Lets create today RAVE variation on Russian song “Spruce Tree Song” in DAWREAPER, using FM synthesis and tracks automation. FM synthesis is a way of sounds generation, in which frequency of source wave is modulated ( continuously changed with periods ) with other wave, in FM synthesizers a couple of oscillators is usually built in, part of which generate base waves and others generate modulation waves. We will use for this free hybrid VST synthesizer Xenobioz Funxion, it has lots of different parameters and nice-looking interface; there are lots of other hybrid synthesizers, paid ones, as well as free ones, from them I also like Kruud of the same Xenobioz and Angular Momentum Freehand. All of them can be found in Internet with search engines on KVR Audio site or on authors’ sites. Also, we will use tracks automation : it allows to control parameters of tracks ( volume, stereo panning and other parameters ) and parameters of synthesizers and effects, that are applied to tracks and define curves for their automatic changes. Via this link there is ability to download : completed composition in FLAC format and archive with project file and drums sounds.
For melody and basses I used completed MIDI file, which I found in Internet, do not remember on which site I took it, but thank you goes to the author :-) ; disabled automatic preset choosing for tracks and added FM synthesizer Funxion with slightly modified Exotic Flute preset for melody and Pentagon for basses. Added drums sounds in tact with melody, periodically using syncopation ( in simple words : this is when drums rhythm is different from what human anticipates to hear, for example, human anticipates to hear “thump” – “thump” – “thump”, but receives “thump” – “…” – “thump”, this attracts attention and stimulates human to listen for composition with higher interest; but this should not be overused, because, if everywhere will be syncopation, then there will be no rhythm anticipation and there will be no syncopation at all ). Then added simple tracks automation for melody and basses, with smooth volume increase in the beginning and smooth decrease at the end.
This is all for today, if you have any questions, then ask them in comments to article, I’ll try to answer on them as soon, as I’ll have free time for this. Next time I’ll imagine something more and will create variation of other composition for experience gaining and skills development, stay tuned!
Among hadrosauriddinosaurs, living on Earth in Mesozoic era, were Parasaurolophus – large herbivore animals 9.5 m in length and with 2.5 tons mass, which lived in areas, which currently form North America, in late Cretaceous period 76.5 – 66 millions of years ago. Their name means “before” or “near” “saurolophus” – another hadrosaurid dinosaur, and tells about their close relationship. Their notable feature is the crest, growing from the back of the head and reaching 90 cm in length; it was used for many purposes : loud sounds generation ( in support of this its hollowness speak, as well as adult’s animals brain orientation on hearing of high-pitch sounds, which their juveniles with smaller crests were producing ), thermoregulation ( crest was full of blood vessels and helped to warm up on Sun and cool in the shadow ) and gender and species identification. Parasaurolophus were able to move on 4 and 2 legs, probably, they ate grass on 4 legs and ran on 2 of them. They had large and strong bones, which helped them to carry large body mass and stay on 2 legs to reach high trees’ branches with large and juicy leafs.
Jaws of Parasaurolophus resembled beak of a duck; in a mouth they had lots of teeth, oriented for plants chewing and constantly replacing each other, as they wear off; between jaws there was semblance of checks, which helped to keep food in the mouth. Dinosaurs’ skin had scales of middle size without large formations; no complete skeletons of Parasaurolophus were found, only partially preserved on territory of USA, Canada and Mexico. Among their natural enemies there were large carnivore dinosaurs of that time, from which they protected themselves by living in large herds, signaling each other in case of danger and by fast running. First bones of this dinosaurs species were found in 1920 in Alberta, Canada, by scientists group from Toronto University; species was first described by William Parks in 1922.
Company JVC at the beginning of year released whole line of new headphones, among them there are JVC HA-SR50X – over ears headphones with 40 mm membranes, microphone and ability to reproduce sounds in 8 Hz – 23 kHz frequencies range. Membranes are moved by neodymium magnets; sensitivity of headphones is 107 dB/mW, impedance 16 Ohms and maximal power input 1000 mW. To both cups 1.2 m cable is connected with 1/8″ mini jack gold-plated connector, compatible with Apple iPhone, and volume control module with built-in microphone and smartphones control buttons; cable mount is additionally reinforced for increased durability. Package contains : JVC HA-SR50X headphones themselves, warranty card and user’s guide. Their price is around 40 USD, which is adequate to their functions ( some manufacturers would ask 5 – 10 times more for similar devices ); however there is need to note, that similar headphones can be bought for smaller sum and for approximately the same price 50 mm headphones can be bought.
