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My Studio In 2022


By homemademusic, 2022-06-04
My Studio In 2022

Since my daughter moved out I’ve been arranging my recording studio in my little duplex apartment.

I rented out a storage unit to house and organize all the cassettes, CD’s, zines and other things sent to me for review in GAJOOB. It’s a lot, and freeing up that space allows me to work toward an environment where recording isn’t such an obstacle course.

I also thought a long time about when recording was something I did in much of my free time. It was around 2003 and at that time I lived in a small house and the studio was in an area just off the kitchen where I think a normal person would have a dining table. I had a drum set, etc.

I also did a lot of recording in a split level house where the studio was in my bedroom which was large enough to fit the drums and a prominent studio desk my brother made quite comfortably.

It’s essential to create an inviting space where you naturally want to go to whenever inspiration strikes or, really, where you just go as a matter of course as a regular part of your life. As in, this is what I do when I get home from work after I take care of the dog and cat.

Kind of thing.

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MusicTech's Best Sample Packs of the February 2022

This month's list contains vintage synths, club-ready beats, and soulful keys.

https://musictech.com/guides/buyers-guide/best-samples

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Hands On the Casiotone CT-S1000V


By homemademusic, 2022-01-23
Hands On the Casiotone CT-S1000V

Ordering


I've ordered the new Casiotone CT-S1000V which is currently making a bit of splash around the blogs of late. I think I may feature it on my FAWM 2022 album this year. It's supposed to arrive just before that so I should be able to play around with it and get some use-cases for you all after FAWM is over and I have something to showcase.

I'm almost entirely just interested in the vocal synthesis functions of the synth and not that it reportedly has a lot of pretty decent sounds on board.

There are random youtube commenters throwing down that this is merely a toy, but I'm not all that concerned with that. I like experimenting within limitations. The limitations themselves are often part of the instrument and expression.

If you've got one, wander over to the Casiotone CT-S1000V homemademusic profile page and let us know what you think in the dedicated forum there. And share some music while you're at. If you've got it to share.

Casiotone CT-S1000V

Initial Experience


The keyboard came a day earlier than Guitar Center indicated when I purchased it, so I drove out to pick it up after work. It's a couple days later and I've got it set up in my studio and so far have just had a little time to explore the onboard sounds.

They're organized by type with a large number of pianos starting off the 800+ options. For me, there are some that I liked instantly, but nothing really at this point that would likely have me using these sounds over what I have available in software elsewhere. Our choices these days are countless.

It's a busy work week and a couple days pass by before one morning I download the app. For iOS it doesn't appear when you search for "Casio." I found it by searching "Casio Vocal." The app is called Casio Lyric Creator. It's not mentioned in the quick start guide that came with the instrument, although it's probably a highly essential piece to making this thing literally sing.

I have a song that's been kicking around in various stages for 20 years plus that is going to be perfect to jump in and explore the vocal synthesis capabilities of the Casiotone CT S1000V I think.

The app has a Connection button that links out to here: https://web.casio.com/app/en/lyric_creator/support/connect.html 

I learn the lyric app unfortunately doesn't connect to the keyboard via the bluetooth adapter that comes with it. I need a lighting to USB connector which I think was left behind at a hotel in San Diego so I order another and it should be hear when I get home from work tonight. After which, the fun and games shall continue.

More fun and games


The Lightning to USB connector came and did not work with my iPhone. I did find my official Apple Camera Connection Kit adapter and that doesn't work either. I'm connecting it as instructed to the micro-USB port, but the app is not responding at all. I've tried a number of micro-USB chords, all of which are less than the specified 2 meter length. The documentation does say not to use chords which are dedicated to charging, but I don't really recall using micro-USB chords for anything except charging, so I don't know really know if my chords are charging-dedicated or not.

The keyboard comes with bluetooth connector for playing audio over bluetooth. This seems like a function that is less essential than using the keyboard for the lyric function. Casio could have included the proper Micro-USB cable.

I downloaded the manual and it seems to indicate that I may possibly be able to transfer the lyric files to the keyboard via a USB Flash drive. So I think that's my next attempt. It's now Sunday and Casio support isn't staffed today.

Just in case the above doesn't work.

  • For Customer Service or Repair Support in the USA at 1-800-706-2534 during regular business hours (currently Monday-Friday 9:00a.m. - 5:00pm EST, Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.)
  • For Technical support in USA at 1-800-435-7732 during regular business hours (currently Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. - 8:00pm EST for all products, Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m)
  • For Customers in Canada at 1-800-661-2274

Transferring Lyrics via USB Flash


After a 10 minute formatting gala, I tried again with different USB sticks. The formatting was quicker so it could be the first USB stick I tried was old and subpar (kinda like me), but the Casio keyboard tells me it has no media; it's not seeing the lyi file when attempting to load all data. I'm not sure what the problem is. Perhaps the keyboard isn't set to load lyric files from the USB.

Youtubers Start Weighing In


It looks like we're starting to see youtube videos about the instrument that are actual hands-on experiences with the lyric/vocal aspects, rather than just mouthing the specs and playing some non-related presets.

This one is a good real world example, I think. He says it all has to do with the chord combination and to make sure you have the right chord.

So I order another chord off amazon: https://amzn.to/3ro0BiR (affiliate link -- thanks).

usbchord.jpg

Success!


