I'm so disheartened. (venting)

my lead playing has never been better.

my singing voice has never been better.

Ive also never felt like just quitting moreso than at this moment.

Long story short. I want to at least record and release one good album of originals. But it seems the more I try, the farther away it gets.

for whatever reason, it seems I simply can NOT overcome the technical barriers. its just too steep of a climb. Straight uphill, into the wind, on ice

and when all is said and done…what defeated me? Skill? bad practice habits? fear?

nope. I have been utterly defeated by driver issues. I just dont have the heart for it.

In 2014 I decided to start recording again after like a decade away from it. I was cIueless and had to start from scratch. I had never heard of a DAW or an interface.

So I got an Acer laptop and a focusrite 2i4 2nd Gen. After a while that lappy got upgraded to another Acer. (which I am typing on now)

Thousands of $$$ spent on EZ Drummer, Waves and Slate stuff. Singing courses. Cracking the Code Seminars and now MIM

So in late 2017 I was going to up my game. IIRC my pentium Acer was getting a bit wimpy on bigger projects and everyone said “oh, get u something with an i5 and youll be able to run anything, no problem”

i5? ok, Ill go one better. I got a Lenovo gaming laptop with an i7. 16gb ram. Spent about a solid week doing updates, reinstalling TONS of EZ Drummer and Waves, Slate stuff. Fresh install of Reaper etc.

Sort of right away I started having issues. I have always used AVAST/AVG free antivirus. Well after a Windows update, all of a sudden the Avast/AVg decided it didnt like the Focusrite drivers. This wasnt just me, it was many people. Most of them uninstalled avg. IIRC I went to an older beta driver and it seemed to work.

So I havent tried to record anything or even boot up the Lenovo laptop in probably 6-8 months. I use this Acer for cruising the web etc.

So today I changed strings and set the intonation on my Ibanez. I was going to fire up the 6505+ and start writing some riffs on Reaper.

Nope. I simply can NOT get the focusrite to work correctly on that super duper powerful Lenovo. Somehow there is a driver issue. Focusrite doesnt give 2 craps for its drivers. The “latest” driver is about 16 months old.

I get a long delay in monitoring my guitar. its a driver issue related to Win10 somehow. I dont even have to be in Reaper

The problem doesnt happen on the older, weaker Win7 lappy.

Its just so soul crushing. So disheartening. Whats all the practice for?? Whats the point??

It just feels more and more like its not meant to be.

Hey, if its just a matter of getting a new interface, no problem. $500? $1k? no problem. But will it actually freaking work? Wont there then just be some other technical issue going wrong??

Shoot, I have way over 10 original demos already written and scratch recorded. Nevermind hundreds of old riffs laying around etc.

At the same time it also seems ive never been farther away from actually being able to release an album. I run hard for a mile and the goal moves 2 miles down the road.

gives a nice hollow feeling right in the gut

peace, JJ

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its such a joke

top of their list??

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 2 In/2 Out USB Recording Audio Interface

If you have all that going for you save a couple bucks and pay someone to record ya.

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First of all, I feel your pain, I’m stuck in the early steps of your journey, I’m struggling to write stuff and of course surpass my current technical ability.

For you situation I see two solutions:

  1. If you’re 100% that the Scarlett can’t work in your system, sell it and invest in a Universal Audio interface. You can find a used one in a good price. Best in the business, they won’t let you down.

  2. Hire a professional producer in a studio and do everything there. Maybe he can help you out with all those extra riffs laying around.

I would do no.1 because I’m a stubborn piece of sh*t, I like doing things on my own. But the second solution will solve all your current problems a lot easier.

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You can just uninstall this stuff. Microsoft took it upon themselves–years ago–to provide everyone with built-in cyber defense. The antivirus that’s included in Win10 is state of the art and you don’t need anything else.

Hopefully that solves your problems.

While you’re at it, you might consider performing a completely fresh install of Windows 10 on your laptop. The prices of laptops are subsidized by software vendors like Avast: they pay Lenovo to install their software prior to shipping. In the industry this stuff is called ‘bloatware’ and for many the first thing they do when they get a new laptop is to bast all this crap away.

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Yep. If merely uninstalling Avast doesn’t solve the problem, my instinct would be “Fresh install of Windows, don’t install Avast.” And if you no longer use the older Laptops, you may have a Windows 7 license you can re-use if you want to install that instead (though Microsoft claims they’re ending support for Windows 7 in January 2020).

And if you don’t already have one, an external backup drive will make it easier for you to backup “still works” versions of your laptop so you can restore it to a previously working state if something becomes wonky later.

And while Apple isn’t perfect, they’re less susceptible to driver hell due to the “only one vendor” control over the OS and the Laptop hardware. They also have slicker backup/restore than the native Windows stuff. If someone knows a backup solution for Windows 10 that does differential backup as slickly as Apple’s Time Machine, please let me know.

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Only other thing I can add in here…

Between writing the first song on it, and opening the box on my front doorstep with finished CDs inside, it took me more than 10 years to finish my first real album. A full decade. The actual recording took about half of that time, I started tracking in 2010 and finished mixing the album in 2015.

Long story short, I know a thing or two about procrastination. :smile:

There’s always SOME reason not to finish it. For a while there it was writer’s block. Then I’d finished all the rhythm tracks but couldn’t commit to a lead solo because it wasn’t as good as I imagined it would be. Then I took a job working crazy hours which, to be fair, this problem was not of my own making so I’m not too hard on myself for that, which I eventually quit. Then I just kept tinkering with the mixes, wanting to make them perfect.

In all instances barring that job, what I was missing was some sort of a deadline forcing myself to commit and move on to the next step.

  • When I was writing, the writer’s block ended up being none of my ideas seemed “good” enough so I didn’t spend time on them. Finally I challanged myself to write a song a day for a month. I made it one week, because after that time I had three or four song ideas that were good enough that I wanted to go back and flesh them out as fully arranged, demo’d songs, rather than little verse/chorus sketches.
  • When it came to cutting solos, eventually I had an outside deadline imposed on me. I’d quit that insane job to study for the CFA, and then when I accepted a job offer later that summer suddenly I found myself in a situation where I had three weeks of not working, and I knew if I didn’t finish the project then I wouldn’t. So I banged out a song a day, melodies and solos, warts and all, most days of the week. When I started work again, the tracking was finished. And, over time, as I forgot the perfect, idealized solos in my head, what I had actually played started to sound kinda cool to me.
  • When I was mixing, what finally happened was my now-ten-year-old computer started crashing. I was able to keep it up and running long enough to export final mixes and then dump the project files onto a flash drive to move to my new Mac, but since I went from a PC to a Mac a lot of the plugins I’d used were no longer avalable to me, so I had a forced stop on my hands. Again, while maybe I could have made it a tiny bit better with more time… The final mixes were totally fine, to my ears.

The thing I learned from this project was sometimes it’s awfully hard to let go, and to commit to something, and move on, and that can often be your biggest impediment to finishing a project. So, I haven’t been getting too serious about doing a follow-up yet, but i released my first album in January of 2015, so it’s now been four years - I’m about due. I’ve given myself a goal of finishing writing for this one by year end, and then will set a similar target for the actual recording, then the actual mixing, etc.

If your experience has been at all like mine, I’d suggest doing the same - once your computer issues are squared away, give yourself a hard deadline to finish tracking. Then, give yourself a had deadline to finish mixing. Use this to force yourself to commit to where the project is at that point, and if it’s not as perfect as maybe it was in your mind, it’s at least a great representation of your abilities as an artist at that point in time, and that’s the best any of us can hope for.

I’ll post up later in the year about my next album, by the way - you guys help hold me accountable to myself! :slight_smile:

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That’s why I have always choose the Apple/Logic route.