One of the novelties among Android 5.0 smartphones is ZTE Blade GF3 – device with 4-cores processor Spreadtrum 7731G, working on 1.2 GHz frequency, 8 MP camera and 70 – 80 USD price. In device following are also built-in : 4.5″ multitouch LCD screen with 480 x 854 pixels resolution, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of on-board memory with ability to extend via flash cards with 32 GB max capacity ( larger cards are, probably, also supported ) and 2 Micro SIM cards slots. Smartphone can work in 2G ( GSM 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 ) and 3G networks, without support of 4G LTE; it has only GPS satellite navigation and proximity, acceleration and lighting sensors.
In ZTE Blade GF3 two relatively good for mobile devices cameras are placed : 8 MP main one with autofocusing and flash and 2 MP frontal one; smartphone supports wireless Wi-Fi ( 802.11b/g/n ) and Bluetooth 2.1 ( +EDR ) connections for remote data transfers without support of NFC. On its external panels following can be found : Micro USB port for connection to computer and battery charging, 1/8″ mini jack headset connector, microphone and speaker and power on and volume control buttons. Battery charge is 1850 mAh, which is not much for smartphones; device’s body is made from plastic; its sizes are 133.9 ( height ) x 67.5 ( width ) x 9.4 ( depth ) mm and mass is 155 g.
Package contains : ZTE Blade GF3 smartphone itself, USB cable, recharger, headset, warranty card and user’s guide. Smartphone is good : with powerful system, 8 MP camera and adequate price for its functions; manufacturer does not tell which matrix is used for screen, but, judging by angles of view on screenshots, this is not TN, maybe, it is IPS or OLED; so, before purchase there is need to look on angles of view and colors reproduction quality. Also, there is need to say, that for approximately the same price there is ability to buy Windows or Android smartphoes, in which for sure IPS screens are used.
Among over ears headphones there is novelty : JVC HA-S520 – headphones with 36 mm membranes and support of 10 Hz – 25 kHz frequencies sounds reproduction. Their sensitivity is 112 dB, impedance is 32 Ohms, maximal input power 500 mW, membranes are moved by neodymium magnets. To both cups 1.2 m cable is connected with 1/8″ mini jack gold-plated connector, compatible with Apple iPhone; headphones are foldable and their mass is 132 g; they are supplied in 3 color variants : black, maroon and white. Package contains : JVC HA-S520 headphones themselves, warranty card and user’s guide. Their price is around 30 USD, which is quite good for such device; however, there is need to note, that similar headphones can be bought for smaller sum and for approximately the same sum there is ability to buy 50 mm headphones of other manufacturers.
Company ASUS recently released new tablet PC Fonepad 7 FE171CG with 2-cores processor Intel Atom Z2520 with Hyper-Threading technology ( it can work as 4 virtual processors, performing different instruction on different modules of cores ), working with frequency up to 1.2 GHz, good ( for tablet PCs ) cameras and OS Android 4.4. In it following are built in : 7″ multitouch TFT IPS screen with 1024 x 600 pixels resolution and 170 PPI density; PowerVR SGX544MP2 graphical core; 1 or 2 GB of RAM ( depending on modification ); 8 or 16 GB of built-in memory with ability to store files on ASUS Webstorage Space remote cloud servers with 5 GB of free space and 11 more for first year of use; there is also ability to use Micro SD flash memory cards with 64 GB max capacity ( 128 GB are, probably, also supported ); and 2 Micro SIM cards slots. Tablet can be used as phone with support of 2G ( GSM 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 ) and 3G networks, without 4G LTE support; it has satellite navigation systems GPS, A-GPS and GLONASS and acceleration and gravity sensor.
ASUS Fonepad 7 FE171CG has 2 good cameras for mobile devices : 8 MP main one with autofocusing and Full HD 1080p video recording support or 5 MP ( depending on modification ) and 2 MP frontal one; device supports wireless Wi-Fi ( 802.11 b/g/n, Miracast and DLNA ) and Bluetooth 4.0 connections for remote data transfers and communications with other devices, without NFC support. On external panels of device following can be found : Micro USB port for connection to computer, Li-pol battery charging and external devices connection via OTG cable; 1/8″ mini-jack headset connector; memory cards slot; microphone and speaker. Battery charge is 15 W-h, it is enough for 11.5 hours of intensive work or 34 hours of speaking; device’s body is made from plastic; its sizes are 110.6 ( height ) x 196 ( width ) x 7.9 ( depth ) mm and mass is 280 g; tablet is supplied in 4 color variants : black, white, gold and red.
