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Comprehensive Guide for getting into Home Recording

I'm going to borrow from a few sources and do my best to make this cohesive, but this question comes up a lot. I thought we had a comprehensive guide, but it doesn't appear so. In the absence of this, I feel that a lot of you could use a simple place to go for some basics on recording. There are a couple of great resources online already on some drumming forums, but I don't think they will be around forever.
Some background on myself - I have been drumming a long time. During that time, home recording has gone from using a cassette deck to having a full blown studio at your finger tips. The technology in the last 15 years has gotten so good it really is incredible. When I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life, I decided to go to school for audio engineering in a world-class studio. During this time I had access to the studio and was able to assist with engineering on several projects. This was awesome, and I came out with a working knowledge of SIGNAL CHAIN, how audio works in the digital realm, how microphones work, studio design, etc. Can I answer your questions? Yes.

First up: Signal Chain! This is the basic building block of recording. Ever seen a "I have this plugged in but am getting no sound!" thread? Yeah, signal chain.

A "Signal Chain" is the path your audio follows, from sound source, to the recording device, and back out of your monitors (speakers to you normies).
A typical complete signal chain might go something like this:
1] instrument/sound source 2] Microphone/TransducePickup 3] Cable 4] Mic Preamp/DI Box 5] Analog-to-Digital Converter 6] Digital transmission medium[digital data get recoded for usb or FW transfer] 7] Digital recording Device 8] DSP and Digital summing/playback engine 9] Digital-to-Analog Converter 10] Analog output stage[line outputs and output gain/volume control] 11] Monitors/Playback device[headphones/other transducers]
Important Terms, Definitions, and explanations (this will be where the "core" information is):
1] AD Conversion: the process by which the electrical signal is "converted" to a stream of digital code[binary, 1 and 0]. This is accomplished, basically, by taking digital pictures of the audio...and this is known as the "sampling rate/frequency" The number of "pictures" determines the frequency. So the CD standard of 44.1k is 44,100 "pictures" per second of digital code that represents the electrical "wave" of audio. It should be noted that in order to reproduce a frequency accuratly, the sampling rate must be TWICE that of the desired frequency (See: Nyquist-Shannon Theorem). So, a 44.1 digital audio device can, in fact, only record frequencies as high as 22.05khz, and in the real world, the actual upper frequency limit is lower, because the AD device employs a LOW-PASS filter to protect the circuitry from distortion and digital errors called "ALIASING." Confused yet? Don't worry, there's more... We haven't even talked about Bit depth! There are 2 settings for recording digitally: Sample Rate and Bit Depth. Sample rate, as stated above, determines the frequencies captured, however bit depth is used to get a better picture of the sample. Higher bit depth = more accurate sound wave representation. More on this here. Generally speaking, I record at 92KHz/24 bit depth. This makes huge files, but gets really accurate audio. Why does it make huge files? Well, if you are sampling 92,000 times per second, you are taking each sample and applying 24 bits to that, multiply it out and you get 92,000*24 = 2,208,000 bits per second or roughly 0.26MB per second for ONE TRACK. If that track is 5 minutes long, that is a file that is 78.96MB in size. Now lets say you used 8 inputs on an interface, that is, in total, 631.7MB of data. Wow, that escalates quick, right? There is something else to note as well here: Your CPU has to calculate this. So the amount of calculations it needs to perform for this same scenario is ~17.7 million calculations PER SECOND. This is why CPU speed and RAM is super important when recording digitally.
2] DA conversion: the process by which the digital code (the computer representation of a sound wave) is transformed back into electrcal energy in the proper shape. In a oversimplified explanation, the code is measured and the output of the convertor reflects the value of the code by changing voltage. Think of a sound wave on a grid: Frequency would represent the X axis (the horizontal axis)... but there is a vertical axis too. This is called AMPLITUDE or how much energy the wave is generating. People refer to this as how 'loud' a sound is, but that's not entirely correct. You can have a high amplitude wave that is played at a quiet volume. It's important to distinguish the two. How loud a sound is can be controlled by the volume on a speaker or transducer. But that has no impact on how much amplitude the sound wave has in the digital space or "in the wire" on its way to the transducer. So don't get hung up on how "loud" a waveform is, it is how much amplitude it has when talking about it "in the box" or before it gets to the speakeheadphone/whatever.
3] Cables: An often overlooked expense and tool, cables can in fact, make or break your recording. The multitudes of types of cable are determined by the connector, the gauge(thickness), shielding, type of conductor, etc... Just some bullet points on cables:
- Always get the highest quality cabling you can afford. Low quality cables often employ shielding that doesnt efectively protect against AC hums(60 cycle hum), RF interference (causing your cable to act as a gigantic AM/CB radio antenna), or grounding noise introduced by other components in your system. - The way cables are coiled and treated can determine their lifespan and effectiveness. A kinked cable can mean a broken shield, again, causing noise problems. - The standard in the USA for wiring an XLR(standard microphone) cable is: PIN 1= Cold/-, PIN 2= Hot/+, PIN 3=Ground/shield. Pin 3 carries phantom power, so it is important that the shield of your cables be intact and in good condition if you want to use your mic cables without any problems. - Cables for LINE LEVEL and HI-Z(instrument level) gear are not the same! - Line Level Gear, weather professional or consumer, should generally be used with balanced cables (on a 1/4" connector, it will have 3 sections and is commonly known as TRS -or- TipRingSleeve). A balanced 1/4" is essentially the same as a microphone cable, and in fact, most Professional gear with balanced line inputs and outputs will have XLR connectors instead of 1/4" connectors. - Hi-Z cable for instruments (guitars, basses, keyboards, or anything with a pickup) is UNBALANCED, and should be so. The introduction of a balanced cable can cause electricity to be sent backwards into a guitar and shock the guitar player. You may want this to happen, but your gear doesn't. There is some danger here as well, especially on stage, where the voltage CAN BE LETHAL. When running a guitabass/keyboard "Direct" into your interface, soundcard, or recording device, you should ALWAYS use a "DIRECT BOX", which uses a transformer to isolate and balance the the signal or you can use any input on the interface designated as a "Instrument" or "Hi-Z" input. It also changes some electrical properties, resulting in a LINE LEVEL output (it amplifies it from instrument level to line level).
4] Digital Data Transmissions: This includes S/PDIF, AES/EBU, ADAT, MADI. I'm gonna give a brief overview of this stuff, since its unlikely that alot of you will ever really have to think about it: - SDPIF= Sony Phillips Digital Interface Format. using RCA or TOSLINK connectors, this is a digital protocol that carries 3 streams of information. Digital audio Left, Digital Audio Right, and CLOCK. SPDIF generally supports 48khz/20bit information, though some modern devices can support up to 24bits, and up to 88.2khz. SPDIF is the consumer format of AES/EBU - AES/EBU= Audio Engineering Society/European Breadcasters Union Digital protocol uses a special type of cable often terminated with XLR connectors to transmit 2 channels of Digital Audio. AES/EBU is found mostly on expensive professional digital gear. - ADAT= the Alesis Digital Audio Tape was introduced in 1991, and was the first casette based system capable of recording 8 channels of digital audio onto a single cartridge(a SUPER-VHS tape, same one used by high quality VCR's). Enough of the history, its not so important because we are talking about ADAT-LIGHTPIPE Protocol, which is a digital transmission protocol that uses fiberoptic cable and devices to send up to 8 channels of digital audio simultaneously and in sync. ADAT-Lightpipe supports up to 48khz sample rates. This is how people expand the number of inputs by chaining interfaces. - MADI is something you will almost never encounter. It is a protocol that allows up to 64 channels of digital audio to be transmitted over a single cable that is terminated by BNC connectors. Im just telling you it exists so in case you ever encounter a digital snake that doesnt use Gigabit Ethernet, you will know whats going on.
digital transmission specs: SPDIF -> clock->2Ch->RCA cable(consumer) ADAT-Lightpipe->clock->8Ch->Toslink(semi-pro) SPDIF-OPTICAL->clock->2Ch->Toslink(consumer) AES/EBU->clock->2Ch->XLR(Pro) TDIF->clock->8Ch->DSub(Semi-Pro) ______________ MADI->no clock->64Ch->BNC{rare except in large scale pofessional apps} SDIF-II->no clock->24Ch->DSub{rare!} AES/EBU-13->no clock->24Ch->DSub
5] MICROPHONES: There are many types of microphones, and several names for each type. The type of microphone doesn't equate to the polar pattern of the microphone. There are a few common polar patterns in microphones, but there are also several more that are less common. These are the main types- Omni-Directional, Figure 8 (bi-directional), Cardioid, Super Cardioid, Hyper Cardioid, Shotgun. Some light reading.... Now for the types of microphones: - Dynamic Microphones utilize polarized magnets to convert acoustical energy into electrical energy. there are 2 types of dynamic microphones: 1) Moving Coil microphones are the most common type of microphone made. They are also durable, and capable of handling VERY HIGH SPL (sound pressure levels). 2) Ribbon microphones are rare except in professional recording studios. Ribbon microphones are also incredibly fragile. NEVER EVER USE PHANTOM POWER WITH A RIBBON MICROPHONE, IT WILL DIE (unless it specifically requires it, but I've only ever seen this on one Ribbon microphone ever). Sometimes it might even smoke or shoot out a few sparks; applying phantom power to a Ribbon Microphone will literally cause the ribbon, which is normally made from Aluminum, to MELT. Also, windblasts and plosives can rip the ribbon, so these microphones are not suitible for things like horns, woodwinds, vocals, kick drums, or anything that "pushes air." There have been some advances in Ribbon microphones and they are getting to be more common, but they are still super fragile and you have to READ THE MANUAL CAREFULLY to avoid a $1k+ mistake. - CondenseCapacitor Microphones use an electrostatic charge to convert acoustical energy into electrical energy. The movement of the diaphragm(often metal coated mylar) toward a ceramic "backplate" causes a fluctuation in the charge, which is then amplified inside the microphone and output as an electrical signal. Condenser microphones usually use phantom power to charge the capacitors' and backplate in order to maintain the electrostatic charge. There are several types of condenser microphones: 1) Tube Condenser Microphones: historically, this type of microphone has been used in studios since the 1940s, and has been refined and redesigned hundreds, if not thousands of times. Some of the "best sounding" and most desired microphones EVER MADE are Tube Condenser microphones from the 50's and 60's. These vintage microphones, in good condition, with the original TUBES can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tube mics are known for sounding "full", "warm", and having a particular character, depending on the exact microphone. No 2 tubes mics, even of the same model, will sound the same. Similar, but not the same. Tube mics have their own power supplies, which are not interchangeable to different models. Each tube mic is a different design, and therefore, has different power requirements. 2) FET Condenser microphones: FET stands for "Field Effect Transistor" and the technology allowed condenser microphones to be miniturized. Take for example, the SHURE beta98s/d, which is a minicondenser microphone. FET technology is generally more transparant than tube technology, but can sometimes sound "harsh" or "sterile". 3) Electret Condenser Microphones are a condenser microphone that has a permanent charge, and therefore, does not require phantom power; however, the charge is not truly permanent, and these mics often use AA or 9V batteries, either inside the mic, or on a beltpack. These are less common.
Other important things to know about microphones:
- Pads, Rolloffs, etc: Some mics have switches or rotating collars that notate certain things. Most commonly, high pass filters/lowcut filters, or attenuation pads. 1) A HP/LC Filter does exactly what you might think: Removes low frequency content from the signal at a set frequency and slope. Some microphones allow you to switch the rolloff frequency. Common rolloff frequencies are 75hz, 80hz, 100hz, 120hz, 125hz, and 250hz. 2) A pad in this example is a switch that lowers the output of the microphone directly after the capsule to prevent overloading the input of a microphone preamplifier. You might be asking: How is that possible? Some microphones put out a VERY HIGH SIGNAL LEVEL, sometimes about line level(-10/+4dbu), mic level is generally accepted to start at -75dbu and continues increasing until it becomes line level in voltage. It should be noted that linel level signals are normally of a different impedance than mic level signals, which is determined by the gear. An example for this would be: I mic the top of a snare drum with a large diaphragm condenser mic (solid state mic, not tube) that is capable of handling very high SPLs (sound pressure levels). When the snare drum is played, the input of the mic preamp clips (distorts), even with the gain turned all the way down. To combat this, I would use a pad with enough attenuation to lower the signal into the proper range of input (-60db to -40 db). In general, it is accepted to use a pad with only as much attentuation as you need, plus a small margin of error for extra “headroom”. What this means is that if you use a 20db pad where you only need a 10db pad, you will then have to add an additional 10db of gain to achieve a desireable signal level. This can cause problems, as not all pads sound good, or even transparent, and can color and affect your signal in sometimes unwanted ways that are best left unamplified. - Other mic tips/info: 1) when recording vocals, you should always use a popfilter. A pop filter mounted on a gooseneck is generally more effective than a windscreen made of foam that slips over the microphone. The foam type often kill the highfrequency response, alter the polar pattern, and can introduce non-linear polarity problems(part of the frequency spectrum will be out of phase.) If you don't have a pop filter or don't want to spend on one, buy or obtain a hoop of some kind, buy some cheap panty-hose and stretch it over the hoop to build your own pop filter. 2) Terms Related to mics: - Plosives: “B”, “D”, “F”, “G”, “J”, “P”, “T” hard consonants and other vocal sounds that cause windblasts. These are responsible for a low frequency pop that can severly distort the diaphragm of the microphone, or cause a strange inconsistency of tonality by causing a short term proximity effect.
- Proximity effect: An exponential increase in low frequency response causes by having a microphone excessivly close to a sound. This can be cause by either the force of the air moving actually causes the microphone’s diaphragm to move and sometimes distort, usually on vocalists or buy the buildup of low frequency soundwaves due to off-axis cancellation ports. You cannot get proximity effect on an omnidirectional microphone. With some practice, you can use proximity effect to your advantage, or as an effect. For example, if you are recording someone whispering and it sounds thin or weak and irritating due to the intenese high mid and high frequency content, get the person very close to a cardioid microphone with two popfilters, back to back approx 1/2”-1” away from the mic and set your gain carefully, and you can achieve a very intimite recording of whispering. In a different scenario, you can place a mic inside of a kick drum between 1”-3” away from the inner shell, angled up and at the point of impact, and towards the floor tom. This usually captures a huge low end, and the sympathetic vibration of the floor tom on the kick drum hits, but retains a clarity of attack without being distorted by the SPL of the drum and without capturing unplesant low-mid resonation of the kick drum head and shell that is common directly in the middle of the shell.
6) Wave Envelope: The envelope is the graphical representation of a sound wave commonly found in a DAW. There are 4 parts to this: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release: 1) Attack is how quickly the sound reaches its peak amplitude; 2) Decay is the time it takes to reach the sustain level; 3) Sustain how long a sound remains at a certain level (think of striking a tom, the initial smack is attack, then it decays to the resonance of the tom, how long it resonates is the sustain); 4) Release is the amount of time before the sustain stops. This is particularly important as these are also the settings on a common piece of gear called a Compressor! Understanding the envelope of a sound is key to learning how to maniuplate it.
7) Phase Cancellation: This is one of the most important concepts in home recording, especially when looking at drums. I'm putting it in this section because it matters so much. Phase Cancellation is what occurs when the same frequencies occur at different times. To put it simply, frequency amplitudes are additive - meaning if you have 2 sound waves of the same frequency, one amplitude is +4 and the other is +2, the way we percieve sound is that the frequency is +6. But a sound wave has a positive and negative amplitude as it travels (like a wave in the ocean with a peak and a swell). If the frequency then has two sources and it is 180 degrees out of phase, that means one wave is at +4 while the other is at -4. This sums to 0, or cancels out the wave. Effectively, you would hear silence. This is why micing techniques are so important, but we'll get into that later. I wanted this term at the top, and will likely mention it again.

