The Sounds Coming from this Covington Garage is One Man's Dream Coming to Life
In a garage on Russell Street in Covington, sounds are coming to life.
Dan Creed is something of an audio visionary as he has collected lots and lots of old computer and sound equipment to produce what he calls 3D audio where he can move sounds around his garage from one speaker to the 31 others he has hooked up there.
He plays a Stratocaster guitar and produces the clearest tones one could imagine from it as he separates the sound into multiple sound cards to send the audio to his various channels. He also sometimes samples sounds like whales and birds and can make banks of these sounds to produce multiple notes of the same sounds.
“You can get those sampled at really good rates, not mp3, but 16 bit,” Creed said. “Anymore than 16 is a waste.”
He said the concept of how sounds work came to him early when learning about how the Beatles recorded their sounds.
"Once upon a time it occurred to me that this wall is the right channel and this wall is the left, and that you have a good stereo with them both," he said. "John Lennon paid a guy to set up a studio at Abbey Road, and what the guy did was put up 16 speakers around the room because they had 16 tracks. Now we're in the era of surround sound. With tape recorders, it would have been really hard to do it. If you envision speakers on the wall, they can be addressed just like pixels on a screen."
Creed is a commercial pest-control technician by trade, but he has has taken out a loan for $10,000 to pay for new equipment in order to start a small business that will provide high-quality sound engineering for local events.
He has a handful of old computer monitors and towers, an assortment of speakers, many keyboards and equalizers and more wiring than most would know what to do with. Each of his computers has four sound cards in it and they synch up based on a clock that each recognize.
“It's beautiful how well they synch because it's just hardware that's being fed MIDI,” he said.
MIDI is a technical standard that allows a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers and other related devices to connect and communicate with one another.
Creed said he grew disappointed by the sound quality he would hear at live shows and concerts and is determined to provide artists with a better alternative than what has traditionally been the norm.
“I got sick to death of mono being blasted from the stage; these one-eyed monsters that just kills your ears with. If you disperse the sound, you can lower the volume because it's coming from everywhere very, very cleanly and clearly.”
Creed learned how to use the old equipment that he has by mostly teaching himself how it all works.
“I learned how to build circuits for IBM and I have been into computers since dual floppies and I always thought that they were neat machines, because you didn't greasy working on them. So I taught myself all about digital circuits and everything else. No, I'm not an expert, but yes I have my feet wet to an Nth degree from just experimentation.”
All of his computers use the old Windows 98 operating system and are powered by a Pentium 3 processors. He likes the rudimentary equipment over the newer models because he uses all hardware to produce synthesizer sounds versus internal sounds that many of today's musical programs have pre-loaded into them. He says using external hardware strains his giant system less.
Creed envisions setting up the sound system that he intends to bring to the public for businesses that have outdoor areas like the various pubs and restaurants in Mainstrasse Village or the Devou Park band shell. Other ways he could incorporate his craft is through children story times that include sound and live-stage theater performances, he said.
He hopes to have his LLC up and running by the summer months.
“I really have something that I hope could just skyrocket,” Creed said.
Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor