iMac’s Back, Alright!

It's big, it's bright, it's at the right height!

The Beast is Back! After a six month sabbatical, my white iMac is finally back where it belongs, front and centre on my desk. It succumbed to the notorious Swollen Capacitor Syndrome last September, a costly repair that I had to put off due to lack of funds until last month. After four weeks at the menders, it’s great to have it back, but…. all is not quite what it seems.
A big ‘thanks dude’ is due to Carl Folker at MacLogics in Peterborough, who after discovering that my old friend was ultimately beyond repair, substituted a newer Intel machine in place of my original G5 unit, cloned my 200GB’s of data off my hard drive, reformatted it so it would work properly in the new machine, then cloned it all back. So this iMac looks and feels exactly like my old machine, except it’s faster, has more RAM, and since it has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor under the hood, it can now run OS X 10.7 Lion. Result! The old machine had been stuck at OS X 10.5 Leopard due to its G5 processor, and when I mentioned that my Leopard Install DVD had been stuck in the original machine’s optical drive, Carl even fished it out and dropped it off at my house personally!

It’s big, it’s bright, it’s at the right height!
Ergonomically the return of Big White is a huge bonus. My upper vertebrae and my white Macbook have both been feeling the strain of the laptop taking on everything I could throw at it recently, soaking up reviews of DAW’s like Cubase 6.5 and massive sample libraries like Sonokinetic Vivace, along with huge plug-ins like AudioEase’s Altiverb 7 convolution reverb. My trusty MacBook has helped me produce countless tutorials and features on a weekly basis, not to mention getting this blog up and running. Now that its hard drive has only 6GB of free space left, I think it might be time to let its bigger brother take the strain for a while!

If you have a mitherly Mac that needs cheering up, give Carl a ring on 01733 702317 or contact


Computer Music Issue 177 – 7 pages this month!

The latest issue of Computer Music magazine, issue 177, hit the shelves earlier this week, and in this one I’ve managed a personal best total of 7 pages. Two of them are the aforementioned review of Steinberg’s awesome Cubase 6.5 DAW package. As a Cubase user from the old school, I had a great time getting re-acquainted with this latest version. It was a bit like catching up with an old friend after 10 years’ not speaking to find that they’d taken up bodybuilding, had three facelifts and a hair transplant. To find out how we got on, check out the review on page 84.

See ya later, arpeggiator
My main contribution to this issue is the Arp Attack! feature starting on page 42. Five pages of step-by-step tutorials on how to construct and use arpeggios, from creating them from scratch by hand in a piano roll editor to generating them with the purpose-built arpeggiators found in most DAWs. You’ll also find some audio examples on the cover DVD.
To see more, nip down to your newsagent and pick up a copy today!

Retrologue Cabin: My unofficial Cubase 6.5 demo

Q: What do you get when you combine Cubase 6.5, a 4-year old white MacBook, 6 hours, 18 instances of Retrologue, LoopMash2 and a splash of DJ-EQ? A: This!

As you’ll know if you’ve read the post below, I spent last weekend reviewing Steinberg’s new audio production package Cubase 6.5. One of the main additions in this version is a brute of a soft synth called Retrologue, a dual-oscillator noisemonster full of great virtual analogue sounds. I put this demo together in just six hours using a selection of its presets, so if you want to hear what it sounds like, have a listen!

Such a joy to be using Cubase again! If I close my eyes and squint a bit I could be on my old Atari 1040ST. Well, not really, but on some level, it still feels the same as it did years ago, only much, much better.

Steinberg Releases Cubase 6.5

German sequencer kings Steinberg yesterday announced a sizeable update to their flagship Cubase Digital Audio Workstation software. Incorporating two substantial and impressive-looking new software synths (Retrologue and Padshop), new plug-ins (DJ EQ and MorphFilter), new comping and warping tools, FLAC file format support and an update to the VST Amp Rack guitar amp emulation system, Cubase 6.5 also includes 64-bit support and the ability to export mixes directly to SoundCloud. It’s available as a £43 upgrade from previous versions of Cubase, or can be purchased outright for a shade over £500. For more info on what’s new, check out
I’m a big fan of the original Cubase as it appeared on the Atari in the early 90’s, and I’ve never since found a sequencer that has surpassed it in terms of breadth of features and ease of use – and I’ve tried just about everything out there over the years.
I’ve been asked by Computer Music magazine to review this newest release over the weekend, so I’m really looking forward to putting this latest version of my old friend through its paces. Will it be like slipping on an old pair of shoes with new soles and laces? Or will I get bunions and blisters within the first few hours? Watch this space…