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'llo again.

Has it been that long? Sorry.

No substance tonight, because I do have to sleep, but here's a random bit of conversation that stuck with me long enough to hit the keyboard:

          I figured out the problem with dating sites.

          Is there a solution?

          No. Because the problem is this: The people you find on dating sites, who are willing to pay money for the chance to meet each other? They're not people that you (or by extention, they) want to meet.

          Can't be much worse than the bar scene.

          Alcoholics. Good point.

          Or meeting people through a church group.

          Religious freaks, yeah.

          Or, y'know, leaving the house.

          ...     Don't be bitter with the world!

          World's got it comin'.
Well, maybe not. But the world can take it.

And an (unrelated) observation:
    Offering Karaoke in a public restaurant is like hiring a gang of chain-smoking mimes to accost your customers during their meal. Sure, some people might enjoy it, but why would you do that to everyone else?

    More importantly, why do we put up with it?

In other news, FL Studio is every bit as much fun as I remember, and it does control GPO without any problems.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 10th, 2005 03:32 am (UTC)
That conversation was funny. :) Kudos.

And now you've got me curious about FL Studio.
Mar. 10th, 2005 09:07 am (UTC)
FL Studio
Yeah, that line was largely intended for you. Neither of us are on AIM as often as we used to be -- I never see you there!

What you should know about FL Studio:
  • It's a VST host, runs DirectX plugins, as well as it's own proprietary format. GPO runs as a VSTi plugin (among other things), and one of those proprietary plugins will open your whole Soundfont collection for use here as well.

  • Many of the plugins in it's proprietary format emulate analog soft-synths. You've got knobs to tweak and LFOs to assign.

  • It's laid out like an old Roland drum machine -- groove based and extremely visual. You can see at a glance how all the instruments are interacting rhythmically, and expand each part to a grid of piano keyboards so you can assign pitch without having to think about proper notation.

  • Because you are dealing with a measure or two at a time, you can step-sequence while it's looping and have instant feedback. That note feels a little early? Right-click on it to erase it, and click the same slot a sixteenth note later.

  • Above the piano grid, there's a row of checkbox-like objects, which tells a given note to continue holding until the next beat that you've assigned a note. This can override staccato-like settings you assigned elsewhere and make for some nice effects. For certain instruments, this can also mean that the note will slide from one pitch to the other, at an assignable rate of portamento.

  • There's an alternate layout (Piano Roll) allowing far more complex controls. You can play chords, trigger notes at much higer resolution (with no regard for the beat), deal with much longer sections (whole MIDI files can be imported here), and play with four channels of hold/portamento on a single track (for a quartet to slide in different directions or at overlapping times)

  • Click an empty track in the playlist window, press record, and play. Your interaction with most every interface element in the whole program (tempo, synth parameters, volume, panning, whatever) can be automated in this way.

  • Most every interface element can also be assigned to alternate control devices, from custom panels of knobs and dials you create to draggable surfaces (like a grid, where X is one parameter, Y is another. Click at any point in the grid to assign those parameters. But you can also assign speed and accelleration to the point itself, so it has to chase after your mouse, overshooting it's mark with rubber-band physics. Hard to explain, but much fun to play with.), to XBox Controllers, to one of <url=http://www.waveidea.com/en/products/bitstream/>these</a> (which I own) or these (which I just discovered, and am now sad about owning the other one).

  • Side note on that last point -- my Wacom Tablet offers far greater precision and control than a traditional modwheel.

  • It's a Rewire host, so you can let programs like Cubase run FL Studio as a plugin. It's also a Rewire client, so it can control programs like Gigastudio 3 (which I haven't upgraded to yet).

  • It can take it's time rendering to WAV or mp3, bypassing any hardware limitations which might have made realtime playback a little choppy (though it does have full ASIO 2 support, so that shouldn't be an issue).

  • There's a free trial to download, and various price points depending what you need. I went with the most expensive bundle (as this saves money in the long run), but there are upgrade paths if you wanted to start small.

So, yeah. I can't really explain why, but the music I write at the piano sounds nothing like the music I write on paper or with notation software, and neither of those sound anything like the music I write on a sequencer modeled after multi-track recording. THIS interface produces different results still, and I really like the results.

