The advantages of these digital recording thingymajigs.

I picked up a MIDI cable today to hook my drum machine to the audio hardware that I’m using to record new music. It feels weird plugging an audio cable to an instrument to not pick up audio but control that instrument. This set-up is to control the machine from the recording software on my computer. Even then it only controls certain specific functions: play, stop, and the tempo. Everything else is operated normally on the machine itself, which is then fed back to the audio hardware then the computer to actually record the audio. I spent nine bucks on a cable that does so little. Yet that small amount is worth more than what I spent. This means Mike and I can send audio tracks back and forth with them already matching up measure for measure. That will cut out a lot of time and stress when working on new material next month.

It also has another benefit. I can record multiple tracks of the drum machine, each focusing on a different “instrument” (voice) in order to produce them separately. It would be time-consuming and not worth it for what we’re doing with the upcoming Popkin-Salvador recordings. It should be mentioned, though, that this could be useful in re-recording drum tracks after February. But that’s not what I’m getting at. I’ve already expressed interest in making more experimental music with this technology. Take the newest Shadows of Immurement song, “Isolation and Strength.” There’s only one drum track in the original but there’s really two parts to it: the “regular drums” and the “other percussion.” I like way the drums sound as they are in the track as I have it so far but I don’t want it on the rest of it. This way I can program two separate drum patterns and then produce them separately.

I seem to keep forgetting that I’m a guitarist. I don’t mind getting caught up in this technological stuff when I’m not pressed for time. But I have to remember my primary concern is songwriting and my guitars are my tools for achieving that. Or am I going through a transformation? I have always been a fan of electronic music when done well. Maybe I should explore my inclination to go in that direction for a while. I’m not abandoning any other projects. Popkin-Salvador is a priority right now. Shadows of Immurement is always going to be important to me. I could also just be getting carried away with the equipment that’s new to me. But I can’t just dismiss any inclination to work on this other stuff.

What I want to look for next is a means to program my own sound effects in a drum machine. I think it would be cool to try to make a metal song with artillery as percussion. It might suck in the end but you get the idea. I don’t think there’s a way to do so with my machine as it is. But I have to wonder now with this new set-up if it might be possible. When I first got the cable I plugged it in wrong and didn’t know how to set up the program properly. I had the drum machine controlling MIDI tracks. It seemed like a cool way to make a makeshift appregiator, even though the number of notes were limited by the number of sounds that the drum machine can control. I have to wonder if there’s a way that I can go into the software and change it so instead of notes played on a piano or bass or whatever, I can plug-in my own sound files. That would be too time consuming for right now. It’s still worth looking into.

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One thought on “The advantages of these digital recording thingymajigs.

  1. One idea I’ve had for making a beat with audio clips is to record a short sound, trim it so that the sound starts right at the start of the clip, and then you can place it right on a beat by setting the time to show “bars & beats” and adjust the start to whatever beat you want. Like starting at 3:2:1:1 would start it on the second beat of the 3rd measure. Then you can isolate that measure, export it in mono with “import as track” or whatever the option is, so that you can then copy and paste it over and over to the start of each measure, which is easy with the “snap to” feature on. I could probably explain this better over the phone, but the answer is yes, there is a way, but it’s not a way that’s controllable by the drum machine. You could then sync up a drum machine beat though.

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