So this is Christmas . . .

Well, close enough. It certainly isn’t September any more. Oops. I really should try to update this more than once per quarter, I suppose.

The odd thing is that I have in fact been updating a few things here and there, but they aren’t always immediately visible. The tunes on the Millette family album have been getting the occasional refresh.

The latest updates can be found here.

I’m also (very slowly) working on a cover of Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower. My brother, David, recorded most of the guitar tracks way back in April of 2009, and I’ve finally got around to mixing them together. It is still in a very unfinished state. I’ve thrown in a half-verse of scratch vocals as well, to get a sense of where it is going. Please don’t laugh too hard at them………….

All Along the Watchtower (Cover)

Chloe the puppy is doing well now — much better than she was in October and early November. First, she got spayed at the end of September and had to be on strict-ish rest for 2 weeks. Then I went away for a week to Vancouver and she stayed at a nearby kennel. While I was away, my brilliant dog thought that eating rocks would be a wonderful idea. So she had some more surgery to remove those, meaning another 2-3 weeks of rest and the lampshade collar and the whole bit.

On a side note, if anyone has an extra $832 that they don’t know what to do with, I know of a certain dog-owning priest who might have an idea. Sigh.

Also, since the rock saga I’ve bought her^H^H^Hmyself a treadmill (55% off at Canadian Tire!). It really helps her^H^H^Hme to release energy, now that it’s generally too cold to go on walks of any reasonable length. Here’s a cool video of that:

Parish life is going pretty well. And Andy and Jane and I are in the process of working on something that should be pretty exciting when we get it set up. And once we figure out a name for it. :-)

Have a great Christmas, everyone! And if you overdo it in the eating department, Chloe has a treadmill!

Dual channel mic preamp

Things have been busy at St. Anne’s, as usual. It’s a great parish with lots going on!

On my days off I’ve been working on my latest electronics project: a dual-channel microphone preamplifier. I built it using the SC-1mk2 kit from www.fivefishstudios.com. The cost for parts was pretty much what it would have been if I had built a similar circuit from Jensen Transformers and ordered the parts from regular electronic sources like mouser.com and digikey.ca, but with a very important bonus: printed circuit boards! Printed circuit boards are orders of magnitude easier to work with than the perf boards I used for my mics, where I hand-wired everything.

(Well, sort of. I still managed to destroy a voltage regulator IC. Umm, it’s not a very good idea to try and adjust the heat sink while it is still attached to the IC. The chip kinda broke into two pieces. Fortunately, a replacement was found at a local store for $2.)

I have yet to use it for any recording, but it sounds great when I connect it to my monitors. It seems to have a nice, natural-sounding tone. That was my main reason for wanting to build some preamps in the first place: the preamps that are built into my Presonus Firepod are ok — they’re great value for the money, actually — but they can be a little harsh-sounding with certain instruments. The high quality amplifier chip and the Cinemag input transformer that are used in the SC-1mk2 preamps should help warm up the sound and bring out more of the depth of acoustic instruments – all the while being a lower noise device than the Presonus preamps.

I’ll post some recordings when I have a chance to make some.

Here are some photos. See the Facebook page for more.
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=394628&id=793360323&l=966c23a382







Is This Thing On?

(The Recording page has *finally* been updated!)

Over the past few years my family has written and recorded a number of songs. I decided to take the best ones so far and put them into a little album on my iTunes playlist. I’m happy to share the tracks with you!

Note: all of these tracks are still a work in progress. They may be updated at various times.

Check Check Is This Thing On?

Track List

  • 01: Happy Sunday
  • 02: Our Song
  • 03: Mirror of Eternity
  • 04: Pirates
  • 05: Rockem Sockem Hockey
  • 06: You Are
  • 07: Millette Guitar Concerto (Updated February 12, 2010
  • 08: About a Time
  • 09: Summer Vacation
  • 10: Not Gonna Sing

  • In these tracks you can also hear the evolution of my attempts at drum recording. About a Time, Pirates, and You Are include drums recorded in a very basic way, and then augmented with samples. This involved a very tedious process of manually creating the MIDI data for each snare and bass drum hit. (Logic Pro 9 was not yet released, which has the capability of doing automated drum replacement.)

    In Mirror of Eternity I went the opposite direction, creating programmed drums and then augmenting them with some recorded hihats and cymbals.

    The drums for Rockem Sockem Hockey were recorded last summer, but before Stephen and I had properly tuned the snare drum. As a result, the quality isn’t as high as in more recent tracks. I hope to try some sample replacement on the snare drum soon.

    Our Song, Not Gonna Sing, and Millette Guitar Concerto are using recorded drums with no sample replacement. They turned out fairly well, I think! I still need to make a few adjustments (especially to MGC), but I think I’ve now got a good method for recording drums with my home made mics and the Shure SM-57 on the snare top.

    Happy Sunday and Summer Vacation are using purely programmed drums.

    What do you think? Any mixing or recording tips to pass along?

    New stuff

    Here’s just a quick update:

    1. Elaine and Brendan are now engaged! Congrats! (It’s going to be a busy summer next year, with Danny & Becca and Elaine & Brendan.)

    2. Due to Fr. Les’s illness, I’ve temporarily been assigned to St. Anne’s parish in the north end of Saskatoon. (For any canon law geeks out there, the technical term is “parochial administrator,” – Can. 540. :-)). It’s a lot of work but the parish has been very welcoming! I’m also still living at Holy Family, since this is a temporary placement.

    3. There’s some new music to listen to. This is all a work in progress… the synthesized electric guitars really need to be replaced by the real thing, and the song itself needs a lot of work (like, some melody).

  • Our Song (new)
  • Music update

    This is just a quick note. I’ve done a bit of additional mixing to the Mirror of Eternity song. It’s all very subtle but I’m hoping that the mix sounds a little bit clearer and that it translates better to more speaker systems.

    Mirror of Eternity – version 3

    (If you are interested in the dry, technical details, the changes mainly involve: level and compression adjustments, slight randomization on the bass and snare drum, and the use of a linear phase equalizer. I particularly think that the new equalizer makes the overall sound slightly clearer, as other equalizers can tend to phase shift the signal. Phase shift isn’t necessarily bad, mind you, but it does colour the sound and I didn’t like what it was doing to the mix. As for the compression changes, they make the apparent volume seem slightly lower than before but the dynamics are better preserved. I also made use of a free plugin that simulates some classic compressor circuits to colour the sound a bit. I like the way it helped liven up the mix.)