I also like that this Rewire thing will let you bounce back and forth between at least two of those mindsets at will. (not sure if Finale or Sibelius support that yet, but it's going to be great when they do -- input your score traditionally, and tack on some realtime expression control without giving up your ability to change and print the sheet music...)
Mar. 10th, 2005 09:09 am (UTC)
Funny side note:
My journal's been around a long time now, and I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've even hinted at being a musician.
Mar. 13th, 2005 09:07 am (UTC)
Re: Funny side note:
I am interested now. Really. And for some reason my mum out of the blue agreed to buy the version upgrade from 2.5 to 3 for me (talking GS now). Yay! I got a new sound card too. A MiaMIDI from Echo Audio. It's fully GSIF2 compatible, which is why I bought that particular one. Thank some unknown benefactor for that (and my Mega Drive 2, but that's another story); out of the blue, I got SEK 5 000 on my bank account a few days ago. No info on why, or from whom. I'm sure as heck not complaining, though. After all of this continuous mental stress maybe some benevolent deity decided to bless me with some material luck.
Mar. 13th, 2005 12:51 pm (UTC)
That's awesome!
I'm full-on jealous of the GS3 thing, but I'm not getting that until my next desktop machine is built -- the old one was too loud with all the whirring fans, and actually changed my perception of the mix so dramatically that all my recordings were drowned in reverb -- not good. Right now, I'm only playing with things that run smoothly on the laptop.

Along those lines, though, look what Gary's workin' on now!

Also, check out this video -- that's some crazy interface programming in action...
Mar. 13th, 2005 01:07 pm (UTC)
Re: That's awesome!
No, you should be jealous if I was getting the offer they have at Sounds Online, you know, buy Quantum Leap RA, COLOSSUS and Symphonic Choirs - and get one of them for free. A $995 discount is a pretty major discount, in my book. It does require you to shell out $1990, though...but still. Ah, one can always dream. And all three of them sound absolutely fantastic. Voices of the Apocalypse sounded amazing way back when, but Symphonic Choirs beats it hands-down.

Unfortunately, being continuously sick has caused me to lose touch with my muse, so to speak. Inspiration doesn't strike me, at all, right now. Maybe GS3 and a new sound card will inject some well-needed adrenaline into my system, enough to get me going again, but otherwise I don't know what I'll do. I'm really down in the dumps, over-all. :( I don't have energy to do very much at all, I'm not going to be able to graduate this spring, I have lots of personal issues, some of which go back to when I started grade school, that need be dealt with - and in the midst of it all I'm trying to recover from stress-related crap I've been stuck with since I got burnt out last year. Ugh.

I will recover, or at least I hope so. But I wish it'd go a little faster than this...
Mar. 13th, 2005 02:12 pm (UTC)
Does GS3 come with any instruments? A new GigaPiano, perhaps? 'cause, that'd help.

What you've just bought is a playback mechanism, and possibly a really nice reverb plugin (depending which level of GS3 you upgraded to). Your polyphony should be much higher with the new soundcard, but you've still got the same pallete that wasn't sparking any ideas beforehand.

I think the libraries you're looking at right now are overwhelming. (VSL would make me jealous, though) It's a lot of pressure, coming up with something to justify those instruments.

Me, I just want to play the rain piano. Don't care about recording it, don't care about writing music, I just want to put my hands on a keyboard and filter my ideas through that sound... Once you're playing, the ideas will come, and you can render them more fully with other instruments.

In your position, I think my next purchase would be either Scarbee's Rhodes or Whurli, and I'd save my dollars to buy the vintage FX plugin to go with those.

That's my gut instinct, anyway. Think realtime. Find something that a joy to play, and learn to enjoy playing again! =)

(a real instrument away from the computer is also good for this)
Mar. 14th, 2005 02:04 am (UTC)
Hmm again.
Okay, yes. You're right. QL Symphonic Choir would be incredible fun to play with, and if Colossus is half as GM Compatible as it claims to be, I'd waste months of my life just running old files through it.

Not convinced I want RA anywhere near my computer, though. The sounds are great, but most of 'em feel like they'd be out of place in most of what I'm writing. Trying to find a place for them would just make everything contrived. (Except for the bluegrass set -- I'd use that much in every song! So it's probably better that I not have that opportunity...)

Anyway, it'd be more than $2000 for me right now, 'cause I'd need a new computer to run everything on, and I'd be paying interest on the credit card for at least year if I did that.

Not a good idea. =(
Mar. 13th, 2005 01:11 pm (UTC)
27.9 meg quicktime of the Jazz/Big Band thing, found here if the download link doesn't work directly.

That comes out "sometime in the spring", at a cost of $259.

Also mentioned on Northern Sounds, there's apparently a "GPO Advanced" in the works, which is the current set plus more articulations and solo instruments. Should be pretty incredible, but I'm much more excited about this other thing. =)
Mar. 10th, 2005 08:37 am (UTC)
Mimes are quiet. Karaoke was not.
Mar. 10th, 2005 09:17 am (UTC)
Also, some mimes are good at performing. =)

(though I will say, that one guy who did "Baby Got Back" had a lot of charisma, good stage presence, and didn't miss a beat. You could forget for a moment that we weren't listening to the original recording, and that's saying a lot under the circumstances)

(This doesn't forgive the rest of 'em, though...)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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