z Gear Stories episode 30

Gear Stories 30, New Reason & Apogee, the best gets better!


Hey there, friends!


It’s Gear Stories time again!  (If you don’t want to be receiving this, let me know, and I’ll take you of the list… but check it out!  You might like it!)


First things first.  There will now be a new monthly feature to Gear Stories.  I call it the “Deconstructed Song.”  I did a deconstructed song last time, with a complete explanation of how the arrangement was created, and posted the song in it’s entirety on my web site, https://dreamrodeo.com/   A lot of you really liked that, and I had a BLAST doing it, so I will do it every month now!


This month’s song was made using entirely one virtual Instrument called “Ethno Instrument” by MOTU  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/EthnoInst2  (The People who designed the software are going to be using this song as a demo to show what can be done using Ethno… I think that’s pretty cool!)    The song is a folk song from Okinawa called “Yesu Yu Amuri” and was sung in a language called Hogan, that is only  natively spoken on that one tiny island.  Though the musical setting has Japanese, Chinese and south American instruments, African hand drums, and a Jamaican “riddim” section.


Here is the link to the page with the whole deconstruction on it.   https://dreamrodeo.com/wordpress/y-song-notes-okinawa-yesu-yu-amuri


While you’re there, kick around the rest of the site, too and leave me a comment on the forum page!  I’d love that!


The second little bit of news regards Paul Reed Smith Private Stock prototype guitars.  This morning, Paul Reed Smith himself got on a web cam and did a question and answer presentation about the guitars we have in stock.  They feature prototypes of a new bridge design he will be incorporating into some future production models, and they all come with certificates saying that they are special, collectable guitars.


You see, Paul invented a new kind of tailpiece for these guitars that creates more downward pressure from the strings and thus better contact of the bridge to the body of the guitar… this makes for a more resonant instrument… simply better sounding.  Arguably the best sounding electric guitars ever made…  Or at least he seems to think so!


Not only are these guitars outfitted with this new, better tail piece, but they are also private stock, using special tone woods, collected and hand selected by Paul Reed Smith himself!


There are 8 left in the world and they will assuredly be increasing in value as time goes by… so if you are looking for a great investment in these troubled economic times, I highly suggest one of these.




One last little piece of news…  Sweetwater now carries Godin guitars, (though if you hear us talk about it, you would think that we actually carry “Go, Dan” guitars…  it must be French or something!) Check these very cool instruments out here…  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/manufacturer/Godin


Now, on to the “Gear Stories”





Part 1:  You’ve got a brand new REASON!


Reason, the virtual instrument by Propellerhead (Line6) is one of the most popular Virtual instruments in the world


Now… why is Reason possibly the most popular virtual instrument in the world?  WELL…  It can do pretty much everything, it sounds great, it’s easy to use, AND it’s very inexpensive.


Why did I say It can do pretty much everything… other than wash windows?  Reason is a virtual instrument suite that functions as one unit.  It can be standalone, or it can plug into recording software platforms like pro tools, etc. by a software bridge called “ReWire”  It consists of a mixer, and a sequencer, (which, if you are using it as a plug in you don’t need to use.), plus there are 8 synthesizer modules that can be used within Reason itself.  This modular configuration is the key to Reason’s versatility.


There is a drum machine called “Redrum”  (I actually find it to be a really easy to use, quick and dirty sampler, too… I just turn anything I want to trigger into an AIFF file and boom, you attach it to a note in Redrum and you can trigger it… you can do this in seconds!)  There’s a loop player (Which comes with a lot of REALLY useful drum loops) called OctoRex.  It allows you to manipulate and cut and slice and rearrange those loops to your heart’s content!


There are two different sampler modules, each with it’s own library, there is a virtual analog synth (which has a “bass guitar” sound that is KILLER useful!), a virtual digital synth. and a virtual hybrid synth called “Thor.”