And, what do you know, I connect that to this: https://amzn.to/3HlhVdY

usbchord1.jpg

… which connects to my iPhone 12 Max and the Casio Lyric app connects!

I start by creating a few words of the lyric as recommended by the iNNovational Channel . You just type the lyrics and the app separates words into 1/8 note syllables for you. You can edit the notes if you wish, but I don't do that this time.

After saving your lyric you Transfer it by clicking the ellipsis icon on the upper right of the lyric box and pressing the Transfer button. A first dialog appears with your selection parameters and after confirming another screen appears. This one tries to save the file to my iCloud drive for some reason by default, which is what I did because it's not apparent that's what it's actually doing. After a minute or so of the keyboard preparing and whatnot, I got an error with no file saved. Arrrrgh!

I try it again, this time, noticing the iCloud weirdness, I uncollapse the iCloud files and see there is a "drive" icon for the Casio underneath and select that and transfer. This time, I also get an error, but the Casio keyboard's screen shows that a file is saved in the User 1 location, and pressing the keys it plays! Success!!

Playing Around


This is very cool. The song I'm working on is something I've had in various states and recordings over the years. It's a personal favorite of my collaborations. It's called If I Fell Off This Earth Tonight. It was a song I made with Tapegerm sources provided by Bev Stanton (Arthur Loves Plastic) and Lisa Moscatiello (vocals). Lisa sang the title and I used that as inspiration to write the rest of the song.

After playing around with a short slice, "If I Fell," I try transferring a longer section, "If I fell off this earth tonight." This transfer was quick (around 1-2 seconds) and no error.

To begin with, the Casio wasn't exactly sounding like it was singing the words particularly clear. Fortunately there are a lot of settings to dial and they are easy and intuitive. You've got a modulation dial just above the standard scale knob to the left of the keyboard. You've also got a vocal tone dial that changes the vocal character's age and gender. On top of that, you have 20+ different vocal tones ranging from choirs to grave growls.

When playing the vocal you can choose between playing the entire lyric or playing each note with each subsequent press of a key. And when playing the later you can also choose to apply a "select" parameter which allows you to press notes on the lower keys that select which "notes" (or syllables) sound when you play notes on the upper keys.

With this combination I think  you get the real performance fun out of the instrument and it's not too difficult when you're working with five or six words; it's probably less than a dozen syllables.

Here's me playing around with this first exploratory session…

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Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitors and HS8S Subwoofer


By homemademusic, 2021-12-21
Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitors and HS8S Subwoofer

I've been mixing on headphones for many years. Many, many years. I'm not really sure why I suddenly thought that having studio monitors was something I needed, but I did and it was.

Affiliate link: https://amzn.to/33DeoZu

I also got the Yamaha HS8S subwoofer and I'm hoisting the monitors up with proline monitor stands.

I got my monitors at Guitar Center and picked them up after work the Thursday before the week of Christmas. It was a madhouse. It's a madhouse everywhere these days. I know. I manage a printshop.

The monitors are solid and it was easy to get everything connected. I watched a couple youtube videos, but the clearest instructions were really a couple paragraphs in the user manual since it's quite straightforward.

I have an iConnectivity audio interface and use Logic Pro as my DAW. It only has 1/4-inch monitor outputs but the HS8's can do either 1/4-inch or XLR inputs and outputs so I went from the iConnectivity 1/4-inch outs to the subwoofer inputs and then out from the XLR outputs on the subwoofer to the left and right HS8 monitor inputs. You need 4 cables total.

I fired up my most recent Logic Pro project and everything worked. Love it when that happens.

I do not recommend the Pro Line monitor stands (the subwoofer sits on the floor). The bolt that attached the riser to the floor base was difficult to screw in on one and didn't fully go into the other so it is currently not entirely stable. I tried screwing it with a power drill and stripped the allen hole. Maybe it's just me. The stand itself is solidly well-made.

And the monitors sound great. I had a friend over Sunday and we recorded a song I've had jostling around my lyric book for probably a decade that we worked out basic tracks on. Monitors definitely make a difference.

So far so great and highly recommended. I hear Finneas uses the HS5's and loads of other people swear by the flat, unaltered sound of the yamaha monitors.

MorphSound (Reaktor Instrument)


By homemademusic, 2019-05-04
MorphSound (Reaktor Instrument)

C&S present another great sample based instrument for Native Instruments Reaktor including 100 presets. This one is playable via keyboard or any other MIDI input and makes morphing / modulating Atmo, Chord, Bass, FX and Lead sounds.

The morphing is controlled by an LFO and can be synced to your DAW. The instrument´s heart is a controllable granular sampler and features a spectral stereo equalizer plus two effects (Delay, Reverb).

So the presets can be changed in many ways though you instantly can start without any tweaking to easily produce music ranging from Deep House to Ambient right away.

https://www.adsrsounds.com/product/software/morphsound/

Loopcloud 4.0


By homemademusic, 2019-05-04
Loopcloud 4.0

The complete solution for browsing auditioning and managing your samples just got e ven more comprehensive with Loopcloud’s new hugely creative pattern editing f unctions.  With Loopcloud’s revolutionary new Loop Editor, you can slice, edit and reverse samples into  unique patterns, and then audition any loop or one-shot with the same edits you’ve made. All  before downloading anything or even touching your DAW.

https://www.loopcloud.net

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