Music Studio foolproof. Perfect for me

Regarding audio interfaces and drivers on windows - I would recommend you try out RME. I have always had good luck with that company and they are renowned for making good drivers and updating them regularly, even the older devices. Their interfaces are also good at giving a low latency, which is nice when you are recording guitar.

Antivirus … these days I just use Windows Defender. It doesn’t cause any issues with anything else and is adequate protecting (according to Toms hardware guide and others). So perhaps you could just get rid of AVG and use the build in defender in windows 10. Saves you cash on buying a new interface!

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  1. I 100% totally distrust Microsoft. Of course Windows itself already has all kinds of NSA backdoors built in and so do the ISP’s…but adding windows ‘defender’ on top of it just seems like adding insult to injury. Then again, who really cares in the end?

  2. I had been planning on learning to mix in top of playing all of the instruments/singing/writing. I worked on it quite hard for a while, letting my lead playing sit idle. At some point I finally decided id simply let someone better mix it and then id probably also have it mastered by a different person.

So we are talking about laying down some good $$$ for something i’ll probably never see a $1 return on. So I cant see me also paying for studio time on top of all that.

I guess ill try uninstalling avg and go from there. (We’ll ignore the fact that AVG never bothered my Reaper/Focusrite/Win 7 combination)

About trusting Microsoft, or anybody else for that matter. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

We’re on a prison planet, we trust the banks, right? FED? Petrodollar, democracy, freedom… etc.

I digress.

I’ve given up on DI. I found the tone from a miced cab irreplaceable, even at lower sound pressure levels, DI has something wrong with it. By itself, it sounds great, but in the mix, the guitar disappears and sits further back no matter what I do compared to a miced signal.

I have a simple formula for good again tones if you can’t turn your volume up.

Guitar -> clean boost -> Marshal in a Box type pedal/OD -> Compressor -> time based effects -> amp -> cab -> microphone -> Audio Inteface.

edit: key to this is to turn your amp up almost all the way but limit your input signal weather into the front of the amp’s preamp or send to maintain desired SPL. This single little thing changed everything, it’s a mistake to keep you amp on 10% instead of at 80% atleast. These are just my findings.

Add noise gate, tuner etc appropriately. Everybody should have a micro pog too :slight_smile:

This seems to always beat the DI IR based stuff, no amount of digital tomfoolery is getting it done right in my experience.

I’ve been a computer programmer for 30 years, and I now nourish a disdain for expensive digital electronics.

How I wish Linux has the answers, Apple hasn’t made a decent laptop since 2013/14 perhaps and gaming machines are just over the top. MSI stealth series has the best cooling for your money currently.

I found the answer is to stop trying to run heavy simulations and go analogue valve or not till the last possible point which is one or two microphones.

As others have said, Windows hasn’t needed third-party antivirus ever since they started shipping their own.

Better to invest in some infrastructure to back up your machine instead of having to reload windows on a regular schedule, and it’s going to happen again and again. Some of us can make a windows system last a lot longer, but that’s always been a black art, minimalism is the key on this one.

As always your mileage may vary :slight_smile:

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extra points for using tomfoolery in a sentence.

essentially the Lenovo being referred to IS a fresh install with a minimalist build as far as possible. The whole point of it being for it to be a dedicated recording/mixing machine. Even at that, these companies cant get their driver stuff together? What a joke

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Embrace the dark side. Welcome to the Apple orchard. Everything just works here! :smiley:

yeah, and start from scratch with a whole new list of horrors? I guess ill just persist with the devil I know

I guess that deep down I just hope there is a hell for people who make drivers. I mean, thats their one job??

and companies that dont update drivers for 18 months? wtf??

I mean, I’m kidding… But of all the things that resulted in a bit of a learning curve on a Mac, Reaper was pretty seamless compared to running it on a PC.

but I mean, this is why its so frustrating. Its NOT a learning curve lol. Ive already been thru the Reaper learning curve. been there done that. Started from dead scratch and learned. Ive done plenty of ok demos on Reaper.

