Synology DS1512+

Years ago, in 2006 I bought a Infrant ReadyNAS NV. The thing has been ROCK SOLID in storing my 2.8 terabytes of archives, music, pdfs, backups. Everything. Love it. Though it is getting long in the tooth. It’s 360mhz processor, lack of software updates, support for just 2 Terrabyte drives, Ext3 filesystem, lack of software support……there is a list of things it doesn’t do that I’d like it to do. Though it has NEVER lost any data. A failed drive? Replace, it rebuilds, and we go on.

So, I decided to upgrade the NV to something new. Not that I plan on getting rid of the NV, but I’d like 2 copies of my stuff. So, I looked into Netgear (who bought Infrant) and their line of NASes. Not really cutting edge. Solid I’m sure. I also looked into Synology. They have a LOT of NASes they sell, and have some amazing software and even iOS apps to monitor the units. SOLD!

So, I get a unit on the 15th of March along with 3 2 terabyte seagate hard drives. Put the drives in, made a volume, updated the Synology software. Everything looked great. Awesome web interface, a speedy 2.1 gigahertz processor, FIVE drive bays. I’m in love.

Next up was to copy my ReadyNAS NV stuff to the Synology unit. I chose to use RSync on the ReadyNAS unit to make sure everything was copied, and that if I did any changes to the NV (cause I was still going to use it while it was backing up) the second pass of Rsync would catch any changes. So, I started the RSync job on Thursdays the 15th.

It finished on Saturday the 24th. It was slow (the ReadyNAS’s fault). The second pass of Rsync took like 20 minutes and caught all the changes I had made. Awesome. Ok, so next up was to power down the ReadyNAS, rename the Synology unit and reboot the Synology unit. Renaming it and rebooting it would make it show up as the old unit on my network and my iTunes share and network paths should, in theory, work without any tweaks.

Disaster…, I rebooted the Synology unit. And it never came back. It now blinks a steady BLUE power light. Scanning their support FAQ, if you take the drives out and power it up again, it should blink blue then beep and go solid. It doesn’t. It died. WTF! So, I email their tech support (actually before I did the taking the drives out). Nothing. Seems their tech support doesn’t work weekends…..which I think is unacceptable. I also posted in their forum my plight….seems at least 2 others right now, with newer units, have the same problem. Reboots or power back ons that just hang.

So…..what do I take away from this so far? Synology has shitty tech support. No support on the weekends? At all? Not ONE person in the company can be bothered to check and reply to the emails over the weekend? Terrible. A unit that is a week and 2 days old DIES when you simply reboot it? And I’m supposed to maybe have some sort of reliance on this product?

I would SERIOUSLY, as of right now, NOT RECOMMEND SYNOLOGY PRODUCTS. Go somewhere else. Netgear’s stuff is solid but doesn’t have the bells and whistles of Synology. But at least they have people replying to emails on the weekends and have members of their support staff monitoring and replying to forum posts.

I’m giving this a 0 out of 10 right now. I left a 1 star review on Amazon, and have contacted them through Amazon (still no reply). If it isn’t fixed by Monday, I will be filing a complaint with Amazon to get my money back.

UPDATE 3/29: After several emails with their support, and bitching about it, seems they will ship me another one to replace the unit. I did get the unit up at home on Monday. Passed the self test, and then I powered it down, and put the drives in, and it worked perfectly. So, I powered it down, brought it to my studio….and it did the blinking blue light thing again. I called their support, and they were like “it needs to go back from where you bought it”. And I was like “But I bought it FROM YOU through Amazon”. Ugh. So, after being disgusted on the phone with them, and having the unit completely unplugged again, I plugged it in, and it started working. I powered it down, and put the drives back in, powered it up and it works!

It’s a great little unit when it is working. The software is awesome, including the iOS apps for streaming music. Very cool. And you can remotely stream music as well. VERY COOL. Except that I’m worried about if I have to power it down or turn it off.

So, I’m going to revisit my rating of it. I’m going to give it a 5 out of 10. When the unit runs, it’s awesome. EXT4, awesome web interface, remote access, it’s FAST. However, their quality control seems suspect (a couple of other people on the Synology forums had similar issues with the XX12 series of units) and their tech support leaves a LOT to be desired (no email support over the weekend, no 800 number for support). I’d hold off buying a unit for a few weeks until they figure out what is the matter with these units. I suspect it is some sort of software issue with their DSM4 software.

Inside The Loudness Wars

Interesting article about compression and loudness in modern music.

Within the world of audio, both on the consumer and pro sides, there has been no greater point of contention than the increasing levels of compression used to produce music.

The phenomenon grew to the point where it was given the name “loudness wars,” because it reached a level where one engineer would try to outdo another engineer by making his recording louder. The problem is that it employing compression destroyed the dynamic range of many of today’s recordings.

