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Finalizing the software package.

After two days of basically collecting data and weighing options, we were starting to reach the finalizing phase for the software. It seems very likely we’ll be able to fit the RIP installer, the Mac and Windows versions of Guitar Rig 3, the Mac and Windows versions of Ableton Live and the Ableton Live content all on one hybrid, cross-platform DVD. When we first thought about how to package the Digital Supplement Pack, we really didn’t want to have separate packages for Windows and Mac — it seemed more fitting (and elegant) to have one guitar and one software package. “One disc to rule them all …”

Also, we finalized the amount of content from Ableton, and I was very happy to find there would be about 268MB—almost 7,000 files. Cool!

Ableton Library
Some of the Ableton Library has been expanded in Windows Explorer so you can get an idea of what’s included. The right pane shows the various folders of clips; folders of samples are shown toward the bottom of the left pane.

The Ableton Live Gibson Studio Edition also includes 16 tracks — again something that adds serious value. Between that and Guitar Rig 3’s extensive library of presets, this means that Dark Fire owners won’t be getting a “teaser” package, but serious software and enough content to be able to have backing tracks and make complete songs. I feel very good about this: Between the generosity of the companies, Gibson’s clout, and (I’ll admit) a little personal lobbying, we now had a solid software package.

But then we were thrown a curve: Dealing with VST plug-ins on Windows. With the Mac, there’s already a place to install AU plug-ins, and of course, Guitar Rig 3 is available in an AU version for the Mac as well as VST for the PC. But, there’s no standard place on a PC to put a VST plug-ins folder. Usually, if there are any Steinberg products installed, they install a VST plug-in folder and other programs find it and install in there. But what if it was a “virgin” computer? What if there weren’t any Steinberg programs on it?

We did a little testing and found that Ableton Live didn’t install a VST plug-ins folder, nor did Guitar Rig 3. Furthermore, with Live you have to choose a VST plug-ins folder and then activate it, and with Guitar Rig, during installation you have to specify the VST plug-ins folder in which you wanted the plug-in installed. This was a drag, because with Live, we had gotten it down to where after opening the program, you only had to do one click and hit the space bar to start recording. We were really pleased about that, but now we had to deal with the VST issue.

After much back and forth with Brian Espinosa and Jesse from Ableton, the idea came up that maybe the installer for the RIP could install a VST folder. That would simplify things somewhat, as it could be specified for Live and Guitar Rig during installation. But could Echo, the RIP’s designers, be able to do that? Well, we’ll find out tomorrow when we meet with them in Hamburg.

We then went to Gibson’s ER (Entertainment Relations) Berlin offices to introduce them to some of the people from Ableton, as well as to see how preparations were going for the press event to be held there on the 15th to introduce Dark Fire. I was just expecting some offices, but it was a beautiful suite of rooms, with a mouth-watering display of guitars, as well as products from Gibson’s other lines (Baldwin, Slingerland, Wurlitzer, etc.). I figured the ER offices would just be some desks and chairs. Wrong — just check out the pictures.

Here’s the reception area for the ER offices.

Wouldn’t you like to go to an office every day that has a grand piano sitting  in the middle of the room?

This is the stage area where the media has been invited to see Dark Fire’s debut on December 15th. Bumblefoot, from Guns ‘n’ Roses, is flying out from New York to demo the guitar.

There are walls of classic and new Gibson guitars.

Ulf Zick, Entertainment Relations Professional of the Berlin office—and a great host, to say the least.

Another guitar wall. I’m going to try to go back on Friday and get some shots of individual guitars.

Wurlitzer is one of Gibson’s many brands, and this is quite a jukebox.

In a way the ER is like Gibson’s “ambassador,” and Ulf and Alex, who run the place, have put together an extremely congenial home for press and artist events. I was very, very impressed both by the facilities and the hospitality.

And then, an unexpected treat: As the offices were closing down for the day. Ulf mentioned that he had extra tickets for a UEFA cup soccer (or as the Europeans call it, football) match that night between Heurtha and Turkey, and would I like to come? Of course! It was being held at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin—the one where Jesse Owens embarrassed Hitler big-time. The place was not only filled with history, but about 75,000 screaming fans; and if you think a rock concert is loud, this is LOUD. We had great seats and access to a VIP lounge, with great food and of course, German beer. The game ran late and the traffic getting out of there was pretty serious; I didn’t get to sleep until about 1:30, and had to get up at 6:30 the next morning to make the train to Hamburg. But it was worth it.

A soccer match in Europe is a cross between a sporting event and something approaching a religious revival meeting.

And there was another unexpected treat: Public Enemy was playing in Berlin on Thursday. Their bassist Brian Hardgroove is a great friend as well as a helluva musician and a Gibson artist, so I called and left a message about whether Brian Espinosa and I could get tickets, and maybe get together afterwards because he was staying at a hotel a couple blocks away. He called back while I was at the game (like I was going to hear the phone ring, right?) and left a message saying he was in Manchester England, but would be arriving in Berlin and we’d talk tomorrow.

Me and Brian on DiamondVision at a festival gig. Yes, that’s right—I’m playing the Gibson Digital Guitar.

But now, it’s time to go to sleep. I’m not a big fan of running on 4-6 hours sleep, which has been the story since leaving New Mexico. But hey, it’s only for a week, and we’re being very productive. At least when I fall into the hotel bed at night, it’s with the knowledge that we accomplished a lot each day. And this time, I got to see a great soccer match too (by the way, Turkey beat Berlin 1-0).

Until tomorrow …

Posted: 12/5/2008 2:42:52 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink
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