First Wave Of New Audio Interfaces

Gotta love technology. M-Audio has introduced a new USB2 audio/midi interface. 4 really excellent microphone preamps, and DSP (for near zero latency mixes/monitoring). List price, $450, but the street price is quite a bit less.

UPDATE 11/28 by E: After checking the Mic preamp specs, and that of the Project Mix I/O, the Mic preamps on this new box are a lot better. After doing some recordings with the Project Mix I/O at 96Khz, I thought the preamps were amazing……..so this little box might be capable of some even more amazing recordings.

New Version of Band In A Box Starts Beta Testing

This was posted yesterday on PGMusic.com.

We’re looking for current users of Band-in-a-Box 2007 to help us test some of our latest features. In order to qualify as a beta tester, you must be:

  • A current user of Band-in-a-Box 2007 For Windows.

Seems the Macintosh version will languish another year without an update (yet again). Wonder what is going to be in the new version. Last year, they introduced RealDrums into the program. This year? I don’t know, but lets speculate a little.
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Interesting iTunes Alternative

I came across Create Digital Music’s discussion of Native Instruments BeatPort SYNC. It has a lot of interesting features such as:

  • Two-deck mixer with manual/automatic crossfader
  • Pitch control
  • Time-stretching and tempo detection, for smooth crossfades even if you don’t know what you’re doing (or you’re, say, folding laundry or cleaning your studio and want the software to DJ for you — it happens)
  • Rip and burn CDs
  • Access external devices for browsing and backup
  • iTunes library integration (no playback support for DRMed tracks, though meta-data will appear)

For me, the time-stretching function would be welcome. Currently, if I need to slow something down, I have to drag it out of iTunes into Transcribe. That works well, but being able to do it within the program would be so much easier.

Alas, I wasn’t able to test it as it loaded fine, but proceeded to try to analyze my iTunes library, which, in it’s current size, could take days to do. But, this might be a good alternative to people who need pitch and tempo controls and like the iTunes type interface (who wouldn’t??)

Jazz Saxophone Etudes By Greg Fishman Vol. 2

Greg Fishman has been at it again. This time, he has come out with yet another book of Jazz Etudes. Again, he has named each Etude after a street in Chicago. I’ll just take Greg’s books in lieu of a tourist map if I ever visit Chicago. Really. I believe he’s covered every major street in the town, or at least the ones worth mentioning.

Back to the latest book. Greg says “I think that the new etudes are even more melodic than they were in the first book.” Eh, well, perhaps. The tunes in the last book were pretty good as well. I think my gripe with the first book carries over into the second book, i.e. still not a lot of explanation about voice leading. Perhaps that will be in a forth coming tourist’s guide to voice leading? How many streets does Chicago have? Are we going to run out if you do a voice leading book and another etude book?

For $19.95, with two CDs (one for Tenor, one for Alto) that have an etude track and a track where you can blow a few choruses, it is a simple choice. Duh! Get the book! 10/10 for the price, and the quality of the tunes.

(P.S. Greg Fishman is moving to Phoenix, Arizona. Why anyone would want to move there is beyond me. It gets so hot it can melt your dashboard. This last summer I think they had weeks of triple digit heat. My mom visited my brother who lives there, and she said it was like being in an oven the whole time she was there. Anyhow, I’d expect to see the next etude book filled with Arizona street names, assuming Fishman runs out of Chicago streets)

Louis Armstrong’s Trumpet Used As A Fruitbowl?

I don’t know about you, but this is disturbing:

Matt Mullenweg, lead developer of the open-source WordPress blogging software, last night celebrated a $25 million “bonus” from investors by purchasing a $1 million Louis Armstrong trumpet, which he plans to use as a fruit bowl.

There are a lot of things a trumpet used by Louis Armstrong could be used for. A Fruit bowl is not on my list. In fact, why not donate the money to some worthy foundation? Or maybe set up a scholarship program in the bay area for music? There are a lot of things you could do instead of buying a historic instrument and using it for a fruit bowl. Seriously. And $7 million for a house? Hope the tech bubble does not burst again….

Teaching “Alternate” Fingerings

So, there is this guy who goes into local schools. He’s a “sax expert” or whatever. He also seems to be talking up a bunch of smack as well (directed towards your’s truly). Anyhow, he is telling all the kids to play middle D with the side palm D open. Huh? The reason, “The tone is better.” Ok, that is good and all, but shouldn’t they just get the basic fingering down first? Plus, it makes it even more of a technique problem for them. PLUS, it really does not sound good. I recorded a student playing a song where he was sometimes using this supposed “sax expert” fingering, and it sounds bad. It is out of tune, and the tone……is not good.

Keep it simple. Basics. Teaching them all three alternatives (or perhaps all four) for fingering Bb would be higher on my list than to require them to play all their middle D’s with the side D open. BTW, he seems totally against 1 and 1 Bb. And he plays flute too…….strange….

I use the Middle D Fingering with the side D open...

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M-Audio Project Mix I/O First Impressions

I have been setting up all this new gear, and I finally got a chance to play with the Project Mix I/O a little. All I have to say is, whoa. Fun, cool, Rad (can we still use that word?). I mean, motorized faders……so much fun. I haven’t used it in Protools yet, but in Digital Performer it is great. I have my analogue modules coming in on channels 7 & 8, and the GPO stuff on 5 & 6. Though, coming from the PC, 5 & 6 are noisy. I’m thinking about moving that to a SPDIF input…..more soon.
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Find Out What People Are Listening To

This site, powered by Gracenotes (the company that provides lookups for CDs via computers), shows a map and a list of what people are listening to. Though, you have to take it with a grain of salt. It is a stats map of CDs people put into programs such as iTunes, and then iTunes looks up the CD on the internet and provides track names. Doesn’t track anything else. I didn’t see any Jazz artists on there at all………