Archive for the How To's Category

Recording At Home: A Little R&R.

Posted in Commentary, How To's, Making Music with tags , , , on December 7, 2014 by The Buddha Rats

Writing and recording at home is challenging. Resources are scarce.  My room is all but untreated (unless you count the odd painting on the wall, a kingsize bed in the room, no echo chamber, no mixing board, no vocal or drum room and no access to real tape other than Scotchtape). I just read an article in which someone thought that his Mom’s cooking rivaled or surpassed anything he’s had in a “proper” restaurant. Oh yea, peasant cooking… rustic cooking at it’s best is a real pleasure. Same thing with Rustic Recording.

Here are tips for getting the most out of your recordings. You won’t win a Grammy, but isn’t Coldplay nominated this year?… You see my point?

1) Use mic distance to your advantage.

Recordings aren’t just stereo or mono.  Create depth using multiple mics as well as by using reverb and EQ to great effect. The brighter the sound, the more up front it appears. Using lo-pass and hi-pass filters as your “go-to” tool will keep things sounding natural and make sounds that compete for space easier to manage and fix.

2) Go DI for bass.

Bass signals plugged in direct to your daw will end up lifeless, but you can “fix it in the mix”. I always go DI and end up duping the original track 2x. Now that I’ve got 3 bass tracks:

  • Leave the DI track as is.
  • Route track 2 through an ampsim.
  • Route track 3 through a fuzz or distortion box.

Blend these tracks to create a tasty bass track.

3) Perfect your performance before you hit record.

If you can’t play it all the way through without that red light on, you’re not ready to have a go at it. Seriously- learn your material. Make sure you can sing it and play it.

4) Buy the best instruments you can afford and use them.

And this doesn’t mean that you have to subscribe to the myth that your guitar needs to be a 1959 Les Paul in order to be considered “best”. I like Elliott Smith and was pleased to learn that the entire Roman Candle album was recorded using a cheap Domino parlor guitar.  Best= what works best for the material. New instruments might not work as well as something old or beat up even (have you seen the hole in Willie Nelson’s Martin?).

5) Drum machines suck.

They’re repetitive and lack soul. Pepper any drum machine track with real tambourines, claps, woodblocks, etc. anything that sounds real- even shaking a key ring full of keys will go a long way to impart that touch that only a real human can. Or better yet, just find a real drummer.

6) Don’t marathon mix.

Take breaks every hour. Let your ears rest for 15-20 minutes. It will make a big difference. Ear fatigue, especially when listening to high volume rock tracks, is a death sentence for quality.

7) Audition your mixes before and after.

There are people who can actually mix well using headphones. Just be sure to A/B them on car stereo, home stereo, etc.

8) Elevate you demos with proper mastering.

Home recordings can sound cheap because they often aren’t mastered properly. Even Ozone (when used sparingly) can yield great results.

9) Mistakes= Happy Accidents. Keep Them.

You are making music for real live flesh and blood people to hear. Your music should sound like it was made by one. Mistakes happen. Nothing is perfect. Remember that.

10) Always, always experiment.

Do something you haven’t tried. It might make your song better.


As Close To A Magic Bullet As You Can Get

Posted in How To's, Making Music, Recording Basics, Recording with Reaper with tags , , on September 29, 2013 by The Buddha Rats

Advice comes and goes, but this trick is the one thing that has brought me back around from being 100% frustrated with mixing at home: High-pass almost everything in your mix.

That’s it. It’s really that simple. Embrace the high-pass filter, and your mixes will thank you for it. A high-pass filter is simply a filter that rolls off low frequencies. It cuts out the mud. And if you are like me, then the biggest  problem you face with your mixes is probably that they are just too muddy.

Granted your individual tracks may sound great, and you may not think there is too much bass, but when you start combining it all together, you end up with mix that gives you an instant headache, due to all the low-mid build-up. Chances are you’re also adding too much top end too.

I used to pour the compression and EQ on every track trying to get things to sound thick and full. Turns out all I was doing was increasing the noise, and the mud. Some tunes sounded good that way, but most didn’t. It was really only a little over a year ago that I all but stopped using EQ on everything but the master bus.

