BlueMix

Beats, Humour, and Other Stuff I Like

Hello again! New Name, New Music

I realize its been AGES since I posted anything on here, but I’m still getting hits from the Hercules RMX review so I figured I’d take the opportunity for a bit of self promotion.

I’m now going by the name Xebulon – making music in whatever genre I feel like. For 2013 I’m setting a goal of releasing one new track a month, and I just released a new track entitled “Nothing Works”. This song is dedicated to the supremely shitty month of April 2013.

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Vine too:

http://www.twitter.com/xebulon

http://www.instagram.com/xebulon

Vine Username: Xebulon

May 9, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Hercules RMX: Retrospective

First of all, I’d like to thank all the readers and commenters for taking an interest in my Hercules RMX review.  I had no idea when I wrote it that so many people would be reading it – I think that article alone has basically quadrupled my blog traffic! (not that there was very much traffic to begin with, haha). Its nice to know people are appreciating the stuff I’ve written, and it makes me want to write more now that I have some semblance of an audience. I just picked up an MPK49 so a review may be forthcoming if I ever get around to it…

Anyway, in regards to the review I may have to revise my opinion a bit after having spent quite some time with the thing. Don’t get me wrong – I still think its a great piece of hardware – its just there have been some performance issues I haven’t been able to get rid of that have really decreased its value in my eyse. Recently one of my readers sent me a question which illustrates this – below is that email and my response. Make of it what you will.

Hey Jacob,

Nice review!  Thank you, it was very in-depth and helpful.  I just got this myself and figuring out how to put it all together.  Finally got it to work, with all the cables and stuff you know, but my question is, you mentioned that when you played your music, you heard clicking and skipping.  I noticed that too.  How did you get to fix yours exactly?  I’m asked to play for a small group of friends this Saturday and I would hate for them to hear all the clicking when I’m playing.
Any help is appreciated!  Thank you in advance, J!

Newbie VDJ,
DJ Bones (haaaa!  the name is funny but it stuck, I’m way skinny that’s why)


Hey Bones,

Yeah, the skipping thing is a bitch, its actually been annoying me a lot lately. Sometimes the interface will work fine for an hour then start slowing down and stuttering for a while. I’m not sure if its the interface’s fault or some background process I have running on XP thats making my CPU chug… either way it sucks. Here are some things I’ve done to reduce the frequency of these dropouts -

  • Increase the ASIO buffer size
  • Turn off my wireless card
  • In task manager, set the priority for my music app to “real time’
  • Turn off any unnecessary background processes

Even with these fixes though I still run into trouble sometimes. Luckily I’m mostly just playing house parties for my friends though and they’re usually too drunk to care / notice. However, these issues really detract from the value of the RMX as playing in a real club situation with these problems could be disastrous.

I’m actually thinking about getting another dedicated audio interface and using the RMX as just a MIDI control surface since I like the layout so much. Its a shame such a potentially great peace of hardware is plagued with these kind of stability problems.

Anyway, thanks for your feedback, and I hope you rock the party on Saturday!

-Jacob

Is anyone else having these problems? Does anyone have fix suggestions?

UPDATE: Thanks for the suggestions guys! Updating the firmware did help a bit, though I still get some problems in Ableton Live when I’m playing too many tracks at once. I’m thinking this may be only an Ableton problem though – I’ve started using Traktor 3 and so far I’ve had zero problems with the sound no matter what I throw at it! This makes me happy.

January 9, 2009 Posted by | dj, Reviews | , , , , , | 22 Comments

Songbird… Excellent.

Just downloaded Songbird 1.0 and I have to say, I’m impressed.

I’ve been using the beta version of the program for the last several months after deleting  iTunes due to some weird Flash-video-crippling  bug (* has anyone else experienced this? a bug that causes any streaming video in firefox to stop after 2 seconds of playtime?). iTunes was nice, but only because the alternatives offered nothing remotely better. And my iPod Nano died after a year of using it so I was no longer locked down to Apple’s ubiquitous DRM infested media player. I was playing the field again, and after getting sick of constantly misplacing the 10 windows Winamps opens on my screen I went with Songbird – despite the fact that it was in its beta 0.8 version.

