Adventures in time and space

In 2016 I made a small web app to help me calculate the ideal values for reverbs and delay, as I constantly found myself doing the math (which I never could remember anyway) by hand, just to be sure that the decay on the snare drum wasn’t messing things up, or to make sure the pre-delay wouldn’t become a post-delay at some point.

I just gotta say it hasn’t aged very well (but in the greater perspective – who has?). Although a bit sloppy looking, it still works, and that was the point anyway. I had actually forgotten all about it until recently.

The reason why I didn’t make a Swift version for iOS/iPad initially, was simply that it would require that I had my smart phone or iPad with me to every studio session, which would be pointless and counter-productive for me, so I figured that I probably could throw something together with javascript and old school HTML. And so I did.


Flic 2 + SoundBrenner = ❤︎

I got myself a Soundbrenner Core watch recently, and I gotta say: it grows on you! I figured it was a good idea since I always use a lot of time looking for a guitar tuner or a metronome anyway, and this way I always have that on me, even if I don’t have my phone within reach. 

When I learned that it could sync via Bluetooth and midi MTC, I was sold…or bought actually, depending on how you see it. However, this article was not intended to cover the philosofical aspects of modern capitalism, so I’m not going to elaborate that further. Anyway, I’m a sucker for good gadgets, and especially if they’re designed for creating music or music production.

The real power of Soundbrenner comes into play when exploring the more advanced features, like adding songs to the user “library”, and further creating “setlists” from the song library. Very handy, and the user interface is easy like sunday morning.

Loading a setlist in the Soundbrenner iOS app

When I started to explore the app settings, I noticed the “Bluetooth Pedal” functionality. Aha! An imaginary dim yellow lightbulb immidiately went on above my head, accompanied by a Looney Tunes stock sound effect. 💡

Although I didn’t have a bluetooth pedal, I did have lots of Flic 2™ Bluetooth smart buttons lying around which probably could be customized to suit my needs?

It turned out that my assumptions were indeed right, and I find it very convenient to use my Flic 2 “pedal” (not bad considering it’s not even a pedal at all) as a supplement tool for the “tap tempo” and start/stop in particular. It’s actually one of the more useful “hacks” I ever found. So how did I do it? Keep reading, padawan.

How to make Flic 2 and Soundbrenner talk

The Soundbrenner metronome app will automagically discover Bluetooth devices sending out these keystrokes
  • Open the Flic app on iOS (I don’t have an Android device, but I suppose it’s pretty straight forward there as well).
  • Add/pair a new Flic 2 button, or select one that you already added.
  • From the list of providers, select the “Flic Universal” category, and “Keyboard” in the device sub category list.
  • From the list of keyboard actions, add the following:
    • Up Arrow
    • Down Arrow
    • Enter/Return
    • Space bar
  • When you press “Save”, you will receive a warning that the connection will be lost. This is normal and expected behavior, since the Flic button will now be “discoverable” as a new bluetooth keyboard/pedal device.
  • Wait a couple of seconds, and open the Bluetooth category in iOS Settings. Tap the “new” Flic bluetooth device to pair it.
  • Now, open the Soundbrenner metronome app. In the app settings, select “Foot Pedal Inputs”, and enable it (see screenshot).
  • Then proceed to map the key functions to their Flic 2 counterparts that you just added. For starters, map “Up Arrow” to “Tap Tempo”.
  • Now, select the “Player” section at the bottom menu in Soundbrenner, and keep pressing the Flic 2 button at a steady pace. The tempo should now respond to the tempo you tap on the Flic 2 (and congratulations, you just disguised your Flic 2 as a foot pedal). Proceed to map the other key functions as well.
Mapping the Flic 2 button clicks to Soundbrenner functions


If it stops working after a while, just press the Flic 2 button a couple of times to re-establish the Bluetooth connection. You could also try to open the button settings in the Flic app, and change the button properties from “Passive” to “Active”. Keep in mind that this will use some extra battery on the Flic button, but I find it more reliable for this particular use.

Keep tapping, and #masteryourcraft! ❤️


The times, they are a cha-a-nging (so keep up the pace)

Remember Porta Studios? 8-tracks? Beta video players? Sega? Vinyl records?

If you answered “no” or “what??” to at least one of the above questions, you are most likely younger than 18, not into those kind of things, or you are more interested in what´s going on in the present, than what happened down in memory lane. Either way, you´re perfectly normal (and not anything like me).

My point with this somewhat confusing nostalgic intro survey, is that things change, fast. 50 years ago we recorded music on tape machines larger than your Macbook Pro, one guy just to operate it, and 10 other guys to mix, master, cut & splice the tape, place microphones, bounce the recording and keep track of takes and edits, and of course a producer/exec.

4 or 8 tracks was the max limit, bear that in mind when listening to Sergeant Pepper or Pet Sounds the next time, and you´ll a) feel like a complete moron for using 24 tracks on the guitars alone and still not get a decent take, b) realize what brilliant geniuses those 50s/60s pioneers were. In 2015, in theory at least, you can record a double album in three days, mix and master, and finally distribute it to Spotify and iTunes, from your bedroom – with only a computer, a sound card, a midi keyboard and a decent microphone. One man show.

Still I think we have lost something on the way. The endless choices and possibilites are working against us. Want a 808 or 909? A Ludwig or a Gretch? 24″ or 26″ kick drum? Click, click – there ya go. Can´t play the drums? No prob Bob, we just drag in a loop, or quantize like a madman until it sounds GREAT. Can´t sing either? We have remedies for that, what kind of Autotune do you want?


Back in the days your drummer HAD to be good enough to keep time and groove, and you HAD to know how to place those mics (let alone what kind of mics, and how to make them sound OK). This was not going to be a “things were so much better before” article, but I realize I have to bring up these examples to make my point: You can´t fake skills, and you gotta know HOW to make technology work for you, instead of against you.

You don´t need a mic technician or a John Bonham-clone to make a hip hop album – but you will need at least a proficient rapper and a good producer to make it fly like Dr. Dre. You can´t make your band sound like Zeppelin if you compensate the novice drummer with adding midi loops or quantize it until it sounds like a drum machine from the 80s.

You simply can´t beat skills and hard work, and most importantly; there are no shortcuts. I´m sure Kenny Rogers will agree.

You gotta know when to hold´em, know when to fold´em.

Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler”

Quotes aside; you won´t find Kenny Rogers in my record collection, or in any collection of mine for that matter. Just so we have that clear (nothing personal of course, just not my cup of…something).

I love technology, I love possibilities and gadgets, but I try to find the best use for what I have available at the time, and I don´t expect that autotune to ultimately make that horrid singer sound just right. Got my point? Good.

One last advice. Software will also change, all the time. Synths and midi have come a long way since 1984. My advice: When you are satisfied with your software instrument midi recording, bounce it. The audio will most likely play just fine 10 years from now, the midi is less likely to cooperate and sound just like you played it (unless you make regular backups of your software and store it for decades).

And keep those midi tracks anyway, it will probably come in handy, and when you archive it – name the midi track (or write it in the track notes in Logic Pro X) with as much info as you can about the original software instrument and eventual preset name.

Example: “XLN Audio – Addictive Drums 2 – Fairfax vol. 2 – Almost dry – V-drums midi mapping”.  When you try to import your project, a zillion years from now in Logic Pro XIII, you have a fair chance to recreate the sound because you know the name of the manufacturer, SW instrument, version and preset name.