Author Topic: Majik's Road Case  (Read 1951 times)

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Offline batwoman

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #50 on: September 11, 2020, 01:56:39 am »
That's very nice of you to say, Maggie. Sorry if I have baffled you in some way on this thread. If there's anything I need to explain better, please let me know. I am aware I can sometimes be over-technical.

I enjoy technology and have worked with it for most of my life, but I'm still learning. My explorations with technology in the field of music are no different. I have learned a lot over the last several years. Mostly this is not the technology itself, which is generally relatively straightforward for me, but about how it is used and how different people interact with it. That includes myself: things that work for me may not work for others, and vice versa.

The nickname, by the way, is one I got in the Engineering Dept. at a Telecoms startup I was working at in the mid 1990s. Back then we were using IRC for intra-company chat and I started using "Majik" as my name (or "nick") on that because other variations had already been taken, and it kind of stuck.

Cheers,

Keith

You tell such a good story Keith. Your know how is clearly the result of many years of learning and application. I don't have enough years left or to be honest, the interest, to grasp more than enough to enable me to record stuff and improve it a bit. I do enjoy following along in this merry romp.

Online pkboo3

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #51 on: September 12, 2020, 09:49:32 pm »
Interesting read, Keith!  The Red G&L in your second photo of it does look darker than the first. It really is pretty & seems you are attached to it for now. The PRS is unique-looking at least to me.

Takamine acoustic - Ooh! That caught my attention. That’s what I have.

Do you have a current favorite guitar, or is it according to the song you are playing? 

Anyway, interesting read.

Pam



Sent from my iPhone using JustinGuitar.com Forum

Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #52 on: September 13, 2020, 12:47:31 am »
Your know how is clearly the result of many years of learning and application.

A few decades, actually. I started messing around with technology in my early teens, and haven't really ever stopped. I've always enjoyed it, even though many things about the industry itself frustrate and annoy me.

Quote
I don't have enough years left or to be honest, the interest, to grasp more than enough to enable me to record stuff and improve it a bit. I do enjoy following along in this merry romp.

One good thing is that much of the technology to do certain things is now accessible to everyday people and at a reasonable price. That includes the tools to support making, recording, mixing and distributing music.

For instance, I've recently started using Harrison Mixbus DAW. For under $100 you get something with similar capability to a renowned full-sized professional mixing console costing many tens of thousands of dollars.

Of course that doesn't mean you don't need any skills to use it properly: all DAWs have some necessary complexity and some fundamental knowledge of how to do tracking, gain staging, and to use tools like compression and EQ are needed. And that's before we consider plugins.

But even there those skills are attainable by anyone with the curiosity and patience to study them. It takes time and effort, but it's mostly not rocket-science. And tools like Audacity, Ardour, Mixbus, Reaper, and Garageband do their best to make things easier, and there's also written and video tutorials. The nice thing is you can dip in as much as you want or need to.

For most of us this is a hobby and so we only need to take it as far as our interest and enjoyment dictates; if you are happy recording clips on your phone and doing basic editing in Audacity, so be it. It's possible to get some great results with simple equipment, as Brian has demonstrated. And for those that want to progress past this, there's affordable tools, information, and advice available. What a time to be alive!

So thank you for following along Maggie, and I'm glad you are enjoying reading it as much as I am writing it. It's actually something I should have done ages ago as it's helped to reconnect me with some old tools as well as old memories. It's also made me re-evaluate what tools have available to me and how I use them.

Cheers,

Keith
« Last Edit: September 13, 2020, 01:25:19 am by Majik »
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
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Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #53 on: September 13, 2020, 12:58:32 am »
Interesting read, Keith!  The Red G&L in your second photo of it does look darker than the first. It really is pretty & seems you are attached to it for now. The PRS is unique-looking at least to me.
Hi Pam,

Yes, I really like how the G&L looks and it plays great and sounds good too.

One thing I like about the PRS is how understated it is. A lot of PRS models are quite eye-catching with heavily patterned and brightly coloured finishes. I really don't like those very much.

I have realized, whilst typing this, that 3 of my 5 electric guitars have a wooden or wooden effect finish, and the SG, despite being black, also shows the wood grain because the finish is so thin.

Quote
Takamine acoustic - Ooh! That caught my attention. That’s what I have.

It was a nice enough guitar, but really at the bottom end of their range and not as good as the Freshman I had, so there was no point in me keeping it. The school has made better use of it that I ever would.

Quote
Do you have a current favorite guitar, or is it according to the song you are playing?

It largely depends on my mood and the song. For instance, I recently set up an amp I really hadn't used much and plugged it into the Fender Tele which, again, I haven't used much considering how long it's been in the house, and straight away got a really nice "spanky" tone from it which put a huge smile on my face. That's something I may have to investigate a bit more.

If I had to choose one guitar, it would probably be the PRS.

But thank you for reading and commenting.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #54 on: September 13, 2020, 01:21:51 am »
Boss JS-8 eBand



This isn't a conventional amp, although it can function as one. It's basically designed as an all-in-one practice tool. And it's probably the "amplifier" I have used more than any of my other amps over the last several years.

Firstly, although it has speakers, the speakers in it are rubbish. But I primarily use it on headphones so as to not annoy the family. The next generation version of this, the JS-10, has much better speakers and a better audio engine in general and I have considered upgrading a few times, but couldn't justify it.

It's basically an MP3 player that you can connect a guitar into and play along. In may respects it's similar to the Tascam MP-GT1 unit I used to use, but in a table-top form and with better facilities and better sound. It has a full suite of guitar amp modelling and effects onboard which can be saved into patches. One of the useful capabilities is to link patches to songs so that when you select a song you get up to two associated patches automatic dialled in for you.

You can, of course, just use it as a headphone amp (or a desktop amp through the dreadful little speakers (or line out into something better). Or you could use it just as an MP3 player and play music on it.

The MP3 player supports a range of capabilities for A-B looping, slowing down, etc. songs and it comes with a bunch of pre-recorded drum beat and backing track loops in a range of styles. You can even record directly to it, or plug it into a computer and use as an audio interface to record into a DAW.

It also has a metronome, tuner, and an AUX input. You can connect a footswitch to it for various functions including using it as a basic looper.

Oh, and it works with Bass, and has Bass amp presets too.

It's not the easiest user interface in the world, and there are no modern capabilities like Bluetooth or smartphone app support. Transferring songs on and off it is via USB or a SD memory card and a special app on the computer. But, in some ways, I think it's better for it (for me, at least); there's no distractions and no reaching for a phone and messing with screen timeouts and unlocking, Bluetooth connections, battery charge, etc.. I have it loaded with a bunch of backing tracks for stuff I'm learning or which came with music books.

I've used a few more modern tools which operate using a smartphone and I've not enjoyed the experience. One of those is the much-hyped Positive Grid Spark amp which I will discuss in a later post, but I've largely gone back to the JS-8 because I find it easier and more satisfying to use for most of my practice.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline DavidP

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #55 on: September 13, 2020, 04:57:31 am »
Another interesting read about another piece of kit, Keith.

Makes me think I might have done better buying something like this rather than an amp after I indulged in acquiring an electric ... ah well, what's done is done.

Also read your comment about Mixbus. I wonder how that compares to Reaper, which is what I use. Both under $100 and providing capability comparable to much more expensive products. So good options for folks wanting to a little bit more in terms of the full production process (record, edit, mix, master)

Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #56 on: September 13, 2020, 12:09:18 pm »
Another interesting read about another piece of kit, Keith.

Makes me think I might have done better buying something like this rather than an amp after I indulged in acquiring an electric ... ah well, what's done is done.

Thanks David. Of course, I have amps as well so I see this more as a specific practice tool. The JS-10 (which has a decent amp and speaker setup) might be usable in place of an amp, but the JS-8 speakers really are dreadful. I could see this sort of setup being something a student could use in their bedroom in place of an amp but, these days and for the price, there are probably better options (the Spark amp I mentioned) especially for a generation that seems to struggle to use technology which isn't on a smartphone or tablet...

