Well, if the blog has been a bit quiet lately, it’s not because life has been quiet! After five years with the graphite iMac the technology is starting to show its age – or rather sound its age. The disturbing whining sound coming from the hard drive made us think about the way we have continually pushed our home technology until it is well past its use-by date, by upgrading RAM and buying ever bigger hard drives. So the time had come.

We actually went shopping for a big hard drive so we could back up the formerly big one and still have room for growth. That was quickly solved when we found the price of 500GB drives were down to about half what the 250GB drive had cost us before. But we couldn’t easily work out whether itwas the external or the internal drive that was the problem. Hmmm time to look at other computers.

With our interests well into the graphics and music software, there was really no comparison to make – it had to be another mac, and then it came down to which model would be right for us.

The result was a bit of a dent in the plastic fantastic but we walked out with a couple of boxes – a 20-inch G5 iMac (big flat screen) with 1.5GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive and DVD burner built in. And an Epson stylus photo R210 printer – the latter because we can use it to print directly onto CD/RW – good for the Band’s demo CDs.

iMac G5

And it matches the electric fiddle! While the iLife GarageBand software looks good, I chose to upgrade to Mackie’s Tracktion2 for recording. The screen size is great for recording – everything is a good size. And the processor is quite a bit faster than the G3 iMac – and the whole lot a far cry from the machines we started on – the 512k mac and the mac plus. Those and the color Classic and the PowerMac all still work – each year we fire them all up. I reckon we need to start a tradition of Mac Day and fire up all the old macs on the anniversary of the launch of the Apple Macintosh back in 1984!

Cheers
Jerry

Okay recording prelims begin tomorrow – this time we’ll get a CD out!

I have bought Tracktion software to run on the mac and I’ve found I can get reasonable levels from the band’s yamaha 8 track mixing desk and using the stereo out from the desk into a Y adapter and stereo input. Still getting used to the Tracktion interface – it’s simple but different from anything I’ve encountered elsewhere. But it’s still logical.

Did some levels testing by playing a duet with my daughter on mandoline and me on fiddle – seems to work okay, although mike-ing the mandoline seems to give rise to a fair bit of extraneous noise – including feedback when I’m not careful. I reckon using direct inputs for both instruments should improve things dramatically. I’ll test that setup tomorow when our guitar play comes over. When I start getting some good results I’ll upload some samples here :-)

Cheers
Jerry

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