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Now that the Mac Pro (Early 2008) is working, I am shifting focus for a while to "The Ballad of Dare L. Dupree" . . . :)

THOUGHTS

This is the new prototype for the basic rhythm section, and it is 12 AUi/VSTi virtual instruments and a few AU/VST effects plug-ins, all hosted in Studio One Professional . . .

[NOTE: I am using headphones at present, so this is best enjoyed with listening with studio-quality headphones like SONY MDR-7506 headphones (a personal favorite) . . . ]

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The music notation is on ReWire MIDI staves in NOTION . . .

This is what I call the "ReWire MIDI Strategy", and it focuses each application on what it needs to do and what it does best and most efficiently . . .

The drumkit is from SampleTank 3 (IK Multimedia) but actually is imported from SampleTank 2XL, as is the Höfner Beatle Bass and tremolo electric guitar . . .

The Mark79 electric piano is from MachFive 3 (MOTU), and the cowbells are from the Cuba Collection running in Kontakt 5 (Native Instruments) . . .

This took a few hours, mostly because Addictive Drums (XLN Audio) was not working, and I got tired of messing with it, hence switched to SampleTank 3 . . .

Since I have never heard the song, I start with a repetitive basic rhythm section and listen to it over and over until I start identifying where more stuff can be added or which existing stuff needs to be revised . . .

I composed the lyrics sometime last year, but there were no chords and melody . . .

[NOTE: The Aliens From Outer Space do this to me every so often--beam me lyrics but no chords and melody--so I fill-in the missing stuff "by ear" . . . ]

Curiously, it's very similar to "Flying in the Storm", which is a song I prototyped in 2018 in another project in this forum . . .

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Apparently, this song is stuck in my mind, and it wants out . . . :P

On a related note, (a) it's hot here in the sound isolation studio, (b) the Lasko utility blower I ordered arrived today but it's still hot, and (c) being hot tends to make me more gnarlier than usual, which in turn maps to a greater tolerance for being musically obnoxious . . .

The fantastic news today from iZOTOPE is that they have released Stutter Edit 2, and I qualify for discount pricing since I have one of their products, although I am not certain which one, but so what--a discount is a discount, and I'm on their email list . . .

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Stutter Edit 2 (iZOTOPE)

Combined with Whoosh FX (UVI), Cyclop (Sugar Bytes), Auto-Tune (Antares Audio Technologies), Melodyne Editor (Celemony), and my expertise in creating apparently random sparkles, panned-motion noise bursts, and synthesized cat purring, I plan to make "The Ballad of Dare L. Dupree" an insane sonic experience, mostly because I can . . . :ugeek:

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Whoosh FX (UVI)

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Cyclop (Sugar Bytes)

The Melodyne Editor can do what Auto-Tune does, but it does a lot more and provides the ability to do detailed fine-tuning, harmonizing, and lots of other advanced stuff, although at present I use it primarily to enhance the phonetic singing of Realivox Blue (RealiTone), my favorite virtual female soprano vocalist . . .

It's easy to overdo these effects, so the idea is to do it at least in a somewhat subtle, melodic, and rhythmic way . . .

I have not decided on a vocal style, but I am pondering a set which includes {Ferliss Nuberton, Pretend Frank Sinatra, Pretend Elvis Presley, Pretend John Lennon, and just screaming wildly}, which is based on the observation that when I don't give a ____ about how my singing sounds, it tends to be better than when I care about it . . .

Pretend George Martin says I should practice singing, but while there is merit to practicing singing, there also is merit to being spontaneous when singing a melody you never have heard, since you are composing and singing it in real-time on the fly . . .

Either way, I revisit everything over and over, which in a roundabout way maps to practicing and then fine-tuning . . .

The paradox is that you can't practice a melody until there actually is a melody . . . :roll:

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
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by Surf.Whammy on Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:05 am
I worked on the Basic Rhythm Section and added more stuff . . . :)

THOUGHTS

There now are 15 AUi/VSTi virtual instruments, and the theme of the song is becoming clearer . . .

I switched the EWAL ComposerCloudX to the iLok1 USB licensing dongle plugged into the Mac Pro (Early 2008) and downloaded Abbey Road and Gypsy, where I added a Django Reinhardt rhythm guitar to two tracks for some rapid chord strumming (far-left and far-right) . . .

The kick drum pattern puts emphasis on 1, 2, and 4--which creates a bit of a rhythm illusion--so I added a track of power chords to emphasize 1 and 2 beats . . .

