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Emily's Journey Down The E/V Road!
Guess it was time to start this.
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (98 votes) 
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ELCBK
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January 4, 2024 - 12:53 am
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Drove myself a little nuts today, wanted to make a decision on how to go about playing LIVE STANDALONE STEREO - with stuff basically fitting on a 'desk top' (my bed).  PLUS, I have to take into consideration I'm EXTREMELY limited by ports on my Spark Mini & Spark Go amps! 

Using an 'ABY Switcher' for sending my violin signal to 2 different amps seemed like a great idea - actually, my 'Electro-Harmonix Bass 9' pedal can send a wet signal off to 1 amp & a 'dry' signal off to another amp!   ...until I realized, oops forgot - what about my Akai Mini Play keyboard?  AND, what about my 'Ditto+' looper (it's not stereo)? 

Do I only want to loop my keyboard, or also some of my Violin?  Yeah, I really would like the option of effects from BOTH my violin, and keyboard/drum pads, in a loop.  Thought about the looper phone app (I mentioned a few posts back), but there's NO WAY I'm going to fool around with app controls on my phone while playing - I don't have great consistency with 'touchscreen' controls.

So, now I think I'd be better off using a STEREO LOOPER - both midi keyboard and Violin could participate/sync up in looping (little fuzzy on exactly how this works - gotta LOVE surprises), then the signals split off to separate amps. 

BUT, there's yet ANOTHER issue!  While using this whole configuration, I won't be able to use any DRIVE or DISTORTION type effects that are in presets on both Spark amps, just need to make sure I disable anything that would normally come 'before a looper' in a pedal rig.

Well, now I have to order a special 1/8" (3.5mm) male to 1/4" male 'Patch' cable that is short (3') - for from my keyboard headphone port to the looper, and hopefully I can get by with a 2' 'Pedal' cable to the Spark Go.  I probably need to have another 5' instrument cable on hand.  

I looked at different stereo loopers.  The Ditto Stereo Looper does NOT have the great qualities of the 'Ditto+' & only 24-bit audio.  So, decided to go with the Boss RC5 Looper Station - which may seem like overkill, but the audio quality was worth it.  AND, even though my little Spark amps may seem like toys - people are actually having great results hooking them up to big speaker cabinets (Positive Grid just came out with a 140 watt Cab for them, but others also work)!  I do have spare regular 40

...happy I'll have enough I won't be bored & haven't had to buy an expensive rig just to have fun.  Everything I have will be great for different configurations (nothing was a 'bad' choice) & don't see how any of it will be obsolete in my lifetime.

579d352e942fb960c34ee36b08308f5b.png

Kevin was kind enough to install my 'Spark GO' App on my phone.  To my surprise, it loaded in with my Spark Mini app (as found equip that can be connect via BT) but I'm not sure this is right (I need to find the video that said something about this).  So, even though I'm not completely sure (yet) if both amps will stay connected to use all app features, for what I want (right now) I ONLY NEED TO MAKE SURE I HAVE CUSTOMIZED ALL 4 PRESETS ON EACH AMP, BEFOREHAND.  I DON'T NEED THE APPS CONNECTED TO USE ANY OF THE SPARK AMPS! 

Parts ordered.  Jeez, I HATE to be limited in configurations - there's NO WAY I'm going to be happy if I can't change things up easily.   Hope some of what I've discovered ends up helpful to others down the road. 

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ELCBK
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January 4, 2024 - 12:28 pm
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...had to edit my previous post (nothing unusual). 🙄

Wow, amazing what seeing sunshine does to me - fresh brain today!  Realized utilizing BOTH, Spark Mini and Spark Go apps need NOT be any concern to me, right now!

All I have to do on each Spark amp - make sure I'm happy with what I've customized for the 4 presets I'm allowed.  I don't need the apps connected, or Bluetooth paired, to play LIVE in STEREO with the amps' presets!  They remain on each amp until I change them!  IT'S LIKE HAVING 8 DIFFERENT AMPS AT MY FINGERTIPS - 'if' I don't want to use the same presets! 

That is PLENTY to work with!

Okay, got other stuff I want to try/experiment with, especially on my Akai Mini Play keyboard, before my stereo looper arrives next week.  I LOVE the drum pads and synth qualities of the keyboard.  Quite a few things I still want to try/get acquainted with before DAW enters into the picture.

479666ef7ba34783ad452f21dd561003.jpg

Yesterday, I spent some practice time differently & it was EXTREMELY relaxing/satisfying! 

