Sunday, May 23, 2010
Smart Music on the Tablet!
The last I tested Smart Music, it was pretty dismal on the tablet. There was tons of popping and static in the playback, indicating that the machine was not up to the task of running the audio out while listening to the audio in and all the signal processing that goes with that. At that point, the machine was still in the state it came to me in – slow hard drive near death, only 1Gig RAM, and tons of stuff installed by the previous owner. Since then, I have upgraded to 2Gig RAM, a nice fast SSD, and done a clean install of Windows 7. I figured I would give it another go and see if it made a difference.
It made a big enough difference for me to transfer my subscription over to the tablet. There is still some lag in recording that I’m trying to figure out. I may eventually try a PCMCIA audio interface. But it words perfectly for assessments out of the Smart Music Songbook, which is by far my primary use of Smart Music. Students are coming in asking if they can try a few more assessments in each lesson. It’s really turning out to be a big hit and helping out students’ counting and sight-reading along the way.
I have also been using the Suzuki accompaniments to prepare students for the upcoming recital. We will not have the ability to meet with the accompanist before the recital, so it’s important that the students know how to play with the piano part will in advance. Luckily, our accompanist is super good and used to accompanying Suzuki students. She’s very familiar with the repertoire and very good at making kids feel comfortable while playing with piano. I will be interested to see how only using the computer to prepare plays out at the actual recital.
The recording lag will only become an issue when it’s time to make graduation recordings. I hope I can figure out the issues by then. Using the built in mic and speakers yields the most in sync recordings, but the mic quality is not good, and the speakers are not really loud enough. Oh, and the mic is directly between the speakers on the same edge of the machine, leading to tons of bleed through. Using my Blue Yeti USB mic yields much better sound, but even worse syncing issues between the accompaniment playback and the recording. I think for now, especially since I will want to submit videos, will be to play the accompaniment through external speakers and capture the whole thing on a separate video camera.
If anyone has experience with PCMCIA audio interfaces, I would love to hear about in in the comments.
I’m looking forward to not having to carry both the laptop (to run Smart Music) and the tablet. This week, only the tc1100 goes in with me.