Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Today I'm resting my ears... well, sort of ...

Somedays it good just to listen to O.P.M (other peoples music) to get ideas and relax ... Every producer should have at least one OPM day every two weeks.

But hey, maybe your music is really good and you can listen to yourself for inspiration?

Im not quite there yet!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Behringer BCR2000 - Review

I just got my hands on a Behringer BCR2000 MIDI controller. I must say i am impressed with the purchase. At the price of AU$ 250 I just couldn't find anything close to it.

Its got USB and MIDI (in,out,thru) interfaces, 32 infinite rotary knobs and 20 buttons all of which are programmable. Behringer also have software on their website which allows you to program its presets with a couple of clicks. The controller handles 32 presets which allows you to quickly switch from one layout to another. All the rotary knobs have LED's which indicate what the current possition is of that knob. They also move around when the MIDI signal is changed on the slave MIDI device giving you a sense of motorization.

Using it is fantastic. Its got a "learn" function in which links that specific control to most MIDI in signals. This is perfect when using VSTi's that can send/receive MIDI CC messages.

Now for the ugly side of things:
The MIDI controller and FLStudio don't seem to sit at the same table. Because FLStudio's controlls do not all transmit MIDI messages (Mixer volumes, Pans etc) you cannot get feedback from those controls to the BCR. I have tried a couple of things and they work, but is too unstable to use all the time. (damn!). If only FLStudio could transmit MIDI back via the same MIDI message number this would have been a perfect controller for the software.

More Good stuff:
If you use the controller purely as a automation recording device (input only) its FANTASTIC! Also remember that the VSTi's you use inside FLStudio might have MIDI out itself, which would in turn send feedback to your BCR. So its not all bad!

Go and look up more in depth reviews of the product on the web. There is a lot more to this controller than what i have mentioned in here.

This controller is great... I would definately buy another one if i ever need more control. Despite the problems with feedback which seems to be a software issue, there are no complaints whatsoever.

Behringer Website Address

Monday, November 20, 2006

Superwave P8 - Review

Specs: (from superwave website)
  • 64 Patch memory
  • 8 Voice Polyphony
  • 2 x Oscillators (8 Different wave forms)
  • Superwave (7 waveforms per voice)
  • 2 Resonant Filters (Low, Hi & BP Filter)
  • ADSR for Amps and Filters
  • 2 LFO's
  • Modulation with Routing Options
  • 2 Delay FX
  • Portamento
  • Poly / Mono
  • MIDI CC Control

The Superware P8 VSTi plug-in is a freeware instrument that was (apparently) developed using the SynthEdit development tool.

Initially when I opened up this synth I wondered why it's freeware? (not that I'm complaining!). Its definitely one of the best freeware VSTi's available when it comes to PHat analogue sounds. The interface is fantastic and very well laid out.

All the sliders, buttons and knobs are controllable via an external controller. However only some of the elements seem to send MIDI out back to the controller (once again I'm not complaining). When using an external hardware controller, the synth responds very good even though i could hear "stepping" in some of the parameter changes. I haven't spent a lot of time testing this and it might have been something "environmental" that caused it.

The sound it produces is really fantastic. I have been using it throughout my projects. If you use FL Studio's layering and a few of these puppies together you can make some serious noise!

The CPU consumption of this VSTi is relatively light. I have used it in a project with 8 of them playing simultaneously without getting any dropouts or major CPU Load. This included a bit of automation but nothing heavy.

Just to stress test it a little, I actually automated ALL slider and knobs on a single instance (only excluded some buttons) in a 4 bar loop, playing 4 note chords at 1/4 intervals. This whacked my CPU a little harder (up to about 35% usage at Peak values) But i doubt it if any projects would record as much automation in such a small time frame. Also something to keep in mind is, I only have an AMD64 3000+, 1Gb of RAM and a M-Audio 2496, so nothing fancy there.

Overall this VSTi is a definate "must have" or at least a "must try!". Its only 1.4Mb and is available at the Superwave P8 website

FLStudio Bible Review...

My lovely wife decided that buying just a license to FLStudio would not be enough and she got me the "FLStudio bible" as well. The book is fantastic and covers most of the application in great detail.

I would recommend this book to anyone, from new users to the more experienced. For the experienced users it might not hold as much value as for n00bs. But still it might just show you one or two things that you didn't know...

Of course it covers the bare basics of the environment and to be honest it actually clarified a lot of "what does that do?" questions for me. a few chapters are spent on the step sequencer, the glorious piano roll and its myriad of functions (arpeggios, chopper, strumizer, flamer etc.)

It also covers the entire Fruity FX library and all the generators in a great amount of detail. Because i only have the "Producer Edition", I don't have access to all the generators, but I fill up the gaps with a couple of free VSTi's for the time being.

It will take me a while to reach the limitations of the supplied plug-ins (if ever) and sometimes its good limiting yourself to only a few instruments and rather concentrate on the features of the software (there is a lot of beef under the skin of FLStudio).

The book ends up with with an interview of a couple of existing artists who use the software as well as the employees who work on FLStudio at ImageLine. If nothing else it gives you a perspective of others opinions on the product and also a feel for who is behind the software.

So to summarize it really is worth the money for this book, especially if you are a newcomer to FLStudio and for the more experienced users this book almost certainly has something too.

ImageLine don't sell the book them self, so here is the link to the website where you can order it.

And so it starts ...

I'm not a total n00b when it comes to FLStudio. I used very old version of it a long time ago and at that stage FL was way better than hammerhead (a quadriplegic [but useful] cousin of Fruityloops). I ended up with a old version of Logic Audio because the "limitations" of Fruityloops at that stage stopped me from buying it.

After many years of playing and not actually producing a single mentionable track, I threw in the towel. I just couldn't stand the frustration anymore. I badly wanted to create something, but the simple "beeps and blips" that were coming out just didn't satisfy me.

a Few of my friends use FLStudio in their studios as a pattern based sequencer for quickly assembling drum beats and rhythms in their projects. Recently one of them completely moved their studio onto FLStudio and thats where this thing caught my eye again. It just got me thinking... and after downloading the demo version of FLStudio 6 i was in heaven. Almost immediately i could start creating music. Hooking up an old Yamaha synth via MIDI-IN-OUT was really simple to do and i use it as a MIDI input for "composing" (please note the "")

My wife must have caught onto the fact that i was spending time with music again because she bought me a Producers edition of FLStudio for my birthday. I suppose she realized that i was excited again and that i never really stopped wanting to make music.

I still haven't made anything worth mentioning, but at least my passion to create music is there again and this time it seems to be getting a bit of satisfaction ...