Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fast web links for fellow original artists.

Today I have decided to post some links to some very cool sites that I have found to be quite active.
Sites that allow us to post and share our art are certainly plentiful. It is when I find such a site that allows us to upload our original art and/or download others' art, that also has become quite popular, that I take note. I would like to pass on a few such sites for you all to check out and possibly upload your own art.

First up is a "stumble upon site".
Sometimes I feel as if I am the last one to find cool and hip sites. Put it on Music is perhaps one of the hippest sites “poppin” today. I found that it is quite active, and folks are downloading my material. There is a metric ton of great music on there for you to find and to download as well.

The site also shows current stats, such as downloads, plays, and followers of your art.

Thanks goes out to IK Multimedia for the great looking link that they placed on their website. I look forward to reviewing more and more of their great products in the near future. Keep coming back to see what new gear (from IK Multimedia) I am trying out next!

Worlds best producers” once again makes the short list! Worlds Best Producers is where musicians like you and I can find (and share) original beats, bass lines, and even complete original music. The fun starts with the voting of “Producer of the month”, and keeps going as you can “drop” other “producers” (or members) scores and messages.

The reason for the recent interest on the Worlds Best Producers site is that I found a “Listen to the track of the moment exclusive” banner, which is a quick link to any song that you upload for this feature! It takes folks straight to your newest jam! How cool is that?

Music Forte claims that they will have their websites’ download sales system up and running very soon. You can still listen to great original music here, but I am just not too sure exactly when the download sales will be implemented. When it comes online it will be the place to be!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Amplitube Fender Review

AmpliTube Fender

Created in cooperation with Fender Musical Instruments, IK Multimedia has released AmpliTube Fender guitar and bass amp simulation software.

AmpliTube Fender  software is composed of two separate versions, the stand alone, or VST version, and the Plug in, or RTAS version. I opted to upload the RTAS version, and will be “reviewing it” after using it as a plug-in; via Pro Tools software as a D.A.W.
Let me first say that I was very nervous.

This software comes with some very large demands from all of us recording musicians. Will this software really compare with some of the most famous Fender amps in history? Can someone actually come up with a way for us to actually possess 12 vintage, all tube Fender guitar and bass amps as software, and then sell it in just one affordable package?

The short answer is a triumphant “yes”. The long answer is a triumphant “no”.

“Yes”, this software is remarkably exact to the vintage Fender amps that we all cherish; in fact it is amazingly close.
To explain the long answer of “No”, IK Multimedia didn’t stop at just accomplishing this one amazing feat, but instead IK Multimedia has decided to include so much more in this amazing package.
What could possibly be “more”, you ask?

Well, how about 12 matching classic Fender speaker cabinets, in AmpliTube Fender , all of which are also of vintage fame. Look, the musical fun only begins with the amps and their amazing attention to tonal detail.

Next, in AmpliTube Fender to take the mind blowing tone carnival even further IK Multimedia and Fender Musical Instruments decided to include 6 iconic and also highly sought after stomp boxes, which include a Fender Blender, Fuzz Wah pedal, Volume Pedal, Fender Phaser, Tape Echo, and a Fender 1963 Reverb Pedal.

Just to keep even the most demanding guitarist and/or bassist happy, IK Multimedia and Fender made sure to expand the microphone selection to 9 different popular professional studio recording microphones to choose from, including ribbon microphones, condenser microphones, and dynamic microphones.AmpliTube Fender


Like effects? Well, how about a choice of six different rack effects, including a Pitch Shift, Sine Flange, Tape Echo, Triangle Chorus, Wah, and a Compressor, in four rack mounted effect units; each capable of supplying one of the six commonly used guitar and bass effects. AmpliTube Fender

Top all of this off with a guitar tuner, and you are deep into some serious Fender tone fun!

Let me be the first to tell you that the stomp box, amp, cabinet, microphone, and the rack effect combinations are all 100 percent customizable, or tweak-able. Plus you can run two separate guitar rig combinations together (series or parallel) at the same time! This means that you can plug your instrument into two Fender amps of your choice (complete with separate chains of stomp boxes, cabs, mics, and rack effects) simultaneously, just like the pros!

With each of the above mentioned included items in the AmpliTube Fender comes a host of tweak-able, more selectable modifications.

For just one example, each microphone can be placed either on or off axis to the speaker cone. The musician can place the microphone as close to, or as far away from the speaker cabinet as they like. Adding a room ambience is as easy as turning the “ambience” pot, which adds a very realistic live room feel. What’s more, it sounds as authentic as any studio that I have ever mic’d an amp in.

Now, let’s just toss in the fact that all of the tweaks that you might wish to perform on the fly, or as you play your instrument, can be fully automated in the AmpliTube Fender software itself!