Next we can look at the different types of options to actually record your sound!

1) Handheld/All in one/Field Recorders: I don't know if portable cassette tape recorders are still around, but that's an example of one. These are (or used to) be very popular with journalists because they were pretty decent at capturing speech. They do not fare too well with music though. Not too long ago, we saw the emergence of the digital field recorder. These are really nifty little devices. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors, and can be very affordable. They run on batteries, and have built-in microphones, and record digitally onto SD cards or harddiscs. The more simple ones have a pair of built-in condenser microphones, which may or may not be adjustable, and record onto an SD-card. They start around $99 (or less if you don't mind buying refurbished). You turn it on, record, connect the device itself or the SD card to your computer, transfer the file(s) and there is your recording! An entry-level example is the Tascam DR-05. It costs $99. It has two built in omni-directional mics, comes with a 2GB microSD card and runs on two AA batteries. It can record in different formats, the highest being 24-bit 96KHz Broadcast WAV, which is higher than DVD quality! You can also choose to record as an MP3 (32-320kbps) if you need to save space on the SD card or if you're simply going to record a speech/conference or upload it on the web later on. It's got a headphone jack and even small built-in speakers. It can be mounted onto a tripod. And it's about the size of a cell phone. The next step up (although there are of course many options that are price and feature-wise inbetween this one and the last) is a beefier device like the Zoom H4n. It's got all the same features as the Tascam DR-05 and more! It has two adjustable built-in cardioid condenser mics in an XY configuration (you can adjust the angle from a 90-120 degree spread). On the bottom of the device, there are two XLR inputs with preamps. With those, you can expand your recording possibilities with two external microphones. The preamps can send phantom power, so you can even use very nice studio mics. All 4 channels will be recorded independantly, so you can pop them onto your computer later and mix them with software. This device can also act as a USB interface, so instead of just using it as a field recorder, you can connect it directly to your computer or to a DSLR camera for HD filming. My new recommendation for this category is actually the Yamaha EAD10. It really is the best all-in-one solution for anyone that wants to record their kit audio with a great sound. It sports a kick drum trigger (mounts to the rim of the kick) with an x-y pattern set of microphones to pick up the rest of the kit sound. It also has on-board effects, lots of software integration options and smart features through its app. It really is a great solution for anyone who wants to record without reading this guide.
The TL;DR of this guide is - if it seems like too much, buy the Yamaha EAD10 as a simple but effective recording solution for your kit.

2) USB Microphones: There are actually mics that you an plug in directly to your computer via USB. The mics themselves are their own audio interfaces. These mics come in many shapes and sizes, and offer affordable solutions for basic home recording. You can record using a DAW or even something simple like the stock windows sound recorder program that's in the acessories folder of my Windows operating system. The Blue Snowflake is very affordable at $59. It can stand alone or you can attach it to your laptop or your flat screen monitor. It can record up to 44.1kHz, 16-bit WAV audio, which is CD quality. It's a condenser mic with a directional cardioid pickup pattern and has a full frequency response - from 35Hz-20kHz. It probably won't blow you away, but it's a big departure from your average built-in laptop, webcam, headset or desktop microphone. The Audio Technica AT2020 USB is a USB version of their popular AT2020 condenser microphone. At $100 it costs a little more than the regular version. The AT2020 is one of the finest mics in its price range. It's got a very clear sound and it can handle loud volumes. Other companies like Shure and Samson also offer USB versions of some of their studio mics. The AT2020 USB also records up to CD-quality audio and comes with a little desktop tripod. The MXL USB.009 mic is an all-out USB microphone. It features a 1 inch large-diaphragm condenser capsule and can record up to 24-bit 96kHz WAV audio. You can plug your headphones right into the mic (remember, it is its own audio interface) so you can monitor your recordings with no latency, as opposed to doing so with your computer. Switches on the mic control the gain and can blend the mic channel with playback audio. Cost: $399. If you already have a mic, or you don't want to be stuck with just a USB mic, you can purcase a USB converter for your existing microphone. Here is a great review of four of them.
3) Audio Recording Interfaces: You've done some reading up on this stuff... now you are lost. Welcome to the wide, wide world of Audio Interfaces. These come in all different shapes and sizes, features, sampling rates, bit depths, inputs, outputs, you name it. Welcome to the ocean, let's try to help you find land.
- An audio interface, as far as your computer is concerned, is an external sound card. It has audio inputs, such as a microphone preamp and outputs which connect to other audio devices or to headphones or speakers. The modern day recording "rig" is based around a computer, and to get the sound onto your computer, an interface is necessary. All computers have a sound card of some sort, but these have very low quality A/D Converters (analog to digital) and were not designed with any kind of sophisticated audio recording in mind, so for us they are useless and a dedicated audio interface must come into play.
- There are hundreds of interfaces out there. Most commonly they connect to a computer via USB or Firewire. There are also PCI and PCI Express-based interfaces for desktop computers. The most simple interfaces can record one channel via USB, while others can record up to 30 via firewire! All of the connection types into the computer have their advantages and drawbacks. The chances are, you are looking at USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt. As far as speeds, most interfaces are in the same realm as far as speed is concerned but thunderbolt is a faster data transfer rate. There are some differences in terms of CPU load. Conflict handling (when packages collide) is handled differently. USB sends conflict resolution to the CPU, Firewire handles it internally, Thunderbolt, from what I could find, sends it to the CPU as well. For most applications, none of them are going to be superior from a home-recording standpoint. When you get up to 16/24 channels in/out simultaneously, it's going to matter a lot more.
- There are a number of things to consider when choosing an audio interface. First off your budget, number of channels you'd like to be able to record simultaneously, your monitoring system, your computer and operating system and your applications. Regarding budget, you have to get real. $500 is not going to get you a rig with the ability to multi-track a drum set covered in mics. Not even close! You might get an interface with 8 channels for that much, but you have to factor in the cost of everything, including mics, cables, stands, monitors/headphones, software, etc... Considerations: Stereo Recording or Multi-Track Recording? Stereo Recording is recording two tracks: A left and right channel, which reflects most audio playback systems. This doesn't necessarily mean you are simply recording with two mics, it means that what your rig is recording onto your computer is a single stereo track. You could be recording a 5-piece band with 16 mics/channels, but if you're recording in stereo, all you're getting is a summation of those 16 tracks. This means that in your recording software, you won't be able to manipulate any of those channels independantly after you recorded them. If the rack tom mic wasn't turned up loud enough, or you want to mute the guitars, you can't do that, because all you have is a stereo track of everything. It's up to you to get your levels and balance and tone right before you hit record. If you are only using two mics or lines, then you will have individual control over each mic/line after recording. Commonly, you can find 2 input interfaces and use a sub-mixer taking the left/right outputs and pluging those into each channel of the interface. Some mixers will output a stereo pair into a computer as an interface, such as the Allen&Heath ZED16. If you want full control over every single input, you need to multi-track. Each mic or line that you are recording with will get it's own track in your DAW software, which you can edit and process after the fact. This gives you a lot of control over a recording, and opens up many mixing options, and also many more issues. Interfaces that facilitate multitracking include Presonus FireStudio, Focusrite Scarlett interfaces, etc. There are some mixers that are also interfaces, such as the Presonus StudioLive 16, but these are very expensive. There are core-card interfaces as well, these will plug in directly to your motherboard via PCI or PCI-Express slots. Protools HD is a core-card interface and requires more hardware than just the card to work. I would recommend steering clear of these until you have a firm grasp of signal chain and digital audio, as there are more affordable solutions that will yield similar results in a home-environment.

DAW - Digital Audio Workstation

I've talked a lot about theory, hardware, signal chain, etc... but we need a way to interpret this data. First off what does a DAW do? Some refer to them as DAE's (Digital Audio Editors). You could call it a virtual mixing board , however that isn't entirely correct. DAWs allow you to record, control, mix and manipulate independant audio signals. You can change their volume, add effects, splice and dice tracks, combine recorded audio with MIDI-generated audio, record MIDI tracks and much much more. In the old days, when studios were based around large consoles, the actual audio needed to be recorded onto some kind of medium - analog tape. The audio signals passed through the boards, and were printed onto the tape, and the tape decks were used to play back the audio, and any cutting, overdubbing etc. had to be done physically on the tape. With a DAW, your audio is converted into 1's and 0's through the converters on your interface when you record, and so computers and their harddiscs have largely taken the place of reel-to-reel machines and analog tape.
Here is a list of commonly used DAWs in alphabetical order: ACID Pro Apple Logic Cakewalk SONAR Digital Performer FL (Fruity Loops) Studio (only versions 8 and higher can actually record Audio I believe) GarageBand PreSonus Studio One Pro Tools REAPER Propellerhead Reason (version 6 has combined Reason and Record into one software, so it now is a full audio DAW. Earlier versions of Reason are MIDI based and don't record audio) Propellerhead Record (see above) Steinberg Cubase Steinberg Nuendo
There are of course many more, but these are the main contenders. [Note that not all DAWs actually have audio recording capabilities (All the ones I listed do, because this thread is about audio recording), because many of them are designed for applications like MIDI composing, looping, etc. Some are relatively new, others have been around for a while, and have undergone many updates and transformations. Most have different versions, that cater to different types of recording communities, such as home recording/consumer or professional.
That's a whole lot of choices. You have to do a lot of research to understand what each one offers, what limitations they may have etc... Logic, Garageband and Digital Performer for instance are Mac-only. ACID Pro, FL Studio and SONAR will only run on Windows machines. Garageband is free and is even pre-installed on every Mac computer. Most other DAWs cost something.
Reaper is a standout. A non-commercial license only costs $60. Other DAWs often come bundled with interfaces, such as ProTools MP with M-Audio interfaces, Steinberg Cubase LE with Lexicon Interfaces, Studio One with Presonus Interfaces etc. Reaper is a full function, professional, affordable DAW with a tremendous community behind it. It's my recommendation for everyone, and comes with a free trial. It is universally compatible and not hardware-bound.
You of course don't have to purchase a bundle. Your research might yield that a particular interface will suit your needs well, but the software that the same company offers or even bundles isn't that hot. As a consumer you have a plethora of software and hardware manufacturers competing for your business and there is no shortage of choice. One thing to think about though is compatability and customer support. With some exceptions, technically you can run most DAWs with most interfaces. But again, don't just assume this, do your research! Also, some DAWs will run smoother on certain interfaces, and might experience problems on others. It's not a bad thing to assume that if you purchase the software and hardware from the same company, they're at least somewhat optimized for eachother. In fact, ProTools, until recently would only run on Digidesign (now AVID) and M-Audio interfaces. While many folks didn't like being limited to their hardware choices to run ProTools, a lot of users didn't mind, because I think that at least in part it made ProTools run smoother for everyone, and if you did have a problem, you only had to call up one company. There are many documented cases where consumers with software and hardware from different companies get the runaround:
Software Company X: "It's a hardware issue, call Hardware Company Z". Hardware Company Z: "It's a software issue, call Software Company X".
Another thing to research is the different versions of softwares. Many of them have different versions at different pricepoints, such as entry-level or student versions all the way up to versions catering to the pros. Cheaper versions come with limitations, whether it be a maximum number of audio tracks you can run simultaneously, plug-ins available or supported Plug-In formats and lack of other features that the upper versions have. Some Pro versions might require you to run certain kinds of hardware. I don't have time nor the will to do research on individual DAW's, so if any of you want to make a comparison of different versions of a specific DAW, be my guest! In the end, like I keep stressing - we each have to do our own research.
A big thing about the DAW that it is important to note is this: Your signal chain is your DAW. It is the digital representation of that chain and it is important to understand it in order to properly use that DAW. It is how you route the signal from one spot to another, how you move it through a sidechain compressor or bus the drums into the main fader. It is a digital representation of a large-format recording console, and if you don't understand how the signal gets from the sound source to your monitor (speaker), you're going to have a bad time.

