I received, in the mail from Amazon.com, a ridiculously cheap and simple USB MIDI interface cable. figuring I had little to lose if it didn't work. Well, it does. In fact, it's completely plug-and-play, even on my Mac, which is saying something in this Windows-oriented world. (Don't think so? Heck even the auto-correct on my iPhone wants to capitalize windows when I'm just trying to write a note to myself about washing those glass-paned things in my house.)
In fact, getting my Mac to recognize and use the interface took far less time than learning how to configure MIDI in my DAW, Reaper (I also use GarageBand for simple loop-based editing, about which more in a minute). It's not that the configuration doesn't make sense (though, having upgraded recently, I've had to deal with some changes); there are just a lot of options.
Cabling is turning out to be an interesting issue, because I have a lot of older gear and it's pretty spread out in my attic studio; something tells me that I will be spending a fair bit of time swapping cables and plugging in mating connectors to get sound and MIDI to and from my keyboards. But I'll make it work.
And once I have it all figured out, or maybe before I have it all figured out, I'll start re-recording one of my songs with the goal of releasing it for sale. Scary, huh?
First up is Disconnected, because I already have a good idea of how I want that arrangement to go, and because a lot of what I've already done forms a pretty solid foundation for what I hope to end up with. In case you haven't heard it, here's the current version of Disconnected:
I think it's got a lot going for it. It needs a different vocal, and some variation, and tracks that sound more human and not completely computer-based. Not that synthesized music is bad, but this song, it seems to me, needs something with a little more of that personal touch (unlike the robot's portions of Perfect Little Robot, which cry out to be soulless, if such a thing is possible.)
This was recorded in GarageBand, but I think I may be bringing it over to the more powerful Reaper for the final recording. I like GarageBand's note editor, and the selection of loops, and the ease of doing loop-based editing, but for the final product, I need to extra control that I get with a full-Fledged DAW.
Not that I'll abandon GarageBand altogether for final recordings. I will probably use it when I rerecord Perfect Little Robot, because I like the robot voice I created for that using GarageBand, and I'm not sure how to get the same effect in Reaper.
Am I up to this task? I have no idea. I've never done anything like this before. But I'm a pretty fast learner, and I'm excited about the challenge. You'll hear a sample of the result if I manage it, though to hear the whole song you'll have to pony up a few pennies. It's time for the songs to pay the piper.
Meanwhile, I think a new song or two will be on the way before I manage to put Disconnected in the can. Stay with me; I'm getting back in the swing.