Friday, 7 December 2012

Stuck in the MIDI

I've now been using KXStudio in earnest for a couple of projects. A couple of those were just recording a few audio tracks in Ardour 3, but the latest has been a little more complex. I'm doing a song for the next Six String Bliss album. It's a cover and to make things easier I found a MIDI file of the song to use as a basis. I was able to load this into Ardour as a set of MIDI tracks and then link those to Qsynth using a free soundfont. I've been replacing those tracks I can play on guitar, bass and with vocals, but will keep the drums and some keyboards. Ardour has been very stable. I think it has only crashed a couple of times and I didn't lose much.

I still need to work out how to preserve session data so that I don't have to hook up the MIDI channels each time. I'm sure it's possible.

Once I have everything records I want to apply a few effects to make it all sound better. This is still a new area for me, so I'll be doing a bit of reading and experimenting. The album will be out early next year and I'll put my track up after the release.

In other news, I have joined a band! I was contacted earlier this year via Forming Bands by a bass player who wanted to put a blues band together. For various reasons we didn't actually get together until last month. We've now had 3 sessions and worked on about a dozen songs. I'm doing rhythm guitar and most of the singing. The hope is that we will be ready to gig in a few months and get out there and play to some people. This will be a new experience for me. I was with a band before, but we never got past rehearsals. I'm a little nervous, but I at least have some experience of performing in front of people from the pub sessions.

I'm using my Gordon Smith GS2 guitar and Roland Cube 80x amplifier. I'm considering getting some effects to give me more sound options. The Zoom G3X is very appealing with a low price and lots of sounds. I like the 'stompbox' layout that lets you tweak each effect easily. It may also be useful for recording. I have a few analogue pedals (Boss distortion, DOD compressor and a boost), but I think I need more options. The Cube has basic chorus, phaser etc that I have used when playing at home, but lack control for live use. The G3X also has a nice looper that can synchronise to the built-in drum machine. I ought to try one out some time. Part of me would like a nice set of pedals, but that could get expensive and it might take some time to establish what I need. A multi-effects unit may not sound quite the same, but it will let me experiment and I may later decide to add discrete pedals to the set-up as I see some others have done.