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Monday, 30 April 2012

FL Studio Introduction & Workflow Video

Just posted an introduction video on my FL Studio workflow on Vimeo.

Introduction to My FL Studio Workflow from Patrick Woo on Vimeo.

I am now starting to do my projects on Cakewalk Sonar too. Being worried that I'll lose and forget the painfully accumulated workflow, tips and tricks when I need to come back to them, I've recorded a video as a reference for myself in the future.

I don't even know if I am doing things the right way, but its been working for me so far.

If you see anything in there that's not right, please correct me. Please also share any experiences, tips, tricks that you may have, so we can all learn together.

Thanks for watching!

The only thing I want to add, is that middle-mouse-clicking on your instrument names in the step sequencer/pattern editor would also allow you to rename your instruments. :)
Yes it saves you 1 additional mouse click! (usually its right-click to bring up the menu, then choosing 'rename' from the menu)

K-Pop Song: You & I by IU

There's a very catchy and very well made K-Pop song I've just been introduced to, by Kaihsin.

The song is padded orchestral arrangement for the opening, middle instrumental and ending portions. The chords are elegant and logical and the parts are nicely written.

I did not find the melody very distinct or particularly memorable. But after a few plays it started to haunt me. I'll be reminded of portions of it from time to time, in the next few days. Maybe its the singer's voice or the exotic pull of a foreign language. Sometimes the song is more effective when you don't understand the language. I tend to listen harder, and wonder what the lyrics are saying.

Besides the very well written melody and orchestration, the music video is also very elaborate and nicely shot. Can really tell this is a big budget production.

Hope you enjoyed it :)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Native Instruments Releases Skanner XT: Special Price for Existing Owners!

Following the release of the free version of Skanner, Native Instruments has released Skanner XT, the next chapter of their advancement into their concept of a sampler-based-synth. Part sampler, part synth, but altogether a new breed of instrument that uses samples in an organic way to create completely new sounds that morph over time in an organic way.

Featuring 296 sounds and limitless combinations and morphing potential, Skanner XT runs on Native Instruments' Reaktor platform.

For the users who already own Skanner (free), Skanner XT comes with more than double the number of sounds, and also includes 2 new categories: ChipTunes (gaming arcade machine sounds) and Motion (rhythmic type of sounds). Skanner XT also offers 2 extra effects: flanger and cabinet. These will further expand the instrument's potential, and open up more possibilities for musicians & sound designers looking to twist, warp and mangle up our sounds.

There is a special introductory price that offers previous owners a 50% discount of USD 29.50 on Skanner XT. Regular price is USD 59.00. Offer ends 26 May 2012. Thats about a month away, from the date of this post.

In my previous post entitled "Interview with Stephan Schmitt on Reaktor Skanner", and "A Conversation with Stephan Schmitt", we can go to BigBrainAudio's website to read about Native Instruments Stephan Schmitt's bold vision for hybrid synthesizers like Skanner and Reaktor and the innovative spirit behind these instruments.

Being an existing owner of Skanner (I downloaded the free version), I was entitled to the 50% discount. The introductory price was impossible to ignore. Coupled with the powerful and versatile features of this product and the new presets, I had to buy it!

And so I did! I just completed the transaction. :)

Ilya Efimov Electric LP and Strum is Out

Ilya Efimov has just released the Electric LP and Strum to further complete their guitars virtual instruments collection!

I just realised I've already written about Ilya Efimov products before, but here I go again.

When I first knew about Ilya Efimov's guitar libraries 2 months ago, they only had the Acoustic Guitar and Nylon Guitar and their 2 respective Strum libraries.

Just very recently they've released the LP Electric Guitar virtual instrument, and the LP Strum.

Acoustic / Nylon / Electric LP
These guitars are the most amazing sounding guitars I have heard, coming from a sampled library. Each individual guitar comes with its own 2GB+ of sampled data (from more than 3000 individual samples, sampled at 44.1khz, 24-bit in stereo), deeply sampled 14-velocity layers on each note, 17 frets on each string, round robin.

You can let the instrument automatically select the most appropriate string and fret for the note you play on your keyboard, or you can manually select which string to strike. All the instruments have 14 articulations and realistic legato and glissando. They also feature many fx and noises that can be produced on the guitars.

Each of the products has its own set of effects like Reverb, Chorus, Compressor, Delay, EQ, Flanger, Phaser, and Cabinet modelling.

There is also a MIDI-guitar mode where you can play the virtual instruments using a MIDI-guitar controller.

All the Ilya Efimov products are running on the full version of Native Instrument's Kontakt 4.2.3 or later.

Strum Guitars
All Strum guitars (Strum Acoustic & Strum Nylon) feature about 3000 samples totalling more than 2GB each. As with the individual guitar instruments they have 14 velocity layers for every note, 17 frets on each string. There are more than 30 chords strumming techniques, featuring auto and manual strumming modes. There are 250 preset strumming patterns and 70 custom patterns for you to create, edit, store and use.

The guitar chords are played with a left hand playing position, and you can choose to let the instrument adopt an automatic position or manually select a chord position of your choice. You can edit your own chord tablatures or use the existing 1584 pre-created tablatures in 33 chord variations, if required.

Best of all, all the strum patterns, effects set-up and custom tabs you create can be exported and imported to any directory on your harddisk for back-up purposes.

Strum guitars also have all the effects of the individual guitars stated above, and they are also playable via a MIDI-guitar.

Here's a video clip on their website demonstrating the power and ease of use: http://www.ilyaefimov.com/component/content/article/51-news/33-strum-video-clip.html

Don't just read the specs and features. Listen to the amazing sounds here. I'll talk about price below.

My current favourite track is "Melancholy" ;)

Pricing Information (at present):
Each guitar (acoustic/nylon/electric) comes with its strum version, and they are all sold separately, totalling up to 6 separate products available for purchase. Each of these 6 products cost 99 Euros.

There is a bundled price for both the Acoustic & Nylon Guitars with their respective Strum versions (4 products in total) at the price of 249 Euros instead of 369 Euros.

You can also purchase the Strum Bundle which includes the Strum (Nylon) and Strum (Acoustic) for 198 Euros.

About Ilya Efimov
Ilya Efimov is a composer for film and TV, jazz pianist, song writer, arranger and sound producer. As a jazz pianist, he has many awards under his name. He has also produced a number of concert programs.

Ilya Efimov Sound Production started in 2010. Ilya Efimov has since been actively involved in the company developing sample libraries while working on film music projects at the same time.

About the Company
Ilya Efimov Sound Productions deals mainly in creating virtual instruments libraries, sound effects and royalty free music libraries.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

EastWest Complete Composers Collection HD+ 70% Discount!

Here it is again, ladies and gentlemen, the EastWest Complete Composers Collection sale is on again! The products are going at a huge 70% discount this time round!

Unlike the regular Complete Composers Collection where you can only buy 7 products in a pack, you now can have the choice to buy up all their products that are participating in this offer, making a total of 11 products, and still enjoy a 70% off the total price! (Please do your own calculations on the total savings just to be sure!).

Promotion ends 2 May 2012, midnight USA-Pacfic Time. Its 26 April 2012 today so 6 more days left to grab this. On top of this, there's free worldwide shipping for the first 3 days!

Don't miss this chance, folks. Go to the SoundsOnline.com and pick your instruments today!

I bought the regular CCC pack, so I already have 7 of the 11 products. How I wish I didn't so I can buy them all over again! :)


This is the write-up for MediaCollege.com. It is a free resource site, suitable for anyone with an interest in audio visual-media. Tutorials and articles include everything from video production to website design.

They have hundred of exclusive tutorials from video/tv production, audio, graphics, web, photography and more. Definitely worth checking out :)

I was refreshing my knowledge of audio compressors, limiters and gates, when I ran into this site :)

They even have a channel on YouTube! Follow them here
Here's a friendly welcome video from the folks at MediaCollege.com! :)

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

SonicControl.tv: DAW School

What makes a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) a DAW?

Is a DAW the software or the hardware?
How do I build a DAW?

Questions like these and more, will be addressed and answered in DAW School. This is not a course that you enroll yourself into.


DAW School is actually a series of web episodic content that you can follow at your own pace, to find out how DAWs came about, how they have changed with the times, and how they've turned into their present configurations.

The 'lessons', conducted by the 'teacher', Peter Alexander, are available to the public on YouTube. Peter Alexander is the author of How Midi Works, Street Smart Guide to Logic, and The Professional Orchestration series. Watch all of his YouTube videos here.

Sponsorship message from the video:
DAW School is sponsored by ADK Pro Audio and TrueSpec Systems who represent EastWest, ProjectSAM, IK Multimedia, Sonivox, Garritan and other major libraries. TrueSpec also offers books, music scores and online music training in orchestration and counterpoint, and self-study programs in MIDI Mock-ups, Writing for Strings, and other subjects.

So here are the embedded clips (up to this point) for your viewing convenience:

Sonic Control's DAW School - Webisode 1: What is a Digital Audio Workstation

Sonic Control's DAW School - Webisode 2A:
What Makes a Digital Audio Workstation a Digital Audio Workstation?

Sonic Control's DAW School - Webisode 2B:
Talks about some price guidelines.

