The Studio Unfolds, Part 2

15 Jun 2006

The Mac Mini arrived, and it is cute as a button! It is so small that it stacks on top of my PC with and external hard drive. It is slightly challenging to have only two USB ports and one FireWire port, and the ports in the back are crammed just about as tightly as can be, but it worked flawlessly, even importing everything from my PowerBook G4 using a FireWire cable, and talks on the Potts House wireless network with no configuration whatsoever.

DSP Quattro installed and ran, although since the hardware changed, I needed to generate another key. Fortunately this was pretty easy and I did not have to produce any elaborate justifications or beg a human to give me another key. I managed to import and update my iPhoto and iTunes libraries, and deauthorize iTunes for protected content on my old computer. (N.B.: please note that my acquiescence to use of these DRM/copy protection measures does not constitute my endorsement of same!)

It’s amazing how well the import “just worked,” the only complication being that I had later versions of iTunes trying to run on a slightly earlier kernel, so there was some oddness (errors in the log, strange-looking windows) until the OS was fully updated via software update. But that all went smoothly, and nothing crashed. The update to the SuperDrive firmware was a bit odd, because the computer did not tell me it was happening: this meant for a minute or so I was trying to insert a CD, and I thought the drive had broken, because it did not respond. But then it finished, and all was well. And now I’ve got something like 65G of disk space free to work with!

For now I am still working with the Snowball microphone. I am experimenting with trial versions of some compressor, limiter, EQ, and reverb plugins to see if I can get my voice to sound a little better, average out a little louder, and avoid digital clipping (with a 16-bit device, there isn’t a lot of headroom for peaks). I doubt I will buy any of the plugins I’m trying, but if they help perhaps I can find something else useful; in fact, as I’ve found, there are a lot of free-as-in-beer plugins to try out; I ought to be able to make some improvements without spending anything. If I determine that I need something a little bit different that I can’t find for free, maybe then I will consider laying out more money.

It was getting too late last night for me to conduct a good trial, but I’ll do that as soon as I can, and I am looking forward to glitch-free recording!

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