Where Have You Been All My Life?

Posted by on Mar 24, 2016 in Blog, General, Hardware, Music, Music Tech, Reviews

I just recently integrated the PreSonus Faderport as part of my studio set up. All I can say is “Where have you been all my life?” This thing is a great piece of kit to have around.

I’ve only done a little bit of tracking with it and so far so good. One of the coolest features I’ve found so far is the Rewind and Fast Forward buttons move a measure at a time on a single press. If you want to go back to the beginning or “RTZ” as it’s labeled you can press Shift + Rewind or press Rewind and Stop simultaneously.  This allowed me to keep one hand on the Edirol PCR-M30 I have on one side of my computer keyboard and one hand on the Faderport. I never had to touch the mouse or the computer keyboard for the hour I was working on a track. Splendid!

I’m sure this little device will greatly enhance the mixing process too. Tactile feel of a real fader is the way to go. You can close your eyes and just use your ears as you adjust levels. It also has the ability to both read and write automation control as well. You can use the Fader  to record any number of controller parameters you want to automate.

There are also Arrow Left and Arrow Right buttons for selecting tracks while mixing or recording.

All in all this has been a very good addition to my DAW of choice which happens to be Sonar X3. Getting it set up to run under Sonar was a little tricky but you can find clear instructions online. The buttons are nice and sturdy and sound off with a resounding click when you press them. This is definitely the next best thing to s full surface like the Behringer X32 (which is on my list) or something from Mackie to have some tactile control while tracking or mixing.

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Wired Lav Microphone Storage

Posted by on Sep 27, 2015 in Blog, How To

So Big Think Productions has been providing audio and music services as well as production support to TheStitchTVShow.com for their YouTube show The Stitch. For the last episode I wired up the girls with the Audio Technica AT3350 Lav mics. These microphones are designed for cameras with audio in. My camera doesn’t have that. It’s an older Canon T5. So I’ve been using my Tascam DR-40. I had to get couple of the RODE VXLR adapters to convert the mini jack to XLR.

The thing that really frustrated me about the lav mics being wired was that they were always getting tangled up no matter how much care I took in winding them. There had to be a better way. There is. I give you the Tackle Buddy Spinner Holder. Sure they are for spinner bait that a fisherman might use to land a lunker but with a bit of modification, you can use them to store your fussy Lav Mic cables.

Here’s everything you’ll need for this easy project. (I’m not a licensed crafter. Your definition of easy may vary)

Utility Knife, Scissors, One Tackle Buddy and one Lav Mic with a cord.

Utility Knife, Scissors, One Tackle Buddy and one Lav Mic with a cord.

By the way, each square in the picture is one inch. I think the mic cable is 15 feet or so.

Step one:
Modify the tackle buddy by cutting a slot on both ends in the black rubber container with the scissors. It’s a soft rubber designed to be pierced by fishing hooks.


Just cut from the end to the first ring on the Tackle Buddy.


Step Two:
Use the utility knife to make a matching slot in the caps. The plastic on these are pretty thick. Scissors are definitely a no go on this cut.

The best way is to do this is to make two cuts to the top about 1/16" apart and pull the plastic down and cut it where it is attached.

The best way is to do this is to make two cuts to the top about 1/16″ apart and pull the plastic down and cut it where it is attached.

Step Three:
Pull the cable through the Tackle Buddy to the power cell. The cool thing is the power cell will fit inside Tackle Buddy.

Depending on which end you put in first you may be pulling a bit of cable through. I started with the plug end.

Depending on which end you put in first you may be pulling a bit of cable through. I started with the plug end.

Step Four:
Drop the power cell in the tackle buddy. Be sure to leave enough room on the end for the microphone. Pull the cable up through the slot and start winding. I started with the end with the microphone and just wound it on one end and left plenty of room for the longer cable end with the plug.

Pull the cable through the notch to hold it in place while you wrap it.

Pull the cable through the notch to hold it in place while you wrap it.

Wind it around one end. You'll want to use most of the tube for the longer cable.

Wind it around one end. You’ll want to use most of the tube for the longer cable.

Tuck the mic into the top making sure the cable isn't crimped. Don't want any shorts while recording.

Tuck the mic into the top making sure the cable isn’t crimped. Don’t want any shorts while recording.


Install the cap by lining up the slots. Again, make sure the cable isn’t being bent weird.