The one plug in that has saved my music has been Satson by Sonimus. I mean it: This simple and relatively inexpensive plug in is a sleeper hit! I’ve got other “console” plugs, but none are as effective. Satson is meant to go on everything. Essentially it gives you a  high-pass (and low-pass filter) with a gain control. I use the the high-pass on everything except for drums and bass, which I tweak using the gain control. I’ve been told by others that my recent mixes sound much clearer and natural.

In the end, it’s no magic bullet, but it’s close. Try it, you’ve got nothing to lose.


Make Real Sounding Tracks Using Samplers and Romplers

Posted in How To's with tags , , , on February 26, 2011 by The Buddha Rats

I’m a big fan of real bass, drums, piano, and guitar. I know how to play each of these and over the years I learned how to track things so that they sit pretty well together (the highest compliment paid to me is when people say that my songs don’t sound “tracked”).

Before I learned how to actually play all those instruments, I spent a lot of time trying to make realistic sounding tracks from samplers and romplers, and I was never really satisfied with the results I got. I quickly came to the conclusion that it’s (almost) impossible to create a realistic guitar track (particularly lead guitar tracks) using samples, but there are ways you can record songs using samples so that they have a good feel and sound. Here are some the things to consider:

  1. Start with good sample sets. Use a high quality vst with multiple velocity layers, and high quality samples. For bass and guitar make sure it’s got a few articulations such as finger slides, etc.. You might not be able to trigger these sounds quick enough to make a perfectly realistic track, but you’ll be able to overdub, and splice something cool together. For drums make sure it’s got an “anti machine gun” feature as well as “round robin”.
  2. Real musicians can’t keep perfect time. Some players play in front of the beat, some play slightly behind. Some players know when to speed up or rush things slightly as well. This all goes a long way to a realistic sound and feel- especially with a sequenced drum track.
  3. Real instruments are never perfectly in tune with each other. There are always some slight differences.  Some notes are a bit sharp, some flat. Not every sample set is recorded the same way, and if you only own one sample set, that’s OK,  but it’s always best to mix things up. Take a piano from one library, the bass and drums from another, etc.. You’ll  get some nice variety in texture, tuning and sound.
  4. When sequencing drum parts remember this:  A drummer only has two hands and two feet, so resist the temptation to trigger everything at once. When in doubt, just find a song that you like and try and copy the drum part. It’s good practice.
  5. Don’t approach your guitar parts like a keyboard player.
  6. Resist the urge to quantize everything until it’s “perfect”.  You want things to sound as if a human played them, not a robot,
  7. Make good use of compression, EQ’s, and reverb. Too much or too little of each can yield a lifeless mix.
  8. Watch your volume, and overall levels.
  9. Add an analog tape saturation plug to the master track. This will fatten up the sound, glue things together and make things less sterile sounding.

That’s about it.  I hope this post helps.

Collaborate and Make Music with Friends Online

Posted in How To's with tags , , , on January 20, 2010 by The Buddha Rats

Are you looking to play, rehearse and record music remotely with like-minded people from around the world? With a good computer, and a high-speed internet connection you too can connect with other musicians, vocalists, songwriters, and exchange ideas all from the comfort of your Home Studio.

Online Music Collaboration means no expensive recording studio costs, or time constraints. Sure, nothing is better than hanging out and playing, writing and jamming together in a relaxing room or studio but with a little time, patience and focus it is possible to make some great long distance music. This post will explore the things you’ll need to get an Online Music Collaboration up and running.


  • By using the same software, you are ensuring cross-platform compatibility between Macs and PC’s. Any software will do (we happen to use Reaper).


  • Play in time. Always use the metronome when recording your parts.  Remember that editing, and arranging is a lot easier when it all syncs up. Trust me on this one.
  • Keep your project organized. Know where you are saving your recorded audio & MIDI files, and keep the song’s audio in its own clearly labeled folder which ties back to the project name.
  • Your friends might not have the same plug-ins as you (if they do, then ignore this entry). That means  if you’re a guitarist using an Amp Sim, or a keyboard player with the latest/greatest synth vsti, be sure to render your MIDI or audio to a new track with the sound or effect embedded.

Production values

  • Try and focus on the performances first.  “Scratch tracks” are perfectly acceptable and often times the rough takes turn out to be the keepers!
  • Crafting and perfecting the production process is different for everyone.  It’s important to be aware of what works and what doesn’t. Keep it simple, play for the song, and when in doubt, leave it out.

