Category Archives: Audio

Audio within Second Life – streaming, production, and all the wonderful issues there.

DJ CoolJ Hits First Life

This past weekend, “DJ CoolJ” played his first gig in First Life, DJ’ing the wedding ceremony and reception for my RL brother, David, and his longtime companion, John.  (Yes, it was a same-sex marriage.  This happened in California, where such things are legal, at least for the moment.  Any flames about the morality or lack thereof of the proceedings will be sent to /dev/null, because (a) I don’t want to hear it, this is my brother we’re talking about here, and (b) it’s not all that relevant to my part of the story anyway.)

The story here started back in July, when I received this message from another of my brothers:

Erbo,

David and John are getting married in Sacramento on October 19.  They would like you to attend and to be their DJ at their reception.

Would you be willing to do this?

Oh, certainly, I was willing!  But all my DJ experience has been as a Second Life DJ, behind the controls of SAM; the question was, how would I translate that into the real world?

SAM outputs an MP3 stream, intended for receipt by a Shoutcast server.  The simplest thing to do was to use another computer to translate the MP3 stream to audio.  I had a suitable machine on hand, which had been a gift from David, in fact: an OLPC XO-1, which runs Linux.  I installed the program mpg123 on it, which could decode MP3 and send the resulting audio to the machine’s audio output device (speakers or headphone jack), and wrote a short Python script to “wrap” around it and mimic the protocol implemented by a Shoutcast server.  The resulting arrangement had a slight delay in the audio output, but worked, slick as you please.

In the interim, of course, I had fallen in love with “Selena” and brought her to live with me in Denver, so, naturally, she got to come too.  (In fact, I think she realized this when she knew she was coming to live with me; one of the things she said over our IMs was “OMG I get to come to your brother’s wedding!”)  So we turned it into another road trip, not unlike the one I made to bring her to Denver, carrying, as part of our cargo, my computer, her flat-panel monitor, the XO-1, and a whole slew of cables and connectors to put it all together, including a wireless router, as the XO-1 uses wireless networking.  Once there, the XO-1 would be plugged into a (rented) “pro” DJ mixer/power amplifier rig and a pair of massive Peavey speakers, boosting its output to fill the room.

We pulled it off; there were a few glitches, but the happy couple was pleased with the performance, as were the other guests, including my parents.  I plyed my routine much as I would in Second Life, and I did see some weirdness that made me think I had logged back into the Grid (try: four groomsmen doing a synchronized dance routine, pantsless, to the tune of “I’m Too Sexy”).  I put out a “penguin tip jar” (a jar with a stuffed Tux next to it, and an appropriate labeling placard), and netted $38 in tips; by Linden Dollar standards, that was a smash hit gig.

Would I ever consider doing this again?  Well, if I did, I’d want to have a proper Windows laptop to load SAM and my music library onto, to avoid lugging around that heavy tower system.  But I’m pleased that it worked as well as it did.

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Filed under Audio, First Life, Music

How Not To Run An Event

Recently, I was asked to DJ an event at another club, which I agreed to do and for which I was paid my standard rate. However, when I got to the site of the gig, I found that certain things hadn’t fallen into place…

  • The club’s stream information had just been changed, which apparently they do on a monthly basis. (I do approve of this as a security measure, as it keeps rogue DJs from hijacking the stream.) I had received the correct login information, and it worked…but the club’s stream changer had not yet been updated with the new stream URL.
  • Only one person had access to modify the settings notecard for the stream changer…and he was unavailable.
  • I thought that perhaps the URL could just be set on the parcel manually, via the land settings dialog. Unfortunately, the club’s land had not been group-deeded, so only one person (the land owner) had the ability to change the parcel media settings…and he was unavailable as well.
  • What’s more, the event had not been publicized (via a listing in SL Events or such), so it was likely that there would be little turnout, even if the stream issues could be resolved.

In the end, the event was postponed to a later date, and I agreed to come back at that date. But this particular event had required a lot of prep time on my part, so naturally I was somewhat miffed.

There are some lessons to take away from this experience. First, always have a backup plan in place for your business operations. First Life does take precedence, but if the absence of one or two critical people can throw your business into disarray, you need a better backup plan. In the case of Lexxistential Deviances, if Lexx is not present, I can perform her functions, as can Lilli. The businesses I’ve been involved in have a long history of having backup plans, to the extent that, when Danielle’s home in RL was burned in a fire, I was able to keep the Gin Rummy open despite her extended absence.