Step Five:
Do the same thing with the other end and you will wind up with a neatly wound Lav Mic cable that shouldn’t tangle up on you the next time you unfurl it.

And here's the finished project.

And here’s the finished project.

A bit of advice:
Do not wind the cable very tight. You could damage it. These mics work pretty well but they do seem a bit on the fragile side. As always treat them with care and this should be a good storage method to keep your cables from getting tangled like an 80’s rock star hairdo in a windstorm.

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Your Korg Kronos and You: SysEx Trick Number One

Posted by on Sep 16, 2015 in Blog, Music Tech, Software, Synths

Greetings Korg Kronos users. I thought I would start dishing out some handy Korg Kronos trickery. I wll focus mainly on SysEx (System Exclusive) tricks. Don’t have an idea what System Exclusive is? Go here for a primer.

Back already? Cool.

Now that you are an expert in System Exclusive, let’s get cracking.

We’re going to be using System Exclusive messages to change the main modes on the Korg Kronos. I refer to the main modes as Set List Mode, Combi Mode, Program Mode, Sequence Mode, Sampling Mode, Global Mode and Disk Mode.

Truth be told, there wouldn’t really be much use in switching to some of these modes in your DAW. Set List, Combi and Program would probably be the modes you would most likely use in a sequence. I could be wrong but I could not see a situation where you would want your Kronos in Global mode while a sequence in your DAW is playing.

The following technique should work in any DAW that can send System Exclusive event list data as part of a sequence or from a built in System Exclusive manager. Sonar, for instance, has a System Exclusive Manager where you can store chunks of SysEx Data with your sequence. You can set it to send the Data when you load up your session. You can also send these same messages in any program that will send SysEX such as the awesome MIDIOX.

Let’s say for instance you always want to start a sequence in your DAW with the Kronos in Program Mode. As the first event of your sequence, enter the Following SysEx event:

F0 42 30 68 4E 02 F7

That will put your Kronos into Program Mode before the track starts playing other data. In fact, it might be good practice to use the first measure(s) for sending SysEx data then starting your actual track just to make sure the Kronos is set up properly. A lot of times I will start the actual music at measure 3 or 4 for this very purpose. It’s probably overkill given how fast MIDI transfer is over the USB connection on the Kronos but this is a habit that comes from using Cakewalk back in the DOS and Windows 3.1 days.

So now that you know how to to do a little mode switching with SysEx messages, here’s a list of System Exclusive statements to change the main modes on the Kronos:

  • SetList Mode: F0 42 30 68 4E 09 F7
  • Combi Mode: F0 42 30 68 4E 00 F7
  • Program Mode: F0 42 30 68 4E 02 F7
  • Sequence Mode: F0 42 30 68 4E 04 F7
  • Sampling Mode: F0 42 30 68 4E 06 F7
  • Global Mode: F0 42 30 68 4E 07 F7
  • Disk Mode: F0 42 30 68 4E 08 F7

Next time I’ll talk about stringing  a few System Exclusive messages together to do something a little more useful.

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Status: Complete. Our First Major Media Project

Posted by on Sep 1, 2015 in Blog, Design, Music, News

Big Think Productions joined with ett and eddie, LLC to create some really cool stuff for their quilting talk show called The Stitch.

It took some doing and it came down to the deadline but we did some really cool stuff for the fine folks at ett and eddie. Throughout the course of the project Big Think Productions

  • Created The Stitch TV Show logo
  • Composed, recorded and produced the theme music
  • Created all of the motion graphics for the intro
  • We did production support throughout the creation of the first episode in the form of training, design of business cards and other collateral and web development and hosting

All in all, it was a big win for Big Think and ett and eddie.

Check out the inaugural episode here.

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Unity: Why Not?

Posted by on Mar 24, 2015 in Blog, Code, News

Now that I have a couple pieces of game music under my belt, I’ve decided it might be a good time to start learning some development tricks where sound is concerned. The group that I have been working with is heading towards using Unity for development.

I guess the big question then will be C# or JavaScript as either one can be used for scripting Unity objects. I’m fairly familiar with JavaScript although I find it quite tedious keeping up with all the new frameworks and libraries that come out. As soon as a new one hits the streets everybody wants somebody with “significant” experience in it. It’s hard on a freelancer, that’s for sure. On the flip side, there seems to be more tutorial and learning resources out there in C#.

I think for now I’ may lean towards C#. I can always take a project and do it in both to keep my skills sharp. Pardon the pun.

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