Friendly Austin hit 900 Members :)

We’re about 8 months in and this week we hit 900 members.

We are reaching a critical mass of 1000. Now we’re working on planning the rest of 2016 and enhancing our social media on Facebook and Twitter.

Lastly, Friendly Austin is now working with It’s Time Texas and is excited about what they have planned for 2016.

Thank you! <3

Click this link to join Friendly Austin!

Friendly Austin hit 500 Members :)

After starting about 4 months ago, last week we hit 500 members.

We are reaching a critical mass of 1000. Now I’m working on planning the rest of the year and getting the group setup on Facebook and Twitter.

All I have to say is thank you! <3

Friendly Austin

Austin, TX
933 Friends

Friendly Austin is a group dedicated to developing friendships and sharing healthy experiences with each other.We will be exploring all that Austin has to offer including:Hi…

Next Meetup

Hike the Violet Crown Trail (3-5 Miles)

Saturday, Feb 13, 2016, 10:00 AM
21 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

I started a Meetup Group – Friendly Austin!

After being an event organizer for a few Meetup groups in Austin, I decided to start my own! It’s mainly focused on outdoor activities and music events, but will probably end up having a little bit of everything!

Please join if you’d like!

Friendly Austin

Austin, TX
933 Friends

Friendly Austin is a group dedicated to developing friendships and sharing healthy experiences with each other.We will be exploring all that Austin has to offer including:Hi…

Next Meetup

Hike the Violet Crown Trail (3-5 Miles)

Saturday, Feb 13, 2016, 10:00 AM
21 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

First Code Contribution to Ubuntu was Approved!

Yesterday my first merge request to the Ubuntu project was approved! It is small, but feels great. It’s an automated test that tests the deletion of a playlist from the Ubuntu Music App.

Screenshot from 2015-03-24 17:59:49

Thank you to everyone who has written and published tutorials on how to get up to speed with Ubuntu QA and automating with Autopilot! The Orange Notebook was a great resource. Thank you to everyone who helped me with fix the formatting issues I had. Working on a project this size, I now realize how important it is to keep code structure and syntax consistent.

Link to the commit on launchpad:

https://code.launchpad.net/~darran-kelinske/music-app/lp_bug_1428454/+merge/253566

 

 

How to fix a few Autopilot Issues

There are changes in Autopilot and with these changes you will need to upgrade your test scripts.

Issue 1: AttributeError: type object ‘AutopilotTestCase’ has no attribute ‘register_known_application’

To fix this we need to modify the test script from something like this:

from autopilot.testcase import AutopilotTestCase
from autopilot.matchers import Eventually
from testtools.matchers import Equals, Contains

#register firefox as an application so we can call it
AutopilotTestCase.register_known_application("Firefox", "firefox.desktop", "firefox")

class FirefoxTests(AutopilotTestCase):

def setUp(self):
super(FirefoxTests, self).setUp()
self.app = self.start_app_window("Firefox")

To this:

from autopilot.testcase import AutopilotTestCase
from autopilot.matchers import Eventually
from testtools.matchers import Equals, Contains

class FirefoxTests(AutopilotTestCase):

def setUp(self):
super(FirefoxTests, self).setUp()

       if "Firefox" not in self.process_manager.KNOWN_APPS:
            self.process_manager.register_known_application("Firefox", "firefox.desktop", "firefox")

#make sure firefox is up and loaded
self.app.set_focus()
self.assertTrue(self.app.is_focused)

Issue 2: AttributeError: ‘FirefoxTests’ object has no attribute ‘start_app_window’

We need to change something like the following:

self.app = self.start_app_window("Firefox")

to

self.app = self.process_manager.start_app_window("Firefox")

 

 

 

How to Fix a Linksys EA4500 that’s not Transmitting at Wireless-N Rates

I had an issue where the EA4500 was not transmitting Wireless N rates. I did some searching and found that when you disable WMM the router will only transmit at Wireless B/G rates on 2.4 GHz.

Just re-enable WMM and you will get your Wireless-N speeds back.

To re-enable Wireless-N rates:

Login to your Administration page (typically at 192.168.0.1)

Click “Media Prioritization”

Click Settings

Finally, enable “WMM Support”

 

Screenshot from 2015-03-14 18:05:57

 

 

 

 

 

How to Fix Traktor Freezing when Plugging in a Traktor S2 (OS X)

While running the latest version of Traktor and OS X I noticed that Traktor would freeze when I plugged in the S2.

This might be obvious for some, but I had forgotten that the S2 contains an update utility that updates the firmware on the S2. After updating the firmware all my freezing issues went away!

Do the following to update the firmware on the S2.

Plug in the S2 to your PC using USB. Turn the S2 on by pressing the power button on the back of the S2.

Open the Device Updater using Spotlight (command + spacebar).

