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Guitar Musician e-zine     07/12/2006


In This Issue:


  ".. although one can get very clever at home, progress comes a lot quicker if you step into a room with other people and start playing "

                                                                          - Steve Howe / Yes


Some Humor

  A man in Tyler had a flat tire, pulled off on the side of the road, and proceeded to put a bouquet of flowers in front of the car and one behind it. Then he got back in the car to wait.

A passerby studied the scene as he drove by and was so curious he turned around and went back. He asked the fellow what the problem was.

The man replied, "I have a flat tire."

The passerby asked, "But what's with the flowers?"

The man responded, "When you break down they tell you to put flares in the front and flares in the back! I never did understand it either."

 


A Lesson For The Learning

Interested in guitar lessons? - Be sure and check out the guitar lessons offered by Andrew Koblick at Amazing Guitar


 
Click here for all products by KRK.
 

KRK Rokit Powered Monitors

Entry-level price, pro performance

By Stan Aronson

Entry-level price, pro performance

In the not-too-distant past, producing a decent-quality demo required a few hundred bucks, some quick takes in the studio, and a short mixing session. The final product wasn't always the most stellar-sounding recording, but hey, it's a demo, and that's what was expected. In a matter of a few years, this has all changed dramatically. With a little more cash than that four-song demo cost back in 1997, musicians can invest in a project studio that will produce high-quality multitrack recordings, complete with mixing and mastering software.

One thing that often gets overlooked when someone invests in a home studio, however, is the monitoring system. Those who are less experienced with the recording process often see monitors as a luxury item, and not realizing their importance, settle for using headphones or other speakers that are inappropriate for mixing. KRK has introduced the Rokit Powered Series of monitors at an entry-level price point, and Musician's Friend asked me to see how they stack up.

Attention to detail

KRK Rokit RP-5
KRK Rokit RP-5

Rokit Powered monitors come in four sizes: the RP-5, RP-6, and RP-8 full-range models, and the RP-10S subwoofer. All of them boast the same design elements with the RP-5, RP-6, and RP-8 monitors all employing a 1" silk-dome tweeter in addition to a visually striking yellow aramid composite woofer. Not only do they look good, these woofers are constructed to provide tight low-end response.

All Rokit Powered monitors feature XLR, 1/4", and RCA inputs. With three sets of inputs, these monitors are ready for just about any signal you can throw at them. The cabinets look sharp and are designed to maximize the efficiency and sound of the speakers. Slotted bottom ports avoid the sonic pitfalls of the traditional round ports found on less-expensive monitors, while radiused corners provide clearer separation and better fidelity in your mixes. All of these features are indicative of KRK's commitment to making these speakers practical and professional, as well as affordable.

Rokit power

KRK Rokit RP-6
KRK Rokit RP-6

All of the Rokit Powered monitors (except the RP-10S) are biamplified, meaning that separate amps power the woofer and tweeter in each cabinet. Typically found only in more expensive monitors, biamplification ensures a clean, balanced output from each component. Additionally, an electronic crossover ensures that the correct frequencies go to the correct speaker. This results in crisper highs and mids, and a solid, punchy bottom end instead of a muddy one. As you mix, these features enable you to pick out subtle overtones (that you'll probably miss with headphones or computer speakers) and make adjustments accordingly. The result is a better final mix, regardless of the musical content.

Test in progress

Musician's Friend sent me a pair of RP-8's and the RP-10S subwoofer so I could get a hands-on feel for the Rokit Powered monitors. After taking in the air of professionalism my project studio gained from their presence, I was ready to hear what they were capable of.

KRK Rokit RP-8 (Pair)
KRK Rokit RP-8 (Pair)

I positioned the RP-8s so there was a nice sweet spot in front of my work area, then loaded up a recording of an acoustic trio that I did recently but haven't had a chance to mix properly. I was immediately impressed by how clean and flat the response of the RP-8s was. The song I was mixing featured an acoustic guitar, an acoustic bass, and some light percussion. The guitar sounded pristine with the lower registers reproducing naturally through the 8" woofers, and the overtones coming from the tweeters. The bass response of the woofer became even more pronounced once the bass line kicked in. The yellow cone resonated with the warm, natural sound of the acoustic bass as shimmering chimes rang out from the tweeters.

