abstractnoise reel-to-reel demos

This week I’ve been playing with our recently acquired Revox B77 1/4″ recorder. It’s a stereo half-track model, and I use it at 7ips. Currently I’m not sure what actual tape I’m recording to, as it’s a 20ish-minute offcut from a reel that was found to be blank at the end of a transcription job. The two tracks presented here represent two very different production methods now open to me. 

“Changes Afoot” was sent track-by-track to tape, from DAW, and back again, to produce a digitally mixed master. A couple of those tracks were recorded particularly “hot” to bring out more tape character. No noise reduction was used at all. Signal-to-noise on any single tape recording in this setup was was found to be around 60dB.

“Innocence 2010” started as a digital stereo pre-master that I was never fully happy with, which was sent to tape via a skunkworks noise reduction system I’m working on behind the scenes; the system is not yet complete, but has enough processing built to give a useful 10dB gain in signal-to-noise ratio without any significant audible artefacts, as borne out by the 69-70dB signal-to-noise ratio found in this setup even after peak-limiting.

I suspect the signal-to-noise ratio is limited by noisy pre-amps on my DAW setup; I’ll need to swap to a different audio interface to confirm. That’s something to play with another day. Overall I’m VERY impressed with the overall sound quality this kit is able to deliver, and the range of analogue “colours” it can provide. I’m really looking forward to finishing the skunkworks noise reduction project; I have my eyes set on somewhere near 24dB noise reduction once it’s fully up and running. But it’s good to prove that I can both encode and decode on-the-fly!

Watch this space!

New music: Innocence 2010

I spent much of this weekend re-writing an old tune of mine from some ten years ago – perhaps more.  Yes, the song was originally written for a girl (I thought I was *so* romantic!), and that relationship never came to anything.  While I was working on this new version, I was thinking about what I would tell my ten-years-younger self, given the opportunity?  Would I actively help him make sense of everything he’s seeing, thinking and feeling?  Would I just listen?  Or would I perhaps just say the simple words “it gets better”?

Innocence 2010 by Abstractnoise (MP3)

Innocence 2010 by Abstractnoise (HQ AIFF)

In taking on the re-write, my main aim was to attempt to get to know a combination of music software on my mac,  so the whole thing was produced in Reaper (a nice MIDI/Audio sequencer), FreeAlpha (making most of the sounds heard in the track) and SampleTank 2.5 (which provides the 808-a-like snare and hats, and the mellotron which I absolutely adore!).

For those who remember it, I hope I’ve added to the story without losing too much of the slightly childish, simplistic feel  of the original.  Ten years is a lot of life and musical experience…

Coming up: Jarre 101010 – Live at the O2 London and online

Really looking forward to this concert – and interesting to see that things are happening online too, with “something special” or “something strange” happening on the night depending on which source you read/watch.

Having been to the Docklands concert back in 1988, I’m really interested to hear how his live music performance has progressed since those days, as well as how his use of the visual arts has progressed. My ultimate question will be… does technology help or hinder the artist?

Well, the tour page of his website is here, if you’d like to follow the action!