Sonic Control's DAW School - Webisode 3A:
You as the System Integrator

Sonic Control's DAW School - Webisode 3B:

Sonic Control's DAW School - Webisode 4A:
Apple versus IBM Machines

Sonic Control's DAW School - Webisode 4B:
Apple versus IBM Machines (continued)

This last webisode was posted on April 2009. So please be aware that the pricing guidelines were accurate at that point in time. The most current webisode I can find was posted on 31 Aug 2010 (that's my birthday can you believe it?!)

Sonic Control's DAW School - Season 2:
64-bit Revolution in Music Production, 4 Reality Checks, System Integration Goals, 64-bit compatible DAW Software and Virtual Instruments Libraries (remember this was only current as at Aug 2010)

Remember, these videos are quite American based. If you are outside of the United States, you should be able to find your local computer-based music stores that will be able to help you with your DAW system integration needs.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Revo Workshop with Pro Tools 10

Our gracious friends at Resolution, is organising another workshop for us.

This time, the workshop will feature Avid's Pro Tools 10.

In the 1st part of the 2-part workshop. It will be held on Satruday, 28 April, the Resolution showroom at Clarke Quay Central, level 3. Pro Tools product specialist Edwin Wijaya will give us an overview of the this new version, and many advanced and time-saving features in the new release.

At the Revo Workshop, you will be introduced to the very efficient workflow and witness why ProTools is the leading audio solution in the audio and music production.

The session will allow you to pose any questions you have, regarding ProTools and system set-up. These will be answered by Edwin and the very knowledgeable and experienced staff from Resolution.

You will also find very practical and cost-effective advice and solutions for any scalable audio/musical set-up you may have in mind.

If you are interested to register (and turn up), please send an email to Wendy Loy at revo@resolution.sg, or call Resolution at (65)63399877.

About Resolution:
Resolution was originally located at Sunshine Plaza. Resolution has been around for more than 4 years, contributing to the local audio & music businesses and community by providing high quality solutions and products.

Having recently moved to Clarke Quay Central, Resolution is more accessible than ever before. Do drop by to see their amazing array of products.

Read my post about how I encountered Resolution here.

About Pro Tools:
The modern day Pro Tools as we know it, is the leading audio solution in audio/music production since 1991.

From music albums to TV/documentary production to blockbuster movies that we see on the big screen, there is a big chance that the material would have gone through ProTools at some point in the workflow.

Avid has coined ProTools system as the "World's Most Advanced Audio and Music Creation System".

ProTools 10 was very recently released in the last quarter of 2011. With it came the release of new DSP accelerated cards that boasts greater processing power and bandwidth, allowing for greater creative freedom than ever before.

To get the full rundown of the new features from ProTools 10, sign up for the workshop today!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

New Equipment in Their New Home

From my previous visit to Resolution, they ran out of stock on XLR cables I purchased. Today I went down to collect them. So finally I set them up and tested to see if they are all working.

XLR connectors

Its Neutrik again. Resolution knows to use good quality stuff.

Klotz cables. Shin (Resolution staff) told me these are very highly regarded for their reliability and audio quality. He is right. I've researched a bit, and discovered that they do get a lot of positive ratings.

Yes, my workspace is extremely disorganised, apologies if it offends you neat and tidy folks.

Steinberg CI1 sitting on top of my old (and now mostly unused) equipment.

The MXL 550 connected to the XLR

I just wanted to show the embossed logo of the connector
I just want to say that I have decided to store the MXL set of condenser mics in my dry cabinet, together with my photography equipment. That would give the mics maximum protection against moisture, and also maximise my investment in the dry cabinet :)

Again curiosity got the better of me and I went to search on the Internet to see if this was a common practice. Here's a related discussion thread on Gearslut.com. Apparently almost all studios in Japan store their mics in dry cabinets.
This photo was linked from the gearslut.com thread mentioned in the previous paragraph.
All rights of this photo belong to the photographer who took this image.

Unboxing the MXL 550/551R & Steinberg CI1

The rear panel and connectors

Connectors from Neutrik! 

MXL is a subsidiary company of Marshall

Frequency response curve of both mics.

The mics come in a very nice carry case

The MXL 550 mounted on the mic clip

The MXL 551 attached to the mic clip

Carrier bag that came with my purchase.

Check out all the big brands!

More Audio Purchases: MXL 550/551R & Steinberg CI1

You guessed it! I purchased stuff from Resolution!

I was looking for a general purpose mic. The recommended a condenser mic for better sensitivity and versatility.

This is a 2-mics set. One mic for to record a broader and more open sound, and the other, a more narrow pick-up pattern for more focused pick-up.

This is the MXL 550/551R.

These mics are internally wired with Mogami cables. Mogami cables are internationally agreed upon as cables of the highest quality.

