Add a Year, Expand the Inventory

Posted: December 1, 2011 in Audio/Music, Eastchase, Outlaw Productions, School
Tags: , , , , , ,

Guess what? I’m still alive! Wow, I thought I’d have at least two more posts up in this time, but I just got swallowed up by the holiday break and by a wave of school work. I’ll be making up for lost time a little bit in this post, so you may want to grab a beverage and a salty snack. So, I’ll open up with my Updates and New News.

It feels really odd to say that the semester is almost over. We just got done with Thanksgiving break and there are only a few weeks left until Finals. And I actually feel pretty good about them coming up. I just aced an oral interview in my Spanish class today, so I feel pretty on top of things. We’ll just have to see what kind of nonsense they decide to dump on us in the ensuing weeks.

At the end of my last post, I was anticipating the Thanksgiving Break, and all the festivities that would come with it. Thanksgiving break is always fun for me, as it is always paired with my birthday, so I get to pig out, visit a lot of family, AND get a few gifts. This year was especially good for me. Though I only got 1 real purchased gift, it was a good one that will have some seriously positive repercussions on my course of action. I got an iPad!

I know that the iPad is a device that is very polarizing. People either love it or they hate it. Most people I know that hate it see it this way, “Well, it’s an oversized iPhone that can’t make phone calls, or it’s a small laptop that can’t do near as many things as my laptop can.” To those people, I say that they don’t really know what an iPad is. I used to be one of those people that didn’t really see a whole lot of use for it. There have been a lot of advancements, however, in all the musical applications for iOS devices. A lot of these work for the iPhone, but they would be that much better if you had more real estate to work with. That is where the iPad excels. Take the functionality of the iPhone, make it faster, cleaner, give it more space, and supersize the capabilities and the iPad shines. The iPad is the device for the techie on the go.

Now I was talking about various musical applications that had been coming out that made me give the iPad more attention. The technology has actually improved to the point that you can plug a guitar into the iPad, and record into it.

I have a small home studio that is amazing for it’s size. However, when I want to get some recording done away from my studio setting, I always have to pack up a big bag and bring that and a few instruments with me. It is mobile, but it can be cumbersome. Now, take most of the equipment I need, including some of the instruments, and pack them all into the iPad in the form of apps, and I now have an extremely portable music studio. Yes, Outlaw Productions truly can go mobile now!

You can look at my pictures to get an idea of the kinds of equipment I have in my studio, and what needs to be transported to do a mobile recording session. Now take a look at this.

Pictured above is the Peavey AmpKit app for iPad and iPhone. This application gives you access to a number of different amp and cabinet pairings that you can mix and match to find what creates just the perfect sound you are looking for. You can also throw in one of several different types of microphones to mic up the amp the way most studios choose to record for cleaner sound. In addition to the amps and mics, there are a wide variety of different effect pedals that can be folded into the mix in whatever order you choose. All components mentioned above have a large level of customizability, not much gets lost in translation.

This little white box is the Peavey AmpKit Link that should be purchased. This is the device that physically allows you to connect an instrument to the iPad. Anybody that owns an iPhone knows that the headphones that are sent with them have a built in microphone so that you can answer calls while wearing them. This means that all iPhones are designed with a microphone input in the headphone jack. This is the same in iPads. The AmpKit Link expands that microphone input to a 1/4 jack made for instrument cables. Once you run that cable to your instrument, you’re cocked, locked, and ready to rock.

In this setup, I can record directly into the application, and either export the recording straight to iTunes to listen to, or I can export it to Pro Tools (my computer recording software) for further manipulation at a later time. There is a lot more that can be done with the recording capabilities of the app, but those are a few good examples. With a couple of tweaks, this application can be taken even further. What if I wanted to use this for live audio? If I add one small connector into the mix where my headphones plugged in, I can now route the iPad’s output to an amp, or a mixing board.

Just like that, I can bring to the stage a full range of modulators, equalizers, and clarity effects without needing to set up a large array of stomp boxes in front of me. You can power the effects need for an entire show through one little application.

Just think about that, this is just one application. There are dozens of dozens of music applications out there. That is what I intend to do with this iPad; I’m going to load it up with a variety of different music applications so that I can greatly expand my mobile capabilities. I love Pro Tools, absolutely love it. But I have to admit, that while the recording quality can’t be matched, the versatility of the iPad far exceeds what I can do on a laptop or desktop platform. I am in love with this thing.
Sidebar: It occurs to me now that wherever it is possible to have an Apple device, I indeed have one. iHave 4 iDevices in total. You might as well just call me Appleseed.

I told you that I was going to talk about my Thanksgiving, and it turns into a story about my iPad. Leave it to a techie to turn a holiday into a gizmo appreciation break.
Aside from getting this new amazing machine, the break itself was very enjoyable. I had needed a good break. I hadn’t gotten outside of Denton in a while, and it was nice to get to see and talk to a lot of the family. As usual for the Thanksgiving holidays, my cousins football team was in the playoffs in Arkansas, and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if they didn’t win their game, sending them to the Finals here in a couple of days. You’d best bet that I’ll be tuning in to that on Friday evening. Oh, I also got to spend a fair three or so days experiencing the effects of food comas. That term should be pretty self-explanatory.

On top of all that, I got a wild idea up my ass while I was home for the week and started working on a new song. Trinity was off in Iowa for the week, so I was all on my own to work on this project. I actually was able to finish the song before the week was up, making this the first song I’ve ever finished completely on my own. I still want Trinity to come in and add some authentic guitar work, instead of my synthetic key guitars, but it was a big step for myself. It just helps me realize even more that I’m getting better and better every day, and I needed that at about this time. We’re excited to put this project back in the studio and give it some more attention. Christmas break is on its way, sounds like we’ll have something to keep us busy for a bit.

Well, I’ll leave it at that for a while. Hopefully after exams are over I’ll have some more updates for you. Then again, I thought I’d get around to a post over Thanksgiving break and we know how that turned out. I’ll try though. Take it easy mi amigos.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– Appleseed

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