Quote
Also read your comment about Mixbus. I wonder how that compares to Reaper, which is what I use. Both under $100 and providing capability comparable to much more expensive products. So good options for folks wanting to a little bit more in terms of the full production process (record, edit, mix, master)

As a general rule all of these DAWs pretty much do the same thing and what is best for you is often based on what you are more familiar with. The main thing that varies, in my experience, is the range of built-in tools and the workflow. Mixbus is, to some degree, a commercial version of Ardour, which I have used for years. You can get Ardour for $45. Mixbus has some "special sauce" which makes it different from both Ardour and other DAWs. I will write about this in a separate post.

I tried Reaper briefly, now that it is available on Linux, but I couldn't see anything compelling to switch from Ardour. Mixbus, being based on Ardour, is familiar enough to me to make the change easily, even to the point I can load Ardour projects.

By the way, I'm using the "full" version of Mixbus, Mixbus 32C, which I got for $99 on a recent sale. If you are interested in Mixbus it's worth registering and downloading the free trial. You'll get a fair bit of promotional email spam from Harrison, but sooner or later they will send you a sale offer.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline RC23

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #57 on: September 13, 2020, 12:44:59 pm »
This is a great read. Thanks for sharing the stories behind your gear.
Beginner Course (Classic) done, Intermediate Course  - in progress. Theory Course - in progress.

Guitars: Fender American Standard Strat, Epiphone Flamekat, Eastman AC120CE
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Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #58 on: September 13, 2020, 01:00:23 pm »
Ardour v6

www.ardour.org

This is a bit of a diversion from the posts on guitars and amps, but the subject of DAWs has been raised and it is, in some ways, as much of my toolkit as a guitar or amp. In fact my use of Ardour pre-dates my first electric guitar or amp. Some screen shots...

Mixing view:


Track editing view


A video project


(The last is a screen shot from the project I used for my recent Both Sides Now video in AVYP).

Ardour (as in "our DAW") is an open-source DAW that was originally developed on Linux but has, more recently, been ported to Mac and now to Windows. It's a "donation-ware" project in that to get a working download version you are asked to make a donation to the project. The suggested donation is $45 but you could pay as little as $1 if you like.

As it is an open-source project you can, of course, download the source code for free and compile/build it yourself, but this is beyond most people.

Ardour supports all of the conventional capabilities of a multi-track DAW including audio and MIDI tracks, busses, plugins and so on. It also supports video projects such as syncing audio soundtracks to video. It was originally built around the Linux Jack audio server which basically allows complete freedom of audio and MIDI routing between applications as well as centralised tempo, timeclock and transport controls. It was also, originally, based on the open-source plugin standards LADSPA, DSSI and LV2 although it also supports AU and VST plugins.

Compared with many DAWs I have tried, Ardour offers very flexible routing and bussing capabilities enabling you to build some quite complex setups, especially if used in conjunction with Jack and routing between it and external applications.



Ardour is in it's 6th major version with v6.0 announced in July last year (2019). It is under continuous and active development and v6.3 was announced 3 days ago (at time of writing this post).

Because of it's background, coming from Linux, historically Ardour didn't ship with any plugins as most Linux distributions come with dozens of LADPA/LV2/DSSI plugins including the excellent CALF Studio gear plugins and virtual instruments like Helm, ZynAddSubFX, FluidsynthLinuxSampler, and DrumGizmo.

In recent years, because it's been ported to Mac and Windows, they have started to include some plugins with the package.

In my view Ardour is a fantastic DAW and should be considered as an alternative to Reaper and others for those looking for a step up from tools like Audacity. I have only ever used it on Linux so I can't speak for how well it works on Mac or Windows, although the main developer is a Mac user, so I suspect it would work very well in that environment.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline DavidP

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #59 on: September 13, 2020, 02:16:38 pm »
Thanks for the replies to my comments, Keith, and for more on Ardour.