Second, group-deeding business land is good. If your land is group-deeded, you have a lot more options in controlling who can do what to the land, thanks to the group role and permission capabilities we’ve had for some time now. In our case, we allow people designated as “DJ” to change the parcel media settings, as, obviously, they may need to do that to broadcast. We do use a stream changer of our own, an Erbosoft Distributed Music Changer (of course!), and it does have a “manual override” mode where you can feed an arbitrary URL in via a chat command, if you have the right access; still, it’s good to have a backup capability (which relates back to my first point).

Third, have procedures in place for publicizing events. In our case, we determine the events for a weekly block (Friday through Monday) in advance, complete with staff assignments for each event, which Lexx distributes to the staff group via a notecard attachment to a Group Notice. Then I take her notecard and write the descriptions for the events, which I post to SL Events. Just before event time, our host for the evening grabs a copy of the event text and uses that to create a Group Notice for the VIP group.

N.B.: I am deliberately not identifying the club involved in the little snafu above, because I believe they can do better and I don’t want to embarrass them, just help them and others to keep from making those mistakes. Any comments which identify the club in question, even very generally, will be deleted with extreme prejudice.

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Voices from the Outer World: Further Thoughts

No, it’s apparent voice will not be a universally-loved addition to Second Life. Cala brings up a point which I had not considered, but really should have:

In the CNet article about the voice feature, my friend Noche, editor of Pixel Pulse magazine, “is concerned that some people are not ready to divulge their real-life gender”- and that is very much the truth. The impacts to outing ourselves are massive, and the constant feeling of rejection from a non-understanding public eventually wears the most positive of us down.

For many of us – the TGs in Second Life – it really does mean an end to an era, where we can truly immerse ourselves in our chosen gender expression, and it feels natural and our entire avatar *is* our entire expression of ourselves in this new world. Now if we choose not to participate in voice, we are cutting ourselves off from communication, and we’ll be percieved as hiding something (again), and the shame can settle back in – and with it the depression, and with the depression…

Of course, I mostly had in mind the regular (and presumably straight, but perhaps not) guys who use female avatars in SL…but this is an issue of a totally different nature. It is certainly plausible, in hindsight, that people with various forms of gender-identity issues should use SL to visualize themselves as the “correct” gender from their mental point of view…and that voice, by bringing an element of the physical (and “wrong”) in, would get in the way of that. And, if it becomes more of an “expectation” of people in-world, it could prove devastating to those whose voice doesn’t “match” their avatar.

(Blame “carpal tunnel vision” on my part. Readers of this blog know that I crafted my avatar’s appearance to resemble my own in RL, minus certain aspects, and anyone who’s heard me DJ at the Gin Rummy or the Black Diamond knows what I sound like in RL. The same goes for Danielle, Chelle, and several others I know, too. I sometimes forget that not everyone in SL is like that.)

And even Triste is uncertain that voice will help out his Bible studies as much as I thought it would:

I think about the way the Bible studies are currently being done via audio and via conference call. I have to set the conference call to “lecture” mode (where all lines are muted save the moderator) in order to avoid distraction caused by noise or other activity on other lines that are connected to the call. To have background like that, especially when it’s all being recorded for a podcast later, makes it necessary to take that step of making the sessions “one way.”

Now, having heard some of the pros and cons, this still begs the question: Voice is coming. What do we intend to do about it?

At the moment, all of our land holdings (the Evans Family Compound in Aphrodisia, Don’t Panic! Designs in South Sunset, and the Gin Rummy in Joie) are on islands, which, according to LL, will not be automatically upgraded to voice unless the owners decide to do so, which may involve an additional fee (and if it does, I wonder if that will keep some island owners from adopting voice). Only if they decide to allow it will the decision be put in our hands. But, if they do, what then?

Well, if we shut down DPD, as Danielle is thinking of doing, the question becomes moot there. At the house, I guess we’d allow it, for our own convenience and the convenience of guests who choose to employ it. But what about the Gin Rummy?

I think I would probably choose to allow it there, too, but with some provisos. I would insist, for one thing, that our hosts continue to do business in “text mode,” for the benefit of guests who don’t have voice capability. (And it might not be due to being transgendered, either…they might be hearing-impaired, or might simply not have a decent headset for their computer. The actual reason is not critical.) And, naturally, we would treat voice disruption just like any other form of disruption (like gesture-spamming or excessive particle effects, for instance). And people that hassle other people for not communicating in voice, when it’s clear that they can’t or don’t want to, would be facing the business end of the Banhammer. As for our employees…if we hire someone that can’t or won’t use voice, we will respect their right to not do so, just as we don’t expect everyone to have and use Skype now. It shouldn’t be a requirement for working at the GR…heck, we’ve had DJs in the past who haven’t spoken on-air, or not much, and they did fine.

I do think built-in voice will be good for myself and Danielle in particular, simply due to the fact that we already make use of it, and the convenience of not having to use an external client for voice will be a net win. But we can’t speak for everyone, and it would seem that voice is not the universal benefit that LL would claim it is.

UPDATE: In comments,  Danielle says “no voice at the GR.”  That would appear to be that, then, because her word is law there, as far as I’m concerned.  It does mean that we might be considered more “transgender friendly,” perhaps…

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Filed under Audio, Current Events, Philosophy

A Manner of Speaking

So, voice is coming to Second Life. But is that a good thing or a bad thing?

For me, perhaps, it’ll just be “business as usual.” Danielle and I are routinely linked via Skype these days while in-world, and even sometimes while one of us is not in-world (such as last night, when I was busy with a large DVD-burning project for most of the evening). We find it highly convenient, allowing us to interact faster, especially on cooperative building projects, where it’s faster for us to speak than type in collaboration. (“OK, you can go align the wall on that side.” “This one over here?” “Yes.”) It also gives us a “back channel” of communication even when we’re not in the same place in-world, which can be useful in our various managerial, DJing, and other activities. Sometimes, we use Skype’s conferencing feature to add similarly-equipped friends to our conversation. This is often useful and occasionally hilarious.

The modes of communication to be supported by SL’s voice chat implementation will include similar capabilities (2-way private communications and multi-way conferencing), but will also include an in-world mode where avatars on “voice-enabled land” (whatever that means) will hear each other with spatially-correct audio (e.g., avatars on your left will sound like they’re on your left, and distant avatars will sound more faint than ones close by). The actual voice processing will occur on servers other than the sim servers, so it shouldn’t contribute to server-side lag; as for client-side lag, it should be no harder on a client system than running Skype alongside SL, and likely less so.

The question is, is this too big a break in the “fourth wall” of SL, detracting too much from an immersive experience? The upstanding inventrix, Ms. Ordinal Malaprop, has neatly summarized many of the objections to built-in voice, such as:

  • It would ruin immersion to have voices that were inappropriate for an avatar’s appearance. Not too big a concern for me or Danielle, but all those guys playing as female avatars must be quaking in their boots (or stiletto heels, as appropriate 🙂 ).
  • “People are idiots.” Having previously been an Xbox Live user, where voice is part of the experience, I can vouch for this…
  • It will make group discussions more complicated, and too easy for someone to literally “shout down” others.
  • Busy areas would be a nightmare. I think of the Gin Rummy with a packed house and voice chat running, and I can understand this.
  • Voice spamming might become a problem.
  • Non-native English speakers will have a harder time, because of the problem of accents, and also because there’s no Babbler for voice. (Well, there’s kind of no Babbler for text right now, either…Google Translate, the back-end engine Babbler uses, seems to be groaning a bit under the strain. Max Case, Babbler’s inventor, is aware of the problem and is trying to find workarounds.) This would be something of a concern at the GR, too, as we seem to have a certain degree of popularity among Brazilians at the moment.
  • It’s harder to log voice chat; you’d have to be making a recording, you couldn’t just copy and paste the logs. And there’s also no easy way to grep voice chat logs for specific keywords or phrases.

(This just glosses the surface; her post on the subject is well worth your time to read. Go ahead. I’ll wait.)

Many of these objections could be leveled against the use of Skype with SL, too…and I’ve certainly dealt with at least one idiot on Skype. Yet, for every person like Ms. Malaprop that finds the idea of built-in voice an annoyance at best, there’ll probably be one who will see it as a Godsend. The Reverend Triste Bertrand, for instance, will probably find it extremely useful for running his weekly Bible study. Language classes in SL will also benefit from the ability to pipe in the voices of native speakers without the use of external software. And certainly, other online worlds, such as There, seem to have integrated the use of voice successfully. For myself, I’m interested to see whether the SL solution is better or worse than the Skype-based system Danielle and I use now. (I haven’t yet tried to sign up for the beta; for all I know, it may be too late to do so. Danielle has, though.) We may continue to use it in much the same way we use Skype now, and just ignore the other modes if they get too out of hand.

Of course, your mileage may vary. Ms. Malaprop, for instance, probably won’t bother with the voice support. I would remind everyone not to judge others by what form of communication they will or won’t accept; the polite thing to do is to simply use the mode of communication that best suits both you and the person you’re speaking to. (This is, incidentally, why I start writing Victorian prose in comments over on An Engine Fit For My Proceeding; it fits the setting and the person to whom I’m addressing my comments. It’s also why I try to dress properly before TP’ing over to any location on Caledon.) “Manners matter,” in the words of Queen Clarice of Genovia, and not just in Caledon, either.

Of greater concern to other people, such as Alexander Lapointe, is that LL seems to have its priorities inverted:

What really bugs me about this is the fact that Linden Lab is doing this now instead of pushing all of their efforts into making the grid more stable. […] come on LL, could you please focus on making the growing grid a little more stable first? Please?

I don’t know as I see the two as being mutually exclusive. We already know that the voice service will run through servers that are not part of the SL Grid proper; it shouldn’t have any more of an impact on server stability than, say, the ability to attach music stream URLs to a parcel (which is similar in some respects, and is a capability used daily by DJs and musicians across the Grid without incident–indeed, it’s sometimes the most reliable aspect of an event). The major growing pains for SL seem to involve scalability of the architecture as concurrent users increase, and as they move to hosting in multiple data centers…and these would be issues with or without added voice. And trying to throw every single engineer LL has onto those problems would probably be the sort of situation I refer to as a “fustercluck”; Brooks’ Law dictates that you’ll never get as much out of that kind of radical focus as you expect you will. The people that are working on Grid stability are no doubt continuing to do so; I doubt that the voice addition requires the attentions of more than one or two engineers.

Anyway, ready or not, voice is coming. I will be watching developments in this area with interest…but tempered by a dose of healthy skepticism.

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CoolJ Rising

coolj.jpgThere’s a certain feeling I get whenever I’m about to go on…kind of like the feeling of a racehorse in the starting gate, or of being backstage waiting for the house lights to go down…a sense of eager anticipation. I check my broadcaster one more time; the queue has been loaded, everything’s set. I flip back in world; I see that I’m properly dressed for the event, and I’m wearing my employee tag (with the “** Gin Rummy DJ **” title showing) and my titler, proclaiming to the world, “I’m DJ CoolJ…IM me with your requests!” In front of the booth, I’ve deployed my tip penguin, a spinning Tux with my “Good Karma” donation script installed.

Around me, the rest of the club is getting ready to start the event. The contest boards have been programmed and are ready to be turned on. Danielle’s already activated the Sploder, and I kick L$20 into it out of old reflex. The dancers are taking their positions on the poles or lapdance chairs, as they wish. But the backbone of any live event is always the DJ…and soon comes my turn.

7:59 PM by the SL clock. Go time. I punch the right buttons on the broadcaster, starting the encoder and the master playback. The first track loads and starts playing; by my convention, it’s an instrumental number I use for “tuning up” prior to getting into full swing. A touch on the Distributed Music Changer terminal, a button click on the resulting dialog, and the red logo of Infused Radio is replaced by an image of me, the “CoolJ” logo next to my photographed head. In the club, they’ll soon be hearing exactly what I’m hearing through the feedback loop in my headset. Another click on the broadcaster, and the mic is now ready to punch in. I keep an eye on the “Time Remaining” display, waiting for the moment when I’ll key up the mic and say, “Good evening and welcome to the Gin Rummy! This is DJ CoolJ with you…”

. . .

Danielle and I have both had to do a lot more DJ’ing recently, she as “Dani 2.0,” and me still bearing the DJ name given to me by her son. (We’ve had other DJs, but most of them have fallen by the wayside during the GR’s trek across the Grid.) She and I, along with DJ Chelle Moore, are the only ones working the GR’s booth at the moment…and now the two of us are helping spin over at Black Diamond, Chelle’s club, where there are 4 event slots a night and rarely enough other DJs to fill them. It’s helped me keep on my toes and improve my techniques. Last night’s marathon session began at the GR with the “True Blue” event, then moved to Black Diamond for a “70’s Disco Party/Dance Fever” event. (Thank you, Chelle! I love disco events!) It wasn’t until about 12:30 SLT that I finally closed down, somewhat enervated but happy, and several hundred L$ richer besides, thanks to the people who earned Good Karma Points by feeding the penguin.

DJ work, for me, involves a lot of preparation. I fill my queue in advance with 2 hours’ worth of music as appropriate for the event, then make adjustments at performance time based on requests, deleting some of my “planned” tracks to make it all balance out. Then there are tracks to sort and new ones to find all the time; I’ve taken to listening to BPM (XM81) in the car, and, when I hear a particularly good track, making a note of its artist and title using the voice-recorder feature of my cellphone so I can look for it later. Most people may never notice these little details…but I notice.

The big question is, am I any good? People seem to think so; a number of folks at the GR have called me “the best DJ in SL,” though I’ve no doubt they’re either exaggerating or haven’t gotten around much. Even Chelle has said “Why do you need me?” or words to that effect…but Chelle has one thing I don’t: a following. With her 110-strong fan club, her appearances at the GR are nearly a guaranteed draw of traffic. I can’t say the same…and that makes Chelle worth every L$ we give her for her appearances, and more. And I don’t have the perky voice of Chelle, or even Danielle’s sex-kitten purr…just a fast-moving style that is probably better suited to afternoon drive-time than to a club environment.

But, Lord help me, I enjoy this stuff. When I’m “ahead of the curve,” keeping all the balls in the air between in-world and the music timing…well, there’s nothing like it.

. . .

The song queue is almost empty now; it’ll be empty once the last track loads, which is my traditional closer and has been ever since I started as “Dr. Feelgood” at the Cutlass Club. I key up the mic and get that last announcement in:

“…and it’s about time for me to get on out of here. We leave you as always with Phil Collins, ‘Take Me Home,’ ‘cos we’re takin’ me home, here at the Gin Rummy. This is DJ CoolJ saying, peace out, GOODNIGHT EVERYBODY!”

I release the key and turn off the mic button as Phil begins singing, “Take a look around me, I’m an ordinary man…” People are already drifting out of the club, the boards are cleared, the contest long since over. Soon, it’ll be time for me to reset the Music Changer back to Infused, then kill the encoder, kill playback, and shut all the broadcast program stuff down. Then I can remove the titler, delete the copy of the Tip Penguin (now a couple hundred L$ heavier, thanks to generous club-goers), change outfits, and Danielle and I can go off and do our thing. But, for the moment, I just sit back and feel the satisfaction of another successful set in the books.

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We Are The Music Makers, And We Are The Dreamers of Dreams

When Danielle informed me that she had booked me as a singer at The Gin Rummy, I approached the idea with no little trepidation. After all, I’ve never really done this sort of thing before. But that means I have to come up with an hour of material somehow…so I applied myself to the task, and hopefully the end results will not feature me falling flat on my face.

Danielle and I differ somewhat in our methods for producing our “live” vocals. She scouts out karaoke tracks on the Net (as MP3 files or similar) and then sings the lead vocals to them. I work with MIDI files, which is a technology I’m quite familiar with, as I used to do arrangements of pop songs as MIDI as a hobby. Trouble is, I didn’t have a decent sequencer program on tap. I scouted around, and located the freeware version of Quartz AudioMaster, which handles both MIDI and audio recording, and does so with a user interface that looks and feels quite similar to Cubase, the last sequencer program I used. True, it handles only 16 tracks of MIDI and 4 tracks of audio, but my needs aren’t great…and, when I need audio tools the freeware Quartz lacks, I can always export audio and load it into Audacity for further processing.

So…now I have to pick out some songs. Here’s the criteria I go by:

