Cubase vs. Logic

I’ve been on the fence for some time, going back and forth on Logic as a DAW.

I like how simple it is to get going with a melody and a groove, and how snappy the UI of the actual DAW feels, but at the same time the state of the built-in instruments and effects really drags the whole experience down.

It’s not that they sonically sound bad, but the design and presets are really starting to feel old. I’m sure this is great for old time users, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with the engines under the hood, but for me the design and look and feel of a creative is just really important to get in the zone…

With this in mind, and after carefully looking into other DAWs at the market, I’ve decided to finally give Cubase a chance as well. I’ve only just recently installed it, and at the moment I’m plowing through the manual while finding my way around the UI.

So far though the impression is excellent. I really think Yamaha / Steinberg has made a fantastic job with laying out the controls while retaining a super fast response and a very logical workflow.

There are some things that require a bit of un-learning, such as Instrument Tracks and how the mixer and internal signal routing works, but it all makes sense once you open your mind to it.

Given the above though I’m uncertain if I will manage to pull a whole track together for Feb, but I’ll try…

Right, one more thing! The other reason I’m really excited about Cubase is because it will allow me to run the Hatsune Miku vocaloid plugin natively on the Mac. The standalone editor is only available on PC, and the plugin only works in Cubase…

New Track: Tribute to Tom

This is the January track. First monthly track of the year. The news here is that I’ve recorded and mangled some analog electric guitar parts as well as synth loops. Other than that it’s entirely in the box. 99% Logic Pro X with some samples edited in Live.

The voice over parts are from an old sci-fi radio show called ‘Tom Corbett – Space Cadet‘.,_Space_Cadet

Questions and Feedback is as always welcome in the comments!

IsoAcoustics speaker stands, real deal or fake?

Turns out, they’re the real deal! One of my Adam monitors (A3X) started making a strange humming noise a while back, and when I took it in for service I noticed they had the IsoAcoustics stands in the store.

At first my plan was to upgrade to the A5X in case the A3X was really a goner, but it turns out the problem was a wattage converter on the same plug in my home, so instead I opted for the IsoAcoustics stands.

I’d had my eyes on them for a while and was really interested in trying them out. I got the smallest ones (ISO L8R130) thinking they should be perfect for my A3X and also able to hold up a 5″ pair in case I upgrade in the future.

DSC02245Unboxing I found the base and the ‘shelf’ part, along with risers of 2 different lengths. There are also sets of shorter ‘plugs’ that you insert into the risers to tilt the speakers back forward or backward.

Setup was easy, but due to the construction you have to spend some time calibrating the for corners of the stands so that your monitors come out level. It’s easy to end up with one corner not as snuggle fitted as the others which means the monitor will lean in various directions.

After setup was done though I immediately noticed a significant change in the sound. The representation is now much clearer and wider than before (monitors used to sit on top of foam wedges). In a very unscientific way it feels like I just added a couple of inches. As an added bonus they also look really nice on the desk.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Where to download the Access Virus TI Software

I have no clue why Access Music has decided to make it bloody impossible to find download links to the TI Software Suite (which includes plugins and Virus Control) anywhere on their website.

If you are looking for the downloads you need to go to this specific URL, which as far as I could see in my 5 min attention span searching the site, is not linked anywhere…

(I found it on a postcard that’s included in the manual and warranty information bag that you get when you buy one of their synths…)

Anyways, hopefully this saved you 5 min of trying to navigate the Access Music web maze…

CDs – still going strong in Japan

Japan, in contrast to the rest of the world, still has a fairly healthy CD sales market (last year 85% of music sales in Japan were CDs). It is definitely shrinking (17% 2014), but still accounts for a significant portion of world wide CD sales (Japan is still the second largest music market world wide).

IMG_0226The reasons are probably multiple, a mixture of the demographic (older people buy more CDs), the collectable fandom culture and finally the lack of streaming options. The last point in particular is interesting since no streaming service, domestic or foreign, have ever really caught on in Japan. In fact, most of the global services have never even been introduced here.

Within this landscape there are several media rental chains that thrive on renting out CDs, DVDs and console games. GEO and Tsutaya are probably the biggest, with stores across Japan.

They are the perfect waterhole to batch sample new music regardless of genre, as they usually carry a very wide selection. Whenever I go to Japan I like to stop buy and rent a bunch of discs from artists or genres that interest me, and then pick out the stuff that’s good enough for keeping.

If you visit Japan, don’t miss out on this opportunity to listen in on what’s currently popular.