Friday, February 19, 2010

why i chose and love rain recording

music producers have many, many choices on the market today. from DAWs, to software plugs to hardware, etc...

the first and foremost consideration in starting your studio is the basis of it all... WHAT MACHINE are you going to use.

there are those who work primarily in their studio, at their desk, with the monitors, treated walls, synths and everything all there in one place. then there are those of us who are mobile... literally mobile. we need the ability to work here, there and anyway. on top of that, some of us, like myself, need the ability to use our workstation to play live.

so... LAPTOP.

i'm sure rain recording offers nothing but the best in breed in terms of desktop machines. but to this, i will not speak. what i am here to write about is my absolutely incredible hot-rod of a machine, the Rain Recording Livebook.

being somewhat of a laptop junkie, i have had quite a few. i have run through two top-end IBM thinkpads, core duo and all the related specs that make the kiddes in the crowd go rawr. and, too, i must admit, IBM support is no joke. even the slight thing breaks and there is something on site within 24 hours to fix it. not bad.

of the other notable machines i have used for music production is a top end x64 sony vaio. moving on.

it got to the point where what i needed what a PROFESSIONAL audio workstation. one that would never fail me, not live, not on the road, not in my studio. one that could handle the insanity i threw at it and one that had the appropriate level of support. and so began my search.

i was reading KVR one day and i heard about this company called Rain Recording. a small company based in Jersey (of all places). i added them to the list of companies to look at, but based on reviews of their machines at the time, wasn't really considering them an option.

as i diligently search through all of the options, custom made alien-ware laptops, samsung, acer, azus, msi, hp... i was lest than satisfied. they all had most of what i wanted, but it just felt too similar to what i already had.

then i started looking at more specialized companies like MusicXPC, ADK, sweetwater custom built. looking good but not great. then i looked back at that list and decided to check out the rain livebook in more detail.

let's be honest here... the rain recording livebook is not the cheapest machine on the market. but if you are serious about buy a machine for professional audio production, you should have long since left the expectation aside that you 1300 lenovo was going to do the trick.

once i started down the rain path, there was no turning back. first of all, the system specifications quite simply met every expectation i had (apart from the lack of a third USB port, which they have now included). the display is of the most stunning i have ever seen on any laptop up to 1680X1050.

the intel T4900 core2 duo at 2.GHz was pretty much top of the line at the time of purchase. with firewire, expresscard, usb and especially ESATA (sorry rain, i know you love your storm drives, but my glyph gt 050Q is indispensable). there is no device i own that i cannot connect to my rain without it functioning as expected (firewire drives, firewire Audio Interfaces, USB Audio interfaces, usb everything, the glyph drive via esata, expanable firewire 600 express card, which comes in the box, expresscard sound cards, damn the echo indigo i/o is amazing, HDMI out so i can have digital quality on ANY lcd interface, including monitors, TVs, etc).

now, let's get into some more of the intangible details. i am not one to just whip out the CC and fire off a purchase without fully understanding what i am getting into. hence the start of my communications with the rain team. Kevin Jacoby, owner of an illustrious hairstyle AND CEO of rain recording was unbelievable helpful and responsible to each and every question i asked. once i started down the spec'ing phase, the support team worked with me each step during the way to ensure the machine would be custom configured to meet my exact needs. even after a slight mishap in the configuration, Kevin generously offered a completely free of charge modification on their part, which was no short order.

now, once i received my livebook, the true fun began. out of the box, this was by far the most beautiful machine i have ever owned. you think that's underrated? ask the 200 mac users out there what THEY think. cool is cool, there is no qualms about saying that.

but aesthetics aside... i loaded the software i needed (sonar and related tools, in my case) and suddenly, i have 16 tracks of midi/audio, all with a host of fx and buss sends, pumping out through my plug and play audio interface without a CPU spike, glitch or pop. the machine is by no stretch of the imagination an absolutely BEAST for audio production. do i even need to say anything more than that?

yes, i do. no machine is without it's glitch along the way, and, as previously started, being a bit of a computer geek i will admit many of those glitches were my own fault. i installed a bigger and faster hard drive, more RAM, windows 7 x64, new audio interfaces, new software, etc, etc...