The Device Updater will inspect the version of firmware running on the S2 and the latest firmware available for the S2.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 4.58.48 PM

Update the firmware and the freezing should be fixed!

Exploring the Fundamental Components of a Synthesizer

Introduction

Hi. I am Darran Kelinske from Austin, TX in the USA. This lesson is for Week 6 of Introduction To Music Production at Coursera.org. This week I will be teaching you about the basic components of a Synthesizer which include the following: Oscillator, Filter, Amplifier, Envelope, and LFO. In this lesson, we will be exploring the components from a subtractive synthesis perspective.

Oscillator

The Oscillator, sometimes referred to as a Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO), is responsible for generating the raw audio signal.  The timbre/personality of the raw sound can be modified by changing the waveform that is responsible for generating the audio signal. Most Oscillators allow you to select from sine, square, saw, and other kinds of waveforms. Some synthesizers, such as Native Instruments Massive,  include a plethora of waveforms to choose from (see below).

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 12.47.14 PM

The Oscillator will also typically allow you to modify the base frequency at which the waveform is generated. This allows you to modify the overall base pitch of the audio signal. As we can see in the Oscillator image below, the pitch has been lowered 12 semitones which results in an overall frequency reduction of the signal generated by the Oscillator.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 12.54.42 PM

 

Filter

The Filter, sometimes referred to as a Voltage Controlled Filter (VCF), is responsible for shaping the sound of the raw audio signal.  This is typically achieved by setting the type of filter to be applied, the cutoff frequency, and the resonance.

Filter Types:

Many synthesizers allow you to choose from High-pass, Low-pass, Band-pass, and other filter types, but in subtractive synthesis the most common filter type to use is a low pass filter. Because the sound generated by the oscillator is so “bright”, we use a low-pass filter to remove/attenuate the partials that are above the cut-off frequency.

Cutoff Frequency:

The Cutoff Frequency is used by the filter to set the frequency at which the filter will begin attenuating the audio signal.

Resonance:

Resonance amplifies the signal at the specified cutoff frequency. As you modify the cutoff frequency, a high resonant filter will highlight the cut off frequency. This can most often be heard during filter sweeps in which the cutoff frequency can be heard sweeping across the audio signal.

An example of a Synthesizer filter from Massive:

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 1.39.50 PM

Amplifier

The Amplifier, sometimes referred to as a Voltage Controlled Amplifier, is responsible for boosting the signal before passing it to an external source.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 1.42.12 PM

Envelope

An Envelope is used to modulate the signal that is passing through the Synthesizer. Typically, the Envelope is used to modulate the amplifier. A standard Envelope has four sections which include Attack Time, Decay Time, Sustain Level, and Release Time.

Attack Time

The attack time is how long it takes for the audio signal to go from nil to its peak. This time begins when the key is first pressed. Short attack times can create punchy sounds, while longer attack times can result in a sound that gradually builds when the key is pressed.

Decay Time

Decay time is how long it takes for the audio signal to decrease from it’s peak level to it’s sustain level. This is measured from the end of the attack time.

Sustain Level

The Sustain level begins after the attack and decay time and is the level in which the sound is maintained while the key is pressed.

Release Time

Lastly, the Release time is how long it takes for the audio signal to decrease from it’s sustain level to zero. Longer release times can create sounds will continue to persist after the key has been released.

A visualization of an “ADSR” Envelope in Massive is shown below.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 2.20.47 PM

LFO

An LFO (Low-Frequency Oscillator) is a modulation device that can be used to control other synthesizer components. For example, the LFO can be applied to the Oscillator so that the pitch oscillates between two frequencies. Similar to the Oscillator mentioned earlier, we can specify the type of waveform that is used by the Oscillator. We can also set the amount of oscillation that the LFO provides. Setting higher amounts will create sounds that waver in pitch.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 2.26.29 PM

Reflection

In this post, we reviewed the fundamental components of a Synthesizer. Further discussion of each of these components can be found in the manuals for some synthesizers as well as Wikipedia.

While this lesson is very basic, many of the ideas and facts covered in this lesson were new to me.

If there are any inaccuracies or if there is any feedback you have to provide, please contact me through Coursera or social media. Thank you for reading.

 

 

Exploring Flangers and Choruses in Ableton Live

Introduction

Hi. I am Darran Kelinske from Austin, TX in the USA. This lesson is for Week 5 of Introduction To Music Production at Coursera.org. This week I will be teaching you about the Flanger and Chorus effects. Both of these effects are considered to be modulated short delay effects.

In this lesson we will be using the following recording as a sample.

Direct Link:

UsingFlangerChorus

What is a Flanger?

A Flanger is an effects unit which produces flanging.  According to Wikipedia flanging is:

“an audio effect produced by mixing two identical signals together, one signal delayed by a small and gradually changing period, usually smaller than 20 milliseconds.”