This is simply being more or less forced to upgrade from Win7, which was working fine, to Win10 which is a steaming turd evidently.

I mean, im a musician, I accept that. Im not being stopped in my tracks by musical challenges. Im being stopped because some fkhd company cant be bothered to make drivers that work

Long story short. I want to at least record and release one good album of originals.

I guess I should keep my trap shut, but I have to ask why? I’ve been in the music industry for a good while (as an attorney, not artist). I have seen hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by aspiring artist in the pursuit of an “album” --or worse yet, a “video”. I simply can’t understand why anyone would want to do that.

Albums are anachronistic concepts from the last century. No one buys albums or listens to them anymore. Even if they did, it never made sense to make your own album.

When people did buy albums they made perfect sense. They were your calling card for live performances. People had heard your music in advanced and were excited to see you play the songs they already had memorized. Heck, you might even get a dollar out of every album you sold --but only after you had sold 500,000 copies. That’s what you could expect to have to sell to cover the recording costs before you got a royalty check.

Record companies used to make money from album sales, and you had a symbiotic (if not parasitic) relationship with them where they would promote you and your live performances in exchange for giving them the right to sell recordings of your work.

But that system is over.

Today you are very unlikely to ever have an audience for your pre-recorded music. You would have to build up a large and eager live audience who might buy and album or two out of guilt or as a way of trying to support your music. It all has turned on its head.

A musician trying to make their own album is like and actor making a movie so he can act in it. Sure it can be done. There might even be some examples of an actor successfully turning themselves into directors, producers and distributors. But I can’t imagine an actor saying he is considering quitting because the effort of being a director, producer and distributor was too much.

my lead playing has never been better.

my singing voice has never been better.

That is really awesome! Go out and blow the socks off of live audiences. Sing and play your heart out. Play all your original stuff. Make booking agents dream of booking you. If some record company comes to you and offers to promote you to bigger audiences if you let them record you and sell those recording, then make an album.

My 2¢

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why do some people like mustard? I’ll be dead and cremated and i’ll never understand that one.

We all have our own motivations. Does it really matter whether or not others understand them? Do WE even fully understand our OWN motivations and desires?

Does a painter want to spend years on the craft and then not show the paintings to others?

Why do photographers spend years and thousand$ on their craft to then just go out and take pics of a plant or bird? After taking the pic should they then destroy it? or show it to others?

What about guitar players who paid for MIM membership? (like you and me) Why’d they do that? To “get better”? Why? So their 4 walls could hear them pick a scale a little better?

Why do people spend thousands and thousands on chasing a guitar tone…when no one else but their wife will hear it and she doesnt really want to hear it?

I hear people have running discussions for weeks on end about esoteric things like basketball drafts, brackets, coaching decisions etc. I mean, these people dont even PLAY basketball but they discuss it passionately as if its life and death.

one of the longest threads on this forum is “what picks are you using”? Tons of discussion of picks on this site. Esoteric discussions and pick shape. Pick material.

Why do people have conversations with total strangers online…as if our words really change things?

An “album” is just a collection of someone’s work.

I personally find it somewhat strange that people would spend many thousand$ on instructional materials, equipment, hours of discussions etc and then NOT have a desire to share their work.

In any case, I was just venting. I dont expect there to be real answers There are spiritual reasons for things that are far above my ability to understand. We all do things every single day that we dont really understand

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Sure, windows 10 was kinda forced on us 7 users. I didn’t pay for it, since there was a free upgrade at the time. I think it works just fine, you can turn off/delete many of the things you don’t like, so it is almost the same.

You need to find a company that works for you and gives you what you want. Focusrite isn’t it, I guess (never tried them). I understand the frustration with drivers though. Not to long ago I tried Arturias new venture into soundcards, called “Audiofuse”. It looks great in the advertisement and reviews, etc. I was really excited, but the driver for windows was giving bad performance (maybe they fixed it by now?? I don’t know.). So I returned it and bought a RME once again. Life is too short to try and troubleshoot something that doesn’t work, when you can simply just get something that does. :v:

I’ve had

Line6 UX2 - actually, I still have that one, somewhere, but I don’t use it. Drivers where OK but I wanted something more fancy. It was nice to have since Reason had line6 integrated, but they moved away from pod farm and then there was no real benefit in having that hardware anymore.

