For those who are curious, here’s an update on the grand piano mic placement along with the types of microphones and hardware used to record the Music To Pray By podcast.
This has changed quite a bit since the R09HR days. At the low end of the piano, an EV RE320 mic is angled in parallel with the strings. At the high end, an AudioTechnica AT4033a is aimed almost perpendicular to the strings. Completing the 3 foot triangle is an XY pair of Neuman KM184’s. These mics run into a Focusrite ISA428 pre amp, which has an ADAT connection into a Motu 896HD firewire audio interface. Logic Studio 9 running on a MacBook Pro completes the DAW solution. Here’s a quick video of it as well:
About 5 days ago, Alex Anze, a podcast subscriber and graphics designer contacted me and said that he felt led by LORD to help the MTPB ministry by designing new album art for the podcasts “…in hopes that a better album cover might be more inviting to more people and so increase the number of praying people.” Today, I received the following image from him and all I can say is, …wow!
When I asked if it was okay to mention him in a blog post, he asked that it be made clear that he did this for the glory of God and not for self publicity – that this was a way of advancing the Kingdom of God and he’s glad and proud to have achieved something that may just do that. There may be some improvements to the website as well thanks to Alex’s generosity. GOD IS GOOD! Thank you LORD for Alex and for the work You’ve accomplished through him, and I pray you bless him in a very huge way!
I worked tirelessly last night well into this morning in efforts to move the website to a different hosting provider, and when I woke up today, discovered a pretty bad DNS issue which has basically taken the website down over the past 12 hours. Everything should be good to go now – it’s just a matter of DNS proprogation across the Internet which can take up to 48 hours. The good news is it should be completely fixed in time for podcast 59. I’m a little behind in the editing – still have about 23 minutes to go, but have no other plans with the exception of church stuff tomorrow and Sunday. Stay tuned!
With the commitments I have to family, church, Soundwave, and work, I have come to the conclusion that the amount of time required to edit, record, mix, and post bi-weekly podcasts is throwing my life out of balance. I’ve thought and prayed about this for a while now and I know this is the right decision. I pray someday I will be able to do music ministry for a living, but just as Paul temporarily built tents to provide for his needs, I temporarily build internetworks to provide for my family. I still intend to sit down at the piano on a bi-weekly basis and record podcasts with hopes that in the future I will be able to catch up or employ help for the editing and mixing. At any rate, expect the next podcast to be posted on the 8th of May. I hope you had a blessed Easter.
Some of you may remember when I posted this about a year and a half ago. Recently, someone living in a part of the world where you can be killed for preaching Jesus reached out to me. They shared with me how they duplicate and hand out CD copies of the podcast in hopes the Truth would be revealed by the Holy Spirit through the music since they’re forbidden to share God’s Word. This really brought home to me the importance of this ministry. I firmly believe this is a big reason God put me here.
I didn’t go all out with a DC7M4, which would have been too big for the studio anyway. Instead, I went with the DC3M4 which is only about 5 inches bigger than the C2, but it does have the Disklavier system and allows for me to edit MIDI rather than audio. It is taking time to get used to playing in a manner that makes it easier to edit, but I’m getting there, and I think the results are pretty noticeable. Last week, I spent over 16 hours working on podcast 49, and though the difference may not be huge, there are certainly no more sour notes. A stroke of the “delete” key now takes care of those. I’ve also been able to improve timing issues through the editing process, which was impossible most of the time when I was editing audio. This is going to make a huge difference in the quality of each podcast. No more distractions from what this is all about – drawing near to God. If you’ve been blessed by this ministry, and if the Holy Spirit leads you, please:
The first donation was given today – thank you! Every bit of money donated will go directly into the cost of this huge investment. I will also be moving forward with producing a CD of all the best original melodies God has given me over the years. It’s going to be awesome! I hope to finish this before 2012. Pre-order will be available a month or two prior to the release. Thanks again to all you faithful listeners – I pray for you almost daily. Here’s a sample of the piano in action playing back last week’s edited podcast:
It could actually be more than 89 countries since the site was just recently moved to a new podcasting service that allows to see this detail, but it is truly motivating to see people all over the world downloading the podcast. Here are some screenshots of the tracking:
The podcast has also been downloaded in all 50 states:
Thanks again to all of you who are subscribed to the podcast! I pray it continues to inspire you to spend more time in prayer.
The past few days, I’ve been working tirelessly to get the podcast back up. There have been a number of changes. The first is podpress is gone forever. I discovered this podcasting service called Blubrry PowerPress, and it seems to be way more stable and functional. It took forever because I had to modify every podcast that’s ever been posted since the import from podpress didn’t work. Also, I added ID3 tagging to all the posts so artwork shows up now. There are still some issues to work out. First, in order to add a podcast description, our webserver needs to be upgraded to php5. Not sure why, but I’m working on getting that done soon hopefully. Also, I’m working on updating the artwork for the iTunes store and for the ID3 tagging. We’ll see how that goes. Please use the “contact” link to report any issues you might have.
This past weekend, Soundwave came together at my new place to record two new songs, and we got quite a bit done. I still have a lot of mixing to do, but the new studio is definitely helping. Check out the pics below:
On a side note, the piano was tuned last week, and I’ve got the next podcast recorded. I’m a bit rusty so it’s taking me longer than normal to edit, but I hope to finish it tonight. Stay tuned!
It’s not to another country or anything like that. Things are bad, but they’re not that bad yet. 😉 We’re just moving across the street to Buda. I probably should have blogged about this sooner but life has been full speed ahead! Since my last post, we’ve completely transformed this house into a new home staged beautifully. There have been a dozen people in and out of it helping us. We’ve got it listed for sale, packed up half of our stuff in boxes, and still have more to go. Somehow, I found time for a local Huey Lewis cover gig. We had a 10-piece band – there were 4 singers, two of which were the electric guitarist and drummer with an electronic pad, trombone, trumpet, and sax players, an organist with an old 60’s B3 and Leslie cabinet (beautiful sound), bass player,and myself with every synth sound I could hear in Huey’s songs. We performed for Valentines Day, and had a really great time. At work, we brought hundreds of servers into production in our new datacenter in San Antonio. It’s our primary datacenter supporting AT&T Wi-Fi Services. It’s huge, and I’m responsible for the network – lots and lots of pressure. 🙁 Yoko had her yearly Okinawa Tomonokai event in Downtown Austin where hundreds of people go experience traditional Okinawan food and dance. I also got to serve with Soundwave at a wonderful church in Bastrop, TX this morning. We had a great time – lots of similarities to my home church. I would have most certainly fit the podcast in if my piano were tuned. I’ve held off since it’ll need to be tuned after the move, which should be the beginning of April. In the new home, I’m going to turn a room into a studio where the piano will reside so recording podcasts will be so much easier. The new piano will just have to wait for now.
Below you’ll find a video I took of Sanban a while back on my iPhone, and I just had to share it.
Thanks for your patience in waiting for the next podcast. The next one will be recorded in our new home – stay tuned!
This past weekend was an amazing experience. One I will likely not forget. It was by far the largest motivating crowd of young people Soundwave has ever had the honor of serving. It was the most performing we’ve ever done as a band over a weekend as well. It started Thursday for us. We set up till midnight and was back at it around 8:00 AM. There was sound and lighting work, sound check, practice for the band and the Youth Animators, and things kicked off that evening. The Youth Animators actually taught movements choreographed to our song that we recorded in my studio to a crowd of over 1,800 excited young people. We then got to perform it live all throughout the weekend. Friday, Karli became very ill and had to go to the hospital Sunday morning at 2:00 AM. We’ve been praying for her. Jeremy’s last tweet says she’s doing fine, but please remember her in your prayers. I hope this video will lift their spirits. After the stills at the beginning, there’s video. All of it was shot from my iPhone except for some of the pics Jeremy tweeted. I shot the video portion at the end while we were tearing down after a massively huge and motivating God-filled weekend!
Piano update: It’s still not tuned, and I will be blogging very soon why – sorry for the long stretch between podcasts.
I mentioned in the last podcast that I would blog about the new method of recording used in the last podcast. Instead of the Roland R-09HR, I used a balanced pair of Rode NT5’s with the Apogee Duet as an audio interface. The results were pretty surprising. Normally the EQ I use will have massive peaks and valleys throughout, but with the NT5’s, very little EQ or anything else for that matter was needed.
This is a good shot from the front. You can see the XY pattern used.
This shows the XY pattern from the back, and the placement inside the piano. I actually used Westone in-ear monitors, which completely block out any sound and listened to what the mics picked up using various positions over the piano strings and soundboard. This is what I came up with.
Here’s the MacBook Pro running Logic Studio 9 with the Apogee Duet ready to go. This thing is so quiet!
A shot of the whole setup.
Because of Thanksgiving weekend, I’ll be taking this week off from the podcast to spend some time with the family. Next Saturday, Soundwave is going to record one of our new songs here at the Maestro Music studio, but I’ll try to get another podcast recorded next Sunday after church. Happy Thanksgiving!
We did it again! With your support, we would love the chance to become #1 this year in the Austin Artist Showcase. Please check out the song we submitted, and vote for us – we would sincerely appreciate it!
Thanks to everyone for their support. Below is the story of my journey I posted on one of the CCIE study groups I followed for years while preparing:
My journey began a little over 5 years ago. I had already obtained some Cisco professional level certs and figured the CCIE couldn’t be much harder so I booked a lab and a bootcamp with IPexpert. I had some experience, but nowhere near the skills necessary for a CCIE candidate, which I realized the first day of Scott Morris’s bootcamp back in 2005. That was back when ATM and ISDN were still on the exam. At any rate, I barely made it through layer 2, and got stuck on layer 3. I knew I didn’t have a chance.
3 years later after gaining some valuable experience on the job, and putting together a lab of 7x 2811’s, 5x 2600 series (2 of them XM’s), 3x 3560’s, and a 3550, I started hitting the books. I purchased the IPexpert Blended Learning Solution, and worked through all 3 volumes (Volume 1 I worked through twice), watched the videos and listened to the audio throughout my study time, and read the following Cisco Press books:
Cisco QOS Exam Certification Guide
CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Quick Reference Sheets
Routing TCP/IP, Volumes 1 and 2
Internet Routing Architectures
CCIE Routing and Switching Exam Certification Guide
Developing IP Multicast Networks
I started studying on a regular basis after I passed the written back in October of 2008, but really started hitting it hard the day they announced the change and I scheduled my lab date. For the OEQ’s, I used the IPexpert as well as the Internetwork Expert Core Knowledge sims. I’ve studied for more than 500 hours since May. I put everything on hold – the band, my “music to pray by” blog (http://musictoprayby.com), and my wife and 1 year old child. The only thing that didn’t go on hold was God and serving at the church. Yoko and I sacrificed celebrating our 10 year anniversary on September 25th so that I could wrap up preparing for the lab. My wife is awesome – she did this without complaining once. I couldn’t have done this without her support.
I just want to thank my LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ for being my inspiration and giving me the abilities I have. I also would like to thank IPexpert for putting together some of the most challenging material I’ve ever put myself through. After working through all the labs and understanding the solutions, I actually felt a little over-prepared, which is certainly not a bad thing. I would also like to thank everyone in groupstudy for helping me out with the questions I posted. I didn’t participate much compared to a lot of the other professionals who are a part of this awesome community, but I’ve been reading religiously for over a year now, and that knowledge gained from yall has been a tremendous help!
Here’s a little bit about my lab experience:
I flew into San Jose from Austin on Wednesday just so that I’d have Thursday to relax and get mentally prepared for the big day. On Friday morning, we met the proctor. I actually remembered him from my last lab date over 4 years ago. He showed us to the lab, and to my surprise, there were these really nice Dell 24″ displays at each station. I remember them being junky CRT’s the last time I was there. The OEQ’s were not super easy, and if I would have relied solely on my lab experiences, I probably would not have passed. I think the reading I did certainly prepared me for these more than anything else. The irritating things were my keyboard’s space bar made this squeaky sound that was really annoying and the guy next to me had this habit of humming, but once I started my lab, I zoned in and finished in a little over 4 hours. At this point, I’m freaking out thinking there has to be a page missing or something. So I took a little over 2 hours going over everything again very carefully and found a few mistakes. At 3:15, I figured it was pointless to stay any longer so I did another round of tclsh pings and write mems and left.
Thanks again to everyone who has already congratulated me. Now, it’s on to the SP track before they add OEQ’s!
Well, I just got the piano tuned yesterday, and I can’t wait to do the next MTPB podcast! Look for it to be posted sometime on Sunday.
Something unexpected happened last week. I found out that the CCIE Routing and Switching Lab Exam is in for a huge change on October 18th. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Sr. Network Engineer at AT&T WiFi Services. A simple description of my day job is basically building and maintaining the Internet. It’s fun and very complicated. In order to further my career, I’ve committed to passing the CCIE R&S Lab exam. My plan was to take the 8 hour exam sometime in December, but that all changed the day Cisco announced the changes coming in October. I registered the day it was official, and the closest date I could get was October 2nd, which is 2 months earlier than I had planned on taking it. This certification has been compared to a doctorate degree, and is referred to as “the MBA of Networking”. Candidates literally spend hundreds if not thousands of hours studying for the exam, and I have less than 5 months to get prepared. My plan is to spend at least 40 hours a week from now till the day I take the exam which means I will have no social life. This also means that the podcast and any music or recording outside of Sunday morning church will not be possible if I intend to get in the number of hours of study I need to pass. Part of my plan was to spend a few hours a day at work studying but due to the AT&T acquisition, there are a number of projects on my plate that are due over the next few months that will likely reduce if not eliminate any free time I had at work to study. I truly am sorry about this, but I believe that the reward at the end of this journey will be well worth it. As soon as this is over, I will do my best to go back to weekly podcasts. God bless!
Sorry for missing this week. Yoko and San Ban have been gone for a week now and I’m missing my inspiration! They have gone to Okinawa, Japan to visit family. I sure do miss them. 1 week down, 3 weeks to go. Needless to say, I probably won’t do another podcast till they get back. Jeremy is coming over on the 17th to do accoustic versions of two Soundwave songs so I’ll be sure to post audio of that. Also, I promised my dad that I would record and post the theme from “Terms of Endurement” so I may try to get that done as well. Please keep us in your prayers.