Hard at Work

“DJ Dan” is back: after getting myself a beautiful M-Audio Axiom 61 keyboard, I’ve returned to recording music.

Axiom 61

After the move, I will be organizing my room such that it is a studio before anything else, so that I can truly focus on making music, without clutter and distraction.

Keyboard Roll

These are the results of my hard labour: a full 19″ screen worth of tracks.

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Thursday, February 18th, 2010 music No Comments

Rockband Drums with Reason

The other day, I figured I should try to hook up my playstation 2 Rockband drums to my computer, to use with Reason, so that when I record my drum tracks, I can use something that actually looks similar to a drum set, instead of a keyboard. The keyboard is good for certain off-beat timed riffs, but the real drums are better for rhythm, and are more satisfying to play.

I spent plenty of time on the internet, and tried out one other method before finding this one that works the best so far. The first one I tried was something like this: Using Joy2Key, I converted the Drum Kit’s button presses to keyboard keys. Then, because Reason doesn’t support using a computer keyboard to play notes, I used another program, Live Midi Keyboard which then interpreted computer keyboard presses as not presses on an onscreen piano. Then, using MidiYokeNT, I created a virtual MIDI interface, allowing Live MIDI Keyboard to output to a virtual MIDI cable, and I set Reason to accept input from this virtual input. This worked, but with two major flaws:

  1. Major latency issues (too many conversion steps, keyboard repeat delay problems).
  2. Cannot hit two notes at the same time. Probably has to do with keyboard limitations.

Now, I have a solution that actually works, and though there still is a bit of lag, it is much better than the last setup. Unfortunately, real time playing is very difficult, requiring you to play the note before it is supposed to be heard. But, when I record music, just lowering the BPM does the trick.

The post that showed me this setup is here. It uses two pieces of software, one, MIDI Yoke NT, and another, called Rejoice. Rejoice converts the joystick signals to midi, allowing assignable notes, volumes, delays, and velocities (however, I don’t believe the program is velocity sensitive, as the controller doesn’t seem to be either).

I have it hooked up, and it makes recording music so much more fun and intuitive. Playing the music on an instrument that resembles the real thing makes coming up with a new riff a lot easier, and it requires pushing yourself to actually make it sound good. Does anyone else have a better setup, with no latency, for Windows? I found one for Mac OS X with no latency, but, that’s Mac, not PC.

Comments about Windows 7

I received a comment below from someone who installed Rejoice on his Windows 7 machine. I wrote this article while using Windows XP, but when I switched to 7 I noticed the same issue he is having – missing ocx files. You can fix this by locating the missing files, and copying them into your Program Files\Rejoice folder. I am hosting a zip with all the files here.

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Saturday, November 14th, 2009 computers, music, projects, software 4 Comments


Hello all,

Over the last few days I have again begun working on my musical compositions. So far, I have a good half-dozen songs that are near ready for publication (this is around 2 years of work, mind you, not overnight). The idea and goal is to publish my first set of around a dozen songs in an album entitled “Rhythmind”. Naturally, it is a compound word meant to relate rhythm and mind, and to hopefully convey the connection and importance of both. Below is a low bit-rate version of a song I began only last Wednesday, but that is already coming along quite well!

Cityrise – MP3 (64kbit) – Embedded below

To record my music, I use Reason as the central program.

For those not familiar, Reason is essentially a virtual rack, with multiple virtual tools for recording music. As a physical recording studio would have a rack-mounted mixer (or even more commonly a desktop model), Reason has a virtual mixer, with virtual wires, allowing for control of audio parameters. Reason offers both sampled and synthetic instruments, which can be controlled by a MIDI keyboard controller. This is my setup, using either a Peavy DPM-C8 Performance Controller or my Roland D-20 Synthesizer keyboard. All the music itself is crafted by me.

My Workstation

My Workstation

My next post should be about the FM Radio Transmitter I assembled in my course. So far, I’ve tested the range to be about 2 to 2.5 houses down my street (when the transmitter is inside, at my front door). Not bad!

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Sunday, October 18th, 2009 electronics, music, software No Comments