Virtual Band. Electric guitar, vocal, drums, piano, bass, vocal and acoustic guitar.
Virtual Band. Electric guitar, vocal, drums, piano, bass, vocal and acoustic guitar.
Virtual Band. I’m playing the electric guitar in the upper-left.

In the first month of shelter-in-place I, Natasha, and other musicians recorded parts for a Virtual Band performance. I received the recordings to combine into the aggregate result.

The procedure to create a virtual band (or virtual choir) includes four steps. (1) Create a reference recording for the participants to follow. (2) Each participant records a performance while listening to the reference recording in earbuds or headphones — the reference recording should not be heard in the participant’s recording. (3) Extract the audio from each recording and mix. (4) Combine the mixed audio with the videos.

Our initial recording was a vocal and acoustic guitar video. …


Natasha playing drums, John singing and playing guitar, Eliott playing keyboard.
Natasha playing drums, John singing and playing guitar, Eliott playing keyboard.
Natasha, John, and Eliott playing music.

On Sunday, April 5 Natasha, Eliott, and I performed a song on Facebook Live. Shelter-in-place was in effect, so we were limited to the members of our family and the equipment already in our house.

Here are behind-the-scenes photos.

Electric guitar and guitar effects floor board.
Electric guitar and guitar effects floor board.
My guitar and floor board.
Kemper Profiling Amp.
Kemper Profiling Amp.
The floor board controls a Kemper Profiling Amp. The XLR in the bottom-right goes to the mixer.
MIDI keyboard controller and stand.
MIDI keyboard controller and stand.
The keyboard is a simple MIDI controller — it doesn’t generate sound on its own. The stand is from a table saw. The MIDI signal goes out of the keyboard, …
iPad and iRig adapter. The iPad’s glass is broken.
iPad and iRig adapter. The iPad’s glass is broken.
… into an iRig adapter, into an iPad, then into the mixer. GarageBand on the iPad generates the bass sound (“Liverpool”). See the shattered glass? I broke it on Saturday when I dropped my guitar while setting up the equipment. I feel really bad since this is Eliott’s iPad that he bought after saving his allowance for two years. I got AppleCare for it, so Apple will replace it. After the Apple Stores reopen in several months. :-(
Drum set.
Drum set.
Natasha’s drums. We don’t have much space in our house, so these have moved from a spare bedroom (later Eliott’s room) to setup in the garage to stored in cases in the garage.
Kick drum with a microphone.
Kick drum with a microphone.
An SM58 in the kick drum. I only had two XLR cables, and both were in use. I couldn’t run to Guitar Center for another XLR cable because of shelter-in-place, so I combined adapters to use a 1/4" cable.
Headphones taped to a hi-hat stand.
Headphones taped to a hi-hat stand.
Did you know that headphones can act as microphones? This is how I mic-ed the snare and hi-hat.
Earbuds hanging from the ceiling.
Earbuds hanging from the ceiling.
Continuing the go-with-what-you’ve-got theme, I deployed earbuds as overhead mics on the drums.
Tascam Portastudio 414, Boss Digital Delay DD-5, and ART PowerMix III.
Tascam Portastudio 414, Boss Digital Delay DD-5, and ART PowerMix III.
An old Tascam Portastudio 414 4-track recorder acted as the main mixer. I didn’t have enough channels for all the mics, so I used an ART headphone mixer to mix the drum mics to the Tascam’s sub input. The Boss Digital Delay generated DIY reverb.
iPhone X on tripod. OBS Studio running on laptop. Light fixture clipped to monitor.
iPhone X on tripod. OBS Studio running on laptop. Light fixture clipped to monitor.
OBS Studio is a versatile Open Source video mixer that directly uploads live streams. For this live stream I only needed one camera, my iPhone X. OBS can handle many cameras. In past testing I’ve successfully simultaneously connected three iOS devices both wired and wireless.
Drums, keyboard, guitar, camera, and computer fit into small room.
Drums, keyboard, guitar, camera, and computer fit into small room.
It was a tight fit in this room.

Left to right: Dunlop DVP Volume (X), Fractal Audio Systems EV-1 Expression Volume Pedal, Kemper Profiler Remote, Mission Engineering EP1-KP

I’ve been testing expression pedals for my Kemper Profiling Amp. I already have a Mission Engineering EP1-KP (the green/black pedal on the right) that I really like. It feels like a Dunlop Cry Baby which is appropriate because I use it primarily for wah. It works well as a controller for pitch and morphing effects. For my second expression pedal I was hoping for a longer throw to dedicate as a volume pedal.

I had high hopes for the Dunlop DVP3 Volume (X) (the black pedal on the far left). It has a longer throw that could work, but the motion isn’t smooth. And worse, the output is not consistent: even when stationary the level wavers. …

About

John S. Jacob

Software developer, electric guitarist, runner, scuba diver, singer, husband, father. https://about.me/jsjacob

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store