Line 6 Tone Port

September 23rd, 2005

Line 6 is introducing a new USB audio interface called the TonePort, which I also had the chance to see at the Reason 3.0 demo at GC. It’s more than just an audio interface because it features mic and instrument inputs which can be directed through some amplifier and microphone simulator plugins that emulate some of the classics.

After the Reason demo, Hayden grabbed a guitar (afterall it was “Guitar Center”) and plugged it in to give us a demo of the amp and distortion effect simulators. For the price ($129) including the software this is a killer deal. It’s worth it for audio interface alone!

The Neoverse

September 18th, 2005
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After way too much time, I finally had the opportunity to meet Josh Mobley aka Neoverse. Josh has been in LA all summer working on the soundtrack for the show WANTED on TNT. It was a last minute deal where I had a loaner car for the weekend while my baby was in the shop, so I drove the 300 miles down to LA to meet up with him.

We hung out at the Studio where he’s working and he showed me some of his Pro Tools sessions for the show. The most impressive part was when he started playing out some live drums on Reason Drum Kits through his Kontrol49. He was coming up with some killer breaks - in real time!

Despite spending more time in LA than I ever have, Josh had not really seen the sites. So I suggested we cruise around a bit. We did all of the normal sites like cruising sunset blvd on Saturday Night, Up around Griffith Park, and Muholland, and that’s when I got lost. Eventually we made it to downtown LA, and I was going to take wilshire back to Century City where we were stayin, but tthere were roadbloacks for some film shoot, and the series of turns i had to make sent us into East LA where once again, I was seriously Lost. Josh starteded to get a little worried when we passed a few store with some LAPD cruisers at the scene of some crime. There were also a couple of police choppers overhead with their spotlights seeking out something. Finally we managed to get out of the dogdy area, and took the long way around to Century City (via pasadena then a U-turn then back down through LA). Next time… i’m taking the car with GPS.

I had to drive back up so I put on about 700 miles on that loaner in the span of 30 hours :-)

ReBirth RB-338  MacOS X Classic Mode

September 12th, 2005

To some surprise, ReBirth does run in OSX Classic mode with certain limitations. If you want to use ReBirth on a Mac, ultimately it’s best to use an older system that supports MacOS 9.2.2 with OMS for MIDI support and compatibility with certain audio interfaces. ReWire is not supported when running ReBirth in Classic Mode, and ReBirth will not interface with Reason 3.0 in OSX. Another limitation exists with MacOS X Classic mode and audio interfaces, and ReBirth in Classic mode will only function with built-in audio ports of Apple machines. Trust me, this is not impossible, but it might not be as convenient as it was in 1997.

Classic Mode Install

Before you start, you must have a MacOS 9.2.2 installed on your hard drive. For most new systems, you should have a CD-Rom called “Additional Software & Apple Hardware Test” which contains the installer for a Classic System.

Once classic mode is installed you can launch MacOS 9 from the system preferences menu in the System/Classic item.

Installing ReBirth

You will need is the ReBirth RB-338 image file for MacOS. This is the file that ends with the “.img” or “.cdr” extension. These are available on the bittorrents issued from the ReBirth Museum. There are two downloads available for Mac users and both will work for installing and running ReBirth in OSX. If you plan to install ReBirth on a dedicated MacOS 9 machine, download the “.img” file.

Once you have an image file on your system, simply double click it, and Disk Utility will mount the CD-Rom on your desktop. Within the the ReBirth RB-338 2.0 CD, you will find the installer. Double click on the install package, and install the application on your system. Launching the ReBirth installer will automatically start up Classic Mode. Proceed with the process and install ReBirth in your applications folder.

Now simply launch ReBirth…unless you have an audio interface… then check the next paragraph.

Sound Card Issue

Audio Interfaces may not be fully compatible with Mac OS X Classic Mode, and if you launch ReBirth, you may encounter an error that states “ReBirth RB-338 can not access any sound card. It/they might be in use by other application(s).” You will be prompted to Quit. It seems that classic mode only finds built-in audio appealing, and you will not be able to run ReBirth through some audio interfaces.

First Shut down Classic Mode, and then open the Audio MIDI Setup Utility (found in the applications\utilities directory). Set the default output to “ Built-in Audio”, and then Relaunch Classic Mode. Now ReBirth will find a suitable audio port and get past the pesky sound card check.

Optimizing the Prefs

Once ReBirth is running, access the Preferences found in the Edit Menu. Set the sound manager audio settings to “Crackle Safe”, and the buffer size to “1/8(512)”. Other settings may work, but you may encounter problems with the GUI animation and occasional audio glitches (I know some of you will think this is cool… try setting the buffer to 8(32768) for some nasty audio glitching).

Memory Settings

For those who never experienced MacOS 9, the operating system features settings which allow you to dedicate how much memory is used by each application. Classic Applications still feature this setting, and if you intend to install a lot of ReBirth Mods, you must change the memory allocation to accommodate the extra samples and graphics.

