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dharma lab

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Everything posted by dharma lab

  1. I can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not. On a professional level, I'm honestly interested if you feel my logic is flawed, so I welcome your thoughts if you ever have the time.
  2. Given the same number of drives for either setup, the RAID controller has further risk as a point of failure than a regular IDE/SATA, because of controller incompatibilities. It's not necessarily common, but switching raid controllers can trash your array. I've had to restore arrays from backup because data migration to a new RAID controller went south. Not so much a deal when you are working with an IT department with a large budget & is well prepared before the migration. It's definitely a problem for a home user with a limited budget, and perhaps didn't backup their entire RAID array before migrating, or controller failure. If you can ensure replacement with a 100% compatible RAID controller, then these problems I'm talking about are eliminated. So again, if your budget isn't capped, you'll most likely have no problems. If you are on a limited budget, I think your risks go up. Just my opinion.
  3. If data integrity was my 100% only concern, and I had 4 disks, I would trust 4 copies of backups on 4 separate disks more than I would trust a single backup on a Raid 5 with 4 drives with redundancy. The risk of RAID controller incompatibility if you had to switch raid controllers (if your drops dead for example, and you have to get a different one) is greater than the chance that all 4 of your single drives will die before you can get a single backup off one of the disks. Make sense?
  4. For data integrity, given the same number of drives (min of 2), I would trust backups on 2 (or more) single drives over a RAID configuration any day. However, RAID does give you additional performance, so it's all about deciding your own level of risk.
  5. Lemmiwinks covered a lot of important info, and I'd like to just add a few things. First off, from personal experience, of the 3 monitors you mentioned I can tell you that the Adam's A7 are easily the best built, & for me, the most accurate sounding. I would go on to say that they are probably the most accurate in their price range, alongside the DynaAudio BM 5A's. There are other reasons why i like them, but I wanted to cover a few other things: There are many other factors which make a difference which are subjective. First & foremost is that everyone's ears are different, just like a fingerprint. Secondly, the acoustics of your room play a huge role in your hearing-- just as important as the quality of your monitor speakers, soundcard, etc, really!!! If you plan on upgrading to the Adam A7's level of quality, you should definitely be spending money on acoustically treating the room, especially if you plan on adding a subwoofer. Buy the treatment before you buy the subwoofer. (fyi- there are many DIY approaches to acoustically treating the room, so look into it). A perfect example is mention of trouble in the bass department. Do you know that phase peaks & nulls can easily offer a range of +6dB to -30 dB in bass frequencies based solely on where you are in the room? You can't possible evaluate a monitor's "bass department" until at the very least you gain an intimate knowledge of how your room is affecting your sound. If you're sitting in a -25dB bass null, you're going to think the bass on the monitors sucks, cause you can't hear it. Starting to get the idea? So, everytime someone steps up & tells you that brand X is the best monitor, that doesn't necessarily mean they are the best monitor for everyone, only that they work for them, which means they may not be right for you. There is a high degree of personal preference here, and no one is right or wrong when it comes to that. The best you can ask is get detailed information why a monitor works from someone, what type of room treatment they have, what type of experience level they have (i.e. novice vs. a trained ear, cause this relates to how everyone hears differently). There is no point in taking someone else's opinion into regard about studio monitors unless they can quantify their answer to you. With these things in mind, it becomes glaringly clear that you will never make a great decision without being able to hear the monitors yourself, in your room. Trust me, you will learn so much from the experience, because many people won't pick up the differences until you are able to switch back & forth between them. As it was mentioned before, there is no perfect solution. You really need to think about what your priorities are for these monitors, and weigh those heavier when making your decision. But when it comes down to it, by comparing monitors side by side you'll know you made the right decision. If you aren't getting your monitors local, I highly recommend getting one of each. The extra money you pay in shipping is really worth it for making an informed decision.
  6. Your mixing style is a tool, just like your track selection. Long, drawn out mixing are excellent for setting atmosphere, and building intensitiy. Quick change ups aren't necessarily something to be feared, because they offer a more dramatic dynamic. I think changing your mixing style thru a set can also enhance the story telling, and can be used separetly, or in tandem with a musical style change. If you are going to make an abrupt change, I think you should have already laid down a good foundation. It has to make sense in the theme, if you ask me. A quick change up is good when you can do ith without a 'hole' happening in the sound. I hope I'm conveying the idea adequately.
