Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Ideal iTunes equalizer settings

I was nerding out audiophile-style tonight, and came across this discussion of optimal iTunes equalizer settings. Buried in the comments section, an audio engineer discussed the benefits of "subtractive filtering". I followed his advice and was definitely pleased with the results. Try it for yourself - but remember, what sounds good to you is ultimately what's most important. If you have the prowess, here's a handy Applescript you can run to create the settings.

The comment of note:

As an audio engineer and producer with 18 years of experience in the field working in some of the 'finest studios in the world', I'm confident in saying that this approach is backwards.

Equalizers in both the analog and digital realm do subtractive filtering far better than additive filtering. When pulling the EQ down you are not creating the additive comb-filtering necessary to boost frequencies that do not already exist, so using this kind of approach is leaves more of the original audio intact and does not add as many artifacts to the signal.

Of course an FFT digital EQ can overcome this (which is why the Weiss products are so expensive but popular), but iTunes most certainly does not hog the processor by using FFT algorithms for it's EQ.

What would be more appropriate, and also avoid unnecessary distortion, is to do all of those adjustments subtractively, then making up the gain difference with the slider at the left. This is why the slider on the left exists, in case you were wondering.

Like this (-8, -5, -2, -4, -5, -6, -4, -2, 0, -3), if my math is correct. Then just boost the overall gain at the left to make up the difference.

I'm not suggesting this will sound "better" to you, but it will certainly be a cleaner way to use the EQ.

Phil Spector probably has a better idea of the ideal EQ settings.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ween - Caesar

Attn. people I know that are Ween fans: A few months ago Dean/Mickey released these demos from the Quebec recording sessions (at the time the album was going to be called "Caesar"). I've been listening to them over and over and they are excellent. You can download them here:

Some more info that popped up on the Ween forum (you will need to label the tracks yourself)

Deaner posted these on facebook on August 11, 2011. He had the files on chocodog but it got bombarded, so he fb messaged me and asked me to call him. I told him about megaupload (and he agreed that it is much faster and better than yousendit) and he told me to "do the dirty work" and post it in the right places. I also asked him when exactly these were recorded. And he told me. We also talked about Bootsy Collins and my blog, which you should be checking out if you like funk music:

Special thanks to Deaner for being cool as shit and giving his fans special treats like this. We are truly spoiled.

- RandyB

Summer 2001 to Spring 2003
"Caesar Demos"

Disc One:

01. Chocolate Town

02. Pot Luck

03. Ooh Vah Lah

04. So Many People In The Neighborhood

05. Linda (The Sexy Dancer)

06. That Man (From The Flatland)

07. Happy Colored Marbles

08. Hey There Fancypants

09. If You Could Save Yourself (You'd Save Us All)

10. It's Gonna Be A Long Night

11. Oh My Little Country Cottage

12. Among His Tribe

13. Transdermal Celebration

14. Captain

15. Tried & True

16. I Fell In Love Today

Disc Two:

01. I Don't Want It

02 Ambrosia Parsley

03. Zoloft

04. Love Come Down (recorded on 9-11-01)

05. Alcan Road

06. Don't Let The Moon Catch You Cryin'

07. You Can Go Shit In Your Hat (Matt)

08. Someday

09. She Caught My Fancy

10. Eulogy For David Anderson

11. Things You Already Know

12. Hello Johnny

13. I'm Wide Open

Notes from Deaner:

ween-caesar (we were calling this record that until the last moment when we decided to change the title to "quebec")

well what can i say about this here, lemme see. the first thing that comes to mind is that all the while we were doing this we still had claude coleman on drums, he eventually got into a major car wreck and wasn't around when it finally came time to make the "real" record. instead the drum duties fell on me, josh freese, and sim cain for a couple of tunes. almost all of this was recorded at our beach house in holgate, nj onto 16 track tape. a tiny bit of it was recorded in the garage behind aaron's house in pt. pleasant, pa. some of it was recorded in the spare bedroom of my house in new hope. most of the tunes are just me and aaron, with the two of us playing everything, with me on drums. the songs with claude, dave, and glenn are pretty obvious. on just a few tunes we took what you hear here and cleaned them up and had andrew weiss mix them for the record after some overdubs. dave sings on "it's gonna be a long night", this was days before he had surgery to remove polyps in his throat and his voice was really rough so we figured he was the guy for the job. This isn't even all of the tunes that we ended up choosing from, just the ones i happened to burn to cd before we drove home from the beach every week. hope you dig it for what it is.

