M a t t . T r e d e r

Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

New toy

In Music, Tech on July 8, 2008 at 5:58 pm

My new Kurzweil SP2X is on its way! I never had the opportunity to try this 88-weighted-key stage piano out in the store, so I relied on published evaluations and the opinion of my advisor at Sweetwater, Michael Faz.

It’s been nearly a decade since I went shopping for a full-size keyboard. My first was also a Kurzweil, the venerable PC88, in 1995. It was a brilliant ‘board for its time. It’ll be interesting to see how far they’ve come in the intervening years, and whether my impressions parallel those of its reviewers:

Whether coming out of the Tannoy monitors in my studio, my older Toa PA speakers, or going through my Gallien-Krueger or Barbetta keyboard amps, all the piano sounds stayed true to their best nature. I also noticed that unlike on many other stage pianos, I didn’t have to change sounds when I changed styles: The default piano let me play pop ballads, jazz solos, rock rhythms, salsa montunos, and a Bach prelude. To me, this has always been the selling point of the Kurzweil piano: It stays musical in any context.

Responsive, fluid and energetic. … (The action was) willing me on, encouraging me to push my playing just that little bit further than I normally might, and rewarding me for my efforts.  In essence, the action on the SP2x makes trickier phrases just that little bit less risky, which, in a live situation can be very reassuring.”

The SP2X’s action is fully weighted and feels great to play. There’s sufficient resistance to allow your fingers something to push against, yet enough give and springiness to allow for machine-gun-fast repeated notes on a single key.

FedEx predicts arrival this week. I can’t wait to play it!

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Logic Studio 8

In Music, Tech on April 21, 2008 at 5:42 am

Finally got my registered upgrade of Logic Pro 8. And I have to take issue with some of the criticisms of Apple’s latest. The merging of minds between Apple and Emagic appears now to be complete, and the result is a breathtaking, minimalist makeover that finally consolidates all of the power of Logic and for the most part wrestles its justly famed complexity to the mat.

No, there were few new goodies. A new plug-in delay, a few nips and tucks for Ultrabeat and other soft synths. No matter. What needed to happen — a complete rethinking of the interface — was done with typical Apple elan. Bravo.

Don’t mess with the Big Dog

In Tech on April 20, 2008 at 8:03 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww

Via my Uncle Mike:

This is quite simply the most astonishing robot I have ever seen.

Watch it climb over jumbled concrete blocks, walk uphill and downhill
through snow, amazingly regain its footing after slipping on ice, and
even gallop and leap.

When you see the way it stays on its feet after a researcher tries to
kick it over, does it make you wonder how a future version of this
robot might respond to such an attack?

Seems to me in the past decade or so there’s been a sea change in the way scientists approach science. Old way: We can design and engineer solutions to any problem, using intellect and reasoning. New paradigm: Let’s look as closely as we can at how nature solved these same problems…and follow nature’s lead in discovering possible answers.

Very much the way Leonardo da Vinci approached science, well before anything called “science” existed.