Fri, 03 Feb 2023

Recording Chain

Here are the proposed recording chains I am designing:

-= Master Bus =-

10 Drawmer 1974
09 Drawmer 1968 ME
08 Crane Song STC-8
07 "
06 Warm Audio EQP-WA
05 "
04 "
03 "
02 Dangerous BAX
01 Emperical Labs EL-DS Derresser

01 Power

-= Recording Bus ==-

08 Redco R196-D25PG DB25 96pt TT Patchbay
07 Z-Sys Optipatch (Squeezebox and CD-500 in)
06 TC Electronic Finalizer 96K
05 Mytek Brooklyn ADDA
03 Tascam DA-3000
03 Alesis HD24
02 "
01 "

Presonus Digimax 8

08 Lucid GENx6-96 Word Clock | Keystone Patchbay

-= Sequencing Bus ==-

10 Power (x4) <<< BRC?
09 Alesis DataDisk
08 MOTU Midi Timepiece AV [SMPTE]  [Parallel Port]
07 Steinberg MIDEX 8 [USB]
04 Signex CPM22M
03 Redco Patchbay [Parallel Port | SMPTE IN | SMPTE OUT | USB]
02 Atari Mega ST
01 "

04 MIDI Solutions T8 (BRC) (MIDI Clock goes to Atari, PC | so don't need racked T8, just external T4)

Thru = Outbound
Merge = Inbound

10 MIDI Solutions M8 (Synth 1) 
09 MIDI Solutions T8 (Synth 1) Synth Outputs are: DUMP | Editor
08 MIDI Solutions M8 (Synth 2)
07 MIDI Solutions T8 (Synth 2)
06 MIDI Solutions M8 (Synth 3)
05 MIDI Solutions T8 (Synth 3)
04 MIDI Solutions M8 (Synth 4)
03 MIDI Solutions T8 (Synth 4)
02 MIDI Solutions M8 (Synth 5)
01 MIDI Solutions T8 (Synth 5)

Rear (alt)
10 MIDI Solutions M8 (Synth 1) 
09 MIDI Solutions M8 (Synth 2)
08 MIDI Solutions M8 (Synth 3)
07 MIDI Solutions M8 (Synth 4)
06 MIDI Solutions M8 (Synth 5)
05 MIDI Solutions M8 (Datadisk)
04 MIDI Solutions T8 (Datadisk)
03 MIDI Solutions Quadra Thru x5 (Synth 1-5)
02 MOTU Digital Timepiece [Video Out or WC Out or Both to BNC?]
01 Aardvark Aardsync II UVG [Video Out to Motu Digital Timepiece Video In]

-= Syncronization Bus ==-
03 Alesis BRC/LRC

-= Effects Bus ==-

04 Alesis Quadraverb 
03 Eventide Reverb 2016 
02 TC Electronic D-Two 

03 MIDI Solutions T8 (Effects 1-3 + BRC) [DUMP]
02 MIDI Solutions T8 (Effects 1-3 + BRC) [DUMP]
01 Redco Patchbay [BRC Clock In | ADD T8 In | ADD T8 Out]


Fri, 27 Jan 2023

Mastering Chain

Here is a proposed mastering chain:

Alesis HD24 >>
Alesis DEQ830 >>
Mackie 1604 >>
Drawmer 1974 >> 
Drawmer 1968 ME >> 
Crane Song STC-8 >> 
Warm Audio EQP-WA >> 
Dangerous BAX >> 
Emperical Labs EL-DS Derresser >> 
TC Electronic Finalizer 96K >> 
Mytek Brooklyn AD >> 
Tascam DA-3000 

Alesis DEQ830 for issues with individual (stereo) stems

Initself audio will be entirely in the digital domain unless RADAR D-to-A.  The EQ will be connected to the digital chain via ADAT.

