March 2011

Current favourite instrument: French Horn
Currently listening to: Florentiner March by Fucik

It’s about time I updated this blog. According to some research I’ve done, my website here has a much better chance of getting to the top of Google’s page results for my name if it’s updated regularly, which is something I have not been making happen.

I now have a new custom-built desktop PC from the fantastic <a href="http://www.umart.com.au/"Umart Online for music creation with virtual instruments. I got an Intel Sandy Bridge processor, quad core i7 3.4GHz processor, 16GB of 1333MHz RAM, blu-ray combo drive, 128GB SSD with 1TB SATA 7200RPM HDD and an Nvidia GTX560Ti video card for a bit of gaming on the side. To top it off I managed to find a great 27″ LCD monitor at a great price on eBay, so the system is good enough to last me for a long time. A used M-audio Audiophile 2496 sound card was given to me for half the price of a new one by a friend at the conservatorium and it really rocks. I was always frustrated with the latency of virtual instruments on my computers but now they play almost instantly when I press the keys on my electric keyboard. It’s especially useful for Sibelius 6 where there would always be a delay between pressing the key and hearing the sound but by tweaking the settings to go through ASIO on the sound card, I’ll now be able to work much faster with midi input. The advantage of this new setup is that I’ll be able to have a much better work flow for creating film scores than before. The next item on the list is a smaller midi controller with touch pads for percussion and other control settings for controlling VSTs. At the moment my full-size electric keyboard doesn’t fit easily in my space so the small controller would be able to fit possibly between my keyboard and monitor.

The other option for music creation would have been a mac setup however for a less-powerful system I would have to pay more than twice the price. As this PC does everything I need to, I’m very happy with it and I don’t see the need to switch to mac in the near future. Plus it plays Crysis on maxed-out graphics very smoothly so I couldn’t ask for anything more.

In the meantime I am taking the conservatorium subjects of conducting, protools, introduction to music research, aural studies, theory and composition. With a workload of 10 credit points more than the essential 40, I will be able to focus more on composition later when I don’t have to worry about one more subject.

Composition has become a little harder after the first year where I didn’t do quite as well as I would have liked to; I put in a lot of effort but not necessarily in the right direction. I hope this semester to venture into areas in composition where I could be much better. Look out for my trio for harp, flute and viola.

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