I have updated the painting Till Death Do Us Part, so the current version is now quite different from the one published in Imagine FX.
I totally forgot that some of you have asked that I talk about my quest for a new pair of studio monitors and 88-key midi controller keyboard after I get back from vacation. Well, better late than never, right?
While on vacation, I managed to hit three different Guitar Centers–one in Southern Cal and two in Northern Cal. I had brought my own compilation CD’s, and it was so much fun going through the tracks I have known and loved for many years on different studio monitors. The conclusion I came to at the end of the testing (all three sessions combined–adding up to more than four hours of listening time) is that the Mackie HR824 is still my favorite. I rejected all the sub-8 inchers in the first thirty minutes because their bass responses just lacked. I really liked the Event Precision 8’s, but the bass response just can’t match the capability of the Mackie HR824’s. The Yamaha HS80M‘s were quite amazing–essentially identical in sound to the Mackie HR824’s, except that in one particular moment I noticed the high mids got a bit shrill compared to the Mackies. Keep in mind though, that is only one moment in more than four hours of listening, and in every other aspect, the Yamaha’s were identical to the Mackie HR824’s, including the legendary “I can’t believe there is no woofer” bass response. As much as I liked the Dynaudio BM5A’s, the bass response just can’t match that of the Mackie HR824’s (although quite amazing for their size–better than all the other 5 inchers), and the sound isn’t as “open.” The worse pieces of crap I had the displeasure of listening to were the M-Audio BX8a’s–Omigod they were like punishment to my ears–shrill, annoying, and completely lacking any ounce of sonic elegance. The KRK’s were respectable, but kind of sterile–which is not the same as being accurate. I don’t know how else to describe it, but I think my definition of sterile is that they’re not “airy” enough–there’s no excitement, shimmer, or openess. I’m not talking about the highest frequencies being hyped or exaggerated stereo imaging–I’m talking about finesse and elegance in all the frequencies and stunning clarity in instrument seperation. Anyway, in the end, the Mackie HR824’s were still my favorites, and as soon as I’m done moving back to the States, I’ll be getting a pair.
My quest for the 88-key midi controller keyboard didn’t go very well–all the stores only had limited models on display. I don’t want to sound like I’m picking on M-Audio as a company, but I simply couldn’t believe how crappy their 88-key controller was–keys got stuck very easily. How many corners must you cut during the design, engineering, and production in order to end up with such a horrendous keyboard? The response of the keys were also very bad–slow and clumsy. The Fatar models were much better, but lacked the knobs and sliders I wanted. None had the CME UF series available–which was annoying because the UF8 was the one I wanted to test the most. None of the stores had Studiologic models either–another bummer.
I got to play on the Roland TD-20 kit for a bit, and it’s pretty nice, although I think I still prefer my Clavia Ddrum 4 system. I really enjoyed having tracks available to play along with–which is something the Ddrum 4 doesn’t have, but it’s really a minor thing. The response of the cymbal pads were kinda dissapointing–they weren’t very sensitive, especially when it comes to choking. The hi-hat was quite nice though–I didn’t notice significant audible steps between fully closed and fully open.
I really wanted to try out some of the recent Parker guitars, but for some reason Guitar Center as a chain no longer carry them at all in-store. Sometimes I really hate Guitar Center, as they typically only cater to the vanilla musician–the guys who don’t know any better and only buy the most advertised mainstream crap.