Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010 - A Tad Behind - Almost Done

Hello and Happy New Year 2010. Wow, where did three years go? Three years? What is the significance? Well, I began ordering recording studio gear and instruments three years ago. The original idea of putting a project studio inside of a small 27-foot motor home was much more than I bargained for, but I made it work. I am looking at cameras so I can take new photos which reflect a totally different studio scene compared to ANY of the previous pictures. First off, the 4416 is where the 01X mixer used to be. The 01X is where the MacBook used to be. The 30-inch LCD got replaced by a 37-inch LED, near-field monitors are finally in the picture for mixdowns. I still have my Takamine 12-string guitar but the Ibanzez AEL2012 is the bomb! And the VoiceLive2 vocal processor has been really stealing the show lately, along with the MOTIF_XS being used as my soundcard. The versatility of having OPTIONS cannot be stressed enough. It's great to be able to jack directly into the 4416 recording console without having anything to do with a computer. Using the 01X is very much like that as well for it serves as a serious standalone hardware mixer and DSP without a computer. Yet, 01X and LogicPro9 on the MacBook is an easy to use awesome recording environment that is fully automated, and of course, having the mixer automation and hardware DSP of the 01X while using LogicPro9 cannot be stressed enough. It's nice not having to EVER use a mouse much. Using the 4416 tends to get the trackball into action on its myriad of data screesn. The 4416 is basically Yamaha's O2R mixer with a 16-track hard disc recorder strapped onto its back.

I've received emails and other queries as to how does one go back in time to read about or see photos of what I am doing with the studio. It's very simple. On my blog page not my blog on Facebook or elsewhere, but the Blogger blog with the black background and HHNET logo at top that says, "BLOG" sporting colorful icons down the right hand pane. Okay, at the top is a search box by the orange "B". You can simply type words like: studio or recording or 4416 or 01x or MOTIF etc. Those searches will render significant results.

Speaking of which just in the past week or so I've received nearly a dozen inqueries about photos. Well the only photos I have are OLD. I need to purchase a new camera so I can take new photos. I promise this is coming. So I have reposted some of the original studio photos below and captioned them appropriately. Hopefully, for now, this will satisfy your curiosity.

This was before removing the RV chairs. Also, this was the first official recording test using the Yamaha 01x jacked into Mackie's Tracktion3 DAW. Talk about fun! I literally had to climb into the cockpit like John Glenn's, "Friendship 7" space capsule!

Chairs and center table removed. Table installed. 30-inch moved. MacBook not here yet. Table not drilled for 01x mixer or any cabling. Notice VoiceLive_1 at end and QY-20 up front. Near-field reference monitors not here yet. But studio is functional due to the overwhelming power of the Yamaha MOTIF_XS sampling workstation.

Table drilled, 01x mounted on mixer stand uprising through table. MacBook is here. LogicPro8 functional. Near-field monitors not here yet. VoiceLive2 not here yet. Ibanez 12-string not here yet. Currently, AW4416 console now where 01x is. 01x is on 2nd mixer stand where the MacBook is shown here. MacBook is on table corner in the right of this photo. New trackball not shown which is used with 4416 console. Since this picture have gone through 2 wireless mice already. Finding the right one for the job. 30-inch LCD has been replaced by LG 37-inch LED. Lots of changes!

I fudged a bit on this panoramic, but you get the idea. Now with the AW4416 on the left and the 01x on the right, with the RODE NT1A jacked through the TC-Helicon VoiceLive2 pre-fader this studio has loads of options, DSP and routing up the whazoo! Note the "backlit" Yamaha 16-track QY-100 "backlit" sequencer. Also take notice of the Q-Mic scissor-boom supporting the RODE NT1A. Additionally, the RODE is routed via a Monster gold XLR-Y cable so it can be use on both mixing consoles and both MIC-PRES, pre-fader, without the need for a patchbay or cable maintenance.

