• The impermanence of the web is a weakness. I have a journal entry from 19 years ago with 8 hyperlinks in it, many to major news outlets and publishers. Every link is broken resulting in some kind of 404-ish error. Archivists were right to mistrust this thing.

  • Installing Python on New Mac

    As per this great video (on maintaining local python environments using pyenv), the Python that comes built into the Mac is for the Mac to use, not for programmers to use!

    Moreover, sudo should be unnecessary when working with installing modules, etc. for python. This magic is achievable by doing the following:

    • Install Homebrew (this is the only step that requires sudo)
    • Use brew to install pyenv
    • Use pyenv to install the version(s) of python you want
    • Install pip to install any necessary python modules.

    Install Homebrew

    curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install.sh)"

    The install will prompt a couple of PATH modifications you need to make

    Install pyenv and python and make necessary PATH modifications for your shell.

    brew install pyenv
    pyenv install 3.12.0
    pyenv global 3.12.0

    install pip

    curl https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py -o get-pip.py
    python3 get-pip.py

    That should be good to go. You can type ‘pyenv versions’ to sanity check your work.

  • Albert Music Hall

    Played to a capacity crowd with Vinny and Mike last night. (great photo by Bob Yellen)

    Posted a couple of videos up on Facebook but will try to get them on YouTube, too.

    May be an image of 3 people, violin, guitar, accordion, clarinet and trumpet

  • Jazz & Chinese Food

    New to us, Shanghai Jazz in Madison, NJ. Crazy. I could not believe how good the Helio Alves piano trio was. Totally blown away.

    You definitely need a reservation for this place and get there a few mins before to get a good table. But highly recommend. For a Chinese restaurant with a jazz band I expected at least one half of the equation to be meh but the food was great and the band was exceptional. All the work on chord substitutions I’ve been doing made me so deeply appreciate the complexity of jazz piano compared to jazz guitar. Improvising with two hands on piano is some next level playing.

  • Fixing one channel audio in iPad videos

    When making quickie recording videos with my iPad and audio interface, I’m just using the built in iPad camera for the video. It picks up my mic via the usb interface but only records to the left channel (presumably if I added a 2nd mic to my 2 channel interface I’d get left/right but 2 mics are overkill for recording practice videos.).

    Still. listening to audio out of just the left channel makes me crazy. So, open up the resulting iPad video in Handbrake, go to audio tab and select mono. It will convert the left channel only to a mono signal that comes out of both speakers. Sounds much nicer and only takes a few seconds to do.

  • It’s 1:18PM and I’m just now finally able to open my Morning Checklist. Eeeesh. It’s days like this that make Cal Newport’s vision of what “knowledge work” is like sound like a fairy tale.

  • I’ve been trying to achieve an easy way to POSSE from my phone with a nice interface, good editor, handles photos, etc. Neither iOS shortcuts nor the WordPress app are especially satisfying to use. Beluga looks interesting. Thanks @matthiasott

  • On Mic Preamps

    I recently rewired my home studio and added the capacity to include some outboard gear in the process. Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing some recordings to work out the kinks and get set up to record a new batch of originals that I’ve been working on. As is inevitable once my recording setup reaches a good spot, I stumble across some article or YouTube video where I see some new piece of gear and the GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) immediately kicks in.

    This time around it was mic preamps. Particularly the Avalon VT-737. There’s no way I’d spend that kind of money, but once you start thinking about gear like that it’s amazing how quickly you can convince yourself you need something almost as good or at least better than what you’ve got.

    This lead me to a deep dive on mic preamps, doing some listening comparisons of recordings as part of reviews folks have done online and, more relevant, comparing the pre-amps my Audient (which has the same pre-amps that Audient uses in their consoles) vs the pre-amp in my Behringer ADA8200, which are, well, utilitarian to say the least.

