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Posts posted by davidoff

  1. That's mostly Greek to me, but it gives me some stuff to look up and figure out and play around with -- I've been scared to touch compression and EQ because I haven't had a good introduction to using them, but I guess it's about time to grow up and jump in, right?

    I'm amazed by how quickly you were able to figure all that out -- thanks so much!

    ...you'd probably have to mess with the mic setup to get it any louder...

    I should've specified: it's all MIDI; there are no mics involved. I don't know if that makes a difference or not.

  2. I'm not trying to plug anything here, I'm just genuinely curious why this recording came out so quiet:


    I have it so that the max volume goes as close as possible to 0.0 dB without going over. If I pump that up any higher, there is extremely noticeable distortion, which is why I'm confused. I also find it curious that it sounds kind of the same volume throughout: the "loud" parts sound fuller and more intense, but not actually louder, if that makes any sense. The piano is the GPO4 Steinway, if that makes any difference. Could it just be that the piano sample itself is very quiet?

    It also sounds kind of muddy on lower-quality speakers/headphones. If anyone has any ideas how I might approach solving these issues to create a respectable-sounding recording, I'd be extremely grateful.

  3. I'm a pretty serious pianist who's done a fair amount of composing for piano and would be more than happy to review anything you've written and give you feedback, if you'd like.

    You're probably tired of hearing it at this point, but I'm going to echo everyone else and say you should learn some piano basics -- obviously that won't open up to you the full range of what's possible for two hands to do, but it will teach you what hand positions and basic line shapes and types of movements are comfortable. Plus, it really helps with harmony-building and harmonic recognition.

  4. I know we're a bit past Christmas, but I didn't get around to making a recording of this until this past week.

    I'm happy with the composition itself but would love some pointers on the recording. It's the first digital recording I've ever made! I did it in REAPER using the GPO4 Steinway piano. Depending on the speakers/headphones I listen to it on, I think it may need less reverb, some compression, or some EQ, but I'm really not sure. Any tips on those would be highly appreciated!

    Here it is!

  5. You should use ASIO drivers if you aren't already and if they're available for your soundcard/interface. They might help the input latency.

    I'm such an idiot: I thought I'd been using ASIO, but it turns out that wasn't the default device in REAPER. When I switched to ASIO and reduced the buffer time to 5ms (1ms was glitching, for whatever reason), it became perfect. So I don't need to mute tracks and record them deaf against a metronome anymore (yay)!

  6. At least I'm not the only one.

    The only modern music I listen to is The Protomen and other well built rock operas, (not that I won't listen to other stuff, it just doesn't catch my interest.) Everything else in my music library is either soundtracks, remixes, Daft Punk, and stuff from 10 to 40 years ago.

    IMO, the overuse of autotune really ruined the creative process for music.

    Chiming in to agree with you two. It's all classical and film/game soundtracks for me...

  7. When you record, no. Once you've recorded, you have to set it to quantize the notes... and then it quantizes -which means it then automatically aligns the notes with the grid.

    Attack differences probably come form the instrument itself, if the attack reacts to note velocity. Timing differences are indeed solved with quantization, tho it can take out a lot of the human qualities of the recording, too. Use with caution.

    So if I want a human-sounding orchestral piece, and I record all the parts, what's the best way to get everything to be pretty close to matching up? Just hours of manual editing?

    A big part of the problem right now is the delay from keyboard to speakers. Makes it really hard to, say, play a violin part on top of a piano part, especially if they're complicated. I've heard Firewire can help (I'm using USB right now), but does the delay ever get small enough to be perceived as instantaneous?

  8. If a DAW has a quantization option, does that mean that when you record in real-time, it automatically "snaps" your note attacks to a certain fraction of the beat?

    I ask because I think it may save me a ton of time, haha. I always record myself playing a part naturally first, because I get the most realistic velocities that way, but when I check out the piano roll (I use REAPER, for what it's worth), there are these teeny, minute differences in the attacks of the notes. Generally not an issue for a single part, but it's a real hassle when I'm trying to line up a bunch of tracks and have to manually drag hundreds of notes around. Is that what quantization fixes?

  9. On a quick listen with no keyboard verification, I'm hearing:

    Eb6, EM7, Eb6, EM7, D6, Eb6, D6, Eb6, then it repeats. The sixes don't sound like they're in the pads, but in whatever the plucked instrument is. The pads may also have some 7s or 9s in there. In any case, it's only the three chords. If you don't know what those chords are, here are the individual pitches that make them up:

    Eb6: Eb, G, Bb, C

    EM7: E, G#, B, D# (could also be spelled as Fb, Ab, Cb, Eb to keep it more "in the key")

    D6: D, F#, A, B

    Not guaranteed to be 100% accurate, but if it gives you a good jumping off point, I'm glad to have helped!

  10. : A beautiful piano jazz remix of my favorite song from Link's Awakening.

    This is fantastic, except for the stupid fade-out ending. If you like this jazz/classical hybrid style (I don't consider it full on jazz, personally), check out the music of Nikolai Kapustin (tons on YouTube). Similar style (on a much higher plane), brilliant stuff. He's still alive and still composing, too!

  11. I love the atmospheric quality you get by having the piano be rhythmically ambiguous, for what it's worth. That's this piece's "thing."

    My main complaint would be lack of any real climax, or direction. It's 20 seconds of intro and then 3 minutes of pretty much the same exact thing. I think you could do more with the string parts than just sustained tones, too.

  12. Yeah sorry guys, I just can't turn off my brain enough to emulate that kind of wastevoice

    Oh hey we should bring back Jack betcha he could do that easy



    Emulate? Why emulate when I can go straight to my spam folder?

    "Just like millions of other men out there, you desire that your penis is a few more inches longer.

    Having a bigger weapon can definitely boost one's ego because he knows he can impress any woman he meets.

    Moreover, a guy with an enlarged penis will enjoy mind-blowing sex!

    click here to give yourself 2-3 inches start from today"

  13. A simple math proof for you:

    The number of unique ideas that a person can come up with on his own is X (we know it's infinite, but assume it's not because a person's lifetime is finite)

    The number of ideas that two people can come up with is 2X

    The number of ideas that one person can come up with as derivatives of another person's ideas, therefore, would be an exponential function of X (because for each unique idea that one person comes up with, another person could come up with X number of derivative ideas)

    Restricting derivative ideas means that these ideas cannot come into being

    The purpose of copyright is to restrict derivative ideas by giving content creators exclusive rights to production and derivation of ideas

    Therefore, copyright law causes less ideas (less creative development) by restricting what can and cannot be created.

    First of all, you can't just insert an "X" and line breaks into something and magically call it a mathematical proof. There's nothing mathematical about this.

    Second, I'm not really sure what the issue is here. If every person has the capability to come up with infinitely many creative ideas, why should it matter if the derivative ones can never see the light of day?

    Let's go with your Mario FPS game example: so I come up with a game that stars Mario and friends in a first-person shooter setting with all of the quirkiness that Mario titles usually entail. But wait: I can't use Mario and friends! So I'll draw upon my infinite creativity pool and create new characters. I'll replace mushrooms and super stars with my own ideas for items that have identical effects. I'll keep the same cartoony graphics and quirky gameplay; it just won't have that "Mario" stamp on it. Sure, it's likely less appealing to those mobs who will buy anything that has "Mario" in the title, but it's ultimately a title that could make hackneyed concepts seem a little bit fresher.

    I'm almost tempted to argue that copyright restriction increases creativity by forcing creators to come up with something that is entirely their own.

  14. Unfortunately, I can't answer any of your questions, because I pretty much have all the same questions myself, but I do want to agree wholeheartedly with this:

    ...all of the guides and tips and shit don't go into enough detail...

    And, yeah, I'm sure that most of it is a learn-over-time thing, but finding a good jumping off point on some of this stuff seems to be nearly impossible. I feel like having a structured approach to it would be way better than accidentally stumbling into it one day. I have a book on beginning home audio recording en route from Amazon: if it's actually a pretty comprehensive guide and explains a lot of this stuff, I'll be sure to let you know.

  15. Easy: air. Air is an infinite resource, isn't it? And IT'S free.

    Sure, it's free when I want to breathe it, but if my car's tires are starting to sag a little...

    You could try to make the argument that you're paying for the air to be compressed, but any way you look at it, the end product there is, well, air.

  16. Are you looking a program that focuses more on things like traditional film scoring, sample library use, and commercial recording studio tech?

    Definitely. Sounds like my understanding of the academic perception of computer music was way off. I'm definitely looking to create more marketable music. I'll be sure to start looking more for the fields you named, because that's really what I want to be doing.

    I was probably too hasty in trying to compare composition time as a grad student to your current available time.

    No worries; I didn't really explain my current situation in the first place, and I should have.

    For you, what is the computer side of things?

    Pretty much everything you hear people talking about on these forums: becoming proficient in a specific DAW software, understanding not only how to recognize good production values but how to achieve them, synthetic sounds (which to me is the most daunting thing right now): I'm clueless when it comes to DSP or how to create new sounds by taking something basic and running it through filters and applying effects and such. Maybe that's something you learn over time on a mostly trial-and-error basis. I have no idea.

    Just keep in mind that when your two years are up, you're still going to be more marketable as a software engineer than as a musician.

    That's probably the main detractor for me at this point. Music is definitely the dream, but I do still want to be sure that I approach it as pragmatically as possible. The thought of going to school only to fall back immediately on a software development job afterwards is pretty disconcerting. Then again, if I don't go to school, and several years down the road I'm still doing software development, is that any better? At that point, though, it would probably speak to some combination of poor motivation and/or talent.

    ...and scouting church musician jobs.