Drawmer 1974 EQ Sound on Sound

Drawmer 1968 ME Compressor Sound on Sound

Crane Song STC-8 Barry Cleveland Review

Warm Audio EQP-WA Sound on Sound

When in bypass mode, the audio signal is still routed through the Cinemag input transformer, dual vacuum tube stage line amplifier, and Cinemag output transformer; and the EQP-WA will output at approximately unity gain relative to the input level (or within close margin, due to small variations in output gain from individual vacuum tubes). This design allows the user to take advantage of an old 'engineering trick' known to many successful producers and recordists, whereby one uses a piece of gear with large transformers and high voltage tube stages as a 'pass-through' device or 'tube buffer' following a mic preamp, console send, or other piece of hardware, adding subtle sheen, richness, thickness, and harmonic content to an audio signal. This technique can also be used on program material (complete mixes or subgroups).

Dangerous BAX TapeOp Dangerous

On the high end, you can dial out ultra-sonics like 70 kHz that can carry out-of-band noise that translates as harshness in many A/D converters.

Emperical Labs EL-DS Derresser Empirical Labs

Can I emulate analog tape with the Lil FrEQ?
Absolutely! Emulate analog tape by using the DS section set to HF LIM, frequency at 6KHz. Adjust so that when the frequencies harshly pile up, the DS section kicks in, integrating and smoothing out the high end.

TC Electronic Finalizer 96K Sound on Sound

Mytek Brooklyn AD

Tascam DA-3000


Sun, 25 Oct 2020

Akai S1100 SCSI2SD

Getting a SCSI2SD to work with an Akai S1100 is quite a challenge!

There appear to be subtle but important differences between an S1100 and an S1000. I cannot say for sure if any of these tips apply to the S1000.

External SCSI

I bought a SCSI2SD v5.1 with an adapter that would interface with the external SCSI connection on the back of the S1100. From my previous project getting the S1100 to work with a complex Compact Flash (CF) solution, I learned that the internal SCSI cable needed to be reversed on the end that connects to the SCSI card in the S1100. Reversing almost certainly means filing off the plastic slot guide from the female end of one part of the cable. After many attempts to get the external SCSI connection to work, I have concluded that Akai S1100 external SCSI and the SCSI2SD v5.1 are incompatible.

Internal SCSI Cable

The type of internal SCSI cable used seems very important. I have a long internal cable for 3 total devices. Even after cutting the nub off one end and reversing the cable, I can't the S1100 to recognize the SCSI2SD plugged in at the other end.

I am still using the internal cable that was in my unit when I bought it off eBay. I have no idea what is special about it, but it is short!

SCSI2SD Configuration

When are you working with these old units, there can be a lot of uncertainty around getting the settings for the hard disk to work correctly.

I was able to work leaving the General Settings completely alone. One should enable SCSI terminator (if applicable to your infrastructure) and leave all the other settings at default values or unchecked.

For each device, select a SCSI ID. The maximum number of disks one can create with SCSI2SD v5.1 is 4. I set my SCSI ID on each of the 4 devices to 0-3 respectively.

Sector size (bytes) is very important. The S1100 needs sectors sizes of 512 bytes.

Sector count will change depending on how you size your disks. The S1100 is only going to


There is some confusion in some of the posts out there about whether to use FORMAT or ARRANGE to correctly setup the disks in the S1100.

I personally have found it is better to use FORMAT. Kee


Mon, 20 May 2019

My First Real Digital Studio

I just sat down to recall my first studio and as I did so, I remember my first studio wasn't at all my first.

My very first was a portable tape casette recorder.

After that, the record mechanisms on toy synthesizers.

At some point, a Tascam 424 Portastudio MkII showed up, which produced some pretty fun recordings for sure. One for the difficulties for me was timing, especially triggering drum samples and patches from keys. As good as I was at it, a perfect take with perfect timing was out of the question. But I remember how hard it was to learn MIDI! That was probably because my first attempt at using a sequencer was Voyetra Sequencer Plus GOLD software that came with the original Sound Blaster. Totally unintelligble to a 13 year old kid!