Think this tune came to mind while searching potential names for my new fiddle... took a recording of Enya's "Caribbean Blue" (always LOVED this song), slowed it WAY DOWN to where I couldn't really distinguish individual notes.  Then, concentrated on feeling & playing what arpeggios sounded good (to me) over it.  Yeah, nothing crazy, but was interesting how it made me more aware of the way it modulates. 

Mercurial, felt like I was playing the movement of water! 🥰 

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ELCBK
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January 5, 2024 - 2:45 am
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Darn, think I might've ordered one wrong cable (TG it wasn't expensive).  It is 3.5mm TS to 1/4"TS (MONO to MONO) - thought fine since not going to anything stereo.

• The Positive Grid Community says the cable from the Spark Mini (or GO) headphone port to another amp or speakers needs to be a STEREO to MONO 'SUMMING' cable (has resistors)... which I don't need right now.

BUT, then I read this from Castline, about the same (Summing) cable:

This cable is needed to connect MP3 players, portable CD players, cell phones, and other devices which have 1/8" (3.5 mm) TRS output to amplifier, mixer, PA systems and other devices which have 1/4" (6.35mm) TS input.

We use resistors to prevent the signals from back-feeding into each other. This prevents there from being distortion or noise issues, as well as preventing damage to your output device. 

 

I'm assuming the headphone port on the Akai Mini Play is also STEREO & whatever I run it to (pedal, or just my amp) is MONO - so decided to go ahead & order the short 'Castline Summing' cable to be safe. 

• Rechecked the video (post #150) where the guy plugged the Akai Mini Play into a looper pedal (a MONO port) - the video quality's not great, but looks like he used a cable with STEREO to STEREO (3.5mm TRS to 1/4" TRS) jacks. 

🤔... thought I read signal can be weaker if stereo cables are used for MONO situations, but maybe at least balanced (safe?).  Hope I can find more info before they all arrive. 🥴

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ELCBK
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Yeah... I'm liking the idea of using my ol' Mortimer for altered tunings - may go back to CGDAE strings on it, but I need to look at dressing the top edge of that bridge (depending on what thickness of strings I use).

Wow, my excitement disappeared with the arrival of MORE crappy, rainy weather - I'm having a terrible time getting motivated today. 

At least I put some very productive/fulfilling time in playing last night!  AND, think I've decided what I want to play for JohnG's Memorial Party. 

My cables & stereo looper arrived.  I should be jumping for joy, but the weather is aggravating my normal aches/pains.  ...grumble, grumble.

...still haven't settled on a name for my new 'blue' 6-string fiddle... if I don't figure out something soon, it'll get stuck with something lame, like 'True Blue' 😣 & I'm far too happy with 'it' for THAT! 

Been intrigued by a new theme song "True" - it's from a Romantic Korean drama on Netflix I've been following.  Typical romantic/tragic ties to past lives, but a bit of a twist - a 'demon' becomes a woman's guardian - action, humor & romance.  The Story folklore has this guardian 'thing' typically occurring in ancient times - almost leaning along the lines of "The Golden Compass".

Anyway, I'm hooked on this dreamy theme music & hopefully it will jump-start my motivation tomorrow if I experiment with my fiddle/effects to interpret this.  

 

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ELCBK
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January 11, 2024 - 3:47 am
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Jeez, just saw what time it is & can't keep staying up late! 

I had some great practice, then played "True" several times through, with the video, to learn it.  I want to have it memorized  a little better before I start playing with effects (hoping tomorrow). 

Turns out it's in C# minor - NOT my favorite key!!!  Unfortunately, it's easier to learn in this key, along with the video, until I have it memorized well enough to switch keys.  I want to be sure of the phrasing & voice inflections.

I was so happy - cause of how fast I've been learning things by ear!  Thought maybe it was time to start notating some of this for other folks to try. 

😡 I shouldn't have let so much time lapse since I used the Notion App!  Got re-acquainted, then not sure if my fingers are just too dry, but I had a heck of time getting my touch screen on my phone to respond well & of course I needed it to erase! 🤬  Anyway, I'm finally close to half way done with some semblance to the tune, so stopping for now. 

I know I need MUCH more practice transcribing tunes, even though no one will probably be interested in learning this song (besides me)... then again, NO one ever mentions they'd like to learn ANY tune I've shared that has to be learned by ear. 🤨

🤔... oh well, finding just the act of transcribing is helping me memorize "True", so win-win situation! 

dancinbunny

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ELCBK
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Just a 'quick' memo (okay, not so quick)... I got all the notes for "True" notated, in C# minor, the other day - still have a few places to fix so it sounds more like the video.  