Quit ReBirth and find the application in the ReBirth RB-338 2.0 directory. Click on ReBirth RB-338 (only one click) to select it and select “Get Info” from the File Menu. Expand the “Memory” pane by clicking on the fold down icon (triangle) and set the Preferred Size to a value of 65000 or greater. This will allocate 64megs of ram to ReBirth which should handle all of the mods available from this site as well as the ReBirth Museum. Close the info window, and relaunch ReBirth.

Alternate Connections

Despite the limitations like a lack of audio hardware support and midi, it’s still nice to take a look back at the old mods. One option is to connect the built-in audio outputs to your audio interface. If you’re interface has lightpipe S/PDIF inputs, you can route built-in audio via a fiberoptic cable from your new generation G5 or Powerbook. Yes these are limitations, but it should be reassuring that it’s still possible to use ReBirth!

ReBirth Museum

September 3rd, 2005

Well, I learned about the interesting musical history of New Orleans, LA through my research for the ReBirth Museum, a new website from the Props dedicated to my old friend, the RB-338. For the last couple of months, I’ve been putting together the site content. Obviously, I went a little overboard in the research department, but it was worthwhile and has started my new interest in music and recording history. The hardest part was trying to remember all of the things that happened back in 1997 and the people involved in the community and the events through the early years of the Propellerheads. The interviews with the props were a difficult task as well…most of them were on holdiay during this time. Fredrik Hägglund designed the site and transformed the content into the fantastic website.

It’s been a fun trip down memory (or lack of memory) lane. The time of ReBirth was unique, and I’m grateful for the opportunities and friendships I’ve formed from this bit of computer code. As a final gesture, the props have made ReBirth v2.0.1 a free download. There will be no more support, or updates…not even the Mac OS X version. I’ll be hanging out on the messageboard there for a bit to lend a hand to anyone needing some help with the install or finding mods and stuff.

Having heard rumors that ReBirth runs in Classic mode on Tiger, I finally installed it-after a massive back-up effort. Sure enough, ReBirth 2.0.1 runs in classic, but only when using the system audio outputs. I’ve routed the digital audio output into the audio interface so that i can monitor the signal. At first, the playback and latency seemed pretty dismal until i changed the RB prefs to the minimal latency settings. To my surprise, it works pretty solidly. Since it’s only been a few days, i haven’t sorted out a support doc for the museum site. I’ll see about putting one together for anyone interested.

As another token to ReBirth, I’ve dug up some old MP3 files of songs I made back in the day and posted them up on a Vintage ReBirth Song Page. It’s quite funny to listen to these old tracks. I can’t beleive how much patience I had back then. It was a different time, and being part of the ReBirth community was a lot of fun.

Power Tools for Reason 3.0

September 3rd, 2005

Well, it’s done. It was finished months ago, but I went straight into the RB museum project and simply haven’t had any time to break and post any announcement. I’m hoping that the release date will be on schedule, but I’m hesistant about this since I have yet to receive proofs to look over. I’m guessing that it might not ship until October. I guess I will know more soon. My cousin Miles and Tamiko set me up with a new flashy website for the book where you can get a preview along with some very cool desktop images and icons (these come with the book too!):

Have a look at PT-Reason.com

Farewell Bob Moog

September 3rd, 2005
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As if the circumstances in the Gulf were not bad enough, but the news of Bob Moog’s passing was also quite a sad event. Having known about his condition for quite some time, this did not come as a surprise, but it does weigh heavy considering that Dr. Moog’s achievements have influenced so many and spawned the industry of electronic music.

Bottom Line: you wouldn’t be reading this page we’re it not for Bob!

NO • LA

September 3rd, 2005

Well, it’s been a long time since my last entry. I guess people have figured out the pattern that when I’m busy with something else, I neglect to update the site or devise more content. Because music is the main theme of this site, the current situation throughout the Gulf Coast Region affected by Hurricane Katrina is a relevant issue. Besides my personal ties to friends and their families in the area (Shaun, Ilsa, Charlie, Bob - my thoughts are with you), the city of New Orleans has been a such a vital part of music–more than I ever realized.

French plantation owners allowed slaves to delve into the arts and music. These musicians became part of life in New Orleans–performing in marching bands for parties and parades, and even in an all black symphony orchestra formed in the 1830s. The musical heritage of New Orleans led to the development of the traditions of jazz and blues.

The early traditions of jazz usually go unrecognized for their influence in the recording industry. Early recordings were limited by the duration (3 minutes) and fidelity of the 10-inch 78 records. Artists, like Louis Armstrong developed compositions and performance techniques that worked around these restrictions and developed ‘really old-school’ dance records. Vocal Artists and lyricists developed blues recordings in a similar manner which established vocal stylizing and formats that have lasted through the century. There is a connection between these traditions and current electronic/dance music, and the heritage of our DJ Culture can be traced back to New Orleans.

So next time you’re downloading that ripped album, think about that 10 to 20 bucks you saved and perhaps send it along to the American Red Cross or some other worthwhile charity helping out those in need. (crap…you’re probably immune to guilt tactics :-)