Hello gang..what’s up? I’ve been busy.. but with some great news. 2017 brings with it a renewed fever and a desire to “swim against the stream” not only in my personal life as I wrestle against my schedule.. but against all current trends and hopefully setting a few of my own. Right now I’ve been busy PLOTTING and planning my eventual take over of the music industry.. it won’t be a hostile takeover.. so please don’t plan any marches in DC please.. LOL!! Anyways.. I’m working on getting this blog page up and running, as well as my social media sites as well.
Also, NEW this year.. I’ve finally come around on something I had been planning for ages due to TIME restrictions.. and that is have a “show.” You see.. since planning a YouTube video requires setup time for audio and video.. the gear I’ll be using.. and then recording the video, the usual mess up and have to do another take (or many takes), etc.. then download the audio AND video into my workstation for editing.. the finally the uploading the finished product. I had LONG decided I wanted to do a “show” LIVE on YouTube since I could dispense with the BS of editing and so on.. since it is SO TIME CONSUMING. Instead.. I spent the same time setting up my gear… and then GO LIVE.. no takes, no re-shoots, no editing.. just LIVE BABY.. and the bonus is.. it’s an INTERACTIVE process. If I am doing a gear demo or whatever.. you can chime in and suggest.. try the clean channel.. or this or that, etc. It’s a win win.. Then I might do a LIVE show of say 1 hour.. with 30 minutes for setup before hand.. and still COME OUT ahead time wise over doing it the old way with editing and so on. I could literally spend 3 hours on creating a 10 minute video for my youtube channel.
So today.. I give to you “ShredGeek.” It is my new “live show” where I will do essentially what I feel like doing. I’ll talk guitars, music, gear, home recording, etc.. but you know.. almost anything. I’ve thought about this long and hard.. and here’s my feeling. I’m a husband, father, son, guitarist, musician, producer, sports enthusiast.. and I want to live long and prosper.. so I am trying to live a healthy lifestyle.. so for me to focus ONLY on guitars or gear would be non-transparent.. because there’s more to me than just that. So I will be sprinkling in various other things as well.. Much of the time I will “geeking out” on various topics be it guitars, cars, fitness, music, etc. so come along for the ride.. It will be fun..
I’ll also be doing regular “AMA’s.” AMA is an acronym for “ask me anything” and for those shows.. which will be live (non of that “cherry picked” FAQ nonsense). Bring your questions to the show and ask me live. The only things OFF LIMITS for the AMA’s will be: anything of a personal nature to me, and anything pertaining to religion or politics. I want to bring a message of unity and fun. So check those ‘tudes at the door please. =)
I’m still working on some of the back end stuff for the show but will hopefully be able to announce a regular schedule (which will be available on my Youtube channel for a replay) soon..
And I STILL plan on getting my music recorded and out there.. so follow me here and on social media for frequent updates on that..
Rock on folks!! It’s great to be back!!
How funny!! A title with two of the same word. LOL!! Anyways, he folks. YES. I have been quiet lately.. at least on the posting front. The new year brought in lots to do. Cleaning up the prior years stuff.. and preparing the way for the NEW YEAR and the prospects it holds. I have been busy behind the scenes.. and making some great progress.. but not “in studio” specifically.. here’s a quick breakdown of what I have been upto:
- Sorting out and archiving last years stuff.. for the house, home, and for the studio. Tax season is here.. so I have to prepare that and get it ready to go. It will otherwise hang over me like the Grim Reaper and not allow me any peace of mind.
- I upgraded my DAW to Windows 8 64 bit. Installing all my software, and getting all the apps and plugins approved took some time. I added a hard disk to my DAW (another 1 TB drive), to install the new OS. But it’s NOT alone. I actually split the drive with a Linux partition. I intend to run Linux to handle all my day to day stuff..in an effort to keep my DAW clutter free as much as possible.
- The upgrade went MOSTLY smoothly. Learning windows 8 is STILL a work in progress.. though I’m getting around. I’m pleasantly surprised that my Universal Audio UAD1 cards work with Windows 8. Installed no issues at all. I’m using the 5.8 version driver.
- I’m looking forward to producing more videos. More reviews. But mostly getting busy writing and recording the masterpiece that I will call “The Atlantis Suite.”
- In the “clean up process” I have found a great multitude of videos that I need to archive to disk/DVD as soon as I can. Many of which I have on older VHS or VHS-C tapes.. including DV tape. Many are family movies.. but I have a backup PC that I will press into service for that purpose to decrease my workload.
