Sunday, October 25, 2015


Still on hiatus! Life has been consumed one way or another by work, which is no bad thing as even songwriters have to eat!

3D and video editing (self-employed) is my "day job" and I did invest in more computers for rendering, but work has grown faster than the network, and that still sees this computer tied up in renders more often than not - and of course, this is where I do my writing and recording.

So just the other day, I invested in what must be about the cheapest laptop ever, the HP Stream. Tiny solid state hard drive, tiny memory, but nippy enough processor wise (all my other laptops were ageing, and so were slow, with a battery life measurable in minutes rather than hours.)

I upgraded it to Windows 10, installed Cubase 8 Pro stripped down (no big sample libraries and the like), found an old USB hub, and presto, I can record even when the main PC is tied up!

Had to track down some light and simple drum software, and ended up going with Divine Drums.

With that and the Cubase drum editor, I can lay down some very simple beats in order to write to.

For the guitar, just using the inbuilt amp sims that come with Cubase. None of this is about getting finished quality tracks, just so I can write, get structures laid out, chord progressions found, guitar soloes practiced, bass parts figured out, etc.

Since it is Cubase, with a quick move of the licensing dongle thingy, I can just move the exact same project from machine to machine, and pick up where I left off. And old 500 Gb external hard drive will do the trick there. An ideal set up!

Well, almost ideal except for moving my Audiobox USB back and forth between two computers - not the end of the world, but a little inconvenient, especially when I want the main computer to ding when renders are done, or work if a Skype call comes in!

To resolve that, have purchased and am awaiting delivery of the Lexicon Alpha, so that the HP Stream has its own dedicated audio interface.

Now if the mood takes, I can set to writing and recording with just the move of a dongle.

And all of that (well, except the purchase of Cubase itself) for less than the cost of a 4 track tape recorder back in the day! Any of these images will take you to the relevant product page, if you want to know more or get one yourself.

Now the only issue that remains to be solved is having the brain power left over at the end of the day to get creative - and technology isn't going to help there heh!