Feb 092013

I signed up for Coursera today, mainly because I was interested in an Intro to Sound Design class taught by Steve Everett of Emory University. I’m coming in a little late, but I’ll still have time to finish it and get my certificate, if that’s what I want. What I really want is to learn how to do sound design.

I’ve been trying to get more and more into music production, but it’s always a question of time. I don’t seem to have enough of it to figure this all out on my own, so I’m hoping I can pick up some knowledge here and skip ahead a few steps.

I like the offerings in Coursera, but I wish they had more of a Udacity model that lets me pick up and finish a class whenever I feel like it, kind of like Khan Academy, only with certificates if I want one.

All three sites are pretty amazing in their own way, but it’s still a matter of making the time to get the work done.

Nektar Panorama P4

I keep forgetting to mention this. A few weeks ago my patched-together Edirol MIDI controller was dying again, and this time, no amount of pencil work could bring the dead keys back.

So I started looking at new MIDI controllers. I first went to the local Large Music Supply chain store, and tried a bunch of keyboards out, and just wasn’t impressed with any of them. Some were too mushy, some were too hard, none were what I was looking for.

I could have spent $300 now, and wound up buying another new keyboard in six months when I got sick of it.

So I kept looking, this time online. I decided to give the Nektar Panorama P4 a try. Amazon is good about taking returns, so why not?

The P4 has really tight integration with Reason, and the keys feel great. There’s some weight, but not full weight. The display and rotary knobs/sliders mean that I don’t have to fiddle with the computer as much.

Nektar also says that they’ll be doing frequent updates to keep up with the growing number of Rack Extensions in Reason. If a RE isn’t mapped, you can’t do anything with it from the P4. That’s kind of annoying, but it only affects the latest REs.

I like this growing trend of creating instruments that feel like instruments, and pull me away from the monitor.

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