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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]

Heritage (4)

First Chapter
Previous Chapter
The view of Sanctuary was made even more impressive as An’Ra and his team waited in the V-Lift. Through the window, they can see the ornate streets curving through resplendent pools underneath, dotted by the occasional fountain.
“I hate this.” Vora groaned, dressed in a soldier’s standard battle uniform. “Why are we here, Commander?”
“We were investigating genocide and possible use of bioweapons,” Sonak explained, “Even without the first part, Strain Y is going to scare a lot of people. I think it’s reasonable for the Council to take a personal interest in this. Besides, I think the real issue here is the fact you might actually have to speak to the Council.”
“But...ugh, fine. Yes, I wasn’t mentally prepared for it when An’Ra came along and went, Party’s over, ass to the Council, now.”
“Hey now.” An’Ra feigned offense, “I didn’t say it that way, did I?”
“Kind of close, Commander.” Sonak chuckled.
“But still, I think that this isn’t about keeping the galaxy safe.” Vora sighed. “I think the Council’s keeping an eye open for any opportunity to to convince the galaxy they’re still in charge.”
“Or maybe they genuinely want to make sure that we’re not at risk of dying a horrible death by watching our own bodies melt.” Sonak shrugged. “Strain Y doesn’t care if you’re an officer or infantry.”
“That assumes the Council cares about what’s going on outside of these walls.” Vora glanced over, wariness in her look.
“Either way, we’re going to get our answer. Eyes open.” An’Ra said as the V-Lift doors parted ways, revealing the same ornate architecture within. Trees and grasses stole the eye as they walked through the hallways, various government officials from the myriad races conversing and conducting whatever business they were doing. After walking up some steps, they arrived at the large double-doors that lead to the Council Chambers. Standing on each side were the guards constantly on watch for any potential attack. Both of them Anaran, as expected. On approach, the guards opened up the doors to allow An’Ra and his team in.
When they entered, the room was probably more magnificent than they expected. A grand, curved window dominated the view. An unintrusive look into the beautiful splendor of Sanctuary. Directly in front of An’Ra and his team was a pathway that led to a semi-circular desk, standing in front of the raised platform that the Council sat, who had just now noticed the arrivals and are settling themselves in.
And it was there An’Ra got a good look at the Council. Four of them, half Esti, half Huak. An’Ra secretly never liked the Esti, the way he could see menacing fangs when their flat mouths opened, or those flaps of scale that expands outward into a hood. It just unnerved him, a reason he could never really find out. As soon as he sensed that they were ready, he walked up to the desk, wearing his officer’s dress uniform, comprised of a fine, smooth fabric shirt, adorned with a fluffy sash that went from his right shoulder down to his left side, shoulder pads accented with shining studs and finished with awards placed on his top-left chest, awards hard earned back in the Great War.
“Commander An’Ra.” The Huak councilor on the far right side, Neual, began, thick fingers interlaced together as he rested his hands on the desk. “Thank you for agreeing to this unusual request, we are very appreciative.”
“It’s no trouble, Councilor.” An’Ra gave a slight bow. “How can I help?”
“We’ll start at the beginning.” The first Esti councilor, Zhur, stated, holding up a secure datapad to ensure the information is easily accessible. “Strain Y. Your report says that while there is confirmation it was used, it was not used in significant quantities. Can you elaborate on that for us?”
“Previous uses of Strain Y all had one thing in common,” An’Ra began, “The amount deployed saturated the atmosphere of the planets they were used on. This is because, despite its lethality, is not actually that infectious. In order to guarantee the total elimination of a planet’s population, you will need to deploy it in such large numbers that everyone will be infected within minutes of deployment. In this case, for Planet 3, there simply wasn’t enough to reach that threshold.”
“At which you go on to state that thermal weapons were used in a state of panic,” Yhiz, the second Esti councilor, added, “Can you explain your reasoning for us?”
“As established before, Strain Y was used on the planet. My working theory is that, when they discovered that they grossly underestimated the amount needed, they panicked and used thermal weapons to both try and burn out the supplies used and finish the genocide they started.”
“But if thermal weapons were indeed used, how did you confirm Strain Y was deployed?” Zhur spoke up.
“We found pieces of Strain Y’s genetic material on the planet’s surface.” An’Ra glanced over to Zhur’s direction. “And as I arrived back in the system, I received a quantum packet from the expedition, stating that they have confirmed that Strain Y was indeed used. Adding that with the obvious use of thermal weaponry, I concluded that the attackers didn’t use enough of the weapon to guarantee extinction.”
Zhur leaned back in her seat, scarlet eyes fixated on the desk. An’Ra couldn’t tell if she was trying to find a counter argument or just processing the information.
“Have you found any evidence that can tell us if there’s more of the strain out in the galaxy?” Neual asked after giving a sigh through his wide nostrils.
“I’m afraid not, sir. All I can definitively say is that this planet fell victim to a biological Cruel Weapon.”
“I’m more concerned about the native life.” Ghala, the final and second Huak councilor, stated after being silent. “Are you absolutely certain that none of the planet’s indigenous life survived?”
“The scientific team said that there’s a very low chance of that.” An’Ra’s ears flattened. “And after seeing the surface myself, I must agree. I don’t think we should wait for a miracle.”
“Ah...I see.” Ghala leaned back in his chair, obviously disheartened. “Even if the planet is now incapable of supporting life, we still wish to move forward with a more symbolic gesture and statement by declaring Planet 3 of System AQ 115-4A illegal for colonization.”
“But let’s move onto what I believe is the most pressing issue: the identity of the attackers.” Neual leaned forward. “Based on your report, you and the team have found nothing that neither confirms nor clears any potential suspect?”
“That’s correct, Councilor.” An’Ra nodded. “We’ve found nothing, within the system and on the planet itself, that tells us anything about who did it.”
“Are there any surviving infrastructure on the planet?” Ghala asked, straightening his posture. “Even if there isn’t much, maybe the natives’ equipment has something we can use?”
“As established before, the planet was devastated terribly. There are indeed ruins of their civilization, but whether or not we can salvage anything from them is a different story.” An’Ra answered with a sigh.
“So in that case, the Qu’Rathi are still the likely aggressors then.” Zhur stated.
“I’m not convinced.” An’Ra shook his head. “Everything we have so far is just circumstantial, nothing solid.”
“Yes, that proves they did it. But looking at it from a different perspective, nothing that proves they didn’t do it either.” Zhur countered, her eyes squinting some.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to press forward with what I think you’re planning, Councilor.” An’Ra leaned forward on the table, ears flattening back. “If you do, and we uncover evidence that clearly proves their innocence, you will be pushing an innocent race away.”
“But if we uncover evidence that proves their guilt, then the trial will be much more expedient.” Yhiz joined in, his eyes also squinting slightly.
“With respect Council, I still think that’s the worst decision you can make.” An’Ra’s teeth began to bare as he spoke. “We can’t make any decision until we acquire more evidence.”
“Nothing we have proves that Strain Y is permanently removed as a future threat.” Zhur started, “Nothing we have proves that the Federation did not do anything. Right now, we have the threat of a Class 4 Cruel Weapon looming over everyone’s heads. People will start becoming scared, start wondering if their shadows will melt them at any time.”
“I know that Councilors!” An’Ra raised his voice. “Give me time! I’m not saying this is over yet, just let me keep looking!”
“We aren’t stopping your investigation, Commander.” Neual said, holding his hand up slightly. “We’re just informing you that you may not have the time you thought you had.”
“What does that mean?” An’Ra’s ears stuck out at an angle, mixed between stiffening and anger.
The councilors looked at each other for a few moments before Zhur stood up and took in a deep breath. “Commander, based on both the collected evidence so far, and lack of any other evidence, the Council has decided to proceed with charging the Qu’Rathi Federation on counts of Genocide, possession of a Cruel Weapon, and deployment of Cruel Weapons with intent for malicious harm. Out of respect for your efforts, Commander, we will give you eight months to continue your investigation. Beyond that, we will close your investigation to allow the courts time to process and review what has been collected.”
“Are you insane?!” An’Ra shouted. “Do you even realize what would happen if you’re wrong?!”
“We do, Commander.” Zhur nodded. “But the risk is just too high. The safety of the galaxy and justice for the inhabitants of System AQ 115-4A must be our top priority. This debrief is over.”
An’Ra stood in complete and stunned silence, watching the Council casually get up from their seats and dispersing to their own private offices. It wasn’t until that they have fully left the chambers that An’Ra finally found the will to move and regroup with Sonak and Vora, both of whom are also equally stunned.
“Those ekas!” Vora exclaimed. “It’s bad enough to be quick at accusing someone, but how dare they claim this is for those humans!”
“And here I thought all those things the news were saying was just to get people to watch them.” Sonak muttered softly. “Commander, obviously this is bad.”
“I know, Sonak.” An’Ra crossed his arms, ears now pointing straight back and teeth fully bared. “We can’t let them do this.”
“But what can we do?” Sonak exclaimed. “What options do we have?”
“Alliance Enforcement!” Vora declared. “Commander, what if you filed a complaint to the Lord-Enforcer? Tell him what’s going on?”
“That’s a good idea actually.” Sonak nodded. “If we convince the Lord-Enforcer that the Council is being too hasty with our investigation, which shouldn’t be hard, he just might deny the Council’s request for prosecution!”
“I can’t imagine the Lord-Enforcer approving this even without our complaint.” An’Ra replied. “Still, never hurts to be prepared. Come on, let’s get to it.”