Playback - Monitors are not just for looking at!

I've mentioned monitors several times and wanted to touch on these quickly: Monitors are whatever you are using to listen to the sound. These can be headphones, powered speakers, unpowered speakers, etc. The key thing here is that they are accurate. You want a good depth of field, you want as wide a frequency response as you can get, and you want NEARFIELD monitors. Unless you are working with a space that can put the monitor 8' away from you, 6" is really the biggest speaker size you need. At that point, nearfield monitors will reproduce the audio frequency range faithfully for you. There are many options here, closed back headphones, open back headphones, studio monitors powered, and unpowered (require a separate poweramp to drive the monitor). For headphones, I recommend AKG K271, K872, Sennheiser HD280 Pro, etc. There are many options, but if mixing on headphones I recommend spending some good money on a set. For Powered Monitors, there's really only one choice I recommend: Kali Audio LP-6 monitors. They are, dollar for dollar, the best monitors you can buy for a home studio, period. These things contend with Genelecs and cost a quarter of the price. Yes, they still cost a bit, but if you're going to invest, invest wisely. I don't recommend unpowered monitors, as if you skimp on the poweramp they lose all the advantages you gain with monitors. Just get the powered monitors if you are opting for not headphones.

Drum Mic'ing Guide, I'm not going to re-create the wheel.


That's all for now, this has taken some time to put together (a couple hourse now). I can answer other questions as they pop up. I used a few sources for the information, most notably some well-put together sections on the Pearl Drummers Forum in the recording section. I know a couple of the users are no longer active there, but if you see this and think "Hey, he ripped me off!", you're right, and thanks for allowing me to rip you off!

A couple other tips that I've come across for home recording:
You need to manage your gain/levels when recording. Digital is NOT analog! What does this mean? You should be PEAKING (the loudest the signal gets) around -12dB to -15dB on your meters. Any hotter than that and you are overdriving your digital signal processors.
What sound level should my master bus be at for Youtube?
Bass Traps 101
Sound Proofing 101
submitted by M3lllvar to drums [link] [comments]

[Megathread] XMG FUSION 15 (with Intel)


On September 6 at IFA, press released their first reports about our collaboration project with Intel: XMG FUSION 15.
Community Links:

Press Links:

Video Links:

The following key facts have already been revealed:
Prices and availability will be announced on September 17. → Countdown to xmg.gg
Teaser Trailer on YouTube: XMG FUSION 15 Laptop | A Design Collaboration with Intel
We look forward to your questions and your feedback!

XMG FUSION 15 - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

This FAQ represents Q&A's over the last few days here. Fellow redditor u/iterateandgit was so kind to help me putting this document together. Big shout out to him please! The FAQ will be further extended over the coming days and weeks. Please keep the questions coming!

Sales, Shipping, Warranty


Q: Are you going to sell this on Amazon in the EU?
A: We are working on getting the product up and running on Amazon. But our own BTO shop at www.bestware.com will always be our primary sales channel and will be the only one where you can customize and configure memory, storage, OS, extend your warranty and pick other options.

Q: Do you offer student discounts or other sales compaigns like black friday?
A: In general, we don't offer student discounts. Sales campaigns are planned just in time, depending on stock level and cannot be announced early. If you want to keep up to date about sales campaigns, please subscribe to our newsletter.

Q: Do you ship to the UK? Can I pay in GBP?
A: We ship to the UK - the pricing will be in EUR, so your bank will do the conversion. Warranty services will be available from UK, shipping to Germany. Currently, in the single markets, these resturn shipments are free for the end-user. In the worst case there might be additional customs fees for shipping.

Q: What warranty options do you offer?
A: All our laptops come with 2 year warranty. Warranty repairs in the first 6 months are promised to be done within 48 hours (+shipping). Both the "instant repair" service and the warranty itself can be extended to up to 3 years.

Q: Do you sell outside of Europe?
A: We are able to ship anywhere, but warranty for customers outside the region would always involve additional customs cost and paperwork for sending the laptop back to Germany in the rare event of an RMA. There is currently no agreement to let other Local OEMs (like Eluktronics in the US) carry the warranty for XMG customers and vice-versa. Some parts are customized (in our case the LCD lid and the keyboard) and it won't be easy to agree on how to share handling fees etc. - so I wouldn't expect a global warranty anytime soon.


Hardware, Specs, Thermals


Q: What is the difference between XMG FUSION 15 and other laptops based on Intel's reference design?
A: The hardware of the barebone will be identical. Other Local OEMs might use different parts for RAM and SSDs. Our branding and service/warranty options might be different. We apply our own set of performance profiles in the Control Center. This will rebalance the differentiation between Silent, Balanced and Enthusiast modes.

Q: What is the TGP of the NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q?
A: Officially, it is 80W in Balanced profile and 90W in Enthusiast profile. You can toggle between these modes in real-time with a dedicated mode switch button. Inofficially, the TGP can go up to 115W in Enthusiast profile thanks to the Overboost mechanic, working in the background. However, those 115W may only be sustained until the system has reached thermal saturation, i.e. when the GPU is approaching the GPU Temperature Target of 75°C.

Q: Can I upgrade the storage and memory after I buy?
A: On storage: The laptop has two m.2 PCI-Express SSD slots. This will give you currently up to 4 TB of SSD storage. There is no 2.5" HDD slot available. Instead, the battery is enlarged to 93.48Wh. You can see pictures of the interior layouts here, here and here.
On memory: the laptop has two SO-DIMM DDR4 memory sockets. You can chose during BTO configuration, if you want to occupy both of them when you order the product. We recommend running the laptop in Dual Channel for high-performance usage.

Q: How easy is to upgrade and repair this laptop?
A: Here are the key facts:
We would give this a solid 8 out of 10 which is pretty high for such a thin&light design. The 2 remaining points are substracted for BGA CPU and GPU, which is unfortunately unavoidable in such a thin design.

Q: Does it support Windows Hello?
A: A Fingerprint-Reader is not available, but the HD webcam comes with Infrared and supports Windows Hello.

Q: Can I get a smaller, lighter charger for this laptop?
A: XMG FUSION 15 requires a 230W power adaptor to provide full performance. If you max out CPU and GPU with furmark and prime, the 230W adapter will be fully utilized.
There are currently two compatible 230W adapters. They have different dimensions but similar weight. Please refer to this comparison table:
XMG FUSION 15 Power Supply Comparsion Table (Google Drive)
Includes shop links. Will be updated with precise weight numbers in the next few days. I also included 120W, 150W and 180W in this table. They all share the same plug (5.5/2.5,, diameter, 12.5mm length). But 120W and 150W are only rated for 19V but the laptop expect 19.5V. Usually this will be compensated by tolerance but we haven't tested how a system would behave under long-term usage with such an adaptor.
In theory, 120W to 180W are enough for charing the laptop and for browsing/web/media. Even a full CPU stress test could easily be handled. But as soon as you use CPU and GPU together, you'll run into the bottleneck and your performance will be reduced.
Comparison pictures:
These 5 pictures show only the relevant 230W chargers.
Again, the weight is about the same.

Q: Is it possible to boot and run the laptop while the lid is kept closed?
A: Closing the lid under load is not recommended because it will limit the airflow and have a bad effect on keyboard and screen. The laptop likes to take air in from the keycaps. With lid closed, the performance might be limited due to reaching temp targets earlier.

Q: Can I get the laptop without the XMG logo? I will be using it in public presentations and I would not like any brand names visible.
A: We cannot ship without XMG logo, but you can use a dbrand skins to cover our logo. We have not yet decided if we want to invest into integrating XMG FUSION 15 into the dbrand shop. But you can already buy 100% compatible skins by using the page of the Eluktronics MAG-15 at dbrand. The chassis dimensions are exactly the same. Please be aware: you have to manually select the option "No Logo Cutout" if you want to buy these skins for your XMG FUSION 15. According to dbrand, there will be most likely no import fees when ordering from the EU as long as the order is below 100€. Check this thread for details.

Q: Will you offer thermal paste upgrades like Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut or Liquid Metal?
A: Our ODMs are using silicon-based, high-performance thermal compund from international manufacturers like Shin-Etsu (Japan) and M.G. (USA). Intel is using MG-860 in this reference design.
These products are used in the industrial sector, so they have no publicly known brand name. Nevertheless, their high thermal conductivity and guaranteed durability provide optimal and long-lasting cooling of your high-performance laptop. The thermal compounds are applied and sealed automatically by the vendor of the thermal components. They are applied in a highly controlled, standardized manner and provide the best balance of thermal performance, production tolerance and product lifetime.
We are considering offering an upgrade to Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut due to popular demand. Will keep you posted on that.

Q: Could you please provide an estimate for how much regular usage (~10 browser tabs + some IDE) battery backup would this have? Will there be any way to trade-off battery backup with performance?
A: Battery life vs. peak performance can be traded off by using the "Silent" performance profile. You can switch between profiles using a dedicated button on the machine. Your scenario (10 tabs + some IDE) sounds like mostly reading and writing. I would estimate to get at least 7 hours of solid battery life in such a scenario, maybe more. We have achieved 8 hours in 1080p Youtube streaming on WiFi with 50% screen brightness. Adblock and NoScript helps to keep your idle browser tabs in check.


I/O Ports, Peripherals


Q: Why are there not more USB-A 3.1 Gen2 or even USB 3.2 Gen2x2 ports?
A: USB-A 3.1 Gen1 is basically the same as USB 3.0. There aren't a lot of USB-A devices that support more than USB 3.0 speed. Faster devices typically use USB-C connectors and can be used on Thunderbolt 3, which is down-compatible to USB-C 3.1 Gen2. One of the USB-A ports actually supports Gen2 speed.
For the following remarks, please keep in mind that I am not an Intel rep, so everything is based on our own experience.
The mainboard design and the I/O port decisions have been made by Intel. Feedback and requests from LOEM customers have been taken into consideration. We would assume that USB 3.2. Gen2x2 (20 Gbit/s) was not considered to be important enough to safe space for 3rd party IC (integrated circuits) on the motherboard. Right now, all the USB ports and Thunderbolts are supplied by Intel's own IC, so they have full control over the hardware, firmware and driver stack and over power saving and performance control. The more IC you add, the higher your Idle power consumption will be, plus adding potential compatibility or speed issues as it often happens with 1st generation 3rd party USB implementations. I very well remember from my own experience the support stories during the first years of USB 3.0, before it was supported in the Intel chipset. On the one hand, Intel is aiming high in terms of performance and convenience, on the other hand: support and reliability still seem to be Intel's goal #1. Thus they seem to play it safe where they deem it to be reasonable.
Intel is gearing up for USB 4.0 and next-gen Thunderbolt. USB 3.2 2x2 is probably treated as little more than a roadmap accident. Peripheral vendors might see it the same way.

Q: Do you support charging over USB-C/Thunderbolt? Does it support docking stations?
A: The Thunderbolt 3 port in Intel's reference design does not support charging. As you probably know, the 100W limit would not be enough to power the whole system and it would make the mainboard more complex to combine two different ways of charging. Intel consciously opted against it and will probably do so again on future high-end gaming/studio models.
The USB-C/Thunderbolt port supports Dual-Link DisplayPort signals, directly connected to the NVIDIA Graphics. This makes proper docking station usage very convenient. The user still needs to connect the external power adaptor. Both ports (Thunderbolt and DC-in) are in the back of the laptop, making the whole setup appear very neat on the desk.

Q: How many PCIe lanes does the Thunderbolt 3 provide? Are they connected to CPU or Chipset?
A: XMG FUSION 15 supports Thunderbolt 3 with 4 lanes of PCIe 3.0. The lanes come from the chipset because all of the CPU lanes (x16) are fully occupied by the dedicated NVIDIA graphics. We are not aware of any side-effects of running Thunderbolt from the chipset. It is common practice for high-end laptops with high-end graphics. The Thunderbolt solution is of course fully validated and certified by Intel's Thunderbolt labs.

Q: Does it have a standby USB to power USB devices without turning on the laptop?
A: Yes, the USB-A port on the left side supports this feature.


LCD Screen


Q: Which LCD panel is being used? Are there plans for 1440p or 4K panels in the laptop? How about PWM flickering?
A: The panel is BOE NV156FHM-N4G. It is currently not known if the panel will change in later batches. This depends on logistics and stock. At any rate, the panel key specs will remain the same. There are currently no plans to offer resolutions above FHD in the current generation of this laptop.
There are very wide ranges on reports of Backlight Brightness PWM control on this panel in different laptops. Ranging from 200Hz to 1000Hz to no PWM at all - all on the same panel model number. Intel informs us that there are many factors (e.g. freq., display driver, BIOS settings implementation, type of dimmers & compatibility with the driver etc.) that impacts the quality of panel dimming performance. To Intel's knowledge, no kind of flickering has been reported during the validation process. Furthermore, first hands-on data from Notebookcheck indicates that no PWM occurs on this panel. With a DSLR test (multiple burst shots at 1/4000s exposure time) I can confirm that there is not a single frame of brightness dipping or black screen, not even at minimum LCD brightness. Hence, we can confirm: BOE NV156FHM-N4G in XMG FUSION 15 (with Intel) does not use PWM for backlight control.

Q: Some BTO shops, for an additional fee, manually pick out display panels with the least back-light bleed. Do you offer that? Even better, do you do that without the extra fee?
A: Intel has validated this design to avoid backlight bleed as much as possible. Currently no plans to do further binning. All dozens of MP samples we have seen so far have been exceptionally good.

