DISCOVERING REAPER - 003 - Starting Reaper

By default, Reaper opens the last project every time you start the program. I think it's a cool feature. It simply saves me a few mouse-clicks but this behavior can be changed by setting program preferences, or just temporarily by holding down the SHIFT key while Reaper is starting. For now I'm happy just the way it is.

I also discovered that I can still have Reaper start up in different ways without futzing with the preference settings. By simply using the Windows START menu and selecting REAPER, I am offered four other choices.
  • Create New Project
  • Reset Configuration To Factory Defaults
  • ReWire Slave Mode
  • Show Audio Configuration On Startup

On the next installment, I'll be going through Chapter 2: Reaper Project Basics.

Awesome!!! Home Recording On The Cheap

Bobby Owsinski featured One Like Son's "Start The Show" video done entirely with an iPhone, an interface and a few apps.

Check out the blog post HERE.

Check out One Like Son's music HERE.

I Want That eBook!!!

 Ian Shepherd of Production Advice is giving away three copies of his new "Mastering with Multi-Band Compression" eBook and video. Needless to say, I want to win one!

Most of my friends and some reviewers in home recording forums already think "Make Me Crawl" is a good first effort into recording my own music.But  I think it can even go further given the know-how and the right tools (that I may already have but don't know how to use it).

I just feel the song needs more punch. If I win a copy, I would use the existing version as a test bed for everything I'm going to learn from the ebook and videos.

So Ian... please, for your consideration, have a listen to my original... Make Me Crawl. If you can give additional comments, that would be great... and hey, if you decide I should have a free copy of your e-book, that's would be fantastic!

Note: If you're interested in winning your own copy of the ebook and video, read the contest rules HERE.

NOOB HOME RECORDING (004) - Adding Drum Fills

A drum VST's preset patterns repeating over and over through several bars can quickly become boring and will scream fake. So taking the time programming from scratch or tweaking presets can go a long way.  Adding drum fills can even take the song further and break the monotony.


I decided to skip the sections on Output and Input Aliasing, Setting Up MIDI and Plug-Ins. I figured I could do it as needed. Reading on down the user guide there's an important blurb on backing up. Having had experience with glitches and crashes and --GASP-- the blue screen of death, this would be the most important thing to do on a regular basis.


I was browsing through some used books for sale at our local library when I saw this picture on the cover of The Master Printer's Workbook: A Professional Guide To Black and White Darkroom TechniquesAt the time I didn't even know or recognize who it was but I thought it was a striking photo and it would be a nice subject for my first portrait drawing so I bought the book.

DISCOVERING REAPER - 001 - Setting Up Audio

Setting up audio preferences is the next important topic tackled in the user guide. Having software and hardware agree with each other before you hit the "record" button will ensure the likelihood of a hassle-free home recording experience.

DISCOVERING REAPER - 000 - Introduction

I've had the evaluation copy of Reaper 3 installed for a while but never came around to using it as I've been comfortable with Ableton Live but after listening to episode 131 of the Home Recording Show podcast, I've decided to take this personal trip to discovering this DAW.

NOOB HOME RECORDING (003) - VST Drum Programming

Nothing beats having real drums with a real drummer playing behind it. As with almost everything with this hobby, the drum kit or kits, the number of mics needed to capture the sound, studio rental if you happen to primarily work in your bedroom... all come at a cost. Not to mention hiring an experienced drummer if you don't already know one who is willing to work for free. I have none of the above so the next best thing is the drum machine or virtual drums.

A Pat On the Back

I find it very rewarding when total strangers leave praises and nice comments for any work I've done. It feels great when people, other than friends and relatives, find what I have to share enjoyable. At some level it's a validation to why I do what I do and that's what keeps me inspired to do even more.

NOOB HOME RECORDING (002) - Lining Up Drum Beats

For the benefit of total beginners, I would like to point you to the Glossary link at the top. This will come in handy as I throw out a bunch of acronyms and foreign sounding terms. -Mario

After finding a suitable version of The Metro for a scratch track, it's time to get busy with drums or drum programming. In my case, it's the latter since I don't know any drummer, I don't own real drums and even if I did, I won't do a good job at it. Enter, the drum Virtual Studio Technology instrument or VSTi for short.

Owsinski, On Making Your Band Sound Great

Here's a few more golden nuggets from Bobby Owskinski on how to improve your band's performance. On his recent blog, he extracts some tips from his book: How To Make Your Band Sound Great.

He briefly explains Dynamics, Attack and Releases, and Turnarounds.

I think these can also be great songwriting tools. I'll make sure to take the time to incorporate these aspects into my songwriting process.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Original Art: Momma Dragon

This was my entry to a dragon themed traditional drawing contest at I placed 8th out of the 10 entries. See the other entries here. I also posted a step-by-step on the site.


I've been a comicbook superhero fan since I was little and the ones at the top of my list are Superman and Batman. Here's my rendition of the Dark Knight, done entirely with pencil. I worked on this over a couple of weeks during lunch breaks at work, just adding a little bit everytime.

Goodbye for now, Netflix!

