Friday, December 31, 2010

Time Capsule Hard Drive Upgrade (1tb to to 2tb or 3tb)

**** UPDATE****

I originally did this blog posting December, 2010.  My 2 tb drive recently died and I decided to try a 3 tb drive in the time capsule to get even more space.  Of course the net and the boards all have a lot of contradictory information but enough people said that the WD Green 3tb drive (WD30EZRX)
 worked fine.  I bought the boxed/retail kit version and had no problems.  You can scroll down to the bottom for a link to one on  Anyway, enjoy the post!

Any business that has client's projects stored on it's hard drive should have a few different backup systems for said files. Hard drives do eventually fail and while there's ways to get files back those methods are expensive and not guaranteed. Hard drive space is so cheap now that there really is no excuse not to have multiple backups of your files.

A few years ago Apple came out with Time Machine and it's hardware counterpart, the Time Capsule. Time Machine is Apple's clever backup system that backs up your hard drive incrementally so if you delete something accidentally and realize it 2 weeks later you can still go back and get the file. Brilliant! The Time Capsule is basically an Apple Airport base station with a hard drive in it. It allows you to backup your files wirelessly so the backup system can be safely put in another room out of the way where all the action is.

I have a kind of love/hate relationship with Time Machine/Time Capsule but Apple really has come a long way with both systems and stability has been much improved over the last few years. I bought mine when they first came out so I guess I was just asking for some bugs.

So now we come to the real reason of this blog. As I said I bought one of the first Time Capsules and while I bought the 1 tb version I really need more hard drive space now. I've noticed recently that my incremental backups only go back about a few weeks when they use to go back a few months. This is a result of my music projects taking up more space because of different and bigger files types that are used in modern productions.

My options were to buy a new 2tb Time Capsule at a cost of about 549.00 or I could pay 100.00 dollars and buy a new 2tb hard drive and install it into my Time Capsule. My only worry about doing that was that the ATA interface wouldn't recognize the space, but I took the gamble and it paid off.

Here's some pictures I took of the upgrade process. I'm only doing this to help everyone out, I am not claiming to be an Apple expert or anything. ***DO AT YOUR OWN RISK***, I take no responsibility for any problems encountered during the upgrade.


Unplug all the cables from the Time Capsule (especially the power cable!) and turn it upside down.


The rubber bottom of the unit is simply glued on. You will need to use a hair dryer or heat gun as you're pulling the rubber up to avoid ripping the rubber. I ended up ripping my rubber base so take this part of the step seriously! :)


Unscrew the base. The rubber coated screws don't need to be unscrewed.


The innards of the Time Capsule


A close up of the old drive in the Time Capsule. Surprisingly the drive is not fastened at all with any screws. You just need to remove the temperature sensor and unplug the connections to the drive.


Here's a close up of the temperature sensor (covered in foam). It's glued on and comes off pretty easily.


A picture of the sensor removed from the drive and popping out of the foam. Make sure to place it on the new drive properly again. This is what tells the fan to come on if the drive starts to overheat.


Here's a pic of the Time Capsule without the hard drive.


Putting the new hard drive in. Remember to put that temperature sensor on the drive again!


Drive safely installed! I chose a Western Digital Green drive because they're known to run cooler and quieter than other drives. Apparently they use less power too. As most of you know the Time Capsule with the installed drive gets quite hot so a cooler running drive is definitely the way to go. Look below for a link to get a good deal on a WD drive.


Last step is to open Airport Utility (Applications->Utilities). Select manual setup once you see your time capsule on the side. On the top menu select hard drive and your new Western Digital drive should show up (I greyed out the name of mine for security reasons). You'll need to format it first to use it. Just select erase on the screen and it will be formatted.

Here's a link to get a good price on the WD 2tb Green drive:

or try for a bigger drive option here:

If you're not so great with the do it yourself stuff and just want to buy a new Time Capsule you can do so here. Definitely cheaper than the apple store:

Catch me on the sites:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Logic Pro 9 24 bit audio, 32 bit and 64 bit processing

Since Logic Pro has switched to 64 bit people have been asking me about 24/32/64 bit audio. I'm going to make this 24/32/64 bit thing a lot easier for you by giving you a bit of an explanation. When Logic is saying that it can run in 32/64 bit mode they're referring to the bit rate the program is running and processing at, not what your audio is recording at. Those are two separate things. You will still be recording your audio at 24 bit and running logic in either 32 bit or 64 bit mode. The advantage of 64 bit is that Logic will now be able to access all the ram available that you have in your system. In a 32 bit system a program can only access about 4 gigs of ram (even if you have 16 gigs, it won't be using more than 4). This doesn't sound bad for most programs but when you consider that all the plugins running within Logic are included in that 4 gigs you can see how you could run out pretty quickly!

I switched over to 64 bit and am pretty happy overall. The one caveat is that a lot of plugins haven't switched over to 64 bit mode so you have to use this "audio unit bridge" to use them. It seems to work ok but you do take a bit of a performance hit. All things considered I think it's worth the hassle to have access to all my ram and logic is working well in 64 bit mode.

Here's some good books for Logic 9:

If you want more info on the studio or my productions here's some links for you:

Catch me on the sites:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Public Domain Christmas Music - Joy To The World available for license

Just made a modern take on the public domain christmas song "Joy To The World" in the hopes of getting it licensed to TV/Film. If you hit this post looking for something like that you can go here:

Ashton Price Composer Page

It's track number 4 on the flash mp3 player.