Jur’El leaned back in the puffy seat he was assigned to. The restaurant he entered had a calm and relaxed atmosphere. The lighting was dimmed, which complimented the dark but cozy ambiance of the room. The walls and floor each had a dark-themed color scheme, the seats were of a different scheme but not too different to oppose the goal set by the designer. And although the building was packed with customers, their conversations did not threaten to turn anyone deaf. It was a quiet and relaxed experience, something he needed desperately.
Even now, as hard as he tried to focus on how delicious his food was, how balanced the flavor and texture of it was, he was still forced to relive what happened on Planet 3. He could hear the sudden screams of his colony group. The scientists who were first awoken that wanted to find out why their Life world was so different to the data they were given. To the families and menial workers who were just talking amongst themselves and organizing the supplies when those machines stormed the ship. And what still terrifies him, still sends his heart racing, was when that one machine entered the control room, blood drenching its chassis. Bits and pieces of Qu’Rathi innards on its cold mechanical manipulators. How it just stared at him, lifelessly, with a rifle aiming right at his chest. And those drills. Those ghenning drills.
He was forced out of his torment by the rough poking of his shoulder. When he looked, it was another Qu’Rathi. “Captain Jur’El, right?”
“Uh..yes, who are you?” He nodded in confusion.
“Jhen.” She introduced herself, quickly taking a seat opposite from him. “I need to talk to you.”
“About what?”
“The expedition to that system deep in the Dead Zone.” She glared at him, mandibles tense. “The same system who’s Life world had a native population, the very same world being investigated as a genocide site, where your expedition went to settle.”
“Jhen, please, we had no idea what was going on.” Jur’El leaned back, hands raised in a defensive posture. “All we were told was that this was the most pristine and beautiful Life world ever discovered in a system rich with stellar bodies.”
“I don’t care about that. What I care is how you seem to be the only one who came back.” Jhen started raising herself from her seat. “I’m pretty sure that anyone who attempts to colonize a freshly cleansed world is forcibly removed from that planet and returned to their respective people. So where is everyone?”
Jur’El’s eyes went wide. He knew exactly where this was going. “I...I can’t tell you.”
“Don’t you dare.” Jhen snarled, now leaning over the table. “I’ve heard enough of that from the company, I’m not here to be force-fed more of it!”
“Just...trust me,” Jur’El spoke softly, shakily leaving his seat, “You don’t want to know.”
“Don’t you ghenning walk away from me!” Jhen shouted, grabbing Jur’El’s shoulder firmly, the other patrons now locking eyes to the two. “Two of my sons were on that mission! What happened to them?!”
Jur’El clutched his head with a hand firmly, feeling tears exploding out of his eyes. His mind rushing back to those scenes. The sounds, the smell, the fear. Everything crashed into him all at once. And they’re not just memories now. They’re all coming back to him as if he was transported in time and placed back to the exact moment it started. Back to the moment where he was screaming for his wife and son to hide, to find a corner of the ship that was hard to see and to stay there until the shooting stopped. How he felt his heart give out when he heard them beg for their life when they were found, cut short by the merciless cracks of their alien weapons. How every possible feeling melted away when the clanking of the machine’s walking approached him, when he realized there was no nowhere in the control room to hide, not with how thorough those things were being. The frantic, mindless begging he got into when he saw the blood covered machine hold that weapon to him.
“You’re safe!” A voice rang out. It wasn’t much, but it was enough for him to come back. That scene melting away back into the restaurant. All those smells and sights to be gone. When he was certain that it was over, he looked around. There was Jhen, face beaten and currently being restrained by a blue-furred Anaran. And in front of him was another, gray-furred one. “You hear me? You’re safe now!”
“I...wh-what happened?”
“We saw what was going on. The Qu’Rathi over there? She was just screaming down your throat, all while you were just on the floor. Ken’A there nearly caved her face in by the time we got some distance between you two.”
“Th...thank you.” Jur’El muttered, shakily getting himself back on his feet with the help of the gray Anaran. Jur’El was just about to walk away when the Anaran firmly, but not threateningly, gripped his shoulder.
“I know the signs, friend.” He began softly. “Your soul is badly wounded and is bleeding heavily. Just like a doctor if you’re shot or cut, you need to find someone to talk to, get your soul back together.”
“As long as I don’t run into another person like her, I’ll be fine.” Jur’El countered, trying to walk away still.
“No, you won’t.” The Anaran still held his grip. “I need you to trust me. With how bad your soul is right now, doing anything other than talking to someone will just make it worse. And when your soul dies, well...believe me, it’s not a good experience, for anybody.”
Jur’El stared into the gray Anaran’s orange eyes for a moment before he let out a sigh. “You’re not going to give up, are you?”
“I’ve seen what happens too many times. Good Battle-Brothers, completely different people. Either they’re just shadows of themselves, or doomed to forever relive their horrors. If I have the chance to prevent it happening again, I’m giving it my all.”
Jur’El looked aside for a few moments, internally fighting himself as to whether he should comply or keep resisting. He finally reached his decision when he became certain that the Anaran would most likely hunt him down as a life mission if he didn’t seek therapy. “Fine, I’ll do it. Got anyone in mind?”
“A dear friend of mine. He’ll get you back on track, promise.” The Anaran patted Jur’El’s shoulder a few times before proceeding to lead him, motioning for Ken’A to let go of Jhen and follow.

Michael, accompanied by his newly founded Praetorian Guard, continued his leisurely stroll down the surprisingly spacious corridor. The hallway itself was typical. All-metal construction with evenly spaced rows of blue-white lights.
The Praetorian Guard themselves are comprised of those Servants who display both extreme scores in combat efficiency and effectiveness in defensive situations. Armed with the absolute best in magnetic-ballistics, the most impenetrable of armor designs and the highest optimized combat-frames, even a squad of these guards can hold off a virtual army, provided they aren’t subjected to bombardment or heavy ordinance.
Just as Michael was about to enter the main command center of the station he was touring, Central contacted him on a private channel.
“Master? Your new administration is ready.” He declared proudly.
“Alright, let’s begin the introductions.” Michael replied, signaling the guardsmen that he’s about to enter a meeting. Although unneeded, the Guard promptly took up a defensive formation around him. He assumes this is mostly to keep unwelcome guests from interrupting him.
The scenery of the tranquil design of the corridor melted away into the virtual world built by neon-blue blocks, the same visual that he witnessed when he first received the interface. After a few moments, several other Servants materialized and stood attention in a semi-circle in front of him.
“My Lord.” The first Servant bowed, its voice deep, if gruff. “I’m Supreme Commander Schwarzkopf, in charge of managing our armed forces and overseeing the grand strategy of the Imperium.”
“I am Secretary Elizabeth.” The second spoke with a calming, soothing feminine voice. “I’m responsible for ensuring our economy runs perfectly. In short, I make sure every project gets the hammers and resources it needs.”
“I’m Foreign Minister Edward, at your service m’Lord.” The third, with a distinct British accent and of a composed, controlled voice. “While regretfully I’m useless at this stage, the moment we initiate contact with xeno species, I’ll handle diplomatic affairs and achieving our goals through negotiations when possible.”
“No offense, but I thought every Servant wants to see aliens dead?” Michael spoke up with slight confusion.
“Oh, of course. The very idea of ripping out the entrails of a xeno and suffocating them with it brings such joy it’s therapeutic.” Benjamin replied. Michael was unsure if he was joking or not. “I was appointed because I displayed the most effective ability at hiding such feelings.”
“Ah...good to know.” Michael nodded dryly, not exactly assured. “Back to where we were?”
“Yes, Lord. I’m Director Mansfield.” The fourth spoke with an eloquent-sounding voice. “I’m in charge of Imperial Intelligence, running operations abroad and managing counter-intelligence on the homefront. I give you my word that we will know everything about the aliens and they will know nothing about us.”
“And that leaves me, Master.” Central began. “As a result of this delegation, I now possess more processing cycles towards research and development. That means that I’ll be in charge of ensuring Imperial dominance in technology. I will also act as your adjutant, filtering out information that does not need your attention.”
“Well...shit, this sounds like an actual government I’m in charge of.” Michael gave out a nervous chuckle. “All the more reason to get down to business though. Let’s start with the first matter. Schwarzkopf, how’s our military coming along?”
“It’s growing rapidly, your majesty.” He answered with distinct pride. “Already we have several hundred frigates, fifty light cruisers and twenty heavy cruisers, with the first wave of battleships due to exit the drydocks within a few days. Additionally, we have established four different army groups with fifty divisions each.”
“I thought we’d take a lot longer.” Michael stated with no hidden amazement.
“There’s great benefit in our workforce able to operate at a hundred percent every hour of the day.” Elizabeth commented, her emotion-flags also indicating pride. “And speaking of which, our population of Servants grows geometrically. That benefits both our economy and the military. Our economy by providing more workers in skilled and unskilled labor, and the military by providing more crew members and soldiers.”
“So in short, it won’t be long before we become a virtual powerhouse.” Michael said, arms crossed.
“Especially if we continue expanding.” Elizabeth nodded. “On that note, we have already claimed several dozen more systems.”
“With Rigel and Betelgeuse selected as naval bases.” Schwarzkopf chimed in.
“So we’re expanding in all the ways, got it.” Michael nodded. “Now the second matter. Terraforming Mars.”
“At present, there are two issues that must be resolved.” Central answered. “The first problem is the planet’s lack of a magnetosphere. Without that, any and all organic life would perish under lethal bombardment of the Sun’s solar wind, in addition to any sustainable atmosphere being lost to space. The second problem is Mars’ inability to retain heat, the cause for it’s known low planetary temperature.”
“And knowing you, you already have possible answers?” Mansfield shrugged.
“Correct. The heat issue is rather trivial to solve. Mars already has an abundant amount of carbon-dioxide within the atmosphere, a well known greenhouse gas. Combined with even more of the gas locked planet side, once temperatures begin to rise, we will set off a snowball effect. However, that is all for naught if the atmosphere is allowed to escape into space by solar wind.”
“So basically the key here is the magnetosphere.” Michael added. “Build that and everything becomes simple.”
“Exactly.” Central affirmed. “Already there are two main methods. One is to build superconducting rings around the planet and drive them with direct current. With enough power, we can generate magnetic fields strong enough to form a virtual magnetosphere.”
“And what’s the second?” Elizabeth said.
“The second is to construct a station at the L1 Lagrange Point that will generate a dipole magnetic field, diverting the solar wind around the planet instead of into it. Although it was simulated using slower, binary processing, the results indicate that Mars would gain half the atmospheric pressure of Earth’s within a few years.”
“So then, the main focus is building that magnetic shield.” Michael spoke firmly. “Elizabeth? Let’s get the ball rolling. Coordinate with Central as needed.”
“At once, my Lord.” Elizabeth bowed.

Unlike the Council chambers, the office of the Lord-Enforcer was much less opulent and more pragmatic. After going through the receptionist area, An’Ra and his team were escorted into the main office itself. However, just like the chambers, a large window dominated the view on entry, granting another view of a city district on Sanctuary.
And sitting in the more rectangular desk was the Lord-Enforcer himself, Dura. Blue eyed, with a fur of dull-orange it reminds of a sunset. As soon as An’Ra and his team walked into the office, the Enforcer sat up, tail wagging.
“Commander An’Ra, in my office!” He exclaimed, arms out to his sides. “Forgive me sir, but I never thought I’d see the day!”
“A pleasure to meet you, sir.” An’Ra replied warmly, greeting the Enforcer with their fists clasped together and pulling themselves inward, shoulder to shoulder.
“Please, no need to be formal with me.” Dura chuckled. “Sit down, what brings you here?”
After taking their respective seats, An’Ra looked at Dura grimly. “I’m here to file a delay on a request for prosecution against the Federation.”
Dura’s ears angled themselves in a mixture of stiffening and lowering. “I just got the paperwork from the Council. And I can tell you that won’t be needed. I’ve already submitted my rejection.”
“With respect, sir.” Sonak spoke up. “I get the feeling that the Council might fight that.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to present my back to them just because they ask.” Dura gave off a grin. “I might be some paper-tosser now, but that just means the battlefield is different. Don’t worry Commander, as long as I’m here, you’ll get the chance to finish this investigation properly.”
“Thank you, Enforcer.” An’Ra smiled as he got up from his seat. “With any luck, you won’t have to fight long.”
“Oh, take your time!” Dura replied with an inflection of humor. “This is the most exciting thing I’ve had in years. Was just about to smash my head on this desk any day now actually.”
“Wait, really?” Vora asked, ears stiffened.
“It’s just a joke, Vora.” Sonak assured dryly.
“Oh...” Her ears flattened as the team exited the office.
When they arrived in the main plaza where the Enforcer’s office is located, they congregated in a small collection of benches nearby an ornate fountain that commemorated the Anaran defense of Felaal IV, largely considered the turning point of the Great War, which further enhanced the beauty of the surrounding scenery of floating walkways above crystal-clear waters.
“Well, that’s a relief, hopefully.” An’Ra began, letting out a decompressing sigh.
“I meant what I said earlier, An’Ra.” Sonak said. “If the Council are determined to charge the Federation, which I’m sure they made abundantly clear, they’re not going to let the Enforcer drop mines in their path just like that.”
“Which just means we can’t lose our focus.” Vora replied sternly. “So, what are our options? We can’t exactly go back to Planet 3, there’s really no leads there.”
“What about that Detective we met when we arrived?” Sonak suggested. “He was handling that whistle blower. Maybe that’s something worth looking into?”
“There’s also the Nav-Net.” Vora said. “All we got right now is that the Feds were at that location, but what if we look at the rest of the network? Try and trace their path?”
“The network doesn’t extend into the Dead Zone.” Sonak countered.
“No, not like that. We look at the network across Alliance space. We start with the logs that end at the Dead Zone, and we try to backtrack their route.”
“We’ll need to obtain legal authorization for that, Vora.” An’Ra stated.
“Actually, if I could add something.” Sonak said with his arms crossed. “If the Federation didn’t actually do it, then that questions the credibility of those codes. I think there’s a question that hasn’t been asked yet. And that is, are those codes faked?”
“That’s...a good point actually.” Vora acceded. “If we get the legal permission to examine the NavNet logs, then if the Federation didn’t do it, the logs across the network won’t support it. Think about it. You need a big fleet to do what just happened, and that fleet has to come from somewhere.”
“And that would mean if this was a frame job, they need a way to account for that.” An’Ra continued, confidence flaring. “It’s one thing to trick a single Nav-Buoy, but I really doubt anyone is capable enough of affecting the network itself.”
“We still need the Enforcer’s help to get access to the network.” Sonak reminded.
“Let’s go get it then.” An’Ra stated firmly. With that, the team left their meeting spot and began returning to the Enforcer’s office.
With confidence in their step, the walk back to the office was much shorter compared to before. However, things took a turn when An’Ra and the team noticed a large gathering of officers around the office entrance. They didn’t have to time to wonder when a group exited the office, dragging a combative Dura out with them.
“Commander, this isn’t good.” Sonak growled under his breath.
An’Ra simply stepped forward and grabbed one of the arresting officers. “What in Arenar’s Sword is going on here?”
“Dura’s under arrest on suspicion of corruption.” The officer replied flatly. “Lil’Al has been appointed as acting Lord-Enforcer.”
“The Council’s behind this, Commander!” Dura shouted, his feet literally dragging along the floor as four officers were taking him away. “Don’t believe a word they say about me!”
An’Ra and his team just stood there in stunned silence, watching and hearing the Anaran official being dragged virtually kicking and screaming. By the time they returned to their senses, hushed conversations was populating both the room and outside.
“We’re not going to get in the network, are we?” Sonak asked, still recovering.
“We still have to try, come on.” An’Ra said, already moving. When the team returned to the office, standing next to the desk was a slender Esti. No doubt Lil’al. She was looking out the window when she turned around upon hearing the encroaching footsteps.
“Yes, may I help you?” She began.
“Acting Lord-Enforcer Lil’Al?” An’Ra began, trying the diplomatic route first. “I’m Commander An’Ra, investigating the genocide by use of Strain Y. We’d like to request legal authorization to examine the logs of the Nav-Net.”
“For what purpose?” She replied, taking her seat.
“We believe that it may hold evidence that either confirms or disproves the Federation’s alleged involvement in the attack.”
Lil’Al leaned back in her seat, staring at them. “The Nav-Net is the lifeblood of, well, everything. Commerce, tourism, law enforcement. It holds great information about who has gone where, and in what ship, Commander. You realize that, don’t you?”
“I do, and what you’ve said precisely states how important that is, how important the potential evidence is.”
Lil’Al stayed motionless for a few moments, her long, lithe fingers twiddling about that indicates her thought. “Very well, I’ll start the paperwork to get you authorization, just be mindful of what you’re about to analyze.”
“Thank you.” An’Ra gave a slight bow. “In addition, I’m not sure if it’s been passed along, but Dura has rejected the Council’s request for prosecuting the Federation. Can I assume you’ll uphold that?”
“I’m afraid not, Commander.” Lil’Al replied flatly. “The galaxy has suffered a great loss through the genocide of a race who’ve suffered the universe’s cruel sense of humor by being placed both far away from us and deep within an almost uninhabitable region. I have overturned Dura’s rash decision and accepted the Council’s request.”
“Then I’d like to file a delay on that decision, immediately.” An’Ra replied, ears flattened back.
“On what grounds?”
“Lack of decisive evidence, to start.”
“Same could be said on your side, Commander.” Lil’Al let out a sigh. “Yes, all the evidence collected thus far is not...ideal. However, the most significant points at this time are that a young race who was just about to leave their homeworld was exterminated through the most horrible of all options. We cannot ignore that.”
“But we also can’t rush to conclusions. We need to continue investigating and only go after someone if we have at least one crucial piece of information.” An’Ra countered, arms crossed and his teeth starting to bare.
“And I agree, that’s how it should be done.” Lil’Al replied. “But if we do, we risk dragging out an investigation to such a length we may end up forgetting this tragedy. We cannot allow such an insult to Planet 3’s memory. I’m sorry, but I must reject your petition for judiciary delay.”
Next Chapter
AN: Every single time I paste this in, Reddit is just determined to put it in some code block. Anyways, As of now, I've finally completely locked in the plot for this story, just one major question that could've changed a lot was on my mind for a while. Enjoy!
submitted by SynthoStellar to HFY [link] [comments]

A complete guide of and debunking of audio on Linux, ALSA and Pulse

Hey fellow penguins,
A few days ago, an user asked about audio quality on Linux, and whether it is worse or better than audio on Windows. The thread became a mess quickly, full of misconceptions and urban myths about Linux. I figured it would be worthwhile to create a complete guide to Linux audio, as well as dispelling some myths and misconceptions.
To all be on the same page, this is going to be thorough, slowly introducing more concepts.

What is sound? How and what can I hear?

You might remember from high school that sound is waves traveling through the air. Vibrations of any kind cause molecules in the air to move. When that wave form finds your ears, it causes little hairs in your ear to move. Different hairs are susceptible to different frequencies, and the signals sent by these hairs are turned into sound you hear by your brain.
In reality it is a little more complicated, but for the sake of this post, that's all you need to know.
The pitch of sound comes from its frequency, the 'shorter' the waves are in a waveform, the higher the sound. The volume of sound comes from how 'tall' the waves are. Human hearing sits in a range between 20Hz and 20,000 Hz, though it deviates per person. Being the egocentric species we are, waves below 20 Hz are called 'infrasound' and waves above 20kHz are called 'ultrasound.' Almost no humans can hear beyond ultrasound, you will find that your hearing probably cuts off at 16kHz.
To play around with this, check out this tone generator, you can prove anything above with this yourself. As a fun fact: human hearing is actually really bad, we've among the most limited frequency ranges. A cat can hear up to 40kHz, and dolphins can even hear up to 160kHz!!
FACT: Playing loud music is dangerous! If you listen to music and you are feeling a discomfort, you should turn the volume down. A true alert is when you hear a beep - this is called tinnitus, and that beep you're hearing is pretty much the death cry of the cells that can hear that frequency. That beep is the last time you will hear that very specific frequency ever again. Please, listening to loud music is not worth the permanent hearing damage, please dial it down for your own sake! <3

How does my computer generate sound?