New to Reason is the “Kong Drum Designer,” that allows you to use drum samples the same ways you could if you were working on an old school drum machine like an MPC.  There are excellent manipulative controls for creating and altering drum sounds, and it’s DARNED FUN to play with!


Also new is the upgrade from the Dr. Rex player to the “Dr. Octo Rex” that I mentioned.  They have increased the capabilities of manipulating rex loops so you can truly make them your own!


On top of the synth modules in Reason, there is a bank of effects that is really impressive!  (I love the vocoder plug in!  I run Rex drum loops through it and create cool rhythmic synth parts!  Probably not the way they intended it to be used, but I sure have fun doing it!)


I have used Reason like a majority of Reason users do, to make hip hop and R&B tracks, but I have also used it a lot in my Dream Rodeo project, which is dreamy, hypnotic synth oriented world music, and I have even used it to create orchestrations that have fooled classical musician’s into thinking I had tracked an orchestra!  That’s why I say it can do ANYTHING!


Since Reason is so popular, probably many of you have it already, but the upgrade is also very cost effective and is completely worth it!  And from now until the next edition of Gear Stories, you can get a ten percent discount on all flavors of Reason, from upgrade to the full version…   (Including Reason with Record!)  Here’s the link!




Call me!  I think this is going to be a busy one, and I will be flooded with e-mails!  So the phone is best, if you  can.




Part Two, Apogee Symphony I/O:  The best just got better!


For many years now, many have considered the company “Apogee” to be the  Apogee in digital conversion….  (Hmmmm, I wonder if that’s why they call themselves that!?)


I myself have been a fan of Apogee since I first heard them, and the heart of my studio for many years has been their previous flagship, the AD16x.  Many considered that to simply be the best sounding set of digital converters available anywhere.  (Of course, there are always those who argue, but the market has spoken.)


For many, many years, the AD16x and the DA16x have withstood the constant barrage that comes with being the target on the top of the heap.  But now, a company has finally, once and for all stepped up and beaten them.  And of course, the company that one-upped Apogee is APOGEE!


Apogee is retiring the AD16x and DA16x and has just released a new flagship conversion device called the “Symphony I/O”


If anyone could criticize the AD/DA16x  series, it was that they did not conform to your needs… if you wanted one, you had to conform your studio i/o configuration to it, and that’s what many people did.  NO MORE, I say!


Now, rather than having one 16 channel device for input and another 16 channel device for output , you can configure the symphony i/o to your needs, and it has multiple types of connectivity in and of itself.  It can work with the PCIe card that bears the Symphony name, or it can connect directly with Ethernet, as well as with Optical, SPDIF, AND EVEN USB2!


It can work standalone, or in conjunction with other interfaces that have digital inputs.  Seriously, these guys must have got tired of having so many different big boxes to keep track of, since now there is only  ONE big box, and then a bunch of little boxes to choose from to make sure it is configured the way you need it.


One of the features that made the AD/DA16x series so popular was that it had a built in BIG BEN digital clock to run the show and sync up your whole system so tight it made even lower quality converters sound more like Apogees!  So, of course, that was the first thing we asked when this was announced… does it still have a Big Ben in it?


The answer was “No, but better.”


The very same design team that created the Big Ben circuitry has been working on the symphony I/0 for years, and they took the design of the Big Ben and actually improved it slightly… tweaking it to the particular needs of the Symphony I/O user.


Of course, Sweetwater offers lifetime free tech support and our great warranty as well, so when the rubber hits the road and you need answers, you are going to be glad that you got yours from Sweetwater.


If you really want to take your studio to the next level… to the highest point (after all, that’s what Apogee means!)  Call me and I will help you configure a system that meets your exact input/output needs.


Take a look at this link and see what options are available to you, and when you get this installed, you will absolutely amazed at the quality of the sound coming from your recordings!




Until next time, I look forward to being of service.


Jon Gillespie, Sweetwater Sales Engineer


800 222 4700 x 1352

260 432 8176 x 1352 (outside the U.S.)

260 432 1758 FAX

[email protected]




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