Just about two years ago, I made a very strong effort to get my home recording studio reconfigured so that I could start to compose/record my own music. I had played keyboards in a band for a few years in the 90’s and used all Apple Macintosh products to write and record my own stuff.
I had the whole home studio thing going on with a Power PC 8600, Digital Performer software, Mackie SR24 – 4 Mixing board, Korg X2 keyboard/workstation and numerous rack-mount synths and effects. It was impressive. One day, my Mac just stopped working. Justlikethat. Poof! One minute it’s on, the next it’s off. Dead. I considered buying a new Mac but since I had spent about 10K for the original one (Yes folks — more than ten thousand dollars for a computer), I was kinda peeved at the fact that it just died only four years later.
My desire to write got the best of me so I looked into another Mac. The technology had improved so there was no longer a need to spend tons of money for extra RAM, sound cards, etc. but guess what?? Mac changed all of their plugs! Even my old monitor would not plug into a new Mac! A new Mac meant a new audio interface and a new MIDI interface and a new this and a new that…
This happened after Ray and I had relocated to Bisbee and scaled way back on our expenses. I simply could not afford to revamp my whole studio with Mac products so I did the unthinkable, I switched to a PC — a Dell to be exact. Monitor and CPU for just about $500. Add another $500 and you’ve got software to record your music. Fuck you Mac. I’ll do it on a PC.
In my opinion, if you spend that much money for something, it should fucking work for more than five years. After, I got all my equipment configured to the PC environment, I happily blogged about it. There was just one little problem…
It never worked.
Never, ever, ever worked. I had one messed up problem after another — most notably, latency. I would strike a key on the keyboard and the sound would be delayed by about a half second. If I had more than three or four audio tracks, the sound would pop and click. Basically the shitty cheap PC could not muster up the processing power to do what I wanted — what I needed.
Around the time that I was trying to get my studio set up again, my good friend and fellow bandmate Mark Alan and I were both talking about how we wanted to get back into writing music. He really took it to heart (and had a Mac) and, well, recorded a full-length album. In anticipation of a release date, Mark asked me to remix a song of his. I was thrilled and got to work. I did everything I could do to remix the song but my computer just couldn’t handle it. I felt terrible telling him that I could not make a contribution. This made me very upset.
And now, here we are a few years down the road. Mark just released his fantastic album under the name Alphanaut and I’m sitting here with all this dusty equipment that doesn’t work and at the same time, my father who had been ill for years, died.
But shit makes things grow…right?
My father left behind some money for his children. Yes, I put my share into savings and my retirement but I took some aside and bought a new Mac and some other little goodies. I also did something I never thought I’d do — I got rid of equipment. With the new computers and music authoring software, you don’t need a ginormous 24 channel mixing board. You don’t need a 76-key digital synthesizer workstation. You don’t need tons of hardware for synths and effects. It’s all gone — and it all works! Perfectly.
So here I am two years later, trying again to take the music I hear in my head and commit it to some format that I can share with others. For years, I have been wanting to do what Mark (Alphanaut) did. Compose, create, birth an album. I finally have the right technical space to do what I want. Thanks dad.
PS, Please check out Alphanaut. Mark’s stuff is awesome and it’s already going places.