[click photo see read text] Interestingly enough, this organization chart which was created 4 years ago [1 year before purchasing equipment] reflects 95%+ of my current setup. The LCD monitor got replaced. The VoiceLive1 is now used for foleyFX and was replaced by VoiceLive2 as my primary vocal processor. The 2009 MacBook has replaced the Core 2 Duo PC. LogicPro9 replaced other DAWs. However, Cubase_AI4 remains. JBL EONs have not been purchased. I will purchase sound reinforcement in 2011. VisualSONIX™ which began in 1992 will not be my record label. I decided my record label will be NASAV_studios™, and my artist name appropriately, HappyHarryNET™.


The MOTIF_XS is the backbone of my studio. This synthesizer sampling workstation serves many purposes and has outstanding connectibility including USB, mLAN firewire, Ethernet, TRS, and S/PDIF. On its own, the MOTIF can completely manage multi-track recording via both its onboard 1GB sampler or direct to USB memory WAV recording. The XP sports tons of gorgeous instrument samples and over 6,000 arpeggios for constructing and playing live musical styles which can be recorded into patterns and songs. Although the XS is a very complicated device, it is VERY intuitive and fun to use - and very easy on the ears.

IThe i3 is a wonderful arranger keyboard workstation. I bought mine in 1995 and it was ahead of its time and cost $2500 dollars which is now the commanding price of the MOTIF_XS6. The i3 is also a MIDI master controller and MIDI arranger/computer. I use the i3 to feed the XS rhythms on the fly, very similar to that of the Yamaha QY-100 but with easier access to MIDI control with dedicated buttons up on the deck.

The Yamaha QY-100 is a powerful 16-track, portable sequencer. This unit is handy for composing musical ideas away from your studio, or when relaxing in bed or remotely say at a coffee shop. Also, the QY spits out real nice XG-MIDI compatible sequences which feed the MOTIF_XS and are lots of fun to make instrument assignments and create a good mix. Also [and this is a big deal] my QY-100 is backlit. This is NOT a factory feature and really assists with viewing the screen during use.


The Yamaha 01x is a 24-channel, standalone, fully automated, digital, hardware mixer with world class quality hardware DSP onboard. This mixer can be used remotely and it's mixes can be taken back to the computer for immediate integration. Motorized faders and total recall via Studio Manager serves as a superior control surface when using DAWs such as Logic which is hardwired to every 01x function, including [SCRUB]. Having MIDI, USB, S/PDIF and firewire allows the 01X alot of flexibility, connection and routing options with literally no brick walls.

The Yamaha AW4416 is now nine year old technology. However, this unit brings Yamaha's O2R mixer with a 16-track hard disk recorder attached. Taking the 01x a step further, the 4416 has [AUTOMIX] which allows for incredible, unparalleled mixing options. Along with it's 56-bit internal precision, the 4416 spits out gorgeous 32-bit DSP. Unlike the 01x, the 4416 sports I/O expansion. I upgraded 1-slot with a Waves Y56K DSP card. It's 48-bit precision provides an astounding 8 chains of FX with 5 FX in each chain. Sporting two Motorola processors spin a whopping 2 Billion DSP operations per second! Keep in mind this hardware DSP has now been replaced by software on high end computer DAWs in modern recording studios. But, it's the identical technology record companies have been using for decades!


Click to see/read larger image. The Waves Y56K is nothing less than a dream come true for anyone wanting to have nothing less than actual-studio-quality DSP at home inside your recording console. This is the real deal, it's complicated, it takes time to learn, and it's worth every second of effort. The Y56K could easily replace common mastering tools. But, it also shines by providing DSP tools to bring out those vocals in your mix, remove sibilance and add punch to audio that otherwise would just be considered high-quality instead of sounding, "stellar".


TC-Helicon VoiceLive 2 now reigns in the vocal processor arena. This astounding harmony unit covers a lot of bases. First you have adaptive EQ which is a fancy way of saying you can press one button and the machine will then provide you with a mixing engineer who will manage your mic input by the nano-second. You can sing solo along with your guitar or keyboard OR you can unleash up to EIGHT harmonies including both genders. USB connectivity allows the VL2 to connect to DAW for your vocal command central. You can alter vocal processing and harmonies before and after the fact. This is a feature was previously accomplished only by overdubbing. Now it can be done in real time OR you can lay down a MIDI track and sit at your mixing console trying hundreds of vocal harmony arrangements on your tracks. Of course, it goes without saying, having used VL2 in your recordings, allows you to take your "signature sound" with you to your gigs. Whether it be Christmas at grandma's, the local pub or full stage performances, VoiceLive2 is up and running in seconds and provides, stellar consistency. VL2's technology is so good, that your singing will majorly improve. $1000 MSRP and worth every penny.