-mickey (August 11, 2011)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

dot COM

I recently registered, which now redirects to this fantastically dormant blog. Recently, I've been working on Butchie Pantsdown 2, the sequel to my epic 2004 documentary of my college years. Needless to say, my post-college years aren't quite as frequently exciting, but there should be a few classic bits nonetheless. Here's a small preview, a clip from one of many late night jam sessions at my old pad, the legendary Country Livin':

This features my old bandmate, Mike Atari, and housemate Bobby Stuntcock aka DJ Rob. For some excellent old-school Jersey rock sounds, heck out some of their past bands' work:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Milky's Shopping Tips

It's been a while since the last 1% Blog post. To make up for lost time, here's some knowledge you might actually find helpful. I've been honing my frugality chops for the last few years, so allow me to drop some grocery store shopping knowledge on yo' ass.

#1 - When comparing the prices of two products, look at the unit cost.

This is shopping 101 right here, folks. Here's an easy example using olive oil:

The orange square to the left of the price is showing you how much you'd be paying for a gallon of olive oil at the current purchase price. You'll pay less now for the smaller bottle of olive oil ($6.69 for 16.9 oz), but you're getting a much better rate with the big can ($24.49 for 104 oz) Obviously, buying olive oil in bulk is the way to go, since you're always going to need it, and it doesn't go bad. You're saving at a rate of almost $20/gallon. Every product in the supermarket should show you the unit price, and similar products will always use the same measuring standard. Fer instance, toilet paper and paper towls will use the unit price "per 100 sheets". There are some remarkable differences, but you have to account for quality as well. The trick is to find the best quality product for the lowest unit price.

#2 - When buying packaged meat, vegetables or baked goods, look for the "packed on" date.

Meats, vegetables, and most baked goods are usually packed at the supermarket and can be left on the shelves for days. You obviously want the freshest food, so look for the most recent "packed on" date. Grocers will always put the oldest stuff up front to get rid of it quicker, so you might have to dig around to find the freshies.

#3 - You almost never have to "buy x for $x"

This is usually the old "Buy 10 for $10" or "Buy 3 for $5". What the grocer is not telling you is that you can buy just one item and get it at the same price you would if you bought 10. So, for example, Stop n' Shop says "Buy 10 bags of Doritos for $10", you can buy one and get it for $1. Supermarkets are TRICKY BASTARDS. Look for the fine print: the deal will always specify if you actually need to "Buy 10 for $10" by stating "must buy ten".

#4 - 85% of supermarket circulars are merely showing you the usual price.

Not everything in the supermarket circular is "on sale". Companies pay to have their items listed in the circular, and they are usually at the price you would normally find them at. Look for "with club card" (or something similar) next to the price for the items that are actually on sale. Of course, the "Buy One Get One" deals are the holy grail for deal-seekers, so if any of those items interest you, be sure to stock up while you can.

And finally,

#5 - The easiest way to save money is to not spend it.

Don't buy what you don't need. Don't buy something you otherwise wouldn't consider just because it's on sale. Don't shop when you're hungry (and chew on some sugarless gum). Consider each purchase - "do I really need this?" "will I actually eat all of this?" This takes patience and diligence, but it's your #1 coupon.

Friday, October 8, 2010

What is "Epic"?

11:28 AM
me: there are lesbians everywhere

but not the good kind
11:29 AM
crusty old lesbians from the 70s
11:30 AM
Paul: where
11:32 AM
me: in my building

on my floor
11:33 AM
how was the rest of jury dutty

11:34 AM
Paul: i got let out early

me: nice
19 minutes
11:54 AM
me: whats the plan for tonight

what time should we get to hanks

Paul: ehhhh christ

figure it out later

me: like 9ish
11:55 AM
when does the fun go on

Paul: like 11
11:58 AM
me: can I just show up at 11
11:59 AM
or 10.55

ive got video games to play

Paul: i know you do
25 minutes
12:24 PM
Paul: oh man so i never listened to semi precious weapons until i heard this song on radio last night

dont get mad at me cause i look better in your party dress
12:25 PM
folllowed by interview where they are now going on tour with gaga


bullshit music
12:28 PM
me: but you liked tha tik tok song
12:32 PM
Paul: i dont like it

i think she should be put down
12:33 PM
i like to do my stupid dance to it thogh

my stupid dance is timeless and can not be held accountable for the bad music that it comes out to