I guess in my case I bought the electric mainly because I was in the USA and could buy one at a much better than local price. Also thought maybe I would pursue the lead course.  And then be able to use an electric in my own original productions.  And for all that, probably would have done better with the kind of practice rig you are talking about.  The electric and the amp I have (a Blackstar TVP 15w) see very little use relative to my acoustic, since becoming more interested in finger-picking after completing the BC.

Reaper and Ardour seem without digging in, to seem similar. Though I did like that visualisation of the routing. So probably my situation is the reverse of yours. I am running on a Windows PC, have a couple of years of Reaper under my belt, and for the projects I do I am sure I am not taking advantage of all I could do with Reaper. So while I do structure my projects and make use of routing, bus tracks etc, nothing terribly complicated, that the visualisation is needed. So getting a trial and spending time on that would probably not be worthwhile for me.

Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #60 on: September 13, 2020, 02:40:04 pm »
MixBus 32C

https://harrisonconsoles.com/site/mixbus32c.html

Mixing view


Track edit view


Mixbus is a commercial DAW from renowned mixing console maker Harrison Consoles. Harrison Consoles have been used by many iconic artists and their records over the last few decades including Queen and Michael Jackson.

Mixbus is heavily based on the Ardour platform and Harrison are actually a major sponsor of Ardour, as well as a contributor of code and plugins to the Ardour project. Probably more than 90% of the functionality between Ardour and Mixbus is the same, as you might notice from comparing the screen shots of the two.

But there are some key differences, and it's these that have always made me interested in Mixbus, enough that when I was presented with an offer to get Mixbus 32C for $99, I jumped at it.

Note that Mixbus is in two versions: Standard Mixbus is normally $89 and is great for most users. Mixbus 32C is the professional version which pretty much fully emulates the renowned Harrison analogue hardware console and is normally $349, so getting 32C for $99 was a bargain.

So what's the differences?

Well, Mixbus is not only different from Ardour, but from pretty much any other mainstream DAW in one important aspect: how it sounds!

In a previous post I stated that most DAWs pretty much do the same thing, and that is true. Most DAWs are totally "transparent" and have no sound of their own. They do not colour or impact the nature or quality of the audio being mixed in any way on their own. That is, generally, by design and is a reason why digital audio recording and mixing is better than analogue audio recording and mixing. However, it's also a reason why it's worse...

Analogue recording and mixing systems degraded the audio and coloured the sound. A lot of this was highly undesirable. For instance: every time you "bounced" tracks from one tape to another the audio quality was impaired; every time you pass the audio signal through electronics, including the console itself, it was distorted by the circuits and the noise level increased; every time you mix or combine multiple tracks together, a "summing" function is used which adds further distortion and noise.

Digital doesn't have these problems: you can mix and bounce tracks an unlimited number of times, route it any way you want, and perform unlimited mixes with no loss of quality. However...

In past, analogue console makers, like Harrison, took advantage of the distortions caused by the analogue electronic circuits and tuned them to make them enhance, rather than degrade, the audio as much as possible. They weren't able to eliminate the distortion, but they could make it "musical". The result of this is that analogue consoles "have a sound" and a Neve will impart a different sound from a Harrison, or an SSL console. Even different models of console would sound different from each other. Experienced producers and mixing engineers would often choose a studio to use based on the sort of sound they were after and the console that was available in that studio.

Digital mixing via DAWs doesn't have this. DAWs do not touch the sound in any way: once the signal is in digital format it, effectively remains "intact" throughout the DAW unless the user deliberately colours it with things like EQ and compression plugins. Without this, digitally mixed music can sound harsh and sterile, and lacking the warmth and "musicality" that was often imparted by analogue consoles.

You don't have to take my word for it. Here is Grammy-winning mixing engineer Andrew Scheps on the subject ( the relevant part is at 3 mins and 21, but the whole video is worth watching):





Now, of course, we have loads of plugins available to us, many of which emulate old analogue EQs, compressors, etc. very well so we can, if we know what we are doing, get some of that character and musicality back into our mixes.

