midi guitar to capture audio and midi data in Logic.  By doing this – he would have a rough transcription of what he was playing and then be able to tweak it to make it more accurate from there.  A really good idea and one that stuck with me.

But midi always struck me as a lark.  The pickups and converters meant that I was looking at $500-$600 minimum for something that really wasn’t necessary.  Then I started seeing the ads for…

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The Sonuus i2M musicport:

If you’ve picked up a guitar magazine or been anywhere guitar related on the internet – you have undoubtably seen an ad for one of the Sonuus Midi Converters.  Their newest converter the i2M musicport, is a small (read: tiny) monophonic midi converter and a 16bit 48k digital audio interface.  Listing for $199 (and selling for $149) this is one of the most intriguing products on the market to me right now.

The unit has a ¼ inch jack on one side and a USB connection on the other which makes it about the size of an adult thumb.  It’s bus powered by the USB – so there’s no additional power supply (the green lit SONUUS logo is a nice design touch as well as the key clip.

It’s impossible for me to image a smaller device but how does it sound?  Since the i2M acts as an audio interface and an audio midi converter – I’ll address this question in two parts.

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Audio:

The ¼ inch jack is actually a high impedance (hi-Z) input preamp with a 16 bit/44.1 or 48k conversion rate.  Even though I typically like higher audio specs when using my guitar the sound is remarkably transparent and I had no issues with quality.  In fact, this is an ideal interface for practicing or jotting down ideas and would even consider trying it out on a gig if I needed to.  It should also be noted that while I’ve only tested it with a guitar it can be used with bass guitar or other line level sources (like a microphone).  There should be no real issue in using a 7 or 8 string guitar with it either.

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Midi:

First: I should state that this unit is a midi converter.  It doesn’t have any midi sounds on its own so you’ll need appropriate software (any software with a midi sampler or synth  will probably do) to hear and record midi.

Secondly: The midi conversion is monophonic.  Anything involving chords or multiple held notes will produce unpredictable results.

Having said that, the i2M does monophonic conversion remarkably well.  Tracking was fast, smooth and had very low latency with stock settings (particularly on the higher strings).  If you go to the sonuus website, you can download the Desktop Editor software which will allow you to adjust midi settings to suit your style as well.

Rather than just list them, I’d recommend that you go to the Sonuus web site where you can get full specs.

In use:

I decided to see if I could use the i2M as both an audio interface and a midi converter to see if I could use the score function in Logic to transcribe what I was playing.

The i2M is class-compliant which means that it’s plug and play.  I opened up Logic and had no problem setting it up as a default audio and midi input.  To create a real world example of what it sounds like it when you plug-in and play – nothing was optimized.  The audio is generated from a FnH Ultrasonic guitar plugging into the i2M at 48k.  No amp sims were used in Logic.  The guitar track only has LA convolver, some speaker IRs and a reverb on the channel. The midi is generated from the EXS 24 (using the Garageband/Logic Yamaha Piano).

All Logic and i2M settings are stock.  I heard the piano sound and decided to improvise in a Cecil Taylor style where caution was just thrown to the wind and I approached ideas as melodic flourishes.  I wanted to throw the unit some curve balls so I tried sweep picking, alternate picking and tapping various ideas to see how it reacted.

This video below is just a screen shot of the score pages with an mp3 of both channels so you can compare the difference between the audio and the midi tracking. (You’ll probably want to see it at full screen size – FYI).

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Here’s what impressed me:

The tracking was pretty clean.  There were a few random glitches on the midi score  but those could be easily fixed.  For the most part, I got a rough sketch of what I was playing while I was playing it.  Very cool.

There are certain open strings ringing and other string noses that were ignored.  This was surprising and cool.

The audio signal sounded pretty good out of the box – but to be 100% fair – this was with a clean sound.   I  ran this through POD Farm to see how the distorted tones were – but  for me, the resolution and bit depth weren’t there for a satisfying dirty tone.  In other words, as an audio converter – this isn’t going to replace my Apogee Duet – but this is really nit picking as the unit is, first and foremost, a midi converter so the fact that it processes any audio is just as bonus.  Additionally, comparing a $150 multifunction unit to a $500 specialized audio interface isn’t a fair comparison.   That being said, the i2M has a reasonable starting point for a clean tone.

