Pickles the Drummer… doodly-doo, uh – ding-dong… doodily… doodly-doo

December 26, 2007

(Title is a quote from Metalocalypse…go watch it!)

One of my gifts this year was a Line 6 TonePort. It is shiny and awesome. And also, the bundled software is less intuitive than Cubase for me. Not the actual Line 6 amp modeling software; that works flawlessly. Although it would have been nice if the configuration software would have updated straight to the latest version instead of updating through each individual incremental update. It’s the Live Lite software that I had problems with. To begin with, activation was a bit confusing. Seeing as I had a computer hooked up to the internet, it wasn’t that bad of a problem, but seriously, how do you begin to comprehend that?

Heading on to the tutorial looked promising. I got through the first few tasks easily, but then the tutorial started asking me to use functions and features that simply weren’t available. It would have been nice to take the prerecorded lead parts out of the monitor, but that part of the UI is either hidden extraordinarily well, or not present in the free version (which is odd, since it is a full featured version, just with a few limitations). I haven’t upgraded to Live Lite 6 yet, still using the bundled LL5.

Let me rephrase that: the bundled LL5 is still on my computer.

I moved to Audacity to get stuff done. This is not my final solution (I own Cubase somewhere, after all), but it sufficed to test out the hardware for the time being. I loaded up a few amp models, and a few of them sounded pretty good. Most of them, however, sounded like my guitar sounded last time I recorded with it. It’s a bit muddled and tinny, which is due in part to 2+ year old strings, Audacity and my pickup settings. Playing around with the settings on both my guitar and the amp modeling software got me a tone I started to like.

Then, recording was a bit of a pain. I can play to a clicktrack no problem, but for some reason it didn’t work for me tonight. I was off, and just didn’t sound natural at all. I can play around with slightly off timing, but it’s the natural sounding part that is the big problem.

The other main thing that frustrated me was the fact that to get true, realtime monitoring I have to run headphones to the TonePort. And they are 1/4″ jack phones, an adapter I forgot to bring. The fact that I have to monitor through the TonePort does not bother me at all (though I’ve read reviews that criticize the device for it, which shows a lack of DSP and routing knowledge. This is a necessity when you look at how the device and drivers work to minimize latency and maintain quality) but the fact that I forgot to bring my jack adapter does. Luckily for me, there is a Musician’s Friend outlet/warehouse very close by from what I’ve been told. My mom and I might head out there tomorrow and I will pick up an adapter, and maybe a few new accessories. I have ONE pick with me, and I am guarding it fiercely from loss.

Up next on the recording plate: Dishing out the main verse arpeggiation for Ashitaka. Not an easy one to be sure (it’s relatively fast, and I’m not good at sweeping arpeggios), but I think I can do it. I just have to get the verse done and I can copy it over twice. I will build from there with the other guitar parts, and might do a little lead work just for fun.

Need to really practice much more.

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