- Oddly enough, I’ve rediscovered an old favorite band of mine.. in Stryper. I began following them and Michael Sweet on Twitter.. and Michael followed me back. How awesome is that!! I just bought their last CD “The Calling” and it ROCKS!!! I have to say, I never thought I’d ever hear Stryper sing a Black Sabbath song or an Iron Maiden song.. but they do. And it kicks ass!!!
I still haven’t set up the video camera for recording, but have a new backdrop light that I am anxious to test. Hopefully my chromakey problems will be in the past now. I had hoped to shoot a quick video this week, but I’ve been a bit under the weather, and I’m not looking terribly “camera friendly” at the moment… perhaps “Halloweenish” is more like it. =)
Thanks all. I’ll keep you posted as best I can, but for upto to the minute updates follow me on Twitter @ PeterJCruz. I’m always tweeting on there. Check the Twitter bar to the right and see what I mean.. =)
Hello all. It’s been a fun weekend.. and we are near the holidays here in the States. That is a time of great fun, and family focus. It’s usually been a tough time for me “musically” because so much is going on in my household this time of year.. BUT believe me.. I will make every effort I can to get blogs up and videos too on a regular basis. In the abscence of that.. my Twitter I’m sure will be alight with all kinds of nuggets of good info. So tune in there…
As I’m typing this.. I’m uploading a new video to my Youtube channel. It’s an overview of my #2 axe known as “Andra.” It is my Carvin V220C. I also shot videos with my Carvin ST300C and my Ibanez RG3120DR Prestige.. but the ST300C video had some issues with the blue screeen and MIGHT have to be redone. Stay tuned for that….
If I do have to reshoot the video, I hope to do it this week.. but I MIGHT just upload the video with the best “fix” I can.. or just omit the “bluescreeen” altogether for that video. But be on the lookout for the other videos I did.
Thanks all and Rock on!
Greetings folks. It’s just a rough week for me this week as far as getting videos uploaded and done. I am trying to work every chance I get but I’m spending most time in studio actually sorting out and getting Steven Slate Drums 4 setup and working in Sonar X2. It works fine straight up.. but I wanted to route EACH track/drum in SSD4 to a separate track/fader in Sonar x2. Its a laborious process but I think I have it down.
I’m now going to work on getting some of my track presets setup in Sonar X2 so I can simply “drag and drop” track presets over to my EDIT window and create the new tracks with all the sends, FX, names, Inputs and Outputs all setup in advance. Once I sit down to work on the recording bit.. I am going to fly.. I don’t want to have to click this.. go to a menu that.. etc.. just drag.. pick up my axe.. and record a take. No wasting time.. the ideas will come fast.. and will get recorded fast. That is my goal.
So again, sorry for the lack of a video this week… I should have plenty of action next week… but meanwhile.. I suggest you check me out on Twitter @ PeterJCruz. I tweet from my phone all the time so you can keep up with latest happenings from me whether I am updating my blog here.. or Youtube.. or whatever..
Rock on folks!
I have finally completed the “demo” song I promised using the RED BOX only direct out for the guitar parts.. I have posted it to my Soundcloud at http://www.soundcloud.com/peterjcruz and also to my YouTube channel above!!
The guitars were ONLY recorded with the RED BOX out using the Tubemeister. I had the amp sitting on my desk in front of me plugged into my DAW using a HI Impedance mic cable while in SILENT MODE. I did not even have a cabinet attached to the Tubemeister. I could only hear it thru the headphone mix. I only ran a HIGH PASS FILTER to filter out some low end in the mix ( I did this to all channels except the bass drum). I think it fit the bill very nicely… definitely check it out.. WITH or WITHOUT the cabinet.. you have LOTS of options with the Tubemeister.. Here are a few closing thoughts on the amp:
- The “POWER SOAK” option gives you tons of flexibility with the amp. But remember, it dissipates extra “wattage” as heat.. and on SILENT mode with the MASTERS cranked.. the amp gets VERY HOT. So user BEWARE!!
- The Tubemeister IS a TUBE AMP.. and to get a rockin’ tone.. the sound gets sweeter as the MASTERS go UP.. same here!! Don’t be afraid to RAISE your MASTER VOLUME. Push those EL84s. If it’s TOO LOUD.. turn DOWN the POWER SOAK. Set it to 1 watt, or SILENT.. and keep the MASTERS UP.
