now that we’ve reinvented 8-bit audio – what’s next?

Gone are the days when choosing the right noise shaping for dithering was a headache and we were still dreaming of Hires Audio as the glorious upcoming consumer format. In the end, it was more important to us to make everything brutally loud. As if it could otherwise be overheard in all the streaming mush: Radio and advertising have led the way, after all, and in the realm of asocial media, the cry for attention is naturally even louder. A pleasant sound, transient-rich and detailed? Forget it! The pitiful remainder of dynamics could now be packaged in 8-bit, lossless. That’s how it looks. The other day I saw a report about audiophiles who still and tirelessly spare neither expense nor effort to optimize the sound at home down to the smallest detail, which seemed unintentionally comical in this context. But it seems just as anachronistic today to spend such an immense technical effort for an inferior production performance. How can this be justified? Surely any stock EQ, a decent multiband compressor and limiter should suffice. In the attached video, the evolution of EDM is outlined in fast forward from the 80s to 2020. Regardless of the qualities of the codecs, this shows very impressively the decline in technical production quality over the years and the side effects of the increase in loudness. Now that we have successfully ruined audio quality, the question remains: What’s next?

the history of Cubase

When Cubase 3.0 came out in 1996 and introduced VST for the first time with all its new and fascinating possibilities, that was the point where I decided to get more involved in music production and set up a small (home) recording studio. VST was the basis for all this and how I imagined a modern (computer based) studio production. What a revolution that was. Watching this video today brings up a lot of nostalgic feelings …

dream studio

Korg Retrospective

the album is dead, long live the album

Just enjoyed listening the new Röyksopp album as a whole. The album concept was declared dead ever so much during the last decade but I hope we will see more music releases like this again.

What I like about the Behringer 2600

What I really like about the Behringer 2600 is that it’s not just a plain copy but introduces some real useful improvements over the original concept. Most important to me is the 19″ form factor which not only reduces the originals size and fits in the rack but also remains big enough to enjoy a great user experience while cabling and tweaking things. And they got rid of those speakers! Instead it offers 2 filter revisions to choose from, two of the oscillator sections are now fully featured, the LFO is part of the main chassis now and new additional timing options for the envelopes has been added as well.

On the other hand, the Behringer 2600 sticks to CV gate voltages following original levels which limits full integration in todays modular world quite a bit. However, this is currently not a big deal to me. I only wish they would have made a true analog delay instead of the spring reverb (emulation). Offering audio in, the device also doubles as an excellent analog effect unit which seems to be a little bit underrated in this regard. Given it’s pricepoint, this feature is already something to consider if one is just looking for an outboard analog filter box or an alternative for something like a MS-20.

The ARP 2600 turns 50

And if time allows, watch this awesome documentary about the history and story behind ARP:

white is the new black

SOMA LYRA-8 into KORG MS-20

Rebuilding my Studio

Everything is finished, it just has to be done
– Andreas Pflüger

So, since some 5 years or so I did not had the time and room to make any music at all but at the end I’ve missed it so much that I finally decided to restart all over again and finally rebuild my studio. During my very last attempts in creating music I got stuck somehow inbetween all those endless digital options and just looping stuff in Ableton on my laptop but never managed to get things finished anymore – some of you might know this kind of desease? Anyhow, I decided to setup a small studio production environment like I once had before those laptop times and where I was a little bit more productive, if memory serves me right.

Not a huge setup at all but a small desktop centric approach at home with some few but well selected outboard gear which not only inspires but also invites to perform, record and collaborate whole tracks in a fun way. Luckily, some outboard gear was carefully archived here in my basement but others I do not have anymore, e.g. a real mixing desk. But hey, there is so much cool stuff out there today to consider and to choose from!

Such new setup raises a lot of questions of course concerning workflow and where to better rely on ITB or OTB plus the usual digital versus analog considerations. This time it was clear for me to have best of both worlds right from the start. Gaining advantage from DAW based sequencing, mixing and mastering – speaking in terms of precision, affordability and total recall – but also the fun and hands-on experience just real outboard gear can give you and I’m not talking about cheap plastic controllers here (don’t get me started on that one).

For the DAW itself I just reactivated my rather aged PC based workstation which complained to need some hundred or so updates but then afterwards actually performed quite smoothly again. The whole installation is much more lean now and I did not included all that sh*tload of huge sample libraries just as an example. For the time being, I can live with its constraints and can focus on other and more important stuff now. Also, there won’t be a mixing desk anymore and I just added some more converters to my old but trusty RME card via ADAT. Nice to see the old standards still working flawless. Now the fun part begins: connecting all the stuff.

To be continued.

nostalgia