But one of the big things that most DAWs don't do well and which is difficult to emulate with plugins is the summing function. Digital summing is absolutely precise and numerically correct, but it's not very "musical". What many professional producers do, to solve this, is to perform the final mix summing function in an external (aka "outbourd") analogue summing device. They do this e converting the individual channels or busses back to separate analogue channels and pushing them into an external analogue mixer. Some of these can be very expensive.

Why Mixbus is different is that it includes an emulation of the renowned Harrison analogue console circuit on a number of its mixing busses. That means you should get all of the benefits of using an outboard analogue summing mixer without the hassle or expense.

This also points to one of the key differences between Ardour ad Mixbus: Ardour has busses and you can create any number of them as required (and you can do the same in Mixbus) but these will do digital summing. Mixbus has a set of specific analogue summing busses that create that musical, analogue sound. Mixbus 32C additionally (over Standard Mixbus) has a full emulation of the Harrison analogue console EQ circuitry, as well as additional analogue summing busses.

Mixbus also has built-in tape saturation emulation (in the screen shot, it's the analogue-style meters in each of the mix bus strips).

So my reason for getting Mixbus over and above Ardour was to experiment with this and, hopefully, to improve some of my mixes.

Cheers,

Keith
« Last Edit: September 13, 2020, 02:57:07 pm by Majik »
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #61 on: September 13, 2020, 02:54:13 pm »
Reaper and Ardour seem without digging in, to seem similar. Though I did like that visualisation of the routing. So probably my situation is the reverse of yours. I am running on a Windows PC, have a couple of years of Reaper under my belt, and for the projects I do I am sure I am not taking advantage of all I could do with Reaper. So while I do structure my projects and make use of routing, bus tracks etc, nothing terribly complicated, that the visualisation is needed. So getting a trial and spending time on that would probably not be worthwhile for me.

Hi David,

In general, I wouldn't suggest that anyone who knows and is happy with another tool, like Reaper, start looking at Ardour or Mixbus (or any other DAW). The only reason to do so would be if you were either unhappy with the tool you are using for some reason, or there was a capability on a different tool that you thought you could use. In my case, the built-in analogue summing and EQ emulation of Mixbus 32C was what I wanted to try. But, as I said, fundamentally Mixbus and Ardour are very similar so it's not really a huge change for me.

I think a key differentiation between DAWs is the workflow. Mixbus 32C, particularly, is set up to support a workflow that an experienced audio engineer who has worked on physical consoles would find familiar. Ardour inherits some of that. That isn't necessarily "better", just different.

In fact, to a degree, it makes things more complex: Ardour and Mixbus have a huge amount of functionality, much of which is designed to support workflow optimization for experienced users. Some of this comes at the expense of perceived user-friendliness.

The EQ section on Mixbus 32C is a great example: it has simple knobs for the centre frequency and gain for different bands which will be familiar to a physical console user.



But managing EQ in this way is quite opaque to someone who is used to a nice parametric or graphic EQ with a sexy GUI. The idea here is that, really, you should be using your ears, not your eyes, to set the EQ but there's a learning curve. Of course, you can always ignore the channel strip EQ and use a more familiar plug-in.

But there is no harm in giving it try and seeing how you get on with it, especially as the trial version free (and Ardour is pretty cheap).

Note that the routing visualization screen shot I posted is actually not Ardour itself, but is part of the Jack audio framework that is on Linux. Ardour and Mixbus both use a "routing matrix" approach which I will post a screenshot for.

Cheers,

Keith
« Last Edit: September 13, 2020, 03:26:44 pm by Majik »
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #62 on: September 13, 2020, 03:16:17 pm »
So while I do structure my projects and make use of routing, bus tracks etc, nothing terribly complicated, that the visualisation is needed. So getting a trial and spending time on that would probably not be worthwhile for me.

As a follow up, this is how Ardour and Mixbus visualise routing. Basically, it's a matrix with sources down the side and destinations along the bottom. This is used for routing from hardware inputs (i.e. from an audio capture device) as well as from tracks to busses, etc.