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Also while the unit is plug and play as an audio device for Logic and Garage band, AU lab didn’t recognize it.  Not a deal breaker and something I need to research further but it may be something to look into depending on what platform you plan on using.

This unit is just a lot of fun.  I probably spent 2 hours just playing the various logic EXS patches.  Additionally the piano/guitar sound gave me a lot of compositional ideas in a Maria João idea – which is always a good thing.  I tried it with Absynth as well and it worked seamlessly (it even kept tracking as I took liberal swipes at my tremolo arm).

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In my opinion this unit is a game changer for guitarists (and hopefully for a lot of other instruments as well).  To have something that works this well at this price point while putting an audio interface and a midi converter well within most gear budgets.  For this demonstration, I’m essentially using it as a toy, but the potential applications for this are exciting.

Whether you’re looking to lightly tread the waters of midi guitar, get in deep for sonic mangling or just need a decent pocket audio interface, you’re hard pressed to do better than the i2M.

Thanks for reading!

-SC

Apogee Duet 2 Announced

For those of you familiar with my series of posts on using a laptop as a guitar preamp, a key component of this rig is the Apogee duet.  Apogee just announced a new version of the Duet that has some really interesting features and may be worth exploring.

The superficial:

Well the new unit looks great:

(All graphics from this post are taken from the Apogee website)

There are 4 output channels now instead of the 2 on the first Duet.  (The headphone is now a separate stereo out).  They’ve added a touch pads on the front screen that are assignable. Through these pads you can now, “Mute speakers, headphones or all outputs”, “Assign headphones to outputs 1-2, 3-4 or low latency mixer”, “Dim speakers, headphones or all outputs” or “Sum to mono speakers, headphones or all outputs”.

Having the ability to see all of the monitoring levels on the unit itself is also a nice touch.

Connectivity

There are a number of new upgrades that have been made to the new unit in terms of connections as well.

  • New cables: The Duet 2 now only has 4 cables.  2 combination mic/instrument connectors (XLR and 1/4”) built into a single connector and 2 balanced 1/4” connectors for speakers.

 

  • Optional breakout box.  Slicker looking than the breakout box reviewed here, it also comes with a 6′ cable.  Very handy.

 

  • The new unit is USB rather than firewire.  This is fine if you have a newer computer, but for the computer I have firewire still runs circles around usb in reliability and speed.  Still, due to the relatively small number on ins and outs – it probably works fine.

 

  • You also get a Universal Power Adapter for US, UK and EU (it’s USB powered with an optional converter).

Under the hood

There are a number of changes within the unit as well.

  • New mic pres: “The Duet 2 mic preamps feature a new design, all new components and seamless click-free transitions as the gain increases and decreases throughout the incredible range of 0-75dB.”

 

  • The AD/DA converters are also an all new design.

 

  • Soft limit has been added. “An Apogee technology first introduced in 1992 on Apogee’s AD-500 converter, Soft Limit can be heard on countless platinum selling records around the world. Once a technology exclusively reserved for Apogee’s most advanced audio converters, Soft Limit is now available in Duet. This superior analog design prevents the digital clipping that causes distortion by instantaneously rounding off transient peaks before they hit the analog-to-digital converter. Soft Limit allows several more decibels of apparent level to be recorded while subtly providing an analog-like warmth to the sound.”

 

  • Increased Sample rate: Where the 1st generation Duet has a 24 bit 44.1–>96kHz Sample rate, the Duet 2 supports up to 192khZ!!!!

 

  • Decreased Latency: They’ve managed increase the sample rate with lower latency as well.  Here are some specs from the web site:

Roundtrip Latency performance 1st Generation

32 buffer @ 96kHz = 4.6 ms

64 buffer @ 44.1kHz = 7.23 ms

Roundtrip Latency performance 2nd Generation

32 buffer @ 96kHz = 3.6 ms

24-bit/44.1-192kHz

Maestro ( the controlling software) has received and upgrade as well.

 

It looks like Apogee has made a very smart launch with this product.  They added in a lot of features that users had asked for and kept all of the core features (like core connectivity with ProTools, Logic, Live etc) that users wanted.