And it did suck sometimes. Veeery slow – it would practically crash every time I typed something in the search box, and I’m running  stripped-down Windows XP on a dual core with 3CB ram. Not encouraging. But I saw potential in it – the integrated web features and open source nature – and freedom from iTunes – and I stuck with it.

It was worth it. Because a few days ago they released 1.0 and I’m very happy. Its like an entirely new program, like I was using a crippled demo version until now. Whys it so nice?

- WAY faster than iTunes (and no firefox bugs) – integrated browser- integrates with streaming music sites seamlessly – tabs – instantly recognized my Sansa Clip (and will also recognize my iPod if I’m ever crazy enough to buy one of those overpriced bricks again) – open source and extensible

So basically, everything i liked about iTunes plus tons more stuff and none of the crap. Excellent. I’m listening to Cut Copy and smiling.

Thank you to the brave and generous programmers that made this great program possible.

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Reviews | , , | 2 Comments

Exporting Reason Drums to Ableton Live

A while back I downloaded a drum kit called the Tape808 from Goldbaby. It was really an exxcellent purchase – I got all those awesome authentic high quality 808 sounds I’ve been needing to beef up my productions (and for only $20!!!). The only thing was, for some reason i decided to get the drums as Reason Refills. This made it really difficult to use the drums for layering in my other program of choice, Albeton Live. Sure, you can Rewire the two programs, but its not quite the same as actually having the individual WAV hits to play with in Impulse or a Drum Rack.

Thats when I thought of this trick for getting the samples into Live quickly:

-Open the desired drum kit in Reason

-Create a drum pattern which uses every drum hit, one at a time, at evenly spaced intervals of 1/4 measure (or 1/2, just long enough for the tails to die off without running into the next hit).

-Export this loop to a WAV file.

-Open said WAV file as an Ableton Live clip

-Right click on the clip and use the “Slice to MIDI” tool to slice at the same intervals the hits were at.

And there you have it- a drum rack created quickly from the Reason drum kit! Enjoy.

July 16, 2008 Posted by | Beats, Live, Production, Tutorials | 2 Comments

Hercules DJ Console RMX Review

Hercules RMX

Overview:

This is the Hercules DJ Console RMX. Its a MIDI control surface for DJ’s with a built in 4×4 USB audio interface, and so far, it rocks.

Background:

I’ve been a bedroom producer / DJ for going on 5 years. My tool of choice is Ableton Live, but for a while now I’ve realized that my DJ skills were being severely limited by the lack of a proper DJing sound-card. I’ve been using the M-Audio Firewire Solo, which has been a great piece of equipment for me, but lacks the two separate stereo outputs required for cueing DJ mixes. I’ve played a couple of parties with my setup, but inevitably screw up a few times as I was basically “playing blind” (or rather, deaf) by not being able to listen to my tracks before I played them for the crowd. That needed to change.

I started looking for 4×4 USB soundcards, and soon realized that their were a couple of sound-cards with built-in MIDI controllers specific to DJing. I’ve been using an M-Audio Axiom 49 to control things so far, which is another great piece of equipment, but its not exactly tailored to be the ideal DJ setup. Initially I was looking at the Hercules MKII, but was turned off by its cheap build quality and cramped space. I also came really close to purchasing the Behringer BCD-3000; luckily before I bought it at Guitar Center the guy let me take it out of the box to get a feel for it. In doing so I found that all of the controls felt pretty chintzy, and one of the jog wheels was even sticky in a spot and wouldn’t turn smoothly! I’m so glad I turned this down, as compared to the RMX, the Behringer is a POS.

After many more hours of online research, I found that Hercules had a new product coming out, the DJ Console RMX, which promised “pro” quality and build. It just came out last month, so there was a dearth of reviews (besides this Dutch review that I can barely understand even with Google translator). Normally I’m a very cautious consumer, and read every review possible before shelling cash. This time though there were none available, but despite this I decided to take the plunge anyway. Someone has to be the first reviewer, right?

