music, guitars & other obsessions

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Creating Multitrack Stems from MIDI Files

I found some good MIDI tracks for New Order’s Bizzare Love Triangle, which could be great for remixing, so I used Bandstand and Audacity to create the individual tracks. The trick was to record the output from Bandstand with Audacity, after some fiddling around, this is the setup that I came up with, notice the routing via the Virtual Audio Cable in the Audacity settings below:

The output setting for Bandstand

Audio I/O Setting for the Audacity

Adding Effect Bus/Channel

One of the neat thing that one can do with the Mackie 1640i, is using the Aux Send via Firewire to create a effects loop – just like with an analogue console (which it is), the only difference is no actual wiring is involved.

There are just a few steps required to do this:

  1. Press down the “Sends 1-6 to FW 9-14” button above the Aux SENDS pots.
  2. Create a channel in the DAW (I’m using Reaper), set its Input to any of the FW channels (9-14), depending on which AUX SEND you are using.
  3. Add the effect or effects that you want to the newly created channel, e.g., reverb, compressor, etc. Arm the channel for recoding, and set the Record Monitoring to On to hear or record the effect. I just set the output to the Main Mix, but you can always add it to a sub-group if desired.
  4. That’s it, just like with an analogue console, now you can control the level, EQ of the Fx by playing with the channel fader and/or the Aux Send levels.
  5. For those of you that want to get fancy, you can also automate the Fx by using the functions inside the DAW, but I’m happy just to twiddle with the knobs…

Output Transformer Comparison

There were some recent discussion on the quality of the output transformer – vintage vs. modern, etc. It’s often been said that vintage Partidge OPT was hard to beat, but is it true? Pulling data from a couple of sources, I came up with the following comparison chart, it is pretty clear that there is indeed some truth to the Partridge’s legend… -3 dB at 80kHz!

OPT Comparison

OPT Comparison

Sources:

1) Transformer Shootout- Hammond vs Magnequest vs Dynaco vs HW

2) Partridge technical datasheets

NAD: Marshall 5212

Picked one up yesterday, it’s an old solid-state model ca. mid-80’s – one of the JCM800 models, since I have not played an actual tube version of the JCM800, I don’t know if the SS version even comes close to the sound that it produces. Anyway, to my ears, it sounds better than the current SS amps that Marshall are selling – doesn’t hurt the amp is loaded with two Celestion G12M-70’s.

Marshall 5212 Combo

Marshall 5212 Combo

NAD: Brunetti Mille

I just got a vintage Brunetti Mille from Italy, I believe this one is the original version which was modelled after the CAE 3+ SE. It is very well built and came with Ruby 12AX7’s. My initial impression of the unit is very positive, surely better than most of the amps that I have built myself… So the preamp stage do make a big difference, duh!

Before I bought the unit, I was think about building one myself, there are some kits on the market, but after factoring the cost and time, especially the front panel and chassis drilling involved – the price on the used Brunetti was simply too good to pass up. As much as I like DIY, there is no way to make it as professionally looking and robust (unless you have all the necessary machining tools and how to use them) as the factory built unit.

Below are some pictures that I got from net, I actually quite like the unusal blue color of the front panel, it reminds me of the old Orban equalizers that I used to work on – and perhaps will acquire one of these days if the price is right.

Mille with Silverbullet Amp

Mille with the Silver Bullet Amplifier

Very nicely made PCB

Very nicely made PCB, this one with a MIDI interface, which I do not have…

NAD: Fender Excelsior

I got one today with the intention of modifying it into a Tweedle Dee, but before I do that I will play with it for a few weeks, perhaps changing out the speaker and see if the tone could be improved – even with a 15″, the amp still sounds bright to me…