Q: I'm coming from a 13" MacBook with Retina display. How am I going to fare with this 15.6" FHD screen in content creation?
A: If you got used to editing high-res visual content (photography, artwork) on your 13inch retina, things will change. On the one hand, your canvas will be larger and more convenient and ergonomic to work with. On the other hand, you will find yourself zooming in more often in order to make out fine-detail. Assuming that you have sharp 20:20 vision.
As it is, the screen resolution and specs are not planned to change within the lifetime of this product. The first realistic time-window for a refresh would be whenever Intel is releasing the next "H" series CPU generation. But even then, an upgrade on resolution will not be guaranteed.
Comparison:
Laptop Resolution Pixel per inch dot pitch
13.3" MacBook Pro Retina (late 2013) 2560x1600 226.98 PPI 0.1119mm
15.6" XMG FUSION 15 (late 2019) 1920x1080 141.21 PPI 0.1799mm
To compare: 141.21 is ~62% from 226.98. This represents the the metric difference in pixel density and peak sharpness between these two models.
If you know the diagonal size and resolution of your screen, you can make this comparison yourself with the DPI/PPI calculator.


Keyboard, Backlight, Switches, Layout


Q: What can you tell us about the mechanical keyboard of XMG FUSION 15?
A: The keyboard has already been reviewed in our XMG NEO series as being more crisp than typical membrane keyboards. Most reviewers attested it a very good score, both for gaming and for writing long texts.
The keyboard backlight can be configured per-key. Default mode is all white.
Keyboard Switch Specs:
Having no frame around the keycaps actually helps the thermals. The fans can pull in additional air from the top. This improves airflow and helps to keep the keyboard temperature at low levels during gaming. It also prevents long-term RMA issues on the keyboard. This specific keyboard switch is already in its 3rd generation and very mature by now.

Q: Is it possible to dampen the mechanical keyboard with o-rings?
A: The switch design does not lend itself to further dampening. The switch mechanic is too complex and has more moving parts than cherry. The 2mm travel distance also plays a role in not allowing more dampening.
For reference, please use this video (Youtube). We compared XMG NEO with another membrane-type keyboard. XMG NEO and FUSION share the same keyboard mechanics with the silent tactile switch and the same sound profile.

Q: Do you have LED keyboard backlight on the secondary key function, like Fn key icons?
A: Please have a look at this picture.
Btw, my working sample has blank keycaps. I took the 3 printed keycaps (F8, F9, F10) from a different sample just to demonstrate the Fn lighting for this picture.
Facts:
In my assesment, the Fn function symbols are clearly visible from the backlight in a dark room. A user should have no difficulty to recognize the icon and reach its function.

Q: Which keyboard layouts do you offer in the EU?
A: The following layouts are available, in alphabetic order: Belgium, Czech, Danish, Dvorak German, Dvorak US, Estonia, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish for Typists, Portuguese, Russia Latin, Slovakish, Spanish, Swedish / Finnish, Swiss, Turkish, UK, US International (ISO)All these layouts are based on the ISO matrix. See differences between ANSI vs. ISO here.


Operating System


Q: Do you support Linux and dual-boot on XMG FUSION 15?
A: We are in discussion to sell XMG FUSION 15 over Tuxedo with official Linux support. It might take 1 or 2 months to get this running.

Q: Which LAN, Audio and WiFi card vendors will be used? Asking for a friend.
A: From our HWiNFO64 report. (Google Drive link)
LAN: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 [PCI\VEN_10EC&DEV_8168&SUBSYS_20868086&REV_15]Audio: Intel(R) Smart Sound Technology (Intel(R) SST) Audio Controller [PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A348&SUBSYS_20868086&REV_10]WiFi: Intel(R) Wi-Fi 6 AX200 [PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2723&SUBSYS_00848086&REV_1A], can be replaced.
For more information, please check the linked report file.


Other questions


Q: What would you say are the advantages and differences with other laptops due to the fact the laptop was designed in collaboration with Intel?
A: Disclaimer: I am \not* an Intel rep. The following remarks are based on my personal experience and opinion.*
Advantages:
  1. Very strict quality control on all levels. I can't quote numbers due to NDA, but Intel NUC has extremely low RMA rates, compared to average PC mainboards and systems. Intel is driven by strict internal regulation that strifes for perfection - this applies to the whole chassis, assembly and firmware, not only the mainboard. There are also certain regulations in place, for example in terms of electro-magnetic regulation and skin temperatures. The rating label is littered with regulatory seals from every region of the world, making this laptop especially safe to use.
  2. Access to high-quality material: we have not seen any Gaming Laptops based on Magnesium alloy yet, especially not in the ODM/LOEM ecosystem. The battery cells are also much more dense than what we usually see. Intel has the buying power and the vision to not settle for mediocre parts.
  3. Down-to-earth design: Intel has made this reference design for the ODM/LOEM eco-system. The design does not try to follow any specific corporate identity, thus it does not have any unneccessary "bling bling" like all the others have. Even the Razer Blade with it's sleek shape is quite obnoxious (iny my oppinion) with it's big backlit green snake logo. With XMG FUSION however, we can continue our typical style of "Undercover Gaming".
  4. Security: you can expect stellar support in terms of BIOS and Firmware (TPM, Management Engine) updates whenever any security issues are found. This might also apply to global brands, but ODM/LOEM systems have not always been so quick to react. This is due to the huge fragmentation/customizations in ODM/LOEM systems. Intel however does now allow any fragmentation: every LOEM partner is getting the same firmware. There are many hooks for configurations in this firmware, but the source code / binaries are always the same. This makes support much easier down the line.
Disadvantages:
  1. I can't name many, of course. But I would say the strict validation also makes the partnership less flexible from a product management perspective. There is no plan currently to phase-in any 4K or 300Hz screen (FHD/144Hz ought to be enough for everyone this year) or any Core i9 in this system. Other ODMs might be more open for costly modifications based on low quantities. Intel however has streamlined their production and logistics in a way that gives us (the LOEM) very short lead times and competitive pricing, but will not allow any short-notice upgrades or customizations.

Q: Will there be a 17 inch version?
A: We can neither confirm nor deny plans for a 17 inch version at this point.


[to be continued]
submitted by XMG_gg to XMG_gg [link] [comments]

#Website Announcements 2018

#Website Announcements 2018
Order is bottom (oldest) to top (newest).
------
#---# Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year #---#
I’m sure you are all itching to join us in having a good ISW’mas and to kick this festive period off with a great deal of internet spaceship based chaos.
It gives us great pleasure to open the alpha to you all, hopefully you will enjoy this, the first version, of many to come!
Naturally there will be issues so please do let us know, give us feedback and suggestions and let’s try and make ISW bigger and better than it once was.
Please join us in Click here for Slack and Click here for Discord
Have Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Yours, The Dr’s

#---# December Developer Update - Get HYPED Edition #---#
Happy Holidays to everybody! Everything is infused with Peppermint, Christmas music is playing in every public place, Interstellar War is going to have an Open Alpha, people are decorating for the season, everyone is shopping for gifts, and hoping to find something great under the tree this year.
Wait....
Did you just read that Interstellar War is having an OPEN ALPHA!!!
That's right folks! Santa and his elves (aka the Doctors) are bringing something exciting for all of us. We have been chugging along aggressively over the past few months and think it is time to show off what we've got.
Everyone is invited to this party, so spread the good news that ISW is coming to town!
ISW Holiday Alpha-stravaganza Info
  1. December 24th - January 4th: From Christmas Eve til the 4th the game will be an open alpha
  2. You can register right now, and on Christmas Eve the account will be activated.
  3. Or, on those dates you can go to the homepage, register, and start playing immediately.
  4. Everyone playing is expected to the adhere to the Rules of Conduct.
  5. The alpha will end Jan. 4th, and the game will be suspended while we recover from the mayhem of letting everybody go crazy, and fix everything you guys broke. At this time we do not know if a reset will be necessary. It will be a judgement call based on what happens.
Tips, Tricks, Recommendations and Warnings
  1. The game is completely playable and we are still adding features and functionality through the end of this month. However, it is an alpha, so we suspect that there will be bugs and exciting things you will break.
  2. There are still some feature gaps that we are hoping to get into the game, but we are choosing to open the floodgates with some missing functionality that we will add, rather than keeping you guys waiting.
  3. Building: We intend to have some basic functionality for building, but you might want to hold off maxxing it out. There will be terraforming and planet claiming, but other functionality is pending.
  4. Security: The redesign of how it will work is underway, but time constraints mean it is not functional. Don't bother putting points into it.
  5. Cloaking Doesnt work. At all.
  6. IMPORTANT - FACTION CHOICES: when we open it up, there will be NO faction changing or username changing. We recommend that people discuss joining different factions so we don't end up with only two factions with players. Try something other than Terran
On behalf of the Doctors, I want to thank all of you for sticking around and following our development. We are very excited to be able to bring something to all of you this holiday season.
Interstellar Wars is back! (from December 24th to Jan 4th. Normal rules and conditions apply, the doctors cannot be held liable for angry spouses, grandmothers, parents, or other entities which may take issue with you spending Christmas morning playing ISW instead of spending time with loved ones)

#---# November Update #---#
Hey there everybody, I know this update comes a bit late in the month, but it contains exciting news. We can’t express how much we appreciate your support and patience through the process, and we believe that the wait will have been worth it. This is a labor of love for us, and we are pouring as much time and energy as possible into getting it up and running as fast as possible.
Get HYPED, because we are so close. We are planning an opportunity to get people into the game and start having fun, breaking things, and getting a full blown dose of that good old fashioned nostalgia.
Major updates:
  1. We have been making incredible headway and are aiming for a Christmas Alpha release.
    1. Much of our time is being spent on finishing up and polishing the existing game features as we try to implement as much as we can before the Alpha go-live.
    2. How this will look and how many/who will be involved is still being determined, but we have some BIG plans.
    3. Look for the Alpha Announcement at the beginning of next month, and instructions for how to join the Alpha shortly after that.
  2. The Admin team has put together a preliminary Rules of Conduct, check it out at the end of the update. We needed to put this together so that the community has rules that govern behavior. We want everybody to want to play the game and know that they aren't going to run into issues.
Development Updates:
  1. Planets and Systems
    1. Mapped planet locations and Imported to the game
    2. Imported Planet minerals
    3. Linked Mining to the Tick
  2. Ship Combat
    1. Shield functionality added
    2. Critical Hits! Will be implemented after the Alpha
  3. NPC Interaction
    1. Populated NPCs in All Star Systems
    2. Behavior Adjusted, Auto-Attack, Chase, Fight Back~
    3. Experience for Killing NPCs added~
    4. Shared Experience Distribution pushed to later build, delayed until after Alpha~
    5. Add enemy Ship Size and Rank to Tooltip
  4. Character
    1. Experience implemented, includes experience from NPCs and Mining
    2. Leveling up skills added and working
  5. Architecture and UI Improvements (technical)
  6. Business Planning
    1. Created a Patreon
    2. Supporter tiers and levels still in development
  7. Arena, unsure if it will make first Alpha build
  8. Building: we are hoping to push it into the Alpha build, but will depend on time constriants.
    1. Implement Building Skill
    2. Implement Terraforming/Claiming planets
    3. Add the old ISW Building Tables
    4. Add Size/Space Attribute to planets
  9. Security (Unlikely for Initial Alpha build)
    1. Mechanics for actual combat completed
    2. Boarding
    3. Taking control
  10. Bug Fixing (edited)
Interstellar War Rules of Conduct
Interstellar War is a game created by fans, for newcomers and fans, of the original Interstellar War. We aim to recreate the experience of excitement and player interaction that made it a great game. Cracking jokes, creating rivalries, pulling off impressive heists, and inter-player politics are a part of Interstellar Wars, but building a community of collective fun is about trusting that players are doing the right thing and treating each other properly.
Our Code of Conduct is intended to outline the behavior that can take away from the collective and therefore will not be tolerated.
  1. Offensive language - You must not use any language that is offensive, discriminatory, racist or obscene.
  2. Player Abuse (includes spamming) – You must not threaten, insult, solicit, or abuse other players of this game.
  3. Bug abuse (cheating) - Any bugs found within the game must be reported to ISW Admins immediately.
  4. Using third-party software like bots or Macros - You must not use other programs to gain an unfair advantage at the game.
  5. Account sharing/trading - Each account should only be used by ONE person.
  6. Multiple logging in - If you create more than one ISW account, they must not interact or be used to gain an unfair advantage within or outside the game.
  7. Password scamming - Asking for another player's password for any reason will not be tolerated.
  8. Asking for personal details (addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc.) - To protect players' safety and privacy, you must not ask for personal details.
  9. Advertising/website - You are not allowed to actively advertise in the ISW game or ISW forums.
  10. Real world trading - ISW items must only be exchanged for other items/services within the game.
  11. ISW Admin or Mod impersonation - You should not attempt to impersonate Admins or Mods in any way.
  12. Misuse of official forums - Forums must be used respectfully at all times.
  13. Encouraging others to break rules (all rules included) - You must not encourage others to break any of the rules.
  14. All rules are at the discretion of moderators and Admins, but we are reasonable gods.

