Odds and sods

  • David Peace really is the British James Ellroy. Tokyo Year Zero is amazing and thoroughly disturbing.
  • Check your Facebook privacy settings if you don’t want your stuff to end up on Google.
  • Girls Aloud’s new single is, of course, ace. The production team are pop geniuses. Nadine looks more and more like a scary robot in each video.
  • I didn’t realise such a compilation existed, but I’m now the owner of a CD best-of of The Big Dish – one of my favourite bands, ever. Worth tracking down if you like low-key acoustic-y pop. As is the Prefab Sprout best-of. Is there a best-of for The Bible? Haven’t heard them in years, loved them to bits.
  • Facebook’s getting annoying. Who cares what the top books, movies and ancient URLs are in X network and why are they cluttering up my home page? MySpace-style spam can’t be far behind.
  • The comments on Scottish newspaper websites are even more annoying than the ones on Comment is Free.
  • Garageband is great, but I want more MUSIC POWER! What would be the best move for home recording (live instruments and the odd software instrument) – doubling the RAM to 2Gb, upgrading to Logic Express or going sideways and embracing Ableton? Or should I wait until next year and just buy a stupidly big laptop?

35 replies on “Odds and sods”

Is it as good as Logic for old-fashioned recording? It always struck me as more of a looping/live thing.

As far as I can see (and I’m still not fully to grips with it), it’s its loop-manipulation stuff that is ground-breakingly good and that grabs all the headlines, but its basic recording is still great. After all, even loop-based tracks tend to have a vocal part.


Seriously, it’s unbelievably good. I didn’t ever think of it in terms of multitracking….until I found out it was insanely great at it.

If you’re mainly interested in recording live instruments and you haven’t worked with Logic before, Ableton is your better bet today. Ableton is trying to downplay the looping thing now, having realised people think it can only do 4/4-for-x-bars stuff.

Logic is fantastic software. The trouble is that, although Garageband and Logic share some underlying technology, the learning curve in Logic is pretty steep. You can spend days working out how to get things done. The payoff on Logic is that, if you use it a lot, you can get things done really quickly, which is why a lot of studio engineers swear by it, or at least Logic Pro. (Logic Express is more a version of Logic Pro with stuff taken out rather than Garageband with more features.)

I’m not a big fan of the standard Ableton instruments: the company really wants you to buy the Sampler and other upgrades. I prefer the Logic Pro bundle (which admittedly is more cash). But, if you’re not planning to use them all that much or want to use third-party plug-ins, that’s not a big deal.

Thanks everyone. I’ll spend a bit of time with the Ableton demo and see how I get on with it.

I’m ordering a nice bundle of Live 5 and a midi controller from SoundControl on Wednesday…got to do it as my cracked version of Live was ‘discovered’ by Ableton and disable(tone)d

Nice. And you’ll get a lovely warm glow inside from supporting the developers ;-)

I went for Logic in the end – Studio 8 was just too tempting, not least because it represents a massive price cut over the previous version. £300 for the full thing when Logic Pro 7 was £700.

BTW if you want a start illustration of the difference between slightly old PC tech and new stuff – a logic project with 16 tracks on a Powerbook G4 runs at 100% CPU pretty much all the time, and needs lots of tracks to be frozen to work properly. On the macbook pro, the cpu load indicator doesn’t even light up.

When I was playing those garageband tracks back with all tracks on it would come up and say it couldn’t play them (about half-way through) as there weren’t enough resources, but if you cancelled it it played anyway.

Logic is happier than garageband, I’ve found, but it helps if you minimise the amount of effects. Those are the killers.

Seriously considering taking advantage of Apple’s business trade-in scheme…

On the subject of PC specs – I’ve just been asked to provide a PC with the *minimum* spec of an E6700 Core 2 Duo. Bloody hell.

If you’re only using the new one for word processing, why not use the old one and use the new one for mucking about and testing?

I think yours is the model down. The E6700 is the 2.67Ghz one. Not quite top of the range, but pretty close.

>>You’ve lost me completely.

You’ve got 2 laptops. One is really fast and the other ain’t. Why not use the slow one for typing?

I think yours is the model down.

No, the homebrew PC is running the E6700. Told you it was quick.

You’ve got 2 laptops.

Three :)

Why not use the slow one for typing?

Work isn’t just typing. The G4 runs out of puff in a typical working day when there are a billion browser windows, RSS and email happening at the same time as word processing. And as I’m on that 8, 10 hours a day and messing about with music for an hour or two every few days…

Dunno, dunno. Apple does a trade-in for businesses and current price tariff says £300 for the powerbook; get another £50 for the mini on ebay and maybe auction the Acer Aspire too and I could get a fair whack of the money for a macbook or iMac. Former could go downstairs, or the latter could become the work PC and the macbook pro the music one. Actually that could work really well, ’cause the work Mac is also the iTunes and iPhoto mac, and no doubt will be the iMovie mac too.

Dunno. Naturally two weeks before the due date of your first child isn’t a good time to be starting ebay auctions :)

>>No, the homebrew PC is running the E6700

Sorry, I thought you meant your macbook.

Also, would it not be worth waiting a month or so until leopard comes out?

Here’s a better idea. Why don’t we swap the mac mini for the baby stuff you’d already offered us?

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