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Setting a drive letter in Windows

Whether you’re making music on laptop or a desktop computer, the point comes when you want to archive your work and free up some space on your primary drive and you reach for an external hard drive.  Not that they’re only useful for storage – the use of external drives allows you to store sample libraries without consuming large amounts of disk space, (and also means that your DAW isn’t trying to write to the hard disk at the same time as it’s trying to read from it).  With USB3 and SSD technology, the connections can be lightning fast and load times significantly reduced.  The only problem with external  drives, (apart from having to find one more power outlet), is that Windows isn’t as helpful as it could be in allocating the same drive letter each time you plug in the external drive.  In this video, I show you how to make sure that the same drive letter is allocated each time.

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A Simple Recording Mistake

It doesn’t matter what you do, once you’ve been doing it for a while, you default to a particular way of approaching issues. Coming from the era of recording to tape and “dropping-in” to correct mistakes, that’s how I think when I find I’ve recorded something that isn’t quite right.  (In fact, I never liked dropping-in – I always found it easier to just go back and do the whole part again, but that’s another story.)  All of which can blind you to the obvious when things have moved on and you’re recording to RAM, buffers and disk instead of spinning reels of tape.  Back in the day, you’d record with minimal lead-in recorded to tape, lest there be a sudden burst of tape noise which would ruin the ambience.  Nowadays, of course, there’s no tape hiss and the noise floor is so low you wouldn’t think twice about it, but old habits die hard.  Until, that is, they trip you up…

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Docked and iLok’ed out of my comfort zone

twin-monitorsJuly was a trying month, one way and another, featuring more than its fair share of computer problems.  After my Vista PC finally stopped trying, I quickly tired of plugging all the bits of kit into my Windows 7 laptop that used to be permanently hanging from the Vista tower, so I bought myself a docking station.  Theoretically, this had a triple benefit – only one USB cable needed to plug everything in, I’d have more USB ports so I could set up my external hard drives permanently and I could use the now-redundant monitor as an extension to the desktop.  Where was the downside?

The words “plug and play” now evoke something of a hollow laugh. [Read more…]

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Referencing your mix using Magic AB

Referencing your mixes against tracks that you like the sound of and that you’re familiar with is good practice, but the mechanics of routing the tracks through your DAW or monitoring system can be off-putting.  What you need is a simple, straightforward way of comparing your mix with your chosen reference tracks without all the hassle of plugging and unplugging leads or of setting up a reference tracks buss so you can mute and unmute them at the appropriate moment.  That’s what Magic AB from SampleMagic is designed to do and in this video, I look at how it can replace that ugly patching with a single, well-placed plugin.

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Hasta La Vista, Baby

windows_vista_logoFor a while now, I’ve been running two computers – my main “home” computer has been a tower system and I’ve had a laptop for making music, as the tower wasn’t up to running much in the way of music software any more, being  7 years old and, more pertinently, as it was running Windows Vista 32 Bit. However, it was still perfectly adequate for running Office, casual surfing of the net and reading e-mails, (although my Outlook file had grown to such a size that any new e-mail took more than a few seconds to open).   A couple of weeks ago, it wouldn’t boot at the first time of asking, throwing a DOS disk error, but like a fool, I ignored this harbinger of doom.  Well, not quite – I did something worse and, with hindsight, something that could have been monumentally stupid.

[Read more…]

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Spotify – comparing oranges with Apple?

spotify_logo_smallThere’s been a lot of press in the last few days over Taylor Swift’s decision to withdraw her 1989 album from Apple’s iTunes, due to the non-payment of royalties during the trial period of their new streaming service.   Given the preponderance of her fanbase amongst the younger, more IT savvy generation, (and I know, I’m taking two of them to see her in Manchester tomorrow), that must have been a decision that hurt Apple, so fast was their about turn.  And I can see where she’s coming from with that – non-payment of royalties due is definitely wrong.  But that got me thinking about a previous decision of hers that also hit the headlines, her decision to withdraw her catalogue from Spotify.  And I don’t think that decision stacks up. [Read more…]

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Landmark passed

1050The last couple of months have been crazy busy and I’ve not had the time I want to devote to this blog and my music generally, but I couldn’t let a landmark pass without sharing.  Odd how we attach significance to arbitrary numbers, but I tipped over the 1,000 subscribers to my YouTube channel sometime in March, and then a whole bunch more added themselves. As I post this today, I’m actually at 1,050 subscribers.  So if you’re a subscriber, thanks for the support and encouragement.  If you’re not, please subscribe, but either way, if there is a topic or theme you would like me to cover in a video or videos, please let me know.