Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Music for Knee Play - aka my "pocket" studio

Whilst I'd need rather large pockets to carry everything, here is what my "sitting in bed studio" currently looks like.  I'm rather pleased with the board I created to put everything on, as I was getting fed up with balancing things on my knee and noticing they gradually disappeared or rotated to unusable angles!! It's a piece of what I think Americans call "foam core" with some black microfibre glued on using spray mount. I then chopped up some neoprene strips and stuck velcro to the back of them so they can be positioned anywhere on the board to keep the devices in place. It's very comfortable and seems to do a great job.

Here's what's in the picture:

1: Belkin Rockstar. This acts as a passive mixer, allowing for multiple inputs and duplicate outputs. I used to use my hand-made passive mixer, but this is so much more impressive in terms of results, if not aesthetics. The duplicate outputs are useful for apps like MeTeoR that don't allow monitoring of input when recording - I can attach earphones too.

2. Apple iPod Touch. Weapon of choice for "playing" instruments. I've got this thing loaded to the brim (well, as much as Apple's stupid UI will allow) with virtual instruments, sequencers and midi/OSC controllers. I've spent a fortune on them and just can't seem to resist buying more! Highlights have to include iShred, Bebot, Nlog, Vocoder SV-5, Digidrummer,, Beatmaker and Cowbell Plus. Not shown is the Macally iVoicePro 3 microphone/speaker/stereo line in.

3. Nintendo DS Lite. So much "homebrew" for this it makes your eyes water. I absolutely love GlitchDS, CellDS, ProteinDS and soon Korg DS-10 will grace its cartridge slot once I find it at a sensible price.

4. Boss Micro BR. Most recent addition, used for analog audio recording and occasional rhythm duties. Adds stunning effects to the audio (live and recorded) and the microphone is pretty decent for vocals. I have an external mic I can plug in but I haven't really bothered yet. Also gets a lot of work acting as my guitar effects box. Cool feature is the ability to plug it in to the Loox (see below) via USB and its recordings become available for copying into MeTeoR.

5. Fujitsu Siemens Pocket Loox 720. Getting on a bit now, but a lovely VGA Pocket PC. Sadly doesn't run WM5/6 so some newer apps are unavailable to it and battery drain would mean a loss of data. However it does have USB host and, as you can see, gets connected to the Micro BR for digital transfers of recordings! Musically it is exclusively used to run the fabulous MeTeoR these days for multi-tracking, although it also runs VNC for controlling my server and occasional full-screen web browsing using VNC. Oh, also does a brilliant job of playing game emulators courtesy of the fast processor and ability to plug in a USB game pad!

6. ETEN Glofiish X500. My current "phone" that also happens to be running Griff (awesome, despite its age and lack of updates!), Pocket StompBox and a few other older bits of Pocket PC sound software (e.g. Clanger!). Used to be my main pocket device for web/email/PDA stuff until the iPod Touch took over. Have a bunch of trackers on there, but I've never fully regained my interest in trackers since the Amiga days when that was pretty much all we had. Some of the newer apps are interesting but the interface feels so clunky and unresponsive now compared to the iPod, and pricing seems unrealistic. I suspect in a couple of years, now turn-by-turn GPS is available, I will replace both with a version of the iPhone. It hurts to type that.


  1. Nice setup man, I'm going to have to get a micro br i think, I like the belkin rockstar also...mmmh ebay calls! Also I think "Foam Core" should be the next portable music genre!

  2. "Foam core, u know the score"

    Micro BR is cool. Interface takes some getting used to, hence I do my editing in MeTeoR on the Loox instead.