Saturday, December 03, 2005

Preparing a Major Project: Adding MP3's to FileShare

Note: I just noticed that the previous post was my 100th. It seems like just yesterday I started this blog, but it's been over six months. Neato.

After the first of the year, the next phase of my "plan" will swing into effect, as I have organized to re-record all of the material from my first CD, which was recorded back in Y2K. At that time I was working for FEMA and putting in well over 40 hours per week, so I didn't have nearly enough time to practice. Not to mention that I wasn't performing at all back then. Add to that the fact that I was playing a Gibson Chet Atkins CEC guitar - which I never liked the sound of - and that I was just learning how to program my Lexicon MPX-G2, and that old CD... well... it sucks.

Most of my friends have been advising against this, saying that I should just move on to the next one. However, I've come so far as a player in the past two years since I left my self-imposed musical exile and have returned to performing my butt off, that the previous CD's perfromances are just not acceptable to me any more. And then there's the fact that my sound has improved so much with the Godin Multiac GC SA and all the tweaking I've done with my programs in the Lexicon, so the previous effort now sounds WAY over-processed to me. So, I'm going to re-record it, and that's that.

The previous CD was recorded all on an Alesis Masterlink ML-9600, which is a fabulous stand-alone HD recorder and CD burner, but I wanted more precise control this go-round, so I decided to go with a computer-based solution. After weighing all the options, I decided that I wanted something that is as simple as possible. I don't need 24 bit/96KHz resolution to do what I want to do, so I went with USB rather than Firewire, and I ended up getting a fabulous deal on the Digidesign M-Box, as the M-Box2 has just been introduced, and the old versions were being blown out. Not only that, but since I bought it after 09/01/05, Digi gave me a free upgrade to LE 7. Since I'm just going to record stereo directly from the balanced outputs of the Lexicon, this will be ideal.

For an HD to record onto, I found the coolest combo HD and USB/Firewire hub from MicroNet that... looks just like my Mac Mini! It's called a MiniMate, natch. It's 250GB (!!!), which should give me tons of recording time at 16 bit/44.1KHZ, which is all the resolution I need, as turning the tracks into MP3's will reduce the bandwidth further than that anyway.

As an aside about HD sizes: Back in the early 80's when I was a Synclavier guitarist (And addict), the first Winchester disks appeared. They were 8" across and held a staggering... five megabytes. I remember that several of us got together when that was announced, and we were like, "What will we ever DO with all that storage space!" Of course, 16bit/100KHz Sample-to-Disk then appeared, and we had our answer. Too funny.

So, it's small (Very small), simple, and plenty powerful.

No, that's not a reflection under the Mac Mini, that's the MiniMate. It's still only 1/3 the size of my previous G4 Cube. Awesome.

Small is beautiful. Yes, indeed.


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