#---# October Update #---#
Hey Community!
Major updates:
  1. The skeleton of the game is playable. You can start from the beginning, gain experience and credits by mining and killing npcs, buy better ships to get more EXP and CR, jump to Hyperspace and visit other Star Systems. IT FEELS LIKE ISW!
  2. Chat is live, along with the in chat Combat log
  3. Governments motions are live
Upcoming/Work In Progress Updates:
  1. Planet Mapping Continues.
  2. Ship Combat
  • Shields First
  • Critical Hits!
  • Link Mining to the Tick
  1. NPC Interaction
  • Populate NPCs in All Star Systems
  • Behavior Adjustment, Auto-Attack, Fight Back, Repair
  • Experience Distribution
  1. Planets
  • Correct Mineral/Planet Table
  • Add Size/Space Attribute to planets
  1. Architecture Improvements (technical)
  2. Business Planning: Looking into Patreon
  3. Arena (Nice to have, unsure if it will make first Alpha build)
  4. Building (Unlikely for Initial Alpha build)
  • Implement Building Skill
  • mplement Terraforming/Claiming planets
  • Add the old ISW Building Tables
  1. Security (Unlikely for Initial Alpha build)
    1. ~Mechanics for actual combat completed~
    2. Boarding
    3. Taking control
We are incredibly excited about the progress we've made, and a Christmas gift for all of us.
We are targetting an Initial Alpha release in the last quarter before Christmas. ISW is almost back!
- The Doctors

#---# September #---#
Hey Everybody!
The progress on ISW continues in ernest. The summer has been busy, so thanks for not taking up the torches and pitchforks when the August Update did not come
Major Updates:
  1. The Arena is underway and being tested with 100 ships!
  2. NPCs: We've populated the NPCs and have been testing combat against them to make sure it feels right and fun, and doing some tweaks where we felt appropriate.
  • NPC experience will be implemented next.
  • We have an exciting change where anyone who attacks and deals damage will gain a portion of the experience.
  • They attack and get aggressive after you have engaged.
  1. Chat functionality has been progressing nicely.
  2. Government systems and fuctionality is built out. We've been working on adjusting the way some of the systems work, and how the standings (At War, Cease Fire, Neutral, Friendly) Let us know if you think the standings should affect whether you can attack another faction.
  3. I have been working on mapping the Star System planets, which is a manual, tedious, and exciting process.
We're feeling really excited about the progress and where we are getting to.
- The Doctors

#---# July Update #---#
Hey there everybody!
We Doctors have been chuggin’ along nicely, designing, coding, tweaking, and adding features as fast as we can.
Some major accomplishments this past month despite us both moving homes:
-Shield Design aligned with the way ships work, -Designed security both as a base functionality and planning for the future -Player Experience and Skill ups are LIVE! Designed the NPC experience gain. -Mining, unloading, and selling minerals is live! You even gain exp from Mining! -Government systems have been tweaked to align with the faction background material, and designed so that they should all be equally viable. They should be live pretty soon.
We are feeling super positive about the pace and how nicely everything is coming along. We can’t say when the Alpha will go live, but we are aiming for SOON™, and it is well inside the realm of possibility that Christmas comes early.
Our Current Project Plans Below
  1. Engineering
  • Ship System Control (On/Off binary)
  • Powernet
  • Repair
  • Lock Repair to the Tick
  • Design Shield Functionality
  • Add Shield Functionality
  • Lock all Module Performance to Module % Health
  1. Player Skills and Attributes
  • Add Player Skills (Command, Gunnery, Engineering, Piloting, Security, Building)
  • Add Player Experience Attribute
  • Experience Point Cost/Skill Level Up Calculation
  • Skill Level Ups (Spend Experience)
  • Link Skills to Various Systems
  1. Planet Interaction Mechanics
  • Planet Attributes + minerals tables
  • Move to orbit
  • Mine!
  1. Economy
  • Ship Inventory Interaction.
    • Add/Create [Mining or loot etc],
    • Remove (see below)
  • Trade Screen: Xfer to Base/Another Player (Delayed)
  • Sell to Starbases
  • ?Faction Mineral Tables?
  • Auction System for Minerals (Delayed)
  1. NPC introduction to tactical. Attributes/tables there, just populate them
  • Create Base level NPC loot (exp, credits, minerals)
  • Design NPC exp awarding
  • Determine NPC placement coordinates
  • Ensure NPC behavior is correct (edited)
  1. Security
  • Design Security Combat
  • Implement MVP Security
  1. System Layout
  • Planets Coordinates in Core systems
  • Planet Coordinates in secondary/bonus systems
  1. Government Systems Revamp
  • Adjust GovSys to be inline with Racial lore and feel
    • Collective
    • Democracy
    • Oligarchy
    • Dictatorship
  • Design/Adjust Government to Bring them inline with eachother.
  • Implement high level government systems.
  1. ARENA!!!! Do it
  2. Chat
  • Test Chat UI
  • Update/Upgrade the test chat system
  • Implement channels

#---# June Update #---#
Hey Community!
As hinted in our last update, we've had a number of commitments that have halted our progress. Thankfully (as those of you in slack would have seen) progress has been made and we should be back on track in due course to start implementing the remaining features.
Below as before is our current High level document for tracking design and implementation, less the now removed the completed tasks and updated with a few now complete/inprogress.
  1. Engineering
  • Design Shield Functionality
  • Implement Shield Functionality
  • Lock all Module Performance to Module % Health
  1. Player Skills and Attributes
  • Skill Level Ups (Spend Experience)
  1. Planet Interaction Mechanics
  • Mine!
  1. Economy
  • Ship Inventory Interaction.
    • Remove (see below)
  • Trade Screen: Xfer to Base/Another Player
  • Sell to Starbases
  • Faction Mineral Tables
  • Auction System for Minerals
  1. NPC introduction to tactical
  • Create Base level NPC loot (exp, credits, minerals)
  • Determine NPC placement coordinates
  • Ensure NPC behavior is correct (edited)
  1. System Layout
  • Planets Coordinates in Core systems - In progress

#---# May Update #---#
Hey Community!
The Admin team wanted to provide an update on our progress and our current work being done. The members of the Admin team have had some personal responsibilities that briefly interfered with the pace of implementation, but we can assure you we kept the ball rolling.
Below is our current High level document for tracking design and implementation. We’d like to be highly transparent with you guys. If you have questions or input let it rip on Slack.
  1. Engineering
  • Ship System Control (On/Off binary)
  • Powernet
  • Repair
  • Lock Repair to the Tick
  • Design Shield Functionality
  • Implement Shield Functionality
  • Lock all Module Performance to Module % Health
  1. Player Skills and Attributes
  • Add Player Skills (Command, Gunnery, Engineering, Piloting, Security, Building)
  • Add Player Experience Attribute
  • Experience Point Cost/Skill Level Up Calculation
  • Skill Level Ups (Spend Experience)
  1. Planet Interaction Mechanics
  • Planet Attributes + minerals tables
  • Move to orbit
  • Mine!
  1. Economy
  • Ship Inventory Interaction.
    • Add/Create [Mining or loot etc]
    • Remove (see below)
  • Trade Screen: Xfer to Base/Another Player
  • Sell to Starbases
  • Faction Mineral Tables
  • Auction System for Minerals
  1. NPC introduction to tactical
  • Create Base level NPC loot (exp, credits, minerals)
  • Determine NPC placement coordinates
  • Ensure NPC behavior is correct (edited)
  1. System Layout
  • Planets Coordinates in Core systems
You can see some screenshots below as well.
Starbase and Star Ship


#---# April Update #---#
Many of you have been asking after the progress being made, and Dr. Strange and I wanted to give you all an update. Moving forward, I will be taking over the Project updates so Dr. Strange can use his superior abilities elsewhere. My aim is to go frequent, informative, and transparent.
Dr. Boom (that’s me) is a Game Designer, rules engineer, and Project manager. He is responsible for most of the formulas that make use of ship statistics, player attributes, and leveling/experience. He is the guy who assembled most of the tables, and designed the NPC statistics. All of my ideas are bounced off Dr. Strange, dude’s a genius.
Dr. Strange is the Lead Developer mastermind behind all of the actual code, systems interactions, and screen layouts that comprise the game. He manages the database that holds the tables that populate the information within the game. Anytime something new needs to be added to the game, an adjustment or tweak needs to be made, etc. he is the man doing it.
Dr. Who is the Workspace Admin and he manages the web portals, and keeps everything online. Without him the lights go out.
Together, we discuss ideas, determine prioritization, and then test our ideas once they’re live. We have made significant progress, but there is still work to do.
First, I want you all to know what you can currently do in the game, and then in my next post I’ll give you a glimpse into our development project pipeline.
Currently, the game is in an incomplete state. You can commission a ship, board it, turn the systems on, fly around, fire your weapons, repair the ship hull. You can even “Activate Hyperdrive”, and then scoot on over to another of the 9 current starsystems. But we aren’t quite "there" yet.
The team has our project plan for the “Ultra-Minimum Viable Product” and we would like to share it very soon. Our goal is to complete that and then open up an Alpha testing phase.

https://preview.redd.it/ep9srpoyf7841.png?width=1050&format=png&auto=webp&s=89988870ec5a1d4da1a71aba25ee8ad8b3c685cd

https://preview.redd.it/k7hnmtdzf7841.png?width=1067&format=png&auto=webp&s=13e29691102bfe0ee22ea329d8a6bce6c863bdd9
#---# A year in review #---#
Well, nearly, it’s been 9 months since the first update (but who’s counting). It was an exciting day for us all and although we’ve been working away as fast as possible, time and commitments permitting, it’s always been somewhat difficult to show (let alone describe) some of the work taking place.
Hopefully however you will now notice the somewhat dramatic nature of recent changes and pop over to Slack with any feedback.
Although it may seem minor, the update(s) you are now seeing is the result of 6 months of behind the scenes decisions, development and design.
This new design also marks the first release since we first launched, to put that into perspective, 1520 files have been modified/created and 304347 lines of code have been written.
We’ve still got a way to go but hopefully this will serve as a taster of what direction we are moving in; currently however we’ve got some troublesome NPC’s to wrangle and mechanics to tweak.
Hopefully you all had a good Christmas and are looking forward to the year ahead.

#---# All of your bases #---#
As some will have likely seen on Slack, recently a picture of all of the starbases occupying the void was posted. Although this may seem a little greedy or indeed sinister the purpose was in fact quite the opposite.
By bringing all the starbases into one system we’ve been flitting between them, grabbing different ships and having a bit of a free-for-all, although fun, this is in a view to test that everything is working as it should when ships are purchased, commanded, shot and destroyed.
This effectively being what we’d all like to be doing. Although these areas are looking more rounded there is still quite a bit of work to be done and a lot to be tested.
Much as the previous hinted, we are still considering a preview/testing session, although this may evolve to an alpha style release. Although limited, it would allow us to test a lot of the core mechanics and stresses of certain aspects of the game.
As ever work is ongoing and I’ll endeavour to keep posting updates, feel free to pop into Slack and give us a poke however… we don’t bite.

#---# Trigger Happy #---#
Since the last update, we’ve been working tirelessly on the game mechanics, ship combat, engineering and module interactions. All of which have come a long way. Each has been tested (perhaps a little too much) and I’m excited to soon start considering a limited alpha… a date with a dev if you will.. where I will likely invite a select few on a number of dates for “supervised” testing.
There are, as ever, still several issues to work out and balancing to consider but for the most part it should feel like the old game, with a few surprises.
Tactical, for some time has been an issue for us. I’m happy to say this is no longer the case, we’ve achieved something which will hark back nicely to 2002 but also fit in 2017 (it’s really been that long!) and I suspect most will be excited to see.
Special mention, for those that have joined slack and provided support/feedback, thank you (you know whom you are). For those that haven’t, join us: Slack
PS, although updates have been less frequent, don’t fear, we are tirelessly working away. Find us on slack if you need constant reminders and sneak peaks of what we’re tinkering with.

#---# Objectives #---#
Buy a ship, launch, explore…. Then??... over the next few weeks we will be looking at the much needed “what happens next” aspect. Currently our one system is a little lonely… lacking much more than a few boring planets and a starbase.
First up is NPC’s, what we have are NPC’s that are a little lifeless, they spawn as necessary and roam a system (within reason) … at this point we’re looking at adding some firepower and attitude into the mix.
To start this off we will be looking firstly into how damage is delivered, which skills and modules have which effects and more importantly how this is relayed to you to make decisions upon.
We have a few ideas of our own but are open to suggestions (forum if you please). This will likely be a time consuming processes so updates as ever may be few and far between but rest assured we are still here and toiling away.
Lastly, we have a slack channel, please feel free to join and ask questions or be there purely for moral support... this will be rescinded if abused or if we’re harassed too vigorously . Slack Invite

#---# What good is tactical anyway? #---#
As many will fondly remember, starbases where the hub of most activity within ISW, mainly as this is where our vast arsenals of ships where stored. With this in mind our attention is now shifting away from tactical and it seems as good a point as any to delve into starbases.
Currently we can purchase, dock, commandeer, repair and sell ships… all a good start but more critically we are now able to undock… it seems however docking is somewhat of an art form at present….
Over the coming weeks (once we get our ship back into the base and stop flying around tactical) we should hopefully refine some of the mechanisms involved and start to round of other areas off the game.
Stay tuned.

#---# Tactical Part 3 #---#
Tough decisions ahead; for some time now the focus has been exclusively on the new tactical. The idea behind the new tactical is to allow us to slowly move away from turn based logic (but not too far) and add other dynamic layers to the gameplay.
For example, previously ship moment was constrained to the ticks and was purely linear, the newer tactical allows real time ship movement by double clicking the grid, the fastest route (avoiding obstacles) is calculated and said ship will begin its movement. This allows greater use of ship characteristics such as a speed and range but also will add an element of piloting to the mix.
Furthermore, the real-time aspect would also prevent the need to refresh the game which has various performance benefits.
Here in lies the dilemma, the added complexity in delivering tactical 2 is putting a strain on development as naturally there are more hurdles to overcome. As a result it is consuming more time than anticipated.
The existing or old tactical however has been implemented and does function as before (albeit slightly upgraded) however at this stage it feels a little out of place.
At this stage in the project it might be worth taking a fork in the road and returning to tactical 2 at a later stage or it might be worth the delay to proceed as we are.
Decisions decisions.
Over the coming weeks I will be away on holiday, a higher power has banned the use of laptops for the duration and as such there will be a break in development. I will however endeavour to monitor the forum and answer questions so please discuss.

#---# Tactical Part 2 #---#
Having eluded to something a bit different being on the cards for tactical, I wondered how best to visualise something that we’ve been tinkering with…
Alas words didn’t seem quite enough soo…. maybe look ... here
N.b: Full disclosure this is a prototype (we are in closed development after all).