Said differently, a Flanger produces an audio effect by combining an audio signal with an identical audio signal that has been slightly delayed. When the signals are combined, the frequency response of the combined signal is different than the original signal due to constructive and destructive interference created by the addition of the delayed signal. The amount of delay applied to the delayed signal is varied over time. This variation in delay creates the flanging effect.

Flangers typically produce an audio effect that is described as a “jet plane-like”. To me, they produce an airy sound when used in moderation, but can produce psychedelic sounds when setting parameters to their extremes.

A screenshot of the Ableton Live Flanger effect is pictured below.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 7.25.50 PM

Listen to the audio clip below to hear the default Flanger settings applied to our original audio clip.

Direct Link:

UsingFlangerDefaultSettings

Flanger Settings

Delay Time

The Delay Time setting on a Flanger specifies how long to delay the audio signal that is being added to the original audio signal. During my experimentation I’ve found that higher delay times typically produce more unconventional sounds.

LFO (Low-frequency oscillator)

The LFO is responsible for varying the amount of delay that is applied to the signals that are added to the original signal. The Flanger in Ableton uses two parallel time-modulated delays to create flanging effects. One of these delays is for the right channel and one is for the left channel.  Because of this, you can hear the sound moving from side to side in your headphones while the Flanger is in effect.

The LFO in Ableton Live has a few settings which include Shape, Amount, Rate, and Phase.

The Shape settings specifies the shape of the modulation and includes sine, square, sawtooth, and random options.

According to the Ableton Live manual, the Amount parameter specifies “the extent of LFO influence on the delays.” Experimenting shows that the Amount to 0% results in 0% modulating of the time delay. Increasing the amount results in greater variations in time delay.

The Rate setting is responsible for controlling how often the LFO waveform repeats itself. Note: I found this easy to understand description from canadianmusicartists.com here.

Lastly, according to the Ableton Live manual the Phase setting behaves in the following manner:

“The Phase control lends the sound stereo movement by setting the LFOs to run at the same frequency, but offsetting their waveforms relative to each other. Set this to ”180”, and the LFOs will be perfectly out of phase (180 degrees apart), so that when one reaches its peak, the other is at its minimum.”

Feedback

The Feedback setting controls how much of the output signal is sent back into the input signal.

Dry/Wet

Similar to other effects, the Dry/Wet knob determines how much of the output signal is composed of the original signal (dry) and the processed signal (wet).

A full description of the Ableton Live Flanger Effect can be found in the online manual here: https://www.ableton.com/en/manual/live-audio-effect-reference/#flanger

What is a Chorus?

A Chorus is an audio effect that is typically produced by “taking an audio signal and mixing it with one or more, pitch modulated copies of itself.” Source: Wikipedia

Using a Chorus effect can make an audio signal sound more full. This is due to the original signal and copies of the signal combining to be perceived as one full sound as opposed separate distinct sounds.

The Chorus in Ableton Live appears to be comprised of two delay units. Each of these delay units can have differing delay times that are modulated according to settings available in the effect unit.

A screenshot of the Ableton Live Chorus effect is pictured below.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 9.15.19 PM

Listen to the audio clip below to hear the default Chorus settings applied to our original audio clip. The clip will sound a little brighter because the default effect setting includes a high-pass filter which filters out much of the kick drum.

Direct Link:

UsingChorus

Chorus Settings

Delay Time

The delay time is found at the bottom of each delay unit and specifies the amount of delay that will applied to the audio signal.

Modulation

The delay time for each delay can be modulated using the Modulation settings. The modulation settings include the Amount which determines the amount of modulation that will be applied to the delay and Rate which is the rate at which the modulation will occur.

Feedback

Similar to the Flanger effect discussed earlier, the Chorus effect has a feedback setting which allows the processed signal to be sent back into the input signal.

Dry/Wet

The Chorus plugin has a Dry/Wet knob which allows you to specify how much of the output signal is comprised of the original (dry) and processed (wet) signal.

I found a good overall description of the Ableton Live Chorus plugin here.

Additionally, the full description of the effect can be found here: https://www.ableton.com/en/manual/live-audio-effect-reference/#chorus

 

Reflection

In this post, we reviewed the Flanger and Chorus effects that are available in Ableton Live and how some of the parameters in the these effects impact sound.

While this lesson is very basic, many of the ideas and facts covered in this lesson were new to me.

If there are any inaccuracies or if there is any feedback you have to provide, please contact me through Coursera or social media. Thank you for reading.

 

Ableton Project File:

The Ableton Live Project used for this post can be found here: UsingFlangerChorus Project

Exploring the Gate Effect in Ableton Live

Introduction

Hi. I am Darran Kelinske from Austin, TX in the USA. This lesson is for Week 4 of Introduction To Music Production at Coursera.org. This week I will be teaching you about the Gate effect that is available in Ableton Live.  I will give a brief overview of the Gate effect and discuss the some of the parameters and visualizations the Gate effect provides.