Sending Files

  • Set up an on-line FTP account to send your projects back and forth. I use Google Drive, because it can accommodate large files, there’s more than enough storage space to keep files available indefinitely, and a central Dropbox for all files can be created.
  • Nothing kills creativity more than opening up a project that’s been sent to you, only to discover your friend forgot to include the audio he/she recorded. Don’t forget to send your audio along with the project file.

Thanks for stopping by. If I’ve forgotten anything, feel free to post a comment. Happy music-making, and good luck getting your long-distance collaboration up and running.

Feeling Dry? Get Wet With Reverb!

Posted in How To's, Reverb with tags , , on January 10, 2010 by The Buddha Rats

Lets face it: Reverb (and compression) are the industrial strength glues that keep it all together. Reverb helps establish space and distance, and defines the musical soundscape & relationship between all the interacting elements in your tunes. Most if not all of the reverb plugs I use either have settings and sliders for adding headroom, and the best ones simply sound like I’m adding air into the mix.

How many types of reverbs are there? A lot:  Plates, Halls, Rooms, Chambers, Springs, and (my favorite) Convolution. Any decently powered computer (PC or MAC) can take advantage of these reverb simulators, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get one that will make your music sound great.

I’ve found the best reverb plug-ins to be IK’s Classik Studio Reverb, Timeworks 4080L, Silverspike R2 (which has a lot of great sound enhancers built in), TC Electronic (their Vss3 is outstanding), and my absolute favorite LiquidSonics Reverberate LE.

BTW, if you end up using Reverberate, show your appreciation and donate what you can to his Charity of choice, which is Cancer Research (a very good cause). Here’s the link.

Before I started using Reverberate LE, plate reverb was a must on my vocal tracks and master chain. Plate reverb plugs simulate the sound of the instrument being bounced around on a metal plate. A lot of my favorite rock recordings from the 1960’s, etc.  used plate reverbs, and echo chambers to enhance the sound.

Now, the thing that I absolutely love about Convolution reverb, and the use of Impulse Responses is that this type of reverb sounds the most real. You simply have to hear it to believe it, but I guarantee that once you apply a bit of convolution reverb into your mix nothing else will do. This type of reverb takes advantage of IR’s (Impulse Responses). These IR’s are a snapshot of  a room’s reverb characteristics. Essentially you are adding the qualities of a real space into your mix, and this is the best kind of DAW reverb around.

For the best IR’s on the market today go to There are hundreds of beautifully recorded IR’s for all your needs. Stuff like:
PCM 70
(these sound gorgeous!)

These IR’s sound great. It’s like mixing air into your tracks (which I talked about earlier). Seriously, they kick ass, and a lot of time and care was put into making them available to the public.

BTW, it’s all Donationware, and you can pay what you wish, so there’s no excuse to give nothing. If you use them, send 50 cents, or a dollar, or more… whatever you can so he can feel good about releasing more IR’s to the public. I’m not affiliated with the site, and I did send him $.

As a final reminder: Unless you are going for a particular over-the-top effect, don’t use too much reverb. Too much of a good thing will make your tracks sound muddy and unprofessional. You only want to add enough to unflatten your final mix.

Have fun.

Optimizing Your PC for Recording Audio

Posted in How To's with tags , , on January 4, 2010 by The Buddha Rats

I found these WinXP tweaks and tips in an old email I sent myself awhile back. I have performed these tweaks on my own PC in order to enhance my own DAW system, and I am more than happy with the results.

For those of you on Win7, Black Viper has a great set of resources here.

Before you attempt to change any of your Windows settings, take note:

These tweaks do work, but aren’t necessary to enjoy making music on your PC. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to make any of these changes to your computer. I will not be held responsible for anything that may render your computer system unusable should you go ahead with these changes. Please read that sentence again.

Installing Windows XP

  1. When the installation guide prompts you to press F6 (Third Party SCSI or RAID Drivers) press F5 instead.
  2. You will see Press F2 for Automated System Recovery(DONT press F2) Right after that you will see a list .
  3. Press the UP arrow key to highlight Standard PC.
  4. Hit Enter.
  5. Hit Enter to Continue.
  6. Hit F8 saying that you agree.