me: ahh

of couse


cant type today, got up too early
12:34 PM
are semi precious weapons gay

they look like a really bad version of the scissor sisters doing a really bad version of manhattan indie rock
12:39 PM
Paul: its really bad

me: lady gaga should write a couple of decent songs for them too
12:40 PM
Paul: ugh

i forgot how much you love over privaliged nyu kids in the theater relm
12:41 PM
me: the way you and your gay roommates revere madonna is the way this generation reveres lady gaga
12:42 PM
its not about being an nyu theatre student, its that she writes epic fuckin' songs that slay every gay disco on the planet

and I gotta respect that
12:43 PM
I'd think you would too
12:47 PM
Paul: epic?
12:48 PM
poker face is now epic



me: ummm... yes and yes

I would say songs that sit at number 1 for weeks on end would be considered epic

especially in this era
12:50 PM
you havent partied with the kids in a while, its ok... you dont have to like it, but give credit where credit is due
12:52 PM
Paul: ehhhhh

i do

and i dont think that is it

is she a good performer

12:53 PM
me: actually, I would disagree there

Paul: songs are not her being good

its producers and beats

and she says the same shitty words over and over

i cant believe you would say epic
12:54 PM
woudl you call it phenominal
12:55 PM
me: yes I would

poker face was in the top 40 for 83 weeks
12:56 PM
almost a year and a half

how can you say that isn't an epic song

what would you define as an "epic song"

Paul: just because people that rock out withthat stars of jersey shore do shots to it makes it epic?

i would say some pavement songs are epic and they were never #1

me: pavement songs are not epic

Paul: just because all these idiots like its epic
12:58 PM
me: you should ask dugger if he likes lady gaga

I think he'd say yes

Paul: why does that matter
12:59 PM
me: well, dugger's not one of those "idiots", right

Paul: ok good for him he also listened to stairway to heave 5 times in a row


me: ok, so something is only epic if paul sweedlund likes it and says so

is that what youre saying

Paul: i dont live or die by the gays musical tastes
1:00 PM
no but what your saying is because every greased up guido in a club likes it its epic

me: yes, those people like it, but theyre not the only ones

Paul: are the killers epic
1:01 PM
me: theyve written some epic songs, yes

Paul: so slick produced regurgitated crap is now epic

me: no

you act like slick production hasn't been around for at least 30 years

Paul: if you had never met annie would your answers be the same


me: yes

Paul: NO!

you would rip on the killers and conway all day long and you know it
1:02 PM
me: ive Dj'd enough parties and karaoke nights to know better

Paul: theyt are good they are whats out now and its popular but to put them up as the new saints of music is stupid

gaga and killers will not stand test of time
1:03 PM
me: my personal opinion on the killers music might have changed, but not the idea that they have written epic songs

ok maybe our definitions of whats epic is what is off here
1:04 PM
is "don't stop believing" an epic song

to you

Paul: ugh i guess so then in that case you are correct
1:05 PM
me: ok, it's an epic song because why... it's insanely popular, you can play it almost anywhere and a large percentage of people will react positively to it

Paul: i was focused on epic as being a great arrangment with a song that builds and then releases and makes you feel things

i dont think any one feels poker face

me: thats absolutely wrong

Paul: is dogs epic?
1:06 PM
20 minutes long

not a hit

me: epically long, yes

Paul: but id say it sure as fuck is epic

so your saying dogs is epic/


me: not in the definition of what im trying to argue here

Paul: right
1:07 PM
well that was the definition i was arguing

what your saying is more of a cultural event

me: something that defines the era, things that are insanely popular and cross over into many groups of people and tastes
1:08 PM
such songs are rare

the killers and lady gaga have both written them

they will stand the test of time

no doubt in my mind

Paul: but is epic the right word

me: yes
1:09 PM
Paul: very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary

me: yes

how many artists come to connect with so many people, like, a miniscule amount
1:10 PM
and people act like its just "slick production"... I know you're smart enough to realize how many other people are trying to do the same exact thing
1:11 PM
lady gaga has sold out every arena on the planet multiple times over in the last few years... and it's not because she wears goofy outfits and is some sort of "performance artist"
1:12 PM
its because she's written not one, but several songs that resonate so hard with so many people
1:13 PM
songs that hold up to repeated listenings, over and over and over

not to you or me, but there were lots of old folks saying the same thing about the beatles way back when
1:14 PM
im making an observational evaluation of what is "epic"... not my own dumb personal taste