[NOTE: I am using headphones, so as usual this is best enjoyed when listening with studio-quality headphones like SONY MDR-7506 headphones (a personal favorite). Eventually I will switch to the calibrated full-range studio monitors, but that's four more power amplifiers and two more external signal processors, which would turn the sound isolation into a sauna; so that's not going to happen until I get an air-conditioner . . . :roll: ]

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The new Lasko utility blower is making the sound isolation studio more tolerable, especially since I noticed the air outside the sound isolation studio is cooler and moved the blower so instead of recirculating hot air inside the sound isolation studio--the Mac Pro (Early 2008) and Apple 30" Cinema HD Display get hot, which is normal and nice in the winter but a bit toasty this time of year with no air-conditioning--it blows cooler air from outside the sound isolation studio into the sound isolation studio, which is a difference of approximately 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit . . .

I'm pondering the idea of getting a small air-conditioner and mounting it in the sound isolation studio wall. since it should be relatively easy to do because it doesn't require doing anything outside the house. which is not practical at present because outside is a forest--nice since it keeps the house cooler but not easy to navigate for doing construction work on the west, outside wall . . .

If I can find an exhaust fan which can be installed in the outside wall from the inside, then I can use it to exhaust the hot air from the air-conditioner . . .

It's kind of a stupid way to get the sound isolation studio air-conditioned, but so what . . . :mrgreen:

On a related note, when it gets too hot, I go outside and sit in the Lincoln Towncar for a while, since it has a frosty aid-conditioner, and I can listen to iHeart FM radio for a while . . .

There are a few good songs o iHeart FM, but most of the songs are ____, which is encouraging in an odd way . . .

There are some excellent songs, of course, but there also are a lot of ____ songs--not just bad but hard to differentiate from annoying noise . . .

My songs might not be the best ever, but at least they are musical and don't have ____ lyrics . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
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by Surf.Whammy on Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:22 pm
I added a chorus to the structure, so now it's more complete . . . :)

THOUGHTS

The current structure is {CVV} repeated three times with an extra chorus at the end . . .

[NOTE: "C" is chorus, and "V" is verse. There are six verses, and there might be a bridge ("B") and an interlude ("I"), but perhaps not. As always, this is best enjoyed when listening with studio-quality headphones . . . ]

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Other than some echoes and reverberation, I have not added the wacky sound effects (Stutter Edit 2, Whoosh FX, and Cyclop), but I am thinking about it and doing a bit of planning as the Basic Rhythm Section moves forward . . .

This version has 16 ReWire MIDI staves and an equal number of AUi/VSTi virtual instruments, which is a few more than I usually have in a Basic Rhythm Section or any layer, but most of them are SampleTank (IK Multimedia) and are not too heavy on processing and system memory . . .

The Mark79 electric piano is from MachFive 3 (MOTU), and it's a heavy instrument . . .

There are some Kontakt 5 (Native Instruments) Latin percussion instruments, but they are not too heavy . . .

And there are some EWQL ComposerCloudX instruments--the Django Reinhardt gypsy rhythm guitars, which also are not too heavy on processing and system memory . . .

Overall, it's easier when the same set of instruments are used for all the different sections of the Basic Rhythm Section; and it keeps the instrumentation consistent--at least for a while . . .

It's possible to do each section {chorus, verse, bridge, interlude} with a different set of instruments, but it's a lot more work . . .

The motion and other effects will be done in separate layers, and I plan to add Realivox Blue (RealiTone) singing something . . .

I did some "cadence singing" as Pretend Johnny Cash to check the number of measures for the choruses and verses; and everything is good . . .

Doing it as Pretend Johnny Cash has the benefit of not requiring an actual melody; but I might switch to Ferliss Nuberton--my Country Western singer who is a curious combination of Pretend Hank Williams and Pretend Ethel Merman, where the key bits of information are (a) that Pretend Hank Williams holds the starts of phrases and the ends of phrases, while (b) Pretend Ethel Merman mostly holds the middle words and ending words of phrases . . .

Code: Select all
Pretend Hank Williams:  "Heeeeeeeeeey good lookin, whaaaaaaaaat ya got cookin, 
how's about cookin somthin up with meeeeeeeeeeeee"

Pretend Ethel Merman:  "There's nooooooooooooooo business like shooooooooooooow business"

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For a while, I was thinking about using a "Telstar" (The Tornados) synthesizer, and this might happen . . .

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"Apache" (The Shadows) is another intriguing song for electric guitar . . .

