Category Archives: Articles

General Saxophone related articles, opinions, questions, etc, etc

Michael Brecker Archive

Steve Neff has a great article about Michael Brecker’s addition to the Living Jazz Archive.

Steve Neff’s Blog Post:

Dr. David Demsey at William Paterson University contacted me a few years ago to tell me about the “Living Jazz Archives” that the University was building and how they were adding a Michael Brecker Archive to the already existing archives that they already had. The Living Jazz Archives are:

A TEACHING TOOL for William Paterson University Jazz Studies majors, for classes in other academic areas across campus, and for visiting groups of students of all ages from public schools, from other colleges and universities, and the general public.

A RESEARCH CENTER for professional scholars, authors and researchers and for faculty from other institutions.

A MINI-MUSEUM honoring the lives and careers of these great jazz artists and their important contribution to the history of jazz, by displaying their music, artifacts and memorabilia using audio, video and multi-media.

AN ARCHIVE, containing the archived collections of Clark Terry, Thad Jones, James Williams, Michael Brecker, Mulgrew Miller and other collections, maintaining and preserving those materials in perpetuity.

Finale 26 Released

Makemusic today released Finale 26. It adds a number of new features. You can find a run down of the new things at ScoringNotes.com.

As a long…..long time Finale user (I think I used it with version 2.5 back in the 90s), Finale is a solid notation program. While there are some great free ones, like musescore, that have gotten popular, Finale is really for people who care what their music looks like. And the ability to make your music look good is important. No one wants to waste time trying to figure out bad notation.

I’m probably going to update to Finale 26 soon.

Pedalboard 3.0

I’ve had a few pedalboard layouts now. The big issue I have had with the other setups is size, and transporting it. I started off with a Q-Tron on the board. But that got dropped off due to it feeding back a lot. Plus I could never tell if it was engaged or not.

The main input is the Eventide MixingLink. It sounds great, and lets me bypass my effects chain if necessary. It has a couple of different settings, I usually keep it in the latch mode and FX Only. You can set it to be like a mini-mixer if you choose one of the other modes, but I don’t do that.

The first item on the effects chain is the Nano POG. Now, this pedal is probably not going to survive much longer on the board. Why? Cause the next pedal, the Eventide H9 pretty much does everything it does, plus I can control it via bluetooth. I suppose I have left it on the board cause I could engage the Nano POG, and then run it through the H9 to get like 3 octaves of Q-Tron like sounds. Or Distortion. But in reality that has yet to happen. Ideally, I think I am going to sell it to get like a dedicated reverb unit. The orange pedal is a Valeton EP-2 Volume Expression pedal that I’m using as an expression pedal for the H9.

The pedalboard is a Pedaltrain PT-M16-TC Metro 16. Basically, I wanted something small, portable, but also protects the pedals.

The whole thing is powered by the new Eventide PowerMax.

Generally, this setup is pretty solid. Originally, I wanted to run an EWI 4000s through the board, but inconsistent volume issues killed that. I haven’t had time to revisit it yet.

Things to add. I’m considering hacking up my Donner Bluetooth Page turner to put on the board. Or perhaps making a switcher using and Arduino or RPI Zero W.

Anyone else use pedals on their sax?

Review – BandTool BT-1

There has been an interesting tool that has been sitting in my Amazon wishlist for a while. The BandTool BT-1. It is a multi-tool specifically for those who would need to fix a “band” type instrument. I carry a Leatherman Wave in my gig bag, and I have found it very useful. So why wouldn’t a multi-tool specifically for instruments be even better?

Continue reading Review – BandTool BT-1

Touring the DPA Microphone Factory

DPA seems to be one of the mics everyone who does a LOT of live playing go to. Jeff Coffin uses them with the DMB. They are everywhere. MusicTech Magazine had an interesting article about how the microphones are made. Worth a look at.

DPA originated back in 1992, when two employees at the sound and vibration measurement company Brüel & Kjær, Ole Brøsted Sørensen and Morten Støve, left the company to found ‘Danish Pro Audio’, transforming the technical ideas fostered at their former place of work into incredibly accurate and clear pro-audio microphones, including the well-regarded 4060 omni.

Band in a Box 2018 for Mac

Some people think December is the best month. Christmas, etc. Some people think September when Apple events happen. Both are WRONG. The best time of the year is end of May when PG Music releases a new version of Band in a Box for Macintosh. This year they included a fancy keychain with the upgrade.

This year’s version of Band in a Box continues the evolution of a great program. 202 new real tracks, and Video real tracks (though no woodwind related tracks…..yet) are the major highlights. When the real tracks first came out, I was sort of “meh” about them (if I remember correctly, real drums were added first?). But they totally changed things around in subsequent versions. I can’t really remember the last time I used the midi tracks, the real tracks are that good. And it’s worth it to get the update just for the new tracks.

They added a “Audio Transcription” feature to the Mac version that converts a monophonic audio track to MIDI. Haven’t tested that yet. Also added were things like notation support for odd time signatures like 12/8 and 6/8, the ability to fix an out of tune recording, and a redesigned audio editor.

Band in a box always has worked in 4 by whatever grid since the Atari ST days. That is fine as MOST music is in a measure cadence that is divisible by 4 (8 bars, 12, 16, 24, 32, etc). But say you have a song you are working on, and it has a 7 bar phrase. It just doesn’t work as an 8 bar phrase. You put that in Band in a Box, and all hell breaks loose. It becomes a huge visual mess. Not anymore. They now will grey out and the next section starts at the far left again. Makes it a heck of a lot easier to see the flow of a song. Great addition to the program.

Couple of issues though….

Why are there TWO places where the Preferences are?

 

 

 


The other thing that bugs me is that you cannot decide what buttons go where. Like it would be infinitely better for me to have “Practice” be where “Video Help” is, but I cannot move these buttons around. Or even order them. Frustrating.

Other than that, an amazing program. This is a program that EVERY musician should have. From prototyping a new arrangement or song, to practicing, to even just messing around, it is a great tool to have on your Mac. Get it.

Media Management For The Musician

Managing your digital media in this age is rather daunting. A lot of people have ditched their iTunes libraries and gone to the subscription music service model. Some of us still have huge libraries of music. All those recordings you made in college, or those boot legs of various bands you got. Or teaching materials you have acquired over the years. You have a library of stuff. But how do you manage it?

Part 1 – Storage
For me, I’ve always had some sort of redundant system for storage. You need a redundant storage system, be it one hard drive cloned to another, or something. DO NOT KEEP EVERYTHING ON ONE DRIVE…..Drives fail…..then your stuff will disappear. From 2000 to 2008(?) I had a PC I inherited from a failed high tech startup that had a RAID 5 drive array. Basically, it takes your data and puts it across 3 or more drives in a way that if ONE drive fails, you can replace that drive and it will rebuild itself and you do not lose any data. And did a backup of this to a large USB hard drive. So TWO copies my digital assets.
Continue reading Media Management For The Musician

The AKG-C414

If you have read this site over the years, I have noted that my favorite mic is the AKG-C414. I have two of these microphones, a ULS model and an EB model. My favorite for saxophone is the EB model. It adds….how would I describe it…..a little more punch or personality than the ULS. The ULS is a great mic though, but the EB adds a little more. Either way, I like BOTH microphones.

MusicTech.net has a good little history piece on the AKG C414 microphone. If you are looking for a microphone, and want to make an investment in your studio, seriously look into getting a AKG C414.