Category: Video

Studio upgrade: Acer Aspire (Intel i5-9400, Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” and Ardour6)

The “LoftStudio” has gotten a major hardware and software upgrade. Because of the fact the old coputer, a DIY Intel i3 computer, decided to call it quits after having been a trusty companion for many years we had to buy a new computer. We bought an Acer Aspire with an Intel i5-9400 Hexacore(!) cpu on board, 8 GB of RAM, a Saumsung 256GB SSD and Western Digital 1TB Sata-disk.

We’re not going to bore you with lots of technical details but in the end we decided not only to upgrade the hardware but the software also. So we’ve installed Linux Mint 20 as well as Ardour6 and of course re-installed Mixbus5. For those that can understand Dutch, here’s an unboxing, test & review video.

ARDOUR6
For those of you interested: Ardour 6.x now comes with Linux 20, for free(!). It’s available in the Linux Software Manager as a free download. They do ask if you want to support them and as far as I’m concerned I’d say: Do so! If you use it on a regular base, just pay them for their efforts. It’s great software.

STUDIO SESSION
Of course we did some testing, after installing all the software. Here’s a video of a short recording session. Including a tip on how to get a nice, full, guitar sound.

NEW ALBUM
It’s been quit here because we’ve been working on recording a few new songs. We finished them the day before the old computer broke down! The new album is getting close. Some of the tracks are available at Soundcloud (some are free downloads!) at https://soundcloud.com/barkingaunts.

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Radiohead – Creep (Acoustic Home Studio Sessions)

Radiohead’s “Creep” is one of those songs that I have been listening off and on for many years now. It never bores me. This is classic rock songwriting as it should be done. I recorded an ‘acoustic’ version today at my Home Studio, using my Samick electro-acoustic guitar, my Washburn and added some additional guitarwork using my Gretsch Electromatic. Vocal mic: AKG C900, a gift from a friend in the United States and I really like this mic a lot!

Mind you: after recording the initial guitar parts and vocal I re-recorded the vocal track because that would allow me to edit the vocal without effecting the guitar sound since the acoustic guitar was, of course, causing bleed in the vocal track and your really don’t want that to happen!

Anyone who knows the original will notice I left out the bridge. Impossible for me to sing!

DAW: Mixbus5 / Linux Mint.

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pandemic corona virus blues

Pandemic Blues – Acoustic Home Recording

There’s no way to escape from the coronavirus and the news about it these days. It inspired me to write a song, recorded in my living-room. Fear mongers and fake news aside, this is a critical situation we’re in. A pandemic that is sweeping over the world. It has spread and still is spreading like wildfire at the moment.

For all of you that have been hit hard by the corona crisis and those worried what’s going to happen next. This pandemic will change our lives for months, perhaps years or even decades to come. Stay strong! Don’t be overwhelmed by fear and please listen to those in charge: keep your social distance and if possible stay away from others as much as you can.

Acoustic session – Live from the livingroom.
Recorded using my Motorola Moto G7 smartphone
Edited with Flowblade (Linux Mint).
Guitar: Samick Greg Bennett.

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Your Life On Facebook Solid Rock Blues Band

Your Life On Facebook (Twitter, Instagram, Tinder, ..)

Social Media is all around us. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tinder, SnapChat, Youtube. We can’t live without, can we? Well, perhaps we can but we love being online. And of course we all like to life that glamorous life we see others have. So we fake it. Fake it till you make it right?

Here’s a song about Social Media. How one portrays him or herself on it. And how someone else might be looking at this social media life of the other person.

The song was written in parts on snippets of paper, collected and put together, over a period of time. Video was created using free stock video downloaded from Pexels.com. Recorded at the LoftStudio Home Recording Studio using the Digitech Pedal for drums and bass, Harley Benton Telecaster and MXL770 as vocal mic. Recorded using Mixbus5 (DAW). It is, for now, available on Youtube and BandLab.

VIDEO

BANDLAB

By the way: if you’re looking for a great place for some free, basic, mastering, checkout BandLab. For the Solid Rock Blues Band we use bandlab all the time for the final mastering.

LYRICS

LIFE ON FACEBOOK
All rights reserved ©2020 R. Brinkman/Solid Rock Blues Band

May your life, be as great
as it is on Facebook
May the sun, always shine
as it does on your Insta

No I got no interest
for your feed on pinterest
don’t care for your moodboards no more
And I really don’t know
why I should be looking
at the carpets you want for your floor

(chorus)

And your tweets on Twitter
always sound so bitter
is it really that cool to swear
Do you really think we all
want to know
you don’t know what clothes to wear

Swipe left, swipe right!
Where to spend the night
Who’ll be knocking at your door
It’ll come as no surprise
some won’t be nice,
it ain’t love they’re looking for

(chorus)

It ain’t me stalking
I can just see you walking
SnapMap tells me all
I want you to be,
happy and free
but can I just give you one call?