Itching to play this on the new fiddle with some synth-type effects tonight (only been playing it acoustically) - my plan for after dinner, anyway. 😊

Funny, didn't think about how MUCH different this style of music is, until I got into it - compared to the typical fiddle tune notation I'm more used to looking at/reading.  It's a real challenge for 'me', but it's been VERY rewarding to get some of it right! 

The video music repeats.  I decided to write it ALL out (in succession), instead of using a 'da capo' symbol.  Figured this way I could try to see/compare, different configurations of note duration (and rests) in some of the measures better this way, determine which 'sounds' best.  'Ties', especially tying over a bar, is only a nagging voice in the back of my mind at the moment... will consider them later.

The audio 'playback' feature of the 'Notion Mobile App' is indispensable - helps me 'hear' where note durations are off, what needs to be lengthen/shortened.  

Really bugs me that I DO still have a hard time determining 'rests' when hearing very long note duration/decay like in THIS STYLE of singing. 

I can't easily tell where some notes actually end and a rest begins! 

ABitRusty was kind enough to show me "True" sounds GREAT in Bb minor (Thank you)!  Definitely easier to play in this key - will try other keys, too.  I learned why Bb minor is used for notation instead of 'A#' minor! 😉

 

I shouldn't even be thinking about using alternate tunings on my old fiddle right now, because it will get me side tracked, but remembered a tune I wanted to try - it's TUNED UP a half step.  This is really unusual for me - since I tend to like going lower, but "Mother's Delight" (Pg 2 - Cross Tuning on The Fiddle Thread) sounds wonderful this way, played by Katie Davis Henderson (originally played by Frankie Gavin). 

Tuning UP takes this tune from Eb minor to Dm! 

I looked at The Session & the 4th version (in D dorian) works for how "Mother's Delight" (session link) sounds in the video - just don't know if it's easier to play than the tuned-up version. 

Temp dropped & ground is at least white the last couple days - sun even showed it's face a few times.

...almost feel like playing Xmas music!

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I gotta quit getting side-tracked here!  Tried to stay away from editing my "True" transcription today... need a break - a bit obsessed with it.  I made good progress last night (almost ready to post)! 

Watched a WONDERFUL documentary on Amazon Prime this evening - "Yooper Creoles: Finnish Music in Michigan's Copper Country".  Cost me a $3 & was only an hour long, but BEATUIFUL photography & some music, by different musicians/ethnicities I haven't heard before! 🤗  Cool that "everybody played everybody's music"!  Heard a really nice bluesy version of "Emma's Waltz"!

One fiddler shown was Helmer Töyräs - playing his "Helmer's Waltz"!

Also from the documentary, a wonderfully melancholic waltz - "Rantakoivun Alla" (Under The Shore Birch)! 

 

I hate El Niño!  We have a measly amount of snow & think it's all because no one has done the

'Heikki Lunta Dance'!  dunno

Yep, folks in our Upper Michigan know the secret!  

The Dancing Snow God That Brings Blizzards to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

AND, he has his own SongSo, the Sunny 101.9 radio station up in Marquette County played the song 12 days ago - it worked, 33" on the ground in the 'Big Bay' area (snowing now)!  But here's 'my' favorite version (different than the original, a little rock'n roll) "Heikki Lunta Snow Dance"! 🤣 ...maybe it would work for me - where's those grandkids when I need 'em?

Heikinpäivä

In 1999, the Finnish Theme Committee of the City of Hancock created a new Finnish-American celebration – Heikinpäivä. The celebration’s themes are taken from Finnish folk saying associated with the name day for Heikki (January 19th).

 

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Gordon Shumway
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ELCBK said
...I shouldn't even be thinking about using alternate tunings on my old fiddle right now... 

No, I was thinking of having a go at Saint-Saëns's Danse Macabre, but it requires the E string to be tuned to Eb, and I think that would interfere with any other practice I wanted to do.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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January 17, 2024 - 6:05 pm
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@Gordon Shumway -

You shouldn't let scordatura stop you from learning a piece. 

It's not hard to get used to ONE string change for ONE piece - usually takes a quick moment to remind myself what notes are there & under what fingers when I start.  I show myself where the 'standard' string notes have moved to in relation to the adjacent string(s).  Just do the same thing after returning to standard tuning... until you've learned that change well. 

