Archive for August, 2006

SPDIF matching

Monday, August 21st, 2006

I’ve ordered both solutions proposed. Hopefully one of them will work.

You all are amazingly audio-geeky – when I talked about matching SP/DIF to AES at Guitar Center and Petosa, all I got were blank stares… and whoever posted the solution, did so anonymously!

Thanks, whoever you were. I don’t know that either one will work, but they both look like likely canidates.

Grr argh

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Okay, first of all, in the Alesis AI-4 manual it states that a SPDIF signal can be fed to a AES jack by using a matching tranformer. After a quick web search for SP/DIF to AES matching transformers, I conclude that no commercially available product exists, and (as one could almost predict) reach for a microphone matching transformer, assuming that SPDIF must be about 48khz in bandwidth and will pass through a audio transformer just fine.

Then later I think to read about SP/DIF’s encoding system.


SP/DIF is 3 !Megahertz! in bandwidth. To carry a 48khz signal! Fer crissake, I’ve worked on computer LANs that used less than 3 megahertz!

So, I guess my question for the audiance is, what kind of matching transformer does one use to match a low-impedence 3Mhz signal to a high impedence 3Mhz signal?

At this point, I’m tempted to get four AI-1s, just to have the whole problem over and done with. It *almost* works without a matching transformer – the audio is there, all pretty and clean and happy, and then suddenly ‘click-click-click’.

I’m wondering if I got a metal-can RCA to XLR adapter and used SP/DIF approved cables to go from it to the SPDIF jack if things would work better. A lot of the time I run SPDIF on regular RCA cables on the theory that it was 48khz, how far wrong could you go – but now that I’m discovering that the stuff is basically video, bandwidth wise, I’m rethinking my approach somewhat.


I’m having a lot of trouble with one of my systems here. it’s a win2k machine running one IDE and one SATA drive, with a firewire interface board and a high performance video card in it.

One of the things I’m doing with it is editing video. It has a 30G and a 250G drive in it. Currently, the 30 gig clocks in at about 9000k/sec, and the 250G clocks in at about 1500k/sec. I know that larger hard drives tend to be slower, but by 10:1? Can someone please explain to me what I’m doing wrong? I installed the drivers that came with the motherboard…


I can’t decide how I feel about this new drug that I’m on. On one hand, it certainly makes it easier to work on things continously, and to interrupt tasks and return to them. On the other hand, it also makes me constantly aware of all the things that I should be doing that I’m not. I never realized before how poorly adapted to the ‘adult’ world I am. (In fact, I suspect all of humanity is poorly adapted to it and that certain individuals in places of power like it that way – I guess we’re more tractible that way)

My latest mixing project..

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Feel free to critique.. (it’s about 3 minutes long, classic rock, the Art Theives as recorded live at Wayne’s World)



Monday, August 14th, 2006

So, I went rollerblading in a rink on Saturday – and I’m here to report, no soreness that lasted more than a day.

It was insanely fun, even though I couldn’t coax Kayti out onto the floor. Most of my rollerblading skill is gone – I can’t dance on them, and I can’t reverse at any meaningful speed, and I feel really uncomfortable when I’m going backwards. But, the basics are still there, and the rest feels like it might come back, given some practice.

Today I’m in a unreasonably good mood, partially because I reviewed last night’s practice recording and I think it sounds really good ( for those of you who want to follow along) and partially because I got some cleaning and a lot of minor work tasks done.

I also paid my bills (well, I haven’t actually put them in the mail yet) and entered them all into a spreadsheet – I am determined to stop overdrawing my bank account – they always pay all my checks, but they charge me $27 per! I calculate I’ve spent about $500 in fees this year. This has got to stop.

(They’re taking shameless advantage of unorganized people everywhere)

I’m coming up on my goal for this year for my stocks, and it’s only Augest.. (of course, the market could tank at any moment). It’s looking like I might actually have all my debts paid off by january or febuary.. not quite december as I’d wanted, mostly because of my desire for sushi 😉

I did some more work on – I think I’m done messing with it for a while.

Bizarre little fun thing

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

I’m sure you’ve all got one of these, but here’s a fun web snow generator:

or for the constantly refreshing model


Sunday, August 13th, 2006

Still updating my web site – today I added a random link generator. Now I just need to inject some more interesting links into the table that controls it..

I’m really wondering what things like google are going to do for indexing my web site, which now changes every time you access it.. (it’s muuuutating.. muhahaha, muhahaha), and if it will increase or decrease traffic.

All skate slowly in the regular direction

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

So, aside from buying a bass guitar, I seem to be making other attempts to regress to my teen years. Specifically, tonight I’m going rollerblading in a rink. I’m sure that tomorrow, considerably black and blue, I will be posting about how much I regret this decision. Hopefully there won’t be any broken bones to deal with.