#---# Tactical Part 1 #---#
It’s been a while since the last update, mainly because we’ve been tirelessly testing different options which alongside other commitments has taken a fair bit of time.
Some of these include:
  • TacticalXL: Expanding the tactical screen, somewhere in the region 1000px x 1000px.
  • TacticalDynamic: Expand the map to the available screen dynamically.
  • TacticalCamera: Have the player centred in the view (camera) whilst they move around a map (like the old starmap).
Unfortunately, there are issues with those among a few less notable options. We do however have another option albeit a complex one. Currently we’re exploring this further but as is likely evident we aren’t given too much away, but stay tuned… there may be a few surprises ahead.

#---# Tactical #---#
Over the coming weeks our focus is shifting to tactical. The tactical grid allowed for most of the games actual behaviour by using the 15 second tick to allow players to move, shoot and generally cause chaos (as I’m sure most will recall).
Tactical however was quite basic, click here, go there, click here, shoot that. It also only spanned a whopping 580px by 440px (7 x 9 squares), this leaves us some room to get a bit creative in modernising the game.
Here in lies a dilemma, how should we modernize tactical?
Right now, we have a few ideas which we are exploring, ranging from the seemingly simple “make it bigger” through to some quite experimental ideas that could open several doors.
We’re not 100% sure which route at this stage we will take but there will be a few more updates in coming weeks as we explore each accordingly.

#---# The Tick #---#
There have been a few posts in the past about which aspects of the game we are looking to keep and which are looking to improve or even replace.
The 15 second tick being somewhat crucial among them. This past week we’ve been focusing on the tick, something that we had already put in place but thought it best to revisit.
In the days of old the ill-fated browser refreshing and server unavailable slowly got the better of the game, to keep this in check we’re adopting a new approach.
Instead of refreshing the browser or polling the server for updates we are now pushing data directly to your browsers, this has several benefits but key among them are that:
  • We can cut the number of browser refreshes (eventually to nil)
  • We can keep all users synchronised in real time (refreshing will be discouraged)
But why keep the 15 second tick?
The game lends itself to a delay, you may need to type a message, cycle your weapons, pick a destination and ultimately choose whom to fire upon (or not).
This will likely be revisited again over time but for now, we’ll be ticking.

#---# Forum #---#
Is it Back? In short, Yes.
Over the recent weeks there have been numerous changes afoot. As a result, we’ll not only be breaking our radio silence but also aiming to deliver more updates on a more frequent basis.
The first of which is the forum, we’ve been forced due to technical reasons to create a new forum. In the interim, both will be available and we encourage you to move any content/ideas and or suggestions from the old to the new (as well as signing up).
OLD: http://community.interstellar-war.com/
NEW: https://iwcommunity.interstellar-war.com/
We will eventually close the old forum and have no plans at this stage to create any new forums.

#---# Update #---#
Comming Soon™
submitted by LuzPT to InterstellarWar [link] [comments]

Master List Of Left-Wing Youtube AND Podcast Channels - REVISED

Master List Of Left-Wing Youtube AND Podcast Channels

***NOTE: after a discussion with the mods I’ve taken out the original note here. Suffice to say the reason I put together this revised list was to add a number of channels I felt had been unfairly excluded. I’ve taken out a few controversial channels to comply with the mods request that i do so, as well as link to OP at his request. I thank the mods for allowing me to keep the rest of the channels I’ve added to the list.
Newly Added channels not on OP:
Tovarich Endymion, BrendanMccooney, Red Star Video, Claudia Brown, SJW101, azureScapegoat, Benji Adam Wiskettes, DemocraticSocialist01, Comrade Hakim, FinnishBolshevik, Bat’ko The Manarchist, ProSocialism, Flea Market Socialist, KnowingBetter, and a few others!
As a socialist I don't believe masterlists should constitute any kind of intellectual property that should be protected, especially in context of a masterlist that is being shared to spread awareness of leftist channels shared with the leftist community. I believe the channels I added deserve recognition. I don’t mind sharing editing with the community — let me know what you’d like to add and I’ll try my best to accommodate within the word limit here. I’ve had to take out a few of the film related channels to make room for more directly politically related podcasts.
I included the Podcast section in post and just removed the NEWS section of the original post, so that can be found in the OP (link in title). Also please note that to accommodate more podcasts and other more directly related leftist channels, I’ve had to remove some more film focused channels. Those can be found on the OP. Thanks comrades.
---------- please give these channels as much help as you can by subscribing and watching their content. We need these things to expand as much as possible if we don't want to entirely lose YouTube to the far-right.

ContraPoints: Explains political and social justice issues in funny and accessible way, utilising atmospheric lighting, lavish sets and costumes and memorable characters to illustrate her points.
Recommended video: Does The Left Hate Free Speech?

Hbomberguy: Debunks and mocks the views of right-wing YouTube commentators. Combines silly sketch comedy with well-researched critiques. Also reviews media like TV and video games.
Recommended video: Soy Boys: A Measured Response

Shaun: Creates longform, extremely thorough and straightforward rebuttals of right-wing videos. His content is also very researched and relies on some very sly, dry humour. Has also begun making videos explaining left-wing positions on issues such as 'How Privatisation Fails: Railways'.
Recommended video: The Great Replacement Isn't Real ft. Lauren Southern

Innuendo Studios: Brought to my attention through the comments here. Has done some very interesting series of videos including 'Why Are You So Angry?', which analysed the mindset of the young men behind Gamergate.
Recommended videos: The Alt-Right Playbook: Introduction

Peter Coffin: Creates deep dives from a socialist perspective into topical political and social issues. Also does regular livestreams on these subjects with his wife Ashleigh.
Recommended video: What Jordan B. Peterson Is Doing

Philosophy Tube: Analyses current affairs through a philosophical lens and creates explainers on well-known and important moral and political philosophers and philosophical concepts.
Recommended video: The Philosophy of Antifa

Potholer54: A journalist and former geologist debunks climate change denial and other science myths ranging from that of right-wing YouTubers like Steven Crowder and Stefan Molyneux to major denier figures like Lord Christopher Monkton and Patrick Moore. Makes an enormous point of referencing scientific papers and consensus on these issues, but addresses these subjects in a very easy to understand way. Perhaps my favourite of all the YouTubers on this list.
Recomended video: Top 10 climate change myths
Three Arrows: Debunks inaccurate takes on history by the right wing. Uses a similar longform format to Shaun's videos, and is also very well-sourced with some of the mods of the Ask Historians subreddit acting as researchers.
Recommended video: Guns in the Third Reich - A Response to Ben Shapiro And Others

Anactualjoke: Refutes poor understandings and misrepresentations of Marxism from YouTubers like Sargon of Akkad and PragerU while defending socially liberal ideas like intersectionality.
Recommended video: The Youtube Red Scare: Episode 1 - Does Sargon Understand the left?

Benji Adam Whiskettes: Excellent marxist channel featuring videos on how Communism has improved womens rights, why the profit motive is not good, wealth gaps, and how capitalism has not created jobs. Noteworthy for video of Professor G.A. Cohen debunking the myth of incentive under capitalism
Recommended video: G.A. Cohen debunks the myth of incentive under Capitalism

Red Star Video: Featuring marxist film reviews, analysis of the origin of the alt right, reaction videos on political charts, history of the second international, cuban socialism, and an overview of different tendencies, Red Star is an overall great marxist channel. Noteworthy for video “Why The RIght Is Wrong On Free Speech” Recommended Video: Why The Right Is Wrong On “Free Speech”
Claudia Brown: Feminist and socialist channel featuring a variety of videos on a wide variety of subjects. Everything from Islam and Feminism to response videos, to women’s participation in the workplace, to examinations of the use of buzzwords. Noteworthy for unique perspectives on feminism and capitalism.
Recommended Video: Capitalism DOESNT enhance innovation
SJW 101 The Political Gamer: A channel that does effective leftist critique on a variety of issues, including on anti-feminism, the youtube right, the “skeptic” movement, Milo, Laci Green with wry wit and careful analysis.
Recommended video: Sargon, collectivism and the Skeptic Community
Brendan Mccooney: Hands down the most comprehensive channel on Marxian Economics. Covers topics like the law of value, overdeterminism, etc. in depth with well edited videos featuring videos, graphics. An absolute must for understanding economics, not too dry either.
Recommended Video: Law Of Value: Introduction
DemocraticSocialist01: With well edited, carefully argued videos on Hayek, Pinochet, Mao, Capitalisms Death Toll, Coach Red Pill, Brazil and Venezuela, this channel is excellent in debunking a lot of bad reactionary arguments while teaching quite a lot.
Recommended Video: Mao Did More Good Than Harm (Note: This video is mirrored, the video was taken down from his channel for some reason).
BadMouseProductions: Similarly primarily debunks bad understands of socialism from the right, but also does videos explaining socialist concepts and debunking bad right wing takes on other topics like climate change.
Recommended video: Argument ad Venezuelum (debunks the idea that Venezuela is a socialist country)
C0nc0rdance: Only uploads infrequently, but does very educated videos explaining scientific concepts such as gender and the genetics of ethnicity from a left-wing perspective. Also does videos addressing social topics from this same political viewpoint.
Recommended video: The Science of Human Races, Part 1
CreationistCat: The Mr. Plinkett of the YouTube Left. Using absurdist humour, bizarre editing and yet surprisingly great insight and research, the character of Creationist Cat (a magical housecat who was 'zapped through da internet' by God) mocks and exposes the bullshit of the right wing and online skeptic community.
Recommended video: MILO YIANNOPOULOS: EXPOSED!
Comrade Hakim: Noteworthy for a variety of videos discussing everything from the problem with worker co-ops, healthcare, how socialism gives a better quality of life, and one must watch video in particular on the subject of capitalism lifting people out of poverty. As an addendum to that video, I also recommend the Guardian Article “Aid In Reverse: How poor countries develop rich ones”
Recommended Video: Capitalism HASNT Lifted People Out Of Poverty
Cuck Philosophy: Explains topics in moral and political philosophy, does Marxist analyses of popular culture, but has perhaps best contributed to left-wing YouTube by doing long, in-depth deconstructions of the way figures like Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and Steven Hicks misunderstand philosophy.
Recommended video: A Critique of Sam Harris' 'The Moral Landscape'
EssenceOfThought: Left-wing atheist channel that goes against what has become typically expected from the 'skeptic' community and actually critiques not only arguments from religious apologists, but also those who argue against non-binary gender, trans identities and other LGBT rights.
Recommended video: Jordan Peterson Lies About The Science On Same Gender Parenting
For Harriet: An intersectional black feminist channel which, aside from responding to current events pertaining to women's rights, takes a fairly uncompromising look at the perceived flaws in the movement to effectively analyse how it can be made better.
Recommended video: Candace Owens Is A Bad Actor
Tovarisch Endymion: An overall excellent marxist channel featuring videos on topics about Capitalism, how socialism HAS worked, replies to prager U and other reactionary channels, as well as a number of explainer videos. Noteworthy for video on an analysis of countries with deregulated market economies which feature atrocious wealth gaps.
Recommended Video: A Look at the Freest Markets In The World

Libertarian Socialist Rants: An anarchist who debunks bad capitalist arguments and anti-social liberalism views. Also does videos explaining anarchist principles and refuting common critiques of this ideology.
Recommended video: Anarchist Commentaries Episode 6: Paul Joseph Watson and the Dunning-Kruger Effect

RichardDWolff: The channel of well-known Marxist economist Prof. Richard D. Wolff. This channel is home to exclusive lectures where Professor Wolff explains current American and global economic problems and how Marxian economics can be both a prism to analyse how these problems effect people, and also be a solution to these systemic economic flaws. The channel Democracy At Work(which actually currently sits at 60k subscribers) features other lectures on the same subjects regarding contemporary failures of capitalism, and is based on a book of Wolff's with the same name.
Recommended video: Crisis and Openings: Introduction to Marxism - Richard D Wolff

The Messianic Manic: Another left-wing atheist channel. Does short but clever videos rebutting bad arguments from religious apologists and social conservatives.
Recommended video: Ben Shapiro Is Wrong About: Raising Children

Zero Books: A promotional channel for the Marxist literary publishing imprint of the same name. Uses the books available from their line as a starting point for videos exploring concepts in political and social philosophy and interpreting current political events and figures through a Marxist lens.
Recommended video: The Intellectual Dark Web Is Afraid Of Marx


AngieSpeaks: Produces anarchist critiques of current political events and explorations of anarchist/socialist history.
Recommended video: Conspiracy Culture: A Leftist Analysis

BlackGoat 666: Debunks online right-wing heroes like Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson and Christina Hoff-Sommers.
Recommended video: Jordan Peterson Is A Fraud. Part 1: Bill C-16

Eric Taxxon: Known for doing Hbomberguy's music, but between original music videos does left-wing response videos to people like Paul Joseph Watson.
Recommended video: The Kunst Saga | How The Right Wing Views Modern Art

In Otter Words: Hasn't uploaded in a year but hopefully will again soon since his output has been very underrated. Debunks bad right-wing criticisms of feminism and the trans rights movement. I'm shocked no bigger YouTubers have seized on his discovery that Ben Shapiro has been lying about the trans suicide rate.
Recommended video: Ben Shapiro and the Transgender Suicide Rate

José: Very similar to the style of Potholer54, but addressing similar subjects to channels like those like Hbomb, Shaun and Contra. He debunks right-wingers like Dave Rubin, Steven Crowder and Roaming Millennial with very eloquent, long-form responses.
Recommended video: Steven Crowder Is A Fraud | Change My Mind

Kristi Winters: Feminist social scientist famous for pummelling Sargon of Akkad when they debated. Does discussion livestreams addressing events and arguments of the anti-feminist 'Skeptic' community.
Recommended video: Reasonable Questions For Anti-SJWS and Formal Debate: Sargon of Akkad vs Kristi Winters

Maria the Witch: Covers feminist and LGBT topics. Similarly to Contra (whom she has recently done a video criticising) Maria often rebuts anti-SJW points against socially progressive ideals, having done videos addressing fat shaming, the placement of asexuality on the LGBT spectrum, and the commodification of female beauty.
Recommended video: Roaming Millennial: Hates Women. Hates Facts.