- Along the same idea.. I noticed with the MASTERS up.. and as the amp got “hotter” I noticed the tons got sweeter and sweeter… so in the future I will probably setup the amp and leave it ON for a while before doing any recording.. Let the heat build up a tad to get some extra “juice” in the sound. The TONE DEFINITELY sounded and felt different from when I hit the Standby switch to much later on…
- The RED BOX OUT is LINE LEVEL. Don’t let the XLR output jack make you think it’s a MIC LEVEL signal. Also, do NOT turn on PHANTOM POWER. It probably wouldn’t be a good thing.
- While H&K sells a footswitch to swap channels and engage the boost on and off, most two button footswitches will do the job. And for a bit less coin too. #justsaying =)
- The LEAD CHANNEL takes boost/distortion pedals very well. I actually found some great lead sounds with a Boss DS1 with the distortion set to 0, and the Level and Tone adjusted to taste.. it TIGHTENED up the amp.. and gave me a VERY percussive lead sound.. especially for palm mutes. Be sure to use a Noise Gate though…
- The amp itself is pretty loud.. especially for an 18 watt amp.. and you can lower it with the POWER SOAK on the BACK. Use that to your advantage!!
- I am planning to use the Tubemeister on my upcoming CD “The Atlantis Suite” and it will get a work out for sure. Cleans, dirtys, uber heavy you name it.. it will be pushed to the limits. Stay tuned for news on the CD.
That’s all I have for now.. stay tuned for some more ramblings.. and stuff from me. =)
Hello folks, just wanted to share a few thoughts on speakers since I had some questions about it this week.
Now, I’m by no means an authority on speakers… but I do know what sounds good (to me).. and I’ve only really had experience with Celestion, Peavey,Eminence, and some stock OEM speakers…
Bottom line rule is: If it sounds good, smells good, looks good.. it IS GOOD. That’s the bottom line…
That being said, here are my thoughts on speakers as they apply to guitar amps and guitarists…
I personally seem to favor “British” speakers.. because they generally break up a bit sooner, and have a warmer sound to them. “American” speakers generally have a cleaner output and MIGHT be louder.. and cleaner… but have less “character” or warmth to them.
Now a lot of that has to do with the SPEC of the speaker… and the model… but using the most common speaker models as examples you can see where these “stereotypes” of speakers are coming from.
Celestion: This is a British speaker.. and according to many.. The standard by which all others are meaured. This is the prototypical “British” speaker, being used in many classic and vintage amps and by many of the “hallowed” guitarists of the last 50 years.
Of special note, the “Greenbacks” which were used in many Marshall cabinets in the 60s and 70s. Hendrix being a big user of the Greenbacks 25 watts ( I think they also had 30 watts versions as well… but don’t hold me to that). These speakers had a lot of that “British” vibe, but being only 25 watts… would break up fairly nicely when pushed hard.. Many players (i.e. Hendrix) loved the added breakup of the speakers paired with the tube breakup of their Marshall stacks to create that classic sound we still hear in our heads.
Another popular speaker is the “Vintage 30” which is very popular today. This is actually a 60 watt speaker with a nice “punch” and some breakup, but much later than a Greenback. The V30’s are a popular option speaker for most cabinet/amp companies today and can usually be ordered at an additional cost with very little trouble. Many 4×12 cabinets from many of today’s top makers come with V30s as standard (other cabs can add V30s as an option).
Celestion does make several other speakers, in various sizes, wattages, and price ranges. Among them the “Heritage” series (which are a cross b/w the Vintage30’s and the Greenbacks), the “80” and “65” speakers which are used as OEM on many midpriced cabinets, and another favorite of many a top guitarist are the G1275’s. They have a midrange KICK and a higher watts handling that delivers more punch and thump and less breakup when pushed (this is Yngwie’s speaker of choice).
Another prominent speaker company is Eminence Speakers. They have an interesting “range” of speakers which they have dubbed “Red Coat” and “Patriot” series. The “Red Coat” speakers are their “British flavored” speakers and will have varying wattages and sizes (and prices).. while the “Patriot” speaker series is more American in “flavor” (or rather they “lack the British character” and generally are “cleaner” in output) There are plenty of videos on Youtube offering comparisons and reviews of the Eminence line of speakers.