Now, if this is an existing OS of say Win2k or a previous install of XP you will see options for Esc=Don’t Repair; R=Repair F3 to Quit
Since, we’re talking about a fresh install we want to hit Esc for Dont Repair.

Now, you’ll see your drives and partitions here. If you have Two “physical” drives it will show you these drives as C and D.

  1. Hi-lite C Drive

If you had an existing Install from any other OS press D for Delete Partition.

  1. Press Enter to Continue
  2. Press L for Delete

Now, we’re back at the drive selection screen again and this time we see Un-partitioned space. Now you are ready to create a partition.

Typically you want to the OS drive to be as small as possible for drive reading purposes.

  1. Recommended OS and Application drive should be around 12GB tops.
  2. If you have a 20GB drive partition it into two parts the first part being 10,000MB and the remaining to the second partition (which comes to around 9500MB). That can be used for extra storage.

Once the drive is partitioned and the main Partition is hi-lited press Enter to Install. Now we have to decide what File System do we use…NTFS or FAT32

FAT32 vs. NTFS

W2k and XP lets you choose the file system that best suits your needs, FAT or NTFS.

  1. FAT (File Allocation Table) is the native file system based on the Windows 9x kernel (including 95, 95a, 95b, 95c, 98, 98se and ME).
  2. NTFS (New Technology File System) is the native file system for operating systems based on the Windows NT kernel (including NT4, 2000 and XP). During the installation, Win2K or XP will ask if you want to convert the installation partition to NTFS. If you need compatibility for Windows 98 – especially if you want to dual-boot – don’t convert.

While NTFS offers a number of improvements over FAT32, most of these are not applicable to audio, and you won’t see a major performance difference between the two. Also, de-fragmenting your drives (something you should do every week) is substantially quicker in FAT32. Be aware that Windows 9x cannot read data on NTFS-formatted drives. Generally speaking, you should use FAT32 if you are doing a parallel installation with Windows 9x/ME, or if you will need to work with files created with a FAT32 system (opening old song files, working with others using FAT32-based systems, etc).

One exception would be if you’ll be working with video or other large files in excess of 4GB; or if you also use your PC to browse the internet or the computer is part of a LAN running XP Professional. Only NTFS can limit access rights to your files and therefore provide the security needed for a networked computer. In this case, select NTFS for all partitions except those which are to accommodate your audio data later.

Also of interest: NTFS can read the “resource fork” of SDII files from MacOS, and can therefore recognize the timecode stamps used in these files; FAT(32) can’t do this. If you do a lot of work with ProTools or other MacOS-based DAW applications, you should consider at least one NTFS partition in your system. (Note that this does not imply that your NTFS-based system can mount/read from a MacOS drive).

Windows will begin it’s file copying, once it’s done it will restart your machine.

It’s a good idea from here to enter into the BIOS to stop the CDROM from being the first boot device.

  1. Instead, designate the Hard Drive as the main boot
  2. Exit out and restart to begin the XP installation
  3. Enter your Name, etc
  4. Enter your Windows Key & name your computer

Hit Next to continue Installation. If you have a NIC card it will ask you what type of Installation do you want to choose: Typical or Custom. Choose Typical for faster install.

Now you have a fresh install of Windows XP.

When XP starts up every time you get that annoying “Take the XP Tour” pop up… click on it to open the tour. Once in the tour simply exit out and it wont open up anymore.

Turning off Windows Messenger from start up
Double click on the Messenger icon in the system tray to open it. Skip thru the internet and sign up stuff. When Messenger loads, go to tools and Options then Preferences and uncheck ‘Run this program when windows starts’

Switching to Classic Mode

Switching to Classic Mode is much better for system performance because it uses less colors and un-enhanced graphics:

  1. Right-click on your desktop, and then click Properties.
  2. Click on Themes tab.
  3. Set Themes to Windows Classic.
  4. Click on the Screen Saver tab.
  5. Set Screensaver to None.
  6. Press the Power button near the bottom.
  7. Power Scheme choices: You can have the monitor turn off but set Turn Hard Drives off to “Never Hibernate”. If this is Enabled un-check it. This is mainly for Laptops but uses a very large chunk of data.
  8. APM: Enabling this will allow your computer to shut down properly when in Standard PC mode so hit “OK”.

