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Posts from June 2009

My Studio Setup: 1 Laptop/3 Configurations + Akai APC40 Eye Candy

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Revised 7-3-2009, changes are in red.

For over two years I've been completely laptop based and loving it. Here are some notes on the three configurations I run with my latpop.

First, I'm running an HP DV6500T running Vista, Ableton Live 8 Suite, and various vsts (Alchemy,Sylenth1,NI Massive/Absynth 4,Gladiator 2,Dimension Pro, Morphine...)

I run in one of the following states:

1 - Laptop Only - Laptop alone with Ableton Live +  VSTs. I use the qwerty keyboard and touch pad and do composition and sound-design on the go (or from the couch).

2 - Laptop + Korg Nano - Sometimes I want more control or want to user velocity sensitive keys when I'm on the go. I then add a Korg nanoKey or nanoKontrol to config #1.

3 - Laptop Docked - Last year, my awesome wife and kids re-vamped my studio space as a birthday gift. Besides painting and swanky new furniture, they created stand to hold all my gear by cleverly using the old Ultimate Support Apex column I used to gig with and attached two permanent shelves (painted black and attached with brackets). Shelves are  15 3/4"x 47 3/4" and I believe were from home depot. The footprint for this rig is 26" wide from the wall to the outside edge of the bottom shelf, and 47 3/4" wide. Underneath all this is a dock with tons of USB ports that all the gear plugs in to. The laptop is sitting on a mesh filing box turned upside-down that I picked up from Target (see last picture in post). This setup is pictured below. All I have to do is plug the laptop into the doc and the following comes online:

  • HP Notebook Quickdock
  • External Monitor - Samsung SyncMaster 930b
  • Novation Nio USB sound card
  • M-Audio Studiophile SP-5B reference monitors
  • Bamboo Touch Pad
  • Wireless Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard with built-in touch pad
  • Akai APC40
  • Novation Remote SL 25
  • M-Audio Trigger Finger (Still lovin it after all these years. After touch on drum pads and seamless integration with Ableton drum racks are great).
  • Rode NT-1A on an a broadcaster's boom which is fed into Behringer UB802 Eurorack which is routed to the Nio. I mostly use this for voice overs, recording voice related samples, and vocoding. I also record video tutorials through this mic.
  • Sometimes a Korg TR via USB is added to the mix when I want that "triton" sound or want to play a controller with more keys on it.

For me this strategy is simple, elegant, has a small footprint yet is extremely powerful and flexible. With Ableton Live and VSTs accessible in every configuration I can jump in and out of projects in any configuration. I find the combination of the APC40, Remote SL and Trigger Finger to be perfect for just about everything I do.

The APC40 has made this a dream setup really and has almost completely eliminated mousing for me. I'll close with a few photos of the APC40  in my studio setup.

Just a fun shot in a dark room.

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The  APC40, Remote SL 25, and a Trigger Finger fit perfectly on the bottom tier.

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Using the APC40 as a Lite Brite - "M" plus pretty colors :^).

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Picture of laptop docked.
Laptop_docked

Mark Mosher
http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher


Modulate This! Gladiator Discount + Gladiator 2.1 Update + Gladiator Electronic Expansion

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SAVE $30 ON GLADIATOR 2 TILL AUGUST 6TH
If you follow Modulate This!, you know I’m a fan of Tone2’s Gladiator Virtual Synthesizer. My recent video Sound Design with Gladiator 2: HCM Synthesis Explained is already close to 3,000 views. As a result of the popularity of this video I’ve met Markus Feil, the developer or Gladiator 2. Markus was kind enough to extend a $30 off discount for Modulate This! readers – so you get this great synth for $169 instead of $199. You can see the link in the right hand column of the blog. Please don't post this link on other sites and instead direct people to Modulatethis.com. This will help me bring more offers like this to you in the future.

Two other items of interest for Gladiator users are listed below. I pulled the info from the most recent Tone2 newsletter.

Gladiator v2.1 (free for all Gladiator 2 users)
Improvements in sound quality:
- Drastically improved low notes oscillator sound
- Improved reverb sound: Softer and more diffuse reverb tails
- Improved psychoacustical processing
- Improved spectral slope of low frequencies to reduce gibbs effect for more 'analog' sound
- Improved sound quality of intelligent microtuning (IQM): Warmer sound for long release times
- Extended dB range of master volume knob
- Reworked existing factory presets: Warmer sound

New features:
- 3 new phase modulators for analog sounding pulsewidth modulation: PWM, PWM alt, phase shift
- Added song position sync support for LFO 1/2 ('bpm' has to be set to 'on' and 'retrigger' to 'off')
- Added split keyboard support; new modulation sources: Low keys, High keys
- Added new 'split' arp mode which applies ARP on high keys only and leaves low keys for basses
- 18 new factory sounds

Changes, fixes and improvements:
- Faster loading time of PC full version
- Demoversion: Nag Voice only every 9 minutes instead of every minute
- Improved host compatibility: Cubase 4 & 5, Orion, Fruity Loops, Logic
- Fixed (PC): Wrong version number was displayed in Cubase
- Fixed: Microglitch in volume envelope
- Fixed (Full version, Mac): 'Demoversion' instead of user name was displayed for 2 seconds after loading
- Fixed (PPC Mac): 'Spec format' and 'Spec clean' modifier could output silence
- Fixed (FUll version, Mac): 'save all' could crash Gladiator2
- Changed (Mac): Focus of mouseover when 'show editor' was set to 'off'

ELECTRONIC EXPANSION:
- Over 300 handpicked sounds
- Additional stereo trancegate effect with 22 patterns
- Additional reverb type: Reverb ultra
- 3 additional early reflection effects
- Additional aliaser lofi effect
- Additional stereo enhancer effect
- The expansion is directly integrated to the interface of Gladiator 2.1
- 3 additonal skins as bonus content: Gold, red and black
Impressive arpeggiator sequences, resonant basses, groovy drumlines, vocaloid sounds, cutting leads, chiptune sounds, techno stabs, rhythmic trancegates, deep housechords, atmospheric pads and ambient textures are among the many types of electronic sounds featured inside this expansion. A must have if you're looking for new sounds or if you want to expand Gladiator with more features.


Links:

Mark Mosher
http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher


Video Tutorial: Ableton Live 8 + APC40 + Remote SL Controllerism

I’m the proud owner of the new Akai APC40. I’ve already integrated it into my workflow along with my Novation Remote SL. I’ve put together a video of how I’m using these controllers with Live 8.

Watch the video on YouTube:

This video is a step-by-step tutorial describing Ableton Live 8's new custom parameter mapping methodology. The video illustrates how to map select parameters from VST plug-ins into devices and then control these parameters via the Novation Remote SL and the new Akai APC40. The video also discusses how to add and access more than 8 parameters. Lastly, the video covers use of instrument racks and macro controls to map parameters from multiple devices to an 8 knob group.

Stay tuned for more posts on controllerism and the Akai APC40.

Mark Mosher
http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher