Rehearsal

The wedding band rehearsal took place on Saturday. This was the first of three planned rehearsals. The next one is July 17th followed by the dress rehearsal on July 24th. The wedding reception is the evening of July 24th.

The rehearsal went really well. Our drummer came in from the GTA and he did a terrific job on the songs. We spent Friday evening going over several of the covers and all day Saturday working through the entire set. The success of the rehearsal really built up my excitement for the main event. I am looking forward to providing the musical contribution to my daughter’s wedding. And there is a great team of players to help make that happen.

I don’t think I have done this much playing in a long time. And Saturday was just way too much fun.

Milliseconds Matter

And milliseconds add up.

I have found myself in the middle of a deep, dark place. A place known as sunt facta verbis difficiliora. Works are harder than words, or, in today’s parlance, easier said than done.

At the moment, I am trying to juggle too many things and I am losing that most precious asset, time. Time is a constant reminder that I have work to do and that I need to be using time effectively to get all the tasks finished.

I have been making progress so I should not be too hard on myself. However, between now and my daughter’s wedding, I have yet to see a way through it all. And when the unexpected happens, I do the only reasonable thing a human being can do.

I like totally freak out.

One of the many projects I have on the go involves recording. I am producing, engineering, arranging and playing on this project. I am behind schedule. I got behind schedule because I was late on another task which involved mixing and mastering two sets of performance tracks. The work on performance tracks took over 20 hours. Which is not a lot of time, but enough to take out a week on the calendar. Which pushed the current project out. I thought I would get caught up this week-end except that I am playing and recording the whole week-end. Rehearsals Saturday morning. Sessions Saturday afternoon. Practice Saturday evening. Rehearsals Sunday morning. Downbeat Sunday morning. Rehearsals Sunday afternoon. Downbeat Sunday evening.

Okay. Plan B. I will use the evenings during the week to get caught up. This impacts cycling but maybe I can just take a break from riding for the week. Except that I am going out of town for most of next week on business and I will wind up losing two weeks of cycling.

I’ve lost the thread. Oh yes. Milliseconds.

So, I am hard at work in the studio last night. I have basics down. Drums, bass, electric guitars. And now I need to track acoustic guitar tracks. When I track acoustic guitar, I use open mics. Time for headphones and cue mixes. I have a wireless keyboard which is what I use to drive the Pro Tools rig remotely.

I get the input signal chain all lined up. Prep the cue mix — click track, stereo drums, stereo electric guitars, bass, acoustic. Initiate recording.

Er. What’s up with the delay?

As I started to play, there was somewhere north of 20 to 30 milliseconds of latency in the system. In other words, from the time I struck a note, there was a delay of about 25 milliseconds before I heard that note in my headphones. Now, I know what you are thinking. Can 25 to 30 milliseconds matter?

Yup. Basically, I could not track. When I would hear a downbeat, my instrument would be late to my ears. Virtually impossible to record.

I have a Pro Tools HD system. Latency is not supposed to be an issue. And it has not happened to me in the past. I have tracked thousands of hours on this rig. No latency issues. I mean, maybe there is some latency in the system but nothing that I would perceive. Certainly nothing like a 20 to 30 millisecond delay. I spent most of the night last night trying to troubleshoot the latency. Reconfigure buffer sizes. Reconfigure automatic delay compensation. Reboot the rig. Reconfigure the studio master clock. I mean, who has time to do all this stuff?

I decided to start a test session. One acoustic guitar. One Master Fader.

Press record.

No latency.

Swell.

Obviously, the rig is fine so it must have something to do with the particular session file I was using. I bring that session file back up and check all of the parameters. The system has lots of capacity. 8 open audio DSP engines. Less than 20 percent utilization on the CPUs and the PCI bus. I cleaned up the buses and used my standard default configuration.

Latency.

Swell.

Maybe some plug-in is causing me pain. I generally include a stack of reverbs and delays in my sessions. 1/8 note delays, 1/4 note delays, 1/2 note delays, hall verbs, drum plate verbs, harmonizers. I took them out. All of them. Banished them into the great digital wasteland.

No latency.

And, at that point, I was done. Frankly, I don’t care which plug-in was causing me grief. Maybe it was a bad buss assignment. I don’t know. All I know is that I lost an entire evening chasing down a phantom gremlin in the system. A 20 to 30 millisecond delay took out 4 hours of productive work.

How do projects get late? One day at a time. In my case, one millisecond at a time.

New Email Scam on Recording Studios

This one through facebook from a “music artist” named Talawa Joseph:

hi richard my name is talawa a music artist from kenya nairobi.i would like to know what does it take for a music artist to work with you? i will be greatfull to get your reply

Unlike earlier forms of 419 scam, these folks are actively searching and sending emails directly. A few more details on what to expect. The scam is basically an overpayment with a request for the service provider to return the difference.