So my first real studio came along once Cubase appeared for me, because that was when I figured out MIDI and I could start creating sensible, listenable music.

I didn't even know Atari existed. My first Cubase was on Windows 98, Cubase Score 3.05. It had a printer port dongle. The MIDI interface was a MOTU Pocket Express parallel port. I think I needed some kind of parallel port hub to use both at the same time. I had no idea about MIDI timing or anything, and I think with the parallel port, I hadn't yet come across the ill-fated timing issues that were to come with USB, although I know that soon after realizing I needed more MIDI ports, I dove in head first to the horror that is USB MIDI devices.

I know my first sequences were stored on floppy disks. I doubt I have them anymore. I know I did a few things in 1998, more notibly the music and sound effects for a college skit. There were tracks made in the summer of 1998 in Berkeley, with MIDI mostly recorded live (and sometimes unquantized, go figure) into Cubase and recorded into the 4 track. I don't think I had figured out multitimbral mode yet. One track, Sanskrit, is extant from that time. The tape version sounds much better than the edited, quantized version I worked out later.

After I graduated college in 1999, I remember buying a top of the line Micron computer that cost about $5,000. With this big purchase came my first "real" studio running Steinberg Cubase VST/32 running on Windows 98, with the aforementioned MOTU Pocket Express handling the MIDI and outputing to an Alesis QS8 and a Roland JV-80, eventually recording audio into a Mackie 1402 VLZ Pro with the direct outs half-patched into a MOTU 2408 Mk II PCI. I soon figured out how to plug the ADAT outputs of the QS8 into the 2408, which then started my obsession with digital audio. The difference between that and the poor, noisy analog output of the mixer was undeniable.

Yet, stability on this system was far from achievabl with Windows 98. Getting thorugh a 5 minute recording without the system crashing was a miracle sometimes.

The last version of Steinberg Cubase VST/32 appears to be Steinberg Cubase VST/32 5.2 PB1.

Note to self: there is an Initself archive housed in Z:\Documents\Cubase\Techno (Pitch 07) that contains Rhodes Bitch Golfer, which you thought was lost. Check it out!


Mon, 27 Jul 2015

Creating a Sound Recording Copyright Symbol using Windows Character Map

When providing a notice of copyright for a sound recording, the graphical symbol ℗ is to be employed in lieu of the copyright symbol ©. A sound recording has a copyright distinct from the copyright for the underlying work itself, which might be reproduced within another form of sound recording. For a more thorough explanation, see the Wikipedia entry for sound recording copyright symbol.

System fonts on a given Windows machine may not contain this character, so one might need to resort to creating a custom "Private Use Character" that could be used in conjunction with the Windows Character Map. The following is a procedure to create this character:


Sat, 25 Jul 2015

Releasing a Sound Recording in 2015

Some notes on releasing an album in 2015...

The Internet is primarily visual

The Internet is a more visual medium than an auditory one. An image for the artist and the album matter when releasing an album online using digital services.


Many elements of a release can now be outsourced: CD replication, digital distribution.

CD Replication

Manufacturing and warehousing a batch of CDs to ship oneself to buyers is probably unwise, when one can leverage just-in-time replication services like Kunaki is a better decision.

Kunaki offers software (Windows only) that helps properly format album artwork for CD and jewel case replication. Audio is submitted to Kunaki by inserting a Red Book standard CD which is then copied during the design process. The help page states that "the software will copy the exact image (bit copy) without modifications", but there are known issues with copying CD-Text and ISRC data from the master. Kunaki states that they do not support CD-Text. Others have claimed to have worked around the issue. Kunaki's software creates an .exe which becomes the "master copy" which is then uploaded to Kunaki's facility to complete the design process.

I used the UPC generated from DistroKid. Using a free online barcode generator, I created a UPC-A image. Using GIMP, I scaled the image down to 1.375" across per a recommended spec and added it to my tray card design.

