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Journeys and Migrations

It was a big weekend here at Make Noise Studios with a slew of changes. I implemented a new Mac mini with 2.0GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processors, 8GB of memory, and 2X750GB 7200 rpm drives as a standalone recording machine. The MacBook Pro has been recommissioned as my general purpose computing device. The Mac mini is a screaming machine!

I've found myself growing frustrated with Avid's, the maker of Pro Tools, lack of responsiveness to Apple's operating system upgrades and a general sense of declining stability with new releases. Quickly on the heels of my upgrade to v9, which took a bit to bake in before stability emerged, I was faced with another upgrade to v10. This upgrade didn't go well either, so I downgraded to v9 for the time being. That being the straw that broke the camel's back, I installed Logic Pro v9.1.6 and, for good measure, MainStage v2.2, both of which are now available in the App Store at attractive price points. I've been thinking about adding Logic Pro to the tool kit for quite some time. It is my intent to become fluent in Logic Pro but reserve the option to port my sessions to Pro Tools prior to final mixing in the studio.

I also added another Arturia plugin to my virtual instrument arsenal, the Oberheim SEM V. It's another classic synth tool along with the Arturia minimoog V. Both instruments sound ridiculously good.

Excepting the Pro Tools v10 issue, the conversion to the Mac mini was pretty painless. I tested all of my major components, including SooperLooper inside of Ableton Live, and I couldn't make the machine break a sweat.

This evening I began tackling Logic Pro in earnest. While the concepts are similar to any DAW, the workflow is different than Pro Tools. A bit of experimentation yielded a bit of confusion before I decided to RTFM, or more accurately, skim it. Light bulbs gradually rheostat-ed up and I was able to track some guitar and Oberheim in a test song. My instruments of choice were the 2008 Box Guitars SRB-640 12 String and the 2006 Godin xtSA to control the Oberheim plugin. I recorded three tracks with the Box Guitar; a chord pattern, a melody, and bass line achieved with a pitch shifter. I used the Oberheim plugin on a fourth track, loosely following the bass line. The experiment was a successful first step, much learning awaits.

The method this evening was to plug the Box Guitar straight into the mBox and use amp plugins inside of Logic Pro. I'm intrigued by this approach and expect to use it regularly. I'm also fascinated by leveraging my array of classic and modern analog and digital effects devices in front of the Pod X3 Pro running only amp/cab/mic models, a more traditional guitar chain with POD simply replacing the amp/cab/mic. I suspect I'll be using both of these techniques, along with a heaping helping of post recording manipulating, filtering, and mangling. I'll be working with both models over the next several days.

Surely, dear reader, I wouldn't be doing this heavy lifting if I weren't going to be doing something soon, would I?

blog for the music of Loren Claypool



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