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December 15, 08

MusicReader Mac OS X version + Windows v. 2.3 + AirTurn = Happy Musicians ;)

The developers of my new music reading program of choice, MusicReader, has just announced the release of their latest version upgrades for Mac OS X and v. 2.3 for Windows. I can already attest to the improved inking capabilities for the Windows version, as well as a number of under-the-hood fixes and other improvements. In addition, the MusicReader store is now offering the AirTurn line of wireless page turner products! Pretty cool, eh?

You can view a short 3 minute video review of MusicReader here:



My new favorite feature of MusicReader is its ability to zoom the music to half a page at a time while retaining the ability to turn pages without staff overruns or clipping. I gave my first public performance this past Saturday night using the half-page view on my ordinary, non-tablet HP laptop together with my AirTurn page turner, and i have to say it was a revelatory experience both for myself and the audience! I've been blessed with excellent vision, but even my eyes were soooo much happier to not have to squint so much to see the notes (and my teeny weeny eyes don't leave much room for squinting! LOL!)

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December 02, 08

Beyond Paper and the launch of my new store!

Working past programming glitches (one of which involved me nearly breaking the entire online storefront from poking around the css templates like a curious cat!), banking and shipping snafus (the shipping option in the store is still a little wonky - as a result, we're putting a flat $7.50 rate for all orders this week), we somehow managed to squeak in the launch of our new store at www.AirTurn.com officially last night.

AirTurn's mission is to create and market technologies that enhance the study, practice, and performance of music. Our first product is something we actually developed ourselves from scratch: a wireless page-turning transmitter, the AT-104!

If you'll recall from my 1st anniversary video, i did a basic overview of Tablet PC's for musicians. One major pitfall was the fact that - at the time - there weren't any really decent page turning pedal options available. The ones i was using at the time were built with noisy reed switches that gave an audible click each time you pressed them, making them difficult to use in recording sessions:

Music Meets Tech #23: Tablet PC's for Musicians


I've been dreaming about decent wireless page turning pedals for quite some time, but the results were disappointing to say the least. I could never have imagined that one day i'd be actually involved in developing my own models!

As regular readers of this blog know, i've been a paperless musician in practice and performance, having used Tablet PC's as my primary music reader/library device for several years now - since 2002, to be exact (yeow! That long already?? My, how time flies!!). During that whole time i've been involved with various quests for the perfect page turning pedal - everything from my old 3-button X-Keys programmable pedal -



- to my clickity Delcom Engineering Pedal -


- to my adventures trying to create Sculpey ramp for the use of a Griffin Powermate as a footswitch! (never was reliable enough to feel 100% comfortable with the Powermate, unfortunately...)



Fun times...fun times...LOL

Here's a quick 1 minute overview of the AT-104 wireless page turning transmitter. The beautiful thing about this device is the fact that it's plug-and-play - no software to install (and carefully program and disengage when not in use, unlike the software needed for the Delcom Engineering pedal - a nightmare to deal with if you ever accidentally removed the USB cable without shutting the driver down first!) and wireless in operation (no need to lug around and uncoil an unsightly cable next to the piano in performance! YES!!):



In addition to its simplicity, the AT-104 is very flexible to configure. You can actually attach a variety of footswitches and pedals, giving you the option to have either a single or double pedal setup for uni or bi-directional page turns. We have an account with Roland to offer 3 types of pedals that can be bundled with the AT-104. You can also see a ">list of compatible pedals from other manufacturers on our website.

If you get a chance, please visit the store! We've developed a whole bunch of resources on the website, ranging from webinars with tutorial videos and screencasts, to a resources page that contains an extensive list of online sheet music vendors (and a TON of open source/free music sites!) More videos and tutorials will be forthcoming soon!


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December 21, 07

What i want for Christmas...a Wii-mote VR Head Tracking System

This had me bouncing up and down in my chair like a giddy schoolboy, even dragging my poor wife out of bed to behold this amazing spectacle of video game possibilities:



Johnny Chung Lee is my new idol, what with his amazing output of creative immediate-impact geekiness like the $14 steadycam...i want to be just like him when i grow up! I have to reiterate his plea to Nintendo Wii programmers to MAKE SOME GAMES WITH HIS VR HEAD-TRACKING SYSTEM!!! (even though i don't personally own a Wii...yet...)

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December 05, 07

Convert a monitor to a Tablet PC for $170

Recently, a certain recording engineer was really impressed with my Tablet PC setup for reading PDF scores and asked if there were any manufacturers besides Gateway that made Tablet PC's with 14 inch screens or larger. He wants to be able to see a native 8.5 x 11 inch score in full size (a 12.1 inch LCD laptop screen actually short changes the full paper view a bit), and if something larger could accommodate full conducting scores, that would be a big bonus.

Way back in May 2006 i wrote a blog article about super-sized screen options for digital ink input. One of the most intriguing options was made by a Korean company called Navisis. At the time, Akihabaranews.com reported its entry to the market, but no specifics as to where to get one.

Turns out this nifty device is readily available over the internet for a much lower price than i had expected! BestTechnologyParts.com is offering the EZ Canvas Screen Tablet PC for only about $170:






The specs on this nifty device seem to allow for 17-19 inch CRT/LCD monitors. Perfect for large scores, though i'm concerned that this device only seems to allow for landscape views...perhaps a homemade jig could modify usage for portrait views?

But wait - there's more!

They have an even cooler device called the Navisis Laptop Pen Tablet PC for only $175 which clips on to the side of your laptop screen and your USB port simultaneously for instant Tablet PC transformation!




The picture seems to have an older price affixed to it - maybe it's last year's holiday sale price? Anywho, the 'real' price is certainly sweeter. Get this - you can even have the device clipped separately to a paper notepad or a sheet of A4 paper and have your digital notes copied onto the computer! Nifty, eh? The device can be used for laptop screens up to 15 inches in size.



One drawback to the Navisis Laptop Pen Tablet PC is the fact that the pen requires batteries, as opposed to Tablet PCs that use the battery-free Wacom pen systems. But hey, it's hard to beat the $175 sticker price compared to a $1500-$2000 tablet pc!

If any of you opt for either of these tools, i would love to hear from you about your experiences with them.

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November 12, 07

Self-Tuning guitar (wish they'd put this on pianos...)

...or on violins...or harps...especially harps...



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Tablet PC sighting From the Top

Well, whattaya know! i was sitting in my hotel room at Skidmore College the other day channel surfing when i came across the TV version of NPR's "From the Top", the PBS show featuring Classical Music kids and hosted by pianist Christopher O'Riley. I had heard the show on the radio a number of times, but never realized that there was a televised version, taped in front of a live audience at Carnegie Hall. So anyways, i'm watching the show and noticing that the music on Christopher's piano is awfully thin...and bright...and there's a funny cable snaking under the piano...



Whoa! Looks like Christopher is using a Toshiba convertible Tablet PC (my best guess, given the color scheme and button layout) with the screen flipped around - note the double-page layout in portrait mode, allowing him to see two pages at a time instead of the single-page portrait mode that i use with my Fujitsu slate model. I'm curious about the pedal system he's using to turn the pages - i'll see if i can email him about that. Anywho, the Tablet PC is certainly much more aesthetically pleasing for the camera than having to flip pages by yourself (as you can see one of the young pianists doing in the above video) or having a huge wall of paper scores as in this other video of Christopher playing Elliott Smith:



Ah! i just did a bit of research on Christopher's site and found from his 'comments' page that he is using a Gateway Tablet PC with the eStand music reader software and its accompanying footpedal.

Now how cool is that?

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October 18, 07

Mailbag Q&A: Digitizing Music Scores

Every once in a while i get these terrific questions from folks who either visit this website or who have seen one of my videos on Blip.tv or YouTube.com. Here's one that gives me an opportunity to summarize some of the technologies that i use on a daily basis as a paperless musician:

Hi,

I'm an amateur pianoplayer and also a computerfreak like you. Some time
ago I also dreamed about playing the notes from a tablet-pc and than I saw
your youtube-Video... It seems, that you already have scanned much music
scores, haven't you? My question: How do you digitize the paper best and
can you send me an pdf-example of that technique (Chopin would be nice...
;-)?