Here's a few screen shots:

Input routing:


Track to bus routing


Output routing


Ardour also supports a more conventional "send/insert" interface on each track, which is basically a different way to configure routing.



Of course, there's always the Online manual to look at.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline DavidP

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #63 on: September 13, 2020, 03:36:27 pm »
Thanks for all the extras Keith.

Not much else to say in reply.

I did see you clarified that the routing visualisation was not in the DAW. Reaper also uses a matrix.

Hope things are settling back into routine now you are home and that you get some time to play ... eventually record some more songs.  I really really enjoyed your last piece.

Take care

Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #64 on: September 13, 2020, 05:34:03 pm »
I did see you clarified that the routing visualisation was not in the DAW. Reaper also uses a matrix.

Hi David,

If you have the matrix capability in Reaper already and want something more, then you might want to look at installing Jackrouter for Windows. Here's a video:





Quote
Hope things are settling back into routine now you are home and that you get some time to play ... eventually record some more songs.  I really really enjoyed your last piece.

Thank you very much. My problem is actually that I'm very bad at routine. My daughter reckons I may have ADD.

I've been trying to decompress a bit as well as acclimatize back into family life and the new, chaotic "normal" that is going on in the UK now.

Four of us rang the church bells for a socially distanced wedding yesterday, and we rang again for service this morning. As you might expect there are quite strict guidelines on what we can and cannot do: we can only ring on alternative ropes and each person can only touch their own rope. Once a rope has been handled, noone else can touch it for 72 hours. We have to ring in masks, and we are only allowed a maximum of 15 minutes from start to end of ringing, which means we have to raise the bells, ring, and lower the bells within that time. That's quite hard work, especially on the bigger bells. Normally we raise the bells first and have a short rest before we start ringing.

For the wedding, the missus and I went to the church the week before to raise the four bells we would be using so that they would be ready 72 hour later.

We are doing handbell practice with ringing friends once a week or so, although that will also be limited from Monday with the new rules. The good news is that, at least with handbells, we only need 3 of us to do anything, as we can ring two bells each.

I have a laundry list of stuff around the house that needs sorting out, some of which is DIY for me, and other things are dealing with workmen and contractors. A bunch of it is internal "IT" stuff, like a massive overhaul/rewire of my office and home lab.

I'm also waiting to hear about film extras gig which may take up a few days of my time over the next few weeks, including costume fitting. It'll be the first one I've done for about 18 months, and it sounds like they are being very careful with how they run things. It will be a far cry from some of the sets I've been on with 400 or so extras crammed into various busses.

I am getting some time to practice and play guitar, but I'm not very disciplined about it. I did mention I'm not great with routine...

As I said in my post to Maggie, this thread has actually been very useful to me to help me evaluate my equipment and how I use it, but also what I am learning. I've actually been catching up on my bass guitar practice recently, but I also would like to spend more time on the 6-string. I have also bought a new toy, but it's related to something I've had for a while so I'll post about that later in this thread when it's time.

I have another fingerstyle piece I have been working on, but it has a rather tricky bit in the middle that is tripping me up at the moment, and I also have some pain in my fretting arm I'm trying to remedy, which is restricting how much time I can practice in one go. If I get it down I'll post something.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #65 on: September 14, 2020, 12:29:48 am »
Vox Pathfinder 15R



Back on track with the hardware, I've had this little amp for several years. I picked it up from the guitar teacher I was using at the time for a bargain price. It was taking up space at his house he wanted to use for other things, and I had done him a couple of favours so he offered it to me. At the price it was a steal and, for a while this was the amp I used in my office.

It's a lovely little amp but it's a little difficult to control. It's quite easy to get a clean tone on it and it goes into overdrive quite well using the gain control, but it quickly gets loud. There's also a boost control on it but, in my view, it's too aggressive. Part of the problem is it's difficult to balance the volume between clean and overdriven sounds as it starts getting so much louder as soon as it starts breaking up. I've not really tried it with a overdrive pedal, but that might work better as the break-up is happening in the pedal rather than in the amp.