Messy Elliott: Has done rebuttals to Dave Rubin and InfoWars as well as a video defending non-binary gender from the uneducated criticism of major YouTubers (see below).
Recommended video: YouTubers Don't Understand: Non-Binary People | Messy Elliott

Mexie: Creates very polished socialist critiques and explorations of economic topics
Recommended video: Why People Who Need Redistribution Hate It: The Free Market & You

Mia Mulder: Self-proclaimed ‘angry trans woman’. Addresses political topics such as the Syria conflict, debating with white supremacists and the relationship of left-wing ideology with trans women in an entertaining way.
Recommended video: Syria: Many Of These Options Are Bad

Never Speak In Absolutes: Creates videos that draw on a knowledge of philosophy to critique members of the Intellectual Dark Web like Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris, as well as addressing other big issues like peak oil. Occasionally livestreams with Douglas Lain of Zero Books.
Recommended video: What Jordan Peterson Gets Wrong About Marx, Postmodernism and The Left.

NonCompete: The channel's description sums it up best, "Non-Compete is a leftist blog and video series dedicates to the principles of intersectionalist liberation, anarchism, communism, and puppet shows." Does videos similar to the style of Peter Coffin addressing specific leftist issues alongside a podcast with other leftists mentioned on this list like AngieSpeaks and RadicalReviewer.
Recommended video: The Red Pill is a CULT

PoliDice: Creates ‘debunking’ videos similar to the Potholer54 format José uses, and addressing similar topics. He’s done videos responding to Matt Christiansen, Steven Crowder, Ben Shapiro and PragerU.
Recommended video: Ten Horrible Ben Shapiro Arguments Debunked

Radical Reviewer: Previously focused on reviewing leftist books and other media, but as of about a day ago has branched out into response videos to right-wing lunatics.
Recommended video: Stefan Molyneux Doesn't Understand Anarchism

Rational Disconnect: Creates very Hbomberguy-esque videos responding to shitty arguments and videos from the skeptic community and alt-right. Like Hbomb he talks to the camera and includes performative comedy bits.
Recommended video: South Africa & The Far Right | PART 1 (placed in limited state by YouTube because the alt-right reported it for the clips from other people he includes who themselves were not flagged)

KnowingBetter: Debunking channel featuring videos exposing Gandhi, defending Christopher Columbus, and going after the likes of Winston Churchill. “Now you know better”
Recommended Video: Going After Gandhi: A Perverted Purity
Sarcasmitron: Another ‘debunker’ in the Potholer format. Has responded to Paul Joseph Watson, Ben Shapiro, No Bullshit and Stefan Molyneux in between video game and politics related shitposts.
Recommended video: The Truth About Paul Joseph Watson (For Real)
Thom Avella: Similar to hbomberguy's style but more vlog-based. Rebuts right-wing videos but also has a series called 'Buzzwords from the Right' where he specifically debunks misused terms and slurs used by that side like to chastise us.
Recommended video: What "Questions for SJWs" Taught Me About YouTube Antifeminism

Thought Slime: Anarchist who explains the tenents of his ideology and occasionally responds to right-wing dipshits.
Recommended video: We don't talk about She-Ra (sorry to have two She-Ra related videos in a row, but this truly is my favourite thing this guy’s done)
Xexizy: Marxist who both promotes socialist ideology and critiques those who misrepresent and slander it such as PragerU, Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson.
Recommended video: Different Kinds of Marxism Explained
Bat’ko The Manarchist: Bat’ko is a leftist prominent on leftypol. He makes hilarious and clever songs about IDPOL and Stalin using classic Russian choir songs
Recommended Video: Best Of Leftypol Choir
[Nyx:](www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd_YNMEZndA) She covers movies/films, often utilizes a leftist frame, and sometimes dives into topics related to being trans.
azureScapegoat: Marxist who promotes socialist ideology; one of the most prominent features of this channel is an explainer series of videos on Cuba’s economic and political system. Noteworthy also for a video where he carefully clarifies the distinctions between socialism, communism, and modern communism.
Recommended video: How Democracy Works In Cuba

YUGOPNIK: Very new anti-capitalist channel. Critiques capitalist arguments ('Capitalist Philanthropy and Charity, why it doesn't work'), defends criticism of the left (Re: PragerUniversity on LEFTISTS and TOLERANCE) and promotes a Marxist praxis through everyday needs (see below).
Recommended video: Why Gamers Should be against Capitalism

Flea Market Socialist: Creates long and short videos on how to survive capitalism, make propaganda fun, subvert the system, and gives us that pure pure crystalline ideology we so desperately desire; straight to the jugular.
Recommended Video:Surviving Capitalism
ProSocialism: Small Trotskyist channel with videos on the bolsheviks, Lenin, and the Russian Revolution.
Recommended Video: The Russian Revolution Of 1905
Aphreditto:A leftist channel devoted to anarchist and anti-capitalist alternative education that pairs EDM with lectures and audiobooks by historical and contemporary thinkers.
[Recommended Video:]Murray Bookchin (1975) "The New Harmony" - Liquid Drum & Bass Mix
Anarchopac:: A philosophy channel that discusses Anarchism, Feminism, and Marxism.
Recommended Video: Ben Shapiro doesn’t understand intersectionality
- Media essayists and critics:

Big Joel: Does video essays on film, TV and video games with a very political slant. Analysing the Christian propaganda of the God’s Not Dead series, the preachy style of 1950s propaganda shorts, and what he believed to be the shallow politics of Black Mirror (as well as other less political analyses of movies like The Room and Disney films). He has recently branched out into much more overtly political content, creating videos which refuted arguments in Cassie Jaye’s men’s rights film ‘The Red Pill’ and the videos of Prager University.
Recommended video: The Red Pill: The Strange Art of Men's Rights Activism (Part 1)
donoteat01: Brought to my attention through comments. A fascinating channel using the game Cities: Skylines to illustrate the socioeconomic impacts the urban planning of cities can have on people's lives, both through the development in cities in history and in their redevelopment today. If you're interested in class analysis this series will be perfect for you.
Recommended video: Cities: Skylines | Power, Politics, & Planning: Episode 3: Gentrification

Folding Ideas: While not too overtly political, a leftist sense of justice and morality is pervasive in all Dan Olson’s work on this channel. He creates very lengthy analyses of movies and cultural events like last year’s weird YouTube kids video algorithm. Perhaps his most politically potent work though is the video I’ll link down below.
Recommended video: Triumph of the Will and the Cinematic Language of Propaganda

Kyle Kallgren: Film critic specialising in art cinema, but always from a socially left-wing perspective. While this political aspect is clear in all his reviews, often he does do videos exploring politics a lot more overtly such as below.
Recommended video: From Caligari to Hitler: Imagining the Tyrant - Between the Lines
Lindsay Ellis: Like Olson and Kallgren, Ellis started back in the day on That Guy With The Glasses, but has since transcended that prison into a phenomenal film critic. She uses dry humour and widely recognisable pop culture (her favourite subjects being Disney and Transformers) to look at intersecting social and political trends. While she’s often spoken from a feminist perspective, her recent work has begun delving into Marxist analysis in a way she’s very accessibly explained to the wide audience who watch her.
Recommended video: Marxism! | The Whole Plate Episode 9
Jack Saint / LackingSaint: Formerly did animations, now does video essays with political themes like in the link below. Also interesting is his parody of anti-SJW film reviews 'Rational Big Boy DEMOLISHES SJW Propaganda: 12 Angry Men'.
Recommended video: Sky High: Disney's Fascist Eugenics Movie
Pop Culture Detective: Despite the current cultural backlash to social justice, this guy has somehow gotten away with making video essay after video essay with millions of views criticising the portrayal of toxic masculinity in film and television, while celebrating the non-normative gender archetypes in media like Steven Universe.
Recommended video: The Adorkable Misogyny of The Big Bang Theory
Renegade Cut: Another long-form video essayist, but has a particular emphasis on analysing social justice in film. His work includes critical readings of the white privilege themes of ‘Get Out’, the perhaps accidental Ayn Randian/Objectivist themes of ‘The Incredibles’, and as seen below, the contentious approach to racism of ‘Three BillBoards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’.
Recommended video: How (Not) to Discuss Racism in Film - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri | Renegade Cut

Step Back History: A history channel exploring important events from a progressive perspective. Has done videos addressing topics the right tends to obscure or ignore the truth of like, the pre-Columbian Americans (see below), 20th century communism, the rise of ISIS, anarchism during the Spanish Civil War and many others.
Recommended video: The Truth About Native Americans before Europeans Arrived
PODCASTS (Find On Podcast App)
Chapo Trap House: Leftist comedy podcast featuring interviews with a wide variety of writers and other prominent leftist figures. Along with film reviews, they also read and make fun of right wing and liberal media figures. They are very popular and do tours. Look up their clips on YouTube and obviously check this one out.
The Michael Brooks Show: Michael Brooks of the majority report’s show which features guests, analysis of politics and culture from a socialist perspective. Entertaining, funny, and overall wonderful podcast.
Best Of The Left: Aggregation of clips from a variety of mostly progressive and socialist radio and other leftist sources covering one important topic each episode.
The Majority Report: Mentioned in the youtube list, this is the actual podcast that the youtube clips come from. I listen every day. Simply excellent. This one I consider a must listen.
The Other Washington: Policy analysis from a progressive perspective. Noteworthy for analysis of minimum wage arguments.
Antifada: Jamie Peck of the Majority Reports podcast. Socialist with interviews and discussion of a variety of intriguing subject matter.
Jacobin Radio: Podcast of Jacobin Magazine -- analysis and discussion of issues from a socialist perspective
Current Affairs: Mentioned in the youtube list; the podcast features unique discussion of a variety of relevant policy and other topics from the magazine editors relevant to the socialist left
News From Nowhere: Corey Pein’s (Live, Work Work Work Die Author) unique podcast from a socialist perspective.
The Breunigs: Matt And Elizabeth Breunig of the Peoples Policy Project carefully and holistically analyze and discuss a diverse range of economic and policy issues.
This Is Hell!: Socialist analysis and interviews on a wide variety of topics relevant to the socialist left.
Zero Books: Mentioned in the youtube list; this is the podcast.
Dissent Magazine: Podcast of the Magazine
Citations Needed: Carefully policy and discussion of a variety of issues from a socialist perspective.
Intercepted: podcast of intercept magazine hosted by the brilliant and highly well regarded Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater and dirty wars.
Pod Damn America: the anti liberal pod save America. Features interviews with dsa members, organizers and other leftist activists and workers.
Vegan Vanguard (Mexie) Mexies youtube channel is charming, with well researched leftist subject matter and effective, well communicated presentation. Her podcast follows this trend.
Dead Pundits Society: severely underrated podcast featuring interviews with leftists as diverse and important as Adolph reed jr (the anti Tahnahisi Coates (materialist over idealist analysis), economics, unions, and a socialist foreign policy.
Supreme Leap Forward, Mic Dicta, (Socialist legal analysis)
Revolutionary Left Radio: Great pod from an ML on a variety of topics with lots of guests; did a great cross-over with The Antifada which would serve as a great introduction if you already listen to them
Media Roots: hosted by Abby Martin and her brother. This is Media Roots self described website description: "Media Roots is a citizen journalism project that reports the news from outside of party lines while providing a collaborative forum for conscious citizens, artists and activists to unite."
The Guillotine: hosted by Brett from Rev Left Radio and Dr. Bones, it is a self-described "podcast covering global current events from a revolutionary communist and anarchist perspective."
Street Fight: based out of Ohio, Street Fight Radio, or Street Fight is an American politics and humor radio show and podcast founded in June 2011 and hosted by Brett Payne and Bryan Quinby with anarchist leanings. Gritty and down to earth
Congressional Dish: podcast which is basically one woman going on a deep dive on recently passed bills, Senate hearings, that kind of thing. Lots of good episodes about US imperialism. Very detail focussed.
Cumtown: baconshark316: “not like really leftist but they're good friends with Chapo and guest on each other podcast before. Cumtown is comedy but their politics are pretty left. They just don't talk politics as much as Chapo.” very “dirtbag left”
Ashes, Ashes: David Torcivia and Daniel Forkner discuss systemic issues, cracks in civilization, collapse of the environment, and the end of the world."
Criminal (In)justice: as you can guess from the name, this podcast focuses on injustice in the criminal justice system... a lot of the critiques are quite leftist.
Your Kickstarter Sucks: a unique podcast with a humorous leftist analysis of a wide range of topics as diverse as gun violence apps, bus people, and cultural topics. I’ve heard it’s funny, still gotta get around to it
Season of the Bitch: Very well-informed feminist/Marxist show
Economic Update.: The podcast version of Richard Wolff's weekly show found on Democracy @ Work's YT channel
The Dig: Podcast from Jacobin Magazine
Deconstructed: Another pod from The Intercept
Eyes Left: Anti-war pod from two lefty army vets
The Bernie Sanders Show: Bernie will occasionally drop a half-hour commentary on big headlines
Working Class History: Exactly what it says on the box
Even More News: From the "Some More News" YT channel team
Socialist Rifle Association: A leftist podcast commenting on recent news, with focus on guns and gun laws, commenting on a variety of topics including new legislation, minorities and police. Also they regularly bash Musk, with is always fun. And they are official podcast of SRA, but that's obvious.
The Magnificast: A Christian, Marxist podcast
Chuck Boonta Vista Socialist Club:”It's the Australian rip off of Chapo Trap House”
Neighbor Science: Post-Scarcity Anarchism authors and profit sector business executives Pieter de Beer and Ryan Salisbury focused on political economy, ecology, and billionaires
Radio War Nerd: Excellent leftist foreign policy analysis
Novara Media: Aaron Bastani and Ash Sankar (of “I’m literally a communist”) have an excellent podcast AND YouTube channel featuring videos on subjects as diverse as islamophobia/Sam Harris, Homo-Nationalism and British Politics. Highly recommended
Media democracy pod: like the uk version of citations needed. very good analysis of the media by tom mills & dan hind, who have both written books on the subject for verso. also putting forward pretty concrete plans to democratise the media over here.
Discourse Collective:: leftist podcast analyzing culture and current events from a left perspective with various guests from the left activist and media sphere, as well as an ongoing reading series of of the works of important leftist authors (Prohoun, Kropotkin, Bakunin, etc).
The Black Podcast:
Red Scare: socialist feminist takes on current events and patriarchal norms, with film analysis as well
Swampside chats: the topics can be pretty niche ("here's this left-wing party that split in 1976," "here's this ultra-reactionary who wrote a manifesto") but it pulls off a combination of entertaining and intellectually serious that's p rare IME.
Behind the News: more current-events-driven and less entertaining, but is still probably one of the best Serious Interview shows out there.
No Cartridge Audio: leftist critiques of video games through a literary lens. They hosted the Texas-Christman Video Game Debate.
Struggle Session: reviews a lot of nerd/pop culture media, and often features very insightful views into the world of entertainment industry labor issues. One of their hosts, Leslie Lee, has been on Chapo.
District Sentinel: a podcast co-op (based in DC so you don’t have to be) on daily news, haikus, and analysis from the left.
Trillbilly Workers Party :Leftist podcast based in coal country, USA. Mostly a lot of local stuff about the small town they live in, but they have some good takes, and they need the exposure.
BitchFace Podcast:CRITIQUES OF POWER + WE GOT JOKES"
Minion Dead Cult: “They talk about news stories through the lens of insane right wing Facebook comments. It's a fun time.”
Delete Your Account - Analysis on current issues, e.g.healthcare, gaming industry unionization, evil landlords
Scumbag - Chapo's Felix and some guy that works in PR talk about internet weirdos (no longer active, but has a few good eps)
The Dig- another dead podcast - it's all a bit about Carl Diggler - a dril/journalist character played by Felix, and Virgil Texas as his millenial sidekick
Left Out:: podcast by Paul Sliker, Michael Palmieri, and Dante Dallavalle with in-depth conversations with leftist economists/organizers/thinkers.
Left Anchor: new podcast started in fall 2018 from Ryan Cooper & Alexi the Greek. Discussions between the hosts looking at historical leftist thinkers and applying to current events.
SWOTI (Someone's Wrong on the Internet): Hosted by Briahna Gray Joy and Joe Kunhilee, two leftist millennial POC. Entertaining and upbeat show that ranges from pop-culture to current events to dunking on centrist libs.
submitted by bshawwwwwww to BreadTube [link] [comments]