as problems arose, and listen to me very clearly, if you are buying a PROFESSIONAL audio production workstation, don't be silly and not by the support that comes along with it, in this case, raincare; i had the easiest time in the history of technical support getting my issues resolved. the technical support team, and especially my absolute main man Jami McGraw. i cannot tell you the pain i've put this poor man through... and the solutions he has provided me have not only been instantaneous, but have exceeded all expectations in their resolution of any issue i have come across.

in short, i can say nothing by positive, glowing, phenomenal things about my experience with Rain Recording. my only issue now is watching the new products be released and having problems keeping my tongue from wagging.

small price to pay. when i am ready to upgrade, i am sure i will get nothing short of the best audio mobile workstation on the market, as i believe i have now.

the beautiful rain in action:

thank you rain.

(FYI, i am in no way affiliated with Rain Recording. i am a music producer on the Vermin Street label, as you can find out from my profile. also to note, i never released one song before i purchased my livebook. hmmmm.)

btw, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

error 1402: could not open key

dear blog:

there it is.

you've done it. don't lie, you've been fiddling about with your machine again. and now look what you've got yourself into. you cannot install nor uninstall whatever program it is... maybe office 2007, maybe adobe reader, maybe in your case it was like my case, native instruments kontakt. yeah, blog, remember me? i produce music, so i like things like kontakt. but i am a geek too... but maybe i think a bit more of a geek than i am? or maybe not, depends on what you take from what i'm telling you.

so, blog, you're in a bad spot. let me tell you first... these waters are not good waters to be in. changes you make to your machine might cause it to go into a state you can never recover it from... and for that, blog, i am sorry, but i cannot be responsible. too, i think you should know; this is not for the light at heart. if you're going to set yourself on this path, clear out some time (hours, not minutes), some space (you'll want to be comfortable), some coffee and some seriously good music to keep you sane (maybe you want to listen to some of mine?).

also, blog, you may have used the google to look around for fixes to this problem. you may have found articles about things like secedit, cacls, icacls, subinacl. if any of those things worked for you, you wouldn't be listening to me. not that you do anyway.

all that being said, here we go.

1. download this:

is the windows installer cleanup utility. i cleans up windows installer caches. it is seriously a pain and really messes up your system, but, given where you are, why not.

some people say don't use this for office. your choice. either way... it just takes a long time. don't expect this tool to be a click once and walk away type thing.

install and run the tool. in the list, check for the product you're offended by. select it and click cleanup, or whatever it says. then a dos process will kick off... and then maybe another dos process, and then maybe a dos process will hang.

if it hangs for a while, look at the window. if it says something like "Removed /Features", or "Removed /Patches", go ahead and close that little window and let the process kick back in. if it doesn't kick back in, go select your little offensive program and repeat. keep repeating until the program is gone from the list.


oh man, blog. now we're going to mess with the registry. this is very, very bad. very wrong. never, ever good to do. in fact... don't do it. but here is what you would need to do if you were going to do it.

there is a little registry setting that you can change to add a nice little feature to the right-click menu. that little feature is called "Take ownership".

you might want to try here to get that little registry setting in place:

you can also back it out if need be.

now, go to c:\Windows\System32\Config (or the respective directory on your machine, bloggie).

there is a whole lotta shite in there, eh? you wanna know what that is blog? it's your REGISTRY!!! yep, on the filesystem. you wanna know what it is if you cannot see it? a good reason not to be reading this at all!!!! blog, you are an administrator on your own machine, aren't you? don't tell me you're not... because if that's the case, you've already wasted your time and mine.

now, blog, you remember that the registry is important, right? very important. that's why you're not doing this. just listening to me rant.

ok, blog, here we go again.

there are a few important files we need to take ownership of. these are called HIVES... like bees! let's own a few of them, howbout!

right click SYSTEM, and select "Take Ownership". owned.

do the same for SECURITY (probably not necessary, but let's OWN things!), COMPONENTS (a biggie) and SOFTWARE (another biggie).

sweet. we are beekeepers owning hives and shite!

