The tail end of last week was when we managed to get the equipment fully synch'ed. The Dell PowerEdge 2950 running with Cubase, the latency of the Focusrite Saffire Pro down to 2.0ms, high quality cables throughout, the lower-output Mackie HR824 replaced, and everything that was eligible hooked up to the Apogee Big Ben.
I'm still disappointed that the Saffire has a propensity to disconnect itself due to driver instability. This is a known issue, and I'm impatient to have that problem resolved because it's a lump in our workflow; trying to get it to re-engage after it drops out. I understand why it's so well regarded and reviewed, but surely this matter needs prompt attention. I was also surprised with the Mackie monitor not living up to its reputation in terms of quality assurance. The theory goes that they're delivered to retailers in four-unit clusters, and consecutive serial numbers are matched. This has not been my experience. One of the pair was DOA out of the box. The other pair had a nearly 6dB disparity in output. Eventually I found one that matched closely enough the output of my original "hot" one, but was far from being consecutive.
Given that the Big Ben is reputed to increase resolution of the stereo field, unmatched monitors don't make that assessment possible. I'm figuring out solutions now.
On Sunday we were back in the recording saddle once again, beginning with the guide piano and vocals for "Tiempo para el amor". Then the conga and tumba were set up and mic'ed. There followed a marathon session of my playing Cándido's tumbao for "Llamada de Ogún" until I got an acceptable take. Now I can play the regular stuff in my sleep / 'til the cows come home but this groove is something else altogether. It's a lot like the bassline in "Corazón Fugitivo" which reveals errors and drift very easily. When that happens, the only option is to start all over again.
Several hours later, we got a stronger take than the one I'd laid down a few months ago. Nailing a finalised take of Bolero rítmico and tumbao moderno for "Tiempo para el amor" was a snap after that.
Monday and yesterday were supposed to be bassline recording days, but with my left hand still tired from the conga session, Dan and I thought it best not to push the issue, and we went to first mixdown mode instead finishing six songs. We should have "Recordando África" and "Llamada de Ogún" finished before band practice tonight; so the band can have it as a take-home pressie.
So I've got a lot to look forward to... a fun-packed evening promising capers and frolicks as we prepare for our gig (with brand spanking new line-up) on the 20th.