Dust on the Studio

It’s been a very eventful few months in my household. As many of you know, I moved to a new house in September which gave me much more space for my studio, something I have never really had that much opportunity with before. The studio is so large that I can have my full wrap around desk with three sections, two bookshelves and my printer setup and still have enough space to setup three or four chairs to have some musicians play. Now, I cannot setup a full trap set or anything but if I needed that, that’s what the storage shed is for – it does have electricity, heating and insulation after all. But alas, my studio has not been very busy in the past few months.

Now, I should state that my Studio Mac itself and the three screens have been VERY active, just not the actual studio. Because of the fact that I have been teaching online Masters classes for two consecutive terms (with more to come), the studio Mac is the only full blown workstation I have at my disposal that allows multiple monitors. As a result, I have been spending a great deal of time in my studio but only to use the computer to grade papers. Sure, I have fired up the studio to show some friends how powerful the sound system is, played some music for my kids and friends, and watched a few movies in there, but I have not made a lot of new music.

This is not to say that I am quitting or retiring, no. Simply put, the music I make is a hobby for me and that hobby is something that I only do when time allows. For the past few months, I have simply not had time to do much. The main reason is that the recent patch of sickness that passed through my house caused me to be set back several weeks in grading papers for my online teaching job. I am finally done with that until the middle of January, but even that afforded me little time to work on music. I DID touch up my revision of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” that I intended to use as my Christmas song for 2015 only to find that I simply wasn’t going the same direction on it that I had been when I started it several months ago. I attempted to work on a remix of “The First Noel” to release instead, it was a short song and didn’t have as much complexity in the chords as the others, but I ended up running out of time to work on it because my time had to go to grading papers.

As a result, things have been very boring for my music persona as of late. I firmly believe that I am one of the most boring Twitter artists ever as I would get new followers in waves that would stay on my page for a few months only to vanish shortly thereafter when I did not post much. That’s okay, I was never in this for the fame. 🙂 However, it is cool to see what many other artists I follow are doing and in a few rare cases, being able to interact with them. I was totally stoked when I responded to a tweet from SchoolBoy about being in the ER and he ACTUALLY responded to me. Sure, he may not be as well known as someone like Skrillex or Zomboy, but he has droves of fans and has worked with some big name artists and chose to interact with me. That’s pretty cool in my book!

What does the future hold? I don’t really know. I have a number of ideas to flesh out and even some songs to finish. The main issue is just finding the right mixture of time and drive to put some new stuff down. Until I do, stay tuned!

DJ6i Out!

Studio Updates Underway

Hey there everybody, it’s been a few weeks since the family and I moved out to the country. I had expected that I would have the updated studio put together by now, but I simply had too many other things to unpack and/or do that I didn’t get to work on it until this last weekend. However, I am pleased to announce that the studio is about halfway put together by now and I have already played around with pieces of it to make sure it’s working normally.

Here is what I have done so far:

  1. I have had the Mac setup and running this whole time but I just recently hooked it back into the Lexicon so my studio feed can go out through the mixers.
  2. I purchased two JamStand monitor stands, assembled them, and put the studio speakers (my KRK Rokit5’s) up on there.
  3. I ran the audio out of my Lexicon and into my Behringer Xenyx mixer.
  4. The mixer board now gets the studio feed as a hard channel (in the past, I would only plug in the mixer when I was doing some recording with my friends) and I can have full mixing (and FX control) from my studio source before they hit the speakers.
  5. I have already attached the condenser microphone to my mixer and ran some tests. I was able to distort my voice using the Behringer FX options which is something that had only worked part of the time with my last build. Not to mention, the kids had a great time playing with the different tone shift mixers on the board to make their voice sound different. So far, our favorite is FX number 78, I call this “The Dark Lord of Evil” pitch shifter. It literally makes even my 4 year old boys voices sound like Darth Vader or Diablo.
  6. Lastly, I decided to test my ability to do a hard mix out from something pre-recorded so I used the opportunity to make my oldest daughter twitch. You see, she has taken a liking to Luke Bryan’s song “Kick the Dust Up” which comes from one of my least favorite genres – modern country. I got her very excited when i told her that I would allow her to listen to her favorite song on ‘daddy’s big speakers’. I queued up the iTunes feed (remember, my Lexicon now directly connects to my mixer) for the song. As soon as she would get to singing a portion of the song, I would fire off a different pitch shifter (such as the Dark Lord of Evil FX mentioned above or it’s polar opposite, a high-pitch tone shift that sounds almost like the chipmunks without boosting speed) and screw with her. She thought it was funny the first time but after the third or fourth, she started stomping her foot at me or otherwise expressing her frustration – mission accomplished. After all, what good are your children if you cannot screw with their heads every once in a while?