Online Album Databases

Gracenote (CDDB)

To submit my album to Gracenote (CDDB), I downloaded QMP (Quintessential Media Player + Media Library 5.0) [qmp_5.0.121.exe]. When starting for the first time with a CD in the disk drive, the software prompts for Gracenote submission.


To submit my album to FreeDB, I downloaded Exact Audio Copy (EAC) [eac-1.1.exe]. After configuration, I edited the CD information, selected the metadata provider as "Built-in freedb engine" and submitted the metadata by clicking the mailbox icon.

AMG (All Music Guide)



Under the 1976 Copyright Act, a work is automatically protected by copyright when it is created. A work is created when it is "fixed" in a copy for the first time. The creation date is not necessarily the same as the publication date; publication is the distribution of copies of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership or by rental, lease, or lending.

The copyrights between a musical composition and a sound recording are different, but a copyright can be obtain concurrently for both using the same filing process. The U.S. Copyright Office offers electronic copyright filing through their Electronic Copyright Office (eCO) system. It is better to submit the copyright for the unpublished work, as then only 1 complete phonorecord needs to be submitted.

To enter my sole proprietorship DBA as a claimant, I followed the instructions during the application and entered a "Note to Copyright Office" on the Certification screen as required.

The fee for submitting a sound recording copyright application is $55 as of July 28th, 2015.

Because a musical composition and a sound recording are a different copyright altogether, there are different symbols to denote which kind of copyright: ℗ for a sound recording, © for a musical composition. I copyrighted the sound recording in the inside insert of the CD artwork using the following format:

© 2015 <psuedonym>
℗ 2015 <sole proprietorship DBA name>

On Windows XP, there is no system font that contains the sound recording copyright symbol, so I had to make my own using this procedure:

Creating a Sound Recording Copyright Symbol using Windows Character Map

Helpful Documents

Circular 1 - Copyright Basics
Circular 3 - Copyright Notice
Circular 50 - Copyright Registration for Musical Compositions
Circular 56 - Copyright Registration for Sound Recordings
Circular 56A - Copyright Registration of Musical Compositions and Sound Recordings
Sound Recordings as Works Made for Hire
Copyright - Help: Author - Doing Business As
Copyright - Help: Author - Pseudonymous Work
Copyright Search

Digital Distribution

If Derek Sievers recommends DistroKid for digital distribution into online stores, it's probably the way to go. Will be nice when they get an API to prevent having to type all the album metadata into their upload form.

DistroKid provides a free UPC.

I opted not to add my music to Spotify for the time being.

DistroKid does not submit to Pandora, that is done via a submission page. You must have an online presence first before applying.

Bandcamp is a very artist friendly distribution site, with pay-what-you-want models if desired. I use it!


I chose to sign up with BMI, for free.


I thought there was a way to upload a playlist of songs whose "video" is the album cover?

Music artists and album promotion


Purchase a cool .audio domain or find another cool TLD.


BMI (registered)
All Music Guide


Wed, 22 May 2013

Steinberg Cubase VST/32 5 eLicenser Woes

After destroying my previous printer port dongle for Cubase VST/32, replacing it with a new USB eLicenser, I decided to install the newly provided activation code provided to me by Steinberg Support.

It did not go very well. I documented the process with screenshot here:

Steinberg Cubase VST/32 5 eLicenser Woes

UPDATE: Turns out Steinberg sent me the wrong license code! With the right one, it works great!


Sat, 11 May 2013

Akai S1000/S1100 Compact Flash (CF) Reader

It has truly been humbling finding a CF Reader for my Akai S1100. After messing around with countless Compact Flash card models and All-In-One SCSI readers, the following equipment is guaranteed to work with an S1100.

Akai S1100 Compact Flash Parts


The internals of the unit is an Addonics AD44MIDECF. adds a slot for the card and a metal housing.