Low-end goodness

KRK Rokit RP-10S Subwoofer
KRK Rokit RP-10S Subwoofer

After getting a feel for what the RP-8S could do on their own, I incorporated the RP-10S subwoofer for some bass-heavy mixing. I'd been working on a soundtrack for a video game that my friend's company is developing, knowing that it not only had a thumpin' backbeat but some unique sound effects as well. The additional low-end response of the RP-10s helped me to dial in the perfect blend of frequencies to avoid distortion and the boomy sound that occurs when too much bass ends up in the middle range of the mix.

Affordable excellence

All in all, I was quite pleased with the way the Rokit Powered monitors look and perform. With their friendly price tag and different size options, they would make for an ideal 5.1 setup for doing surround mixes too. Professional design elements enhance the way these monitors look, as well as their sonic response. Stop doing your music a disservice by mixing improperly and make an investment in your studio that will truly make a difference.

Features & Specs:


    Shared features

  • Glass aramid composite woofers
  • 1" neodymium tweeter (RP-5, RP-6, RP-8)
  • XLR, RCA, 1/4" TRS inputs
  • Magnetic shielding
  • Radiused corners

    RP-5 (link)

  • 75W biamped power
  • 5" woofer
  • 53Hz-20kHz frequency response
  • 7-1/4"W x 10-7/8"H x 8-7/8"D
  • 16 lbs.

    RP-6 (link)

  • 100W biamped power
  • 6" woofer
  • 49Hz-20kHz frequency response
  • 8-7/8"W x 12-1/16"H x 10-1/2"D
  • 23 lbs.

    RP-8 (link)

  • 140W biamped power
  • 8" woofer
  • 45Hz-20kHz frequency response
  • 10-7/16"W x 15"H x 12"D
  • 30 lbs.

    RP-10s (link)

  • 225W peak power
  • 10" woofer
  • 36Hz-150Hz frequency response
  • Removable grille
  • 14"W x 15"H x 15-11/16"D
  • 42 lbs.

 

GUITAR Q AND A

 

Designing a Daily Practice Routine

Ian Hudson; The United Kingdom

Q: Do you have any tips for practice routines that will help me progress quickly? By the way, I just finished the Learn Rock Guitar Beginner DVD and ordered the Intermediate program today. I went from knowing nothing three months ago to being able to play songs now!!! Thank you John McCarthy.

A: Very cool that you are jamming away in just three months! Just think what you will be playing like in three years...I'll be hearing you on the radio I bet.

Practice routines are one of my specialties. The key to having a great practice routine is diversity followed by consistent practice.

Here is an example of some contents I feel are essential:

 

    1. A good picking exercise that concentrates and isolates on your picking hand coordination.

    2. A fretting hand exercise that gives you a good challenge. Hard finger coordination's and skipping strings are good challenges.

    3. A good exercise that helps build the coordination of both hands together.

    4. Scale work. Pick a different scale each day to go through with patterns of two's, three's, and four's this helps build scale knowledge and finger coordination too.

    5. Find a single string Classical piece that you can learn section by section. This will help you gain a great sense of melody and most pieces will give your fingers a fairly good workout too.

Remember to practice the routine everyday for at least two weeks before changing it up. Use a metronome to help gauge your progress by bumping it up a few notches every day.

Hope this helps!

 

Yours in Music
John McCarthy
Rock House


Feature Paid Advertisement

 

 


 

Don't Quit Your Day Job

By Mara


Don't Quit Your Day Job You're slaving away at your day job, playing your music at night and on the weekends, and it seems you'll never have enough time to write, record and tour when 40 hours of your week are cashed in for that steady paycheck. You can't help but think, "If only I could quit my job to work on my music full time, I'd be able to make it."

Last year, I had a chance to do just that, and I learned a few things during my exciting, though sometimes heartbreaking year of freedom. Although it certainly feels great to throw caution to the wind and dive head first into pursuing your dream, my biggest barrier to success remained the same. I simply did not use my time and resources wisely.