O.K. Let me slow things down a little now, and get into exactly which Fender products IK Multimedia has replicated here.AmpliTube Fender

As for the Fender guitar and bass amps, they have taken no shortcuts. Included in AmpliTube Fender are the Vibro King, 1959 Bassman LTD, 1965 Twin Reverb, 1957 Deluxe, 1965 Deluxe Reverb, 1964 Vibroverb Custom, Supersonic, Vibro-King, Pro JR., Champion 600, Metal Head, TBP-1 Pre Amp, and a Bass Man 300.

IK Multimedia AmpliTube Fender is not like some of the loosely copied amp simulations out there, but instead these are as close to the real thing as I have ever heard. It is amazing to me that these amps not only look like the much loved original Fender amps of the past, but you can hear in the original amps little intricate details come to life as you tweak the pots and knobs themselves!

These Fender amps even “break up” and mildly distort when you turn the volume pots up past 6 or 7! Talk about attention to even the most minute detail! The respective Fender reverb amps feature a spring reverb that sounds completely authentic. The same is true for the respective tremolo amps with a tremolo so real that it brings you back into the tremolo laden college rock scene. The Vibro king amp sounds so close to the original that it has become my “amp of choice” when recording my music.

The fact is that the chosen Fender amps that IK Multimedia has provided us all access to are some of the most sought after and most loved amps of all time. Judging from the tone of this software package IK Multimedia certainly must have obtained the original amps, torn them apart in order to study them, and then replicated them exactly in software code. IK Multimedia claims that it is all possible using their DSM technology.

Whatever technology IK Multimedia used, their resulting product, AmpliTube Fender works.

Not just the tones of the classic Fender amps are correct, but the tiny characteristics of each amp, speaker, microphone, rack effect, and stomp box are also dead on. The amazing fact that everything in AmpliTube Fender is tweak-able and fully automate-able should once and for all prove, to even the most hardened recording professional, that software based guitar amp simulations have come to their place, and they are here to stay.

In parting I would like to add that instruction manuals have long been a deciding factor for me when it comes to choosing one product manufacturer over another. There are only a couple of manufactures that actually produce a musician friendly, easy to read and understand instruction manual. I have added the instruction manual (PDF version) from IK Multimedia  AmpliTube Fender to that short list. Not only was it simple to understand, but the images included left little doubt in my notably different, musicians brain. Downloading and printing the PDF instruction manual file was effortless and flawless.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Joining song writing guilds and clubs.

One of the best ways to get exposed to the music profession is through joining special groups and clubs. Joining a songwriter’s guild or club will only help you, and your career in the long run. Meeting with others that share your interests can bring knowledge and contacts. These can be powerful things.

There are music professionals all around us. There are also recording studios, home recording set ups, audio software recording gurus, and awesome studio musicians in our towns and cities. Instead of just wishing that these professionals would come to us, perhaps it is time to get out and meet them. These folks hang with others that share their passion, and so should you! They are just waiting to meet you!

Meeting folks that share your passion for writing, recording, and performing music can spark so many different business conversations that I dare not commit to even listing any. Think of the possibilities…. A songwriters group is like a big think tank, of which you can give and take ideas from. Friendships like these are ones that might just last a lifetime.

For a very small fee each month or year, you possibly can have access to studio space and time, music gear, song writing partners, studio musicians and singers, and that is just some of the potential benefits! What is that worth to you?

But what if you are not the social type?

Well then, perhaps an online group is more your speed. There are plenty of these to choose from. Worlds Best Producers, Forte, Blip, and Myspace are just some of the ones that I use often. These sites have all paid off in one way or another. I have met other people that share my musical interests, have had my musical questions answered, and received much helpful feedback for my original music.

Some of the online music forums are like meeting places for musicians. Most of these sites are jam packed with people just like us. Like us, these good folks enjoy reading blogs, answering other musician’s questions, and just sharing what is on their mind. They don’t mind sharing their ideas, giving others some much wanted feedback, and simply helping others in any way they can. Here are some of these great sites…

Shane O’Connor Recording Blog
Brians Bedroom Blog
Home Recording
Recording Review
Inside Home Recording

Sunday, June 7, 2009


C’mon feel (this) noise, coming from the Marshall 1959RR Head.

Randy Rhoads was an incredible musician. A fact is a fact.

After recording and touring with Quiet Riot, Randy felt his first taste of fame. He then joined forces with Ozzy Osbourne and together they recorded just two albums. He left his blazing solos behind for us all to enjoy for eternity, when he passed away in 1982.