To listen to sound, you will probably be using headphones or speakers, inside of them are cones that are driven by an electromagnet, causing them to vibrate at very precise frequencies. This is essentially how sound works, though modern headphones certainly can be pretty complex.
To drive that magnet, an audio source will send an analog signal (a waveform) over a wire to the driver, causing it to move at the frequency of that waveform. This is in essence how audio playback works; and we're not going to get into it much deeper than this.
Computers are digital - which is to say, they don't do analog; processors understand ON and OFF, they do not understand 38.689138% OFF and 78.21156% ON. When converting an analog signal (like sound) to a digital one, we make use of a format called PCM. For PCM to be turned into an analog signal, you need a DAC - or as you probably know it: a sound card. DAC stands for 'Digital to Analog Converter', or some people mistakenly call it "Digital Audio ConverteChip"
PCM stands for Pulse-code Modulation, which is a way to represent sampled analog signals in a digital format. We're not going to get into it too much here, but imagine taking a sample of a waveform at regular intervals and storing the value, and then rounding that value to a nearest 'step' (remember this). That's PCM.
The fidelity of PCM comes from two elements, which we are going to discuss next: sampling rate and bit depth.

What is sampling rate? Or: HOW SOUND GOOD?

Sampling rate is the most important part of making PCM sound good. Remember how humans hear in a range of 20Hz to 20kHz? The sample rate of audio has a lot to do with this. You cannot capture high frequencies if you do not capture samples often enough. Since our ears can hear up to 20 kHz, you would imagine that 20kHz would be ideal for capturing audio; however, a result of sampling is that you actually need twice the sample rate, this is called the Nyquist-Sannon sampling theorem, which is a complicated thing. Just understand that to reproduce a 20kHz frequency, you need a sample rate of 40kHz.
To have a little bit of room and leeway, we settled on a sample rate of 48kHz (a multiple of 8) for playback, and 96kHz for recording. We record at this frequency only to make sure absolutely no data is lost. You might be more familiar with 44.1kHz for audio, which is a standard we settled on for CD playback and NTSC. A lot of scientific research has been done on sound quality, and there is no evidence to suggest people can tell the difference between 48kHz or anything higher.
MYTH BUST: Humans cannot hear beyond 20 kHz, period. Anyone who claims to be able to is either supernatural or lying to you - I'll let you choose which.

What is bit-depth? Or: HOW IT MAKE SOUND REALLY NICE?

Remember how I told you to remember that PCM rounds values to the nearest step? This has to do with how binary works. The more bits, the bigger the number you can store. In PCM, the bit-depth decides the number of bits of information in each sample. With 16-bit, the range of values that can be stored is 0 to 65535. Going beyond this is pointless for humans, with no scientific research showing any proven benefit, though marketeers would like you to believe there's benefits.
MYTH BUST: 24-bit depth is often touted as 'high-resolution audio', claiming benefits of a better sonic experience. Such is nothing more than marketing speech, there is no meaningful data 24-bit can capture that 16-bit cannot.

Channels? Or: HOW IT CAN MAKE SOUND IN LEFT BUT NOT RIGHT?

We'll briefly touch on the last part of PCM audio, channels. This is very self explanatory, humans have two ears and can hear separate sounds on both of them, which means we have stereo hearing. As a result, most music is recorded with 2 channels. For some surround settings, you need more channels, this is why you may have heard of 5.1 or 7.1; the first digit is the amount of channels the PCM carries.
For most desktop usage, the only sound we care about is 2-channel PCM.

Recap

So, we've covered all the elements of PCM sound. Let's go over it quickly: sample rate is expressed in Hz and is how often a sample of a waveform is captured, representing the x-axis of a waveform. Bit-depth is the bits of information stored in each sample, and represents the y-axis of the waveform. Channels decide how many simultaneous outputs the PCM can drive separately, since we have 2 ears, you need at least two channels.
As a result, the standard audio playback for both consumers and professionals is 48kHz, 16-bit, 2 channel PCM. This is more than enough to fully represent the full range of human hearing.

How it works in Linux

So, now that we know how PCM works, how does Linux make sound? How can you make Linux sound great? A few important components come into play here, and we'll need to discuss each of them in some detail.

ALSA

ALSA is the interface to the kernel's sound driver. ALSA can take a PCM signal and send it to your hardware by talking to the driver. Something important to know about most DACs is that they can only take one signal at a time, actually. That means that only a single application can send sound to ALSA at once. Long ago, in a darker time, you couldn't watch a movie while listening to music!
This problem was solved a long time ago with the use of alsalib, but doing mixing at a library level isn't a very good solution to the problem. This gave rise to sound servers, of which many have existed. Before PulseAudio, esound was a very popular one but had many problems, eventually it was succeeded by PulseAudio.

PulseAudio

When you think audio on Linux, PulseAudio is probably among the first things you think of. PulseAudio is NOT a driver, nor does it talk to your drivers. Actually, PulseAudio only does two things that we'll discuss in detail later. PulseAudio talks to ALSA, taking control of its single audio stream, and allows other applications to talk to PulseAudio instead. Pulse is an 'audio multiplexer', turning multiple signals into one through a process that is called mixing. Mixing is an incredibly complicated subject that we won't talk about here.
To be able to mix sounds, one must make sure that all the PCM sources are in the same format (the one that's being sent to ALSA); if the PCM format being sent to Pulse does not match the PCM format being sent to ALSA, pulse does a step before mixing it called resampling. Resampling is another very complicated subject that can turn a 8kHz, 4-bit, 1-channel PCM stream into a 24kHz, 24-bit, 2-channel PCM stream.
These two things allow you to play a game, listen to music and watch YouTube, and notifications to produce a sound all at the same time. PulseAudio is the most critical element of the Linux sound stack.
FACT: PulseAudio is a contentious subject, many people have a dislike for this particular bit of software. In all honesty, PulseAudio was brought to the general public in a bit of a premature state, breaking audio for many people. PulseAudio these days is a very stable, solid piece of software. If you have audio issues these days, it's usually a problem in ALSA or your driver.

What about JACK and PipeWire?

PulseAudio isn't the only sound servedaemon available for Linux, though it is certainly the most popular and most likely the default of whatever distribution you are using. PulseAudio has become a bit of a standard for Linux sound and has by far the best compatibility with most applications, but that doesn't mean there aren't alternatives.
JACK (JACK Audio Connection Kit, a recursive acronym like GNU) is a sound server focused primarily on low latency. If you are doing professional audio work on Linux, you will already be very familiar with JACK. JACK's development is very focused on low latency, real-time audio and is critical for such people. JACK is available on most distros as an alternative, and you can try it for yourself if you so want; but you might find some applications do not work nicely with JACK.
PipeWire is a project that is currently in development, looking to solve key problems that exist in current sound servers. PipeWire isn't just a sound server but also handles the multiplexing of video sources (like a camera). Special attention has been put into working with sandboxed applications (like Flatpaks), which is an area where PulseAudio is lacking. PipeWire is a very promising project that might very well succeed PulseAudio in the future and you should expect to see appearing in distribution repositories very soon. You can try it yourself right now, though it isn't quite as easy to get started with as JACK is.
More audio servers exist, but are beyond the scope of this post.

What is resampling?

Resampling is the process of turning a PCM stream into another PCM stream of a different resolution. Your DAC only accepts a limited range of PCM signals, and it is up to the software to make sure the PCM stream is compatible. There is almost no DAC out there that doesn't support 44.1kHz, 16-bit, 2-channel PCM, so this tends to be the default. When you play an audio source (like an OggVorbis file), the PCM stream might be 96kHz, 24-bit, 2-channel PCM.
To fix that, PulseAudio will use a resampling algorithm. There are two kinds of resampling methods: upsampling and downsampling. Upsamling is lossless, since you can always represent less data with more data. Downsampling is lossy by definition, you cannot represent 24-bit PCM with 16-bit PCM.
MYTH: Downsampling is a loss in quality! This is only true in a technical sense, or if you are downsampling to less than 48kHz, 16-bit PCM. When you downsample a 96kHz, 24-bit PCM stream to a 48kHz, 16-bit stream, no meaningful data is lost in the process; because the discarded data lies outside of the human ear's hearing range.
FACT: Resampling is expensive. Good quality resampling algorithms actually take a non-trivial amount of processing power. PulseAudio defaults to a resampling method with a good balance between CPU time used and quality.

What is mixing?

Mixing is the process of taking two PCM streams and combining them into one. This is extremely complicated and not something we're going to discuss at length. It is not important to understand how this works, only to understand that it exists. Without mixing, you wouldn't be able to hear sounds from multiple sources. This is true not just for PulseAudio and computer sound, this is true for anything. In real life, you might use an A/V receiver to accept sound from your TV and music player at once, the receiver then mixes the signals and plays it through your speakers.

What is encoding?

