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I’ve been busy lately re-doing my “studio” (aka office). First thing was to get a new desk (out with the Jerker, in with the Galant). After that it was an Eina night stand and a Galant drawer unit. The most recent thing has been building my own acoustic panels to deaden the sound in here a bit for better mixing and recording:


I had researched acoustic panels a bunch and there was a ton of conflicting information out there. It wasn’t until I found this great how-to that it seemed approachable. The big issue for me was that the rigid fiberglass Americans use is Owens Corning 703 or 705 and figuring out what the equivalent was up here in Canada was difficult. (Turns out it’s OFI 48).

After locating the right rigid fiberglass, I found some black muslin fabric and cut up some plywood I had laying around. I’ve made two panels so far – the second one is far uglier than the first because I am not skilled, but both of them provide a startling amount of sound dampening. I’ve been making non-sound nerds speak against my regular wall and then into the panels and they’ve been shocked at the difference even if they don’t care about acoustics.

I’m going to build a few bass traps for behind my monitors and then a few free-standing panels I can move around and use for whatever and then I should be good for a while.

Posted on - August 17, 2009 [at] 1:14 pm by Brad
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I just uploaded v0.20 of the Brad Sucks Digital Download Store. Some small changes and one big one. It now supports Amazon’s Flexible Payments Service:


Of course I can’t actually offer it on my website as Amazon doesn’t offer the service in Canada. So that’s pretty weak. But for all you Americans: go nuts.

Update: I’ve pushed out v0.22 of the BSDDS, fixing a batch of bugs.

Posted on - February 23, 2009 [at] 1:36 pm by Brad
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A while back I thought it would be cool to install one of those LED belt buckles in my guitar. And now my dream has finally become reality:

It was easier to do than I thought. Take one slightly abused guitar:


Take one LED belt buckle:

Flip the LED belt buckle over and there’s a piece jutting out that’s supposed to go into your belt:

Drill a hole in your guitar (not too big or the buckle will flop around):

Push the belt buckle into the hole.


It’s pretty sturdy but I’ll probably tie it to my guitar strap hook to make sure it stays attached to the guitar if it falls out. Also I may install a switch so I don’t have to pull it out to turn it on and off.

Posted on - February 12, 2007 [at] 4:53 pm by Brad
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There were some great replies to my CDM question about configuring a laptop for live performance. The best stuff:

  • Autoruns – I hadn’t heard of this program but I’ll certainly be using it from now on. You can monitor and alter your loaded drivers, DLLs, services, startup programs and much much more. Great stuff.
  • – This site has a lot of great tuning techniques for audio.
  • XPLite – I mentioned this in my question along with nLite but one person recommended XPLite.
  • Process Explorer – I’ve been using Process Explorer for at least a year now and it’s fantastic, I can’t go back to the default Windows XP task manager.
  • Process Monitor – I haven’t tried this one but it looks useful.

And there’s this awesome tip from art:

Ableton Live custom windows interface

When I use Live in a live environment, I run it as a ‘Custom user interface’ or ’shell’ in Windows XP Professional. Basically what this is if you aren’t familiar with it, is replacing Explorer with Live as a shell. This means there is no desktop environment, no taskbar, no start menu, no applets running, etc.

There are many advantages to this when using Live – improved stability, free memory, improved performance, etc. The disadvantage is you lose a practical way to multi-task. (But who needs multi-tasking when you only need to run Live live?)

To accomplish this in Windows XP Pro, type ‘gpedit.msc’ in the run command. This brings up the ‘Group Policy Editor’. Under ‘User Configuration’ / ‘Administrative Templates’ / ‘System’, there is a setting called ‘Custom user interface’. By default this setting is ‘Not Configured’ (meaning Explorer).

If you select ‘Enabled’ and type in the path to Live (or any application), Windows will boot into Live upon startup without anything else running.

You must include parenthesis if the path to Live contains spaces – ex. “C:\Program Files\Ableton\Live x.xx\Program\Live x.xx.exe”.

Restart computer!

If you do the above & wish to change the setting back, just hit CTRL+ALT+DEL to bring up the Task Manager, hit New Task (Run), type ‘gpedit.msc’ and change the setting back to ‘Not Configured’. Restart and you’re back to Explorer. If you use a sound device that requires an applet to be running all the time, then I don’t really know what your success will be. I used to use an Emagic EMI USB card that installed itself as a system service and always ran at boot-up. I never had any problems running Live as a shell. If you decide to give it a shot, it won’t mess up your system in any way. If for instance you enable this setting & the path or program is not found upon boot-up, Windows$ will load the default Explorer shell.

Hardcore! This is an awesome tip and the sort of thing I was looking for. I used to use Litestep and some other Explorer shell replacements so I know how bulky just having Explorer running is. And pointless if all you’re doing is running one program.

I do wonder if it’d be better to use that approach but also dual boot to protect against whatever crap is already in your registry, pointless drivers and services, etc.

Thanks to Peter for posting my questions and for the readers for dropping knowledge like bombs

Posted on - February 9, 2007 [at] 12:14 pm by Brad
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I think I may be able to declare success in the singer/songwriter versus Ableton Live and the Behringer FCB1010 Midi pedal board. It took a lot of thinkin’. I can’t say this is the best way, but I’ve got it working and boy will it be boring for you to read about!

So here’s what I wanted:

  1. My songs divided up into scenes (verse, chorus, etc) and for Live to automatically advance through them with no input from me.
  2. A pedal that repeats the current scene (for those extended solos or when I screw stuff up).
  3. A pedal that plays the previous scene.
  4. A pedal that advances to the next scene.
  5. For Live to control my Boss GT-6 guitar effects throughout the arrangement.
  6. For Live to automatically apply effects to my voice throughout the arrangement.

Here’s the screenshot of my live Dirtbag set in Live for those who want to follow along at home:


Posted on - January 30, 2007 [at] 11:15 pm by Brad
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Acoustic Guitar Pickup – how to convert your acoustic guitar to an acoustic/electric. I really want to do this but fear that I’ll destroy my guitar.

Posted on - March 13, 2006 [at] 3:58 pm by Brad
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