Package contains : ASUS Fonepad 7 FE171CG tablet PC itself, USB cable, recharger, warranty card and user’s guide. All in all, tablet is good, with powerful system, good cameras for portable devices, IPS screen, ability to be used as phone and Intel Atom processor, allowing to setup Windows OS on it. Wherein there is need to note, that for smaller sum there is ability to buy 8″ IPS tablets with systems with the same performance, but without advanced cameras.
One of the most professional studio-level USB audio interfaces of Focusrite company is Scarlett 18i20 – device with 18 audio inputs and 20 outputs with support of 96 kHz and 24 bits mode. On its frontal panel following are placed : 2 combined XLR/TRS 1/4″ jack microphone/linear/instrumental Hi-Z inputs; phantom power +48 V switch for inputs 1 – 4 with indicator and the same for inputs 5 – 8; gain control knob, instrumental mode and PAD switches with indicators for inputs 1 and 2; gain control knobs for inputs 3 – 8; screen with outputs’ levels indication and USB signal and locking indicators; volume control knob and Direct Monitor and mute switches with activity indicators; 2 independent TRS 1/4″ jack outputs for monitor headphones with volume controls; and power on switch button with indicator. On back panel there are : line power input ( power from USB or adapter is not enough for interface ); digital coaxial S/PDIF input and output; MIDI input and output; USB 2.0 port; clock signal synchronization port; digital optical ADAT input and output; 10 analogue TRS 1/4″ jack outputs ( 1 and 2 are balanced ); and 6 combined XLR/TRS 1/4″ jack inputs.
To all combined analogue inputs of Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 preamplifiers Focusrite are connected. Device has following characteristics : dynamic range of analogue to digital conversions is 109 dB; digital to analogue 108 dB; microphone inputs ( THD+N 0.001 %, noise level -122 dB ); linear inputs ( THD+N 0.007 %, noise level -105 dB, maximal input signal level +28 dB ); instrumental inputs ( THD+N 0.007 %, noise level -103 dB, maximal input level +8 dB ); analogue linear outputs ( maximal output level +16 dB, THD+N 0.001 % ). Fore device drivers are released for Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 and Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion OSes with support of ASIO 2.0 and Core Audio interfaces, accordingly, through which it works with modern DAWs : FL Studio, Cackewalk Sonar, REAPER, Avid Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Steinberg Cubase and others. Device sizes are : 482 ( width ) x 265 ( depth ) x 45 ( height ) mm and mass is 3.4 kg. Following programs are bundled with device : DAWAbleton Live Lite, mixer Scarlett MixControl, Scarlett Plug-in Suite ( VST/AU/RTAS versions of compressor, reverberation, gating and equalizer ), AU/VST digital version of analogue synthesizer Novation Bass Station and 1 GB of free samples Loopmasters.
Package contains : Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 USB audio interface itself, USB cable, power cable, optical disks with drivers and software, warranty card and user’s guide. Interface is very professional, has large amount of connectors and functions and is designed for use in large studios, for them – it is one of the best devices. For small studios such amount of connectors is not needed and there is ability to buy devices with smaller price and the same level of quality of internal components of Steinberg, Behringer, Focusrite itself, Roland, ESI, M-Audio and other manufacturers production.
Lets move on to Helios 44M-7 photo lens testing – on Micro Four Thirds sensor with crop-factor 2 this is a great optics for making photos of small macro scenes, surfaces, entry-level tele-photo and as long-range portrait lens. It is attached to camera via M42 mount, with adapters it can be used with all cameras, whose working segment is smaller than 45.5 mm or equal to it; problems can be only with mirrored Nikon cameras, which has larger working segment, and to use such lenses with them there is need to perform lens readjusting or make modifications to adapter or optics mount. Helios 44M-7 has following technical specifications : 58 mm focus, f/2 aperture ( this is light strong lens, with f/16 minimal diaphragm ), field of view on full-frame sensor is 40 degrees 28 seconds ( on Micro Four Thirds sensor with crop-factor 2 it is equal to 20 degrees 14 seconds ), 6 lens elements in 4 groups are placed in it, they are covered with protective and anti-reflective multicoating, 6 diaphragm blades without blacking ( they have pushable mechanism of work and lens adapter should have border near thread to push its pin ), minimal focusing distance is 50 cm, there is ability to focus on infinity and resolution according to standards is 50/30 lines/mm ( center/borders ). Its sizes are 59 ( length ) x 62 ( diameter ) mm and mass is 0.27 kg, for screwable optical attachments it has M52x0.75 mount, its body is made from aluminum, there are no electronic components in it and there is need to control focusing and diaphragm by hands; lens is based on Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 2/58, different variants of Helios 44 make it one of the most mass produced lens in the world.