Sincereley, Jakob


Hi Jakob
I'm so glad you came across my YouTube video! Sorry for the delayed response - work has been really crazy for me lately!
There are several ways of getting digitized scores into computers like tablet pc's - the first place would be to check out online vendors like www.EveryNote.com - you can also purchase CD libraries of scores from CD Sheet Music. For examples on the image quality, check out my blog article here:
http://www.hughsung.com/blog/index.php?itemid=20

You can also download a large number of scanned scores from www.imslp.org, an online archive of public domain works. Quality will vary from score to score, but for the most part everything i've downloaded so far has been very legible and representative of the quality you can expect from scanning your own scores.

I've been using a digital document camera scanner, but the model is no longer being manufactured. If i hear of any comparable models that can replace what i've been using, i'll be sure to post an article about it. An option you might want to try is to purchase a copy stand holder for digital cameras and use a digital camera to scan pages by taking pictures of them.
http://www.hughsung.com/blog/index.php?itemid=392

You'll need to have a high resolution digital camera for this operation. A program you might want to use in conjunction with this operation is called Snapter
http://www.snapter.atiz.com/

Early versions of the program were buggy, but i've read that the more recent versions are getting better. Haven't tried the recent version myself yet, as my camera doesn't produce high enough resolutions for the pictures, but i'll be sure to try it once i upgrade my camera.

Hope all this information helps. Feel free to email me if you have any further thoughts or questions.


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September 03, 07

Video of MusicReader test

I just received an email announcing a successful test run of a new product being developed in the Netherlands called the MusicReader. Not many details about the program yet - it appears to run on Tablet PC's with page turns enabled by foot paddles from Pedalpax Corporation (enabling both forwards and backwards page turns). Check out the demonstration video from their website below:



I'd love to see more details on the various functions of the MusicReader program, particularly with regard to annotation and networking capabilities. It'd be nice to see details about the pedal paddle too - seems to be silent operation from what i can tell from the video, but it's hard to confirm. Looks very promising and a welcome addition to the growing field of digital music readers!

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August 16, 07

Silly little Ubuntustudio/VirtualBox details

Once upon a time (a long time ago), i used to keep my money in 3 or 4 savings and checking accounts. i don't really know why, i suppose it somehow made me feel "richer" to have little portions of money spread over various locations. Tellers would always look at me quizzically when i tried to explain that - well, bottom line, it was a stupid idea that only served to make my life more complicated than necessary. More often than not, simplicity breeds efficiency, and that applies to both money and computers.

After countless reboots, re-partitions and re-installs, i think i'm getting close to a more-or-less ideal Windows XP/Ubuntustudio dual-boot setup. Having two operating systems in one computer is pretty cool - having both operating systems running at the same time is even cooler! That technique is possible due to virtualization, a technology that has been exploding in popularity recently, giving a server or a single user the ability to run multiple operating systems on a single machine. VMWare is the pioneer company for the technology - my personal VM flavor is a nifty free program called VirtualBox by innotek (they seem to like little "i's" as much as me...).

So where does the allusion to simplified money accounts converge with installing multiple operating systems? In the setup of your whole digital enchilada, of course:

1. Keep partitions to a minimum. Partitions are a way of creating separate "drives" within a physical hard drive. In my previous direct installations of Ubuntu, it was necessary to create a separate bootable partition. I went a little partition crazy, splitting my main C drive in half, then chunking up my new 500 GB drive into four bite-sized pieces, thinking that Ubuntu would take 2 and Windows could keep the rest. Thanks to Wubi, the super-simple Ubuntu installer, partitioning is no longer necessary - it creates virtual drives in a single folder. Rather than limit myself to a piece of a drive, i found i could do away with partitions altogether and just install Ubuntustudio to the 500 GB drive straightaway, leaving myself with plenty of room for what i really wanted to do: have Ubuntustudio and Windows XP running simultaneously.