    Fantastic source of extra income. I've played piano at a local church for five years now and, because I'm fairly frugal, it easily comprises my entire spending budget for a year, which means my full-time job can go entirely towards bills and savings. If you play piano, I'd encourage you to look at nearby colleges for accompaniment gigs, too: you can make anywhere from $200 to $600 accompanying a studio recital for (depending on your ability and the difficulty of the music) very little work. Plus, if you do well, most instructors will ask you to come back every semester/year for the next one. That's all under-the-table, too, usually, which is nice.

    To say that it's an acquired taste is putting it lightly.

    I'll say. Another one of the gems I heard was a kid scraping dry ice against a pan that had a mic attached to it (which makes a God-awful screeching noise) for fifteen minutes while a pianist and bassist played tremolos underneath.

    ...the only reasons to go to grad school in composition are if:

    1) You want to teach composition or theory at a university someday.

    2) You want to compose music grounded in 20th century atonal music (electroacoustic or otherwise) for a mostly self-selected audience of other musicians in academia.

    1) I don't.

    2) Still no.

    Gives me a lot to think about, though. I'm just surprised there's not a larger focus on more marketable music, but I guess that kind of music isn't as academic.

    Thanks, both of you, for responding. I need to really think hard about whether or not a grad program would be the right move for me...

  17. Honestly, since MMORPGs are so time-consuming, I'm willing to guess that most people who play them "seriously," however you want to define that, are less prone to buying higher quantities of other games, and probably spend less money on all games overall.

    If you play consistently a MMORPG that follows the standard $15 per month pricing scheme and you buy one new console title (say $50) every two months, that's (($15 * 12) + ($50 * 6)) = $480 over the course of one year. For a non-MMORPG player who buys one console title every month, thats $50 * 12 = $600 over one year.

    Obviously that's based on an assumption and the ratios were just pulled out of my ass, but it seems fairly logical.

    Honestly, $1,200 over the course of five years, which is a very long time, is all but negligible.

    Also, has anyone brought up to those who are denouncing game prices as "too high" that that opinion is probably heavily influenced by your income? Someone must have, but I only skimmed the past 21 heated pages. In any case, $60 may seem like a fortune to, say, a college student who's scraping by, but to someone who makes $150,000 a year (definitely not me!), it must seem a perfectly reasonable price.

  18. Yeah, while some of this stuff is still relevant & useful, there are definitely some gaps and inaccuracies that I would love to correct. My goal (which I may not be able to reach during 2010) is to have a series of videos showing the creation of a remix from start to finish. That should be a nice update for the new decade :)

    That would be massively helpful. I'm just getting into all this now and finding information that's accessible to a beginner is quite an endeavor. Maybe it'll change over the years as I familiarize myself with audio production, but right now I see composing as the easy part and everything else as the true challenge.

  19. Bear with me while I jump around, here:

    Out of curiosity, how was Peabody's recital a turn off?

    It was a turn-off in the sense that 90% of what I heard there barely classified as music. I know you can pretty much apply the label "music" to any combination of sounds these days, but there will always be that distinction between music that the average person could enjoy and music that the average person would dismiss as garbage. Watching a guy play random multiphonics on an E-flat clarinet for nine minutes while a graphic on a screen distorts will never cut it, and that's what most of the compositions were. I talked to the department head afterwards, and while he never explicitly stated it, it seems like they're pretty encouraging of extreme experimentalism. Maybe I have misconceptions of what the focus in a computer music program is?

    ...being in this environment (which is what it sound like you're really interested in)...

    Correct. But don't take that to mean that I think I have nothing to learn about composing, or that I'm a master of music theory. Writing for large ensembles and orchestral arrangement, in particular, are things on which I need to work.

    You'll likely have less time for composition.

    That's terrifying, if true. Right now, I work as a social game programmer, and the hours often border on ridiculous. Money's fantastic, but I don't really care about money. Call it a motivation problem if you want, but after spending so many hours focused on work, it's difficult to get some serious composing done. Maybe other people don't agree, but I find composing to be pretty mentally taxing.

    Are there particular aspects of music making that you feel you need to work on that you think grad school will address? Do you want to teach? Are you just avoiding the real world?

    1. Yes: in addition to what I said above, I need to work on pretty much every aspect on the computer side of things.

    2. No.

    3. Of course! The real world is pretty terrible when you spend every day doing something you hate.

    I'm not afraid to admit that in addition to grad school being a good source of continued education that would let me really focus on some skills of mine that need major development, it's also a way of escaping my current situation, where I feel trapped and completely unable to put time into things that I really want to pursue. I was also hoping that maybe the years I'd spend in school would be good for networking, or getting my foot in the door of the music industry, so that after graduation I would be able to move pretty much immediately into a situation where I'd be able to at least support myself.

    Thanks, by the way, for being up-front about the trials involved and the reality of the situation, and for not just saying "yeah, man, you should do it!"

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