Producers Conference - Los Angeles

April 20th, 2007

Ok, I’m about ready to head down to LA for the Producers Conference Tomorrow. I’ve been working on my modular synthesis in Reason presentation this week. It’s still a bit rough around the edges and I’m still getting the hang of coordinating my presentation with the dialogue. A bit of anxiety always creeps up before these public engagements, but I think things will go pretty smoothly.

Please visit the props site for more information about the event:

Metasonix TM7 Robotspeak Limited Edition

April 2nd, 2007

I was tempted to post this on April 1, because it sounds pretty ridiculous. The following post is real - No foolin’, suckah! However, If you’re easily offended by graphic language, please don’t read this entry or follow the links.


ok, you’ve been warned.

Eric Barbour is known for some pretty wild music electronics based on vacuum tubes, and the recent addition to his Metasonix catalog is the TM-7 Ultra Distortion Scrotum Smasher. Complete with controls like “Scrotum Up Ya Ass” and a “Double Scrotum” toggle switch to go from “Teabag” to “Blue Balls”.

So what the heck is this thing? To quote the creator, “The TM-7 is basically a mean, angry guitar preamp made of three vacuum tubes. Plus a feedback loop which makes the preamp unstable. There is nothing else like it. No, it does not sound like a Death By Audio pedal. No, it won’t make you sound like Steve Vai. It is unsuitable for 80s nostalgia cover bands, unless they like to do industrial versions of Duran Duran. Scrotum.”

The TM-7 can generate some very cool tube saturation when the “Smash” switch is engaged and the third tube is introduced into the circuit. The “Double Scrotum” switch controls a feedback loop which causes the unit to self-oscillate in a pretty horrible way that sounds like some kind of squealing animal. It’s a different kind of resonance that I personally wouldn’t use all the time, but toggling the feedback in and out results in some cool effects.

Even though the output of the TM-7 has been designed to work better with squalid-state devices, I found that running it into a transformer D.I. works better. I was getting some horribly uncontrollable clipping when running it straight into an audio interface, but running it through a St.Ives transformer (in a homemade passive d.i.), kept the levels fairly stable. The following clip is a little tweaking done with a TR-808 going into a Moog MF-101 into the TM-7 through the D.I.:


Back to Old School

March 29th, 2007

For the past month or so, I’ve been helping my friend, Goh Nakamura, work on some stuff for his next album. Bear in mind that Goh and I are probably at the opposite ends of the musical spectrum. These days, my world is pretty much software and he’s an old school singer/songwriter troubadour, but we both have a bad case of gear lust. We set up a home studio rig in a living room at Goh’s place and I brought in a variety of Mics and Mic Pres and a Valve Compressor, and a couple of EQs so that we could capture a really nice sound of Goh’s singing and guitar playing. We eventually got the right sound after a bit of toying with sound treatment along with some Tube Traps.


Last week, Tim Bulkley was in town from New York for some gigs, and we ended up tracking Tim on several songs at Open Path Studio in San Jose. Since we had access to some nice vintage gear, including our REDD.47 pres, and a modified Altec (Len Page specs) I decided to see if we could get that ‘ringo’ sound on Tim’s drums. We ran a U47 FET on the kick, and a U87 on the mono overhead through the pre’s and managed to dial up a nice vintage mono drum sound.

As a backup, Lee, Open Path’s engineer, setup a standard stereo overhead and close mic setup to have some options down the road. We managed to knock out 6 tracks that day. The tracks are currently stewing and I haven’t had the chance to listen to them closely yet, but the initial rough mixes are starting to sound pretty good.

Biggest Reason Laptop Jam Yet!

March 10th, 2007

The last Reason Laptop JAM was bigger than expected which turned out to be a mixed blessing. It was great to have a large turnout, and surprising to see so many Reason users in the Silicon Valley area who were up for the challenge. We even had one fellow Reason user come out from way out in the Central Valley - Fresno! Special Thanks to Tony (Cubricon) for organizing the location at his school, Cogswell Polytechnical College in Sunnyvale.

It seemed like the first 90 minutes or so we were plagued by technical issues. Darrin W. and I both had recently acquired Novation Remote SL61 keyboards and could not get MIDI Sync running properly. Ed had a new MacBook Pro and couldn’t get his MIDI drivers working. Nick and Marc also had driver problems on their PCs, and the real kicker was troubleshooting MIDI to find out that I had plugged them into the wrong sockets. Such are the woes of dealing with electronic music and MIDI.

Eventually things were working right and we managed to get a few moments where things fell right into place. These are definitely learning experiences, and each event seems to get a bit more interesting.

You can see a few picts from the event and past events here:
Peff’s Laptop Jam Pics

PTR3 Essential Shortcuts & Control Voltages Chapters Online

February 23rd, 2007

Since the acquisition of Backbeat Books by the Hal Leonard Corporation, a few changes have been made and most of the first two chapters from Power Tools for Reason 3.0 are now available online for preview. Essential Shortcuts covers some of the main time saving features you can employ like learning Key Commands and File Management. Control Voltages is probably the most important chapter in the book since it covers the basics of understanding CV and Gate routing in Reason. I always suggest that people read through and do the projects in the Control Voltage Chapter and the Audio Routing Chapter first before attempting to jump ahead.

Preview PTR3 on Google Books

Search World Cat to find a Library that has PTR3

SFBARUG LaptopJAM March 3

February 15th, 2007

The San Francisco Bay Area Reason User Group is planning a Reason LaptopJAM on Saturday, March 3, 2007 from 6pm to 10pm or later. This session will be held in the South Bay in Sunnyvale.

This is a semi-private event. The location details are disclosed to Registered Reason Users who RSVP in advance. To receive an invitation and to be added to the group roster, please contact Ed Bauman.

EditEd4TV (at) yahoo (dot) com

More Information

Follow this link to read more about equipment needed and how the session is organized:


San Francisco Bay Area Reason User Group


The SF Bay Area Reason User Group is a community of Reason enthusiasts who were originally acquainted through the Propellerhead Software Website forum.

In 2005, we started organizing dinners to meet up and chat about music software and audio technology periodically. This is the same thing we do over the internet, but with food and drinks rather than networks and servers.

Hami’s RB-303 Skins

February 11th, 2007

Hami is a busy man, but he’s good and it’s usually worth the wait. Sure enough the new RB-303 skins are really cool. These will replace the old skins I made for the 030-RB-303 refill. The new GUI has the look of a Roland TR-909 and not much like a TB-303. Click on the image for a full size view of the interface.

There are custom skins for all of the devices in the RB-303 refill including the PCF and Linear Pan Delay effects. Also, a couple of custom skins for the 808 and 909 combis from the ReBirth RB-338 Refill are included for a different look. Once nice touch is the cartridge graphics that display the sample set being used.

Now that the skins are finished, I have to go through and do some tweaks before compiling the final version. Version two will remain online here, but the final version will probably go to the propellerhead software archive.