New Yamaha CP1 – Could this be the one?

January 20th, 2010

Was it just me, or did any of you feel that 2009 was uneventful in terms of new technology introductions? It seems that the tide may be turning, however, as we’ve just concluded the NAMM show here in Southern California.

For me, the new Yamaha CP1 is amongst the most exciting product announcements, and I felt compelled to share what I’ve found to date given that so many of my readers are keyboard aficionados!   Hell, we’ve been carrying on a wonderful discussion about the Roland GX for nearly two years!

Yamaha CP1

The new CP1 is the flagship “no compromise” model of the newly released CP line. The early read would indicate that this could possibly be the best of all worlds – latest acoustic modeling technology putting the sounds on par with the Roland V-Piano, a brand new killer action called NW-STAGE with real wooden keys putting the authenticity of the action on par with the Kawai MP8, and just enough multi-zone midi control to make it equally versatile on stage and in studio like the Roland RD700GX… Could it be possible?

I’m very open to the possibility and can’t wait to try one out – the street price appears to be approximately $5,000 (USD) which is far from trivial, but given the specifications, not surprising and slightly under the Roland V-Piano. What strikes me about the CP1 (vs. the V-Piano) is that it appears to be a bit more versatile in the MIDI realm. The V-Piano is sorely lacking in terms of MIDI control and it’s a huge heavy beast. The CP1 is much tidier, weighs nearly 20lbs less, and has an acceptable range of MIDI controls (4 zones; 2 internal, 2 external).

My take on the Mac vs. PC debate for Music

September 2nd, 2009

First, my apologies for being MIA with respect to posting frequency of late.  Suffice it to say that I’ve been fairly busy the past few months, and I’ve neither had the time nor proper mindset for my music mistress…  So, I’ve been using this “time out” to deeply consider my options for migrating my studio onto (one of) the looming 64-bit platform choices: Windows 7 vs. Mac OSX (Snow Leopard 10.6 and beyond).   While I personally feel that the first few years of stable 64-bit computing will provide an evolutionary (vs. revolutionary) improvement, there is still enough benefit to make the move worthwhile.  Besides, if you’ve like me, and have been patiently hanging around in Windows XP, your hardware is likely approaching its end of life.   Therefore, you’re next upgrade will likely dip your toe into 64-bit waters ready or not!

Given then that a hardware upgrade is in many of our futures, it’s understandable that PC users are more tempted than ever to switch to a Mac.

Apple has clearly leveled the playing field in terms of price-performance, and continues to garner market share while Microsoft has only recently acknowledged its Windows Vista debacle.   As luck would have it, I was forced into this decision recently with my business machine, and felt what better way to help my dilemma than give the Mac a try in my work life first – realizing that a laptop migration is far less complex than a music studio retrofit!  So I made the switch to a Macbook Pro for business, and most recently upgraded to Snow Leopard (Mac OSX 10.6) and couldn’t be happier.  Without question – the Mac is a superior piece of kit with an unmatched price-performance ratio.


So why not do the same for my music studio?   Well, I’m thinking about it! But as of now, I view these as very different scenarios.  For work, mobility and multi-tasking are extremely important to me.   And, with desktop virtualization, I can have the best of both worlds on the Mac.  In the studio, my workflow mostly centers around a single application, my DAW.  I require no mobility because I choose not to take my music on the road and my collaboration with other musicians is done over the Internet.

For me, switching to the Mac for music would be justified only if driven by a change of DAW software.  Why?  Because most leading DAW applications are, unfortunately, tied to either the Mac or Windows platform.   For better or for worse, that’s one of the reasons why I opted for Cubase many moons ago; Cubase is one of few supported on both.   Whether professional or amateur, we invest heavily in our DAW relationship; and like any long-term relationship, it ain’t always pretty.   Regardless of your choice, you’ve likely contemplated greener pastures along the way, but I believe a “better solution” today ultimately morphs into “different challenges” tomorrow.

I find it helpful to pose this question: Would a Mac (and/or alternate DAW) help me make better music or make music better?

Forcing that perspective has kept me grounded – and not become distracted by an endless pursuit of perfect technology.  So for all the accolades I can now officially bestow upon the Mac, it’s neither helped me to write a good post, nor has it made it easier to write.  Would it be any different with music?   Or should I say, contribute enough improvement to justify the time and investment to switch?   In my opinion way too much energy is expended upon senseless debate of superior tool or platform.   It’s simply not a binary question; the answer is extremely situational and highly dependent on your workflow and what you’re trying to accomplish.  So until someone can prove to me that the choice of platform materially affects the quality of the end-product, the music, I’m going to do my best to stay grounded with regards to my studio technology refresh.   What are your thoughts?

Last of my remixes with Mischief

May 31st, 2009

It’s taken some time, but I’ve finally completed the remix work on the prior tunes by replacing the “synthesized” brass and winds with real thing.  Once again, many thanks to Danny Flam and!

This is Mischief – the very first tune written way back in early 2006… Must admit, it’s interesting to work on the old stuff because so much has changed in my technique and approach since then – I’d like to think for the better.  So our next step is to send the last three tunes off to Mastering and then they’ll be no excuse for not writing NEW MUSIC…

New music has been slow going as of late as the day job has been getting in the way… but as with anything, absence makes the heart grow fonder so I’m sincerely looking forward to crafting some of the many riffs I have going in the background into something cohesive.   In other words, more to follow, and yes – you can hold me to that!

I am a professional hobbyist when it comes to this.   Though my relationship with the piano began at a young age, I only recently pulled off the gloves to rekindle it and haven’t looked back since.   This was partly inspired by huge advancements in music production technology now available to all  – and from the comfort and privacy of your home!   I’ve never subscribed much to job titles so I won’t attempt to label my genre.  Besides, composing music mirrors life in that there are really only two ways to write a song: your way, and the wrong way. 

Thank you for your interest and encouragement.