Yes, yes, I know. I have been a very negligent blogger. I don’t want to say it’s been
a while since I posted hereabouts, but…well, it probably wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone if the header image changed to “rolling tumbleweeds.”
And no, my recent silence has not had anything to do with the Leafs’ early season struggles. My inconstancy would better be blamed on a prolonged period of fiddling about with various warring gadgets in Mission Control. Although some might describe what I’ve been doing as an exercise in amateur audio engineering, to me it feels more like I’ve been involved in an extended diplomatic mission to bring peace to the electronic devices gathered in my little high-tech office/studio/closet/electricity sink/rabbit warren.
The Dell XPS 700, for example, occupies a small plot of real estate not far from the Alesis MultiMix 16 USB 2.0 mixer. This mixer is a piece of equipment that is designed to take audio inputs (from microphones, guitars, tape decks, iPods, keyboards, etc.) and provide an audio signal that can be amplified through conventional means, or captured via USB in a computer running the appropriate software. It’s an integral part of my home digital audio workstation setup.
The digital and the audio, however, were not previously getting along that well. The mixer, of course, shared deep cultural ties (not to mention a pair of output cables) with its northern neighbour, the Behringer Europower EP2500 power amp. The amp is a device itself strongly allied (via a couple of 30′ cables) to a stacked pair of Elite loudspeaker cabinets. Being so closely affiliated with powerful straight-up sound reinforcement equipment seemed to provide the Alesis mixer with little incentive to cross the cultural divide and open lines of communication with its digital neighbour to the west, the Dell computer. I had tried to bridge the gap with a USB cable from time to time, but playback filled with clicks indicative of a sampling rate mismatch and some generally unpredictable routing and playback results made it clear that, although physically connected, the two solitudes were not communicating. Someone was going to have to actively intervene in the long-standing petty dispute being waged between these two regional powers. Thus began my effort to bring peace and co-operation to this region.