I’ll be interested to see what this unit can do.  $595 might seem like a lot for a stereo in USB converter but if the quality is even better than the first generation it could be an excellent investment.  In the meantime, 1st generation Apogees will probably be selling for a song by the end of the year, so if you have an older firewire macbook like me this could be very good news for you.

Full information can be found on the Apogee website.

As always, thanks for dropping by.

-SC

Keeping Your Ego Out Of The Song’s Way

Thanks for coming to this page but it’s moved!

You can find it now on Guitagrip.com.

Thanks for dropping by.  I hope to see you at guit-a-grip!

Hardware vs. Software – Or Praises And Perils In Live Laptop Use

Before I drag this article kicking and screaming down the bloody cobblestones of memory lane, I’ll mention that the kick off for this post was a recent effort to stabilize my laptop rig.

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A couple of months ago I found out that the 4 gig chip that my laptop would support had come down in price.  This would allow me to max out my elder laptop at 6 gigs instead of the current 4.  I surmised that had to improve performance overall.

After saving up some cash – I ordered the chip from OWC.  It came very quickly and installation was a snap.  I turned on the laptop and seeing the memory say 6GB – was thrilled for about a ½ hour.

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At that point, the laptop screen did a big wipe down and I got an error message of death – you need to shut off your laptop, which I did.  It powered back up and 10 minutes later did the same thing.  I took out the memory and added the old memory back and everything worked fine.  I contacted OWC – they had me try a few things, and then sent me an RMA so I could send it back for free.  The promptly sent me another chip.

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I got that chip in the mail on Monday.  I installed it in my laptop and everything was fine.  I ran it all day and there were no issues.  I got it home and was streaming a video while I was working out and sure enough about an hour in the laptop screen did a big wipe down and I got an error message of death – you need to shut off your laptop, which I did.  This time however, when I turned off the laptop, I felt underneath it – I had the laptop elevated to get it some air to help cool it down, but even so – it was still hot enough that you could fry an egg on it.  I set the laptop on its side to cool it down and once the back was cool to the touch – maybe a couple of minutes later – started it up and it’s been working fine ever since.  I think it was the combination of the poor airflow and table lamps I have to increase the lighting. I’ll have to go to staples now and get one of those self cooling USB fan jobs and hope it doesn’t mess with the audio signal.  But it was an important reminder about the precarious nature of laptops as signal processors.   The reason I was trying this in advance was because at the next gig I have, I don’t want the laptop to shut down mid song and leave me stranded.

All of this got me rethinking the laptop vs hardware debate that I partially discussed here but is worth a broader examination.

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The obligatory history lesson to stave off initial pointed questions of, “Do you even know what that stuff is supposed to sound like?”

As with many of the things I do, my entry into laptop guitar was completely unplanned, but in retrospect not that surprising.

When I first started playing guitar, the amp I had was a no frills, no name combo amp with a 12” speaker.  Given my influences at the time (Hendrix, Sabbath, Ozzy, etc.), it’s no surprise that almost immediately I started looking for distortion.  Then every dollar I could put together was going for other effects: wahs…chorus….delays… anything I could get my hand on to try to replicate those sounds.

When I was playing in the Committee of Public Safety (my avant-garde core French Revolution fixated band with voice, guitar, bass, cello and drums) – my signal chain was really small.  I had a Marshall JCM800 50 watt combo amp with a single 12 (this was run through a 4×12 Marshall 1960A cab).  I had a channel switcher for the amp, a volume pedal and a TC Distortion/Boost pedal.  The committee lead tone was the TC preamp before the Marshall distortion channel – and it was a creamy tone.  I want to say there was some kind of cheap delay in there as well (maybe an Arion), and from what I remember  that was it.

The Marshall got stolen from a rehearsal space in Allston while I was trying to resurrect mach 2 of the Committee.  The stolen amp was my cue from the universe that it was time to move onto another project.  In the meantime, something interesting started happening.  The more I got into pedals, the more I started getting into sounds that didn’t sound like the tones I was initially trying to emulate.  Soon the more a pedal disguised the fact that I was playing a guitar, the more I wanted that pedal.