2. Bigger is better. In terms of storage space, of course. The problem i was constantly hitting during my early Ubuntu installation attempts was running out of space for apps and OS, as i tried to squeeze the experimental operating system into tiny spaces, and especially as i tried to set up a new install of Windows XP within Ubuntustudio via VirtualBox. i realized that this new setup would need as much space as possible. No more sharing a cramped C drive apartment - i moved the new OS family as sole occupants of the 500 GB mansion. Again, this is largely thanks to Wubi allowing me to setup Ubuntu without having to create "real" partitions.

3. Don't be greedy: share nicely. VirtualBox gives you the option to custom adjust RAM settings for Windows XP installation/operation. I thought i would be a speed demon and dedicate every drop of RAM for Virtual-Windows, but that only ended up crashing the installation over and over. Splitting the allocation in half allows both Ubuntustudio and V-Windows to play in the RAM sandbox nicely side by side.

4. Be greedy: get pants that fit. i guess my pattern for experiemental OS's is to breed them in tiny test tubes before i realize that they can live and breathe without risk to the host OS. That being said, OS's still need a LOT of space to enjoy the full benefits of space for all the applications you want to load up on. So, a better axiom might be, "Share the RAM, Hog the Drive." In my VirtualBox Hard Drive settings, i opted to give a full half of the 500 GB mansion to V-Windows. Cool thing is that you have the option to allocate the space as either a fixed amount or as a dynamically expanding allocation (the latter being the default and preferred option).


Oh, little tech detail for VirtualBox that had me banging my head for several hours until i came across the solution quite by accident -

VirtualBox captures the mouse and keyboard actions within the virtual OS environment. It gives a hotkey to release the mouse and keyboard (Right-Control), but no matter how many times i pressed it or held it down it would keep them locked within V-Windows. The trick to getting the hotkey release to work correctly is two-fold: first, don't provide the option for V-Windows to recognize the USB keyboard; secondly, after starting the virtual OS up, press the hotkey BEFORE clicking the mouse within the virtual environment - that seems to wake up the option to release.

Why this crazy dual OS setup? To be perfectly honest, i don't really know yet - i want to have a dedicated video editing computer, so i need the Windows XP OS to run Vegas 6; i'm really intruiged with free MIDI sequencer apps like Rosegarden for Linux, so i'm thinking of using programs like this to be able to edit digital piano recordings. Those seem to be the two primary reasons for the multi OS setup, though i want to get more into the open source graphics programs like Blender and Inkscape eventually, as well as a deeper exploration of the multitude of Linux audio apps ("FREE" is a very attractive word for me these days, hence the serious look at the open source offerings). One machine, two operating systems, consolitation of multimedia production - yeah, i'm a walking oxymoron when it comes to so-called "simplicity" (sigh...)

www.hughsung.com www.hughsung.com/blog Hugh Sung http://hughsung.com http://hughsung.com/blog

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June 04, 07

My Casio Privia PX-110 Damper Pedal Hack

As i mentioned in my previous post, the Casio Privia PX-110 Digital piano features a strange damper pedal that seems to have reverse polarity when using anything but their included footswitch. This is clearly an attempt to push a proprietary 3-pedal accessory by Casio (the SP-30) - more annoying than helpful, given that the SP-30 effectively anchors an otherwise svelte and portable instrument.

Thanks to John Lat's comment, it turns out that the workaround to adapt a standard damper pedal for the Privia is a lot simpler than i had anticipated, although it does involve some brutal surgery if you take my approach.

I started by opening up the casing for my M-Gear damper pedal to study the wiring. My first thought was to try to find some solder points to reverse the wiring, but given the cramped quarters and my lack of soldering experience, i decided to do the simple wire cut instead. With a handy wire cutter and stripper, i was able to take off the outer black rubber insulation and expose the two wire leads within:


Cutting the wire was the scary part - until i saw how simple the connections were!

Detail of the exposed wire leads, one red, the other white


Stripping off the insulation from the inside wires was tricky - you need to use a very gentle touch to start the incision, being careful not to cut into the inner wire. Once that was done, all you have to do is re-attach the wires connecting red to white, then white to red (or whatever opposing colors your pedal presents):


Twist together red to white, then white to red

Detail of the new connection


Once that's done, a little electrical tape helps insulate the exposed wired:


Using electrical tape to insulate the exposed wires

All taped up and ready to pedal!