Testing PUBG on a potato, getting the maximum performance out of older hardware.

As someone fortunate enough to be running this game on a reasonably high end machine, I frequently see a lot of people express frustration about poor performance on less powerful rigs and decided I would see what optimisations actually seemed to make a difference on old hardware. So armed with a bunch of old components from PC builds past I decided to test out as many optimisations as I could and see how well I could get the game running.
THE GOAL
Smooth running of the game, with visuals coming second. Ideally we want the FPS to rarely, if ever, drop below 30.
TEST BUILD
Basically this is the kind of rig you'd expect from someone who got a decentish PC 5-6 years ago and hasn't really upgraded since. It roughly equates to around about the minimum listed requirements of PUBG, with the GPU being slightly less powerful and the CPU being a tad more so. Close as I could make it anyway and they're very modest requirements, most players shouldn't have an issue exceeding them.
For added potatoness I used an old mouse with no mousepad, a non-mechanical keyboard, have no sound and need to twist my head fairly significantly in order to see the monitor. If your setup is worse than this you have much bigger things to worry about than your FPS.
THE OS
For software I'm running Windows 10 Professional with all the latest updates installed, as well as the latest drivers and firmware for all my hardware. I've also made the following very basic performance tweaks.
  1. Enabled the High Performance power plan.
  2. Disabled the Windows Game DVR
  3. Set the Windows appearance settings to "Adjust for Best Performance"
There are a ton of other tweaks and adjustments you can make to Windows 10 that can potentially influence performance, your system depending. The tweaks I listed here and a lot more can be found in guides such as this one, though I highly recommend that you try each tweak one at a time and run your system for a while afterwards to check for instability so you know what to change back if you run into issues.
As with any guide I highly recommend you don't just blindly change things someone else says to change and rather do some research and figure out what the thing you're changing does and what your changes actually do.
All tests were done outside peak times in order to get the best possible server performance, with no programs running other than steam and PUBG in fullscreen mode.
TEST 1, FRESH AND DEFAULT INSTALL
First things first, I got Steam/PUBG installed without changing a single in game setting other than putting the FOV to 103 and setting my keybinds, then fired it up to see how it ran. The answer was... poorly. Most of my defaults were set to medium.
Lobby FPS: 30
Drop FPS: 30
Game FPS: 7-12 with extreme stuttering.
Notes: I dropped onto the roof of the Mylta refinery nice and quickly, picking up an AKM. However I couldn't manage to kill anybody because my FPS immediately plummeted and the game was basically unplayable. I was shot and killed by a crossbow.. how embarrassing.
Conclusion: Unplayable.
TEST 2, IN GAME SETTINGS
Next up I jumped into the graphics settings and dropped everything down to "Very Low" other than View Distance which I kept at medium. I also disabled the Inventory screen character render for better menu performance.
Lobby FPS: 45-55
Drop FPS: 40
Game FPS: 30-40
I dropped into Pochinki for this game and the difference was huge. I found myself a pistol and picked up two kills with no issue before losing my third engagement to an AR wielding foe. While certainly not pretty the game is definitely playable at these settings. Looting was fairly snappy and no more frustrating than any other time.
For fairness sake I queued up once more with the same settings to drop into Mylta with a tad worse performance as Pochinki but it was a fog game, so I fired up a final game and yet again dropped into Mylta along with two others. I was able to successfully get a weapon and kill them both before leaving the area, no issues picking up gear and no noticeable frame drops during fights. Once out in the open I saw FPS increases up to 60FPS, but they quickly subsided when I approached anything kind of structure. I also noticed significant FPS drop and some stuttering whenever I opened up my map.
Conclusion: Playable, though not exactly great looking. As this was achievable simply by changing in game settings I would say it's more than acceptable considering we're sitting around the minimum system requirements.
TEST 3, NVIDIA CONTROL PANEL OPTIONS AND DPI SCALING
At this point I wanted to turn the rest of the common optimisations on and see what the max performance I could get from this machine was. As I'm running a nVidia card I opened up the control panel, added the game to the Program Settings list and made the following changes:
Next I found the games executable "TslGame.exe" in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\PUBG\TslGame\Binaries\Win64 and went into its properties/compatibility and checked the "Override high DPI scaling behaviour" option, setting it to "Application", then I fired the game up for its third test.
I did not make any changes to any config files.
Lobby FPS: 50-60
Drop FPS: 60-80
Game FPS: 35-50, some peaks at 60 in the less intensive areas
My first game I couldn't get near either of my test sites so I dropped military on top of the Barracks. While I didn't manage to get a weapon from the roof I did see them appear before I landed and jumped off before I found a SCAR and picking up three kills before dying to a shotgun in a firefight I lost due to my own mistake, not anything the game did.
But again for the sake of consistency I fired up another game and made my way to Mylta refinery and yet again saw the same performance improvements though I did dip into the 30's whilst inside. I happily took three kills including a very nice snap reaction headshot to the roof of the refinery whilst I was on the ground below, before I died to a well armed bush. In both games I never dropped below 30FPS and considered the performance excellent considering the age of the hardware.
Conclusion: VERY playable even in a hot drop zone. It wasn't a massive leap above the last test but things felt a lot smoother and more consistent.
TEST 4, TRYING TO MAKE THINGS LOOK A BIT MORE PRETTY
I'm a big fan of Reshade's use in PUBG.. not for any kinds of competitive edge, purely because it makes the game look so much nicer. I wanted to keep to as few filters as possible to minimise any potential performance hit but still make the game look nice on such low settings.
So I downloaded and installed Reshade, selecting only two filters: LumaSharpen and TechniColor2.
End result?
Before and after.
Before and after.
Before and after.
Quite a good improvement to the looks of the game in my opinion but that's fairly subjective.
The results here were fairly consistent with yet another drop into Mylta. Though I never saw any spikes to 60 in this game I happily landed, got myself a gun and picked up a couple kills. Then I jumped into a dacia and drive halfway across the island, again with no issue.
Lobby FPS: 50-60
Drop FPS: 60-80
Game FPS: 35-50
Conclusion: Again, very playable and looked much nicer than without ReShade enabled. I feel like I lost a tiny bit of the consistency and higher FPS range from my last test but nothing overly noticeable. If I was using this rig this is the config I would go with.
TEST 5, NON-NATIVE RESOLUTION - 1280x720
As requested, I ran another test at 1280x720 resolution. This drastically drops the visual quality of the game. Initially I also had the screen size for this one set to 70, however the game looked horrendous to the point of distortion. Playing like this would greatly reduce my ability to actually see what was happening in game so I reverted back to 100 and just kept the lower resolution.
Lobby FPS: 80
Drop FPS: 40-80
Game FPS: 55-65
I dropped into Mylta yet again and got consistently high frame rates, close to 60 for the most part. I picked up an SKS and got one kill but died to a second opponent because I completely failed at seeing them basically right in front of me. The distortion to the game from the non native resolution made it much harder to spot enemies and I don't believe was worth the extra frames, I would prefer a stable 30fps and have everything look crisp and clear with a good field of view instead of twice that but struggle to spot out enemies. It's possible you would get used to the game like this however I feel that at this point you are giving yourself a large disadvantage.
Conclusion: Excellent FPS however the overall performance of the game was degraded beyond the point I was happy with and where I feel you are giving yourself a significant competitive disadvantage. If you desperately need extra FPS then give this a go but otherwise I don't recommend it.
FINAL CONCLUSIONS
All in all, with a little tweaking and some compromises I was able to get a very playable experience and I'm sure there's more performance to be found elsewhere. Obviously the game is a lot better looking and performing on a higher end machine but if you want to play this game there is a very large range of hardware that you can run it on with a little bit of research and effort. Anyway, that was a fun way to spend an afternoon instead of working so I'm happy.
________________________________________
BONUS TEST, A WARNING
This test was supposed to be me giving 1680x1050 a go. Here were my results:
Lobby FPS: 40
Drop FPS: 20-30
Game FPS: 15-20, severe stuttering and issues when in any kind of firefight.
Conclusion: Unplayable. Wait.. what? That's a lower resolution... how can that work like that? Answer: it wasn't the resolution. Last night I was going through peoples requests for testing things and I made a bunch of changes to the game INI files as well as with the nVidia inspector and a few other things. Something that I did has tanked my FPS no matter what settings I change, which has undone all the work I did before! Because it was 2am and I was being lazy I veered away from my "change one thing, test it" approach and I have no idea what I did.
I ended up nuking my PUBG install and all settings as well as my graphics driver and all of its settings. Then I reinstalled them all cleanly, reapplied my settings and tweaks and finally reclaimed my performance from Test 4.
So be careful! I've been working on computers my entire life, have been a gamer since I could walk and work as an IT systems administrator. Despite what people on the internet might say I know what I'm doing and I still screwed up because I tried to save some time and as usual ended up costing a lot more instead.
Do it slow and do it right!
________________________________________
EDITS / RESPONSES
Thanks for all the feedback guys! I'm seeing a lot of the same responses and figured I'd add something up here.
"2700K potato? Hah, noob!"
That's a fair point, the 2700k has held up astoundingly well but it's also a 6 year old CPU and is easily beaten out by decent 3rd or 4th gen i5's. Getting something better than a 2700k these days isn't a particularly big ask. It's more powerful than the minimum specs that the game recommends but unfortunately I just didn't have the equipment to make a build any less powerful. Thankfully by pairing it with this GPU the CPU is severely underused which brings it down to much more potatoy levels.
"Did you have any stability issues?"
Not a single crash across any tests. While this might be because I simply didn't run enough, most crashes in these cases are a result of the complex environment that any PC ends up being after an install is run for a good amount of time. With a fresh install, these issues tend to be minimised.
"What about INI file changes?!"
Changes to the INI files are now against the code of conduct and while as far as I know nobody has been banned for this, the mods on this sub will remove any posts that suggest doing so or instructing you how to go about it. Because I wanted to share my results I deliberately made no changes to those files.
"Why didn't you try X, Y or Z?"
I'm seeing a lot of great optimisation suggestions in the comments which is awesome and I plan to run a couple more tests for fun, I'll add them to this post if I do. But honestly the reason I posted this wasn't to make a step by step guide, but more to make a few points.
  1. If you're getting very poor performance, you might want to look at your computers OS and other programs. One of the major issues with having an older machine is that OS bloat and general age of your install can do a lot to hinder your performance. A good cleanup or reinstall (backup first!!) can work wonders.
  2. How to test things. I see too many people who simply scour the internet for an FPS guide which they then follow completely, find it doesn't work and then find a new one and repeat. They end up making dozens of potentially conflicting changes. Always start with a clean/default install and get a baseline and then make small changes with testing in between. That's how to get the best performance out of your machine, even if it takes a lot longer.
  3. Just the general point that this game can be run on fairly old hardware. From the way a lot of people speak around here you'd never believe you could even launch the game on anything less than a 7700k with a 1080ti backing it.
I hope everyone enjoyed it anyway. If people are really interested I can look at making a very detailed and in depth post that is actually a step by step performance guide, though there are quite a few of them already.
submitted by Sparcrypt to PUBATTLEGROUNDS [link] [comments]

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