The PARIS Blog

A "post official development" blog for users of (or even for those who fondly remember) that rare and beautiful beast - the late-nineties Ensoniq PARIS Digital Audio Workstation, a unique blend of hardware and software that can still to this day hold its head up amongst its peers for "what comes out of the speakers". Be sure to read the Welcome post as it's assumed you've read it and understood it. Have fun! 

NEW (Q4 '08): After a lengthy testing process, new drivers for PARIS are now available for purchase from Mike Audet's site!

Friday, April 11, 2008

ANNOUNCEMENT: Introducing the PARISWiki!

The PARISWiki is a collaborative online "virtual encyclopedia" - it's a work in progress which is designed for community input.

It's based on the open source Wikka engine, and is extensible in many directions using plugins; it has native support for cool features such as MindMaps so creating easy-to-navigate, site-at-a-glance alternate indexes tailored to suit individual needs is quite easy. The whole thing can be re-indexed easily once the data is up.
Editing in the
PARISWiki is very user-friendly. A brief tutorial is available here, step by step video tutorials here, and full documentation here. Hit the brief tutorials first, then the videos, and you'll have everything you need to start posting tips, cutting and pasting FAQs found in the newsgroup, fixing spelling or errors or adding a key topic page.


- Kerry, PARISWiki Admin

Monday, April 7, 2008

Artist profile: Gantt Mann Kushner and Gizmo Recording

[The Ensoniq PARIS blog presents its first in an ongoing series of profiles of PARIS artists]

Veteran guitarist, engineer and producer Gantt Mann Kushner owns and operates the Gizmo Recording Company in Maryland, USA. His PARIS setup is a two-MEC 32-input/16 output system; other secret weapons include a beautiful Baldwin piano, mics and preamps that range from Neumann to Demeter and above all - ears and experience.

EPB: Welcome to the blog, Gantt, as our first featured PARIS artist; can you tell us a little about yourself and Gizmo Recording?

GMK: Thanks, Kerry!  

I’ve been playing guitar for about 44 years now.  I began fooling around with tape recorders when I was playing in one of my first bands.  My dad had one of those Sony Superscope reel-to-reel machines.  I discovered that if I plugged my guitar into it and ran the output into my guitar amp I could get this really cool distortion.  One of the guys in the band looked over one day and said “Hey!  That’s a tape recorder!  Why don’t you record us!”.  

From that humble beginning I eventually graduated to a Teac 3340 1/4” 4 track with a little Peavey board which I sold to raise the money to move to Las Vegas.  Years later , while on the road playing music, I found a Tascam Portastudio in a pawn  shop.  That got replaced by a Fostex 1/4” 8 track which got replaced by an Otari 1/2” 8 track which got replaced by ADATs.  

I bought my Paris system about 7 years ago – six months before Emu announced that they were dropping the product!  But I was committed and I now have two MECs with a total of 32 inputs and 16 outputs.  I also own Protools LE (with a Digi 002) and Digital Performer (with a 2408 and an 828MK II). I use Paris about 95% of the time because I love the sound and I know it inside and out. I do use PT and DP to take advantage of some of the newer plugins that I can’t run with Paris. 

The plugin issue is probably what’s going to eventually drive me to another DAW.  Paris won’t run in OS 10 (I’m a Mac guy) and none of the new plugins run in OS 9 anymore.  Paris also doesn’t have latency compensation for plugins so offline editing for automation is a challenge.

Anyway, I record all kinds of music at Gizmo Recording Company.  We have a nice 7’ Baldwin piano (I had a guy walk in the studio one day and say “Wow dude – analog piano!  Way cool.”) and that attracts a lot of nice jazz, classical and “world” music projects.  I’ve also done my share of rock’n’roll, C&W, R&B and wedding band demos.  I used to do a bit of jingle work but it seems that all the jingle producers have their own studios now.  Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how to re-invent myself to keep working and earning a living...

EPB: Pop, tuba-and-accordion-driven funk, country, vocal jazz - your body of work, and your client list, cover an impressive and eclectic range of musical styles. It's clear you aren't working from any sort of formula - it's all ears. 