Click the Appearance tab

  1. On the Windows and Buttons menu, select Windows Classic.
  2. Press Effect button.
  3. Deselect all options.
  4. Hit OK.

Click the Settings tab. Set your bit depth to 16Bit. This is optimal for Audio machines due to less colors for video drawback which in turn gives you better audio performance.

Optimizing the Start Menu

  1. Right–click the Start button, and then click Properties.
  2. Click Classic Start menu.
  3. Click the Customize button to select items to display on the Start menu.

By default, selecting the Classic Start menu also adds the My Documents, My Computer, My Network Places, and Internet Explorer icons to your desktop.

Optimizing Computer properties

Right Click My Computer and select Properties:

  1. Click System Restore tab, and check the “Turn System Restore” to OFF on all drives.
  2. Click Automatic Updates tab, and Turn Off Automatic Updates.
  3. Remote tab: Uncheck all options to turn off Remote Assistance.
  4. Advanced tab: Press Settings tab under Performance.
  5. Click Visual Effects tab, and set to Adjust for Best Performance.

Advanced tab_Processor Scheduling:

  1. Set this for Background Services
  2. Click Memory Usage, and set this for System Cache.
  3. Virtual Memory: Press Change and let your PC monitor/change this for you.

Restart your machine. When you come back the first thing you should do is defrag the main drive even if it doesn’t say it needs it. This way the swap file has been truly set and you’re ready to continue.

Modifying the Windows XP Services

**Always make a back up of your registry before accessing and making any regedit or services tweaks**

Start Menu. Go to  “Run” and type in regedit. Hit OK. Hit the Drop menu for Registry and select Export Registry. You will want to save this to another drive for safe keeping.

Stopping the annoying Pop-up Balloons from your system tray is a Registry Tweak:

  1. Start menu>Run. Type in “regedit”
  2. Hkey_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Explorer\Advanced
  3. If “enableballoontips” is there set the value to zero
  4. If it doesn’t enter it in as a new DWORD and put the value to zero

Now you want to turn off certain “services” that are running in the background that we don’t need while recording or playing your Audio Software.

Hit Control Panel>Administrative Tools

Double Click on Services. You will be presented with a list of what to disable. Keep in mind this list is for a computer that doesn’t use the internet or a network in any way. If you have a Network Card or modem of any sort, pay attention to those services and what settings are selected otherwise you won’t be surfing the web any time soon.

