Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
 

Tags: Dropping Science


May 15, 2017

Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury...

by Chris Randall
 



Long-time readers will know how comically funny this screenshot is. (Either that, or a blatant display of hypocrisy. 6:5 and pick 'em.) That right there is Eos 2 as a 64-bit AAX running in PT12. We've just pushed the v2.0.2 of Eos to the store, and the installers on both platforms include AAX. All future releases will also include AAX.

It is worth noting here that the person that we had a "disagreement" with at Digidesign is long departed, and Avid reached out to us with an olive branch. You can also blame almost constant haranguing from Eric Beam and Don Gunn, both of whom have been driving me absolutely to distraction with requests for AAX.

So finally I caved and was like "how hard can it be?" As it turns out, not hard at all. The only difficult part was figuring out the PACE/Eden signing on the Windows side of things, and Sean Costello of ValhallaDSP gave me some very helpful guidance there.

So, long story short, babies under the bridge, throwing the horse out with the bathwater, etc. We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia. Grab that 2.0.2 installer and get yourself some AAX.

 
May 8, 2017

Eos Dos...

by Chris Randall
 



Now that the hardware side of the business is chugging along, we've turned our attention back to plugins. After some soul-searching and rending of garments, it became obvious that some serious re-building was in our future to make sure our rather extensive product line stays pertinent and healthy as we start knocking on the door of our 3rd decade in business.

First one on the block was (depending on how you count) either our second- or third-most popular plugin, Eos. We're rebuilding everything in JUCE, so that we can offer and support all the formats from a single codebase that is well-supported and gives us a lot of different options. So these ports aren't really ports as such, but complete ground-up rebuilds. In the case of Eos, the biggest problem was the user interface. It still held up okay on normal-res screens, but on Hi_Res and Retina, it looked cheap and awful. Also, a continuing point of contention with me has been the lack of a common platform-agnostic preset mechanism.

Early last year, we released FuzzPlus3, which was built with JUCE and made with a completely procedural user interface. (That is to say that the UI is all code, no images at all.) It also had an XML-based preset mechanism that Randy from Madrona and Sean from ValhallaDSP came up with. Several tens of thousands of downloads later, nobody seemed to have any problem with either the OpenGL interface or the preset mechanism, so I figured they were safe to roll in to a paid product.

With all that in mind, I set to it. I decided on a darker look for Eos 2, and instead of a static background, I used a GLSL shader to give me a little animated blob that responded to knobbing, which I thought was a clever trick. We also bared some previously hidden controls (high and low crossover points, which are the corner frequencies for the high and low multipliers) and added a fourth algorithm, Plate 3, which is a derivation of Plate 2 with a somewhat different rendering loop that results in a less dense tail with a wider stereo image.

All in all the port only took about 5 days, and then we spent a week with the testers tracking down all the silly bits. The testers were surprised to hear from me, not having got a new AD plug for some time now. But they were all still game, and now Eos 2 is available for purchase in the Audio Damage store and at Splice. The full version is $59.00, and the upgrade from v1.x is the difference between the two, $10.00.

This version is built with the absolute latest JUCE 5, the current VST3 SDK, and current Xcode and Visual Studio, against the current APIs from both Apple and Windows. So it should be solid for a good long while. Aside from the usual 32/64 VST and AudioUnits, a side effect of using JUCE is that we pick up the VST3 version for free. So that's included, and will be included in all our upcoming rebuilds. This version also removes the anti-denormal math, which caused a very small amount of noise to be added to the signal path. We figure not many people are using a Pentium 4 for music any more, and the ones that are probably can't run a bleeding-edge OpenGL-based plugin anyhow, so that's that.

We haven't decided what we're going to do next; I'm about 70% finished with Basic 2, which is a polyphonic version with much more extensive modulation. We've also got a couple new plugs we've been cooking up, and would like to port some of the advances we've made on the hardware side of things back in to plugin land.

 
March 31, 2017

Demo Daze...

by Chris Randall
 



That right there is a mockup of our new baby, Ensō, which is an audio buffer module in 22hp, with 50 seconds of stereo 48/24 audio memory, and various ways for looping/triggering/etc that buffer. We're done with the hardware design, and are working on the software now.

You can come see it (and the new Eos module) in person if you're in the LA area. I will be doing an Audio Damage clinic/Q&A at Perfect Circuit in Burbank this Wednesday, April 5th, at 7PM. Facebook event page with all the deets is here. Derrick Baseck will be doing a performance, and I'm given to understand there will be pizza and beer, two of the three major food groups. We will be giving away a couple modules, and buttons and stickers and the other usual shit, and I may extemporaneously perform for 15 minutes myself.