I hardly ever use that stuff when work on recordings. Also not a huge fan of pitch correction either. I mean, I do use the tools available, but I’d rather use them to ever so slightly enhance a recording, not totally change a recording.

How Aebersold Needs To Embrace Technology

A while ago, I wrote a post/rant about Aebersold pushing the Superscope Elevation software. Enough said about that. But I get these mailings from jazz about sales, and they are still pushing these Superscope CD things that are like $999. Insane.

It makes me wonder WHY Jazzbooks/Aebersold has not embraced the digital age yet. The writing has been on the wall for about 2 years now that print media is a dying business. As is the making of CDs. Aebersold is running the risk of becoming like Kodak.

So, how to change this? Here is what I would propose if I was in charge. First, offer digital versions of the catalog. The play-alongs, put them in Amazon and iTunes for $.99. When someone buys the them that way, they also get the lead sheet in C/Eb/Bb/Bass clef. Would I put them out as tomes like they are now? No. What I would do is fully embrace technology and develop an App that would allow purchases of new songs within it. So, if someone ends up buying 100 songs that Aebersold produces, then they will be within the app, easily searchable, indexed, etc. You could just display the Eb versions, or whatever. And allow annotations of the lead sheets (i.e. let people mark up the sheets if they want).

The App would also have a slowdown function, and the ability to loop sections. Heck, some of the FREE slowdown things on the iPhone/iPad do this already. The ability to change the pitch would also be included, as would the ability to record what you are playing and the ability to hear just what you did, or you with the track. And you can mix it when you are playing back. And send it to like Garageband if you wanted. Or get it out of the App. The annotations that you did you could send via email, or print, or make a PDF.

So, the base App would be free and include maybe a couple of freebee tracks to entice people. Then in-App purchases would be $.99 for a new song complete with Eb/Bb/C/Bass lead sheet.

Ok, that takes care of the legacy Play-Alongs, but what about all the books that they publish. I’m not sure how they would do as EPUBs like in the iBook store. They might do better as a Textbook created with iAuthor. I would think that most of these could be make into PDFs fairly easily. Regardless, they need to be digital. PDF would be great, EPUB if possible, or maybe even an App for each book (like Greg Fishman’s stuff). Though, I would think that if they went the App per book route, they could use the engine that the play-alongs use. Then everything would be all together and you don’t end up with 30 apps for everything.

I don’t know if Aebersold is planning this sort of thing, but they need to. All these sales emails has me concerned, and it just makes more sense. With the iPad continuing to be a huge hit……who wants to carry around huge books or Superscope devices when an iPad can all that and more….

We Are Young – Fun.

Featured in today’s Apple iPad event by the way…..

  We Are Young by Fun. for Eb Instruments (63.5 KiB, 132 hits)
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  We Are Young by Fun. for Bb Instruments (63.1 KiB, 58 hits)
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ericdano: “Note, this has some errors on it such as spelling mistakes and the first part of the song should be noted in like cut time, and then the rest of the song starting at around bar 24 should be normal time time. Something. It’s a little messed up”

Fixed it…here is a slightly better version that I had a little time to tweak.
Update…..this is version 3. There were some other things wrong with it, and I think I got most of them now. I think……

  We Are Young by Fun. for Eb Instruments (version 3) (107.0 KiB, 142 hits)
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  We Are Young by Fun. for Bb Instruments (version 3) (108.7 KiB, 89 hits)
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The Deflavorizing Machine

Stereophile has an article up about how Digital is killing music. (I see these like every week or so)

“A few engineers talked about superstar vocalists who record literally hundreds of takes of a single song, then leave it to the editors to assemble from these a single “perfect” performance, a fraction of a second at a time (footnote 1) Pardon my snark, but imagine how much better records by James Brown, the Beatles, or Led Zeppelin would have been had they had Pro Tools in the 1960s and ’70s. Sadly, it’s a tool that some artists can’t resist using to the point that there’s nothing left of the original performance.”

For me, I still think some of the best recordings are live. Michael Brecker is way better live. The Buddy Rich big band? Live is the only way to go. Thad Jones? Yep, live. Something about the sound, and maybe the mistakes or glitches that happen. Those are the things that make it better. Sinatra singing perfectly in tune? That would be better? Hardly. Or maybe Cannonball, Charlie Parker, or Coltrane having a flubbed note fixed? Or a squeak removed digitally? That would be better? Nope.

Heck, I think we have too many tools in the tool box nowadays. Using less EQ, Compression, AutoTuning would be the way to go. When I do my student CDs, I don’t auto tune it, I add minimal EQ, and a slight room reverb (since we are recording close mic’d). That’s it. Even though I have a TON of plugins, and could use Melodyne to fix the pitch. But every time I hear a new CD, usually smooth jazz but sometimes straight ahead, I hear way too much reverb and compression. Probably some auto-tuning in there as well. Pity really.