Last modified on 01/25/07 - Keith - Guitar - Update: January 15, 2003

Quote of the day: "Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition." --Isaac Asimov

Yes, another incredible lapse in web page upkeep! Unfortunately I don't have any new songs to put online, although I have a few in various states of completion. Right now finishing my thesis is my top priority so music is taking a back seat. I'm still playing every day, though, but I don't have much time to record and write songs.

On the equipment side, there are a several new things to report. First, I purchased a Line 6 Echo Pro effects unit. This box does a lot of different delays, from old-time tape delays to modern ping-pong delays. But the main reason I bought it was because it has an audio looping function which can record up to a minute of audio and then play it back over and over while allowing me to add new audio on top of the previously recorded audio (or I can just play along with the recorded audio without overdubbing). Looping is a lot of fun and it can range from the practical (recording rhythm parts on the fly to practice solos over) to the sublime (layering bits and pieces of music until an amazing sonic tapestry is woven). Hopefully in the near future I'll be able to record a bit of looped audio to put online...

Along with the Echo Pro I also bought a Behringer FCB1010 Midi Foot Controller, which is used to control the looping functions of the Echo Pro (and any other rack effects I may buy in the future). The FCB1010 is a nice foot pedal: it features ten foot switches and two pedals, which makes it ideal for controlling multiple devices.

Since I have decided to go "rack-mount" with my music gear, I needed a rack. I decided on a 10-unit table top rack made by Quik-Lok. The RS-957 rack stand is perfect for use on the coffee table next to my futon sofa where I play guitar (yes, I play sitting down--somehow I just got into the habit). Now I just have to get more stuff to fill it up!

Actually, I already have one other unit the the rack: a Tripp Lite ISOBAR12ULTRA surge suppressor. Just as important as surge suppression, the Isobar 12 has line filtering--in fact it has two banks of filtered outlets which are isolated from each other by a filter stage, giving the second back double power line filtering. This is very important for audio applications, since 60-cycle hum (and other line noise) is one of the biggest problems for audio equipment. I'll have more to say about this next time when I do a review of the Echo Pro, but suffice it to say that when I first plugged in the Echo Pro the hum was so loud I thought the unit was broken. Fortunately, I thought of trying a filtered surge suppressor and I didn't send it back...

My final purchases were an Evolution MK-361C MIDI controller keyboard and a Quik-Lok QLX-11 keyboard stand. The MK-361C is a 61-key MIDI controller keyboard--which means it can't make sounds on its own, it can only send MIDI messages to a synthesizer or sound module (the Audigy card in my computer is my sound module). This is my first keyboard and it is fun to play with--and I emphasize "play with" not "play" since I am not a piano player. But sometimes a keyboard is better for doing certain things, such as entering notes into a MIDI sequencer (a program for editing and playing back MIDI messages). I just wish I had more time to spend at the keyboard, but the guitar will always come first!

Well, that's a lot of new gear but I didn't buy it all at once. Actually, I haven't bought anything for a few months so I have my eye on some new toys. Speaking of new toys, Winter NAMM starts tomorrow! NAMM is the "International Music Products Association" (I can't find out what the acronym stands for). The biggest event in the audio hardware business is the winter NAMM trade show, where all the latest audio/music gear is introduced. So over the next four days I'll be checking out the latest music toys (and trying to figure out how I can afford them!)...