But the tones you get when you dial it in are pretty good for a solid state amp. The reverb on it is decent and it has a vibrato, although I'm not really keen on vibrato as an effect (in general). It looks pretty good too, although mine really needs a good clean up.

Since I got the my Katana which has become my office amp, this has mostly sat in the cupboard unused and getting dusty although I have now put it in the conservatory and may try to use it a bit more. I'm loathed to get rid of it because it's such a nice little amp and really isn't taking up too much space.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline batwoman

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #66 on: September 14, 2020, 12:50:17 am »
I've been trying to decompress a bit as well as acclimatize back into family life and the new, chaotic "normal" that is going on in the UK now.

Four of us rang the church bells for a socially distanced wedding yesterday, and we rang again for service this morning. As you might expect there are quite strict guidelines on what we can and cannot do: we can only ring on alternative ropes and each person can only touch their own rope. Once a rope has been handled, no one else can touch it for 72 hours. We have to ring in masks, and we are only allowed a maximum of 15 minutes from start to end of ringing, which means we have to raise the bells, ring, and lower the bells within that time. That's quite hard work, especially on the bigger bells. Normally we raise the bells first and have a short rest before we start ringing.

For the wedding, the missus and I went to the church the week before to raise the four bells we would be using so that they would be ready 72 hour later.

We are doing handbell practice with ringing friends once a week or so, although that will also be limited from Monday with the new rules. The good news is that, at least with handbells, we only need 3 of us to do anything, as we can ring two bells each.

I have a laundry list of stuff around the house that needs sorting out, some of which is DIY for me, and other things are dealing with workmen and contractors. A bunch of it is internal "IT" stuff, like a massive overhaul/rewire of my office and home lab.

I'm also waiting to hear about film extras gig which may take up a few days of my time over the next few weeks, including costume fitting. It'll be the first one I've done for about 18 months, and it sounds like they are being very careful with how they run things. It will be a far cry from some of the sets I've been on with 400 or so extras crammed into various busses.

I am getting some time to practice and play guitar, but I'm not very disciplined about it. I did mention I'm not great with routine...

I have another fingerstyle piece I have been working on, but it has a rather tricky bit in the middle that is tripping me up at the moment, and I also have some pain in my fretting arm I'm trying to remedy, which is restricting how much time I can practice in one go. If I get it down I'll post something.

Cheers,

Keith

This is wonderful to read Keith.

I've been following along, increasingly amazed at the vastness and depth of your knowledge and experience. I even understand some of it, the rest makes my eyes boggle.

I though Linux was Charlie Brown's best friend  ;D

Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #67 on: September 19, 2020, 10:48:31 am »
This is wonderful to read Keith.

I've been following along, increasingly amazed at the vastness and depth of your knowledge and experience. I even understand some of it, the rest makes my eyes boggle.

Thanks Maggie. It's only easy for me because I've been doing it most of my life.

Quote
I though Linux was Charlie Brown's best friend  ;D

 ;D

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #68 on: September 19, 2020, 11:29:13 am »
Bugera G5 Infinium Head and Harley Benton 1x12 Cabinet with Celestion Vintage 30







I got these several years ago as, until that point, I only had small solid-state/modlling amps, and I fancied getting a valve amp. I wanted something with an FX loop, and I liked the idea of a separate head and cabinet. After a fair bit of research I went with this pairing.

The amp is 5 W but, as a valve amp it goes pretty loud. Luckily it also has an attenuator so it can be used at more family-friendly volumes. The amp has an ECC83 in the preamp and a 12BH7 in the power amp. It has a clean and an overdrive channel which are foot switchable with the supplied footswitch, as is the built-in reverb.

I'm currently using the stock valves. I did try swapping the ECC83 in the preamp for a JJ replacement as this was recommended by some, but I was underwhelmed and swapped it back.

The cabinet is an absolute bargain given it actually cost me less than if I had purchased the speaker separately. It's probably not the best made or prettiest cabinet in the world, but it's good enough for my purposes.