Finally we can talk a little about encoding. Encoding is the process of taking a PCM stream and writing it to a permanent format, two types exist. You have lossy encoding and lossless encoding. Lossy encoding removes data from the PCM stream to safe space. Usually the discarded data is useless to you, and will not make a difference in sound quality; examples of lossy encoding are MP3, AAC and Ogg Vorbis. Lossless encoding takes a PCM stream and encodes it in such a way that no data is lost, examples of lossless encodings are FLAC, ALAC and WAV.
Note that lossy and lossless do not mean compressed and uncompressed. A lossless format can be compressed and usually is, as uncompressed lossless encoding would be very large; it would just be the raw PCM stream. An example of lossless uncompressed audio is WAV.
A new element encodings bring is their bit rate, not to be confused with samplerate and bit depth. Bit rate has to do with how much data is stored in every second of audio. For a lossless, uncompressed PCM stream this is easy to calculate with the formula bit rate = sample rate * bit depth * channels, for 16-bit, 48kHz, 2 channel PCM this is 1,5 Mbit. To get the value in bytes, divide by 8, thus 192kB per second.
The bit rate of an encoder means how much the audio will be compressed. PCM compression is super complicated, but it generally involves discarding silence, cutting off frequencies you cannot hear, and so forth. Radio encoding has a bit rate of roughly 128 Kbps, while most CDs have a bit rate of 1360kbps.
Lastly, there is the concept of VBR and CBR. VBR stands for Variable Bit Rate, which CBR stands for Constant Bit Rate. In a VBR encoding, the encoder aim for a target bit rate that you set, but it can deviate if it thinks it needs more or less. CBR will encode a constant bit rate, and will never deviate.
MYTH: Lossless sounds better than lossy. This is blatantly untrue, lossless audio formats were created for perservation and archival reasons. When you encode a lossy file from a lossless source, and you make sure that it's a 48kHz, 16-bit PCM encoding, you will not lose any important information. What is enough depends on the quality of the encoder. For OggVorbis, 192kbps is sufficient, for MP3, 256kbps should be preferred. 320kbps is excessive and the highest quality supported by MP3. In general, 256kbps does the trick, but with storage being abundant these days, you can play it safe and use 320kbps if it makes you feel better.
MYTH: CBR is better than VBR. There is no reason not to use VBR at all, there is no point in writing 256Kbps of data if there is only silence or a constant tone. Let your encoder do what it does best!
FACT: Encoding a lossy format to another lossy format will result in a loss of data! You will compress data that is already compressed, which is really bad. When encoding to a lossy format, always use a high quality recording in a lossless format as the source!
I DON'T BELIEVE YOU: This article from the guys Xiph (the people who brought you FLAC and Ogg Vorbis) explain it better than I can: https://people.xiph.org/%7Exiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

TL;DR, I JUST WANT THE BEST SOUND QUALITY

Here is a quick guide to achieving great sound quality on Linux with the above in mind.
As you can see, there's little you can do in Linux in the first place, so what can you do if you want better sound?
MYTH: Linux sound quality is worse than Windows. They are exactly the same, Pulse doesn't work that different from how Windows does mixing and resampling.
MYTH: Linux sound quality can be better than Windows. They are exactly the same. All improvements in quality come from the driver and your DAC, not the sound server. Pulse and ALSA do not touch the PCM beyond moving it around and resampling it.
I hope this (long) guide was of help to you, and helped to dispell some myths. Did I miss anything? Ask or let me know, and I'll answer the best I can. Did I make any factual errors? Please correct me with a source and I'll amend the post immediately.
submitted by _Spell_ to linux [link] [comments]