  7. I've had lots of problems with several pieces of m-audio stuff in the past, & generally stay away from them. I actually had a 410 back in 2004 & it was utter rubbish. Didn't work well on either of my 2 desktop machines, or my laptop. I picked up the 410 again last year because it I needed at least 6 audio outs, midi in/out, & small enough for transport with laptop, all without being too expensive so that if something happens to it when I'm performing out I won't be really pissed. I have since kept my Motu 828 Mk2 @ home and feel much better about not bringing it to clubs & bars. I picked mine up in almost new condition 2nd hand on ebay for $150 US, which is a big reason why I opted to give the 410 a 2nd chance. Also, Mr. Colin OOOD had mentioned he was using a recent model with good results, and I value his opinion. I am very pleased to say this 410 hasn't given me any problems. I run it under windows XP SP2, with a SIIG pc card 54 firewire card on an Asus a8J laptop. I use it mostly for traktor & ableton live at pretty low latencies (6ms), but have also thrown some standalone soft synths @ it. I program & support computers for a living, so I do lots of other tweaking & know my way around an OS, & optimizing performance. I would rate the sound quality as adequately good.
  8. Having used a few different midi controllers for DJing, I can say alot of it comes down to preference, and to what level you want to take your sets to. I'm currently using 2 korg pad kontrols, and lovin it, cause I've mapped controls to all sorts of VST effects as well the DJ controls. However, I will make 2 general reocmmendations: 1) Stay away from cheap equipment. Trust me, they all break & you end up paying again to replace it. I've come to live by the motto of buy less equipment, & buy quality equipment. Better gear also tends to hold it's value longer too, in case you decide to sell it later. 2) Stay away from controllers with USB only midi connections. I say this because most manufacturer don't mount the USB to casing, rather they have it soldered into the cicuit board, and sooner or later, the conenction goes wonky. It just doesn't stand up to the regular plugging & unplugging. I've had several pieces of gear no longer be detected properly because of this. I pretty much only buy midi equipment that has a standard midi port as well as as USB.
  9. Since balanced 1/4" output have the extra ring, wouldn't inserting a balance cable into a balanced output feel a little different than inserting a balanced cable into an unbalanced output? Was just thinking about this, wondering if you could feel the extra ring pop into place, essentially feeling 2 clicks/pops of the jack as it inserts fully rather than 1.
  10. I've been very happy with Mackie SRM 450's. They are the original ones made in Italy. All models after 2004 are made in China. While the chinese made ones are good, there is a very slight quality difference than the italian made ones. I would say maybe 5-8% difference. The company that used to produce them in Italy now is building basically the same model under a new company name, something like ART, or RTL (I can't remember the name right now). I would consider buying from them first, than from mackie. I'm sure there are lots of other options too. As far as sound quality, speakers, music source & quality will all make a good DJ/Musician sound better, but they will not make a bad one sound good. Having DJ'ed for 10 years now, including house, techno, ambient, psy-trance & more, I have to say that I think it is very unlikely that the DJ's were mixing psy-trance for 5 minutes. While it may be possible, because of the nature of the structure & timbre of most psy-trance music, it becomes difficult to mix that long. It often gets too busy (cacophony), or the songs elements don't match because of quick measure changes, or odd time signature breaks/pauses in psy-trance. I prefer longer mixes, and so I have to often use looping in order to get a smooth transition, as playing the tune straight wouldn't work for that long. To be blunt, most psy-trance DJ's that I've seen mix very little, and lots of them aren't very good at it. Progressive psy-trance is easier to ride the mix, as the songs tend to build up slowly over the course of the track. I frequently see psy-trance DJ's mix for less than 40 seconds. Another odd thing is, the people who listen to psy-trance in my areas are way more forgiving of bad beat-matching too. It's been an interesting phenomena to observe over the years. And last but not least, you are always more cirtical of your own stuff, whether DJing or producing. Get other's opinions. PS- Learning to mix only in your headphones is a very good skill to learn. You won't need it often, but it'll save your mixes when you don't have a DJ speaker pointing at you, or the sound is bad.
