Amp Sim

I just put two tracks of rhythm guitar onto RPM song #3. I used a third party amp sim. Amplitube 5, the free version. I’ve used amplitube mobile apps before, but this is the first time I’ve used the Mac version, and the first time I’ve used a third party amp sim in GarageBand for Mac.

Amplitube has a Fender amp version that costs money. If I’m going back to sims for this year’s project I could really go for a 4×10 Tweed Bassman. The version I installed yesterday has a bunch of in-app purchase options for simulations of real amps. I saw a Mesa Boogie Cali Tweed and I really want to buy it. I really want to buy a real Cali Tweed but I don’t want to spend the small fortune that would require.

Amps are fun.

Two Recent Items of Note

Two things that I have been wanting to post here just so that I could find them if I need them in the future. One music related, one marriage related.

First, the music one. I plugged one of my USB audio interfaces into a USB-C adapter and then into my iPad. It works perfectly. I can bring up the mic input in GarageBand, pick an available channel from the interface, and record without lag or errors. Sigh of relief. Now I actually have to have a song to add guitars and vocals to. Maybe I can still sneak in a Record Every Month Challenge song for October. There’s NaSoAlMo next month to think about too. Also, I haven’t played guitar in ages and I am starting to get the shakes from guitar withdrawals. You know how it is. I still haven’t tried GarageBand on my MacBook since taking the last OS top off update. It shouldn’t make a difference. I don’t think anything audio related was included in the update. I am still thinking about wiping the whole thing and restoring from a backup and seeing if that fixes whatever crap was wrong last month. Have you tried turning it off and on again? Yes. Have you tried killing everything and reinstalling it? Not yet.

That’s the music thing I wanted to write down. What’s the marriage thing? My wedding ring is in the shop. I took it back to the jewelry shop we bought it from back in 2009 to get it resized. It was a size 14. It will be a size 12. I mentioned the cause of the weight loss and asked if it will be okay if I need to get it resized a second time. They said sure. We did that on Saturday, October 22nd. They said I could expect to be without it for a week or so. Jen also dropped off her engagement ring as one of the clasps that holds the diamond in place is broken. Hopefully they will both come back at the same time. I seriously miss my ring. I keep absent mindedly reaching for it and being surprised that it isn’t there. I am looking forward to not having to wrap yard around it to make it fit better though. I won’t miss that annoying little thing.

There. Now we’re all up to date.

Lunch Break

How about some random thoughts about nothing important to close out my lunch break?

Tomorrow is October’s work-in-the-office day. It might be my last day at my current desk. So many memories… no, wait. Almost no memories. I’ve only sat at that desk about 10 times since moving there in 2020 (I think). I need to plan out how I am going to get my 80 (not 60) grams of protein for the day. I’ll bring some chopped up chicken and maybe a protein snack or two. Maybe a protein shake in the morning before I go and a protein bar in the car on the way? I’ll figure it out tonight.

I haven’t played my guitar in ages. I am sad. I was thinking about taking my Les Paul out of the case just for today’s photo a day thing. I am hoping if I do that it will goad me into playing some. I need to play. This is stupid. I need to play. I think I am afraid that if I do try to play I will try to record something and find that I am still having the lagging problems I had with GarageBand last month. I may wipe my MacBook and then restore it and see if I still have the problem. I am frankly terrified. We’ll see.

Film is coming. I had a little stash of cash in my wallet that I was saving up to use for film purchases. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any place near home that sells anything other than cheaper color drugstore film. I wanted to get some cheaper black and white film to play with, and I wanted to get some slightly better film to use at Disney World in January. I couldn’t find anything like that anywhere. To remedy this, I rolled my cash stash into an Amazon gift card. I spent it all yesterday. I bought some cheap film, some decent film, and a couple of rolls of pretty good film. Amazon has shipped most of it already. The first package might be here tomorrow. We’ll see. I also bought an adapter that hopefully will let me use the Pentax lenses on my Nikons, including (maybe) my digital SLR. I’ll have to figure out how to let the DSLR use a manual aperture setting for it to work, but if I can figure it out it could be freakin’ cool.

Okay. Lunch break is over. I still need that photo a day thing. Maybe I’ll sneak into the yard and snap some colored leaves. Maybe I’ll document Bertha the House Plant’s newly forming leaf. Maybe I’ll take my Les Paul out of it’s case. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Intermittent Latency

I got up early this morning to ensure I would be able to watch episode four of Andor while doing my walkies, and also sneak in some guitar playing before I had to punch into work. Success. Sort of.

I added two rhythm guitar tracks to one song and one to another. I didn’t use my amp, I plugged directly into the USB interface and used an amp sim. Somehow doing so exacerbated a problem I have been having every now and then and made it almost impossible to get anything done.

I have a newish, M1 Mac. It’s generally lightning fast. When using GarageBand though, every now and then there will be a random, split second of latency that throws off my timing. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s concerning.

Today, while using the amp sims, it was happening 2-3 times every 20 seconds or so. It was fucking infuriating. That plus my terrible rusty playing had me swearing at the screen and feeling generally pissed off. I Googled it to see if it was a thing, and there are a lot of mentions of latency but no clear reason or solution. I expect it has more to do with my USB interface going through a USB hub and an adapter, rather than something with the M1 chip, but who knows. Maybe I’ll mess with the cabling next time.

Anyway, here’s a couple of gitter pics.

A rare look at the clip on headstock tuner that I am usually embarrassed to let people see.