At the time, I was working at a music store and an Ampeg guitar amp came in, and I got it for a super low price.  I started picking up some EH pedals at the time as well (including a really sweet 1st generation Russian Big Muff Pi), and I found an old tube echoplex.  I remember playing a gig and the sound man took a look at my pedals and said, “Wow – this would be a state of the art rig in like ’72.”  It was meant as a dig, but I took it as a compliment.  The rig had character, the tones were right there and it sounded as guitaristic (or non guitaristic) as I wanted it to.  That amp eventually gave way to amps by Seymour Duncan and Gibson before settling on a 4×10 Hot Rod DeVille (really a pretty great sounding amp with some mods by Tom at AzTech Electronics).

In between a lot of other pedals and effects crossed my path. This included a 1st generation Jam Man (with additional memory slotted in which really turned my head around) and eventually sold, a Rhythm and Sound (also sold), various distortions wahs and other filters.   By the time I was playing in Visible Inc (and later in The Bentmen/Tubtime/One Of Us) – my full rig was a tuner, Ernie Ball Volume Pedal, Digitech Space Station, T.C. Electronics Chorus, Memory Man Delay (original), Guyatone MD-2 delay, Akai Headrush looper, Vox Wah and another Ernie Ball volume pedal that went into the front end of a Fender Hot Rod Deville (4×10 amp).   The full rig sat in an 88 key keyboard flight case that would not fit width wise across my car seats.

During all of this, I was constantly investigating different digital options.  I had the original zoom effect that I used for quite a while, and when the line 6 came out – I remember getting a used 2.0 bean and just being blown away at the flexibility of it.  Even later – my B-rig (and the one I used primarily with Annette Farrington) was the pod bean with a line 6 pedal board, the looper, wah and volume pedal.  (Later in a cover band – it was only the Pod 2.0 in front of the amp). And that rig sounded pretty damn good in front of my amp.  Even the band’s sound guy went from dismissive to begrudging concession.  It really didn’t sound AS good as the full board – it sounded different – but it worked and it was a hell of a lot less stuff to bring than a huge pedal board.

This is all mentioned because about a month before I left Boston to go to CalArts, my rig was stolen out of an uninsured rehearsal space.  The only thing I had taken home with me was the space station and the Akai Headrush – the amp and all the rest of the pedals were gone.  The band hadn’t been rehearsing for a while so I had no idea anything was missing until a month later.  By then there wasn’t much of anything to do – but leave Boston and start what would now be my acoustic studies at CalArts.

My first year at CalArts, my wife got me a Pod XT for a Christmas gift – and that was my ticket back on the crazy train of gear.  But back when I was rocking a G3 ibook – I remember thinking that someday I’d be able to get guitar tones from a laptop.  The day would come that I’d be able to bring a guitar and a laptop and leave all those pedals behind.  And now I can say – that day is partially here.

Computer guitar tones are the best they’ve ever been, but there are a number of issues big and small that I think need to be acknowledged.

1.        Laptops do not sound like tube amps.  They just don’t.  Even running a laptop with a Marshall patch through a tube amp – doesn’t sound like a Marshall.   Having said that,  it doesn’t sound bad.  In fact, it sounds pretty damn good.  What laptops have all over traditional amps and pedals is flexibility and portability.  Knowing that I can bring a laptop and a guitar and (if the venue has a PA) get through a live show makes touring a LOT easier for me.

2.       Pedals don’t often break – but when they do – they can be bypassed and the amp still used.  The downside is that when the laptop goes down – you’re done.  I’ve never ever had a hardware POD breakdown at a show (other than one time when the venue lost stage power and ALL the amps (and PA) lost power.  I have had laptop programs crash mid set and it’s very nerve-wracking in a live context in the best situations.  In the worst situation – the show’s over.

Laptops are fragile and pedals are built for durability.  I don’t have to worry a well-built pedal getting ruined at a show (unless someone pours their beer on it) – but any one of a number of things could be the end of my laptop.

3.  The technological barrier to true emulation will be cracked.  The news of the new Thunderbolt protocol in mac books is stunning to me.  12x faster than firewire 800?  At a certain point the algorithms will be improved enough, the data transfer rate and processing power will be so high – that you will no longer be able to tell if something was recorded on tape or not.  You will no longer be able to tell if that’s a real tube amp you’re playing through.  It isn’t a question of if it will happen – only when – and honestly I think we’re only about 5-10 years away at the most.