  1. Alerter: Set to Disabled.
  2. Application Layer Gateway Service: Set to Disabled.
  3. Application Management AppMgmt: Set to Manual.
  4. Automatic Updates: Set to Disabled.
  5. Background Intelligent Transfer Service: Set to Disabled.
  6. ClipBook: Set to Disabled.
  7. COM+ Event System EventSystem: Set to Disabled.
  8. COM+ System Application: Set to Disabled.
  9. Computer Browser: Set to Disabled.
  10. Cryptographic Services: Set to Disabled.
  11. DHCP Client: Set to Disabled (Set this to Manual for Internet)
  12. Distributed Link Tracking Client: Set to Disabled.
  13. Distributed Transaction Coordinator: Set to Disabled.
  14. DNS Client: Set to Disabled (set this to Manual for Internet)
  15. Error Reporting Service: Set to Disabled.
  16. Event Log Automatic: Set to Disabled.
  17. Fast User Switching Compatibility: Set to Disabled.
  18. Fax Service: Set to Disabled.
  19. Help and Support: Set to Disabled.
  20. Human Interface Device Access: Set to Disabled.
  21. IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service: Set to Manual.
  22. Indexing Service: Set to Disabled.
  23. Internet Connection Sharing: Set to Disabled.
  24. IPSEC Services PolicyAgent: Set to Disabled.
  25. Logical Disk Manager: Set to Disabled.
  26. Logical Disk Manager Administrative Service: Set to Disabled.
  27. Messenger: Set to Disabled.
  28. MS Software Shadow Copy Provider: Set to Disabled.
  29. Net Login: Set to Disabled.
  30. NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing: Set to Disabled.
  31. Network Connections: Set to Manual.
  32. Network DDE: Set to Disabled.
  33. Network DDE DSDM: Set to Disabled.
  34. Network Location Awareness (NLA): Set to Disabled.
  35. NT LM Security Support Provider: Set to Disabled.
  36. Performance Logs and Alerts: Set to Disabled.
  37. Plug and Play PlugPlay: Set to Automatic.
  38. Portable Media Serial Number: Set to Disabled.
  39. Print Spooler: Set to Disabled.
  40. Protected Storage: Set to Disabled.
  41. QoS RSVP: Set to Disabled.
  42. Remote Access Auto Connection Manager: Set to Disabled.
  43. Remote Access Connection Manager: Set to Disabled.
  44. Remote Desktop Help Session Manager: Set to Disabled.
  45. Remote Procedure Call (RPC): Set to Automatic.
  46. Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator: Set to Manual.
  47. Remote Registry Service: Set to Disabled.
  48. Removable Storage: Set to Disabled.
  49. Routing and Remote Access: Set to Disabled.
  50. Secondary Logon: Set to Disabled.
  51. Security Accounts Manager: Set to Disabled.
  52. Server: Set to Disabled.
  53. Shell Hardware Detection: Set to Disabled.
  54. Smart Card: Set to Disabled.
  55. Smart Card Helper: Set to Disabled.
  56. SSDP Discovery Service: Set to Disabled.
  57. System Event Notification: Set to Disabled.
  58. System Restore Service: Set to Disabled.
  59. Task Scheduler Schedule: Set to Disabled.
  60. TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper Service: Set to Disabled (set this to Manual for Internet).
  61. Telephony: Set to Disabled.
  62. Telnet: Set to Disabled.
  63. Terminal Services: Set to Disabled.
  64. Themes: Set to Disabled.
  65. Uninterruptible Power Supply: Set to Disabled.
  66. Universal Plug and Play Device Host: Set to Disabled.
  67. Upload Manager: Set to Disabled.
  68. Volume Shadow Copy: Set to Disabled.
  69. WebClient: Set to Disabled.
  70. Windows Audio: Set to Automatic.
  71. Windows Image Acquisition (WIA): Set to Disabled.
  72. Windows Installer: Set to Manual.
  73. Windows Management Instrumentation: Set to Automatic.
  74. Windows Management Instrumentation Driver: Set to Manual.
  75. Windows Time: Set to Disabled.
  76. Wireless Zero Configuration: Set to Disabled.
  77. WMI Performance Adapter: Set to Disabled.
  78. Workstation: Set to Automatic.

Once set, close out of the services and restart your machine. You are now ready to modify the Registry.

Modifying the Registry

Intel Chipsets need to have UDMA 66 enabled for Win2k and XP. This also enables UDMA100. You will need to add this value: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}000

  1. Right click and select New “DWORD”.
  2. Type EnableUDMA66 and hit Enter, and Double click it and put the value to “1”.

It should the look like this:
Again, this is really only for Intel chip sets.

Remove the Shared Documents folders from My Computer: Windows XP user interface provides links to all of the Shared Documents folders on your system at the top of the My Computer window.
Delete this Key:

NTFS Disk Performance: The NTFS file system is the recommended file system because of its advantages in terms of reliability and security and because it is required for large drive sizes. However, these advantages come with some baggage. You can modify some functionality to improve NTFS performance as follows:

Disable creation of short names: By default, NTFS generates the style of file name for compatibility with MS-DOS and Windows 3.x clients. If you are not supporting these types of clients, you can turn off this setting by changing the default: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Filesystem
NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation set value to 1

Disable last access update: By default NTFS updates the date and time stamp of the last access on directories this update process can slow performance. To disable it go to:
You will need to enter this as a new Dword:
NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate set value to “1”

Reserve space for the master file table: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem.
You will need to enter this as a new Dword
NtfsMftZoneReservation set to “1”.

Reboot after making changes.

Speed up the Start Menu in Windows XP: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ControlPanel\Desktop
MenuShowDelay file set to “1”.
Click OK. You will need to restart your PC to see the results.

Increase IRQ Priority of CMOS Real-time Clock: Improve overall system performance by increasing the IRQ priority of the CMOS real-time clock.
You will need to enter this as a new Dword:
“IRQ8Priority” set to “1”.