(chorus)

May the sun, always shine
as it does on your insta
May the sun, always shine
as it does on your insta

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Sounds Like Van Spirit – Street musicians

What a great project! A sound engineer traveled trough 25 countries with his Van packed with recording gear and recorded 50+ street musicians. Watch the video below to learn why he did this. An amazing story.

I listened to some of the recordings and decided to order the album straight away. This is music as pure and raw and honest as it can be. Love it. The recording quality is superb.

More details at the website: https://soundslikevanspirit.eu/

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Mixing bass for lofi equipment – home recording tip! Hint: EQ and distortion!

How to mix bassguitar for Lo-Fi equipment like smartphones and laptop speakers? These simple tricks will help you create a mix that sounds fine on them!

Ever considered this: many people listen to music using (cheap) earbuds, a smartphone or laptop. Does your mix sound good on that equipment? Most of ours didn’t. Not until recently that is. Except for those where we use the Digitech TRIO pedal.

We discovered a cool plugin for Mixbus5 that enhances the sound of the bass in such a way it sounds better on cheap speakers. But of course it should be possible to do this without a plugin – and we wanted to do so, especially since the plugin was software that needed a license..

Many people use smartphones, laptops, ipads and lo-fi earbuds to listen to music. These speakers and earbuds have a poor audio quality and lack low and hi end. So, how can you create good bass sound on them? By “moving” the bass sound into the right frequencies! Here’s a little trick I use for mixing the bass so it will sound better on earbuds, laptops and smartphones and still sounds fine on high end equipment.

Recorded using Mixbus5, Sony Cybershot and video editing using FlowBlade.

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Al We Talk About Is You – Official Video Released

What’s it we talk about today? You! All we ever talk about is You. Always. And I don’t mind. Let’s be clear about this. Narcissism is very good for your own EGO. Right? So let’s write a song about!

The video was created using royalty free stockvideo and edited using FlowBlade (Linux video editing). The song was written together with my friend James and features Judith S. (not the lady in the video) on vocals.

Prefer online streaming instead of YouTube? Try Drooble. Want to be kind to us? Buy the song or even the album! It’s available at CDBaby and BandCamp.

This is the new single from our latest release, “The End Of The Street“. Please see this post for detailed information about the release.

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Advertising your music on YouTube

Is advertising your music on YouTube useful? Does it get you views, subscribers and new fans? Perhaps even helps you sell your music? I decided to put it to the test using Drooble’s YouTube package.

Some time ago Drooble announced YouTube advertising packages. They offer you around 500 views for $25. That’s only USD$ 0.05 per view so a fair price. Even though I was very skeptical, even before ordering it on Drooble I’ve voiced my doubts, I put it to the test with a recent video I uploaded. A video that was not getting a lot of views but, compared to my other music videos, was doing okay.

You might wonder why I did spent money on it. Well, it’s easy to be skeptical. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, right?

THE GOOD NEWS (AND SOME BAD)

The service is useful in regard to the number of views. It went from 80 views to 606 views in a week (and it’s now up to well over 1,400). So the views kept coming even after the advertising campaign stopped.

However, no new subscribers and, what’s worse, the viewing time per user for the video went down a lot. Meaning, people would only watch for about a minute or so instead of the full video (as was the case with most viewers before that).

The advertising does work if you want to push the view-counter up. But it doesn’t get you engagement from viewers. No feedback as in comments or likes or even dislikes.Even the scam-advertising will get you at least likes or dislikes (and some trash feedback). Isn’t that weird?

For me, this was just a “put it to the test” and as far as I’m concerned, it didn’t pass. A waste of money. Even though I did expect this, I hoped it wouldn’t be true and would lead to more engaged viewers.

The loyalty of the viewers makes me wonder if the views are machine-generated. Even though the line of the viewer loyalty goes down slowly. It might be “too human” to be bot views (as the ones you get when ordering 5,000 for $10 at some of the scam services around). But, .. Only 22,5% of the viewers watched the full video. As I said, no likes, not even dislikes. Now that does make me suspicious. If people don’t even “hate” or “like”? With over 500 views there should be at least a few likes and one or two ‘dislikes’.

As I noted before, the YouTube statistics also show that the people watching the video as a result of the advertising are also less interested in viewing the full video as the ones that find it because of organic search. That’s probably to be expected however it does show the importance of organic traffic to your videos. You know, people that click on the video they read about 😉

CONCLUSION: IS THIS A SCAM?

I’m a little disappointed to see that the advertising Drooble offers seems to drive people to the video that aren’t interested in it after all. It’s well spend money for me however, since it was an experiment. But, if you’re looking for a promotional tool for your band or video clip I’d say: don’t buy views/advertising. Not on Drooble. But especially not on other sites that offer you “tons” of views. They are scams for sure. In Drooble’s case, I’m convinced they’re doing the best they can and might even believe they offer a useful service. And I’m sorry to say: they don’t. The statistics proof it.