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Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:48 pm
I did a bit of structural fine-tuning and added some police siren "woof woof" sounds . . . :)

THOUGHTS

The "structural fine-tuning' is focused on making everything consistent in the choruses and verses, which usually is necessary when there are a lot of 1/16th and 1/32nd notes and it's difficult at first to keep track of everything when I am copying and pasting . . .

It's the same pattern, {CVV}. but it's precise now . . .

I changed the "Dragnet" phrase so it's sufficiently different, and I lengthened the transitional phrases . . .

[NOTE: This is loud, so be careful . . . ]

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[NOTE: This is not so loud, so you might want to increase the volume level--observing that it's mixed for listening with studio-quality headphones . . . ]

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For reference, the Basic Rhythm Section is loud because the plan is to consolidate it to a single stereo track so I can "duck" it to make the vocals dominate when there is singing . . .

It's easier to "duck" instruments when they are mixed to a single stereo track . . .

This iteration has 17 virtual instruments, and the newest virtual instrument is a SampleTank (IK Multimedia) FX synthesizer that makes "woof woof" police siren noises, which for this song is unavoidable, really . . . :+1

Overall, I think the stupidity level of this song is increasing nicely . . . :P

For reference, the rhythmic bits at the beginning and ending of sections are there for several reasons, including serving as audio cues to make it easier to know when to start singing and when to stop singing (or "screaming", as the case might be) . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
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by Surf.Whammy on Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:23 am
I added more police sirens and did the lead vocals as Pretend Johnny Cash . . . :)

THOUGHTS

I added an Instrument Track for Cyclop (Sugar Bytes) and found an interesting police siren preset . . .

Then I did an Audio Track of the lead vocals, singing as Pretend Johnny Cash . . .

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For reference, I wrote the lyrics about a year ago, but I think it's totally today . . . :P

I have not done a submix of the instruments, so there is no "ducking", but so what . . .

I practiced the lead vocals for a few minutes last night, and early this morning I recorded the lead vocals in a few takes--about 15 minutes or so, which is plenty of time . . . :+1

It's coming along nicely, and after listening to it a while I plan to add more stuff . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:43 pm
I did more fine-tuning, and did a submix of the instruments for "ducking" . . . :)

THOUGHTS

There was a bit of confusion in the Studio One Professional ";song"--probably my confusion--so I had to remove a few instruments and then add them back to clear the confusion . . .

Mostly, this was due to reconfiguring the electric guitars, which were SampleTank but I changed them to EWQL ComposerCloudX--Beatles "Ticket to Ride" rhythm guitar and Ministry of Rock 2 heavy baritone guitar . . .

I thought I did it the correct way, but the result was a mess and included "ghost" Instruments; but after about 30 minutes of work, I corrected the confusion . . .

Then I created Audio Tracks for all the Instrument Tracks and recorded the audio . . .

After that was done, I created a Bus for all the instrument Audio Tracks and recorded a stereo submix, which I then used to "duck" the instruments using Pro-C2 (FabFilter Software Instruments), which is my "goto" compressor-limiter for "ducking" . . .

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For reference, the Lead Vocal track is the SideChain input and its volume level determines how much the instruments are lowered in volume level when there is singing . . .

The "ducking" is gentle in this instance, but it helps move the vocals to the front . . .

All told, this took about five hours, and it requires a lot of repetitious clicking on stuff and inputting track names, but so what . . .

If I finish the work on this song in two weeks--working on it several hours a day--this will be good and reasonable . . .

So far, there are 18 virtual instruments, which is about twice as many as I usually have in a Basic Rhythm Section, hence its a lot of stuff to manage for one layer; but Studio One Professional handles it nicely, as does NOTION . . .

Whatever concerns I had about "borrowing" part of the "Dragnet" theme are long gone with this version and it's improved Heavy Metal electric baritone guitar . . .

I changed the snare drum rimshot pattern in the vhoruses to add a bit of syncopation and texture . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:05 pm
I'm getting guitar dangerous now . . . :)

THOUGHTS

I did more fine-tuning of the lead vocal and a bit of producing, but the big news is that I discovered a stellar lead guitar sound . . .

The background is that I wanted to add some lead guitar when the police siren "woof-woofs" are playing in the middle of the verses, but nothing was working for the lead guitar tone I wanted . . .

I tried some things I usually ignore; and one was the Apple Delay unit, which is nice . . .

Then I tried some of the PreSonus effects plug-ins, which is where I discovered Ampire . . .

Ampire has amplifiers and loudspeaker cabinets, so I selected the VOX AC30, which is fantastic! :+1

The lead guitar is from SampleTank (IK Multimedia), but it's not very loud; so I put the White 2A Limiting Amplifier (IK Multimedia) on it and then added the Apple Delay and Presonus Ampire to the effects chain . . .