That is to say that the studio is about halfway together. I already have some more wiring on order so that I can run some more leads into the mixer and switch the near-field speaker wire feeds to something higher grade. When I originally purchased my near-fields, I was at a local big box retailer and wanted something quick to hook the feeds of the speakers in from the Lexicon. As a result, I purchased some cheap leads at the store. They worked for a while but I noticed that they tend to pop and hiss from time to time because they are not as well shielded as they could be. That being the case, the new wire leads will be much better quality. I should have those today.

Other updates that I plan to do shortly:

  1. Purchase a powered amp like an Alesis that will push wattage from the mixer to the speakers without clipping the audio.
  2. Get my Casio keyboard wired into the studio so I can go back to recording some synth melodies.
  3. Convert my studio Mac into a table-mounted monitor so I can pull it above the keyboard for compositions ( I have the parts but have not installed them).
  4. Add a second monitor to the table mount to provide me more screen space for my mixing freedom (again, the parts are here, I just have to install them).
  5. Connect my guitar and pedals to the studio mixer and test some guitar riffs in new songs.
  6. Invite some local musicians to come in the studio and jam with me to test some recording.

Ambitious, I know, but I have never been one who is prone to cower against some big challenges – in fact – I would say my ability to take those in stride is part of what has made me what I am. Hope to have some new tunes for you guys soon enough! DJ6i Out!

Transfer Complete!

Hey there everybody! I know that everyone has been watching my site with pained breaths waiting for an update (okay… maybe I WISH everyone was). Well, after several months, my family and I have officially moved to what we hope will be our family home for many years to come. It has enough space for my family to run and play and – of course – enough space for me to have an awesome studio! We have only been in our new place for 3 days now so it is pretty chaotic. However, I have already reassembled my studio desk and will be hooking up all of my equipment over the weekend. I have also acquired a few more interesting pieces of equipment that I hope to include in the setup. When the studio is back up and running, I will be finishing up the “Scoops” song and dropping some brand new stuff once things are back in place. Until then, enjoy the last few days of summer as you prepare for fall!

DJ6i Out!

Requiem of a Fantasy – New Track!

Hey there friends! I hope this finds you well. Despite the demands of twin babies, full time employment, transitioning to a new job and various other things, I managed to spend some time in the studio to do a project that is a labor of love. You see, one of my hobbies for many years has been playing video games but when the game systems got more and more complicated and the games longer and longer, I stuck with my NES and  SNES games. As a result, I have become somewhat of a retro gamer (see my RGB Blog).

One of my favorite games of all time is the Super Nintendo classic “Final Fantasy II” (FF4 in Japan). It has so many great elements in it that set the stage for so many of the RPG’s to come and really set the tone for the future of the Final Fantasy series as a whole. You can read why I love this game so much by checking out my post about it on the RetroGamer blog.

The first song you ever here… literally the way you are introduced to the game is with a song track that essentially consists of a rising and falling harp arpeggio. This song also plays any time you are in a “Crystal Room” in the game. The actual name per Nobuo Uematsu (the song’s composer) is simply called “Prelude” but it has also been called “Requiem of the Crystals” and even “The Final Fantasy Theme”. It is this song that I have decided to remix.

Please check out one of my favorite remixes I have ever done: Requiem of a Fantasy