These pair of mics are below $300, so that is quite value for money.

Now comes the second part of the problem. None of my audio interface equipment support the phantom power that is needed by condenser mics. So I ended up buying the most cost effective audio interface that fit the bill: the Steinberg CI1.
This nifty and well crafted piece of equipment has 2 mic/line inputs (XLR/TRS) both capable of sending +48 volts phantom power (as mentioned earlier), and a hi-Z option on input 1 (I haven't internalised it, but here's a really helpful article on what hi-Z does).

Being USB powered, it needs no external supply to take up your power points. Audio signals are processed at 48khz @ 24-bits. The CI1 is bundled with Steinberg Sequel LE and Wavelab 7 LE.

I got these at a good price from Resolution, under $500! Go check them out!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

New Discovery: Resolution!

I made a very exciting discovery today! I was at Clarke Quay Central mall with my wife, doing some window shopping as usual. My mind was idling for a moment, thinking of the piece of music I was working on. This led me to think about sample libraries like I always do. We were on the second floor when I looked up and something caught my attention: It was an animated LED signboard that spelled Traktor.

I thought I was seeing things. When I saw that I wasn't mistaken, I thought it was some brand of product that happened to have the same name as Native Instruments' Traktor. (That's the red logo at the right in the picture.)

With mounting interest I spotted somewhere in the shop window, the corporate colour and the familiar logo of Native Instruments. "This cannot be true!", I told myself. As far as I knew, there were no shops retailing such niche products like sample libraries.

Finally I came to stand in front of the shop. Lo and behold! It is a shop dedicated to solutions and tools for digital audio production! The name of the shop:

Stacks of NI products decorated the shop window. Slowly I began to see other brand names and products on display inside the shop. I was in digital audio paradise! Definitely my kind of place!

I was greeted by a friendly, knowledgeable and sincere staff, Shin, who showed me around and told me the history of the company. This is not a new start-up. They have been around for about 4 years, located at Sunshine Plaza. I used to work just beside Sunshine Plaza till the end of 2006. After that I seldom went there, so its a shame that I've only just discovered their existence.

They have only recently set up this new show at Clarke Quay Central. Apparently they were already here for a couple of months. This must have been after my return from London. I am still quite surprised that I did not see the shop all those times I went shopping there.

Very quickly I was given an introduction to the huge collection of hardware and software all geared towards digital audio and music creation and enjoyment. 
Shop interior, professional yet inviting
There's a section of the shop mostly displaying NI products. These guys are the official retailers in Singapore

NI paradise!

Browsing the shelves I spotted EastWest products! This shop definitely knows to stock up the right stuff for music professionals.

A huge LED arrayed display fills up the wall along the shop. Really attention grabbing

Resolution also carries professional monitor speakers. Here in the photo are Mackie, Prodipe, Sonodyne, Violet and MXL products. These include speakers, mics, mic amps, compressors, EQ units, etc. Everything to build a professional audio recording studio.

Some variety of microphones on display

The very unique Nucleus audio mixing console by SSL (Solid State Logic) which offers DAW control, analogue and digital mixing.
Arturia's Origin Keyboard. This keyboard takes centre stage of Resolution's display area. It is lauded as the best synthesiser. In it contains the engine for Moog Modular, ARP2600, CS-80, Jupiter 8, Minimoog, Prophet 5, Prophet VS and tonewheel and rotary organs. Truly a juggernaut of a music generating machine!

The control panel of the Origin Keybaord. This can be swivelled to close in a facing downward position. 

This is Steinberg's newest CMC series of modular USB-based controllers (6 in total),
and 2 USB audio interface products above them (NI Komplete Audio 6, Steinberg UR28M)

To my pleasant surprise, the shop also carries Project Sam products like Symphobia 2! Well that's definitely something to look forward to in my future purchases :)

Of course Resolution also carries DAW software like Cubase and even scoring software too. I also spotted instrumental training material for sale.

In a second section demarcated by glass partitions, is a gallery showcasing products solely from ATC Loudspeaker Technology. This is the pinnacle of Hifi enjoyment. These instruments of audio reproduction are aimed at completely accurate reproduction of audio signal as it was meant to be heard, at the point of audio mixing for the entertainment/music content. 

The space that houses this theatre system is intentionally acoustically untreated. The guys at Resolution are demonstrating the quality of sound reproduction accuracy from their set-up in a real-world consumer's home, without any extensive acoustic treatment. 

A very comprehensive range of ATC products.

This is really a one-stop shop for musicians, composers, music producers and Hifi enthusiasts.

Whatever your need and usage for digital audio / music products, if you need a piece of software or equipment, Resolution would be more than happy to propose a solution for you. Do drop by to take a look!

Additional information. Here is Shin's business card.