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.
</rant>

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…