Dotted Eighth Delay Studies

Setting up the U2/Hillsong delay in a variety of situations.

The Sessionists

Esther Subra (vocals), Serena Chew (keys), Justin (guitars), Alphonsus (drums and percussion)

Thoughts on G.A.S.

Why you should save up for an expensive guitar.

Setting Up Disaster Area DPC-8EZ and DMC-8D MIDI Controllers

An easy-to-follow video tutorial to get those patches programmed!

An Overview of My YouTube Channel

Feel free to browse some of the playlists on my channel. Hopefully this leads to you liking and subscribing!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Return of the PEN

I learnt a valuable lesson when handling cameras, and I learnt it the hard way. I wanted to do a self-portrait for the purposes of updating my resume and professional profiles, so I used a tripod to prop my Olympus PEN up. Unfortunately, I must have extended one of the legs shorter than the others, and as such, when I released my grip on the tripod, the inevitable consequence of gravity taking over happened:

The camera fell facewards towards the ground. Before I could react, it had already landed squarely onto the lens with an audible crack. It was disheartening when I inspected the damage: the lens was bent (M.Zuiko lenses have an inner/outer shaft assembly to zoom), the motor was stuck, and the focusing ring was jammed. In short, I transformed a 14-42mm zoom lens into a 25mm out-of-focus prime lens.

At least the lens bore the full brunt of the damage. The body miraculously had no scratches or dents, and it could still take pictures, although I couldn't tell if the camera functions were working properly since the lens was out-of-focus.

With much thanksgiving, someone with a spare lens responded to my shout-out on Facebook (social media does have a use after all), and it was a fantastic 14-42mm Mark II! With a slimmer profile, a faster focusing motor, and a refined lens construction which made images sharper, I found a new-found obsession to using my PEN. Here's a sample of shots taken:

I admit, I'm primarily a P shooter, which I think is automatic on steroids. These were taken outdoors under shade with ISO 400. With plenty of light, this ISO could freeze our laughter (captured brilliantly by Julia!).

Indoor shots with ISO 800 had a little more grain to them, but I had to crank it up to counter the darkness of the stage (our church meets in the cinema, and the only source of illumination are a pair of stage lights that are point, strong sources of light). Even at this ISO, I could not eliminate motion blur:

It seems that this Mk II lens does not perform as well as its previous incarnation in low-light situations, but I suppose there must be a trade-off somewhere. I'm going to buy this lens off you, Uncle Michael! Thanks heaps for helping me return my PEN to service.

For further reading:
Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm Mk I vs 14-42mm Mk II

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

First Impressions

I'm a tech geek, so naturally, as and when there are promising pieces of new tech for me to play with, I'd be the first to jump right in. DraftCraft seems to have multi-platform publishing, so I'm trying this out. Maybe my ultimate iPad blogging experience will be actualized with this.

Ready, steady, blog!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Over the Top?

I moved my main pedalboard to clean that particular spot of the room (I do suppose my board is getting a little big if there's a substantial amount of floor that doesn't see the light of day). It happened to be in front of my practice rig consisting of my Line 6 gear: the PODX3 and the Spider III.

"Hey, since everything's together, how would it sound if I hooked it all up?"

Yeap. Pedalboard into PODX3 into Spider III. I set the POD like a rack, with the amp/speaker sim on minimal EQ, modulation and delay on post.

I'll be honest: it wasn't impressive. Maybe my signal chain was too long and caused signal degradation, or the digital tone of the PODX3 and the lack of tubes in the Spider III really don't blend well with analog pedals. After some (rather dissatisfying) tweaking, I gathered that the best tone was to turn the amp sim completely off, flatten the EQ on the amp, and rely on the pedalboard as the main preamp and EQ.

Maybe I could improve the tone by:
  1. Using better cables (I'm notorious for using cheapo, lao-pok cables), and having a clean buffer in the front of the chain to push the signal through all that mess. Some of friends insist on Lava and Monster cables, which can cost nearly as much as the pedalboard when used liberally.
  2. In the digital domain, ditch the Line 6 PODX3, which you have to admit is rather inexpensive compared to what the pros use, and go with a rack setup of the Axe FX by Fractal Audio (two of my favorite musicians, Dave Wallimann and Pete Thorn, use this setup almost exclusively). The modern digital has come a long way in a rather short space of time
I'll stick to my analog pedalboard, with my PODX3 as a backup and the "studio rack" for additional effects. You've got to admit, despite all the flak Line 6 receives for its inferior digital amp sim, when you apply its modulation and delay effects in the mix, no one can tell it's Line 6.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

At Wong Chiew

I was standing at the front of the counter, waiting for someone to take notice that I haven't placed my order. A server came up to me after 5 minutes.

Server: Are you here to order?

Me: Oh me? Of course not, I'm here to admire the fine art of beheading a duck.

Fret not, I didn't actually say that, but I very nearly did, especially after her condescending tone.

A New Addiction

I'm addicted.

No, it's not a substance, or a new band, or (heaven forbid) new gear--I'm in love with the bass. I acquired a 4-string Fender Jazz bass, and have effectively replaced my practice time usually reserved for guitar with bass DVD's, bass e-books, and bass articles. I've played for two services so far (first ever at a Chinese worship service for New Heart ministries, and the next at AMK), and the response has been encouraging.

Some material I've been working on:
Dave LaRue's "Essential Bass Concepts"
Stu Hamm's "Fretboard Fitness"
George Urbaszek's online videos
Trying to study players like Pino Palladino and David LaBruyere

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More