How do you balance all of that from a musical perspective? Do you have an "inner template" for how mixes of material that diverse should achieve their musical goals?

GMK:  When I was growing  up I got exposed to all kinds of music. My parents listened to New Orleans jazz, big band swing, opera, orchestral music,  Broadway shows, Jewish music, folk music from Greece and Russia, a bit of the contemporary “pop” jazz of the day   and whatever else caught their fancy.  My mom loved Billie Holiday, Beverly Sills, Maria Callas and Barbra Streisand and my dad loved Art Tatum, Horowitz, Jascha Heifitz and Itzhak Perlman.  I loved (more or less in chronological order) The Ventures, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, The Byrds and many other ‘60’s bands.  The Beatles and The Byrds got me into country and western music.  I fell hard for the Nashville Sound and spent the Disco years playing in local country bands.  
So I guess my listening experience has shaped my ability to hear into many styles of music.  I also encourage clients to bring me CD’s that have elements of the sound they’re looking for so we can get the right sounds down from the start and compare sounds as we mix.

EPB: Got a short-list of your half-dozen favorite projects so far?

GMK: Quintango;  Uptown Jazz Vocal Quartet;  Sharon Clark;  Tony Denikos (OK, I might be prejudiced because I played on his CDs!); The Dixie Power Trio Live (OK - I played on this one too!); Ginny Carr.

EPB: Are there particular styles of music that you feel PARIS' strengths suit best?

GMK:  If I did a lot of pop production w/ sequencing and special FX I might gravitate towards something like Logic or Digital Performer but Paris still seems to do the job for the stuff I find myself recording.  Besides - it still sounds great!  There’s a 3-dimensional-ness to the sound of Paris that keeps me coming back. 

EPB: What motivated you to go with PARIS?

GMK: I bought my system about 7 years ago.  I was sick of the ADAT sound and Protools was too expensive. There was a Paris users group that, in addition to providing incredible support for each other, was constantly raving about the sound.  That group was a big part of my decision to give Paris a try.

EPB: We all know of PARIS' hidden "analog-like" response. Do you "ride it into the red"? If so, are there any particular mixes you could point to where you do?

GMK: I push Paris pretty hard.  I’ve become a little bit more conservative since my favorite mastering engineer commented on seeing a lot of clipped wave tops that looked like “overs” but all seemed to clock in at  -.1 dB.  I don’t push it quite that hard these days unless the style really screams for that saturated sound.  The second Tony Denikos CD would probably have hotter mixes than most of my jazz stuff.

EPB: One strength of the hardware/software combo is the embedded DSP. A drawback of this closed format is that since PARIS became an unsupported platform, official plugin development for it has stopped. Fortunately, private developers like Chuck Duffy and Mike Audet moved to take up the slack, and privately devloped/ported plugs now form the bulk of available EDS plugins. 

Is there a particular effect, or class of effects, that you'd be most interested in seeing ported or created as EDS plugins?

GMK: Mike Audet is doing some great work but it’s all for PC and I am, for better or worse, a Mac guy.  I’ve actually given serious thought to switching to PC to take advantage of the progress that Waves and Universal Audio have made but I haven’t had the guts (or the finances!) to make the change yet.  I’d love to be able to use Mike’s new FX, especially the D-4 reverb.  Maybe us Mac guys can pool our resources and send him an old G4!

EPB: How do you handle control-room talkback while using PARIS? 

GMK: I have a Coleman Audio TB-4.

EPB: Do you take advantage of PARIS' internal routing in any particular way?

GMK: Beyond setting up open mic channels (to hear without recording) I don’t do too much tricky patching.

EPB: Got a PARIS "power-user" tip?

GMK: Learn the keystrokes for calling up windows and views – it saves tons of time over mousing around menus.  Before getting serious about a mix I’ll rough in all my levels, then take an automation “snapshot”.  Then I’ll go thru each track that I figure needs automation and drop an automation point between each phrase – vocal tracks, lead instruments, BG vocals, etc.  Then I’ll begin to listen critically for microscopic level changes.  I’ve also begun using the EDS compressor and Chuck Duffy’s Freak-Q on my stereo buss for a little bit of mastering before sending mixes off to the mastering engineer.