In other news, the first articles for the hardware version of Eos will be on the way to me today. So just a beta-testing round and then that will be shipping. Figure two weeks to stores at this point.

And finally, we will be attending Superbooth in Berlin again this year. I'm flying in to Prague on April 15, and then driving up to Berlin a couple days later. If you are in town and want to hook up, get at me in the usual methods.

 
February 3, 2017

Decks & FX: Sound Experiments 002

by Chris Randall
 



The second in my Sound Experiments series for the Analog Industries YouTube channel. In this one, I'm using various tape sources in lieu of my normal tools. (Although, it's worth noting, all these decks are part of my normal toolset.)

The speech, running on the small Marantz deck, is from an interview with John Cage where he is talking about a Glenn Branca performance he'd seen the night before. He calls Branca a fascist. I guess if you're John Cage it's fine to bag on Glenn Branca. I don't think I could personally get away with it.

Otherwise, I just made loops from various sources and dumped them to the decks, and perform with the decks' various controls for doing so. Of special note is the pad. I recorded two channels on the 4-track with two different chords of the same sound. I'm running the tape cue out of the 4-track to the Eventide H9 Max, set to an edited Black Hole preset, and I'm "playing" the chord by cross-fading the two send controls. This gives the nice big stereo effect.

I made the drum loop on my Eurorack, and then dumped it to Frasier, my MTR-12. I cut the one-measure loop directly on Frasier, and I'm playing it back in Edit/Dump mode (you can see me hit the dump button every time I stop the deck). The reason for this is that if the deck isn't in Edit/Dump mode, the right hand capstan, which is supposed to keep tension on the reel, spins at a ludicrous speed. In Dump, that capstan stops.

This brings up an interesting point, though: when working with tape decks in a musical context (as instruments, rather than as playback/recording vehicles) each deck has its own personality. The dump button on Frasier is a good example. On the Marantz deck that has the Cage interview, it has a pitch knob (it is a dictation deck IRL) so I was able to pitch Cage's voice, which is whiney at the best of times, down to a more reasonable listening experience. That sort of thing. Every deck has its own little tricks and features that you need to explore and exploit. This is mildly fun. "What can I do with this?" That sort of thing.

 
January 18, 2017

Various Things...

by Chris Randall
 

It is no doubt apparent to long-time readers that I coasted this site for most of 2016, preferring to experiment with other outlets. Having now done my research, it's time to get back in the saddle with a new plan for 2017. So here's some things that are coming up:

1. Videos. Due to spending two months with someone else's teeth in my mouth (which isn't near as interesting as it sounds) I was uncomfortable making videos for the AI YouTube channel. However, that process was completed yesterday, and now we can return to our regularly-scheduled vitriol. Having tried some various things, I've discovered what works and what doesn't in that format, at least as far as my personality and skills go, and have a better idea of how to take the YouTube channel further. Essentially, I will concentrate more on tech and less on talk. The tech and technique videos get way more views and engagement than the ranting videos. So I'll stick to that.

2. Pedagogy. I am once again teaching Entrepreneurship In The Music Industry for a local college this semester. However, in a mild change of things, I will be putting my lectures on the YouTube channel. There are six in all. I'd like to think that these are a bit more basic than most of you will care about, but I think highly of you guys. Maybe they'll be interesting to you; my hope is that they'll help the younglings coming up.

3. Travels. During the next three months I will be visiting Portland, Los Angeles, Prague, and Berlin. If you're in any of those places and want to organize a small (like 3-5 person) meetup, get at me. I've never met many of you, and I would very much like to. Of special note is Sync02 in Portland on March 4th, which we are organizing in league with Control Voltage. There is a Facebook event page here.

4. Audio Damage. Lots happening on that front. As you no doubt know, we had a Web Site Disaster late last year (dealing with this is another reason for silence on the YouTube channel) and I have spent the last while building a new Shopify site. As a result, approximately 10,000 people have written me asking where their old account is. I love this. It's my new favorite thing. In related news, you motherfuckers can't keep a computer running for 20 minutes without doing a full bare metal re-install, if my inbox is any indicator. That aside, we have like 8 new products in the queue, some of which are happening quite soon. 2017 is going to be a very exciting year!

5. Music. I'm working on a new project that is combo audio/visual, and which I will perform live. More on that as it is birthed, but I'm pretty excited about it.

So, tl;dr: more videos, some homework, new shit! Yay!
 

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