    Audient’s console. My ID 22 has the same preamp (and same great-feeling volume knob)

    So here’s where I landed:

    If the priority is “clean” amplification and you don’t need tons of gain (meaning, you’re not trying to capture the sound of a butterfly flapping its wings) you can get away with some pretty pedestrian gear. Meaning, while there was a subtle difference between my Audient and Behringer as far as clean gain goes, it was really only noticeable when I needed a lot of gain from the preamp. If I was sending in a pretty good, loud signal (e.g. mic’ing an amplifier), I think I’d be kidding myself if I thought I could hear a difference between the Audient and the Behringer.

    Sound on Sound did a pretty good analysis of a ton of mic preamps and compared the resulting wav files and then did anonymous testing and the reviewers couldn’t hear a difference between mic pre amps of various price points, either. That said, they were recording a keyboard, not a human voice. They did so to get a consistent signal for the testing, but I imagine had they recorded something like a human voice or a cello or fiddle there would likely be some minor subjective differences between the mic pre amps when sending a clean signal—but minor and subject are the key points here.

    As I started digging into the reviews and working with my own gear, I realized something really important: while many preamps are very similar (regardless of tech or price point) when they’re generating a clean or distortion free signal, they are HUGELY difference in how they sound when they are overdriven. Meaning, if I nudged the Behringer pre’s just a smidge above their comfort level with my WA-87 microphone it turned my voice into this buzzy garbage. Clearly distorted and overdriven. The Audient is a totally different story. Somewhere between clean and overdriven with the Audient pre amp is this really amazing spot where the sound just sounds bigger or more saturated without the annoying buzz. I couldn’t find that sweet spot anywhere with the Behinger.

    I imagine with a tube pre amp, that sweet spot is not only wider but capable of more varying degrees of saturation given the forgiveness of tubes. (As an aside: I remember back in the day I had a CD player that had a tube preamp built into its signal chain. I now realize that the tube in the preamp was useless unless it was being overdriven just a smidge and given how much the audiophile magazines like numbers when it comes to CD players, especially clean/non-distortion numbers, that the tube was probably not being leveraged enough or even at all! Would have been a great hack to see how it sounded with a smidge hotter signal.)

    So, a sweet solid state pre-amp or a really nice tube preamp, is only doing its do its best work if it is being nudged a bit beyond its comfort zone. Any preamp can get good and clean, or at least a lot of cheap preamps can, but what makes a good preamp is its ability to give you a great sound when you push it a little out of its comfort zone.

    I remember doing a long string of vocal recordings in my home studio and then putting on Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger and just having my jaw drop at the way his vocals sound on that record. Willie, of course, has probably my favorite voice of any singer, ever. But that said, now that I listen to that recording with this knowledge in mind, I would bet that some of that saturation is coming from the super subtle distortion being introduced into the chain by a tube pre-amp.

    This is all to say, now that I’ve stopped worrying about meters and lights with my Audient preamp and started using my ears instead, I wish I could go back and record everything I’ve every recorded. Or at least every vocal. Live and learn.

  • Prompt: Write me a powershell script to run on a MICROSOFT Windows device that returns the enabled TLS versions.
    ChatGPT: (copy script, run): You’re running v. 1.2 (true!)
    MICROSOFT’S CoPilot (copy script/run): You don’t have any TLS (false!)
    Copilot, why you so dumb?

  • Dreary gray winter day, I’m looking out my window at the melting remains of last week’s snow. Need to turn around the energy for the afternoon’s projects, time to pull in the heavyweights: Gilberto Gil and Jorge Ben. https://album.link/i/1600510419

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Reading Notes

  • Unable, then, to see the world because I have forgotten the way of being in the world that enables vision in the deepest sense, I […]
  • Suppose Bob writes an email to Sue, who has no existing business relationship with Bob, asking her to draw a picture of a polar bear […]
  • The large majority of the world’s decaffeination still happens through chemical-based processes that use things like methylene chloride or ethyl acetate. I don’t know what […]
  • All the forces at play within us and without seem to be centrifugal forces, pulling us apart. I remain interested in understanding the nature of […]
  • FWIW, my Emacs of the moment is emacs-plus@29 installed by Homebrew: brew install emacs-plus@29 –with-mailutils –with-xwidgets \ –with-imagemagick –with-native-comp Source: Browsing in Emacs – Volume […]

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