  11. Not saying problems don't exist, just stating that I've used my 828 mk2 on 8 different pc computers without issue. 828 mk1 worked well for me too the short time I had it, as well as a motu 8 port midi interface. My experience with m-audio was the exact opposite as yours, delta 1010 & 410 basic functionality never worked right on either, and were utlimately sold off. It certainly wasn't from lack of trying, or being a novice pc user. Doesn't mean there aren't tons of happy m-audio users out there. RME has it's issues too, but they also seem to be pretty good at releasing firmware updates, adding to their reputation as a solid buy.
  12. My experience has been practically flawless using Motu under windows XP, using CuBase, Sonar, Ableton Live, Sound Forge, & Traktor: so I have to disagree with the comment of bad PC support for motu. While I've never used RME, I am very happy with my 828 Mk2. It sounds great to me, and the thing is built very sturdy. I do not use the pre-amps at all. I've heard mixed results with the ultralite, particularly due to certain incompatibility with fw chipsets, but have not used it firsthand. I think USB for any soundcard is not a good idea. I highly suggest using firewire, regardless of the interface you choose.
  13. In addition to some of the ones mentioned already: Cakewalk's Pentagon 1 - nothing ground breaking, but I think it sounds amazing Devine-Machine's Lucifer 2 - fun for live improv
  14. I agree, though I suspect it has been this way for awhile, not just recently. It's part of the reason I've been searching for someone else to work with, since I continually find I don't have enough time to do it all.
  15. All of us are probably using synthizers (hardware or software), and there is a lot of technical know how required to use them, let alone get the most out of them. So I think the lines get blurred a little. There are songs that contain ideas I find mind-blowing, and I've often wondered if that concept was achieved intentionally, or accidentally. It also occurs to me, that the producer may not even see it in the same light as me, so maybe my concept of their idea really isn't their idea. I think the subjective element plays a big role. The ear follows the mind, and so the more trained the mind becomes, the more trained our ears seem to be. I think people, in general, can grasp, or express their interpretations of sound quality easier than they can the level of 'musicianship'. Something I'd like to point out which I think is important really, is the 'groove', 'space', 'feel' or 'moment' that the music is creating. Quite a bit of the music I enjoy isn't particularly complicated (especially when looked at from a reductionist standpoint), or what I would consider a high level of musicianship, but man, it just sits right when you listen to it. Another example are those tracks which you find boring when listening on your stereo at home, but when you hear them played out at a club, they somehow gain a little more sparkle, and interest. So, it seems to me they are both a means to an ends, not the end itself.
  16. SIIG is a reputable expansion card manufacturer. Not all their firewire cards use TI chipsets. http://www.siig.com/
  17. I've used a Creative Nomad Jukebox for years. 6GB hard disc mp3 player/recorder. Not so great as a player, but it can record 16 bit wave pretty well thru 1/8" jack. Plus, they are probably like $50 on ebay these days. If all your recording is a stereo pair, I think you'd be happiest with something like the mentioned iRiver, or something iPod-ish. My problem is when I started playing with other people. Recording a mixdown is problematic. Trying to find anything not computer interfaced for simultaneously recording 6 - 8 channels is very expensive. All I need is to record the channels to seperate wav files, & be able to pull the tracks down to computer via USB or firewire. Problem is, everything that can do that is designed to be a fuill workstation recorder, and has a ton of stuff I don't need, and tends to be rather large.
  18. Behringer DFX69 DJ effects unit. Bought it as a cheap effects for a bandmate. It sounded crappy, and was built even worse.
  19. Used to use one called No 1 Dvd Audio Ripper, but it was frequently asking me to start Cyberlink PowerDVD pro to 'reset' the DVD read. (Said it was locked open or something). I now use DVD Audio Ripper 4.0.53 and have no such problems. http://www.imtoo.com
  20. Having spun downtempo regularly, I agree with the main points mentioned that: 1) Pay attention to keys of songs 2) Beat-mixing can be done with some stuff, and not with others, so don't feel that it's necessary. 3) Pay attention to the journey thru each step of the way. I would also add that: 1) You don't have to play out full songs. With song structures varying much more in downtempo/ambient, let it be an asset by playing around with it. I've brought songs out very early, only to bring them back in again after a song (or part of a song, doing much more of a live edit...this can be a lot of fun). Likewise, you don't have to start every song at the beginning. You can mesh elements. 2) With downtempo having less structure, it lends itself to quick changes (in my opinion), so a quick change isn't something to be feared, jsut don't do it with every song. My chill sets very frequently have many chapters to them, running 15-40 minutes each (rough statistic, nothing set in stone). 3) With less structure, I also find that I can add a lot more of my own stuff into a set: weather it's playing a synth, dropping loops & samples over the top, or playing with sound on my laptop. It also can work well if you invite a friend or two to 'jam'. In any genre, I think really knowing your tracks gives you the confidence to manipulate them more, so run with it!