  • The song has to have a good-sounding MIDI file that I can find somewhere. For instance, I’d love to do Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” but the only MIDI files I could find for it, quite frankly, sounded like ass. Yes, I know how to sequence MIDI, but I just don’t have the time it would take to sequence my own files right now.
  • I don’t want it to be a song that’ll sound stupid if I sing it. That eliminates most, if not all, songs done by female vocalists…though I could see myself making an exception for Nena’s “99 Luftballons” in the original German.
  • I have to be pretty sure the song’s in my vocal range. That’s why I’m not doing Marillion’s “Cover My Eyes”; I can’t be sure I’ll hit the high notes in the chorus (“Pain, and heaven!”) properly. And if either Quartz or Audacity has an equivalent to the “vari-speed” control on a 2″ tape deck, which is sometimes used to lower the key of a song to where a singer can sing it properly, I haven’t found it yet.
  • I have to have the lyrics down pretty cold, or be able to chart them out correctly. That’s why I had to pass up Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” for now; it would have been too much work to properly chart out the lyrics for that version of the song (which is not the same as the one on the album). Maybe later…
  • And, last but certainly not least, I don’t want to step on Danielle’s toes. I have an excellent MIDI file for the Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now,” and I’m pretty sure I can sing Morrissey’s range, but Danielle wants to do that song, so reluctantly, I set it aside. That’s also why I’m not doing my own version of the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” either.

Okay…decent MIDI files in hand, I set forth to produce some songs, hampered only slightly by the nature of the tools I’m using and undeterred by the fact that about all I know about music recording, mixing, and production is what I learned reading The Daily Adventures of Mixerman.

First, I load up a MIDI file in Quartz, set up an audio track to record, check my levels, and lay down a vocal. (Easier said than done sometimes…at one point, I had Pamela peeking in, flashing the lights at me, and trying to tell me to “keep it down.” WTF? I’m recording here!) I go over the recording, listening to see if there are any egregious screwups. Sometimes, I’ll have to redo the whole take; other times, I can just “clip out” a bad portion of the audio track and record a quick “punch-in” fix for that line or verse. If there are long instrumental sections in the song, I’ll clip out and erase the audio track in those sections, to keep from having excess noise in the recording. I adjust the equalization on that track, too, to kick up the “low end” of my voice a bit.

Then I have to prepare an audio mixdown of the MIDI track, to one of the other audio tracks. I mute my own vocals for this, of course, and, if the MIDI file has a track or tracks containing the song’s vocal line (most do), I mute those as well.

Now I have two tracks of audio, the raw vocals (with some EQ) and the mixdown of the MIDI tracks. I export those from Quartz and import them as two audio tracks into Audacity. To my vocals, I apply some dynamic range compression, to balance out the dynamics and tighten them up. I adjust the gain on the two tracks to make them as loud as I can without distortion (since they seem to lose some gain in MP3 conversion), and give my vocals about a 3 dB edge over the music to make sure they’re not “buried.” (Not a hard-and-fast rule…I just go by what sounds right.) At this point, the track is done, and I export it as both an MP3 file (for previewing and a time check) and a WAV file (for later combination into the final “set” recording).

Lather, rinse, repeat for each song I want to do. (I don’t have to do all the songs in this order…in this case, I laid down vocals for a bunch of songs, then waited until later to mix them down.) And still I’m not done…because, as Danielle keeps reminding me, I have to talk in between songs. So I need to write some appropriate “patter” to go between the songs, record those little bits, and then splice them together with the completed tracks as WAV files to create one monster WAV file for the set, which I will then crunch down to MP3 for transmission.

The performance will be on Saturday at 7 PM, at the Gin Rummy’s new location in South Sunset. Just in case you want to come and throw tomatoes. 🙂

UPDATE: Holy crap, these tracks are loud! I don’t know why Winamp attenuated the volume as much as it did, but the gain on these tracks needs dropping by about 3 dB or so; I only found this out when playing the tracks under mpg123 on Linux. Fortunately, that’s as easy as cranking down the “gain” sliders in Audacity and re-exporting the tracks.

UPDATE: I glossed over Danielle’s techique briefly at the start of this entry, failing to do it proper justice…I understand she employs a similar set of techniques to get her voice to sound right. Certainly it takes her as long as it takes me to get workable tracks…and I think her results sound much better. But that’s what happens when you start with way more talent…she’s an entertainer, I’m just trying not to completely stink up the joint.

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Whammo!

So I spend a bunch of time preparing a country-flavored set for Soulmates’ “Boots’n’Chaps” event tonight, even soliciting Pamela’s advice as to what bands would be good here…I include songs from Poco, Arc Angels, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, Johnny Cash, Shania Twain, a remix of Faith Hill…

And what happens?

Midway through the 8th song of my set, Joe Linden sends out a broadcast message saying “The grid’s going down in two minutes.”

Crappity crappity crap crap crap.

I’m leaving my stream running just in case things come back up quickly. But I’m not hopeful.

Updates later if warranted.

UPDATE: It came back before my time slot was over, so at least I got to finish my set.

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