Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving Recording

No Thanksgiving dinner for me; Thursday was pretty much just another day, in most respects. So I did a little recording that afternoon, fussing around in the office, rather than going into the studio. I moved that office last week, out of the art studio where it had been gradually been taking up more and more space! I placed my desk (where I do most of my writing) and peripherals in the almost-never-used dining room. Being by myself in this house these days, I never have reason to eat in there.

Anyway, the recording — I had to mess around a bit getting my drivers set up properly. Upgrading to Windows 10 gave me some problems. Or more problems than before. I generally do these quick ‘scratch’ recordings in the Power Tracks DAW, both the recording and mixing, as it is fairly easy to use and has pretty much all the features I need (it is also quite nice for working with MIDI but that was irrelevant here). But it has been stuttering with the standard Windows MME/WDM type of drivers, at least using my cheap Behringer USB mixer as an interface. Not the recording, mind you, but the playback.

I had ASIO drivers that Behringer provides but had never installed them so that I gave them a try. And they worked BUT there was a noticeable high-pitched whine in the playback as long as the USB was plugged in — not just in Power Tracks but in every program. And just in my monitors, not my headphones! It was annoying but, since it was not being recorded, I could live with it.

The result was a couple of songs, just demo-quality and mostly for archiving. That is, until, I listened back to both later, decided one wasn’t good enough, and deleted it. The other was okay, but with a few small problems. I definitely got too close on the mike, a Samson VR88 ribbon, and got some overblown proximity effect in a couple spots. It’s probably not the ideal microphone for my voice, anyway. Be that as it may, I uploaded the result to my Reverbnation account:

The song is called ‘Saw Grass to Wire Grass,’ about the two parts of Florida in which I have lived, the Everglades in the south end of the state, and the ‘wire grass’ in the Panhandle. The lyrics have appeared here already, a few months back. I have decided to enter it in the song contest at this year’s Will McLean Festival. Chances are it will be ignored as were past entries. :)

Chances are, also, that I shall re-record the song I deleted and enter it as well. When I get to it — needs to be done before the end of the year.

Back to the problems with my drivers: I deleted the Behringer ASIO driver and went to their site to see if they had a better/updated version for my mixer, only to find that they no longer offered a driver of their own but had ASIO4ALL available for download instead. So I went to the ASIO4ALL website and got a newer version than the one at Behringer and it works pretty well. There might or might not be a little noise when I play back from the DAW (again, it is not recorded) but none at all in other apps. So I’m okay with it.

And just a reminder here, the official release of the second Cully Beach ‘surf noir’ novel, WAVES, is only a week away (well, plus a couple days). But it is available pretty much everywhere in print and ebook right now!

ADDENDUM (about a month later): I started having problems with the ASIO drivers on following recording sessions and was eventually able get the Windows drivers working properly and went back to them. Who knows whether they will continue to be trouble-free (I suspect not!)? I may not record in the office much anymore, anyway.

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