3. ok, ok, ok. so, hopefully you've taken a break now and are well readied up for step number 3. let the damage begin, blog!!!

there are a couple ways you might have to approach this, blog, and i'm sorry, but one of them is MUCH less fun than the other. both of them are related to registry keys that fall under the following key:


now, blog, 1-5-18 might look a little different on your computer. most likely, if you are the admin, it does not. for gigglies, let me tell you what 1-5-18 means. 1 means Administrators Full Access, 5 means Creator Full Access, 18 means System Read and Write Access. i hope that makes sense. and, if it were true, you probably would be having this problem at all. i hope you don't really NEED to understand that, but it is relevant to know if alternate measures (alluded to below) need to be taken.

if you recall your error message, it was most likely something like:

Error 1402. Setup cannot open the registry key UNKNOWN\Components\50130FD80FA97FC46B395E916BE6945C\00002109E60090400000000000F01FEC

(this specific error is from an office 2007 install gone bad)

UNKNOWN is the registry key i mentioned above. where that key ends, so begins the components section of your error.

here is the easy fix:

use regedit (your registry editor... something you should never use, blog, but i know you aren't going to, because this is only hypothetical) to navigate to:


right click on Components and select permissions. in the dialog that appears, click add. type your user account into the name field. click ok. when your name appears in the security box, click it and give yourself full control. click apply, click ok. the dialog box should close. if it does not, i do not know how you got to this point. i can still help you, of course, blog, but you'll have to ASK me for help. otherwise, proceed.

now, right click components again. select permissions again. this time, in the dialog that appears, select Advanced. if you're not already there, click add in the Permissions tab. Add yourself. regardless, select yourself (ensuring you already have full control listed) and click the check box that says "replace all child object perm" blah blah. click apply. woohoo!

now, click the OWNER tab. pick your name from the list, check the box that starts with "Replace", click apply, click ok. click ok.

all dialogs should now be closed. you should now be able to open the components registry key like a windows explorer folder. you already should have been able to do this too, but what i hope happened is the following:

under components, find the rest of the key referenced in the error message. in the case above, that would be:


open it up. you will see subkeys. now, if all is going to be easy, if you right click on the subkey or subkeys under the key listed right above us, you will have full perms on it (or them). if that's the case, you most likely have permission on all other 6214 keys you need permission on to install. so, go try your installer!!

did it work, blog!?

yes!!!! i'm so glad it did!!! we're done.

but, fuck's sake if it didn't.

if it gave you the exact same error, with the exact same key, LASH YOURSELF. YOU ARE AN EPIC FAILURE AND NOTHING I HAVE TAUGHT YOU HAS AMOUNTED TO ANYTHING AT ALL.

whew. i feel better now blog.

but, guess what? it's not going to get any easier.

go back to your registry and open components. there are a whole lotta registry keys there. go to every single one that has a plus next to it. look for the last 8 digits of the second key in the two part key that is failing. from the example we are using, that would be:


this will make the keys easy to find. once you find one, after clicking a plus sign, right click and set permissions on all subkeys as described before. this is going to take a long time. there are a lot of plus signs to click and a lot of relevant registry entries (matching the digits) you will need to change permissions on.

stay strong. keep focused. get through it.


wake me up when yr done.

OK, i'm awake. you're done. or let's hope so. because if your program doesn't install now, you're going to have to keep digging through that section of the registry and manually update those permissions as described.

but i'm sure it's all working now.

ahhhh, blog, you didn't even do this, because i told you not to.

if all else fails, don't worry. there ARE tools that will help. remember that 1, 5 18 stuff we talked about? well, go lookup a tool called regini.exe. it will explain those numbers and many more in detail. it will tell you how to create a file you can use to SCRIPT registry changes. you may even want to try this first... but blog, registry changes are scary stuff. so, maybe do it the dumb way.

and, of course, blog. i'm here for you. talk to me. if you're stuck... just ask me. i promise i'll have an answer for you. not that i've ever messed with my system, or ran into issues like this myself (or did i already shoot myself in the foot with that above... accch, who cares).

when you're done with this all, definitely look up that tool i mentioned before called secedit. you'll be glad you did. it will restore your perms back to normal... and hopefully you'll never have to touch them again.

i'm done. bye now!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010