The Low Budget Lifer – PV01 – 4/11/2021

Product Video One: “BDI21 – Cheap Bass Amp Modeler”

In amongst the Vlog uploads, this is a series on cheap equipment where I’ll talk about various pieces of budget brand mics, instruments, and other toys.

We’re going to kick things off with my favorite budget pedal, the Behringer BDI21.

The BDI21 is a surprisingly good modeler/preamp/DI that will cost you around $40.

The Low Budget Lifer – Episode Three – 3/24/2021

Episode Three:  “You can’t make an omelet…”

Spring is here! In today’s episode, I dive into my songwriting process because if you don’t have a song, you have nothing to record. In the immortal words of Brad Goodman: “There’s no trick, it’s just a simple trick!”

Free VST amps really help during the writing and arranging process; you can use them to get a feel for which way your new song is headed.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Be sure to support the developers if and when you can!

The Low Budget Lifer – Episode Two – 3/4/2021

Episode Two: “Opinions Are Like A$$holes.”

In this episode, I talk about the mindset you need to deal with a constant barrage of “you need the fancy, expensive, professional stuff!”

Whether it’s digital vs analog, or budget vs high end, it can be difficult to do your own thing while ignoring marketing and, especially, those on the Internet who honestly believe nothing worthwhile comes out of anything entry level.

The Low Budget Lifer – Episode One – 2/21/2021

Episode One: “So What Is This Exactly?”

The Low Budget Lifer is a thing that I’ve started. Since I spend so much time harping about the benefits of second hand, refurbished, or low-mid range music equipment, I’ve decided to document how I work within my means.

“This video is the start. It’s so fresh, I wasn’t even thinking about uploading it YouTube when I put it all together. In this first upload, I stumble my way through explaining what this is all about.”

When Something Appears

Here is the newest tune.

This track started out as  a silly little guitar thing I came up with last April while I was drinking beer. It then morphed into the GLS Test I posted back in September. Over the course of the past few months, it was reworked it and recorded from scratch using the following:

For mixing I only used the EQ and compression on the Mixbus channel strips and the only plugins used were the included ACE reverb and delay. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible and see what I could get without relying on a ton of plugins.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the end result. Hopefully the next one won’t take as long.

Quick, Random Updates

In no particular order …

Transitioning back to Windows has been pretty painless. This here refurbished ThinkPad is happily humming along and I’m able to do nearly everything I want to do.

I still can’t find anything that even comes close to MainStage so I’m keeping my little MacBook Air around just for that purpose. When the Air up and dies, I’ll revisit this.

I’m enjoying catching up on all the tech I’ve ignored for the past decade. This has led me to rediscovering my old hobby of building phantom computers on Newegg.

I’ve moved back to a mouse when the ThinkPad is in desktop mode. I found that while Magic Utilities give me all of the macOS gestures in Windows, the overall feel is jittery and nowhere near as precise or velvety smooth as it is on a Mac.

Go figure.

This Razer Deathadder though … it reminds me of just how shitty Apple mice are.

Speaking of “laptop in desktop mode” you know what’s really nice? Having a removable battery. When I plug the ThinkPad in, I can pop out the battery and leave the laptop plugged in forever and not worry about the battery swelling and bursting. Ever.

On the music side of things, I’ve been using Harrison Mixbus more and more.  I purchased it last year when it was on sale and played around with it a few times on the Mac, but never really gave it an honest go. I always found myself back in the familiar world of Reaper. I have to say, it’s quite the fantastic DAW. I really, really, really like the channel strip EQ and Compression. The ability to tweak on the fly without having to dig for plugins is incredible.

Mixbus 32c is on super sale right now…

I just might get it. I wound up getting it.

Speaking of Mixbus, that song I’ve been working on since April (yeah, I know) is nearing completion. I’ve laid down the bass and most all of the guitars. Next up is to rewrite and record the drums. It’s coming together nicely.

Those GLS ES-57’s are a goddamn steal. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Go buy a couple of them.

It’s late. It’s snowing. I’m old.


LACK Rack!

When setting up my office/recording area, I needed a shelf of some sort to hold my outboard units and the Mac Mini and the stereo and store my bits and bobs. Always with the and. I wound up with one of those Ikea HEJNE (the older version that was 50cm deep), plain pine storage shelves. Sure it held everything but it was chaotic. And ugly. I mean, they look fine in storage rooms and garages, but in a home office?

Another problem with big shelves: Not only do they take up excess room, they give you an excuse to keep everything.

I mean, just look at this monstrosity:

Last week I walked into the room, took one look at that giant eyesore and decided that it had to go.

What to do though?

Continue reading “LACK Rack!”

Moving Over

I’m typing this post on a second, maybe third hand ThinkPad, testing out IA Writer 1 on Windows to see if the experience mirrors that of macOS and so far so good. Reaper and Mixbus are doing their things as the licenses work for both platforms. Hell, pretty much all of the apps I use these days have Windows versions and they all run pretty damn good.

The dark horse is MainStage which I use quite a bit and is an absolute steal if you’re on the Mac platform. It’s thirty bucks and comes with untold gigs of samples and is, quite simply, one of the most powerful, easiest to use  music performance apps out there. Moving to Windows is going to be super hard without MainStage.

… Wait, what?

Continue reading “Moving Over”