Thursday, September 27, 2007

Island Whirl

I'm in Honolulu. On Waikiki Beach. In my room, blogging.

Coral Practice

We have a couple of days off as we wait for our gear to get here, and it's Paradise, as they say. I've still got a bit of a cold and I have not ventured out much until today. Still working on learning Pro Tools and now Garageband, and I guess I'm kind of hooked because I've written 3 song ideas so far.

Anyway, I went outside after looking at this view from my hotel room window for two days.

The View

Magee, Survis and Brad Johnson decided to hit the beach this afternoon, so I tagged along.

Hangin' Loose

Jim and Magee were there to go swimming, Brad and I were just getting some delicious ocean air.

Uncle Salty

Survis and Magee decided to go surfing.

Surfhole Butters

McGarry, 5-0

Magee got up a few times...and down a few times.

Surfs Up

Surfs Down

Friday, September 21, 2007

Goin' Mobile

It's a day off in Atlantic City, so I'm setting up my mobile studio to learn some more about Pro Tools. I've been doing a lot of reading at various audio forums and have learned a bit about the features and limitations of Pro Tools 7.3 in general, and it's time for another chapter or two on the specifics.

I've written a couple of tunes - or partial tunes - due to the inspiration of having a recording rig I can set up in about ten minutes time, so I'm thinking this needs to be a permanent part of my road trip pack. I bought a 320gig Western Digital My Book hard drive at the Apple store in Toronto, so my Audio Drive dilemma is solved.

I had been recording audio to my internal drive, which is strongly not recommended by every article and book on the subject, but I did it any way, knowing that an external drive was in my plans. I think that even though I only recorded a total of six minutes of music, it screwed up my programs and after transferring the files to the My Book HD, I re-installed the Black Box drivers and the complete Pro Tools program since I was getting the "not enough CPU to do a damn thing" pop-up every time I switched screen views from Edit to Mix. Lesson learned.

Here's the rig as I set it up in my room:

MacBook Pro, with 2.16gHz Intel Core Duo processor, 120gig/7200rpm internal hard drive, and 2GB RAM running Pro Tools M-Powered 7.3 with the M-Audio Guitar Box Pro package with extra plug-ins.

Western Digital My Book
Firewire 400 hard drive 320GB, 7200rpm. That weird red thing plugged into the side of the MacBook is a dongle, which is a copy protection device that allows you to use Pro Tools and all of your plugs on authorized computers. It's called an iLok, and inserts into a USB port.

M-Audio Black Box guitar performance/recording system. This amazingly handy little box is a combination guitar and bass amp modeler, drum machine, multi-effects unit, and USB 2.0 computer interface, with a mic pre. It also functions as an audio mixer.

Peripherals: Sony MDR-V6 headphones, a consumer version of the pro 7506 model. Sounds great, saves on lugging around studio monitors. The "Pro Tools For Musicians and Songwriters" book, and a handy pen and Moleskine journal for writing things down the old fashioned way.

As you can see. all of this can be stuffed into a backpack, though I am using a sturdy Pelican Case to tote it around the country. It's nearly as powerful as my home computer recording rig, and I can take it anywhere and be recording audio in ten minutes, tops.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Still, Here

Well, that was a nice respite from blogging, unintentional as it may have been. I'm sitting in a hotel room in Toronto, Canada at the moment, on a beautiful sunny day and I plan on heading outside soon. Before I do, I thought I'd update you as to why I have not updated you.

I have not kept up my posts for a while, simply because there was nothing much to report. The band is sounding great, a few new songs are popping up in the set but that's about it. No exciting revelations or dreadful disasters to relay.

I brought my beloved Fender Esquire out on this run and have been spending what used to be blogging time practicing and recording some ideas. I got the Pro Tools rig installed on my MacBook Pro with no problems and have been using the days off to learn the program using Gina Fant-Saez' book "Pro Tools For Musicians and Songwriters". It is an excellent tutorial, focusing on the most needed/useful features of Pro Tools without digging into what is a very deep software app. That is quite a feat, and she does it very well.

I am getting re-interested in finishing my instrumental album this year. I have 3 or 4 songs cut or at least demo-ed, and I think I can work up a few more in the next couple of months. This tour ends at the end of September, and I have no definite plans to do any shows as a tech after that until the new year. I do want to play many shows as a guitarist during that time, and that is why I am getting my songs and chops together out here on the road.

I've charged my camera battery and will start taking photos again, so look for more regular posts on this site in the coming days and weeks.