Randy Rhoads’ sound is unmistakable. One only need put any one of his recordings on, and within two notes you know it is Randy Rhodes. He was particular about such important things. His tone came from a mix of Jackson guitars with humbucking pickups, and an all tube, custom wired 1959 Marshall Super Lead amp.

Metal shredding guitar players figured out that the 1959 Marshall Super Lead amp could be made into a high-gain terror simply by running a cable from the channel one output into the channel two’s input.

Randy knew this trick, and he asked the folks at Marshall to internally hard wire his own ordered amp heads in this same way. This overdriven mod was remembered by the folks at the Marshall factory.

Randy also opted for the classic white Tolex covering for his amps, and tradition has stuck. Marshall 1959RR Head is wrapped up in all white Tolex.

Here are some You Tube videos demonstrating this hot amp.

Below are some specs for the Marshall 1959RR Head.

POWER: 100 watts RMS
CONTROLS: Treble, mid, bass, presence, volume I, volume II
VALVES: (4) x EL34 output valves; (4) ECC83 (12AX7) preamp valves

Monday, June 1, 2009

Midi devices and midi control units.

With a fresh post on “understanding midi”, I wanted to add another more descriptive post listing information on some midi instruments, midi devices, and midi control units. Included in this post are some great links to some very informative videos, and links to products as well.

Why don’t I start with Midi instrumentation? What is that? Well, there are quite a few midi instruments available to the home recording enthusiast. Some of these devices include a midi wind controller, midi guitar system, midi guitar pickups, midi keyboards, midi drum sets, and midi drum pad units. These are all midi capable, but keep in mind midi is not noise!

Midi is here to stay, and there are some convincing reasons for this.
Midi is fast and easy to write music with. Editing midi can be either as easy or as intricate as you would like it to be. Midi sounds that are triggered (via a midi device) can be manipulated in many different ways. The sound that is triggered by a midi instrument contains information that can be altered. This information includes the triggered sound sample itself, its’ velocity, duration, note value, volume, and on and on. I can’t think of a better and/or a more precise way of programming and/or editing sound.

Let us start with some common midi instruments. Midi instruments relay midi information (not sound) to a midi device, found either in your DAW software, or in a stand alone midi sound module. The midi information sent from midi instruments triggers “sounds” to be played, which in turn can be played back, edited, or recorded.

The most common midi instrument is the midi keyboard, or the digital piano.

Midi keyboards can either be a full size keyboard (88 keys) or a mini keyboard (having only one or two octaves as a range). These mini units offer all of the octaves for recording use, but you simply must tell the device which octave you wish to work in. Some selling points for these instruments are such things as touch sensitive keys, and midi sounds (samples) included within the keyboard itself.

Most midi keyboards contain no sounds at all, and will not make any noise. They are cheaper to purchase than the types that come with midi sounds (samples) in them. The samples, or sounds for these midi keyboards come from software programs (midi sound files) or stand alone units called midi sound modules. These cheap midi keyboards are great for the budget minded recording musician due to the fact that they take up little room and they can trigger all of the instruments that most of us will ever need. Drums, bass, organs, and strings can all be programmed using one mini midi keyboard.

But what about recording midi information on the fly rather than programming each and every note?
No sweat! Midi can be recorded as sound, in our home recording set ups. Midi information played on the fly and the triggered sound files can be recorded as we play midi instruments. Midi keyboards, midi guitar systems, midi saxophones, and midi drum kits are all capable of this cool recording feature. Lets look more closely at these devices….

Alesis DM-5 midi drum kit

Designed for the percussionist, the Alesis DM-5 drum kits take the programming out of recording midi. Each drum kit comes with a midi sound module which contains all of the different drum kits and like sounds. The drum pads are simply touch sensitive triggers that once hit, triggers the midi sound file that you have chosen to sound. Several different manufactures make these kits, but when it comes to the most “Bang” for your buck, it’s the Alesis DM-5. Here is a cool video detailing what these drum kits can do.

Yamaha midi wind controller.

Yes, you read it correctly, midi wind controller! Yamaha has come up with a very cool instrument here. Blowing into this device and playing the notes triggers midi information to sound. You will need either a midi sound module or a software based midi sound bank to go along with the Yamaha sax. Here is a great video showing a performance of the Yamaha wind midi controller.
Brian Moore “I guitars”

These axes can play as regular electric guitars, midi triggers, or both! Not only can you get guitar sounds triggered via midi, but any midi sound that you want! Piano and guitar duet anyone?

M-Audio midi keyboard

Here is a prime example of a midi keyboard, of a smaller size. These might just fit on the bus, allowing for recording on the go.

As always, feel free to comment on any of my posts, as your thoughts mean a lot to me. Subscribing now ensures that you never miss a post! Thanks for stopping by Home Recording Weekly!