Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TC Electronic Konnect 8 review

The Konnect 8 is a Digital Audio interface, over FireWire connection, from TC Electronic. The interface provide a simple and solid solution for "home producers". What's new about it? well, not much. The interface joins a new genre of digital interfaces with analog characteristics, such as volume control, which allow the producer to skip a mixer or volume adapter on the way to the studio monitors. So simply, What does it mean? the only equipment that you'll have to start home producing is an Interface and Speakers, thats it!pretty ideal if you'll ask me.

Main features (With more details on this like):

Input / Output:
  • 2 Inputs - XLR / 1/4” Phone Jack (TRS) - "Hi-Z guitar optimized", Phantom power.
  • 2 Outputs - 1/4” Phone Jack
  • 2 Phones Front output - 1/4” Phone Jack Stereo
  • ADAT and S/PDIF for connecting standard digital equipment.
  • Midi In / Midi Out.
As with most standard audio interfaces now on the market, the Konnect did not fall behind and didn't surprise as well. The only interesting thing about it's I/O is the so called spacial "Hi-Z guitar optimized
" inputs (as expected from TC which was originally a guitar effect manufacturer).
From my short experience with the product (about 45 days), I can clearly say that it's AD/DA convertors are impressive comparing to it's price. Actually and honestly, I didn't feel any differences between it and my current audio interface - RME Fireface 400 - which, for all aspect, is currently recognized as one of the best audio interfaces on the market. Although it's worth mentioning that, I didn't compare between the 2 audio interfaces with an kind of A/B test.

  • Output Level - Analog volume control knob on the front panel.
  • Source Level - Digital volume control - will control the digital mixer (standalone mode).
  • TC Control Panel - Very basic yet simple mixer and control panel for the interface.
In my point, the TC control panel is too basic and a lots of features are missing there (like routing of signals, pre-sets of setups and a like).

Other Standart features:
  • Support up to 24bit / 192Khz.
  • Can operate completely as standalone.
  • Direct Monitoring with low latency.
  • Portable and light (useful for laptops).
  • Receive power from a Power supply or Firewire.
Problems which I had with the interface:
  • During the time I used the interface I heard a lot of "signal spikes" from the Monitors. The noisy-buffer like spikes might related to an electricity problem which I have in the studio or a faulty unit.
  • Under Microsoft Windows XP SP2: Installing the driver is completely a mess. It's also very very important that you will test the interface with the desired computer - Laptops with Mini-Firewire port are NOT RECOMMENDED and most of the time are NOT SUPPORTED AT ALL.
  • Under Apple OS X 10.5.x: Installing the driver is very very simple but when trying to upgrade though TC Website the installer crashed (on both my MacBook and MacPro). Other then that, works great.

  • High Quility AD/DA convertors
  • Analog Volume Control
  • Very Simple To Use
  • relatively cheap
  • FireWire Connection is a must
  • Buggy and featureless software.
  • Hardware problems / History of a lot of bad units which where returned.

Visit the following for more details:

Price: 2,300 NIS / 300$ (us)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New studio MIDI arrangement.

Hi there!

Since I bought the RME Fireface 400 interface i was really struggling switching from "record mode" to "playback mode" when recording a guitar player or a singer. I made all kind of stuff as walkarounds for the problem (turn the mixer monitors volume down, turn the Mic input up and vice versa). Recently I reorganized my studio, changed the acoustics arrangement and finally configured the Behringer BCR-2000 controller to control the RME Fireface. I had the BCR for about 5/6 years but never had the "guts" to configure it correctly. Well, probably because the BCR 2000 has terrible "GUI" (graphic user interface) and no real support from the original developers / company.

Anyway, to do so I've had to reorganize the Midi connection in my studio which was a bit problematic. I've learned a good lesson last week and you might say a little punishment for been so old-skool conservative person. I've always preferred using the clumsy old Midi connectors rather then the new USB cables, with a thought that it should work better.

Well, thats apparently was not true. USB works just great and can transmit and receive on the same cable (which was important to me). So, less cabling, more support and cheeper cables (USB cables are more popular = cheeper then Midi cables, and only 1 cable is necessary instead of 2).

My main goals were:
* Using both Keyboards INs and OUTs (My Korg TR-88 has a great and useful GM kit).
* Controlling RME Fireface 400 with the BCR 2000 controller (Switching between record mode and playback mode).
* Controlling the SCOPE project modular synth with the BCR 2000 (consider it as an Hardware synth).
* Controlling Logic from my Korg TR-88 (When I'm focused and want to record piano).
* Discard notes Midi-data from the BCR-2000 input in logic (Used a transformer in Logic's environment).

I got the result with the following Midi cabling sketch:

Purpul cable - USB cable
Blue - Midi I/O 1
Aqua - Midi I/O 2
Green - Thru input

I hope you found the information above useful, Elad.

1. Synthesis for all - The digital oscillator

The oscillator is the most important element of any synth. An oscillator creates a wave of sound in verse waveforms for verse frequencies. For beginners, this phrase might make no séance. It's OK, try to understand as we continue and will see some examples. Another fact to remember is that an oscillator's waveform could be any repeatable waveform, for example watch the following:

Sine, Triangle, Sawtooth, and Square:

The Sine Waveform:

The sine waveform also called a "Pure harmony" or "The Fundamental Harmony". As we can see in the picture, the sine waveform has only 1 harmonic, which is the fundamental harmony for that particular note that I’ve played (A2 = 110hz).

The Square waveform:

Unlike the Sine waveform, the Square waveform assembled out of odd harmonies only. The only true fact you should know for now about the Square waveform is that it is very very rich of harmonies. It's very important to understand the uniqueness of the Square waveform and deal with it the right way.
Just as guitar with a distortion effect (which commonly is an odd harmonies amplifier) played within a mix, it can be sound full-body fat “ass-kicking” sound when using it correctly.

The Triangle waveform:

The Triangle wave is also one of the odd harmony waveforms and unlike the Square waveform, It sound is smooth, very similar to the Sine Waveform, but still assembled out of many harmonies creating a fat and rich harmonic sound.

The Sawtooth wave:

A Sawtooth waveform is the most wildly used waveform now days. It’s sound is rich and “pure” at the same time, mean the fundamental harmony sticking out and can clear be heard. You may ask yourself “why is that?” Wikipedia explains:
…A sawtooth wave's sound is harsh and clear and its spectrum contains both even and odd harmonics of the fundamental frequency. Because it contains all the integer harmonics it is one of the best waveforms to use for synthesizing musical sounds…

And if you really insist to keep it simple then: “It just sounds great with filters!”. Later on, we will also learn about that.
Well, there is a lot to come over this subject but for now, it will be enough.

I hope you enjoyed it. Elad.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Synthesis for all - intro

Hi there!
Well, for a while I'm looking to spread my knowledge around synthesis to the public. Acutely I wrote the first article 4 years ago but never took it too serious. I guess now it's a good time to start spreading and summering this incurable field of production which, in my opinion, every modern produces should understand.

So, I'm proud to introduce the "Synthesis for all" series of articles which will teach you all around Synths and there components. The articles will be simple to understand for everyone and will include a lot of video / audio examples of each step in the process.

1. Synthesis for all - The digital oscillator
2. Synthesis for all - Deeper look into the oscillator
3. Synthesis for all - Additive synthesis
4. Tutorial: Simple Additive Synthesis Sounds
5. Synthesis for all - Subtractive synthesis or just filters
6. Many more to come... hopefully :)

Please, let me know your thought about it via comments.

Thanks, Elad!

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