THAT SAID, found this interesting:

If you are playing the full orchestral version by Saint-Saens (as opposed to some arrangement), then the only person who should tune the E string to an E flat is the person playing the solo part. The soloist should keep the E tuned to E flat for the entire piece and should not play any of the violin 1 tutti parts. (reddit)

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ELCBK
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January 18, 2024 - 12:59 am
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Jeez, I have some REAL mixed feelings tonight! 

Was going to work on fixing the measures I have for "True", figuring there's got to be some ties over bars (I don't have) & it would change where I've put rests... yada, yada.

I have no idea what made me check to see if someone transcribed this yet on YT.  THOUGHT I CHECKED BEFORE I STARTED THIS!  Someone transcribed "True" TWO WEEKS AGO!  ...can't decide if I'm really HAPPY, or MAD at myself for wasting my time!!! 🤗😳😡 

Jeez, I spent a lot of time on this, too... maybe I'll still benefit from correcting what I have notated - the comparison & act of changing it, will hopefully make me more aware.  Guess I should be happy I at least got the time signature, key, & notes correct... not feeling that way though. 😕  Don't think it helps to show what I did, at this point.  

I was going to look into the easiest way to transpose to another key using the Notion Mobile App, but then started transcribing the "Lumberjack's Waltz" & got sidetracked. 🙄

The difference between this transcription and the "True" video I presented earlier - the 2nd half (here) is an octave higher. 

 

 

...don't understand how I can be bummed out & happy at the same time... maybe relieved. 😣

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"...ABitRusty was kind enough to show me "True" sounds GREAT in Bb minor (Thank you)!  Definitely easier to play in this key - will try other keys, too."

I just pitched it down to see how it sounded and Emily figured out the key.  lol

 At that time wasnt able to sit down and figure out anything with it.  I did a screen grab of the original video while it was playing and in slow downer just dropped the pitch.

After looking it over for a bit, decided for me something like Dm may fall easier and still have some range lower on the violin neck.  

Its good to have sanity checks on stuff youre learning @elcbk.   talking about finding the new transcribed video.  At least you figured it out yourself and now hqve some confirmation youre on the right track.  I would call that a win!

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SharonC
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ELCBK said

...
I have no idea what made me check to see if someone transcribed this yet on YT.  THOUGHT I CHECKED BEFORE I STARTED THIS!  Someone transcribed "True" TWO WEEKS AGO!  ...can't decide if I'm really HAPPY, or MAD at myself for wasting my time!!! 🤗😳😡 

Jeez, I spent a lot of time on this, too... maybe I'll still benefit from correcting what I have notated - the comparison & act of changing it, will hopefully make me more aware.  Guess I should be happy I at least got the time signature, key, & notes correct... not feeling that way though. 😕  Don't think it helps to show what I did, at this point. 

@ELCBK  In my wanderings through music things, I’ve found I’m not wasting time even if I end up not doing exactly what I set out to do.  Getting your hands dirty is all part of the learning. smile

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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ELCBK
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January 18, 2024 - 9:38 pm
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@ABitRusty & @SharonC -

Thank you, both! 

I'm definitely hanging on to all the 'little positives' I can! 

...they're like pieces of styrofoam, I have to gather enough to keep me afloat & not drown! 😵 

At least I still like playing "True", but I will correct my score... have a couple little differences (compared to the piano version) I'd like to keep.

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ELCBK
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Has anyone had trouble with geared pegs?

Pretty bummed out tonight. 

Hoped it was just a fluke that I had trouble with my 'A' string peg while trying to tune last night.  Thought maybe there was too much string wound on the peg - found it surprisingly hard to unwind, but got it.  I cut some off & wound it back up, finally got it tuned up. 

Thought the 'A' was holding until tonight... I accidentally touched it while I was trying to tune my 'D' string!  Had the SAME problem with 'D' string peg, but it doesn't have too much string wound on it.  I got them to stay for now, but scared to death to touch them. 

I've NEVER had this problem before with my other violin & viola (also geared pegs).  I understand how they work & I did press 'in' as I tightened - neither one wanted to hold.  The pegs on my new violin look like 'Perfection' pegs... thought I might have 'Wittner' on my other violin & viola, but after watching Gibbles review 'Perfection' pegs on a Glasser 5-string - guess that's what I've got. 😁  HUGE difference in size between these pegs on my 6-string vs the smaller ones on my 5-string violin. 

😞 Think I'm going to have to make a call tomorrow... we'll see, going to research a little 1st - don't like the thought of parting with my new violin for even a day, let alone a month!  ...but something's not right. 

My new violin arrived pretty much in tune & STAYED in tune!  Did have trouble with the 'D' string sound (tried to live with it for 2 days), so switched it out with my other violin Rondo D.  I had noticed the peg resisted turning, but thought hey, it's new - didn't give it another thought, until now.