Continue reading

May 23, 2008 Posted by | Beats, dj, Hip-Hop, Live, Production, Rap/Hip-Hop, Reviews, Techno | , , , , , , , , , | 89 Comments

Worst Lyrics Ever

Is it just me or are pop lyrics getting progressively dumber and weirder? I just started hearing Mariah Carrey’s new single on the radio (Touch My Body), and I still can’t believe how retarded the chorus is:

“If there’s a camera up in here
Then I’d best not catch this flick
On YouTube (YouTube)
‘Cause if you run your mouth and brag
About this secret rendezvous
I will hunt you down
‘Cause baby I’m up in my bidness
Like a Wendy interview
But this is private
Between you and I”

Continue reading

March 18, 2008 Posted by | Hip-Hop, humour, Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

The EASIEST Way to Warp (most) Songs in Ableton Live 7

1) Open clip (make sure “auto-warp” isn’t set in preferences)

2) Drag clip’s start arrow to very start of first downbeat

3) Right click on that arrow -> Warp From Here (straight)

You’re Welcome,

DJ Oscillator

February 27, 2008 Posted by | Beats, Hip-Hop, Live, Production, Rap/Hip-Hop, Techno, Tutorials | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why so glum?

Here’s an excerpt from an article I found that really struck a chord with me:

“Modern day Americans are often trapped in lousy, disappointing, soul crushing careers. If they are not divorced already, their marriages are on the rocks. They live far outside of their means, rack up thousands of dollars of debt, and then they work overtime to pay for the toys they never have time to play with. They dedicate their lives to pleasing ungrateful children who won’t amount to much more than they did. Hours of their downtime is spent in front of the television, switching from reality show to reality show, because it is easier to watch other people live life than it is to live their own. In a rare moment of creativity, they might write a secret out on a postcard and send it to a website because they don’t have a single person in real life that they trust enough to share their fears with. They feel all of this on top of the usual human maladies of sickness, death and grief.

To be perfectly honest, I would think it was weirder if most people didn’t entertain thoughts of suicide.

The majority of people aren’t sad because there is something wrong with their brain. They are sad because their lives suck. But rather than admit that to themselves, they run to the Doctor and beg for a diagnosis that alleviates their personal responsibility in this regard. After all, if a man in a white coat tells you’re broken, you never have to worry about fixing yourself. The sad reality is that they’ll spend the rest of their lives switching medications and wondering why nothing they take works and cures their disease. Never once do they consider that the disease is their life and true healing will come once attempts are made to repair it.

If you are sad right now, I want you to consider that perhaps there is nothing wrong with you. Perhaps you are seeing things the way they ought to be seen. Maybe there is just something wrong with the world right now? Instead of popping some pills in the hopes that they will put us on a perpetual even keel, maybe instead we should figure out what is wrong with our society…and fix it.”

Full article at Violent Acres

April 28, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Recipe: Scrambled Salsa

I’m a broke college student, and often find myself scrounging through the kitchen for my last bits of food at 4am. tonight i came up with something that was surprisingly tasty, all with random bits of my roomate’s food! heres the recipe:

Scrambled Salsa (serves 1, time: 10min)

Continue reading

April 18, 2007 Posted by | alcohol, college, food | Leave a comment

Filmtrust: Trust Based Film Recomendation Social Network

Right now I’m taking CMSC498N: Small Worlds, Social Networks, and Web Algorithms at UMD. In the class we basically study the structure and growth of various social networks, and what kind of information we can extract from them. Anyway, my professor Jennifer Golbeck is a PHD on the subject (shes hot too, a rarity in the CS department), and created this social networking website:

Filmtrust

The basic idea is that in traditional movie rating sites such as IMDB the rating of a movie is given as an average of every person that rates it. You might think this is a perfectly logical way of going about things, which it is, but what if the site could give you a rating personalized based on your specific tastes? Thats what this website does, based on trust relationships between you and your friends. This is basically how it works:

You rate a bunch of movies, and have a bunch of friends on the network that rate movies too.