From Wikipedia

Fake checks

Fraudulent checks and money orders are key elements in many advance-fee scams, such as auction/classified listing overpayment, lottery scams, inheritance scams, etc, and can be used in almost any scam when a “payment” to the victim is required to gain, regain or further solidify the victims’ trust and confidence in the validity of the scheme.

The use of checks in a scam hinges on a US law (and common practice in other countries) concerning checks: when an account holder presents a check for deposit or to cash, the bank must (or in other countries, usually) make the funds available to the account holder within 1-5 business days, regardless of how long it actually takes for the check to clear and funds to be transferred from the issuing bank.[27] The checks clearing process normally takes 7”“10 days and can in fact take up to a month when dealing with foreign banks. The time between the funds appearing as available to the account holder and the check clearing is known as the “float”, during which time the bank could technically be said to have floated a loan to the account holder to be covered with the funds from the bank clearing the check.

The check given to the victim is typically counterfeit but drawn on a real account with real funds in it. With a piece of software like QuickBooks and/or pre-printed blank check stock, using the correct banking information, the scammer can easily print a check that is absolutely genuine-looking, passes all counterfeit tests, and may even clear the paying account if the account information is accurate and the funds are available. However, whether it clears or not, it eventually becomes apparent either to the bank or the account holder that the check is a forgery. This can be as little as three days after the funds are available if the bank supposedly covering the check discovers the check information is invalid, or it could take months for a business or individual to notice the fraudulent draft on their account. It has been suggested that in some cases the check is genuine – however the fraudster has a friend (or bribes an official) at the paying bank to claim it is a fake weeks or even months later when the physical checks arrives back at the paying bank.

Regardless of the amount of time involved, once the cashing bank is alerted that the check is fraudulent, the transaction is reversed and the money removed from the victim’s account. In many cases, this puts victims in debt to their banks as the victim has usually sent a large portion of the check by some non-reversible ‘wire transfer’ means (typically Western Union) to the scammer and, since more uncollected funds have been sent than funds otherwise present in the victim’s account, an overdraft results.

I Get Mail

Email received and replied.

Dear, Mr richard, how are you doing, i hope very thinks is ok on your side, now i have write to you this massage, because am young musician whos realy likes to record a music in a professional studios like those one of yours, so now i dont know how i can reach to you and i do my music in your studio.

Regards,
Kabagambe Swaibu.

Dear, Mr Kabagambe, how are you doing, i hope very thinks is ok on your side two. now i have write to you this reeply, because am thinking this massage is important. i am so busy now that i cannot do your music in my studio. lots of other studios whos realy likes to record a music in studios like those one of mine. please send them an email.

Regards,
Richard

Update: Before I get emails telling me I should not be so hard on poor Kabagambe, I should mention that this is a variant of an advance fee scam. Basically, the individual books time in the studio and sends a cheque for more than the agreed-upon amount. You then get asked to send back the difference via western union. You draw the difference from when you deposit their cheque. However, the cheque bounces and you are on the hook for the difference. A large number of recording studios have been approached with this scam. And apparently a few have fallen for it. There is another version from europe that is worded well and comes across a bit more convincingly than the Nigerian scammer above.

More Keys Please

New keyboard player joined the band. Unfortunately, he is a little light on equipment. Specifically, he has no laptop to drive his rig. Click on the photo for a full size view.

O Holy Night

A friend of mine recorded O Holy Night and he asked me if I would get the song up on YouTube and create a video overlay of still images to accompany the song. It took about nine hours all in to create the video clip. Here it is.


Celebrate Christmas

Rob, our lead vocalist, told me: “It’s like Thanksgiving dinner.” Precisely. So much work leading up to the event. And, in what appeared to be a few seconds later, the concert was over. The time simply flew by.

We enjoyed a full house and the team did a terrific job. A wonderful memory and a great way to launch the Christmas season.

A view of the guitar workstation before the concert start — nicely dressed stage:

GuitarPit

Rob in the zone of concert lighting:

RobC

The back-end engine of the band hard at work:

RC1

And the people came:

CCFull

Celebrate Christmas

A few shots from the evening before the big concert. Spent about 15 hours today getting things ready. But we have a great team, a great sound system and wonderful Christmas music to play. Looking forward to the main event tomorrow night.

Sound system is being controlled by a Digidesign Venue digital console. Very cool.

Venue

Despite all the chaos, I think I am holding myself together pretty well.

Richard

The room is looking nice with all of the Christmas decorations.

Church

And, after a hundred hours or so of preparation and planning, I finally get a chance to play. My son is backing the team on bass.

RCGuitar