Helios 44M-7 is very sharp and light strong lens, so it is easy to make photos with it even from hands and with not very bright lighting; it has very small depth of field and it is easy to focus on the objects. On MFT sensor with crop-factor 2 it has small field of view, Mir-1V photo lens has larger FOV : 30 degrees, so Helios 44M-7 is suitable for specific kinds of tasks, described in the beginning of article. Photos, made with this lens, can be seen here : test photos of Helios 44M-7 ; test videos with frontal and side lighting without YouTube recompression can be seen here : test video of Helios 44M-7. I made all photos and videos with maximally opened diaphragm, so that all weak sides of optics will be seen.
With fully opened diaphragm of Helios 44M-7 and bright lighting, objects have bloom effect on their borders ( this can be seen on test photos for chromatic aberrations levels determination with trees branches and trunks in front of sky ); from one side, if sharpness is needed, then there is need to partially close diaphragm, from the other side this can be used to create effect of blooming and light around and everywhere. Diaphragm hole form is closer to hexagon, than to circle, but it does its job. Lens works good with frontal lighting and does not loose contrast ( these are advantages of small lens elements amount optics ), light reflections appear only when Sun is in the frame itself under certain angles, there are no reflections, when Sun is out of frame and close to its border, so, lens does not require blend in such situations. There are no positional and magnification chromatic aberrations, this can be seen on test photos; by the way, on test photos with black text on white paper under angle it can be seen how small depth of field of lens in macro mode is, this can be used to stand out object on the background of other objects. Color transmission is natural without saturation decrease and dark areas darkening, as Mir-1V lens does.
On the next week I’ll make photos of test mira for image sharpness with different diaphragm values and geometrical distortions levels figuring out, analyze them and add materials to article; now it can be said, that maximal diaphragm of lens is usable only for specific tasks, its working values are, probably, f/4 – f/8, as Mir-1V lens has. After this I’ll probably acquire Industar-69 lens, with Micro Four Thirds sensor it will have 42 degrees FOV and this will allow to place open scenes in the frame, at least from the distance ( there is need to readjust it or adapter, but more on this next time ). With all this I’ll have lenses for all my current tasks; after some time, maybe I’ll buy some electronic Panasonic lens with autofocusing and optical image stabilization for high quality smooth video recording without shaking and for 50 – 60 degrees field of view, but for the time being for me it is enough of these lenses, will harness work with them and learn to use them.
Update from 16.2.10
On test mira photos it is seen, that with diaphragms f/2 – f/2.8 image is blurry on edges and in center, so they can be used for creation of special effects of lighting and blurring. With f/4 diaphragm center becomes sharp, but edges are still blurry, so it can be used for portrait photos making and for small objects at the center of frame photographing. With f/5.6 diaphragm edges are clearer, but still some blurriness is visible, so it is better to use it as f/4 diaphragm. With f/8 – f/11 values center and edges are sharp and with f/11 there are still no diffraction effects in the frame, so it can be used freely. With f/16 diffraction effects strongly blur image and it is not usable in most cases. So, Helios 44M-7 has f/8 – f/11 working diaphragms; f/4 – f/5.6 are applicable for portrait and small objects in the center photos making; with f/2 – f/2.8 values image is blurry and they can be used for creation of special effects of lighting and image softness; f/16 diaphragm has strong diffraction blurring and it is better to use other values in most cases. So, overall picture of image sharpness is close to Mir-1V lens, but it gives sharp images earlier and has diffraction effects also earlier, and there is need to learn to use this lens, account its specifics, use them for all scenes types and create special effects with them.
