August and the back end of Summer 2017

Quick updates from the chair in Hyperboreal Studios of Snoqualmie, WA.

The bi-annual gear purge is in progress, as I've sold off a couple venerable keyboards in the hope of both taking care of some lingering bills and also to spur pushing my creativity in a different direction. The most wonderful Numa Organ and my Roland Gaia both are gone - they're replaced by VSTs courtesy Arturia and the V-Collection 5 bundle. Soon hopefully the V-Synth XT will sell and I can then consolidate the remaining bits into one single 8U rack. As nice as all the external dedicated hardware is, I can write/record and play out live with all my beloved sounds in VST form on a laptop with USB or Thunderbolt DA interface and the USB Nektar Panorama 6 controller. Given that even with the more compact guitar rig I use, I still have two combos and three plus one guitars to take out - hardware based keyboards are a luxury I don't have room or set up time for.

The Arturia collection has been excellent - particularly the electric pianos (Whirly and the Yamaha Electric Grand) and the ARP have been a lot of fun. For many of the lead sounds the Moogs in the collection are excellent, but I've also fallen back to using the Minimonsta and the OB-Xa with their classic patches for leads as well as Taurus Bass Pedal tones. The Hammond B3 emulation on the V-Collection has been decent - I need to program the various drawbar combinations that I really loved (which were programmed into my Numa Organ) that represented the Keith Emerson, Rick Wright, Tony Banks, Jon Lord, Gary Booker and Rick Wakeman combinations that I used all the time. The presets just sound a bit weak to me.

It's also forcing me to explore more deeply many of the libraries and new VSTs I bought the last few years - Rev, Iris, Exhale, etc... and use those to inspire new avenues of creativity. Already hearing interesting things with the rhythmic patches in Rev that are driving ideas - I had been leaning on the classic sounds with the Gaia and Numa Organ way too much and not pushing anything inspiring.

I've also been building my Alesis based electronic drum kit - it's up to 6 pieces waiting on the 10" 2box mesh head dual zone trigger to arrive. That will become the snare trigger and I'll have my 7 piece kit complete with the Alesis Trigger io/Nitro module combination. The Nitro is proving to be pretty decent in terms of sending MIDI info to the DAW - very low latency and quite usable to play/record with. The Trigger io allows me to add more pieces to the kit - going from a 6 piece (4 toms + snare, kick) with two crash and 1 ride cymbal up to the 7 piece (5 toms) and more crash/splash cymbal imputs plus 3 zone ride. I can run the MIDI OUT from the Trigger io to the Nitro and keep it fairly tight latency wise. The newer Alesis tom triggers are also pretty decent - I have the two dual zone triggers as the top most toms, and the single zone triggers on the bottom 3 so I can use the rims on the top two for assorted percussion pieces as needed. I did upgrade the hihat cymbal to a RealHat cymbal - but I'm really looking at a Roland vh-11 right now to get better feel and slightly less ambient playing noise (stick noise). I'm going to give the Alesis ones a go for a while first - I have them on a real Olympic hihat stand right now and for all intents and purposes it's feeling pretty good. The last thing I would like to do is replace the single Alesis kick pedal with a DW double kick pedal or something similar. I'm keeping my eyes open on CL for that very thing.

Wife is giving me a hard time right now, so need to go. I'll hopefully have some things to post once the new snare trigger arrives - later gators!

Leave a comment

    Add comment