No Electrical Fun Today

Jen was going to rewire the light switch in the dining room today because she’s absolutely amazing. She was doing a little research last night and found that our switch contains some stuff that we weren’t prepared to deal with, so we gave it a miss and are looking to have an electrician come in. That means one of the two main projects on the agenda for today didn’t happen. The other main project is my super hero wife making spaghetti sauce from scratch. It’s on the stove right now and it smells so good.

You would think that I would have used this extra time to record guitars. Nope. Not yet. Maybe after dinner. That seems like a decent plan. If not, tomorrow. Instead of guitars I worked on drums. Not literally, more like I worked on GarageBand functions that simulate drums.

GarageBand has a tool called Session Drummers. There are a bunch of different “drummers” to choose from, all with different styles and different quirks. I tend to bounce back and forth between two. One that is pretty straight ahead rock and another that is more R&B. For the last two (I think) Quarantine projects I only used the rock drummer. I was planning on sticking with the R&B drummer for RPM but, with eight songs underway, I changed my mind. I went through a bunch of the options available today and picked a different Rock thing. I then changed the drummer on all eight songs.

Will the listener be able to tell the difference? Nope. Not likely.

Does it matter to anyone on the planet Earth other than me? Nope. Not at all.

Damn if that sauce doesn’t smell gooooood.

I Guess I Screwed That Up

Does that title count as click bait? I think it might when I actually describe my screw up and share that it’s nothing anyone on Earth would ever give the slightest care about. Whatevs.

I just royally screwed up a music track. I started a GarageBand file for a song that someday might be on Quarantine Tunes Volume 6, which is odd given that I haven’t finished volume 5 yet. Whatevs.

It’s a song that pre-dates using GarageBand and it’s full of riffs that start an 8th note ahead of the downbeat. That means my usual method of breaking down parts into sections doesn’t work cleanly. So I was putting together the bass part and I was working on two tracks. I’d record a few bars, including the off beat thing, play it back and make sure it lined up correctly, and then join the new section to the old section, which left me with one giant MIDI track instead of the usual segmented track, which means absolutely nothing to anyone who hasn’t actually looked at one of my GarageBand files before, which means it means absolutely nothing to everyone on the planet except for me. Whatevs.

I was all the way to the end of the song and I could only see the last 20 bars or so on the screen and I some how accidentally deleted everything I had done that at that moment was off the screen. Meaning I essentially have to do the whole stupid bass track over again. I tried Command-Z but there was nothing to bring back. Whatevs.

Ugh… I feel like an amateur. I feel like a tool.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Air Pods Max Weirdness

I worked on some lyrics for three of the November songs tonight. I won’t do car music tomorrow, but whenever I do it I’ll have November stuff to work on.

I had my step son’s Air Pods Max that he loaned to me on when I started and there was weirdness. I had two guitar tracks. One was panned hard left so it only plays out of the left speaker. The other is panned hard right so it only comes out of the right speaker. When I had the Air Pods Max on I was getting stereo output, meaning I had music in both ears, but the right guitar wasn’t there. I switched to wired headphones without changing any of the tracks and the right guitar was there.

Most peculiar.

Thursday Morning Hype

Game one of the Red Sox/Rays Division Series is tonight at 8:00ish. Are we psyched? Are we hyped? You know it. The Rays were the best team in the American League this year and the chances of us taking them out are slim to none. No negativity from me though, if any team can take those Floridians out it’s us. The whole team has already had Covid, so we don’t even have to worry about them waging biological warfare or anything crazy like that. I mean, we know how much Florida loves spreading the Covid, right*?

I did a little music today before work. Are you proud of me? I didn’t actually play guitar, I just redid some midi tracks on a GarageBand file for the re-recording thing. I redid all of the drums and bass tracks for one song from the summer. I now have three of those songs patiently waiting for new guitar tracks, and one new song patiently waiting as well. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe this weekend. Someday. Soon.

Okay, folks. Back to work with all of you. Stop surfing around the internet reading boring old people’s brain droolings.

11 hours to game time! Go Red Sox!

*This is sarcasm. The Red Sox’s Covid outbreak recently was awful and dangerous and nothing to laugh at. Also, the Florida state government’s insulting response to Covid is nothing to laugh about. The governor of Florida seems to think the best way to drum up support for a run for president in 2024 is to let as many of his constituents die of an easily preventable disease as possible.

Car Music Fail

I knew this was going to happen eventually, and today kinda became the day.

If you go back to all the car music posts from the last year or so, at some point I start talking about having signal flow problems. There are signal drop outs and extraneous noises and things that make takes unusable. Eventually the system I use for my personal Rolling Truck Stones Thing was going to fail. Today I only had two songs to work on and I spent a full hour on one of them, just trying to get the signal to hold together for eight or nine bars. It was so painful.

The frustration comes from not knowing where the breakdown is happening. What could it be?

  1. The microphone
  2. The connection between the mic and the mic cable
  3. The mic cable
  4. The connection between the mic cable and the USB interface
  5. The USB interface
  6. The connection between the USB interface and the USB cable
  7. The USB cable
  8. The connection between the USB cable and the USB to USB C adapter
  9. The USB to USB C adapter
  10. The connection between the USB to USB C adapter and the USB C port on the computer

Today’s issues happened in more than one USB C port, so I know it wasn’t the port. I also know it isn’t the sound card or GarageBand itself because both of those work perfectly when I’m at home and using a different USB interface. That rules out the tail end of the chain, but every other device or connection could be the culprit.

The next time I do this I am going to take a different mic, a different mic cable, a different USB cable, and a different USB adapter. If it still happens then I know the interface itself is the problem.

The upside is that I actually did get that one song finished. It probably sounds like dung, but it’s finished. So the trip was a success as far as the goal to record one song per month is concerned. It was a frustrating, painful fail as far as everything else was concerned.