ART Tube MP StudioV3 is a fantastic value for $75 dollars. This tube mic-preamp is enough to spice up any mic-pre's that you have that need a jolt. Additionally, it has a variety of adjustable options which change the "color" of your sound which is very useful. If you don't have $800 dollars for a UA Solo 610, get a V3. For the record, I a going to purchase a UA Solo 610. Best single-channel-strip mic-preamp in the world.


[click photo see full image] The Ibanez AEL2012 is a great 12-string. Sporting Fishman Sonicore pickups and Ibanez AEQ-SST Shape Shifter preamp with onboard tuner this guitar can electrically play acoustically neutral or hot, raw, electric! This guitar has Ivorex_II nuts which are much stronger and more durable than bone. Ivorex_II allows brilliant highs and more pronounced lows with less mid-range. I know this sounds like an ad, but after playing this guitar for 10 minutes, I can attest to this statement being true. This guitar has great intonation and holds it's tune well with new strings. Keep in mind that I am a very aggressive and fast rhythm guitar player. So my instruments gets a workout! I also appreciate the 1/4-inch and XLR outputs for versatility and options.


Without spending $2,500 dollars the RODE NT1A is the quietest microphone available with 5dbA self noise and a whopping 137db SPL for under $350 dollars.

After scouring for quality and durability, I found the Q-Mic Pro
scissor-boom with heavy duty springs manages the job. Period.

In my recording space the Q-Mic 9-inch concave pop-filter does the job. You can see the Q-Mic rig setup in the photo below.

IAudio-Technica's ATM75 phantom powered condensor head-mic provides high quality and response while offering the convience of moving your head and body around during recording sessions. Although the ATM75 is no match for the RODE NT1A, except for "in your face vocal recording" you would be hard pressed to identify which mic recorded what in a mix.

A VERY functional recording studio using 6 ft x 5 ft of space!



Thursday, January 07, 2010

Happy New Year - Dancing Girl is back!

The site got busy and I had other focus so I yanked my dancing girL. At one point in time it was a moral decision to maintain a G-rated website. But, although minors do visit my website the fact remains, the majority of traffic to my site are in fact adults. Dancing girl began way back when in Florida. I knew a friend who was a dancer and I basically hired her so I could shoot 2 minutes of video that I could splice up and create a WMV animation that would play in 20 seconds when connected to the Internet using a 56k modem. True story. This flash dancing girl, I do not know who the author is. I spent appropriate time trying to find the author of this fine animation. If and when they come forward I will be glad to give them proper credit or remove the animation if that be their choice. Nevertheless, it is 2010 and dancing girL is back! • Happy New Year 2010 to each and every one of you!

Overall I am pleased with my web updates. Afterall, I have been dredging up ten year old sites and bringing them up to speed with the new theme. But, admittedly I am behind already. Hopefully all sites will be updated by Valentines Day.

Which reminds me, I want to revert back to adding holiday icons for the seasonal holidays. This adds a nice touch to the site and lets users know the site, is in fact, being updated. Right now, my thrust is writing and recording music. But, I conti
nue to edit my sites as needed.

Most recently I added additional content to HHNET with Dan's PowerPoints. Dan Shalit is a good friend of mine who I met on Paltalk Messenger. He lives in Israel and sends me PowerPoint slideshows. I had also been saving some from emails and decided these animations should get a new type of exposure. So take a look. You can play them on PC or Mac and using NeoOffice on Mac works fine with one glitch, the music stops when you advance to frame 2. Still, I was glad to offer MacOS support. See for yourself.

Click to see Dan's page

Until next time, may the wind be at your back.