  21. You've got that right, raid 5 or 10. Hehe, a 100 9GB scsi drives....I can only imagine the electricity bills & the noise (One of my SCSI drives used to sound like the jet engine in the Bat-Mobile) but man, it would be fun just to see it work.
  22. A true RAID ARAAY (and not just using a raid controller as extra channels for more hard drives, etc) involves doing the job with multiple drives. There are several different types of RAID, but essentially they provide 2 features: 1) BackUp- called Mirroring. Provides a continuous live backup. 2) Performance - called Striping. Have multiple hard drives do the job of 1, providing better performance. I can get into a lot of really technical information, but to put it quite simply, I do not recommend RAID because: 1) In the end, real world performance for the type of work we do on a PC isn't going to increase that much. How often are you maxing out your hard drive read/write anyways. CPU power would be much more helpful. Only machines which are continuously reading & writing to drives (servers) really benefit. 2) If one of you striping RAID hard drives drops dead, guess what, you lose everything in that RAID array. If you setup a RAID array with both mirroring and striping,you'll eliminate that problem, but now you're talking about having at least 3 hard drives, but only have access to the capacity of 2 of them, and more complicated setup, and worse. So, your $$ is much better spent buying a better processor than buying more hard drives & raid controllers. I would likewise suggest buying a 10,000 RPM drive rather than RAID. However, you should ALWAYS be backing everything important up, so make sure you have at least 2 hard drives. I find imaging software like Ghost a good balance of form & function.
  23. The 3 drive setup is helpful. I use 3 drives myself. The simplified idea behind it is this: 1) 3 drives essentially means 3 heads that could be reading/writing simulataneously. So, your windows OS on 1 drive, your audio programs on another, & your audio files on a 3rd means that the tasks get broken up more. (Each drive actually contains multiple heads, writing on multiple platters, but the heads move together as 1) 2) The first parts of the hard drive read/write faster than the later parts. Not a huge difference, but helpful.
  24. agreed Lumpi, I would suggest shopping a few firewire interfaces (provided your have a firewire port on your laptop), and come back here with your favorite picks.
  25. My experiences are on the PC side, so I cannot comment on Mac. I have an Echo Indigo DJ, which I bought for about $150 US, and I am very satisfied with it. It has performed nearly flawlessly from the get go, with latency < 6ms very comfortably for live performance. I have also used a firewire MOTU 828 MK2, and it has performed very well, with a few minor problems along the way. Can successfully get 2ms or less latency, but generally don't use it, to free up more CPU. I used a M-Audio 410 firewire before, and had nothing but problems with it. I sold it. I think both Echo & MOTU are viable options. I would stay away from USB, as it is simply susceptible to more software problems on Windows platforms, especially if you are going to be using other USB devices. Some considerations: -PCMCIA is probably more stable. However, it is also a more fragile physical connection. Any PCMCIA card you have is going to either have the connections directly on it, or to a break-out-box. Consequently, it may have proprietary cabling. Depending on the configuration of the ports on the PCMCIA card, you may have cables blocking access to the area around the PCMCIA slot (ex: idigo 1/8" cabling blocks one of my usb ports on the side of my toshiba laptop). PCMCIA is not outdated yet, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was phased out with a new standard in the next few years, or just replaced by firewire/usb entirely. -Firewire will be more susceptible to connection recognition problems, but not like USB. There are more places that the thruput speed can go wrong than with PCMCIA. No proprietary cabling, and you will have more soundcard options to choose from, that's for sure. Firewire cables are restricted to a max length of 15ft or so, otherwise you need a repeater, but most of us want it close anyways. Firewire is more portable, as most machines will have a firewire port nowadays.
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