In other news, yesterday I tried the drug Adderol, and I can safely say that this is NOT the drug for me, at least not at the 20mg dosage. This isn’t any big suprise – after all I’ve never used any recreational stimulants and don’t want to. There’s another flavor of drug they’re going to try me on on tuesday, hopefully it won’t have the same bizzare peaking-while-crashing that this drug did. Side effects for me included time dialation, a bizarre metallic feeling which I would compare to one of the unpleasent side effects of LSD (it’s that feeling you get BEFORE things start getting really fun), emotional swings – the tiniest thing would make me feel totally crushed – and rapid thinking/talking/etc.

If the other drug doesn’t work I might try Adderol at 5 mg to see how that works out, but my inclination is to stay away from it.

Review: Access Virus T1

Saturday, August 12th, 2006

So, I recently purchased a Access Virus T1, and I thought I’d post a review of it for those of you who are curious about what I think. (Probably no one, but nonetheless I feel this need to compulsively blog my opinions of consumer electronics).

First of all, let me comment on the sound. It’s beautiful. It’s lush. It’s fat. It’s probably even phat. It makes me feel like ten times the musician I actually am. I’m tempted to get out my AX-7 just so I can do windmills. It’s that good. Really. Honestly.

Unfortunately, other bits of the synth are.. how we say.. not so good.

First of all, it is the pickiest synth about MIDI incoming signals I’ve ever seen! Only about half of the thru ports on my other sound modules will drive it. As far as driving it from the output of a groovebox, forget about it. This synth wants very very clean midi, proper voltage levels, and no timing glitches at all, even 0.1%..

Second of all, you have to void the warantee in order to rack-mount it – there’s a rack kit, but installing it requires removing a waranty sticker. Smoooth…

Third of all, when passed random garbage on the MIDI bus, the synth !crashes!. Yep, just like Microsoft Windows.

However, despite all its flaws, I love the thing. The sound is so lush, so fat, so sweet.. and yet, with the twist of a knob, it can turn into all the agression of a DX-7 or all the sawtoothed insanity of a Prophet or Juno. It even has a bit of Moog stuck in there for good measure. It’s a wonderful sounding synth.

I haven’t yet started trying to integrate it’s CC implimentation into the mess that is my CC control loop, but I’ll let you all know how that goes once I’ve done it..


Friday, August 11th, 2006

This is one of those things that I know shouldn’t bother me at all, but that really upsets me anyway.

Off and on I’ve been doing sound for a local band called the Art Theives. They’re kind of your basic 70s-80s cover band, though they’ve definately got some talent. Anyway, I did a multitrack recording for them twice – the first one, there were too many glitches for the recording to be useful, but I thought the second one came out pretty good and I sent them some mixes from it.

So, then I hear that they played a outdoor festival and they didn’t invite me – I’m assuming that either some member of the band didn’t like my style, or .. I don’t know what. But one of the guitarests assures me that’s not the case, they just didn’t want to impose.

I’ve planned a band practice for tonight (Friday) because MC’s been having trouble getting togeather. Yesterday I get a email from them announcing that they’re playing Wayne’s World again tonight. Then guitarist X calls me to ask if I can do sound.. however, he doesn’t want me to bring any of my equipment except my mixer, and he wants me to do it along with his friend. I’m okay with working as a team to do sound, so I suggest bringing two 450s as a compromise (their PA has 300W, divided into 150 for mains and 150 for monitors) and he agrees to that – then I mention recording, and he says that they don’t want to do that – apparently it’s putting a dent in their spontanaity to know that a record is being made. And I can understand that – I’ve felt that myself a time or two. But, nonetheless, I’m not going to skip my band practice so I can go mix five vocal channels. So now I have to figure out a way to politely extricate myself from this situation. Among other things, it’s now (what with the friend, and the no equipment, and whatnot) crystal clear to me that they don’t like my style (which involves lots of watts, and lots of hardware, and I understand that that’s not for everyone).

Then his cell phone dies as I’m explaining that I don’t think I want to do it if they don’t want a recording and they don’t want a PA capable of making the audiance feel the groove.

So now he probably thinks I’m a asshole.

I don’t know what I should have done differently. I think it’s reasonable for me to not cancel my band practice in order to go do sound for people who don’t really want me there doing it. I’m really sad that they don’t want me there doing it, and that they don’t want any more recordings. I’m wondering if, despite all they said about how great the recording sounded, they in fact thought it sounded like crap. It’s definately true that my mixes don’t sound like anyone else’s – I mix to my preference, unless the band is there to say what they want. The band wasn’t there, so I mixed it the way I liked it. But..

I’m just unhappy in general I guess.

Isn’t it ironic – don’t you think..

Friday, August 11th, 2006

So, having decided that I have ADD, my doctors are now prescribing stimulants and mood stabilizers at the same time. This seems kind of like working at cross purposes, but hey, I don’t look like I have a degree in pharmacology. So I will keep my fingers crossed that all works out.

In other health-related news, I have a mole that has been declared a likely canidate for melenoma, a form of skin cancer. They’re going to remove it, via something called a plug-drill, on the 23rd. I’m trying to pretend that I’m not scared of having something called a plug drill used on my skin. Mostly I’m not succeeding.

I keep meaning to make some more updates to my web site.. maybe someday soon. But still, the ones I’ve made are pretty cool, the first time I’ve had a major format change in some time. Maybe it was about time..