Advanced Systems Design

Live Reverb & Virtual Bands

w/c 12th December 2011…

This has all been pretty much covered in my Advanced Systems @College page, but I thought I could use some filler here :P
Hopefully, there should be a bit more human emotion here - in addition to the science.

As a group, we had to “unpack” how a project or research topic would be considered advanced, by which I don’t just mean complicated for the sake of complication.

The project should have been simple enough to execute: after all, I had carried out each of the component tasks (multichannel DAW recording & playback, re-amping, convoluting a reverb, re-triggering etc) many times before.
Then my MacBook Pro died. £2000 for just over a year of computing? Bargain!

I had intended to be the first person in my group to present for once, and I wasn’t going to let the failure of three Macintosh computers stop me.
When tensions began to run a little high, my college-wide reputation as a re-amp freak put everyone at ease. In particular, my party piece of the re-triggered snare drum really hit it off…

I should point out here that I have just come to realise… All Computers Suck, especially if I’m reliant on only one.
PCs are slow and virus prone. With a Mac, you don’t get any problems as with a PC, you just get a different set of problems. Macs just work, except when you really need them - they seem to have some kind of urgency sensor that uses the importance of your task to determine how big a crash to have.

My conclusion: As long as I’m not relying on one sole platform, I’m at peace.

Fast forward to quite possibly the most stressful day of my life, so far. Never mind Kernel Panic, this was full-blown Stevie Panic. Or a meltdown…

A large amount of time was used up - through both myself freaking out, and by yelling at Finder when he wouldn’t let me install the I/O drivers for my interface, thus needing to scour the college for another iMac that worked and wasn’t bolted down.
I was forced to abandon the grandiose multichannel/multi-level playback system, and opt for a traditional stereo PA setup with my old buddy, the Quadraphonic surrounds. Sounds like a really bad 80s pop group.

Problems with time, or rather, the lack of it, also meant that I had to cheap out on the number of microphones i was able to place in each reverb chamber. I did however get my way with the two reverb chambers - one for snare and one for vocals.
Not available in the shops or on certain websites, however, I intend to release an impulse response of the reverb spaces - so check back soon!

In conclusion, computer woes aside, I managed to successfully demonstrate my virtual band, live re-amping session and live reverb chamber. Because some problems were encountered (although were also dealt with), I cannot profess that this setup could replace a band at a soundcheck anytime soon.
Due to the fact that I combined three individual concepts into one design, this should qualify for a quintessentially advanced system.

No dry run, lack of sleep, tech problems, extreme panic, anxiety, caffeine & glucose… Also, connecting my iPod into the reverb speakers for testing and forgetting that it defaults back to full volume… thus getting two earfuls of Liam Gallagher at 10am.

Pub Bed time…