Windows Explorer caches DLLs (Dynamic-Link Libraries) in memory for a period of time after the application using them has been closed. This can be an inefficient use of memory. Go to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
Create a new DWORD sub-key named “AlwaysUnloadDLL” and set to “1”.
Restart Windows so the change can take effect.

Speed up CD Copying to Hard Drives: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem

  1. You will need to create a Key here.
  2. Right Click on the FileSystem folder and select New>Key.
  3. Name it CDFS.
  4. CacheSize, this must be added as a binary value, then type in this value: ff ff 00 00
  5. Prefetch, this key must be added as a DWORD value, then type in this value: 4000 hex
  6. PrefetchTail, this key must be added as a DWORD value, then type in this value: 4000 hex

To Disable Dr. Watson: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\AeDebug
Delete the AeDebug key

Other Windows XP Tweaks:

Now is the time to Install your hardware drivers if you haven’t done it already. It makes no difference what order you install the drivers in.

Only after all the hardware drivers are done installing should you load your software onto your PC.

Turn off CD Autoplay: Go to Start->Run->gpedit.msc
Computer Config -> Administrative Template -> System
Double click Turn off Autoplay
Enable it.

Control Panel_Double click Sounds and Audio Devices: Go to the Audio tab
Set the Playback and the Recording settings to either your built in soundcard or a soundblaster (If Applicable). Check Only Use default devices down below

Go to the Sounds tab: Under Sound Scheme choose No Sounds. Press No to saving the previous Scheme, and hit Apply.

Do this for all NTFS drives:

  1. Open My Computer>Right Click on C:Drive and select Properties.
  2. Deselect Allow Indexing Servicing.
  3. Hit Apply.
  4. Select Apply Changes to C:\ subfolders and files.

You might get a message that says Access Denied. Press “Ignore All”.

By default, Windows 2000 logs the I/O traffic of your hard drive. While this is a very useful setting for servers, for workstations it doesn’t do anything except use up system resources. To disable it:

  1. Go to the run menu and type diskperf -n.
  2. Hit Enter to disable this logging.

Disable Error Reporting:

  1. Control Panel>Performance and Maintenance.
  2. System>Advanced tab… Error-Reporting button.
  3. Select Disable Error Reporting.
  4. Click OK
  5. Click OK

Uninstall unwanted components (good for non networked computers):

Locate sysoc.inf (windows\inf\sysoc.inf) on the main drive and make a backup of it.

Open the Sysoc.inf file. Each line of text in the file represents a component that can be displayed in the Add/Remove Windows Components dialog. Delete the word HIDE for any component that you want to see in the dialog (do not erase the commas). Save the Sysoc.inf file, then close it, and reboot your computer. The Add/Remove Windows Components dialog will now display the items you want to remove.

These tweaks and performance enhancements take a lot of time to sort out, but it’s worth the effort. If you are not familiar with making system changes to your PC, ask a knowledgeable friend to help you. If, on the other hand, you’re feeling bold, my advice to you is take your time. Follow each and every instruction, and don’t jump around to different sections because there is a logical order to each and every change I’ve posted here.

I’m sure that after you finish optimizing, you will notice a huge difference in the speed and stability of your DAW.

Thanks for looking.



Posted in How To's with tags , on January 2, 2010 by The Buddha Rats

This is how I approach my songwriting:

I’m always sitting around with my guitar(s). I start by strumming and I don’t really try too hard to come up with anything serious at all. I’m just trying to get into a vibe or a mood that I like with a few simple chords.

If it’s working- if the chords sound good together, then I’ll try and work a vocal melody over it. I generally start to sing utter nonsense… nothing concrete, and I try to let the words out without forcing them to fit together. The lyrics don’t have to make sense right off the bat to me (I’m usually revising the words right up until I do the first vocal take). The melody comes first, and lyrics follow.

When writing I also try not to censure myself too soon. It’s all about that “left-brain vs. right brain” struggle. I don’t go over-analyzing or over scrutinizing what I’m doing right away because that’s a surefire way to get stuck.

And if I do get stuck, I pick up a songbook, or novel, or dictionary, turn to any page and start writing things down via free-association. Once I have some words down on a page I collage them together into something that makes sense to me.

Well, that’s about the long and short of how I get things done.