Among Android tablet PCs there are devices, working with Intel Atom processor, for example bb-mobile Techno MOZG 7.85, in which 4-cores 64-bits C3230-RK CPU variation, working on 1.3 GHz frequency, and 7.85″ multitouch IPS screen with 1024 х 768 pixels resolution are built-in. Besides these there are : 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of built-in memory with ability to extend via Micro SD flash memory cards with 32 GB max capacity ( larger cards, probably, are also supported ) and 2 SIM cards slots. Tablet can work as phone with 2G ( GSM 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 ) and 3G networks support, without 4G LTE support; in it GLONASS and GPS satellite navigation and gravity and acceleration sensor are built-in.
In bb-mobile Techno MOZG 7.85 two relatively good ( for tablets ) cameras are placed : 5 MP main one and 2 MP frontal one; it supports wireless Wi-Fi ( 802.11b/g/n ) and Bluetooth 4.0 connections for remote data transfers and communications with other devices; without NFC support. On its outer panels following can be found : Micro USB port for connection to computer, Li-ion battery charging and external devices connection via OTG cable; 1/8″ mini-jack headset connector; memory card and SIM cards slots; and microphone and speaker. Device’s body is made from metal ( probably, aluminum ) for increased wear resistance; its sizes are 201.6 ( width ) x 131 ( height ) x 7.5 ( depth ) mm and mass is 318 g; battery is built-in with 3500 mAh charge.
Package contains : bb-mobile Techno MOZG 7.85 tablet PC itself, USB cable, OTG cable, stylus, power adapter, case, headset, clearing cloth, protective film for screen, warranty card and user’s guide. All in all tablet is great : with powerful system, already installed Android 5.1 OS, large IPS screen, satellite navigation systems, ability to be used as phone and metallic body. And the main one : it has Intel Atom processor, this means that there is ability to setup Windows OS on it and receive at the same time Android tablet PC with all these functions and Windows-device with ability to use all functions of this OS, launch of familiar applications and connect external devices in the trips. Wherein its cost is around 100 – 110 USD, in some respect it is adequate to its functions, but there is ability to find similar tablets with smaller price.
One of the most advanced external audio interfaces of Roland comapany is a FA-66, designed for professional studio work via Firewire connection. It can receive signal from other devices with 96 kHz sampling rate and 24 bits per sample precision, wherein internally signal is converted from digital to analogue and vice versa with 192 kHz frequency. On its frontal panel there are : 2 combined XLR/TRS 1/4″ jack connectors with sensitivity control knobs, instrumental Hi-Z mode switch and clip indicator for second one of them; digital inputs switch with power, output and synchronization indicators; mono/stereo and control switches and volume control knob for Direct Monitor function; TRS 1/4″ jack headphones output and main outputs’ volume control knob. To both inputs +48 V phantom power can be connected, they are balanced; device can work in full-duplex mode ( playback and record sounds simultaneously ). On back panel of interface there are : ground connector; power adapter input; Firewire/adapter powering switch; Firewire inputs of different sizes; internal sampling rate switch; phantom power and limiter switches; MIDI input and output; optical digital input and output; 4 balanced TRS 1/4″ jack outputs; 2 RCA gold-plated inputs; and their sensitivity control knob.
Noise level of analogue inputs of Roland FA-66 is -95 dB, signal to noise ratio for outputs is 105 dB, for inputs 102 dB; device can be powered from adapter or Firewire connection and draws 650 mA maximum. In Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 audio interface works via specialized drivers with WDM and ASIO 2.0 interfaces support; in Mac OS X via built in drivers with Core Audio interface support; via which it works with modern DAWs : Avid Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Steinberg Cubase, FL Studio, Cackewalk Sonar, REAPER and others. Device’s body is made from aluminum and has nice rounded corners; its sizes are 164 ( width ) x 148 ( depth ) x 44 ( height ) mm and mass is 0.7 kg.
Package contains : Roland FA-66 audio interface itself, FireWire cables with connectors of different sizes, CD-ROM disk with drivers and different programs, power adapter, warranty card and user’s guide. Audio interface is very good with great characteristics and large amount of connectors and functions; wherein there is need to note that FireWire ports are available not in all computers, so, studio computer should have them in order to work with device. It can do the job, which USB audio interfaces can perform ( for example of Steinberg, Behringer, Focusrite, ESI, Roland itself, M-Audio and other manufacturers production ), and among them there are devices equal to it in quality and connectors amounts and types terms. So, here is need to look on devices’ prices, accordance of their characteristics to tasks, which interface will perform; and availability of different ports of studio computer.