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@ELCBK Yikes!  I have a Glasser 4 string that has the planetary perfection pegs.  I’ve changed strings one time on it,  & did not have the problem you’ve described.

Saw this video that maybe what you’re describing?  It's showing the pegs on a cello, but they work the same way.

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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ELCBK
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@SharonC -

Thanks for the help!  

That's the best video I've seen & made me look to see if it was the problem, but mine were slipping within in the mechanism. 

The strings didn't let loose while I played/practiced more (after posting), which was good.  So, today I tried working the pegs more.  With a lot of 2-handed muscling I finally got the in/out feature to work properly!  Scary part - 'felt' like I had to pull hard enough a normal wooden peg would've gone flying!  Couldn't get that to work yesterday.  I WAS concerned I might break something... guess I was less concerned today. (lol) 

So, feeling MUCH better about this - must be they are just new... it was just VERY unexpected. 

Appreciate you took time to help! 🥰 

I thought maybe these pegs were larger than my other ones, but there's only a longer extension/sleeve-thing (pegbox is so wide).  Jeez, never noticed before - my large Viola has a pegbox that's actually SMALLER/narrower than my other Violin (and they are both 5-string)!  ...only mentioning because I still wish THIS pegbox & scroll were smaller. 

Btw, anyone thinking of geared pegs - I DO like them, rarely use my fine tuners.  Gibbles has a good review video on how they work - and I really never had problems with the ones on my other violin, or my viola. 

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ELCBK
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The gloomy rain stopped last night & I ended up having a great little practice session!  Yep, notes were clear, fingers were flying - then for a brief moment I thought maybe I should stop to set up & record... glad I just kept going. 

Still been wanting to learn about some of the audio tools used in DAW (before I jump in) - tools that help us understand what is going on with the sound we produce and eventually try to manage.  Found what I think is a good source, a BASIC overview - just what I need right now! 🤗

Sound Decisions: A Guide To Audio Analysis Tools - Oscilloscopes, Spectrograms, Goniometers, and When to Use Them

Oscilloscopes, meters, and spectrographs are utilitarian tools for measuring and visualizing sound. Thus, discussing them can quickly get quite dry and technical. Moreover, it doesn't help that the nomenclature associated with different devices at times may seem convoluted. That said, audio analysis is indispensable for working with audio, and thus understanding these tools is crucial for making skillful decisions in your work.  (perfect circuit)

...keeping this for reference - I'm sure I won't need it after I get comfortable. 

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good article.

In isolation..the visual for individiual audio tracks hasnt..right now..been helpful to me. I may be using more than i think though and its good to know ..

The level meters and what they are telling me are IS very important.  Id say probably one of the most important things to learn and understand.  Loudness and what places like youtube and spotify..expect and will do with uploaded audio.  if you can find videos on LUFS metering that would be worth the time.  most daws have a built in meter for it.  Presonus has a great metering plugin.  Izotope insight is another and it has some fancy ways to show the music like your post is about.   theres one view where you can display it like sonar kinda thing.  reminds me of a ground radar type thing.   louder or more concentrated frequencies show up hotter or something.  interesting to watch..but i havent figured out a good way to interpret the info.  its just easier to listen and watch the level meters. really good plugin though and MANY different ways to display the audio.  lots of metering and graphing options.  You should go over to izotopes youtube and google their instructiona for using INSIGHT.. think it may be unteresting for you.

when compared to reference tracks seeing your audio against something that you like and want to emulate is helpful.  kind of a sided by side comparison.  it can be after the fact but is helpful in real time after youve recorded and are adjuating levels and panning..eq.. kind of stuff. 

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

THANK YOU! 

Really appreciate the pointers! 

I'll see what I can find on LUFS metering - had NO clue what I needed to know. 

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I was looking over the "True" piano score today.  Been in the back of my mind to figure out why I was having trouble deciding where notes should be tied over the bar lines. 

Had a bit of an epiphany... but at this point, I think I should continue this over in my Emily's Exploration - Swing, Syncopation & Other Uneven Music blog, because let's face it, nothing I like is ever heard (by me) as simply straight forward 3/4 or 4/4 time. 😉 

It is kinda hard to play "True" smoothly on the fiddle in C# minor, so I probably should get around to transposing it to something else, but I wanted to see how well I could do in the original key if I persisted with practice.  I haven't explored the possibilities of shifting to other positions yet - I'll do that first, before transposing.

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