General Commentry

geoff’s general blog comments

Avid Pro Tools HDX with 16 Channel HD I/O Interface

avid_pro_tools_hdx_hd-io_system_fI recently updated to Avid Pro Tools HDX system, retiring my much loved and used TDM system.  Audio quality, processing, latency and sonic quality are all far superior to the old system.  Add to the mix, an upgrade to Pro Tools 11 and I can definitely say that projects benefit from the added quality, clocking and features of the new cards, interface and software.  An added bonus is the ability to integrate completely all of my analog gear easily and quickly into Pro Tools mix projects.

Sound of Ice Melting

I have been looking for a while to give credit for the installation art that I took a photo of at the top of my site – and finally found it. The work is by Paul Koss and is titled Sound of Ice Melting (1970). This particular installation (and photo) was in the foyer of the Guggenheim museum, New York in March 2009 as part of The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia 1860-1989 exhibition.  It incorporates eight microphones focused at two twenty-five-pound blocks of melting ice.

The viewer is invited to “listen” to the sound of ice melting, which is a way of slowing down the mind to become aware of one’s ambient environment as a live sonic event.

Bindi Irwin – Kidfitness II Aria Nomination


Well, Bindi’s Kidfitness II – Jungle Dance Party has been nominated for an Aria. It has been nominated in the Best Children’s Album category. Unfortunately there is also a Wiggles album nominated 🙁 Winners are announced on the 26th November – let’s hope it is second time lucky.

Check it out at the Aria Awards nominations site. It seems Bindi also has her own website now too.

Farmhouse Studio Renovation

I have been in working with Mark McDuff renovating Farmhouse Studio. New furniture, new wiring, new Digi Icon D-Command Control surface plus a new lick of paint on the floor. It’s looking great!

This week saw us purchase a new Inte I7 Nehlam 2.6ghz Computer.  This was due to Mark purchasing East West’s Composer Collection.  Now the background with this has been, for years Gigasampler was the primary source for orchestral sounds for the projects we did.  With Tascam now discontinuing support for Giga, and Vienna Symphonic Library require a lot of $$$ to update to the new Vienna system, the choice to change over to East West’s Orchestra was made.  We would still use the VSL on the Giga computer as a supplement.

Now all of this was supposed to work fine on Mark’s dual-quad core Mac Pro with 16gig of memory.  However the problem with apple marketing lends you to believe that 10.5 is a 64bit operating system allowing you to use 16gig of memory in a program.  It is actually true, however one problem is that Logic IS NOT natively a 64bit programme, hence you cannot use more than about 3.9gig of memory.  Logic alone takes up approx 1.9gig of memory, not leaving a\lot of the 3.9gig left for samples.

Enter Plogue Bidule.  This is a fantastic program that can be rewired into Logic.  This allows you to use another set of 3.9gig on top of the 3.9 gig in Logic.  Not too bad.  However some problems when changing Logic sessions with rewire crashing, and some performance issues with Play (East West’s sample playback engine) led us to go back to our original concept of running separate computers to generate different sounds.  The holy grail of one computer, one programme, producing all sounds is still a far off dream it seems.  At least until the migration to full 64bit systems and 3rd party software are realised.

Next twist, Play is a 64bit native application.  Yay! However it is only truly 64bit on a Windows system.  The OS X version will allow you to load plugins into ram above 3.9gig, but not utilise streaming instruments, which is where all the power actually lies.  So you cannot load a Steinway piano into ram (52gig!).  Ok, Intel release I7 processor which is amazing by all accounts so we decided to go with it.  In addition to the blazing processor speed, memory bandwidth is far superior by utilising DDR-3 memory in a triple channel configuration.  This means you need to load ram in groups of 3 to fully utilitise the memory bandwidth.  I chose the Asus board which has 6 slots, all filled with 1600mhz 2gig sticks for a total of 12gig.  This is all running on Vista Business 64bit

Now, Plogue Bidule can run native 64bit so SHOULD be able to use Play natively addressing all the 12gig that we put into the I7.  However, we had no end of problems with Play in Plogue Bidule on Vista x64.  As soon as I wired the outputs of play to the asio sound card it would crash.  Other 64bit (x64) VST instruments would load and play fine.  The graphic of Play also seemed to be a little corrupted, but this could also be related to how it was playing.  This was through a different sound card.  Utter despair!

Well, Play is 64bit native on the PC so we could at least load up to 16 instruments in one play performance.  So all was not lost.  However, the way Play standalone works to “save your setup” is archaeic.  It is literally crap, so it was quickly becoming a non-event.  I think there was even mention of going back to Vista 32 to get something that would work by this stage…

more to come

Recording New Carisma Album

This week I was in the studio recording Carisma at Ghostgum Audio for their upcoming 2009 Release Album on ABC Classics.  The trio of Flute, Harp and Cello offer a unique blend in this upcoming Celtic Album.   David Jones (drums & percussion) is a guest performer with the group, adding to his appearance on their last album Lily’s Eyes.  Editting and mixing will take place in the next couple of weeks.