domingo, 23 de noviembre de 2008

Bands that make you go CTRL+D: Spleen United

I discovered this band through VSE forum. Someone was asking the usual "what synth is this one?" question and when I saw the picture (not sure if it was the one in this post), with the Korgs MS-20, the Roland Junos, the Fender Jazzmaster and the Rickenbaker bass, I said to myself: "A band with such a good taste when choosing their instruments has to be worth listening", and I loved them. They play a good mix between Electronica and Rock music with a kind of dark sound. I think their instruments can tell you a lot about their sound: Juno Pads, Korg MS-20 synth leads, Jazzmaster distorted chords... Check out more about Spleen United in their webpage and in their Myspace.

Check out other things that make you go: CTRL+D

"Things" that make you go CTRL+D

I am starting today a new section named " 'Things' that make you go CRTL+D ". In case you don't know, CTRL+D is the keyboard shortcut that, on a PC, gets a certain webpage into your bookmarks (or favourites or however your browser of choice calls them). The posts under this section will have the tag CTRL+D bellow and will talk about webpages that called my attention. I will be mostly treating about bands I discovered on the net, but some other web pages might also fit in.

lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2008

El Columpio Asesino Live

El Columpio Asesino is playing in Fuenlabrada, Madrid, this weekend. The cool thing is that you can get free tickets if you upload a video of yourself wishing CeJota (CJ) a happy birthday. CJ is the Youth Council of Spain. This Youth Council was founded 25 years ago. I already sent my video, what are you waiting for???

domingo, 16 de noviembre de 2008

Faking Monome

I spent saturday night at home trying to recover from a cold, so I decided to investigate a bit more about monome.

First thing I did was install and try the software:

To use monome's software, you need to install Max/Msp for some applications and also chuck for others. You can download the runtime version of Max in their webpage for free. Chuck is also available for download in their webpage. The runtime version allows running software but not making your own or modifying the existing. Then I downloaded from here the following software:
  • monome base: This contains monome40h_fake, which is a "virtual Monome", which can be controlled by clicking with the mouse in a monome displayed in the PC screen.
  • mlr: What seems to be the most popular application for monome, a live sample-cutting platform.
  • Other cool apps are 64Step and life, for example... those are the ones I tried.
BTW, I am using PC, but everything should work OK in Mac, not sure about Linux.

Some tips to get the thing to work quick:
  • Read the instructions provided with the software.
  • Make sure your soundcard is working properly in Max by going to extras->audiotester (not sure if that is available in the runtime version).
  • For monome40h_fake to work with mlr, you need to set the prefix to "/mlr". Other monome applications use "/box" (64Step, another cool app) or "/life" (for the game of life).
  • mlr only seems to support aif and wav files... do not try mp3s.
Once you start working with mlr and monome40h_fake, you will realize that you are missing a lot of functionality by only being able to click on one pad at a time. The solution for this is to use nonome, a monome emulator with keyboard support. You may find nonome here. The way to use nonome is explained with a lot of detail in the same link, so I won't bother. There is also a modified version of the mlr software (you can see it in the picture above).

Once there, you are all set... get some cool samples and enjoy. I did not have many samples in my PC so I went to NIN Remix webpage and downloaded the samples for "The Hand that Feeds You". I enjoyed it a lot and made me even more anxious to get my arduinome project started.

I am feeling better today, just ready to go to work tomorrow.... ?@#$%&"

viernes, 7 de noviembre de 2008

Keytar for sale

Remember my friend's Lync LN 1000 from this post?

Well, it is now for sale on eBay here. My friend wants to buy some other gear and since he is not usually playing live these days, he decided to get rid of it.

I know it is not cheap, but I can tell you it is worth it. It is in perfect condition and you do not see many of those coming out on eBay. I wish I had the money...

Happy bidding.

lunes, 3 de noviembre de 2008

1st Gen iPod Nano Line-In Recording

So I managed to get my 1st Generation iPod Nano to record audio... yeeepe!!!

This probably does not sound very exciting these days of iPhones, iTouchs and 5th, 6th or whatever Nano generation we are at now, but it is definately exciting to me and probably to many other proud owners of (so far) the last "hackable" iPod (and by hackable I mean the last one that allows changing the operating system).

I got the Nano as a birthday present when it came out 3 years ago. Since then, I have been looking at the iPod Linux project status every now and then, hoping they will start supporting audio recording through the iPod Connector line input. But that never happened. One day, while browsing through the iPodLinux forums, I found the RockBox project, a multiplatform and open source firmware for mp3 players. Some people in the RockBox forum claimed that they got their 1st Gen iPod Nanos to record from line in, so I got a PodBreakout from SparkFun Electronics and eventually tried it. After some failiures, mainly due to my hurry and usual lack of time, I managed to find some spare time, did some decent soldering and got it to work.

The steps I followed were the following (follow them at your own risk):
  1. Install RockBox in my Nano (follow the instructions for that in the RockBox web page, it is very simple). You get some cool games for your iPod as a bonus.
  2. Solder a jack connector to the PodBreakout. The pinout is the following (full pinout is here):
    • Pin 2 in the PodBreakout goes to the ground in the jack (the jack sleeve)
    • Pin 5 in the PodBreakout goes to the right channel in the jack (the jack ring)
    • Pin 6 in the PodBreakout goes to the left channel in the jack (the jack tip)
  3. Configure RockBox for input through the Line In.
  4. Start recording.
  5. Stop recording.
  6. Reboot iPod. There is a bug in RockBox that makes it necessary to reboot the iPod after each recording if you want to listen to it. UPDATE: RockBox version 3.0 does not require rebooting the iPod after recording, so don't be lazy and update your RockBox. Thanks to guys in the RockBox forum for letting me know and sorry again for blogging about a bug that was already fixed.
  7. Listen to your recording.

More info here.

And that's it. You get a 44.1kHz recording, which I think it is better than what you get with the "official" accessories in other generations of iPod Nanos. There is an option to do realtime mp3 encoding while recording, but I have not tried it yet. ANOTHER UPDATE: I have tried the realtime mp3 encoding and works as it should (cool!!!).

domingo, 2 de noviembre de 2008


Long time no see... I know... too much work, too little time... sorry about that.

I have been craving for a Monome since I first saw them a while ago and now I see an oportunity. I bought an Arduino sometime ago, but have not really used it much... now I know what to do with it, I am going to build an Arduinome, an arduino based monome. I am not planning to buy the sparkfun buttonpads so the first step will be to find some cool buttons.

Check out the whole Arduinome build log here.