To each friend you assign a “trust” value from 1 to 10 based on how much you trust their taste in movies.

When you look for the rating of a movie you haven’t seen, the site will give you a weighted average of the rating of the movie based on your friend’s ratings and how much you trust their opinion. So if 3 of your friends gave “Old School” 4 stars but you only trust them on a 2 level, and you have one friend who you trust a lot who gave it 0 stars, the rating will be very low. In addition, if you trust a friend, and they trust another person you don’t know, that persons rating will also be calculated into the average.

So as you can see, its a pretty accurate way of finding movies you are likely to like. The networks not very big yet, but if it caught on I think it could be a pretty awesome thing. Best of all, its for a research project and non-profit, so no annoying popups or ads of any kind! Anyway, you should join, so I have more friends on it. My username is mrmartini888, so add me. Heres the site again, in case you missed it:

Filmtrust

April 5, 2007 Posted by | Movies, Programming, social networks | Leave a comment

Amazing Beer Tricks

for some reason my friend Greg became obsessed recently with popping the bottom out of a beer bottle by hitting the mouth of it with your hand while it had water in it. he said he’d seen someone do it online. after all trying it for like a half hour we all thought it was impossible, but then Joey was finally able to break it. after seeing that, we all were eventually able to do it (except for Greg, ironically). it’ll be a fun party trick to use at some point, as long as the host doesnt care about shattered glass all over their living room. it got me thinking though, theres gotta be a ton of crazy beer tricks you can do, and they’re probably all chronicled on youTube. so, heres what I found:

(oh, and uh try these at your own peril)

Continue reading

April 3, 2007 Posted by | alcohol, humour, Movies, Videos | 2 Comments

Bad Batman, Bad!

Okay, I’m going to deviate from my usual posts to go off on a little rant- after all, thats what a man should be able to do on his own blog right?

I just got back to CP and was flipping through the ga-zillion comcast channels we get here to find a movie I vaguely remember from my childhood; Batman Forever. For some reason I had the damaged recollection that this was actually an enjoyable and creatively done movie, so turned it on for a watch,

Damn, that movie is fucked.

Between Jim Carrey prancing around in a sequined catsuit jabbering like a meth-fiend transexual alien and Val Kilmer spouting endless monotone one dimensional crap dialogue, I was ready to kill whoever had sullied Batman’s good name. You see, I actually like Batman as a superhero, especially in the comics. Those comics were dark twisted murder mysterys and Batman himself was just as fucked up and brutal as any of his enemies. That was art.

And this movie was the complete opposite, an almost-knowingly mocking caricature of a once great icon with the lighting, production, and acting skills of a high school musical. It seems like the first four Batman movies got progressively bigger budgets and flashier actors and progressively worse screenplay, directing, and acting. Why is this? Ah, the classic Hollywood crap-generating machine I suppose, we all know about that.

Batman Begins was pretty sick though.

So stay away from it, or if you like watching the shitiest of movies sometimes like I do then go for it. In conclusion, I present my favorite quote of the movie:

“Joygasm!”

-Jim Carrey, Batman Forever

January 29, 2007 Posted by | humour, Movies, Videos | Leave a comment

Beatbox Cooking

This guy, Beardy Man, is frickin amazing. I bet you can’t box a beat better than Beardy!

January 22, 2007 Posted by | Beats, Hip-Hop, humour, Rap/Hip-Hop, Videos | Leave a comment

Immortal Technique

The sickest lyricist ever. You have to check out these videos. He spits the truth

December 9, 2006 Posted by | Beats, Hip-Hop, politics, Production, Videos | Leave a comment

How to Freestyle

Just found this interesting “how-to” article- how to win a freestyle battle. Personally, I’m not so good at making up shit on the spot, but maybe if I practice…

 How to Win a Freestyle Battle

Here’s one of my gems:

Run for cover muthaf*ker, less you lookin’ for strife

I pop two in your gut, then bust a nut on your wife!

Beat that!

November 16, 2006 Posted by | Hip-Hop, Rap/Hip-Hop, Tutorials | Leave a comment

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