My personal favorites:
Back in the 80s, I had a British 4×12 cabinet loaded with Celestions. I don’t know what model specifically but I’m sure the speakers were 35 watts each. The cabinet handled 140 watts of power and is still the best sounding cabinet I’ve had. It was sold LONG AGO as I “downsized” my rig. But at 35 watts it probably had some early breakup from my 100 watt head and some punch too. I would say from the speakers I have tried, the V30’s are the closest ones.. BUT with my current rig.. my head would not even come close to pushing the V30 at all… and since I’m a sucker for pushing the speakers hard and getting SOME breakup… I opted for the Heritage 30 watts speakers. It’s given me a very good compromise for my lil’ Tubemeister. =)
Recommendations? I would say it depends on what type of music you play.. AND your amp. If you play play classic rock, you probably WANT breakup (for that vibe).. so I’d go with a lower wattage speaker, like the Greenbacks. Be sure to ALWAYS have enough wattage handling from your SPEAKERS to handle your amps power output. Playing a 50 watt Marshall 1×12 combo thru a Greenback 25 will give you a headache, and lots of smoke. =) And a repair bill for a new speaker (and maybe more from the amp). If you play loud uber heavy metal.. you may want a HIGHER WATTAGE speaker… maybe even one with less breakup to handle the busy and often detuned heaviness. If you get speaker breakup here, it could sound like mud. Also, be sure the speakers don’t “cut” too much in the mids (check the manufacturers site for eq specs/curves on the speakers). The mids are what help you cut thru on stage. Try the G1275s for the clean and brutal output. For jazz and cleaner genres, I would suggest a larger wattage cleaner output speaker. Maybe even something with “less character” perhaps as a higher watt Eminence Patriot series speaker.
Ultimately, the choice is yours based on your taste and what music you play/your gear, etc… but feel free to comment and ask below and I’m more than willing to offer my feedback!! Don’t forget to use the web to find speaker reviews and demos to check out and do your homework before dropping some coin!!
I hope you guys enjoying this and found it useful!!
Thanks folks.. and ROCK ON!!
Sorry for the delay folks.. it’s been a BEAR to get the time to shoot the video.. and then ONCE I had done it.. trying to marry the audio from my workstation (which had the SM57 signal recorded into SONAR X2), and the video from the camera. I had to do a TON of edits to “remove” the camera audio so you could hear the SM57 alone… I’m still a n00b at this video stuff. =)
All things considered.. the BIGGEST HURDLE I did have was… CAMERA “audio” is recorded at 48k.. SO if you want to “sync” external audio with the video.. it’s a GREAT IDEA to use 48k also.. LOL!!! Once I had that figured out.. the sync’ing was MUCH easier…
Anyways, enjoy!! The playing is messy.. and my mic’ing technique not the best.. but it should give you some good overview of what this tube beast is capable of.
I am still working on getting the final playtest video together on my Tubemeister review…. so rather than keep you all waiting…. I shot a fun video this am to share my early thoughts on the CD release today from Stone Sour.Watch “Stoked for Stone Sour. Album drops Today!!” on YouTube
Hey guys. Just had a quick thought I wanted to share with and run by you… to get your feedback and thoughts…
We all know the “Holy Grail” of Tone lies somewhere in the realm of glowing glass… =), but when do you know you have the “right” amp? Now, this probably applies more to rock/metal players but is applicable across the board.. Here’s the question…
* Let’s say you have a nice Tube Amp… has the features you like, sounds great overall, etc… but just lacks that certain “Je ne sais quoi?” Maybe needs that little “boost” for leads or just for heavier type of stuff…
At this point.. is it time to get a new amp? One that likely might be much more expensive? One that has the needed “gain” on tap? Or is it fine to get a boost/drive pedal to “push the amp” a bit harder to get to sonic nirvana.
I guess, most of our heroes use pedal in front of their famed stacks of tube amps… but at WHAT POINT do you decide to get a new amp and move on? Or do you just keep buying pedals (more quantity and variety?).
Or.. LOL!!! Here’s another option… do you change PICKUPS in your guitars?
What are your thoughts? What’s your setup and what would you change if you could.. and WHY?
Rock on as always!
PS: I’m hopelessly hooked on the new Stone Sour songs “Gone Sovereign/Absolute Zero.” Funny. I never paid them any mind before a week ago. Now I’m obsessed. =)
Here’s a quick video I shot this morning in my new video suite. I had some fun using the ChromKey backdrop… still trying to get some of the glitches out.. but I’m up and running. The worst is done.. and now it’s just tweaks, fine tuning.. and lots of SHREDDING to be done.. Enjoy!!!