Producer’s Toolbox Music Playa Version 3

I recently completed new version if the music player for my friend Erik and his music production studio GE Music. You can see it live here:

This version has numerous improvements over the previous one. It is much more flexible in how it handles music libraries, allowing for multiple library files of several formats and multiple mp3 directories at arbitrary server paths, all driven by config scripts for easy library updates and management. There was also a major behind-the-scenes refactoring of the code base and a slew of minor bug, so overall the app is much more robust. Also, it now displays album cover art for each Playlist, dynamically loading the album images.

I’m happy because the app has needed some attention for a while, and also because this was my end of the software-development-for-studio-time arrangement I worked out with Erik.

Over the weekend I began converting my ProTools projects from PT7 under Windows to PT8 on the Mac in preparation for brining the songs over to his studio. This meant rendering out all the MIDI instruments (mostly the drums) one track at a time as audio and flying them back into the project. Kind of tedious but not too bad. The one snag I hit was that I double-tracked the snare drum, using two different samples from two different kits. The bouncedown must not be sample-accurate because the resulting audio of the two snares phased against each other and produced a flanging noise. So I had to re-render the snare with the two samples playing at once, and that sounded fine, although I loose the option to mix between the two sounds going forward.

I’m scheduled to go into the studio later this week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

New Goal: The Appliances

Well football fever died almost as soon as it was born. The Jets played a good three quarters of football last week, but in the end the Colts overcame their defense. Ah well, at least we have Super Bowl Sunday free now.

In other news, our dishwasher broke down last week. Jeannie for some reason has gotten really stressed out over this, although Lizzy has cheerfully volunteered to help out with doing the dishes, which is nice. Then last night our fridge started to go on the fritz, so we now have two appliances that need replacing. Guess we’ll spend the weekend shopping. Fun fun fun.

Ski Season Woo Hoo!

We just got back from a great weekend skiing with our friends Seth and Cathy and their daughter Erin. Thanks guys for a great time.

We went up Seth’s place Friday night and got up early and skied all day Saturday. The grownups skied on our own in the morning while the kids were in lessons, and in the afternoon we all skied together. The snow was really good and Lizzy and Michelle both did really well. Michelle went up the chair lift for the first time, and skied down the mountain a few times with good form and control, doing nice S-curves. I spent my afternoon mainly with her. One run we tailed along the end of a lesson of two other kids who were at Michelle’s level, joining in their train.

Sunday only Seth and Lizzy I and went skiing, while Jeannie and Cathy and Michelle and Eric hung around the house and plated in the snow. Seth, who used to be a ski instructor, gave Lizzy a lesson and I followed along working on my form, which was a good thing to do. Lizzy is getting good, skiing blue trails and even some diamonds, to the point where I have to work to keep up with her sometimes.

We only skied a half day Sunday, and as an added treat we got to see an awesome Jets game. I haven’t watched much football this year because: 1. I’m generally pretty busy and usually have things to do on Sunday, 2. I generally don’t like television cuz of the ads, and football on TV is like one giant commercial, and 3. I’m still down about the Buffalo Bills losing four Super Bowls in a row. But if there’s ever a time to get into it, it’s when your team makes the playoffs.

Right around the kickoff I was loading the car for the trip home, but we decided to stay until it looked like the game was getting to be a blowout. It turned out to be a real game, and we ended up staying for the whole thing. The Chargers made a few mistakes for sure, some stupid after-the-play penalties and some missed field goals. And while no one on the Jets made any spectacular plays, they really showed some discipline and came together as a team. Good defense, good running game, the classic way to win a football game. So now we’re all getting psyched about the possibility of the Jets making it to the super bowl. Still one game to get thru before that though.

And now, it looks as if our month-long frozen streak has abated. The weather this week looks to be mild, with highs into the forties. Feels positively balmy.

You Can Fake Talent But You Can’t Fake Effects

That was our motto in the band Infinigon back in the day. I was reminded of it over winter break when I saw my friend and collaborator John Neumann. This weekend I did a new batch of mixes on the tracks for my forthcoming record, continuing to drill down on the vocal mixes and effects, tweaking the reverb and chorus, and getting a consistent sound between tracks. I think I’ve gotten to the point where they are pretty much there: good to listen too, nicely blended but not too muddy. The new mixes can be heard here:


As I’ve mentioned before I’m going to do the final mixing and mastering at my friend’s studio, and toward that end I’ve been writing software for him in exchange for studio time. I’ve been busy working on an updated version of his music library player the last few weeks. It’s almost done so there’ll be a post about that soon.

Meanwhile the deep cold continues outside. I’ve found that if I can keep my feet warm I’m pretty happy. My kids got me a new pair of slippers for xmas, which helps a lot, and Jeannie got me some nice warm socks too, which helps more.

The Oh-Tens

Had a very nice winter break. A bit of time off work, relaxing and getting caught up on things, Xmas with the family, a trip upstate to see family and friends, plus more visiting around the home turf. All doing well. The hit gift this year is a game called Qwirkle which my brother got for my daughter. It’s sort of like scrabble but with shapes and colors instead of letters. The kids enjoy it and the grownups too. I even brought it along to my friend’s for New Year’s eve.

It seems every year around this time Jeannie and I binge on videos. Fits in well with escaping from the darkness and cold. Last year it was HBO’s “Rome”. One year we watched the entire LoTR trilogy. This year it was Firefly/Serenity. The show is a few years old, and they only made a handful of episodes and a movie, but it was very shiny. Like Rome, it was too good to be on TV.

I listened to my album-in-progress a few times. Mainly satisfied, some tweaks to make. Jammed on diagrams for my origami book. Up to step 70 or so on the Medieval Dragon, complete with diagrams, page layout and annotations. It’s looking like it might get to 100 steps! Worked on some software projects. Did some home repairs and touch up painting in the hall and kitchen.

Now it’s the start of a new year, a new decade. Hurm. Been very cold for three weeks now. As always I hate the cold. Back to work. Everyone in the office is grumpy and it seems everyone’s trains have been running late. At least I’m looking forward to some ski trips.