The combination gives me a wide range of clean, bluesy and rock tones. The clean channel doesn't have as much character as, say, a Fender but it takes pedals well and, with a bit of boost in the front, overdrives nicely.

The overdrive channel also has a "morph" control which is supposed to allow you to vary the tone between "US" and "UK". To my ears the difference is not that great, but it does affect the mid-range somewhat. It's not something I really find to be that useful. This isn't a high-gain amp so it benefits from an external pedal pushing it. The FX loop would also support using an external pre-amp pedal, which I may try at some point.

Most of the time, at the moment, I've found it most useful to stick with the clean channel and use pedals in the front end to push into overdrive, or to create distortion.

One of the things which annoys me slightly is that it defaults to the reverb being on when powered up. The on-board reverb is pretty good, but I don't always want it, or I want to use an external reverb. Recently I have disconnected the foot-switch and turned the reverb level down to zero and am experimenting with controlling gain and reverb with external pedals.

I've not really used this as much as I should recently: I have too many other options distracting me, and I do most of my practice on other amps at the moment. But I do enjoy it a lot when I do use it.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline DavidP

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #69 on: September 19, 2020, 11:47:28 am »
Another winner by the sounds, Keith.

Now if there was only enough time in the days and weeks to enjoy all the different instruments, amps, and pedals :)

PS Haven't yet watched the video about the Jackrouter, though suspect it will be more for interest sake as I am not sure if I have a use-case. But you never know until you take a look ...


Offline Majik

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #70 on: September 19, 2020, 05:06:13 pm »
Thanks Davd,

Now if there was only enough time in the days and weeks to enjoy all the different instruments, amps, and pedals :)

Yeah, I really have acquired too much stuff over the years, especially amps. I'm using this thread partly as a way to think about what I have, what I really want to keep and to decide whether I get rid some stuff, but it's really difficult to make those decisions. If nothing else it's making me use some of the gear I have again.

Quote
PS Haven't yet watched the video about the Jackrouter, though suspect it will be more for interest sake as I am not sure if I have a use-case. But you never know until you take a look ...

It was more for interest than anything else. It's based on the Jack Audio Connection Kit which originated on Linux and is the de-facto standard for pro-audio on that platform. The original author is also the developer behind Ardour and Mixbus.

It is incredibly powerful but it can also be incredibly complex, because it can enable complex scenarios.

And one of the  main challenges of it is that you can build a complex network of MIDI and audio connections between applications, but as soon as you close one of those applications (or it crashes) you lose the connections and have to rebuild them. If you want to rebuild the environment in a future session, you have to manually open all of the applications and reconnect all of the connections.

In Linux they have, at least, partly solved this with "session management" which allows you to register applications and the connections between them into a configuration file and it will rebuild them. Some of the apps that you use for this, are incredibly sophisticated allowing you to create and save "studio" set ups which can include separate "rooms" with patching between them. You could even map some of this to physical setups with connections between apps running on different computers across a network with netjack.

As an example of how messy it can get, this is what the Jack connection manager app Catia makes of the Ardour setup I previously showed in the matrix. This is simply (!) Ardour running with a bunch of tracks and no other application, but because Ardour exposes all the connections to Jack, including internal ones between busses, these appear in Catia:



(Blue is audio connections, red is MIDI).

It's amazingly powerful but, frankly, for most people it's complete overkill. And, increasingly, you can do 99% of what you would normally need to within a single application like Ardour. In fact even the original author of Jack recommends people against using it now, unless they have a specific use for it.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline DavidP

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Re: Majik's Road Case
« Reply #71 on: September 20, 2020, 05:36:31 am »
Keith,

My sense is that there is a larger, more active used market in Europe and US, that there is in SA (though maybe that is very much an untested assumption on the SA side). So at least should you decide that you can reduce the assets and still achieve all the various use cases then you can sell those assets. I have no idea if I decided I wanted to sell my Epi LP and amp to fund satisfying some new GAS urge, if I could do so.

Thanks for more on JACK ... with all that in mind I am more convinced that I don't have a need, appreciate what it is, and can skip the video.

 

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