Spent some time today with the RMIV, a software drum machine that I've used off and on. An interesting feature--it's both a sampler and an analog-modeling live synthesis device; this distinguishes it from Native Instruments' Battery, which is all sampler.
Initially I was unimpressed with the live part 'cause the samples sounded better than the "real time" kits. But after about a year playing with hardware drum machines, I'm revising that judgment--when you tweak away from the presets you get some full-bodied, intriguingly distorted sounds. Turning knobs with a mouse isn't a tenth as much fun as twiddling real dials, and there's no way I'm going to use "MIDI learn" to assign a control surface to all these values, but I'm going to be patient and learn this thing. Using the hardware boxes gave me some good ideas for sequencing virtually, as well.
The computer I mainly use for music caught a Bill Bug and I spent about half the day wiping the drive. I actually like doing that--everything I value is backed up and it allowed me to get rid of some mistakes that were clogging up the machine (some of which couldn't be uninstalled otherwise)--as in, anything with a dongle. God I hate those things.
The Sony VAIO has a system recovery that boots from a space on the drive (or separate drive), as opposed to discs. It all worked. However Sony tech support ominously warns you that if you attempt to boot from the computer a second time, an irremediable error "may" occur so I followed their recommendation and burned a set of "recovery discs" from the same drive.
I'm really enjoying using the computer without all the crap on it. It's just one percussion synthesizer, a softsynth, Photoshop, and about 59 security updates from Windows.
Update: Oy, well it wasn't a virus, unless it's one that survives the complete overwriting of the C drive and reinstallation of the operating system and software. The computer just dies in the middle of something and restarts--I've had it happen with mp3 playback, while watching a movie, or creating audio in Cubase. Never while websurfing or using other programs--it only happens when playing/generating sound or video. This is a year old VAIO. Since practically nothing is on the computer now, the culprits are anitivirus (unlikely because I have an identical suite running on another, trouble free computer), something happening when the machine tries to go into sleep mode (I've just turned that off) or possibly some weird feedback with the soundcard (I've never had a spot of trouble in a year of using this card). One of the great things about going commentless is I don't have to listen to Mac owners extolling the virtues of their product in this type of situation--that's never been helpful in the past. Any suggestions from a sympathetic PC owner would be appreciated, via email or by leaving a comment on one of the other blogs. --tm
Update 2: Thanks to the reader who emailed helping me troubleshoot. He thinks it might be the cpu overheating or a short in the firewire card. But the computer is brand new, and wasn't cheap! Woe is me. I will try another outboard firewire soundcard I have, using both the 6 pin and 4 pin firewire ports (on opposite sides of this computer). It's starting to feel like the years when I drove an old car--is it the alternator, the voltage regulator, or the battery? I'm so glad I bought new gear so I wouldn't have to spend my hours doing this.
Update 3: The culprit appears to be a Maxtor external hard drive. I keep it turned off now except when doing backups.