Monday, 7 November 2016

Bring on the trumpets!

Setting up an ad hoc home recording studio means pulling together a lot of disparate things, and it's very much a work in progress.

I tidied up and made space in my room, got a few bits and bobs that I needed such as audio leads and some new guitar strings, and after many trials, I'm starting to get somewhere.

I have 2 PC's. One is a fast modern machine running windows 10, the other is a much lower spec system that's running windows XP. The XP machine is not connected to the internet. This machine has an old soundblaster card that supports playing and recording simultaneously. It will not (and cannot easily be made to) work with windows 7 or later. The modern PC has a soundcard that will not play and record at the same time.

I also have an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar, and some tech that makes these guitars do interesting things. One is an old Boss ME5 multi effects unit. The other is a Fishman Tripleplay midi guitar processor. It turns a guitar into a synthesiser basically.

The midi processor comes with a suite of software that I've only really scratched the surfce of so far. They will not work on the old PC. I want the old pc to have several old programs installed that will allow me to do different things. So far I am having a few problems in this area due to the age of everything. I may have some of it on a CD somewhere, but finding it would require a lot of searching, and may anyway be too damaged to work properly.

Still, I can now play stuff, and get it into the old PC, where it can be recorded as a wave file. I can also play along with what I've done, and record that in real time. All good. The signal can come in either directly from a guitar, or through the effects unit, or from a the midi processor, via the modern pc. The signal coming out of the modern PC can be routed through the effects unit on it's way to the old PC.

The midi thing is a little disappointing, as I've not yet been able to make it all work properly. Depending on which patch I use, it has latency issues (it takes time for it to process what the finger plays, so there is a small delay in actually outputting the sound. There are also a lot of dropped notes and artefacts. Finally, he sound picks up a little interference on it's way through an audio lead from the old PC to the new.

Although I can play and record simultaneously, synchronising the playback of the wave files I'm making is not yet straightforward. I used years ago to have a cracked copy of a program called ACID loops. I cannot find it, nor can I find a copy of it online. There is a free version of it, with limited functionality, but it doesn't work on the old PC.

So, getting somewhere with it,. but not there yet. It's something to have started.

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