In this lesson we will be using our audio recording from the past few week’s assignments (found below).

 

What is a Gate Effect?

According to the Ableton Live manual:

“The Gate effect passes only signals whose level exceeds a user-specified threshold. A gate can eliminate low-level noise that occurs between sounds (e.g., hiss or hum), or shape a sound by turning up the threshold so that it cuts off reverb or delay tails or truncates an instrument’s natural decay.”

In other words, a Gate effect is a device that allows us to only allow sound through that is above a certain threshold level. In addition, to setting the threshold level that allows sound to pass through, Gates typically have other parameters which include ratio/floor, return, attack, hold, and release.

A screenshot of the Ableton Live Gate effect is pictured below.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 5.13.09 PM

Gate Parameters

Threshold

The Threshold parameter sets the  dB level at which the Gate will allow sound to pass through. This setting can be modified in Ableton Live by dragging the horizontal line displayed on the Gate effect, modifying the knob underneath the Treshold setting, or using a knob on a connected controller like an APC40.

Setting the Threshold value to a level that only lets the loudest sounds through creates a pulsing kind of effect on the audio track.

Return

This setting is explained well in the Ableton Live manual:

“Return (also known as “hysteresis”) sets the difference between the level that opens the gate and the level that closes it. Higher hysteresis values reduce “chatter” caused by the gate rapidly opening and closing when the input signal is near the threshold level. The Return value is represented in the display as an additional horizontal orange line.”

In the screenshot below we can see the range that is created when setting a return level. As mentioned earlier, this range is depicted by a second horizontal bar that is displayed on the Gate effect. A further description of the Threshold and Return/hysteresis settings can be found on Wikipedia here.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 5.38.01 PM

Setting a Return level removes some of the pulsating created by using the Gate in the previous recording by allowing the Gate to remain open as the sound level level is decreasing.

Attack

From the Ableton live manual:

“The Attack time determines how long it takes for the gate to switch from closed to open when a signal goes from below to above the threshold. Very short attack times can produce sharp clicking sounds, while long times soften the sound’s attack.”

When setting the Attack time to 0.02 ms, the Gate produces a clicking sound.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 5.49.49 PM

Hold

From the Ableton Live manual:

“When the signal goes from above to below the threshold, the Hold time kicks in.”

The Hold time is the time the Gate will remain open once the signal falls bellow the the threshold.

Release

From the Ableton Live manual:

“After the hold time expires, the gate closes over a period of time set by the Release parameter.”

In other words, the Release time is the amount of time that will be spent closing the gate. As with Hold, please be aware that setting long Release times may result in the Gate remaining open despite a drop in signal.

This graph on Wikipedia is a great visualization of how the various Gate parameters effect signal flow.

Floor

From the Ableton Live Manual:

“The Floor knob sets the amount of attenuation that will be applied when the gate is closed. If set to -inf dB, a closed gate will mute the input signal. A setting of 0.00 dB means that even if the gate is closed, there is no effect on the signal. Settings in between these two extremes attenuate the input to a greater or lesser degree when the gate is closed.”

Ratio

A Ratio setting is not included in the Ableton Live Gate effect, but a Ratio parameter allows you to specify the ratio at which sound will be attenuated. Ratio’s are specified as a ratio of input signal to output signal. I found a good description of Ratio settings related to Gates from DoctorProAudio.com.

“The attenuation ratio works in an equivalent way to that of the compressor, defining the amount of a attenuation (compression) that is applied to the signal. These ratios are expressed in dB, so that, for example, 1:6, means a signal that is 1 dB below the threshold will get reduced to 6 dB below it, while a signal  3 dB below the threshold will get reduced to 18 dB below it. Likewise, a 1:3 (one to three) means a signal 1 dB below the threshold will be attenuated 2 dB (as the level will go from -1 dB to -3 dB; we use a negative sign as these levels are below the threshold, which is the 0 dB reference in this case). With a ratio of 1:10 and higher, the expander is considered to work as a pure noise gate, though an ideal gate would have a theoretical ratio of 1:infinity (any level below the threshold would be totally muted).”

Visualization

The Gate effect in Ableton Live gives us a few visual indicators to help us better understand the impact the Gate is having on our signal. The image below highlights where the threshold, return, output signal, and gain reduction meter are located on the Ableton Live Gate effect.

Visualization

Reflection

In this post, we reviewed the Gate effect that is available in Ableton Live and how some of the parameters in the Gate effect impact sound. While I have begun to understand how the various settings function, it will take much longer to understand how to use them musically. If there are any inaccuracies or if there is any feedback you have to provide, please contact me through Coursera or social media. Thank you for reading.

Lastly, the Ableton Live Project used for this post can be found UsingAbletonGatePlugin Project.