The only CF drive that have been able to get to work is a Pretec 16 GB 233x Series Compact Flash drive. I was able to find someone selling one on eBay. Other than eBay, they seem to be sold out everywhere.

Per Muser on GearSlutz, the reason why this CF card works is the following:

233x is 233 times 150KB per second. the 150 was the designation for CD ROM Audio at 44.1 16bit .. per second KB.

The Akai will likely want to see this kind of speed, as its hard disk formatting specification mirrors that of a sample CD.

I also had to cobble together a custom Female Large 4-pin Molex to Female Small 4-pin Molex, soldering together parts from two other Molex cables I had.

Here is my HOWTO video:

Note to self: Akai Tools


Fri, 05 Oct 2012

Loading Sysex Files in Logic Pro 9

Coming from Cubase VST/32, I expected to be able to add sysex data to the start of a MIDI track using the event editor. After trolling around, I found that logic doesn't provide enough space for one line hexidecimal sysex dump entry. However, it turns out that there's a much more elegant way to load sysex data.

First of all, you can easily dump patches into a little utility made by snoize called Sysex Librarian. You set the utility to record mode and trigger a dump from the synth. Then, you can set the destination in the librarian to "Act as a source for other programs". This will create integration with Logic.

After dumping or loading a sysex patch and setting the proper destination, select a MIDI track in Logic and set the transport to "pause record mode" by pressing pause followed by the record button. This allows you to play in the sysex patch from the librarian. Press the 'Play' button and Logic will show an arrow in the MIDI channel, signifying that there is now sysex data in the channel. Press play in Logic and away you go!


Sat, 26 Jan 2008


Live at Alexandra Palace in 1995

Orbital - Live at Alexandra Palace in 1995

What I can recognize:

Left Rack:
  - Top Row: Roland Jupiter 6
  - Middle Row: Alesis MMT8 (x3), Novation Bass Station 
  - Bottom Row: Roland R8, Roland TR-909, Roland TR-808
Front Rack:
  - Mackie Mixer?
Right Rack:
  - Top Row: Oberheim Xpander, Roland TB-303
  - Middle Row: Roland SH-101, Ensoniq DP/4, Ensoniq DP/2, Alesis Quadraverb 
  - Bottom Row: Korg Prophecy, ?, ?

Update: Gearslutz helped out here: Orbital Gear Identification

Here's the unofficial Orbital Gear List.


Fri, 25 Jan 2008


I've tried for a while now to get an appropriate soundcard for working on music at home on a laptop. The first thing I tried was an M-Audio Firewire 410. Latency issues, clicking and poping, poor mic preamp quality all led me to the conclusion that I'd never be buying from M-Audio again. A quick foray into the M-Audio Ozone 2 reminded me of why - the gear just feels cheap and uninspiring, and then when you plug it in you realize that your initial impulse was correct.

After some time, I thought I'd give Creative/E-mu a try with their new 0404 USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI interface. Although a step in the right directly, this time I was very unsatisfied with the sound quality on the output stage (which doesn't really make much sense considering the specs), as the outputs seemed to render the sound dynamically flat and loud, without depth. I recall being bothered by timing on something, the details are fuzzy. Suffice it to say, I gave up on this one as well.

Recently I dove into the tried-and-true PCMCIA territory with the Digigram VXPocket V2. I had read decent reviews and they had been very accommodating with Linux driver developers, a good sign. Turns out the Windows XP drivers still needed some work. I experience intermitant digital popping from within Cubase. When I tried to use the standalone Emulator X2, I was only able to record digitally for one pass until the driver decided to wig out and set itself back to analog recording, leaving me with a very irritated ear canal after numerous digital yelps. What a pity.

So now I realize after all the returns and all the time wasted trying to make crap work that I should have just gone with RME all along. They should be coming out with their new PCI-e PCMCIA cards for the Digiface and I will gladly buy one in order to move on with my life. RME, I can almost guarantee it, will not let me down.


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