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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wreckage


It's official! Computer-based recording sucks! This weekend was our long-awaited jam extravaganza. BKP, John O., and I spent the weekend playing, recording, and hopefully not annoying the neighbors too much. I think we discovered a few things about how not to record, so I will pass my list along to you, dear readers (note: if you're not a geek, you might want to skip this part):


  • Grounding! Grounding! It's all about the grounding! Both my and John's recording interfaces picked up a fair amount of electronic noise of the interference kind. Sometimes it was only annoying; other times, impossible! This really brings up the next point.
  • Laptops suck for recording! Period. Biggest issue? Grounding. (You knew that already.) Secondly, the peripherals architecture on laptops, such as access to disk drives and digital audio interfaces, isn't always up to the same spec as standard desktop workstations. I previously have had issues with my laptop's Firewire port not being fast enough to maintain a connection with my M-Audio FW-410 interface. I had to use a PCMCIA Firewire card to get enough bandwidth. I also had a few times where my external audio disk did not keep up with the audio data rate. Which brings us to..
  • You need a dedicated recording machine, or at least a separate (e.g. dual boot) operating system tuned for recording and NOTHING ELSE. Many of those cool programs you have installed start these background processes that clog your PC's arteries. Ever notice why your machine doesn't run as fast as it used to? It's all that crapware you have installed! If you haven't guessed by now, neither of us have a dedicated recording system. So basically, we paid with hours of time getting the damn things to record.
  • Too many points of failure. Every connection in the system has its potential for bugs. A "closed" recording system is the way to go if you value sanity.
  • With all of the above drawbacks, you might as well just buy a decent desktop with one of those micro-cases for portability, and even then, if you aren't an aspiring geek, my current opinion is that it's a major time suck any way you look at it.

But enough about the troubles! We rocked! I will have one of the improvs up for listening within a month. Yeah, I know, but I am also working on some things for future listening that are extremely exciting.

Speaking of excitement, I just recently reconnected with an old bandmate from Chicago, where I did a 1-gig performance with a band under the name "Sunz of Nunz" (really an alter-ego for the band "Pootly Nautch" under which the band recorded previously). SoN was the brainchild of front man Lew Brickhate, possibly the most hilarious lyricist I have ever heard.

Upcoming releases: I am working on another release from National Holographic, coming in mid-June.

For those of you who of the non-geek persuasion, my apologies for the obscene geek content of this post.

1 comment:

Ted Johnson said...

Hi David,

Your frustrating experience confirms my suspicion that a laptop-based recording system is more prone to problems than a dedicated hard-drive recording system (e.g., ADAT HD). I hope your future sessions are successful so that we'll hear more from Circle of Willis.