Archive for the 'Hardware' Category

Feb 06 2024

Bass Home Studio Setup

Published by under Hardware,Music,Software

After a break of many, many years, I’m playing the bass again. Since I also want to experiment with sound and different genres and not only record but also try to compose a little, I acquired a few toys that I want to learn how to use:

  • Ibanez SR300E-IPT (The bass)
  • Fender Rumble 25 (The bass amp)
  • Lenovo IdeaCentre Gaming 5 17IAB7 Intel i5 12400F, nVidia 3060 RTX, 32 GB RAM, 512 GB NVM SSD + 1 TB Crucial SATA SSD, Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
  • Sharp 50″ 4K Screen
  • Focusrite Scarlett Solo (USB Audio IN/OUT)
  • Yamaha ATS-C300 (Soundbar/Subwoofer Combo for the Sharp Screen & PC)
  • Jam Origin Midi Bass (turns my bass into a MIDI device via software)
  • Steinberg Cubase 13 Pro (The main DAW)
  • Propellerhead Reason 12 (The virtual synthie rack that I plug into Cubase; I don’t use it as a DAW)
  • Audacity (in case I need an external Wave Editor)

The good news is that with every session that I play the bass, the fingers get less rusty and I’m slowly getting a feeling for the instrument again.

The bad news is that the learning curve for the software is steep and brutal – that stuff is unbelievably complex and complicated, and I have the brain of an IT guy, not the brain of a sound engineer. I guess “I’m thinking it wrong (TM).” But, as always, if I throw in sufficient hours and energy, I’ll get there eventually.

A note on the choice of Steinberg Cubase: Initially, I downloaded a trial version of Cubase 13 Pro and compared it with Ableton Live Lite 11 (a license for Live Lite came with the Focusrite device). During the first minutes, Ableton appeared to be easier to use, at least for simple stuff. But while playing more with both products, the differences in their respective target audience became more and more obvious. Then I compared the list of reference artists that both companies show on their respective websites. On Ableton’s page, mostly musicians from the techno and electro scene were listed – none of the names meant anything to me, that is neither my music nor my crowd and I also don’t need a software that was originally designed for live performances. On Steinberg’s page, names like Hans Zimmer, Alan Silvestri, Accept and Arch Enemy were listed. That message reached me and the choice was made for me right there.

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Jun 06 2023

First thoughts on the Apple Vision Pro

Published by under Hardware,Software,Thoughts

From a pure technical perspective, the freshly introduced Apple Vision Pro might be a very interesting and impressive piece of technology. It could be the first product that does Augmented Reality (AR) “right” – even though this product, naturally, only plays well with the rest of the Apple ecosystem and does not even bother to integrate with other industrial or office platforms.

Apple only showed a fistful of usecases, and those usecase only interest their usual target audience: The “creatives” that most of the time work alone somewhere. And content consumers, of course, who need a new way to consume their AppleTV and Disney+ subscription – somewhere.

Unlike when Microsoft introduced HoloLens, Apple did not show how this product could be used in an actual factory or during an actual surgery. Or in the cockpit of an airplane. Or, gasp, on a battlefield. The thing is: Back in the day, Microsoft showed what the HoloLens can do for real people in the real world at real workplaces in real situations where the product can actually help and be actually useful.

In Apple’s world, the Vision Pro is a compact, mobile home theatre that can also do the occasional video call in which you can also look at a presentation. Or play a game – even with a Sony PS5 controller.

But only adults with a (home office, remote) job can play games. They did not show children or adolescents using the device. Simply because the gadget at 3500 USD (without taxes) is way too expensive – and too fragile – for that audience, so they know that those kids won’t ever get one.

Of course, the device is also not outdoor compatible at all. With an expected max battery life of two hours, where the battery is even connected via a cable, you won’t be using the thing somewhere outdoors. First of all, you couldn’t use it long enough, secondly you would look like an idiot and thirdly, you would be way to afraid to break the expensive thing.

Just as they’ve shown, this thing was designed for being used in your home, on your couch or bed, maybe at a desk. It was designed for “affluent” First World customers that no longer leave their home and who already have everything else. The Vision Pro will make it even simpler to isolate oneself from the world. Maybe that really is a product we scared and rich members of Western civilizations need more than ever.

But in the Western hemisphere, there’s a gigantic majority of people who will never ever use a product like the Apple Vision Pro. For example all the homeless people that currently inhabit the streets of San Francisco, not far from Apple’s HQ who cannot even afford to rent a place in that city anymore, even though some of them still go to work every day. For them, as outlined in the novel READY PLAYER ONE, a device like this could be an escape from their hopeless reality, it could be “a place to go”. But not at that price tag, and not with an industrial design that only allows for using the thing within the safety of your bedroom.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the industry will respond to the concept of this gadget. Without a doubt, the hard- and software of the Vision Pro are ahead of other AR headsets on the market and there certainly are many use cases for it beyond the realms of entertainment, 3D photography and video conferencing. The next incarnation of the product will probably also address the ridiculous battery “solution” that Apple came up with for the initial product version. Heck, maybe version 2 will even be useable outdoors. But as we know Apple, it still won’t be affordable for average people who live in the real world and only make an average or low income working real jobs. You know, those folks who sell you your coffee at Starbucks or who flip your burger at McDondald’s. Or who take away your trash or who make your bed in your hotel room or the janitor who fixes the broken lightbulb for you. The wage slaves who work at the sweat shop that produces these expensive gadgets that they could never afford to buy with the salary they make in that shitty place.

But this all just fits with the way the product was even introduced and presented: Rich white people who have completely lost touch with the reality of the world were singing the praises of a new toy whose main purpose seems to be to allow wealthy people to consume (preferably woke) Disney+ content. Very obviously, no thought was wasted on how such a product could also improve the lives of the worker bees, the disabled, the handicapped and the not so fortunate.

The Vision Pro lacks actual vision.



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