Update on my previous Wi-fi woes: I found an old Linksys WUSB54G USB Wi-fi adapter laying in a drawer and plugged it into the studio Windows 7 box instead of the TP-Link PCI card. Win 7 found and loaded the driver automatically, and DPC Latency checker now reports a maximum latency of 331 microseconds. That’s not quite as good as the 74 microseconds with no Wi-fi, but a whole hell of a lot better than the 6000+ of the TP-Link card. Not only that, the Wi-fi signal is has gone from Poor with the TP-Link card to Good with the Linksys USB adapter..
So my conclusion is: TP-Link products appear to be cheap for a reason.
Am starting to pack up to go to the Future Music Producer Sessions in London. It’s actually still a week away, but I like to start getting stuff ready well in time. People don’t realise how much preparation work goes into making one of these shows work. The things that seem most obvious (like the computers and monitors etc.) are usually the last things to get packed since we’re usually working on those until the last minute, testing new beta software and hardware, preparing new demos songs, that kind of thing. First to get packed is usually stuff like banners, tablecloths, that sort of stuff, which seems very mundane, but without it the show would look pretty boring.
The other things I like to pack are the goodies: T-shirts, mouse pads, cable ties, all are in the box already. I enjoy being able to give away some stuff to our users – you guys pay my wages ultimately, the least I can do is give something back when I can!
Decided to buy a new Wi-fi card for my (Windows 7) studio computer. I managed to get a good deal on a TP-Link Wireless-N PCI card with an Atheros chipset – just a few bucks. Score! Got home, installed it, works great. Then I loaded up Studio One and set to work on the song I had been working on yesterday, and it sounded like I was frying eggs in the studio. Just completely impossible to work, loads of noise, jerky response from S1, everything was a mess.
Went to the Device Manager in Windows 7 and disabled the new Wi-fi card. Sure enough Studio One was now perfect again. Sigh.
I checked the system with DPC Latency Checker – without the Wi-fi card maximum latency was 72 microseconds. With the Wi-fi card enabled that shot up to over 6000! Anyone using Windows for digital audio really needs this tool… So I think I’m just going to install Homeplug adaptors round the house instead in future and stick to using Ethernet, it’s so much more reliable.
Just got my hands on one of the new Audiobox VSL interfaces, the 44 model. First impressions: this thing is amazing. Dead easy to set up, sounds great, latency is excellent, and the killer feature of course is the VSL mixing software. Basically it’s a tiny little StudioLive desk in a 2/3 rack space. Unbelievable. I’m in love. More details later when I get a chance to really put it through its paces.
Did my first vocal recording with Studio One 2.0 this week. Setup was an AKG 414 microphone with a Vicoustic microphone isolator to PreSonus Studio Channel, then to a StudioLive 16.4.2 mixer and to Studio One via FireWire. I know the 414 isn’t normally used as a vocal mic, but I like its clarity and pureness of sound. It’s very unforgiving though, so I like to use it with a tube preamp to warm it up a little and smooth out any harshness. The Studio Channel works great for that – just roll up the tube driver to about halfway and it suddenly get a lot more rock & role.
The piece was a cover version of the Joy Division / New Order song In a Lonely Place that an Australian band asked me to sing on. I’ve got a fairly deep baritone voice that very much suits that kind of music, so I’ve been getting lots of requests like this recently. The band sent me the original multitracks as stems (since they hadn’t switched to Studio One when they recorded it – they have now), and I imported them into S1 2.0 and recorded the vocals. Even though it was still a fairly early beta version, it worked flawlessly throughout the session. Sounded great too, especially when I used one of the Plate presets we’ve been working on for the OpenAir reverb plugin.
Once I had enough takes that I was happy with, it was easy to export the stems using the Export Stems (what else?) feature in S1 – so much easier than the way we used to have to do it back in the old days! Then just dropped them into Dropbox and mailed the band. Hey presto, one collaboration with a band the other side of the world. Am looking forward to hearing what they do with it, but I think I might do a mix myself in S1. Looking forward to trying out the new comping feature which should be perfect for this.