4.  Emulation allows for sounds not feasible in the real world.  Do I want to get an idea of what running a guitar through 6 tube echoplexes sounds like?  Digitally? No Problem.  In the real world – you’d have to first find 6 working tube echoplex units – and the hiss would be unusable, trust me on that one.

If you’re planning on using a laptop live – here are some suggestions I have for you

1.  Optimize it.

  • From the get go, get the fastest processor, maximum memory and fastest hard drive you can afford initially. It doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest – it just needs to be relatively fast and expandable.  For my live looping rig I have a 2-year old Macbook Pro (2.4 gig Intel Core Duo) with 6 gigs of memory and an internal 7200 rpm drive.  I bought it with 2 gigs of ram and a 5400 rpm drive .  My initial upgrade was 4 gigs of memory and a 200 gig 7200 rpm drive as that’s what I could afford at the time.  The first time I looked at a 4 gig chip the cost was $150.  The one I just installed to get the machine to 6 gig was around $90.
  • As time goes on (and costs decrease) plan on upgrading when necessary.


  • Count on needing an external drive if you’re going to do any recording.


  • Defrag your drives – frequently. When I went from the 200 gig drive to the 500 gig drive I defragged it during the drive cloning and my system speed increase was about 30%.  It makes a big difference.

2.  Back it up.

The first time you lose all your data – you will know how important this is.  I’m especially bad at this as well and only back up once a week or so.  A hard drive is a very delicate thing.  If you knew you easily it lost information, you would lose sleep at night.

3.  Make Multiple patches and back them up as well.

Patches take up almost no drive space.  I probably have 40-50 different AU Lab settings.  The reason for this is that AU LAB remembers all of the patch parameters as you save them.  So if, for example, you finally optimize your work flow and settings and accidentally close the mixer window and save it when you close out  –  that window is gone when you reopen it – and there isn’t  a way to recall it.  What that leaves is no way to change parameters, levels etc.  In other words – you start from scratch.  I do this with POD FARM patches as well (multiple variants of tones so if I can call up parameters at will), SooperLooper, Apogee Maestro and FBV preferences as well.  Hugely helpful in sessions – believe me.

3.  Related to #2 and 3 – organize your folders and label them logically.

In working on my book, you would be amazed at the amount of time lost digging through folders with vague titles looking for old graphics.  All my patches are in one place and backed up to a flash drive.

4.  To the extent you can – run real world tests before going live.

If the stage has hot lights on it, it’s going to be doubly warm for your laptop – will it operate correctly in a live context.  In a related note, record yourself when you’re playing and check levels etc.  As I’ve said before, there’s a substantial difference in sounds that work when your practicing with headphones, sounds that work at low volumes and concert level sounds.  The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to keep it all together.

5.  Keep it compact

Typically in live performance you won’t have an hour to set stuff up.  5-10 minutes is optimal.  To the extent that you can, try to pre-cable all of your connections.  Don’t assume that the venue will have clean, continual power.  I have a surge protector built into my strip – it’s not ideal but it’s better than nothing.

6.  Go with the highest resolution your system will handle.

SooperLooper freaks out when I run anything higher than 44.1k – so if I’m looping – everything runs 44.1.  If I’m not looping everything runs 88.2, or 96k.  The clean sounds have more definition and the dirty sounds are a whole different ball game at 88.2 vs 44.1.  Again, this is where having multiple AU patches comes in handy.

7.  Be flexible.

Have a backup plan when things go wrong.  In a worse case scenario where the laptop completely fails – I can go directly into the amp and get a signal.  There won’t be any effects, but at least I don’t have to stop playing while it gets sussed out.

8.  Be calm.

This took a while for me to get my head around.  The problem with getting freaked out – is that it just exacerbates the situation as typically it leads to bad decisions which leads to more freaking out.  The more you can calmly assess what’s going wrong, the more quickly you’ll be able to solve the problem.