 

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Behringer UMC404HD and Audacity Multitrack recording

Audacity is a free DAW, a program for audio recording and mixing, and it’s popular for some very good reasons besides being free. It’s easy to use, stable and is the perfect little DAW for anyone who wants to get his feet wet in home recording. It is also perfect for recording things like voice overs or a demo for a (small) band. Record, for example, the basic tracks an mix them later on in a more professional DAW or let someone else mix them. Some even record full albums with it. So, it is popular for many reasons.

Audacity the Free DAW for Windows, Linux and MacOS

Some time ago, in 2018, I made a video about mixing and recording with Audacity and the Behringer UMC404HD. The UMC404HD allows for four inputs to be recorded at the same time (4 tracks) so you can record 4 musicians, or instruments/vocals, at the same time. The Behringer UMC404HD is amazing and it’s availble for only a fraction of the costs of several competitors. For example (at this moment) at Thomann. It is out of stock a lot, it seems to be very popular and rightfully so. I am still considering to buy a second one, as a spare, in case mine will stop working or will have mechanical problems one day.

Recording with the Behringer audio interface works perfect with Ardour or Mixbus. Especially since they don’t need any additional drivers. On Windows it also worked perfect on, for example, Mixcraft. I showed this in various videos as well as other people. Many of the viewers however seemed to be having issues with Audacity and the Behringer UMC404HD.

DRIVERS

One of the biggest issues most have is the drivers for the UMC404HD. Behringer has been changing their websites a few times recently and people were complaining they can’t find the drivers. They’re not included on a CD with the interface. Now, there is a good reason for this: production costs. Including a driver CD costs money and Behringer tries to cut the costs so you will have a product that is as cheap as possible. Besides that: most computers and laptops these days don’t even have a CD(r) station. Even if they would include a driver CD it would, in most cases, be useless. Including a CD would only lead to more trash (environmental issue!). You can download it. No environmental damage and cheaper. I’d say that’s a win-win.

However, as noted: the drivers have been hard to find. And, for some reason some complain the new drivers don’t work well. So here’s an older version that does work. Download and use on your own risk, I am not responsible for it.

DO NOT USE ASIO4ALL

Asio4All has been a pretty popular hardware driver for Windows. Do NOT use it. Remove it completely from your system (uninstall) if you wan tot use the Behringer UMC series. They have their own drivers (official site). You won’t get Audacity or any other DAW running on Windows working with the UMC404HD when using Asio4All.

AUDACITY LACKS SUPPORT?

Some noted that the version of Audacity they have doesn’t record 4 tracks. It only shows 2 tracks. There might be two reasons for this, I’m not certain what the reason is in certain situations:

  1. it is showing you 2 stereo tracks (meaning 4 mono tracks!).
  2. You don’t use the correct settings for recording 4 tracks. Set the ‘preferences’ to Windows Audio Session API (WASAPI) as I do in the Video!

Some claim it isn’t available on their Audacity version. On the Audacity website, however, it is still mentioned and what’s more: it’s been a standard in Windows ever since Windows Vista. In fact it is one of the “unique selling points” in Audacity! So I do have a hard time believing it isn’t available and my best guess is you’re not using the corect settings.

 

Prefereces Audacity

I am having the Dutch version but you should be able to see where this setting can be found (under preferences). In case you cannot get it working with the current version of Audacity – and I really do advice to use that one since it has hundreds of fixed bugs! – there are still older versions available. Like over here. Please note, this versions dates back to 2015 and this link (from Google Drive, it’s my “old” Windows version, works on Windows8.1) is to be used solely at your own risk.

VIDEO DEMONSTRATION

So this is the video I’ve been talking about, hope it helps or is at least entertaining 🙂 As I said in the video I don’t prefer Audacity for recording. These days I use Mixbus5 (and Ardour) running on Linux Mint. I’ve never looked back at Windows recording since I started using that even though I still have Mixbus on my Windows laptop (Windows 8.1). That doesn’t mean recording using Windows is less good. I simply prefer Linux (Linux Mint).

 

 

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Acoustic Studio Sessions – Folsom Prison Blues

Acoustic version of Folsom Prison Blues Recorded live at the LoftStudio Home Recording Studio. Just a simple quick take, hope you like it!

I learned to love this song on a young age, since my father was a big fan of Johnny Cash (and lot’s of other country music). I’m not a big fan of modern country but like to listen and play songs by Johnny Cash and other “outlaw country” artists even though Blues and Rock are my favorite music styles.

Equipment used:
– guitar: Samick Greg Bennett
– mic: MXL770
– Interface: Behringer UMC404HD
– Ardour (Linux DAW)
– camera: Medion Life

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