I’ve tried many times to create usable icon files with Photoshop. As it doesn’t natively support icons, I’ve used so many bits of software, online tools and tricks but to no avail.
However, I have found the solution – a free Photoshop plugin that does the trick. Not so useful if you don’t use Photoshop, but a life-saver if you do. It worked perfectly on Windows 7 64-bit and Photoshop CS5.5 (there is a Mac version also).
I stumbled across f.lux in a forum and it’s one of the best additions to my computer. It’s a little app that sits in the background, and dims the screen in the evening to simulate sundown. It gradually removes the blue from the display depending on the time of day and time of year.
It definitely saves the eyes during long computer sessions, but isn’t noticeable until you turn it off and blind yourself! It’s for Windows, Mac Linux and even iPhone/iPad. You can get f.lux for free over at Stereopsis.
I recently hit a wall in Ableton Live. I dropped around 60 audio samples into a drum rack which created a simpler automatically for them. I then wanted to map the release of every sample to Macro 1. I did about 5 and realised that it would take a long, long time. There’s a similar option for mapping values to siblings, but no map macro to siblings option.
After researching, it turns out that there is a way to do this, but it is, for some unknown reason, hidden. There are loads of features you can add by creating an Options.txt file and putting various statements in it.
How to enable the map macro to siblings feature
To enable the feature you have to create a text file with the options in it. First, create a plain text file called Options.txt and in it write the line -EnableMapToSiblings=1ensuring that you have the hyphen at the start. This enables on option is the menu to map macro to siblings (and there are more at the official Ableton site). You now need to save this file in the Ableton preferences folder. On Mac OS X, the path is HD:/Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/Ableton/Live x.x/. On Windows XP, this is in C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Ableton\Live x.x\Preferences\. Windows Vista, 7 and 8 it is C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Ableton\Live x.x\Preferences\. Obviously the username and Live version is dependent an your system.
On some systems these folders will be hidden by default. You can either un-hide these, or type the path directly. For a walkthrough to show hidden folders on Windows, click here, and for OSX, click here.
Once you have restarted Ableton Live, the function to map macro to siblings is now there!
The mid-side recording technique is a very useful technique to learn. Of all the stereo recording techniques, M/S gives the most flexibility. It allows you to manipulate the stereo width post-recording, and is completely mono compatible. The idea is for 1 microphone to capture the middle image, i.e. facing forward, and for a second microphone to capture the left AND right hand side image. How can 1 microphone pick up a stereo signal you ask? Easy, that’s how. It’s all to do with using a figure-of-8 pattern, and how it is decoded later.
The idea is for your mid microphone to be set to a cardioid (or similar) pattern facing forward, and have your figure-of-8 mic positioned at the same place, facing left. Take a look at the picture. Ignore the camera, and the fact the mid mic is facing to the right, and you get the idea of how it works. The AKG C414′s used in the picture let you pick from a variety of patterns. they aren’t cheap, but they are very good quality.
Signals coming from the left will now be picked up by the mid mic and the side mic’s positive (or front) side (if you faced it to the left). Signals coming from the right will hit the mid mic, and the side mic’s negative side.
After you have recorded this you will have 2 channels – the mid and the side. Now for the magic…
The mid channel is easy. It is ready to go. To decode the side channels, you want to duplicate the side channel and take a phase inverted copy of it. Phase inverting is different in different DAWs. You will have to check your DAW’s manual for that. Phase inverting the signal converts the negative side of the mic, into the new right channel. (I won’t go into how and what phase inverting does – you should know that!) Pan your original side channel fully left and your phase inverted one fully right. You now have a stereo signal from using 1 microphone! You should now group (or buss) these channels for easy mixing. Add in the mid signal to suit and you are done!
This technique yields very good results, and as said earlier is completely mono compatible. If played back through a mono system, the side channels will completely disappear. This is because the positive and negative channels will be summed, and cancel each other out. Of course, there is an easier way to do the decoding, and that’s with my free plugin The Mid-Sider. But you should have a go manually first to get your head around how it all works.
I’ve released a new plugin. It’s a mid-side decoding plugin. I recently recorded a classical piano piece, and had to to the decoding manually. I made this to speed up the process in future. It’s Windows VST 32/64-bit at the moment, but OSX support is coming soon. Check it out…
Today was my first session of progressing with the Ableton Controller. What I did was have a lead with a female power connector attached, so my custom mobo and boards could feed from a wallwart power supply instead of the Arduino’s 5v pins. When I connected it up, the LCD lit up, made a fizz noise, and burned out. The LEDs on the mixer didn’t light up either.
I had it in my head that my power supply was 5v when in fact it was 12v. Game over for the LCD then – what a schoolboy error. Luckily I have another one, as I intended to have 2 screens on the final build. The mixer boards might need a rebuild, and if so I will do them on PCB as soon as possible.
My last post was a couple of months ago now. I came to update this blog, and had a whopping 92 spam comments! I really need to get the spam filter on….
Anyways, I had a presentation/demonstration back in January, which seemed to go down pretty well. The other presenters, staff and second scrutiniser seemed to be really impressed. I can’t really explain the project from the last post to now; everything is just really a expanded, more complex version of the boards made before, so here’s a few pictures, beginning with the set-up at the demonstration….
Here’s the mixer boards…
And the front panel. I can’t explain how difficult it was to cut out the slots and squares, using my tools which are for building cupboards and such!
Everything working and plugged into my custom mobo.