In some respects, I probably can get the same VOX AC30 electric guitar tone with AmpliTube (IK Multimedia), but AmpliTube is massively processing and system resource heavy, which is not the case with PreSonus Ampire . . .

Ampire recreates the classic VOX AC30 electric guitar tone, and it makes me very happy . . .

EMPHASIS ON THE ONE AND TWO BEATS

When I started this song, one of the criteria was to emphasize the 1 and 2 beats, and after listening to the previous version I noticed the 1-2 emphasis happens clearly in the choruses now that the electric guitars are fine-tuned; but the synthesizer sustaining for several measures hid the 1-2 thing, so I removed the sustained synthesizer notes and now it's easier to hear . . .

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Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:34 am
I added AC30 lead guitar to the choruses for a bit of counterpoint . . . :)

THOUGHTS

In some respects, adding AC30 lead guitar playing counterpoint in the choruses is subtle, but it took a few hours of work to get the phrases perfected . . .

Part of it is based on a bit of guitar I have been practicing daily for months, so it mostly was a matter of determining when to start the phrases, since on real guitar I played them rapidly, one after another . . .

While doing this, I added some notes to the end of the AC30 lead guitar during the police sirens ("woof-woofs") in the middle of the verses and did some fine-tuning of the echoes on the lead vocals . . .

For reference, I am posting YouTube videos for each step based on the idea that this might be helpful for folks who have not yet discovered how to create songs in layers . . .

[NOTE: As always, this is best enjoyed when listening with studio-quality headphones like SONY MDR-7506 headphones (a personal favorite) . . . ]

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I learned how to create songs in layers decades ago before there were personal computers and digital music production applications--when there were mainframe computers and recording studios that used magnetic tape recorders and lots of other real and very expensive stuff . . .

That stuff continues to exist, and there are recording studios that have single microphones which cost more than the fastest computers Apple makes and all the digital music production software available on this planet, but so what . . .

Some of that fancy stuff probably matters, but here in the sound isolation studio I use a $50 MXL condenser microphone, and it's nice for what I need to do . . .

Does it matter if it's a $50,000 legacy Neumann condenser microphone or a $50 MXL condenser microphone?

Perhaps, but when the instruments are drums, Latin percussion, synthesizers, electric bass, and a virtual festival of electric guitars--all virtual--probably not . . . :roll:

The fact of the matter is that when one person is doing everything, then (a) everything tends to be done one thing at a time and (b) songs are created in layers, where each layer is a set or group of things done one at a time . . .

I think there probably are composers who can commit everything to paper without needing to hear the music--or at least needing only a piano--but it doesn't work that way here in the sound isolation studio, primarily because I do nearly everything "by ear", along with a bit of what I suppose is music theory to resolve dilemmas or to devise a way to fit notes and phrases into smaller or larger spaces, which is the reason the AC30 lead guitar in the choruses is a bit of a mirror image for the ending notes rather than simply copying the same thing twice . . .

The first set has ending notes {C, B, A} but repeating it is too repetitious and doesn't fit with the other stuff; so I reversed it to {B, C, A}, even though it's more of a "flip" than a true reverse . . .

Explained another way, it's using a bit of geometry, and this usually requires a bit of listening . . .

This is a technique from Joseph Schillinger's System of Musical Composition (SoMC), and it's very useful because it's logical, geometric, and sounds good . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

P. S. This layer is almost done; so when it's consolidated--instruments recorded to Audio Tracks and submixed, which makes a new set of Instrument Tracks available--for the next layer I am pondering a "Telstar" synthesizer, "Apache" reverb guitar, Realivox Blue (RealiTone) for some virtual female soprano, and perhaps some random "noises" here and there . . .

And I downloaded the EWQL ComposerCloudX "Hollywood Pop Brass" in case I decide to add a horn section, perhaps in the styles of Ricki Martin and David Bisbal, which is fabulous . . .

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Fabulous! :+1

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:57 am
I started a new layer and added a horn section . . . :)

THOUGHTS

I consolidated the Basic Rhythm Section and did a submix, followed by starting a new layer . . .

I added a horn section using EWQL ComposerCloudX "Hollywood Pop Brass" and discovered there were some preset phrases that fit the AC30 lead guitar phrases, which maps to only needing one note for most of the horn section phrases . . .

Serendipity is good . . . :+1

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For most of the chorus horns, I used single notes since there were no obvious presets, which was easy to do since I knew what I wanted the horns to play, although the last measure of each chorus required some fine-tuning due to the syncopation of the the other instruments and took about an hour to find a phrase that works . . .

