It’s a pity humans don’t come with digital audio inputs…

I’d been having such a good time messing with GarageBand, that I decided to buy Logic Express, which is a watered down version of their professional music production software. It’s a remarkable tool. For about $300 you have what amounts to an unlimited rack of instruments at your disposal, including some really rare models of vintage analog synths. One thing that I find fascinating is the fact that in the case of a software synth (as opposed to a sampler, which plays back recordings of actual instruments) you have the most perfect sound quality possible: 24-bit digital all the way from the initial oscillators of the synth through to mastering. Zero nonlinearities, zero noise. Kind like a CD with ‘DDDD’ (digital creation, recording, mixing and mastering). The only way to get any closer to perfect reproduction would be if somebody finally figures out the encoding format of our auditory neurons, so we could tell our brains which frequencies to hear directly. (‘DDDDD?’)

In preparation for that day, I made a song with Logic that is composed entirely out of tone generating software synthesizers so that I’d be ready with the first four D’s. (Ok, I think the drum instrument may be sampled.) For example, the initial sound you hear is from an FM synthesizer, sort of what you’d get if you could hack into an old DX-7 and pull the bits directly out of it instead of recording from the analog outputs. This is just about as clean and pure a recording as you’re ever going to experience; the sound you’re hearing has never been anything but abstract information until the moment that information is used to control the most versatile musical instrument of all time: the D/A converter in your computer. (I’m certainly betraying the fact that I’m a much better nerd than musician, but that probably wasn’t ever in doubt.)

The mix still needs a little work, but I’m sick of working on it, so here it is. If anybody wants me to post the original Logic file, let me know. I’ve also included a losslessly compressed file (which is much bigger) for those with iTunes, in case you have really good ears. Please drop a comment if there are any problems with the files. It was mixed on headphones, and will sound much better on the same.

All Electric

All Electric (Lossless)

4 responses to “It’s a pity humans don’t come with digital audio inputs…”

  1. Hi Jon,

    Sorry I kind of lost touch for a while. First of all, congratulations on the baby!! I haven’t had a chance to get through my backlog of your blog posts so I don’t know if you’re expecting a boy or a girl – or if you even know. Either way a very hearty if belated congratulations.

    I’m listening to the song you made. I don’t think it’s too much. If you had asked me to guess the artist, I would have said The Chemical Brothers.

    Also, I haven’t blogged in a long, long time. I think I am going to give it up. I mean, I correspond with so many people, almost none of whom could be bothered to read the f**king thing. Anyway, I just signed up for Twitter (RenegadeMentat). My job is very slow (almost feel guilty for the paycheck – almost) so I read a lot of news online. I hope to be able to update with lots of quick hitters.


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