EPB: What's coming up on your studio calendar?

GMK: We just finished tracking the next Quintango CD.  Next is editing and mixing.  Beyond that I have few small projects going and I’m working on finding a way to market myself as a mixer and consultant for folks who have their own home studios.  I’d also love to help create acoustic and electric guitar tracks for singer/songwriters who have their own setups. 

EPB: Any closing thoughts to share with PARIS users, current or future?

GMK: I’ve been coming to realize that it’s a New World for all of us in the music business.  The proliferation of affordable semi-pro gear has really leveled the playing field for the average musician.  15 or 20 years ago studios like mine changed the way the big studios did business and many of them didn’t survive the transition.  Now home studios are doing the same thing to people like me.  I’m too young to retire!  My plan is to thrive.

- Thanks for your insights, Gantt!

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Ensoniq PARIS Blog proudly welcomes Mike Audet!

*update 04/06/08 - Mike's plugin installation guide now available in Acrobat format (112k pdf)

This blog is extremely pleased to announce its very first frontpage contributor, a name familiar to all - the redoubtable Mike Audet, to whom we're extremely grateful for "taking up the torch" of 3rd-party PARIS FX development, passed on by Chuck Duffy's "Chunkworks".

Look for Mike's posts on development and FX issues starting in June.

And to kick his residency off with an extremely fresh "scoop" - fresh as in today - Mike just might have some extremely interesting news soon. And no, it's not about a new plugin on the drawing board.

It's about a discovery he's made concerning an annoying little peculiarity of PARIS', a peculiarity so old and so ingrained (and so presumably unfixable) that working around it has become habit, and we've all pretty much forgotten about it, considering it to be "just part of the fabric of the PARIS universe".

In Mike's hands - maybe not.

Stay tuned. And once again - welcome, Mike - take a bow!

PEPI - PARIS Effects Presets Initiative

I used to wish there was a better stock library of FX settings included with PARIS, and a better system of saving, organizing and exchanging them.

To that end, I hope to maintain a repository of PARIS effects settings in some form or other (text right now - but I'll find something less Stone Age when I'm "hands on" again and eventually arrive at a standard way of packaging them). Until I get my own rig running I'm relying on the work of others, for now chiefly scavenged from previous FAQs. I'm going to assume that their previous wide public posting was a de facto grant of permission for non-commercial personal use and retransmission, but if anyone has any objections contact me and I'll remove them - similarly if you have a refined "version" of your preset you'd prefer used instead,

Feel free to grab what's up here if you don't have them already. And if you've got a good 'un - or if you know of places that previous efforts have been stored, in whatever form, that I appear to have missed - or you just want to leave input - feel free to post in comments.

[Browsing the FAQs to scavenge presets, I suddenly realized I hadn't specified "EDS" presets, which these obviously are. I briefly considered changing the thread title to specifically state "PARIS EDS Effects Preset Initiative". Then I considered the resulting acronym; never mind, I'll just stick with what I've got; consider "EDS" to be assumed - K]

Sunday, March 30, 2008

9/10 Kindergarten Children Agree

My 6-year-old's absolute favorite joke right now?

"Knock knock."

"Who's there?"

"Interrupting cow."

"Interrupting c-"


Slays 'em. Twelve or so times a day.

The current vision.

I have a 12 x 18 garage that I converted into a mix/edit/overdub facility a couple of summers ago and "rented" to the music editor for the TV series "The 'L' Word" (strictly speaking - he and his family and I swung the hammers, so it was a thought-out "quid pro quo" rather than real "rent"). Pretty soon I'll be taking the facility on myself, and populating it with gear from the ground up with the intention of -

1) expanding the desktop productions I'm currently doing out of a bedroom in our house.

2) expanding my "bass tracks over the internet" business from "word of mouth" via internet marketing.

3) writing my next solo album (what's that, you say? you already have a solo album for sale? Heh - I'll save pimping it for another time)

Now - it's as competitive a market for producers in Vancouver as anywhere. I've had a successful career as a musician in the terms that matter to me; in the production world I know I'm a little fish. My goal this time is keeping the sound quality high while keeping the overhead low. I'm not going to kill my own business by expanding too fast - purchases have to justify themselves fiscally rather than emotionally. This time I'm older, and hopefully smarter.

