I  just spent the past week setting up what I will refer to as a "mastering computer".

I told awhile ago about how mastering software had just become consumer oriented during the past several years.

It was just WAY too expensive and cumbersome, such that only a few mastering studios would operate in any given major city.

This is how it still is, because so few people even know about what it is that I am talking about here.

So, the problem was how much fire power you will want or need (MAXIMAL!!), how much memory and processing capabilities will be required (MAXIMAL!!).

Oh, that was easier than I expected.

Just go MAXIMAL!! with everything, and everything will be just fine.

Strange but true.

Hmmmm --- I wonder if I should try this as a life strategy?

Oh, that's right, I already have and do.

So, in addition to hardware needs there is the even far more difficult question of what software to use.

As I told awhile ago, the music software industry has been terribly "bottlenecked" for the past 20-30 years.

As photography and video have leaped ahead with one new innovation after another, we hadn't gotten past MIDI, which was perfected 30 years ago, other than to find new uses for it, like to blow up buildings and detonate nuclear bombs, in addition to hooking electronic instruments and hardware devices together so that they may communicate with one another.

Then, following the 2007-2008 meltdown (from which we are still reeling, economically speaking) all of a sudden we come to find that there are tons of products which have been invented, they just haven't ever made it to market.

So, now, the entrepreneurial electronics engineer is hawking his own work on the internet as an independent.

The work is typically of the highest quality imaginable.

And the prices are very reasonable, in comparison with similar products.

And, of course, most of the profits will go to the engineer who figured out all of this crazy and wild stuff so that crazy and wild musicians, like me, can live a fuller and more productive life, and then some.

And all of a sudden we are racing ahead so fast I am having a hard time keeping up.

Remembering that I have been keeping up since the first digital watches and slide rule calculators were invented and first manufactured.

I grew up in the IC revolution and was extremely aware of it.

IC stood for integrated circuit, and believe me, it was quite the rage when I was a kid.

That and bakelite turning into modern plastics were the two areas in which you just knew that something big was about to happen.

Now you can't move without bumping into plastics (remember the dad in the movie THE GRADUATE, who counseled a very young Dustin Hoffman to get into plastics, because that is the future?).

And you can't move without bumping into and using integrated circuits.

You are quite literally surrounded by them if you have any electronic components whatsoever.

Cheap little toys now have ICs that would have been the envy of any engineer who I knew when I worked in that field fresh out of high school in 1970.

My synthesizers have, probably, millions of such circuits as they are refined further and further.

This is thanks to what we refer to as "microminiaturization".

This is a process which has moved relentlessly forward with the most astonishing speed imaginable.

I used to say, in jest, that someday we will have a little black box.

It will be square in shape.

You will be able to hold it in your hands, although it will be about the size of a basketball, except square (or should I see cubical?).

In this box will be contained all of the knowledge in the world.

That's right, I kid you not.

ALL! of the knowledge.

I always liked to muse on this concept, but without ever expecting to actually see such a thing.

Well, I must confess, that now, thanks to the incredible advances in microminiaturization, I can actually, not unrealistically, imagine such a thing.

Now that, to me, is REALLY SCARY!

And, of course, being the avid history student which I am, I couldn't help but wonder what would happen when the next Ghengis Khan got ahold of the box.

I'm thinking ten pound hammer with several well placed blows.

Would this be a form of  "raging against the machines"?

It seems just so weird to me that when some persons see the box containing all of the knowledge in the world (hey, would that be Pandora's box? = pan means all; dora means gift = the box containing all gifts to mankind) would feel an overwhelming urge to smash the box as in "smash the machine".

There will always be this war between the city and the pastoral countryside raging within each one of us, it would seem.

Ghengis Khan was said to have taken no prisoners.

He razed every city to the ground.

He took no booty and would not allow his soldiers to take any.

He did not try to take over the cities to administer them and milk them for tax money.

He simply made it so that they did not exist any more.

It is this impulse which must be in someone, given that he had a huge army of supporters who had similar enough beliefs that they campaigned with him regularly for years.

Total destruction.

That sounds awful similar to where we are headed right now.

So, sounds like I had better move faster.

That is why I have been, once again, working around the clock for days on end.

It takes an incredible amount of work and brain power to make one of these things happen.

But, when they are done, they are well worth the work for years to come.

And the knowledge which is accumulated during numerous brain meldtdowns has been very useful for building the next series of machines, over and over again.

So, I opted for the Intel i7 processor again, with lots of RAM (16 gb) and 2 tb hard drive.

For software I settled on WAVES mastering software, which seems to have become something of an industry standard.

In addition, I have loaded Izotope's Ozone 5, which is a mastering suite designed to walk a student throught the process by creating eight discrete modules which one will go through consecutively.

It is very similar to Lightroom, for photography, in many ways, but primarily in that it is designed in a very modular fashion.

I also added in another Izotope program, which they have just released, called IRIS.

This is a program which gives a three dimensional visual image of the sound wave/s.

So, that if you want to pick out a particular audio frequency, you look inside a three dimensional semi-transparent blue cube for that particular slice of light which represents that frequency.

From my intensive and extensive Photoshop experience of many years I find it very natural.

Similar scopes have been used for light waves for many years.

IRIS has taken this to a whole new level, and it is getting a lot of attention from those in the know about such things.

In addition, they threw in a soft synth with the program which gives the ability to tear the sound wave apart and reassemble it any way you like, with visual cues making it far easier than it is to use your ears alone.

They also threw in hundreds of preset patches with wild and crazy sounds for wild and crazy composers.

I always love it when the engineers and artists get together in the most intimate way imaginable, and that without ever even meeting one another.

Now, that truly is amazing.

Collaboration without collaborating.

Now, what do you suppose they will think of next?

8:41 a.m.
Ventura, California, USA