This might be old news by now but here's my take...

It Could Be the “CATALYST”… for Higher Bills
The recent Netflix price increase on their streaming plus DVD rental just left a bad taste in my mouth. The thing is I don't watch much TV as I have an aversion to five minutes or more of commercials in between shows. Netflix really offered a great alternative. Before streaming was introduced, I was on their 3-DVD plan but cut back to 1-DVD when I ended up holding on to the DVD’s for weeks, even months. My wife and I were seriously considering downgrading our cable service to the very basic and just relying on Netflix streaming for occasional home entertainment… at least that was the plan until the news of the increase.


On this post we'll get familiarized with the five bass amp models of POD Farm (version 1). Bass playing is not my strongest suit but for this demo it will have to do.The bass on this sound test is an Ibanez GSR 190-T with both pickups active, all knobs on full. I used a medium pick.

The bass modeling on the POD Farm allows for different combinations of amp and cabinet, room positioning of the cabinet, different microphone and mic positions. Top that with customizable amp settings and we get potentially hundreds of sonic possibilities.

Latest Home Recording: STEREO

I haven't posted in a while because I've been busy finishing my latest home recording. Yeah, it's bad but kinda good at the same time. Well I'm done... finally.

I wrote Stereo back in the early 90's when Pill was still actively playing. The song's inspiration revolves around being stereotyped when the general impression was that you were most likely an addict of sorts if you were in a rock band. But we were far from it. It was annoying but hey, it gave me fodder for a song.


Hah! I just dug up this old music file from back in the mid 90's. It's just spontaneous "noodling" in the studio while on rehearsal break. I just started playing this palm muted riff. Next thing you know, Art (drums) started playing along. Paul (bass) soon joined in. What followed next was pure four-and-a-half minutes of fun and mayhem.

The lyrics were gibberish of course. At that time I must've been thinking about Rage Against The Machine.

Lugaw No.5

I have a couple of favorite parts:

At 2:45 where I started playing harmonics and Paul just shifted his pattern and ended up with an awesome melodic break.

The next one's at around 3:34... more gibberish but I was more interested on the guitar parts. As I listened to it, I just kept asking myself, "How the heck  did I do that?".

Anyway, this looks like something that could turn into another music project. It would be fun to try to recreate it on my digital setup, maybe add real lyrics to it and do a proper arrangement. Hopefully I can figure out how I played those nifty guitar parts.

Thanks to Art for bringing his tape recorder and capturing this awesome moment. It brings back fond memories and never fails to put a smile on my face every single time I listen to it.

Bobby Owsinski's 5 Elements Of A Great Arrangement

A while back I came across a great article about musical arrangement on Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture Blog.

He explains that most songs usually have five elements: Foundation, Pad, Rhythm, Lead and Fills that, when used effectively, can make a great song. Any more than that makes it confusing to the listener.

These elements can also be a helpful analysis tool for a musician in the process of arranging his masterpiece or for anyone who wants to figure out what makes a hit song tick.

NOOB HOME RECORDING (001) - The Scratch Track

On NHR (000), you've heard the cover version done though very meager recording setup and little to no recording experience. Had I taken the time to actually listen to the original song to figure out the key, I wouldn't be griping about it today.


Welcome to the NOOB HOME RECORDING segment. This is where I will share my experiences (and frustrations) on budget home recording, its basics, EQ's, Compression, and all sorts of recording stuff, as I learn them.


Back on the music front. My current project is still in the works. I've pretty much laid down all the basic tracks except for the vocals. But it's already taking too long to finish. I keep getting distracted and I'm always finding excuses not to record this one final track so I can begin mixing.

Anyway, if you're interested on the song's progress, here's what I have so far... it's called Stereo and the song will be in Tagalog. This track is still in its raw form and will be mixed once I have all the elements in.

Stereo-Raw Backing Track

On another note, there is an interesting interview with Kim Lajoie on the Home Recording Show podcast. The important thing I personally got out of the interview is to concentrate on making music instead of obsessing about gear. It doesn't matter if I have a rinky dink effects box or a $2000 recording console. What matters is knowing how to effectively use the equipment and software you have and that the music must come first.

Kim Lajoie also has a blog with heaping amounts of information and insights on recording and making music. Be sure to check it out.


I've always loved to draw since I was little. It started from drawing my favorite cartoon characters and later on creating my own. I also remember back in grade school and high school when I used to make my own comic books and passed it around to my classmates. Those were fun times.

Well the flame is still alive albeit quite faint. I manage to doodle every now and then. But lately I've been itching to do it more and rediscover my love for the art. My favorite medium used to be pencil and ink. It still is but I want to combine the traditional with digital medium. So this will be a learning and re-learning process for me and this blog will help me keep track of my progress.


One of my goals is to REALLY learn how to draw proper human figures. Below are recent samples of what I can do now. I'm sure there's a lot of room for improvement. I just need the patience to practice and stay with it.

ROCKET MAN: Well, this one's not really recent. I drew this about five years ago on a piece of stationery, while I was bored out of my mind. I used a regular black ball point pen.