Archive for December, 2015

El Capitan

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

Oh dear, oh dear.

 

For a long time people have been telling me that I should “go Apple” as they are the best for audio-visual work. Well, this Christmas I took the plunge and bought a high-spec MacBook Pro 15″ Retina with AMD graphics card.

 

The machine is very nice and does seem a little less “buggy” than Windows, if that makes any sense. I find it more akin to Unix than Windows, though (trying to find a program that works with it requires a little more work, for example).

 

In any case… I’ve been using a particular USB audio device to record a lot of guitar for years on my Windows machine with zero problems. As soon as I attach it to the MacBook Pro, I get a lot of snap, crackle and pop! All this audio noise that is totally unacceptable. I make the assumption that it is the hardware that is outdated and spend DAYS looking into alternative interfaces and guitar emulation software – this is going to cost me a LOT on top of the very high asking price for the laptop… I’ve never spent so much time dealing with computer issues and so little time playing guitar! All this while on my holiday when I should be recording for my album!

 

It turns out that the latest operating system, OSX El Capitan is incredibly “buggy” and renders USB audio interfacing practically useless. I found hundreds of complaints on the Apple forums, on USB Audio Support forums, you name it. Professionals who need this functionality to make money in their day jobs needing to revert to old OS’ in order to get a working machine. It’s a total joke! What sort of computer company makes a computer whose USB 3 inputs effectively don’t work!? I could revert the OS myself but I shouldn’t have to considering how much I just shelled out.

 

I bought the computer from John Lewis who say I can return within 90 days so I will update this blog to indicate whether they have kept their word regarding the return and refund.

 

Apart from the money wasted, the worst thing here is that so much time has been wasted. I literally don’t want to touch the recordings for some time now, instead favouring actually playing my guitar!

 

Apple have just lost themselves a customer for life and in record time – just a few days turnaround! Absolutely shocking for any working with USB audio.

 

Looks like it’s back to Windows. Yes, there is a lot of bloatware and it doesn’t seem as “fluid” but at least the USB ports work…!

 

UPDATE!

So things went from bad to worse. I found many other articles online and forums with people saying that even new devices were not functioning well with the latest Apple OS. “musiciansfriend” currently have a list of the hardware providers who are updating their drivers to compensate for Apple effectively creating their own USB standard. I tried to call our local Apple shop but got a “robot” who tried to recognise what I was saying – it was unsuccessful and so I hung up. I then tried to get online support which just did not work. I eventually managed to get a call back but there was no solution. At this point I had packed the laptop away for refund. The next day I think “let’s give this a chance” – I logged on but for some unknown reason there was an additional password screen which accepted none of my passwords. It was the last straw, it had to go.

I spoke to three people at John Lewis on the phone who said the return would be no problem. On arrival, some  stooge told me that the person on the phone was wrong and that since I’d opened the product, I could not return it! I spoke to a manager and got it sorted in the end. They wanted me to first wipe the device and all associated accounts, but I just forked out £30 for them to do it, so I  could be done with the whole affair.

 

Absolutely the worst computing/shopping experience of my life to date.

 

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Great Guitar Blog

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

I’ve been reading a lot of this blog (link below) recently and finding myself nodding in agreement. This is as much a reminder for myself to come back and keep reading as the writing is well done and the topics very interesting and relevant to today’s music scene and guitar generation. Recommended!

 

http://www.leviclay.com/blog

 

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Guns N’ Roses Reunion

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Check this out!

http://loudwire.com/nikki-sixx-on-classic-guns-n-roses-reunion-tour-everybody-knows-its-happening/

 

Say whaaaaaaaat!?

If this is true and the tickets are £10, 000 each and it’s in Mexico and there’s the chance bad things will happen…. I’ll still be there!!

 

Best band ever… I really hope it happens!! It HAS to be the full original line-up, though, including the amazing Steven Adler. I’ve been watching a lot of drumming videos lately and found this very entertaining:

 

EDIT:

Well, it looks like the reunion is happening so I’ll have to put my money where my mouth is…! Still waiting to hear if Steven Adler and Izzy will be there but Slash, Axl and Duff are in!

 

 

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Disaster!

Monday, December 21st, 2015

So… my computer has been running slow.

I decided to use AVG PC TuneUp which worked a treat.

Over the last week I’ve been recording lots… it’s only until I opened an older project that I realised I had accidentally deleted a whole bunch of audio files when I did the PC clean-up…!! I managed to reciver most from my backup hard-drive however some seem to have been lost forever. THANKFULLY all drums have been saved as those have taken foooooreeeeeveeeeerrrrr to do. It just means I’m going to have to re-record a song I’d spent a month working on.

 

Never again…

 

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Christmas Gig

Monday, December 7th, 2015

So the covers band I play in had our Christmas gig at the weekend. Ding dong merrily on high, people were dancing and the laser show we put on went down well. OK, so the laser show part is a white lie, but it sounds damn cool. Here is a picture from an audience member!

ABP3

“I love this band!”

ABP2

“These are not the droids you are looking for…”

 

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Two New Videos

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Hola, amigos!

Guten Tag!

Alright, pal?

 

I’ve just gone and put our two studio session cover songs (see earlier blog posts) up on YouTube, with accompanying photo reels. Enjoy!

 

 

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Ride of My Life…

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

So as I left work (unfortunately I’m not a full-time rock star) the other day I started my car and the song “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing” came on… a guilty pleasure, I love the song. So… up goes the volume! Singing with gusto! 😉

As I approached the exit road, I blasted the heater in my car but it caused the windows to steam up a little… so I had to roll down the car windows to look left and right… little I did I realise the gaggle of people to my right who I’m sure had a chuckle as they saw this grown man singing along to Dirty Dancing as he rolled his window down…

 

Dirty Dancing 1.

TommySixString 0.

 

Confession: my favourite song is actually “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship!! I used to listen to it all the time on my little walkman, along with Culture Beat’s “Mr Vain,” Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose,” U2’s “With or Without You,” 2Unlimited’s “No Limits” … and the list goes on! I’d love for my band to do either “Safety Dance” by “Men Without Hats” or “Magic Dance” by David Bowie but I can’t see it happening..

 

In other news, I’ve been listening to a lot of guitar work by Andy Wood and Nick Johnston lately. I was reading that Andy comes from a bluegrass background – it’s great stuff. And Nick’s playing is just “wow” – the song “Silver-Tongued Devil” featuring Guthrie has some of the most amazing guitar lines. Music aside, the legato work at 6:50+ is really incredible sounding (if that was improvised, I will hereby slay myself). The YouTube video for this is very cool as you can tell who is playing what solo thanks to the animation. Absolutely great to see new talent producing new material – go buy their stuff! Thumbs up!

 

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