Winsome, lose some
March 10, 2011 Leave a comment
So the band has been working on laying down basic tracks for our album, and our setup up until recently was a 1st-generation Macbook pro (Core Duo) with an Alesis io26 Firewire interface, using GarageBand (!) and it met our needs pretty well – although the speed of the processor doing things like saving or initializing left something to be desired.
Well, that laptop finally died – it was having a rough time of it (water spill), and then after being left plugged into the firewire long enough, the battery just wouldn’t hold a charge anymore, and then it got to the point that enabling phantom power for the condenser mics was just too much for the thing, and it would crash spectacularly.
So I started using Sarah’s laptop – a more recent generation MBP (i5), and we were noticing a strange bit of static in the playback – I thought that this was merely an artifact of a crummy headphone cable. It turns out that I had forgotten that years ago when I had first gotten the Alesis, that installation takes a little doing: you have to install drivers from the Alesis site or a CD, and also install a hardware device monitor (basically a soft-control for the whole system), and you’re supposed to do this before activating it at all. I hadn’t done this for Sarah’s laptop, so it was using the embedded driver via the Firewire cable (labeling it “Alesis 1394” which should have been a clue: nothing Mac-like uses the “1394” nomenclature).
At least I’ve now figured this out, so we have only lost two recording sessions, and can hopefully make those up relatively easily. It’s too bad: the take of Don’s song Wanna was really excellent, but the static is quite unpleasant, and I don’t think it’s fixable.
In any case, I had gotten a Mac Mini for just this purpose, only to find out that the monitor I was planning to use had an ADC connector rather than something that anyone actually uses. The ADC DVI converter was discontinued by Apple last October, and is now ridiculously priced, so a cheap monitor is in my very near future.