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!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

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]


kerrygalloway said...

So - low cost and high quality? Big studio features with an amateur's budget? PARIS was a no-brainer choice for that niche; the price of a whole two-card rig is about the cost of one decent soundcard. Despite its "trailing edge features" and "state of the Ark" software, it has the sonics we love - instant hardware-like response - world-class conversion - zero latency monitoring - dedicated controller hardware with a fader for each channel - and great sounding internal effects.

And unlike Logic - you won't get half-way through loading a session with plugins and suddenly have the paranoia-inducing suspicion that with each successive plug-in you've loaded - was it the compressor for the kick? the tuner for the vocals? - your groove has begun to slowly but relentlessly loosen and "slop".

It does. Trust me. The point of this exercise is not merely to have the sonics. It's to relieve Logic of its harder mixing tasks - so it can chiefly be a writing platform.

I've already got the following - a dual 2.0 ghz G5 running dualhead with two 19" Dell LCDs and an RME Hammerfall HDSP 9632 soundcard. I'm currently using this to run Logic Studio 8 and a host of other software as needed (Reaper, Reason, Ableton Live, Melodyne).

For the monitoring side of the game, I have a Hafler and a pair of KRK ST-8s which I'm pretty happy with, although Mackie 824s have come down low enough that I might take a sniff at a pair some day just for the increased bass extension. For cans, I have various AKG and Fostex and a Behringer Powerplay (hey, don't laugh at me, it works great) for distribution of as many headphone mixes (5 stereo mixes) as I could feasibly imagine cramming participants in the space. Because my absolute rock bottom necessity as a musician is "no matter how small we are - number one, *nobody shares headphone mixes*". That's lame. I've watched it ruin so many sessions.

Anyway - aside from a whack of stuff like mic stands, a Mackie 1202, about a cubic meter of cabling and tons of computer gear - that's about it. Except for my personal musical gear which I pride myself isn't half bad -
a range of great basses into a Demeter VTBP-201, which is pretty much killer for anything. You get the picture. Careful purchases over a long time, quality over quantity.

Coming next - "how I envision this will work".

kerrygalloway said...

Okay - the configuration I'm exploring now.

We thought ahead and built a "machine room" behind the mix position. It's the size of a fridge, and cooling fans/airflow have been taken into account.

I want all noisy stuff - fans, hard drives etc - banished in there so I can record audio in the main room.

I want one keyboard, one mouse, two C16s and two monitors on my desk. For this I'm going to need a dualhead KVR switcher.

Ideally I want the Logic rig to cascade into the PARIS rig, monitoring transparently through PARIS while writing on the Mac. This will also give me flexibility to record its output onto PARIS tracks rather than exporting/importing tracks. Two at a time, granted, and that's assuming sync is worked out, but hey. I can use the C16 as a "master fader" - a poor man's Mackie "Big Knob". Paris main outs straight to the Hafler - mmmm. Just like I used to have.

"We don't need no steeenkin' 1202 mang".


The PARIS rig I'm getting is a two card system with MEC, 2 x C16, 2 x 8i, 1 x ADAT.

What I'm thinking right now is that ADAT card looks purpose built to take the ADAT i/o from the Hammerfall. This is a Good Thing Providing It Actually Works.

Coming next: "routing hell?"