Relic ideas, free to use, updated

Absent-Minded Zonk (boss) 🤓 +1 energy, starting a combat vs two opponents, enemies gain the +50% damage Surrounded buff
Adrenaline Junkie (boss) 🪂 Add 10 Adrenaline cards to your deck; make one innate; take 9 damage if you play 3 in a turn
Adventurer's Map (boss) 🗺️ +1 energy, when starting each new act, you must select your full path to the boss in advance
Angel Wings (boss) 👼 Add an upgraded Apotheosis card to your deck; make it innate
Ascender's Madness (boss) 🥴 Offer unlimited choice of four upgraded cards to add to your deck til you click skip to stop;
-^------------^--------^------ For every fifth card added to your deck, also add an Ascender's Bane curse to your deck
Bankster's Greed (boss) 🏦 Upon pickup, permanently add an upgraded Hand of Greed card into your deck; make it innate;
-^------------^--------^------ At the start of each turn, shuffle an upgraded Hand of Greed card into your draw pile;
-^------------^--------^------ Up to once per turn when you play a Hand of Greed card, gain 1 energy and draw 1 card
-^------------^--------^------ Once per battle, if Hand of Greed deals 0 damage blocked, take 5 damage and replay the card
Become Like Water (boss) 🌊 [2.0 Required] Start with a Miracle in your hand; Watcher cards & relics unlocked as rewards
-^------------^--------^------ Every 2nd turn, shuffle a Miracle into your draw pile; play two Miracles in a turn, take 5 HP
Bell's Surprise (boss) 🎊 [2.0 Required] Choose a number between 3 to 12: gain both that many random relics and curses;
-^------------^--------^------ The first curse you receive will always be Curse of the Bell (which cannot be removed)
Berserker's Rage (boss) 🐻 Gain 1 Strength and heal 1 HP every time you take damage, Strength lasts until end of combat
-^------------^--------^------ Permanently add a Pain curse card to your deck; when you draw Pain, draw 2 additional cards
Binary Stars (boss) ♊ Upon pickup, duplicate all non-curse cards in your deck (maximum four copies of each card)
-^------------^--------^------ Once per turn, when you play two copies of the same card, gain 1 energy and draw 1 card
Bleeding Deck (boss) 🎴 (Right-click) to draw one card by sacrificing 1 HP; may not be used when at less than 10 HP
Blood Mage (boss) 🔴 [Requires Necromancer] When you kill an enemy, heal 2 HP and gain 2 temporary HP
-^------------^--------^------ When you play a card that exceeds your energy, instead use HP = energy cost; X cards cost 3;
-^------------^--------^------ Unlock Necromancer cards and relics in future rewards and shops
Blue Blood (boss) 💧 +1 energy, heal 3 HP per floor, lose 1 HP every time you end your turn
Blue Heart (boss) 💙 +1 energy, start combat with 3 temporary HP, lose 1 HP every time you end your turn
Booster Pack (boss) 🃴 Choose 10 upgraded cards from a stack of 30 of to permanently add to your deck
Boss Bowtie (boss) ⋈ Upon pickup, acquire two random non-boss class-specific relics from another chosen character;
-^------------^--------^------ Unlocks all cards and relics in future combat rewards and shops from that chosen character
Boss Hunter (boss) 🕴️ +1 energy, fight an extra random boss from a lower floor at the end of each Act
Bottled Galaxy (boss) 🌌 Choose a card; that card is upgraded, becomes Innate and costs 1 less energy to play
-^------------^--------^------ When you play any copies of that card, shuffle a copy of that card into your draw pile
Bricks for the Wall (boss) 🧱 Gain +1 orb slot and +1 Focus; upon pickup, add an upgraded Buffer card to your deck;
-^------------^--------^------ If you start your turn with no Buffers, gain 1 Buffer; unlock Defect cards and relics;
Broken Shuffler (boss) 🗃️ +1 energy, permanently add a curse to your deck each time you shuffle your deck
Buddha's Patience (boss) 🧘 At the start of your turn, gain energy equal to half the turn count, round down
Burnout Fist (boss) 👊 Start combat with +5 Strength, +5 Dexterity and +5 Focus in the first round of combat
-^------------^--------^------ Reduce benefits to +3 in the second round; to +1 benefits in the third round; -1 afterwards
Card Magnet (boss) 🧲 +1 energy, any non-status cards gained during combats are added to your deck permanently
-^------------^--------^------ (1/battle, right-click) Permanently remove all cards in hand, lose 1 HP per card removed
Casting Couch (boss) 🛋️ +1 energy, add three copies of the Sloth curse to your deck
Chaos Beast Statue (boss) 🦏 +1 potion slot; Gain an Entropic Brew at the end of combat; heal 1 HP when using a potion
Chaos Hexagon (boss) ⬡ +1 energy, exhaust cards you play or discard; end turn add 6 random cards to the discard pile
Clashed Swords (boss) ⚔️ Attack cards that cost 2+ cost 1 less, take 1 damage if you end turn not playing an attack
Clockwork Engine (boss) ⚙️ Start each combat with one artifact; at the end of each turn, gain one artifact
Clockwork Maid (boss) 💁 Entering a rest site: heal as if rested, upgrade a card, transform a card and gain a relic
Covalent Hexagon (boss) ⌬ +1 energy when starting your turn at full health; start combat with regeneration 6
Crippling Carousel (boss) 🎠 At the start of combat, all enemies lose 1 Strength; (this doesn't trigger the next effect)
-^------------^--------^------ Each time an enemy gains another buff or debuff other than Strength, they lose 1 Strength
-^------------^--------^------ [Turns of a buff/debuff don't count, only individual buffs/debuffs trigger Strength loss]
-^------------^--------^------ [A buff/debuff whose turns expire and is then reapplied again triggers the Strength loss]
Crushed Heart (boss) 💔 +1 energy, +1 card draw, a random enemy gains 1 Beat of Death at the start of combat
-^------------^--------^------ (Beat of Death = you take 1 damage after each card played, you can block this damage)
Cthulhu's Tentacle (boss) 🦑 The first Skill or Power played each turn that costs 2 or more energy is played twice;
-^------------^--------^------ Add a copy of the Necronomicurse to your deck (the curse can't be removed)
Cursed Bell (boss) 🛎 +1 energy, permanently add the Curse of the Bell card to your deck
Cursed Heart (boss) 💜 +2 energy, if you end your turn with 0 energy, permanently add a random curse to your deck
Cursed Nails (boss) 💅 +1 energy, every 5 battles, bonus card reward as unskippable choice of three Curses
Dark Side of the Moon (boss) 🌑 +1 energy, +1 draw; select any five of these ten curses to add to your deck:
-^------------^--------^------ [Clumsy, Decay, Doubt, Injury, Normality, Pain, Parasite, Regret, Shame, Writhe]
Daydream Deck (boss) ⛅ Upon pickup, unlock all Defect cards and relics in shops and combat rewards
-^------------^--------^------ At the start of combat, gain +1 Focus, +1 Orb Slot & +1 random channeled orb per ...
-^------------^--------^------ ... 20 cards in your deck, round up; future card rewards will contain an extra Defect card
Debtor's Note (boss) 📕 [Requires Replay the Spire] +1 energy; upon pickup, add 5 I.O.U. curse cards to your deck
-^------------^--------^------ When you spend 100 gold to purge an I.O.U. curse, gain 1 energy and draw 3 cards
Demilich Skull (boss) 💀 Gain 1 MaxHP whenever you heal HP (excluding regeneration) or kill a non-minion enemy
Devil's Hourglass (boss) ⏳ +1 energy, if a battle goes to turn 13, you take 999 damage at the end of the 13th turn
Disgusting Skill (boss) ☣️ Skill cards that cost 2+ cost 1 less, take 1 damage if you end turn not playing a skill
Displacer Cloak (boss) 🧥 Gain 1 block whenever you draw a card, start combat with Barricade
Diversity Inclusion (boss) 👩🏻‍🤝‍👨🏿 +1 energy; gain two unskippable card choices from each character plus five colorless
-^------------^--------^------ If you remove any card from a character other than yours, transform the card instead
Divine Halo (boss) 😇 Whenever you draw a curse card, permanently remove the curse card from your deck, then
-^------------^--------^------ gain 1 energy, draw 2 cards, gain +3 MaxHP and gain +10 gold
Doomed Dice (boss) 🎲 +1 energy, 1 in 6 chance to give you one of three choice curses each time you climb a floor
Double Decker (boss) 🚌 Double your maximum hand limit; draw an extra card when a card does a card draw
Double Edge Sword (boss) 🗡️ +1 energy at the start of each turn while there are two or more enemies on the field;
-^------------^--------^------ When you kill an enemy, transfer both its nonunique buffs and debuffs to a random enemy
Dragon Egg (boss) 🥚 Upgrade all cards adding to your deck; whenever you enter a rest site, upgrade a random card
Dwarf Cleric Ally (boss) 🧔 Start combat with regeneration 6; apply 2 vulnerability to the first enemy that damages you
Dyson Swarm (boss) ❂ +1 energy, Elites drop an extra relic when defeated; lose -1 MaxHP when picking up any relic
Electrocutioner Core (boss) 🔵 [Defect, replaces Cracked Core] start with 3 Lightning Orbs; +1 orb slot; orbs hits all foes
Electronic Blaster (boss) 📻 +1 energy, if you end your turn with energy remaining, add 3 Dazed to your discard pile
Elf Druid Ally (boss) 🧝 Start combat with regeneration 6; the first time you're damaged, apply 2 weak to all enemies
Embrace Eternity (boss) 🧞‍♀️ +1 energy, at the start of combat, shuffle 5 Void cards into your discard pile
Endless Pride (boss) 🏆 +1 energy, if you end combat without a Pride curse in your deck, add a Pride to your deck
Every Mask (boss) 👺 +1 MaxHP per floor, +50 gold per event, start battles with 1 weak, empty next treasure chest
Exclam Doubler (boss) ‼️ The first card you play each turn is played twice; add a Void to your draw pile on end turn
Fate's Flower (boss) 🌺 [Requires Infinite Spire] Start of each turn, add a random upgraded Black Card to your hand
Fear of the Unknown (boss) 😱 +1 energy, +1 draw, at each turn start, permanently transform a random card in your hand;
-^------------^--------^------ Upgrade the first transformed card; otherwise cards which are upgraded retain their upgrade
Feathered Wings (boss) 🕊️ Gives you permanent Flight (to hop paths on the map)
Feel the Pain (boss) 😳 Up to once per turn, when you take damage, gain +1 MaxHP; add a Pain curse to your deck
-^------------^--------^------ If any Pain curse is removed from your deck, add another Pain curse to your deck
Field Medic (boss) 👨‍⚕️ Add five upgraded Bandage Up cards to your deck; reduce any taken numeric debuffs by one
Final Countdown (boss) ⏲️ Start combat with upgraded The Bomb (at the end of 3 turns, deal 50 damage to all enemies)
Flaming Ultima (boss) 🔥 +1 energy, add a Burn to both your draw and discard piles at the end of each turn
Forbidden Library (boss) 📚 Gain the Enchiridion, Necronomicon and Nilry's Codex relics; disable the Cursed Tome event
Fried Egg (boss) 🍳 +1 energy, all new card selections are upgraded; lose 3 MaxHP if you ever skip taking a card
Fried Shrimp (boss) 🍤 +1 energy, at the start of each turn, shuffle a random status card into your hand
Friendship Toast (boss) 🍻 [2.0 Required] Whenever you use a card, potion or relic that gives you a choice of card:
-^------------^--------^------ upgrade the received chosen card and shuffle a random upgraded card into your hand
-^------------^--------^------ Otherwise, whenever you use a potion, shuffle a random upgraded card into your hand
-^------------^--------^------ Upon pickup, gain +2 potion slots, and one each attack, colorless, power & skill potions;
-^------------^--------^------ Elites and bosses always drop an extra bonus attack, colorless, power or skill potion
Full Power (boss) 🔌 When you channel any orb, channel a Lightning Orb; gain +1 orb slot when you Evoke Lightning
-^------------^--------^------ Add upgraded to deck: Ball Lightning, Electrodynamics, Storm, Tempest, Thunder Strike, Zap
Gain Now, Pay Later (boss) 🏦 (1/turn, right-click) Gain 1 energy, shuffle a random curse into your draw pile, draw 2 cards
-^------------^--------^------ After right-clicking, if you win combat before you draw a curse, lose 3 HP and lose 10 gold
Gargle Blaster (boss) 🍹 +1 energy, at start of combat, shuffle 3 slimed into your discard pile;
-^------------^--------^------ If you discard or play a curse or status card, lose 1 energy
Ghost Slimer (boss) 👻 +1 energy, add a Slimed to both your draw and discard piles at the end of each turn
Glowing Gold Star (boss) 🌟 +1 energy, Elites drop an extra common relic, 50% chance a normal battle becomes an Elite
Gold Credit Card (boss) 💳 +1 energy, +10% chance for merchant ? events, must buy 3 things at merchant or lose 10 HP
Grab Bag (boss) 🛍️ Upon pickup, select one option: gain two random boss relics plus two random rare relics,
-^------------^--------^------ two random boss relics plus three random common relics or three random boss relics
-^------------^--------^------ If you ever lose a relic or skip taking a relic from combat rewards, take 10 damage
Greasy Burger (boss) 🍔 +1 energy, if you end your turn with energy remaining, add 3 Slimed to your discard pile
Greedy Gold Nugget (boss) 💰 +1 energy, add three copies of the Greed curse to your deck
Hard Mode (boss) 💢 +1 energy, all enemies start combat with +25% MaxHP
Hawk of War (boss) 🦅 (1/battle, right-click) Stuns all enemies for 1 turn; gain +1 energy now and next turn
Healing Tent (boss) 🎪 When resting, gain 1 MaxHP, heal to full, gain an energy potion and upgrade a random card
Heart Burner (boss) 💓 +1 energy, if you end your turn with energy remaining, add 3 Burns to your discard pile
Heart String (boss) ❦ +1 energy, for each 6 cards played in a turn, apply 1 vulnerability and 1 weak to yourself
Heartseeking Stake (boss) 💘 +1 energy, 50% normal monsters become Elites, 10% chance Elites become Super-Elites
Hero's Regret (boss) 🐱‍🏍 +1 energy, each time a card in your deck is upgraded, lose 2 HP (this bypasses block)
-^------------^--------^------ At the start of combat, shuffle a temporary Regret curse into your discard pile
Highlander Quickening (boss) ⛰️ Transform and upgrade all duplicate cards in your deck; (condition below applies once)
-^------------^--------^------ If you ever add a duplicate card into your deck, transform and upgrade it once
Hokage's Pride (boss) 🐱‍👤 Upon pickup, gain Kunai, Shuriken and Ninja Scroll relics; add a Pride curse to your deck
-^------------^--------^------ If your deck ever has zero Pride curses in it, add a Pride curse to your deck
-^------------^--------^------ Note: if you already have any of these relics, obtain a random relic instead
Honey Pot (boss) 🍯 +1 energy, you cannot skip rewards (cards, potions, relics)
Hydrophobia (boss) 🍷‍ +1 energy, take 2 damage whenever you use or discard a potion
Incinerator (boss) ♻ +1 energy, at each turn start, shuffle a random card into your hand, then exhaust 3 cards
-^------------^--------^------ If your draw pile contains less than 5 cards, shuffle three random cards instead of one
Infamy's Price (boss) 👿 +1 energy, entering a shop costs 100 gold, take 10 damage if you skip and don't pay
Interrobang (boss) ‽ +1 energy, card rewards offer 1 extra choice, battles give +2 cards, can't skip rewards
Joker Card (boss) 🃏 Triplicate your deck's X cost cards; gain 1 energy & draw 1 after playing an X cost card
Keep what you Kill (boss) 👨‍🍳 Gain +1 charge per kill, max 99; (right-click spends 1 charge) gain +1 MaxHP and heal 2 HP
Knowledge and Wisdom (boss) 🧠 At the start of each turn, gain Scry 10
Kite Randomizer (boss) 🪁 +1 energy, discard one random card at the start of your turns
Lame Duck (boss) 🦆 Upon pickup, add an Injury curse card to your deck; Injuries start in your discard pile;
-^------------^--------^------ The first time per turn when you reach 0 energy, gain 1 energy and draw 1 card;
-^------------^--------^------ If you end your turn with more than 1 energy, shuffle a Void card into your draw pile
Lasting Armaments (boss) 🛠️ Permanently add ten upgraded Armaments cards to your deck; make one of them innate;
-^------------^--------^------ Whenever you play an Armaments card, permanently upgrade a random card in your deck
Liberty Bell (boss) 🔔 +1 energy, gain one random curse, curses can no longer be removed from your deck
Lightning Intellect (boss) ⛈️ Gain +3 orb slots; start combat with both Creative AI and Storm active; upon pickup,
-^------------^--------^------ add to deck upgraded Capacitor, Defragment, Electrodynamics, Seek & Thunder Strike
-^------------^--------^------ (at each turn start, add a random power to your hand; power cards channel a lightning orb)
Live Long and Prosper (boss) 🖖 Upon pickup, gain +10 MaxHP and gain 100 gold; heal 1 HP whenever you end your turn;
-^------------^--------^------ Every time you climb a floor, gain +1 MaxHP, heal 1 HP and gain 10 gold
Lock and Key (boss) 🔐 Remove up to five cards from your deck, lose all your current gold
Lost Leg (boss) 🦿 +1 energy, 5% chance to lose 5 HP at the end of your turn
Lost Luggage (boss) 🧳 Transform as many cards as you want from your deck, lose all your current gold
Lunar Core (boss) 🌕 [Defect, replaces Cracked Core] +1 orb slot; Channel one Moon Orb at the end of your turn
-^------------^--------^------ Channel Moon Orb: randomly gain either +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity, +1 Focus or Heal 1 HP
-^------------^--------^------ Evoke Moon Orb: gain +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity, +1 Focus, +1 orb slot and Heal 1 HP
Magnificent Mansion (boss) 🏠 Upon pickup, gain: +1 potion slot, +10 MaxHP, 100 gold, three random card upgrades,
-^------------^--------^------ Also pickup gain: two random potions, a choice of upgraded card, a choice of rare card
-^------------^--------^------ At the start of combat, shuffle a random temporary curse into your discard pile
Marisa's Mushroom (boss) 🍄 When you spend your charge-up, gain 1 energy & deal charge-up damage to all enemies
Mark of Embarrassment 🩲 +1 energy, start combat with two random status cards into both your draw and discard piles
-^------------^--------^------ If your deck has more than 35 cards, shuffle one more status card into both instead of two
Master of Secrets (boss) 🤐 Add 5 Secret Technique and 5 Secret Weapon cards to your deck; make 1 of each innate
-^------------^--------^------ When you play a Secret Technique or Secret Weapon card, draw +1 card and heal 1 HP
Medical Kit (boss) 👜 Heal 1 HP whenever you take damage; whenever you heal HP, gain double the amount
Meteor Barrage (boss) ☄️ +1 orb slot; add five upgraded Meteor Strike cards to your deck; make one innate;
-^------------^--------^------ Randomize their cost (1-5); Defect cards and relics are unlocked in rewards and shops
Method Actor Mask (boss) 🎭 Retain the card with the highest energy cost in your hand; (on a tie, retain a random card)
-^------------^--------^------ The card retained costs 0 energy next turn and exhausts if played
Midas Touch (boss) 👉 Gain 999 gold; whenever you would spend gold, keep your gold, but lose 1 HP instead
Miniature Printer (boss) 📠 Gain a choice of one of three cards each turn to your hand, permanently add it to your deck
Miniature Train (boss) 🚂 Every time you play 5 cards in one turn, gain 1 energy and draw 1 card
Mirror Mist (boss) 🤳 [Requires Replay the Spire] Gain the Mirror Mist class benefit, keep your starting relic
-^------------^--------^------ Details: https://github.com/The-Evil-Pickle/Replay-the-Spire/blob/masteREADME.md
Miser's Misery (boss) 💸 +1 energy, merchant restocks, lose 1 MaxHP each time you lose or spend gold
Misery Maximum (boss) 😖 +1 energy; whenever you gain a curse, add another random curse to your deck
Money Money (boss) 🤑 Gain 999 gold; add a Hand of Greed to your deck; whenever you gain or lose gold, heal 1 HP
Monstrous Mind (boss) 👾 Start combat with +1 Focus and +1 orb slot; channel a random orb at the end of every turn
Mortgaged Mansion (boss) 🏛️ [Requires Replay the Spire] +1 energy; upon pickup, add 5 I.O.U. curse cards to your deck
-^------------^--------^------ When you spend 100 gold to purge an I.O.U. curse, draw a card, gain +2 MaxHP and heal 3 HP
Multiplier (boss) ✳️ Choose: duplicate 10 choice cards in your deck or double your entire deck
My Favorite (boss) ⭐ Choose a card in your deck: that card costs 1 less energy, becomes innate and retains;
-^------------^--------^------ When the selected card is played, shuffle it and the next card you play into your draw pile
Nanosecond Core (boss) 🌐 [Defect, replaces Cracked Core] always channel a Lightning Orb when starting your turn
-^------------^--------^------ gain +1 orb slot; when you evoke a Lightning Orb, gain +1 Focus
Nemesis Field (boss) 🌫️ +1 energy, +1 focus, gain intangible & entangled every 2 turns (can't attack if intangible)
Nine Lives (boss) 🐈 Starts with 9 charges; when you die, spends a charge return to 1 HP and gain Regeneration 9
No Bell (boss) 🔕 +1 energy, randomly transform up to three curses in your deck, gain two random curses
Nuclear Core (boss) ☢️ [Defect, replaces Cracked Core] Start with a Plasma orb; evoking any orb gains +1 Focus
Ogre Misery Mask (boss) 👹 +1 energy, opening a treasure chest deals 5 damage, your next treasure chest will be empty
Okay Cube (boss) 🆗 Whenever your block is reduced to any number above zero, draw 1 card
Orb of Power (boss) 🔮 Start combat with +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity, +1 Focus, +1 orb slot and channel 1 random orb
Overcharged Core (boss) ⭕ At the start of combat, gain three orb slots, then gain three random orbs
Pack of Cigarettes (boss) 🚬 +1 energy, lose 1 HP per floor climbed (HP loss comes at the end of a battle)
Parasyte Maxim (boss) 🍥 Upon pickup, add five Parasite curse cards to your deck; Parasite cards become playable:
-^------------^--------^------ Playing Parasite gains 1 Strength, 1 Dexterity, 1 energy, draw 2 cards, heal 3 HP, exhaust
-^------------^--------^------ If you play more than five Parasite cards in a combat, reset Strength and Dexterity to 1
-^------------^--------^------ Enemies gain stun immunity and the Writhing Mass' reactive buff and Parasite debuff intent
Pastry Chef (boss) 👩‍🍳 Whenever you play card costing 2 or more energy, make a random card in your hand 0-energy
-^------------^--------^------ Exhaust any 0-energy cards you play; for every 10 cards you exhaust, gain +1 MaxHP
Popcorn Perfection (boss) 🍿 +1 energy, entering an event room gains +2 MaxHP but has +20% chance for Elite battle
Poppy-Seed Lox Bagel (boss) 🥯 If you start your turn at full health, gain +1 energy and draw one extra card;
-^------------^--------^------ Start combat with Barricade; whenever you start your turn with block, lose that block,
-^------------^--------^------ then heal HP and gain temporary HP equal to 10% of the lost block value, round down;
-^------------^--------^------ If your lost block value was 50 or over, gain +1 MaxHP instead
Portable Portal (boss) ⛤ +1 energy, 5% chance every turn to add a random enemy to your battle
Potted Plants (boss) 🌱 [Requires Strawberry Spire] Gain a random Blandfruit; gain Blandfruit entering rest sites
-^------------^--------^------ Blandfruit details can be found: https://github.com/BDWSSBB/StS-Strawberry-Spire/issues/6
Power Cape (boss) 🦸 At each turn start, shuffle a random power card into your hand, draw pile and discard pile;
-^------------^--------^------ Gain 1 energy when you play a power card, then shuffle a random power card into your hand;
-^------------^--------^------ If you play more than 3 powers in a turn, take damage equal to the number of powers played
Power Creep Chart (boss) 📈 At the start of each turn, gain one Strength, one Dexterity and one Focus
Pristine Fountain (boss) ⛲ Remove all curses from your deck; for each curse, gain +1 MaxHP & 1 random upgraded card
Procrastinator (boss) 📺 +1 energy, 10% chance to be unable to do anything at all at a rest site
Put Me In, Coach (boss) 🏈 +1 energy, at combat start, shuffle an Injury curse and nine Dazed into your discard pile
Questionable Choices (boss) ❓ +1 energy, +1 choice for battle card rewards; if you skip a card reward, take 5 damage
Quicksilver Vial (boss) 🧪 +1 energy, all enemies start with 2 Dexterity, 5 Metallicize and Barricade
Rainbow Core (boss) 🌈 [Defect, replaces Cracked Core] Gain a random Orb at the end of your turn until slots full
Rainbow Printer (boss) 🖨️ Add a random Diverse card to hand at each turn start; add to deck permanently if played
Reaper of Souls (boss) ☭ Upon pickup, permanently add ten upgraded Reaper cards to your deck; make one innate;
-^------------^--------^------ Reaper played at full HP gains: block equal to unblocked damage, +1 energy, draw 1 card;
-^------------^--------^------ Each time you kill a non-minion enemy with Reaper, gain +1 MaxHP and upgrade a random card
Relic Portrait (boss) 🖼️ Choose two common/uncommon/rare relics you possess and double/duplicate their effects;
-^------------^--------^------ Each time you defeat a boss, choose another common/uncommon/rare relic to double/duplicate
Red Lantern (boss) 🏮 On the first three turns of combat, gain 1 energy and draw 1 card
Repeat Delivery (boss) 📩 Choose a card from your deck; at start of each turn, add a copy of that card to your hand
Rock Star (boss) 👨‍🎤 +1 energy, +2 card draw, lose 1 HP per 3 cards in your hand at the end of your turn
Royal Armory (boss) 👑 Upgrade your entire deck; whenever you enter a rest site, upgrade a random card
Safety Goggles (boss) 🥽 Start combat with 2 Artifact, 2 Metallicize, 2 Plated Armor, 2 Protection & 2 Temporary HP
Science Awry (boss) 🧫 +1 energy, you heal 1 HP at the end of your turn, all enemies gain 10 regeneration
Scorpion King's Mark (boss) ♏ +1 energy, start combat with one Burn, Dazed, Slimed, Void and Wound in your discard pile
Seeker's Eye (boss) 👁️ Add five upgraded Seek cards to your deck; make one of them innate
Shark Scale Armor (boss) 🦈 Start combat with 5 Scales, +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity, +1 Focus and 5 temporary HP;
-^------------^--------^------ When you end turn, deal 5 + Strength + Dexterity + Focus damage to the lowest HP enemy;
-^------------^--------^------ If this damage kills a non-minion enemy, gain +2 MaxHP; kills a minion, gain +1 MaxHP
Shiv Bandolier (boss) 🎽 Start each turn with one Shiv card; (1/battle, right-click) Add six Shivs to your hand
Shopping Bags (boss) 🛍️ Upon pickup, gain 2 random Boss relics; Shop may buy your used relics for 1D100 gold each
Slot Machine (boss) 🎰 +1 energy, +10% gold, 5% chance of losing all your gold when picking up gold
Smiling Stone (boss) 🌚 +1 energy; on Elite/Boss kill, gain +1 relic, +1 rare card choice, +50% gold and +1 curse
Snecko Blood (boss) ⚕️ +1 energy, you start each combat Confused
Snecko Fangs (boss) 🐍 +1 energy, +2 card draw, you start combat Confused, lose 1 HP if you play a 0-cost card
Spicy Noodles (boss) 🍝 +1 energy, all enemies start combat with Malleable 3 and Reactive
-^------------^--------^------ [Malleable 3 and Reactive: gains 3 block and changes intent whenever damaged]
Spire Clinic (boss) 🏥 Heal 1 HP whenever you climb a floor; every 10th time you heal HP, heal 100 HP
Standby Ambulance (boss) 🚑 Event rooms gain +1 MaxHP, heal 10 HP and no longer contain normal enemies
Star Fragment (boss) ✵ Start with 12 orb slots; lose 1 Focus whenever you evoke an orb; unlock all Blue cards
-^------------^--------^------ If you end your turn with 10 or more empty orb slots, channel a random orb
Stars In Their Eyes (boss) 💫 Gain confusion for the first three rounds of combat; start every turn with +1 card draw;
-^------------^--------^------ future card rewards gain an extra choice which will always be a 2+ energy or X-cost card
Stop Sign (boss) 🛑 +1 energy, +1 card draw, lose HP equal to your current energy when you shuffle your deck
Succubus Doll (boss) 😈 +1 energy, add three copies of the Lust curse to your deck
Temple of Solitude (boss) 🛕 At combat start, apply upgraded Corpse Explosion to the enemy with the highest HP count
-^------------^--------^------ [Apply 9 Poison; when the enemy dies, deal damage equal to its MaxHP to all enemies]
Tesseract Powercube (boss) 🕋 Upon pickup, gain 4 upgraded colorless card choices permanently added to your deck
-^------------^--------^------ At each turn start, gain an option to shuffle 1 to 4 random colorless cards into your hand:
-^------------^--------^------ 1 card = no damage; 2 cards = 2 HP damage; 3 cards = 4 HP damage; 4 cards = 8 HP damage
Tomb Raider (boss) ⛼ No more regular enemy combats in ? rooms, gain 50 gold and +1 MaxHP before each ? event
Tower Master (boss) ™️ +1 energy, before fighting each Act Boss, fight act 4's Spire Shield and Spire Spear
-^------------^--------^------ When entering an elite combat, 10% chance to fight act 4's Spire Shield and Spire Spear
Towering Strength (boss) 🗼 Start combat with Demon Form: gain +2 Strength at the start of each turn
Tracking Token (boss) 🐾 +1 energy, 50% normal monsters become Elites, 10% chance for elites to have double HP
Transform Infinity (boss) 🎱 +1 energy, +1 card draw, at each turn start, transform/upgrade 3 random cards in your hand
-^------------^--------^------ Each time you climb a floor, permanently transform then upgrade a random card in your deck
Tree of Dates (boss) 🌴 +1 card draw; the first time per turn you play six cards in a turn, gain +1 MaxHP
Tree of Life (boss) 🌳 Both you and all enemies heal 5 HP at the start of your turn
Tree of Power (boss) 🎄 Upon pickup, gain +1 potion slot; when you use a potion, gain 1 energy and draw 1 card now;
-^------------^--------^------ also when you use a potion, its effect repeats at the start of your next turn
Tree of Thorns (boss) 🌲 Start combat with 5 Metallicize, 5 Plated Armor and 5 Thorns, as well as 10 Temporary HP
True Insanity (boss) 🤪 +1 energy, every time you gain rewards, permanently add a random upgraded card to your deck
Tulip Bankruptcy (boss) 🌷 At the start of each turn, a random card in your hand becomes 0-energy to play that turn;
-^------------^--------^------ Whenever you play a 0-cost card, gain 2 gold, gain 2 block and deal 2 damage to all enemies
-^------------^--------^------ Exhaust any 0-energy cards after they're played, including the random card made 0-cost
Twin Dolls (boss) 🎎 +25% chance ? event rooms are a treasure chest; all treasure chests have +1 random relic
-^------------^--------^------ If you take everything from a non-boss treasure chest, add a random curse card to your deck
Two Hearts (boss) 💕 (1/battle, right-click) Double all buffs, debuffs and block on both self and all enemies
Universe Sphere (boss) 🟣 [Requires Infinite Spire] Gain 1 void shard whenever you climb a floor
-^------------^--------^------ Gain 1 void shard for every normal enemy or every four minions you kill;
-^------------^--------^------ Gain 2 void shards for every elite you kill; gain 3 void shards for every boss you kill
-^------------^--------^------ On each floor map, transform one random normal battle into a void shard burning shop
Unlimited Power (boss) ⚛️ Power cards cost 1 less energy, min 0, take 1 damage if you end turn not playing a power
Unlucky Windchime (boss) 🎐 +1 energy, 5% chance to add a random curse to your deck each time you climb a floor
Upgrade Factory (boss) 🏭 Upon pickup, upgrade 10 chosen cards in your deck; (synergy with upgrades below)
-^------------^--------^------ When you upgrade a card, upgrade two additional random cards in your deck
Vanilla Cone (boss) 🍦 All basic starter cards cost one less energy, minimum 0 energy, and exhaust when played
Variable Cat (boss) 🙀 Gain +3 orb slots; increase by +2 X-cost card effects; add these upgraded cards to your deck:
-^------------^--------^------ Doppelganger, Malaise, Multicast, Reinforced Body, Skewer, Tempest, Transmutation, Whirlwind
-^------------^--------^------ Whenever you play an X-cost card, shuffle two random status cards into your discard pile
Vertigo Spin (boss) 😵 +1 energy, add a Dazed to both your draw and discard piles at the end of each turn
Void Square (boss) ⬛ +1 energy, add a Void to both your draw and discard piles at the end of each turn
Void Volt (boss) ⚡ +1 energy, if you end your turn with energy remaining, add 3 Voids to your discard pile
Volcano Diorama (boss) 🌋 The first time per turn you Exhaust a card, gain +1 energy
-^------------^--------^------ (1/battle, right-click) Exhaust 3 cards from your hand, gain +1 energy
Vow of Poverty (boss) 🙇 +1 energy; remove a random rare card from your deck; take 10 damage if you add a rare card
Watermelon Seed Spit (boss) 🍉 +1 energy; whenever you draw a curse or status card, heal 1 HP;
-^------------^--------^------ Every 3rd time you heal HP during combat, all monsters gain +1 Strength and +1 Dexterity
Whale of a Deal (boss) 🐋 Upon pickup, gain a menu that includes twelve random relics;
-^------------^--------^------ For each relic that you take, add a random curse to your deck
White Star (boss) ☆ +1 energy, Elites drop an extra relic when defeated; lose 2 HP when picking up any relic
Wind-up Crank (boss) ⛮ If you end your turn with 0 energy, gain +1 energy for the next turn
Wish Upon A Star (boss) 🌠 At the start of combat, gain a choice to play one of three cards, the card costs 0 energy
Wrack Wrench (boss) 🔧 +1 energy; whenever you upgrade a card, upgrade an additional random card, then lose 5 HP
Wrathful Warhammer (boss) 🔨 +1 energy, add three copies of the Wrath curse to your deck
X Marks the Spot (boss) ❌ Gain +1 energy when you draw an X cost card; gain 1 energy after you play an X cost card
Yield Sign (boss) ⚠️ +2 card draw, lose HP equal to your current energy when you shuffle your deck
Zerstorer's Stick (boss) 🌿 For every 5 cards you play, gain 1 Regeneration; at the end of combat, gain +1 MaxHP
-^------------^--------^------ The first time you die, heal 100 HP and disable this relic for the rest of the run

