Thursday, 4 December 2014

Music Technology - Summary

My personal interest project had me exploring music technology in greater depth. I have realised that there are many artists, such as: Herbie Hancock, Peter Gabriel that have integrated digital musical instruments/technology, with acoustic (real) musical instruments/technology. I have also learn't how to use Blogger. It is very user friendly and a great way to record your results - kind of like a digital diary for everyone to see.

With the Korg™ Little Bits® Synth Kit,  I experimented with envelope and filter functions. The sounds that I created by playing with the cutoff functions, were amazing. I felt that the mechanics were very similar to that of guitar pedals, so I had an idea of how to operate them already, but it was still a fun project to end the year with - however,  I wish that we had more time to complete it properly. 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Music Technology - Week 4

This week I decided to create a series of 'how to' videos for my synth kit project. Due to time constraints it was difficult to combine 'real' instruments with 'digital' instruments, but I managed to record 'digital' instrument aspect of this project (see Week 3 blog). As a country music singer, songwriter and musician, playing with elements of electronic music (i.e. synthesisers) like the Korg Little Bits kit was not in my comfort zone, however it may be a way to 'move with the times' if I decided to incorporate it into my music. With that said, I don't want my music to end up as 'bro country', which includes elements of rap, hip hop, pop, electronica and a lone banjo, because that is really horrible.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Music Technology - Week 3


This week, I got stuck into recording and editing my percussion party project, which is the integration of digital technology with real instruments.

I brought in my M-Audio™ interface, stereo headphones and mini jack lead to decode the analog data from the Korg™ Little Bits® Synth Kit to digital discrete data in Logic Pro X. Logic is an industry standard recording program, which combines retro recording techniques and effects with digital ones. It is so well designed that (with due respect) a person without a voice box could almost become an international pop star. This is feasible because of the innovation of precise editors, combined with the use of plugins.

To record a slice of the synth kit, I plugged a stereo jack converter on the end of a mini jack lead. Then I plugged the jack end into the audio interface (which is connected via USB to my computer) and plugged the mini jack end into the synth speaker input. I then started to record the synth for a few bars and then I trimmed a segment that I liked and looped it several times. I did this twice with the two drum beats (train beat and the bass drum beat) and then layered both loops. The process I went through with the looping is called audio sampling.

After I was happy with the timing of my loops, I then went in to the separate tracks (located in the mixer) and used a multipressor plugin and a channel EQ to enhance and further design the drum beat to how I envisioned that it would sound. In the end, it turned out sounding like a digitalised miniature train, which was the sound I was after. Now I have to add in a bit of vocals, guitar and master it.

In this project, I have used a lot of my audio engineering skills, which compliments the technology of the synth kit. It has also been interesting reading through the synth kit booklet, and realising why the circuits made the sounds that they did.

Here is a demo of my drum beat

This is the layout of Logic Pro X:

This is the Multi-Pressor plugin:

This is the Channel EQ plugin: 

This is the M-Audio Fast Track Interface:

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Music Technology: Week 2


This week, I decided to get straight into my project. I started testing all of the musical circuits available from the Synth kit. I was interested in the percussion party circuit, as it allowed me to design my own drum beats. I created a train beat and a bass drum beat that can be set up by adjusting the knobs to the same as shown in the diagram, that can be viewed here:

I figured that I would sample both of the beats and layer them to get a cool drum beat that can accompany my real instruments e.g. guitar, vocals etc...

This is the circuit that I am working with, called the percussion party:

These are the bits that make up the synth kit: 

Music Technology: Week 1

This week, we explored the wonders of the Maker-Space and all of the weird and wacky technologies inside it. The two pieces of technology that caught my eye were the Maker Bot Replicator (3D Printer) and the Korg Little Bits 'Synth Kit.' I figured that the 3D printer could be useful for inventing or creating a guitar accessory and the synth kit would be useful for creating beats that could be recorded and sampled onto Logic Pro X, and later combined with recordings of real instruments, such as guitar and vocals. This way I could intersperse what I do musically (playing real instruments) with emerging music technology (digital simulated instruments). Although a project with the 3D printer would be cool, I decided to do something that is more closer to home - working with the synth kit.
Here is a demo of the Korg Little Bits "Synth Kit':