RME:
Fireface 800 (can’t really remember why I sold that one. It did require fireface 800 ports, so maybe that was it. I upgraded my computer since I had that card)
Fireface UFX (a bit overkill for what I needed.Very nice card, though.)
and now - Babyface PRO (small - usb powered - works with ipad/iphone too)

I have never had any driver problems with RME. It just works

I think it is easier for MAC users since they have core audio, so many soundscards don’t even need a driver to work on those.

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Since this is the internet and tone is tough to read, let me start by saying this is coming from a friendly, unheated place, and it’s definitely not personal.

But, I completely disagree, for a couple of reasons. I don’t argue the “album” as a format has been an afterthought in the pop world for a long time now, and as music has increasingly gone digital that’s only increased in recent years. But I think for a number of reasons that isn’t a reason to not release one.

For starters, that’s a trend that’s hardly universal, and the “death of the album” is something being fought, fiercely and sometimes successfully, in a lot of corners. I’d say the metal world and especially the progressive metal world is pretty far towards the vanguard of that movement, where the “album” is supposed to be something more than the sum of its parts and the idea of pushing a “single” for anything more than to drum up interest in the album is painfully corporate and kind of akin to “selling out.” Tons of genres still have artists releasing albums, and tons of genres still see a lot of independent releases. The album may be dying in pop, but there’s a huge backlash against that trend elsewhere.

Second… This is a forum dedicated to advancing guitar picking technique with a focus on lead playing often in a rock and metal context, and high-level lead guitar has been dead in pop even longer than the album has. Most of the people on this board aren’t trying to “make it” in any traditional pop sense of the word, because the genres we operate in are so niche anyway that there’s no point. Sure, maybe an album doesn’t make sense as an investment in a music career for an independent musician/songwriter vs shopping their songs around for major label artists or trying to land a gig on a major artist’s tour, but I’d bet 98% of the people on this board have no serious interest in doing that anyway.

So, for me, I think it’s a matter of coming into it with realistic expectations. I wanted to record and release an album first and foremost because I just wanted to do it, and frankly the feeling of opening a big box of CDs and holding a professionally duplicated record I’d written and recorded was pretty damned awesome. I’m in a position where I could afford to do that (it helps I’m also fairly serious about recording and mixing) and not worry about the economics of the release, but my secondary goal was to break even on the release. I did that within a matter of months, but to be fair that’s not including the sunk costs of recording gear (which is a hobby of mine anyway) or the time I spent tracking and mixing. I even netted enough to grab an obnoxiously bright Ibanez RG550 with my profits - small change, sure, but it was a guitar I didn’t have that I now do.

I learned a lot doing it, it sold well enough that I made a modest profit (probably fairly decent on an IRR basis but I haven’t done the math), have an album I’m still pretty satisfied with, and the feeling of picking that first one up is something I’ll never forget. Does it make “commercial” sense if I was trying to “make it” in the music industry to have released an album? Eh, probably not… But it doesn’t make commercial sense for me to try to “make it” in the music industry period since the opportunity cost of giving up my day job is an awfully high economic hurdle to pass.

Idunno. As long as you come into it with your eyes open and either don’t care about profitability, or have a fairly realistic sense of how many you think you can sell (for me, both), then there’s certainly no harm in doing it, economically, and it was a really rewarding experience.

I’ll make matters worse by noting I’m toying with trying to do a video for my next one, but I have a lot of friends in the video production world and it should be a pretty low cost endeavor, and as an instrumental guitarist the expectation would be it’d be mostly just shots of me playing so the whole thing out to be fairly cheap to do. :smile:

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