And there you have it! Keep in mind, the pedal needs to be set to "switch" mode to work properly - if it's set to "continuous", you'll get the same reverse polarity problems you started with before the hack. Even though you don't get advanced pedal techniques enabled with this hack, at least you can get the "on/off" damper pedal effect with the proper foot orientation.

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The Case against Digital Pianos and the (Un)Friendly Skies

The most aggravating aspect of airline customer service to me is the inability to get straight facts the first time through. Initial calls to both British Airways and US Airways left me the impression that i would be just fine to check in my Roland RD-700SX snugly protected within it's brand new Road Runner 88-key ATA transport case, provided i heft over approximately $160+ in oversize and overweight fees while taking advantage of "musical instrument" provisions allowing me to transport the instrument -

My Roland RD-700SX snug in its Road Runner ATA case

The Road Runner 88-key ATA transport case


Due to a problem with pulling up my ticket info online for British Airways, i had to go through the travel agent in England - she subsequently found out that contrary to the information i had received State-side, i would NOT be able to transport my digital piano as checked baggage. The "musical instrument" provision is hogwash - there is an upper weight limit of 70 pounds for checked baggage, PERIOD. Since the Roland is 54 pounds and the ATA case is about 52 pounds, that would disqualify transport due to weight restrictions. The only flight options for my digital piano as-is would be via cargo transport. Problem is, it wouldn't arrive until the 11th of June, 5 days after the concert tour begins - for the jaw-dropping cost of $576. Sounds like a one-way trip to me...

Given the frustrating discovery of British Airways' transport policies, i gave US Airways a call to see if i had been similarly misinformed. Turns out i had - if memory serves correctly, the USAir agent stated that their upper weight limit is 80 pounds, with a total linear dimension limit (=Width + Depth + Height) of 100 inches. The ATA case was too large, and the entire package was too heavy. Another strikeout.

The ATA case had to be returned to Guitar Center for a refund. Given the uncertain piano situation in South Africa, i had to come up with another keyboard solution to ensure that i could practice during the two-week trip in preparation for all the upcoming activities in July. At first, a friend suggested that i use my old Roland A-30 keyboard controller, but given that it only has 66 keys, i wanted to see if there were any other compact 88-key solutions.

Turn out Sam Ash carries several compact 88-key controllers - the main difference between these and "regular" digital pianos is the lack of internal sound banks, their primary function being to connect to computers and/or separate external sound modules. The M-Audio 88es USB MIDI controller, for example, sports "semi-weighted keys" in a very svelte package - problem is, the keys feel way too flimsy, hardly different from a synthesizer touch.

I then saw a set of Casio Privia digital pianos, the slimmest 88-key models i've ever seen sporting a "fully weighted" keyboard action that actually felt pretty good - not as heavy as my Roland RD-700SX, but certainly WAY better than any MIDI controller action. Since i didn't need any of the fancy features of the higher end models, i went with the entry level PX-110 -


The Casio Privia PX-110 Digital Piano


The absense of extra pitch bend or controller wheels helps to keep the dimensions of this design to a bare minimum. I didn't bother to listen to the sound of this instrument, as i would be using it primarily as a controller for my Muse Receptor running Pianoteq, but at least there was a set of speakers built into the unit if i really need to listen to something on the fly.


Absence of extra side controllers keeps width to a minimum

Despite the stereo speakers, the minimal sound options keep depth to a minimum


Did i mention this keyboard is small? Given it's lack of depth from extra sound doo-dads and width from extra controller thingies, this 88-key piano can actually fit into a 76 key bag!


The 88-key PX-110 can fit into a 76-key bag!


This puppy is nice and light, too, coming it at around 24 pounds.

The PX-110 supports both Damper and Soft pedal functions (the soft pedal can be alternated with the sostenuto pedal via the direct hookup), but the damper pedal is a real drawback. The included pedal is a pretty flimsy looking on-off footswitch:


The included SP-3 damper pedal...if you can call that flimsy switch a "pedal"...


Problem is, if you try to use a standard damper pedal, the polarities are somehow reversed - leaving the pedal up keeps the notes sustained, pushing the pedal down stops the sustained effect - very, very aggravating. Apparently, if you want to use the "advanced half-pedal effect", you need to shell out more bucks for a very un-portable SP-30 3-pedal rack that's more suited for a fixed setup. If anyone knows how to hack a damper pedal quarter inch plug to reverse its polarity, i'd love to hear your solution...

Looks like the Casio Privia PX-110 fits the bill in weight, size, and functionality as a full-size keyboard controller in conjuction with a high-quality sound module. Now the trick will be to either find a way to pad the soft keyboard case adequately for check-in baggage transport, or to find a smaller ATA flight case that will fit airline regulations...

Stay tuned...

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May 31, 07

My attempt to be a roadie by air...

Once upon a time, a classical pianist had the luxury of snickering at his fellow musicians lugging around violins, cellos, or worse - double basses - and dealing with the hassles of airline carry-on restrictions, rough security inspectors, hostile stewardesses, and occasionally the nightmare of baggage claim (poor double bassists...) He would prance lightly onto the plane with nary a bag to weigh him down, save for perhaps his music bag. His only downside of being an unencumbered musician was the hassle of dealing with sub-par pianos at the concert hall. If he were an easy-going fellow, he'd just shrug his shoulders and not let the disappointment of piano quality from venue to venue ruffle his feathers too much. If he weren't so easy-going, he'd either go through the trouble of learning to tune and adjust his own pianos, or have a nervous breakdown fighting with venue piano technicians (if they were even to be found)...or, plunge into the insanity of bringing his own instrument.

Getting transport info for oversized musical instruments from airlines is an exercise in hair-pulling. I made the first mistake of grabbing the cheapest flight to Denver, Colorado via Cheaptickets.com without realizing that the AirTran plane was too small to accommodate oversized luggage over 100 pounds in weight. Fortunately, the customer service department for AirTran was fantastic (wish ALL airlines could be as friendly and helpful as them!) and helped me refund the ticket right away (actually, i had to do a bit of a runaround - AirTran had just signed a new contract with Cheaptickets.com, changing the way tickets are canceled, so i had to contact Cheaptickets.com directly and get that squared away. Despite horrible english pronunciation from both the cubicle call operator and his supervisor, they extended a one-time courtesy cancellation.)

With a little more careful study of the available flights from Philadelphia to Colorado, i was able to determine that USAir offered direct flights on what appeared to be a larger airplane (the Airbus A320, second most popular plane right behind the Boeing 747). Trying to call USAir to get confirmation that they could accommodate oversized musical instruments was another three-ring circus runaround - first operator said, go look at USAir.com (i couldn't find any info on musical instruments there); then she gave me the number to their cargo department. The cargo department didn't have that info, then directed me to call USAir (grrrrr...). Finally got a supervisor who was able to determine that most USAir flights to Colorado used planes large enough to accommodate my instruments. More calls this morning to finally nail down their fee structure for oversized luggage:

  • If the item's outer dimensions exceed 62 inches (width+height+depth), it is considered oversized and will be assessed an $80 fee. Note, total outer dimensions cannot exceed 100 inches.


  • If the item is over 50 pounds, it is considered overweight and will be assessed a separate $80 fee.


  • Total transport fee for a digital piano looks to be $160 with USAir.

    British Airways, interestingly, makes it quite clear on their website that they accommodate the transport of musical instruments, and make exceptions for them when it comes to weight limits. The fee for a trip to South Africa would be 120 GBP (pounds) if you pay at the airline counter, or 84 GBP (approximately $167 at the time of this writing) if you arrange to transport the instrument online ahead of time. Definitely want to plan ahead and grab that significant savings online.

    Next dilemna: hard cases for my Roland RD-700SX and my QSC HPR122i loudspeakers.

    I had no idea what to look for in terms of transport cases for my piano and loudspeakers, so i gave the folks at Sweetwater.com a call. They recommended the Gator Roadready ATA keyboard case, running about $369. ATA stands for cases that are specifically designed for airline transport. Unfortunately, they didn't have anything for the loudspeakers, so i had to search elsewhere for those cases.

    Loudspeaker cases, it turns out, are custom-made affairs. Starcase.com is one company that offered a ready-made ATA loudspeaker case for about $458. Unfortunately, overnight shipping would be in the order of around $200+...the Calzone Case Company also seems to provide loudspeaker cases (they seem to do a lot of cases for big-name rock stars, which might explain why they didn't bother to call me back for info...).

    KeyboardCases.com, based in Massachusetts, can make a custom-made heavy duty ATA keyboard case with wheels, which would run about $379. Being custom made, it would take about 2 weeks to manufacture and 2 days to ship via ground (about $28 for shipping).

    Well, after all that research and armed with new terminology, it turns out that my local Guitar Center store carries a small stock of ATA keyboard cases under the Road Runner label. $369 for the Road Runner case that would fit my Roland, with the advantage of no shipping fee of course!

    As for the loudspeakers, it's getting hard to justify the enormous expense of transporting them, on top of the cost of the cases themselves...it might be better to just find local music stores to rent loudspeakers from if flying to the venue is involved.

    Anyway, that's my brief foray into roadie research...more details to come as i actually go through the experience of lugging my instrument through the airports (my violin and cello colleagues will be snickering at me now...)

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    May 07, 07

    Music Meets Tech: Pianoteq Part 2, Capabilities and Possibilities

    Pianist Hugh Sung explores the expressive and sound customizing capabilites of Pianoteq, as well as the new possibilities this piano simulation software presents to bring Classical Music to broader audiences. This version features stereo audio.





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    A Silent Page Turning Footswitch Solution

    Chris Neff, a resourceful reader, has generously contributed this fantastic solution for creating a silent page turning footswitch, using a Digital Keyboard pedal controller and a USB/Serial Switch Connector interface. Many thanks to Chris for generously allowing me to repost his email message:

    Like I said yesterday, I have the switch connector that I've told you about and I finally got the chance to set it up. It turns out (like most laptops nowadays) I didn't have a serial port, so I had to get a USB serial adaptor too, so my solution would be the same as what yours would be:

    1) This serial switch connector: http://www.sensorysoftware.com

    But do to the weirdness of this whole world of handicap accessible computing where they are found, the only place I could find that sells them is zygo-usa.com, and you have to call to order. Make sure you ask for the two input serial switch connector with a female serial port. They screwed up and sent me the one input serial connector the first time that I had to send back. Cost: 15+15 shipping (yeouch) + tax = about 32 bucks. Also you need the software from the sensorysoftware site for setting the switch inputs to PgUp/PgDown.

    2) A USB-Serial connector if you don't have a serial port (I don't think stylistics do). This was the one I got: http://www.newegg.com

    It works great. Some other USB-Serial connectors had reviews where it said that every time you unplugged the USB side and plugged it back in, the serial port would change (which would mean every time you would need to see what it changed to then update the software for the switch connector, not my idea of fun). This one doesn't have that issue. It just works like it should after installing the drivers that come with the CD. Cost 15+5 shipping= 20 bucks.

    3) A keyboard footpedal with a 1/4" -> 1/8" adapter, which you already have. Or even better, two of them ;)

    And there you go. After setting up the Sensory Software program (I'll go into more detail on how if you ever buy it), it just works. One switch input now controls PgDown, the other controls PgUp, and best of all you now have a portable footswitch solution that doesn't make noise and can be used with any keyboard foot pedal. I am very happy with the outcome. Only issue is I don't have an extra footpedal! Need to go buy one so I can have my sustain pedal back :)




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    May 05, 07

    Music Meets Tech #25: Pianoteq by Modartt

    Pianoteq by Modartt

    In this episode, I take a look at Pianoteq, a revolutionary new approach to Virtual Piano technology. Instead of relying on static, pre-recorded samples of acoustic pianos, Pianoteq is a VST program that actually simulates the acoustic physics of all the various components of a virtual piano in realtime. Part 1 explores the primary differences between Digital Pianos and Pianoteq.






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    Welcome!

    Thank you for visiting this site! I hope you'll find this to be a friendly place to learn about and discuss the fascinating technologies available for the Classical Musician. A great place to get started is with the ongoing "Getting Started" series. Remember, the worst questions are the ones you never ask, so feel free to email me!

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