9.  Bring Extras.

I bring a trouble shooting pack to every gig it consists of:

  • duct tape – to tape down cables/or hold things together if need be.
  • a mag light – things get lost on stage very easily.
  • a small tool bag with screwdrivers, pliers and a wrench
  • a black magic marker and post its – in case I need to make any patch changes, write up set lists, etc
  • 9 volt batteries (for my ebow – also for my back up tuner)
  • strings and a string winder
  • back up usb and firewire cables
  • an extension cord
  • a flash drive with back up patches for everything

10.  Bring your A game.

Stage presence is a difficult thing to bring to a laptop performance, but to the extent that you can – show that you’re engaged (or at least don’t look bored/frightened) and come out from your laptop once in a while.  If it’s engaging for the audience, it’s going to make the performance go easier for you as well.

Thanks for reading!

-SC

New SooperLooper Update 1.6.16

For those of you who use SooperLooper – it looks like Jesse snuck a new release under the radar back in January that I’m just catching now.

The only release note is that the AU unit is now more stable under various hosts,  for those of you with AU validation issues – this might help out a lot.

For those of you who have a Mac and aren’t using SooperLooper – now’s the time to get on board.  SooperLooper is a shareware application that uses a lot of the functionality of the Oberheim/Gibson echoplex looping unit.  It’s leagues above the looper that you get with Mainstage and could be all you need to do a 1 person show.

(If  you do start using it – you should definitely send a couple of bucks Jesse’s way for all the hard work he’s done on it.)

-SC

Recabinet 3 Announced – New IRs And A New AU/RTAS/VST Shell

For those of you who have been exploring the laptop/tech aspects of the site – Recabinet announced yesterday that the new 3.0 update will be sold on the  http://recabinet.com site on January 18th, 2011.

In addition to a number of 20 cabinets and 8 mics, you also get a new VST/AU RTAS Shell for hosting IRs in Mac or PC.

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(Screen shot taken from Recabinet website)

Here’s what I find appealing from a first glance perspective:

  • Drop down menus for the cabinet and mic positions are big time savers
  • The eq functions are a good idea
  • Individual gain controls (in addition to the host gain) offers a lot of flexibility
  • A number of bundled presets – also a very good idea

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Here’s a list of the cabs and mics

(taken from Recabinet website)

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Cabinets:

  • 1960 – based on a Marshall 1960AV 4×12
  • Angora – based on a Line 6 Vetta 4×12
  • Blackface 4×10 – based on a Fender ’65 Super Reverb 4×10
  • Chordal – based on a Roland JC120
  • Damien – based on a Marshall 1936 2×12
  • Dazed – based on a Supro Thunderbolt
  • Eagle – based on an ENGL Pro 4×12
  • Excel – based on a Randall RS412XLT100 4×12
  • Genzie – based on a Genz Benz G-Flex ported 2×12
  • Green – based on an original 1970s Marshall 4×12
  • Igor – based on a Krank Krankenstein 4×12
  • Manatee – based on an Ampeg SVT 8×10
  • Motown – based on an Ampeg Portaflex B15N
  • Ogre – based on a Bogner Uberkab 4×12
  • Oversize – based on a Mesa Standard 4×12
  • Sterling – based on a Marshall Hand Wired 4×12 (late 1960s reissue)
  • Tangerine – based on an Orange 4×12
  • Top Boost – based on a Vox AC30
  • Tweed 1×12 – based on a Fender ’53 Deluxe 1×12
  • Zodiac 2×12 – based on a Selmer Zodiac Twin 30

Recorded with the same mics as before

Microphones:

  • 57 – based on a Shure SM57
  • 545 – based on a Shure Unidyne III 545
  • 121 – based on a Royer 121
  • 409 – based on a Sennheiser MD409
  • 421 – based on a Sennheiser MD421
  • i5 – based on an Audix i5
  • Reference – based on an Earthworks M30
  • U87 – based on a Neumann U87

Pricing

While the cost for new users is $130, users who purchased the Recabinet 2.0:

  • between November 1st, 2008 and October 22nd, 2009 are eligible for a FREE upgrade (only between January 18 and January 26, 2011)
  • on October 23rd, 2009 or later can upgrade to Recabinet 3 for $60

If I understand this correctly, this means that even if you were remiss in not getting Recabinet before – if you buy Recabinet 2.0 before January 18 for $15 – you can get the new plug in for $60.  But, since this is a presumption based on the information on the website and not and official policy of recabinet, you should contact them to see if this is the case before purchasing.

If this is the case – it’s a smart incentive to get people to use their impulse responses.