Today I will spend some hours in the studio trying to make one more tune for my next album. I’m still 2-3 tunes short until it’s finished. If you want to keep up with what I’m doing, my music and other artistic endeavours, you should follow me on the other sites I’m active on. They are:
Facebook, Instagram, 500px and Soundcloud
Om not on Twitter anymore. Why? I’m just not a Twitter guy. Writing stuff everyday that nobody was reading really wasn’t my thing. So I quit it and didn’t look back.
I guess this is a normal part of having a creative personality, but once in a while I kind of drift into a phase where I start to question whether this is what I really want to keep doing. Should I continue to produce new tunes or just call it quits and try something else. Maybe I could get back to developing games and apps again. I dunno.
I suspect there are people around me that probably, secretly thinks I’m too old for this shit. I mean, I’m 47 now. Three years left to 50 and I still haven’t really “made it” and probably never will. The dream I had in my mid 20s, to be able to support myself with my music looks pretty dated and naive today.
But… I have tried to go down that road before. The idea of quitting music for a while and that didn’t work out, at all. It felt like a big part of me was missing. I really need the kick I get when everything works out and a track turns out great. I guess that’s what keeps me going. Not the thought of “making it” but the fact that the whole music making process is now a deep part of who I am. I can’t cut something like that away without serious consequences.
Anyway, enough rambling for today and back to tweaking the Eurorack modular.
I was digging through my crates with old electronics and found my two old Gameboys, the original grey (now yellow) DMG-01 from 1989 and the newer Gameboy Color from 1998. I used them about 10 years ago when I had my latest chip tune phase. I also found the cartridge with Nanoloop 1.2. It still works but the battery on it must be going bad as all the old presets are gone.
The reason I used the old original Gameboy for Nanoloop was that the sound quality on it is better. It has less noise than on the Gameboy Color and a bit fuller sound as well. The screen however is pretty crappy so I used to do the tunes/noises on the Gameboy Color, which has a better screen and then record them from the original Gameboy.
When I turned on the original Gameboy today, first it didn’t go past the Nintendo logo. After doing the old magic “blow into the cartridge slot” technique I could get Nanoloop to start. Next two problems are 1: Only parts of the screen is working and 2: The joystick up and right doesn’t work. Lets see what can be done about that. The screen is easily fixed and I think the joystick is as well. Should be fun.
I’m also thinking about installing backlight mods on both Gamboys, but thats a project for another rainy day.
I recently re-wired my studio and also decided to fix a problem that have been plaguing me for awhile – USB noise.
Now exactly what is USB noise, you might ask. Well it’s a sort of digital, high pitch buzzing noise you can get whenever you have external audio devices connected to a computer via USB. For example my Waldorf Blofeld, XoxBox and LXR Drum machine has it.
It’s pretty easy to get rid of, either by disconnecting USB from the device or by using some sort of Audio Ground loop isolation thingy on the audio out signal from the device. I got a bunch of pretty cheap isolators from a local electronics store. They worked great for my synths. The noise was gone as soon as I connected them.
Recently I got another problem and this time it’s from my Eurorack modules. The two external soundcards I use to get 16 channels of sound into the computer, the Traktor Audio 6 and 10 are both connected to my computer via USB so that’s where the noise comes from. As soon as I connect audio out from any of my modules to any of the audio ins on the soundcards I get that dreaded USB noise on top of the wonderful analog sound. I tried to fix the problem with another cheap ground isolator but that didn’t work as it also cut away all the lower frequencies.
I figured the isolators probably had to high resistance so I looked online for something more sensitive. Today Mr postman brought me three of these from Thomann: The Sirius Pro Cable GL Isojack extension. They work pretty well, but not perfectly. The USB noise is gone, however there is a ca 20 dB drop in volume around 40 Hz, which means there is much less punch to the sound. I can compensate it OK with an EQ but it’s still doesn’t sound exactly what it did without the isolator, minus the noise of course. It will have to do for now, but I will probably get hold of a more professional solution in the near future. Like the Behringer DI800 Ultra-DI Pro, which has 8 channels of wonderful ground-lift.
If anybody knows a better solution please let me know.
I had a look at which sites have put up links to mine and apparently there are still some links to free sound samples. I used to have this feature years ago, mostly because I used to own a site called Analoguesamples.com and also released a couple of sample CDs called Killer Tweaks 1 & 2.
So I decided to put up some free samples again and see if anyone is still interested. You can download 101 of them on my page Free samples. Use them as you like in your music production. Let me know if want me to add some more.
Download on the free sample page
Photo of hybrid Galaga and Ms. Pac Man machine, Framingham Rest Stop, MA. Photo by Brian Katt.
When I was a teenager in the early to mid 80s, the only place where you could play really good games in Sweden were either in the arcades or at the local burger joint. Playing games like Gyruss, Ghosts’n Goblins and Bombjack was what converted me into the gamer I am today.
At one point I actually owned a couple of arcade cabinets as well. In the mid 90s they started to become cheap enough for a private consumer to buy. Emulation was still not good enough so you had to buy real arcade boards on Ebay. Each board contained one game so you could imagine the space this would take up when you got 15-20 games.
Anyhow, the documentary The Lost Arcade is about the legendary Chinatown Fair in New York City. One of the last arcades in the western world. I haven’t seen it yet, but will as soon as I get the chance. Now watch the trailer below!