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ace in the Hole ♤ (1/battle, right-click) Add an upgraded Finisher to your hand; it costs 0 energy to play
Ace of Spades ♠️ (1/battle, right-click) Draw one of three cards, this card costs 1 less energy (minimum 0)
Adaptive Preparation 🧬 Gain 1 Artifact every 3rd time you are hit with a debuff
Admit Mistakes 😔 Start combat with +1 orb slot and an upgraded activated Static Discharge:
-^------------^--------^------ (When you take unblocked attack damage, channel 2 Lightning orbs)
Advent Calendar 📅 You are 25% more likely to find a non-combat event in ? Rooms.
Alchemy Lab ⚗️ Gain +1 potion slot; whenever you enter a rest site, randomly fill any empty potion slots
Antidote Syringe 💉 You are immune to Decay, Necrotic and Poison damage
Are You Cereal 🥣 For each ten enemies you kill, gain +1 MaxHP; minions count as half (reset count on 10.5)
Argus Panoptes 👁️‍🗨️ Once per turn, if you exhaust a card, a random card in your hand costs 0-energy this turn
Around the World 🪀 At the start of your turn, deal 5 damage to the rightmost enemy
Ascender's Choice 🧗 Upon pickup, reset the ascension level to any chosen value from 0 to 20
Ashes to Ashes ⚱️ Whenever you kill an enemy, heal 1 HP, then retrieve a card from your Exhaust pile
-^------------^--------^------ If your Exhaust pile is empty upon enemy kill, gain +1 MaxHP instead
Astral Diamond 💎 You gain +1 MaxHP when defeating an Elite monster or act Boss
Automatic Shuffler 📇 Gain +1 energy and draw one card when you shuffle your deck
Automatic Tonic Machine 🏧 Upon pickup, gain +2 MaxHP; (Map, right-click) Spend 20 gold to gain +1 MaxHP & heal 1 HP

40k character limit, continues from B in comments:
submitted by AvangionQ to slaythespire [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 i