[more after the fold]

New PARIS Tracksheets/Worksheets

I created these sheets years ago to smooth session workflow, and I thought perhaps some might find them useful. They fall into two categories.

PRODUCERS: for each project I create a production binder and insert an overview page (.PDF) with all songs listed so I can keep track of where we are overall in the project. This helps me maintain a good picture of where we are in the project so I don't miss something in the heat of tracking. It also helps spot similarities in keys and tempo which is handy for a bunch of things, like song sequence in mastering, or pilfering material from one song to use in another. 

Next, for each song I create an individual song sheet (.PDF) that lets me track data for that song. I also made vocal comp sheets (.PDF) to help me keep track of the best sections of "takes". I'd write in the beginning of lines/phrases before we started and then use the boxes on the right to indicate good or problem areas in takes.

ENGINEERS: I threw together some PARIS tracksheets - a multi submix (.PDF) and a two submix (.PDF) - for Dubvibe (they originally had the Dubvibe logo in the blank space at the top; contact me privately if you've got a logo you want in that space).

I used them for years, with PARIS and other DAWs, so I'm probably blind to their deficiencies. Propose refinements in comments and I'll address them and post new ones.

Open Thread

Have fun! No politics/religion/platformwar, please.

Q & A

Got a PARIS question? Post it here.

PARIS on Mac

This thread is for discussion of PARIS on Mac hardware. 


This thread is for discussion of running PARIS on PC hardware.

General Music Biz

Got some music business news? Share it here!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

User Gallery - mixes

If you've got a piece of work you've done wholly or partially on PARIS that you'd like to share, or to ask for feedback/input on, post a link here (we can work on file uploading when I've got more resources in place). Let us know if you'd like to have it included in the sidebar.

Tips And Tricks

The comments area is open for your top PARIS tips. Have at it!

Greetings all!

The purpose of this blog is to provide a place for those who still use, or even fondly remember, that rare and beautiful beast - the mid-nineties Ensoniq PARIS Digital Audio Workstation, a unique blend of hardware and software that still to this day can hold its head up amongst its peers for "what comes out of the speakers".

What's driving this is my own return to the PARIS fold; I will be taking delivery of a two-card system shortly and - being an utterly selfish type - decided to take advantage of maturing internet technologies by setting up a community blog and accompanying website (in progress) to augment the NNTP version (also accessible by Web) of the PARIS community with more modern technologies like styled text, tags, greater searchability, file storage and media galleries. Should it interest nobody but myself I'll still consider the exercise in collating all the resources as time extremely well-spent.

Current plans include an already half-built website that will collate and organize as many of the remaining PARIS resources as possible so they won't suddenly some day "go dark". I will try to keep the front page reasonably low-bandwidth for those who are still logging in using steam-powered, coal-fired, 1200 baud modems. :D

This blog will be centered on audio and computer issues - PARIS, general audio, and music-related chat are all welcome -  and will focus on expertise and experience rather than dogma and argumentation on irrelevancies. There's no rigid prohibition on topics outside those spheres but emphasis on our commonalities as PARIS aficionados, rather than on our differences, will be maintained and enforced. 

This site is in no way affiliated with Ensoniq or Intelligent Devices; it is purely a private site for fans of this great piece of audio hardware. The information that has been assembled here is believed in good faith by the site administrator to be public domain, and is posted for non-commercial educational use only. Please don't post material here that you have any doubts about in that regard, and if you see any material that you think should removed on that basis, please notify the site administrator immediately.

A lesson that has been driven home again and again and again is that our commonality and our connection to each other as humans vastly outweighs mere ideology - a theme we ignore at our peril, both in microcosm here and in the broader world around us today. In our own microcosm - if we go forward with PARIS it will likely be as a community of users with a common vision or not at all. So what will not be tolerated here is divisive, demeaning or abusive discourse involving race, religion, nationality, political persuasion, sexual orientation, choice of computer platform or OS - or anything else. The posting of comments or links that are calculated to annoy or provoke others, or that are otherwise objectionable, is prohibited.

Have fun, and welcome!