It's a dancy fun remake that I think would fit in a lot of different productions. If you're interested feel free to email me here: [email protected]

Catch me on the sites:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Authorizing 32 bit plugins in Logic Pro while it's in 64 bit mode

I was just updating some plugins and was shocked when one of them, East/West's Play engine disappeared after an update. After a moment of panic I remembered how 32 bit plugins can't be authorized while Logic is in 64 bit mode. To get it to show up again I simply loaded Logic in 32 bit mode and then closed and reloaded in 64 bit mode, presto! I guess we'll wait and see when all these plugin makers start switching their plugs to 64 bit mode. Logic's 32 bit bridge is not as light on the CPU as Apple claims.

Hats of to Native Instruments for their conversion of Guitar Rig 4 to 64 bit mode. They're my first plugin (out of many!) to switch to 64 bit. From what I understand Melodyne will be later in October or early November. I'm sure Waves and East/West will end up being last on the list...

Here's some links for you:

Catch me on the sites:

Friday, October 1, 2010

How To Get an ITIN Number (If You're a Canadian Musician)

If you do business in the states you may have heard that 30% of your money must be withheld by law for tax reasons. The way around this is getting an ITIN number which basically tells the companies in the states that you're dealing with that you are exempt from US income taxes. I just went through this process recently (twice) and I figured I'd put a blog posting with detailed instructions so all my fellow Canadian musicians will be able to get theirs a lot easier than I got mine. These instructions probably apply to Canadians who are not musicians as well but I'll let you decide that for yourselves. Please note I am not an accountant or tax lawyer so I'm not going to be held responsible if there is anything here that is incorrect. Use this as a guide and do your own homework!


You must get your a photocopy of your passport notarized at the U.S. Consulate. You can book an appointment here (this is the Toronto consulate):

They have reminders of this on the website but please note you can't bring cell phones, laptops or even the remote car openers into the consulate. They won't let you in with any electronic devices.

The cost for getting the photocopy of your passport notarized is about 30 to 40 dollars. They photocopy it for you so no need to bring a photocopy in.


Filling out the form.

You can download the form here:

Ok so this form is deceptively simple but it was a royal pain finding the article numbers for section H.

When answering the first question "Reason you are submitting Form W-7" you select "A" and then "H". Beside "H" you put "Exception 1(d) - Royalty Income" and the treaty country is Canada.

Again this applied to me who is a Canadian musician who gets paid from people in the states occasionally. If your situation is different (and even if it isn't) make sure to do your own research!

The rest of the form is pretty self explanatory with just personal info going where it should.


You need a letter from someone paying you in the states stating that they owe you money and you need an ITIN number. This part is a bit up for debate, some people said you didn't need it and some did. Since it was my second time applying I wasn't taking any chances and I made sure to have it.


You mail it off to this address:

Internal Revenue Service
ITIN Operation
PO Box 149342
Austin TX 78714-9342

Just another day in the life of running a Toronto recording studio. Here's the links to my site for the studio and twitter/facebook page.  Special thanks to my girlfriend who made sure I got it the second time!!!

Catch me on the sites:


Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Difference Between a Producer and Engineer

Many people are unsure of the separate roles a producer and engineer play in the recording process. While a lot of times in modern recordings these roles have been blended together it's still good to know what the different roles do.

An engineer handles the more technical aspects of the recording process such as mic and mic placement, what type of processing (eqs, compressors and reverb/delay) to apply to the sound. The producer is in charge of the big picture and making sure that the sounds the engineer are using work for the production he/she is trying to create.

A good way to describe this in very simple terms is that the producer can say "I'm looking for a U2 "Streets Have No Name" guitar sound" and the engineer figures out the best way to technically achieve that. The producer comes up with the idea of what he/she wants to hear and it's the engineers job to do it.

It's important to note that the producer is in charge of all the pieces of the recording: song arrangement, musicians, and the final sound and mix. The engineer is another piece of this puzzle handling one part of the final product. It's also important to mention that these roles sometimes get blended together; sometimes the producer will jump on the computer and adjust something and sometimes the engineer will offer opinions on the production. In fact the final product is often better because of this intermingling of roles, especially when the producer and engineer work together.

I do both engineering and production on various projects depending on what my client wants. You can check out what I've been up to at the below sites:

Catch me on the sites:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Logic 9 "Cannot Save" error

Ever since I've been using Logic 9 I've been getting "Low Memory Errors" every so often which is pretty typical of Logic 9 so I hear. More disturbing though is Logic sometimes gives me an error message saying something like "The document "x" be saved". Not too cool if you haven't saved in a while! A quick way out of this mess is to get rid of all your melodyne plugins (you can't just bypass them, you have to get rid of them) and save the file as something else. This seems to work well. I have a feeling it's more a logic problem than Melodyne but hopefully they fix this issue.

If you're not using Melodyne and you have that problem just get rid of whatever memory hogging plugins you're using, usually big audio sample instrument plugins like the ones that East/West makes.

Catch me on the sites:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

API 512c Preamp Tips

Just a little tip about the API 512c preamp. I've been using one for about 10 years now inside an API Lunchbox. It's my "go to" preamp to record vocals alongside my Neumann u87.

The API 512c has a notorious hot output which makes you have to lower your pre level (there's no output level on this preamp). Unfortunately this means you can't drive the transformer in the pre as hard as you'd like. The work around for this is to get some sort of attenuator. Based on a recommendation I got a Shure A15AS attenuator. The advantage of this one is that it's adjustable in 5db increments (-15db to -25db). You can get a good price on one of these units here:

This thing is always attached to my 512c unless I'm recording a professional voice over or audio book where I want as clean a sound as possible.

It's nice having the extra control and the option of more sounds from the API 512c that this little device allows.
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