Without a day job, I felt like I had all the time in the world, and filled a lot of it with trips to the gym, reorganizing my apartment and lunches with friends. "I don't have the time" is a great excuse, but it stems from our human fear of failure, as well as our fear of success. The truth is that most people are comfortable living their lives and dreaming their dreams, to the point where their dream becomes their reason to live. If they were to achieve their dream, what would they live for? Or worse, what if they tried and failed?

For a performing artist, touring is the number one thing you figure you don't have time to do with a day job. In my entire year off, I only did a handful out of town gigs because I had to be cautious with money and I felt that my time was better spent going to music conferences like South By Southwest and the TAXI Road Rally. Conferences are fantastic because they give you a chance to play in new cities while networking with industry and other artists. However, most of these conferences are scheduled for weekends, so it would make more sense to get a Friday off from work, pack up a few demos, and report back Monday morning with a stack of new contacts to keep in touch with. Sure, it's a tough schedule, but those steady paychecks sure come in handy when you need to book airfare and order more copies of your CD for the next conference.

I always thought that if I had more time I would sit down every single day and write hit song after hit song. Once I had the time, I was so wrapped up in the logistics of how to make a living with the music I had, not to mention the pressure of the ticking clock of my dwindling savings, I never got around to writing new music. When you're working and your bills are getting paid, all day you yearn to be creative, so when you feel that spark of inspiration, you hold onto it with every fiber. I also found that by removing myself from the daily experiences and emotions of a "normal" life, I had very little to write about that an audience could relate to. I began to miss the structure and security of my cubicle.

At the end of my year off I hadn't achieved the success I hoped for, couldn't write a song to save my life, and I was burnt out and exhausted from trying. I honestly felt that if I couldn't make it in that whole year on my own, maybe I wasn't cut out for the life of a full-time musician. Devastated, I took a day job and three months away from writing, playing or generally being around my music (ironic, don't ya think?). I needed to gather my thoughts, rediscover my creativity, and remember why I took that monumental risk and gave my dream a full-time shot in the first place.

Succeeding in my new job gave me back a basic sense of accomplishment every day, and I learned to make the most of my nights and weekends. I started coming up with lyrics at my desk and I'm recording an EP of new songs with my steady paycheck. As a songwriter, I generally steer away from cliches, but it turns out there are no truer words then "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it," and more importantly, "Don't quit your day job."

Mara is a singer/songwriter/TAXI member living in Los Angeles and keeping busy with Music Connection Magazine and www.marasong.com. She also writes bios and press releases for artists at www.flyingcoasterpr.com.

 


Brought to you by TAXI: The Independent A&R Vehicle that connects unsigned artists, bands and songwriters with major record labels, publishers, and film & TV music supervisors.


Recommended Listening - A Must For Your Collection!

 
Luka Bloom, Innocence
By Kenny Berkowitz
A lot has happened since Barry Moore renamed himself Luka Bloom and recorded folk covers of songs by LL Cool J and Elvis Presley. Over nine albums, his songwriting has grown more confident and his ideas more concise, making the small, spare Innocence his most successful work to date. This is Bloom at his sweetest�playing light-fingered acoustic guitar and singing about love, hope, reconciliation, and freedom, with only the gentlest accompaniment on soprano saxophone, double bass, fiddle, or derbuka (a Turkish hand drum). The net effect is unabashedly romantic, with the warm, soft tones of nylon strings matching the childlike simplicity of the melodies on such songs as �Primavera,� �Venus,� �June,� and the title track. Even Bloom�s more political songs, which sounded so strident in the past, are now filled with compassion. In �No Matter Where You Go, There You Are,� an Algerian immigrant struggles with life in Galway; in �I Am Not at War with Anyone,� the singer sends his love to both Iraq and America, both Israel and Palestine; and in �Miracle Cure,� he offers forgiveness as the solution to the problems of the world. It�s a beautifully relaxed album, perfectly at peace with itself, and grows richer with every listen. (Cooking Vinyl, www.cookingvinyl.com)

 



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