I did a bit of producing, as well and generally adjusted the volume levels of the vocals, instruments, and horn section . . .

The horn section required three instances of EWQL Play, since at present I am not messing with MULTIS, which is practical because it's simple . . .

This is the second layer, and it's a new Studio One Professional ".song" but the same NOTION score, although with a new version . . .

I do it this way so I can go backward if something needs to be revised; but usually I prefer to go forward . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:14 pm
I added two-measure pickup rhythms to the start of each chorus . . . :)

THOUGHTS

The transitions to the choruses were too abrupt, so I added two measures of "Here it comes!" drums and AC30 lead guitar . . .

There were two ways to do this, where one way was to revisit the Basic Rhythm Section, but that's a bit of work; so after thinking about it, I realized that there are only a few instruments in the relevant measures, so instead of revisiting the previous iteration, I did some splicing and moving, followed by adding the required Instrument Tracks and doing it, which took approximately five hours, but so what . . .

Addictive Drums (XLN Audio) is working now, so I used the big kick drum with a deep bass subsonic woofer extension. It has better snare drum rimshots, too . . .

Image
Surf Classic Drumkit

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Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:27 pm
I added a Hammond B3 and some additional horn section phrases . . . :)

THOUGHTS

The two-meaasure pickup to the choruses was too clean and crisp, so I added a Hammond B3 organ to it and pumped the kick drum . . .

And I added more horn section phrases to the verses and did some producing and fine-tuning . . .

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Next on the schedule is adding some Realivox Blue (RealiTone), my "goto" virtual soprano . . .

Image

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:33 am
My focus for the past few days has been on air-conditioning . . . :)

THOUGHTS

The LG air-conditioner I ordered arrived on Monday, and I installed it last night . . .

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The installation is not finished, but it's cool here in the sound isolation studio . . .

Hooray! :+1

I plan to use very nice 1x4 and 1x6 pine trim boards from New Zealand to finish the installation, but for now I used cardboard on the other side of the sound isolation studio wall . . .

[NOTE: The pine trim boards are leftover from a different project, so I saved them. Very expensive but nice. As I recall, a 1x4 six feet long was about $25, so not inexpensive; but they needed to be as perfect as possible . . . ]

I made the rough opening larger than "normal", because it's easier to lift the air-conditioner in place the first time . . .

As you might be able to determine from the photos, this is one of the reasons installation and usage guides have billions of pages of legal disclaimers and "don't do this" warnings . . .

In some respects, even a group of stupid people would say, "that's really stupid" . . . :P

Not shown is the power cord connected to an extension cord, but so what . . .

I wired the house, and I use 12-gauge grounded wires, and the circuits are 20-amp . . .

The extension cord is 12-gauge grounded, and this is fine . . .

Most people use 14-gauge or 16-gauge extension cords, and most home outlets are wired with 14-gauge wire and are 15-amps . . .

A 14-gauge or 16-gauge extension cord will burn-out a saw motor; but a 100 ft. 12-guage grounded extension cord connected to a 20-amp circuit (also 12-gauge grounded) will not burn-out a saw motor . . .

It's also a bit "non-standard" to install a window air-conditioner inside the house between two adjacent walls, with the front inside a sound isolation studio that is 12' long by 6' wide and 7' tall, but so what . . .

I have a "squirrel cage" blower in the outer room to exhaust the hot air into an adjacent hallway, where it's picked-up by the fan for the central air-handler . . .

[NOTE: I run the air-handler fan 24x7, but I stopped running the air-conditioner and heater several years ago, because it costs too much. It saves at least $250 a month in summer, and probably twice that much in winter (heat pump with electric auxiliary heating unit, which costs about $1 an hour to run, so do the arithmetic). In winter I wear layers of warm clothes and use an electric sleeping blanket; but in summer all I can do is wear underpants and sit in front of fans--until now, since it's very cool in the sound isolation studio . . . ]

I'm not going to leave the LG air-conditioner running constantly, but when I'm in the sound isolation studio, it's ON . . .

Yesterday, it was like a Swedish sauna in the sound isolation studio; but now it's cool and very nice . . .

So, after I rest a while, it's back to music, which probably will map to adding some Realivox Blue (RealiTone)--my "goto" virtual female soprano--and some other instruments, as well . . .

Lots of FUN!

P. S. Before the LG air-conditioner, the Apple 30" Cinema HD Display was getting very hot, but now after running eight or so hours with the air-conditioner, it's cool to the touch, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :+1

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!

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