The Low Budget Lifer – Episode Four – 5/26/2021

Episode Four: “Can Cheap Drums Sound Better?”

Today we’re going to talk about improving the sound of cheap drums without spending a fortune. Hear the difference fresh drum heads make to the cheapest drum set on the planet!

Evans D2 Coated Heads: https://www.daddario.com/products/percussion/evans-drumheads/drum-set/drumset-tom-batter/g2-coated-tom-batter/

Episode notes:

      1. This is the first time I’ve ever changed drum heads; I’m still learning how to tune so they may be a little off.
      2. By the time I was editing, the cost of the Evans Tompack had gone up from the $40 I paid to just over $50. While that’s still a good price, don’t give up! Keep searching for deals.

Overnight Success

I’ve got not one, not two, but three Vlog episodes in various states of completion. I’m not going to lie, this YouTube thing is a wee bit more difficult than I expected. This shouldn’t be surprising to me, yet here we are.

It’s been over a month since I put up a new video. Since the BDI21 episode, life started to creep in and I managed to find myself behind. In that time though, a strange thing happened:

A couple of people subscribed, someone liked, and someone commented; all without any promotion. I haven’t really told anyone about this little project, it just … is. So the fact that people are finding this and taking a liking to it is pretty cool.

I sincerely take my hat off to all those who have found success on YouTube simply because the amount of work you need to do is mind boggling. Starting out, not only is there scripting, filming, editing, releasing, and promoting content, it’s all being done between and around what is referred to “normal life”.

This makes me think how ridiculous the idea of the “Overnight Success” is. Unless you’ve won a lottery or were born into wealth, there really is no such thing as overnight success. Just because we haven’t heard of a certain singer before a certain date does not mean that they all of a sudden popped up out of nowhere ready blow your mind. Nothing appears out of thin air, ready made with a number one song. Even those by the numbers, label created, top 10 boy bands require an insane amount of work get off the ground.

The cool thing about this project is that it just is. Some days I’ll have time. Other days I won’t. This is fun and I want to stay that way. If a few of you want to come along for the ride, no matter how sporadic, you’re more than welcome to.

Stuck

Paul Simon explaining how he composed Bridge Over Troubled Water to Dick Cavett.

Paul : “I was stuck there.”
Cavett: “What makes you stuck?”
Paul: “Everywhere I went, led me where I didn’t want to be; so I was stuck.”

Paul Simon on the Dick Cavett show.

The Low Budget Lifer – PV01 – 4/11/2021

Product Video One: “BDI21 – Cheap Bass Amp Modeler”

In amongst the Vlog uploads, this is a series on cheap equipment where I’ll talk about various pieces of budget brand mics, instruments, and other toys.

We’re going to kick things off with my favorite budget pedal, the Behringer BDI21.

The BDI21 is a surprisingly good modeler/preamp/DI that will cost you around $40.

https://www.behringer.com/product.html?modelCode=P0294

The Low Budget Lifer – Episode Three – 3/24/2021

Episode Three:  “You can’t make an omelet…”

Spring is here! In today’s episode, I dive into my songwriting process because if you don’t have a song, you have nothing to record. In the immortal words of Brad Goodman: “There’s no trick, it’s just a simple trick!”

Free VST amps really help during the writing and arranging process; you can use them to get a feel for which way your new song is headed.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Be sure to support the developers if and when you can!

The Low Budget Lifer – Episode Two – 3/4/2021

Episode Two: “Opinions Are Like A$$holes.”

In this episode, I talk about the mindset you need to deal with a constant barrage of “you need the fancy, expensive, professional stuff!”

Whether it’s digital vs analog, or budget vs high end, it can be difficult to do your own thing while ignoring marketing and, especially, those on the Internet who honestly believe nothing worthwhile comes out of anything entry level.

The Low Budget Lifer – Millbrae Exit

Made a quick video for Millbrae Exit. All clips are royalty free from Pexles. Links to the various clips are in the YouTube description.

Low Budget Lifer – Episode Two is in the works, however I inadvertently deleted the folder (and it’s backup) containing my video templates so I have to start from scratch.  Go me.

The Low Budget Lifer – Episode One – 2/21/2021

Episode One: “So What Is This Exactly?”

The Low Budget Lifer is a thing that I’ve started. Since I spend so much time harping about the benefits of second hand, refurbished, or low-mid range music equipment, I’ve decided to document how I work within my means.

“This video is the start. It’s so fresh, I wasn’t even thinking about uploading it YouTube when I put it all together. In this first upload, I stumble my way through explaining what this is all about.”

When Something Appears

Here is the newest tune.

This track started out as  a silly little guitar thing I came up with last April while I was drinking beer. It then morphed into the GLS Test I posted back in September. Over the course of the past few months, it was reworked it and recorded from scratch using the following:

For mixing I only used the EQ and compression on the Mixbus channel strips and the only plugins used were the included ACE reverb and delay. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible and see what I could get without relying on a ton of plugins.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the end result. Hopefully the next one won’t take as long.

Quick, Random Updates

In no particular order …

Transitioning back to Windows has been pretty painless. This here refurbished ThinkPad is happily humming along and I’m able to do nearly everything I want to do.

I still can’t find anything that even comes close to MainStage so I’m keeping my little MacBook Air around just for that purpose. When the Air up and dies, I’ll revisit this.

I’m enjoying catching up on all the tech I’ve ignored for the past decade. This has led me to rediscovering my old hobby of building phantom computers on Newegg.

I’ve moved back to a mouse when the ThinkPad is in desktop mode. I found that while Magic Utilities give me all of the macOS gestures in Windows, the overall feel is jittery and nowhere near as precise or velvety smooth as it is on a Mac.

Go figure.

This Razer Deathadder though … it reminds me of just how shitty Apple mice are.

Speaking of “laptop in desktop mode” you know what’s really nice? Having a removable battery. When I plug the ThinkPad in, I can pop out the battery and leave the laptop plugged in forever and not worry about the battery swelling and bursting. Ever.

On the music side of things, I’ve been using Harrison Mixbus more and more.  I purchased it last year when it was on sale and played around with it a few times on the Mac, but never really gave it an honest go. I always found myself back in the familiar world of Reaper. I have to say, it’s quite the fantastic DAW. I really, really, really like the channel strip EQ and Compression. The ability to tweak on the fly without having to dig for plugins is incredible.

Mixbus 32c is on super sale right now…

I just might get it. I wound up getting it.

Speaking of Mixbus, that song I’ve been working on since April (yeah, I know) is nearing completion. I’ve laid down the bass and most all of the guitars. Next up is to rewrite and record the drums. It’s coming together nicely.

Those GLS ES-57’s are a goddamn steal. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Go buy a couple of them.

It’s late. It’s snowing. I’m old.

Goodnight.