Album: How to Measure the Sky

Author: Dropout

Issue date: Italy, 9 February 2012

Technology: 2 PC, Windows XP Professional, MB Gigabyte P55-UD3L, i7, 4GB ram,

  • First PC (called ďHostĒ): Windows XP Professional, with Reaper 4.151 + FX Teleport VSTi hosts. 2 Scope 5.0 boards (15+6 DSP) as XTC mode, 1x UAD2 duo, 2x UAD-1.

  • Second PC (called ďSynthĒ): Windows XP Professional, with 3 Scope 5.0 boards (6+6+4 DSP) as Scope OS mode, linked with MusicLab MidiOverLan CP 3.3.901 for MIDI streaming, and linked with ADAT optical for audio streaming. Also installed as VSTi host the superb FX Teleport server.

With this system, that I have used since 2006, I can gain the best from both worlds of XTC and Scope, plus the possibility to use heavy VSTi and sampler without any flaws.


Dante: How long have you been using Scope?


Dropout: I have owned my Scope system since 2001, when I bought my first LunaII (3DSP) card.  I remember that day as one of my best days in my 'gearslutz' life. I have still the same board, but I keep it as a 'multimedia' audio card in my internet PC.


Dante:  So what inspires you to use Scope?


Dropout:  Firstly, in the year 2000, computers were very slow and poor for audio usage so I started to learn something about DSP cards as add in power to my Pentium III. Then I remembered a friend of mine that he had a strange board called TripleDat, which seemed to me always a good stuff.  Then I discovered in the market the new second generation Creamware products, for the PCI socket, called Scope. But at the time the 14 DSP board was only a dream for my wallet.  Secondly, with my LunaII I discovered a whole new world of astounding quality synthesizers, effects and the beloved Modular 2!  What an epiphany!


Dante: What plug-ins do you use on Scope?


Dropout: For effects I use mainly UAD, but itís not unusual that I open Scope FX in XTC.  The most used are Vinco, Dynatube, the new Scope 5.0 SC compressor and EQ. But mainly I use Scope for synthesizers!  I own a good collection of real analog vintage synths (Crumar DS2, Muron Plant Aelita, Roland Juno 60, JX-3P and JX-8P, Yamaha TX7, Korg DS-8 and Wavestation EX).  And Iím very happy with these, but the Scope synthesizers are unbeatable as far as quality and ease of use, compared to native VSTi.  I use also the beautiful 'Use Audio Plugiator' as an external synth. I think the best overall is Prodyssey, that I use both as XTC when I donít need particular tweaking and automation, or as Scope Device when I need something more complex in regards routing and automation (the XTC automation was never solved from Creamware days and thatís a shame.)  I hope that the new Sonic Core Scope 6.0 open system will solve our problem of XTC/VST Host integration without bugs.  A lot of people in PlanetZ prefer Scope environment compared to XTC, but I really need, for my kind of working flow, a total recall into my sequencer.  And basically I just do not want to choose between two options that are mutually exclusive.  After that, if Scope 6.0 becomes a reality, I can go back to XITE hardware.


Dante:  And what do you use in your mastering chain?


Dropout: For my demos I use mainly OptiMaster, GraphEQ and PsyQ or SBC. But for my albums I send all to two mastering studios: one is a private studio in north Italy and one is in London (all friends of mine). They use professional gear like Manley, Neve, SPL and API, IMO this makes the difference. This album was a low budget project, so I used the private studio in Italy. I think anyway a very good job!

Dante:  Tell us about your latest work.    



Dropout:  My main job is Graphic Designer, Iím a founding member of the well known, as second job I compose original music for multimedia with (our audio section).  This need was born to solve the costs for commercial musicís rights use. So in 1998 I started to compose for video artists, audio installations, advertising, contemporary dance and now for book publishing. 


Dante:  So have you had any other major releases prior to 'How to Measure the Sky' ?


Dropout: 'How to Measure the Sky' is my third album and itís the official soundtrack for a Mondadori Ragazzi novel 'Nemmeno un bacio prima di andare a letto' written by Manuela Salvi and published in Italy in October 2011. We are waiting on the publisher for foreign translation and publication, probably in UK and France as the first step. 


Dante:  So what creative guidelines did you work to on the project?


Dropout:  The main aim of this project was the creation of songs lasting few minutes, as the classic pop-rock 45rpm single songs, with a touch of í70s into a contemporary sounds.   The story is very catching and tells about a 14-year-old girl that falls into a prostitution racket within her school. She is helped by a boy with the passion for home-made music. For this reason the songs are sung in a rather naive way because the second main character is a guy who sings in Italian accent English (just like me).



Official page:



Dante and Dropout March 2012