Sony Xperia Ion – Speakers – Quick Fix

Disclaimer: It worked for me. If it ruins your phone in any way. I will not be responsible 😛


It’s a common problem I see on the internet. Lot of people having problems with their Speakers after about half year or so. I did too. The problem usually is not that your speakers have lost their capacity to play loud anymore. Not that there is some hardware issue with it. Its usually plain and simple. There’s something blocking your speakers (ever laid your phone down with the speakers blocked?) and this in this case its dust. This particular phone has very tiny holes it its speaker outlet that its very easy for dust to accumulate and block it. What I had to do was remove this from those tiny holes.

One way to do that would be to remove the back cover and dust it off. But that’s kind of a long task which involves screws and screwdrivers. I did not want to do that. What I did do was switch off my phone, sprayed some LCD cleaning liquid onto a brush with very thin bristles (actually the one that came with the cleaning liquid) and using that to just clean it out. All I had to do was try to force the bristles gently into those speaker outlet holes and the dust either just stuck to the bristles or came out. After I was done cleaning, I waited for a while for this liquid to dry, just in case. Then Viola! Good as new. I had about 60-70% difference in sound level. Made me wonder how I actually managed all this while!


Reaper: The Final Destination

After trying out the demos of all the DAWs possible. I finally settle for Reaper. Here’s why.

Its cheap. Seriously $60 (if you are like me, a music hobbyist) for a DAW that does everything all the major DAWs do.? Yes it lacks in some features. It has no VST instruments. But with some research online you can find that there are plenty of Free VST instruments for you. Which can do almost everything that the instruments most of the DAWs offer. A good piano? Piano One. A good synth? There is Tone Bird, FMMF, and plenty more. More instruments?, There is DSK free collection of instruments that you can use. There is Alchemy who shell out plenty of good instruments to demo their line of virtual instruments that you can buy. NI (Native Instruments) give you some instruments to use so that you would buy their collection later and yes, you will :).

The number of things you can tweak in this DAW are literally endless. Everything that you can possibly think of, there’s always a way to do it, a short cut that can be assigned to it or, an easier way to do it. Every little Keyboard shortcut or Mouse Action can be changed. You can make your DAW look like how you want it to look like.

The user community is great. There are loads of good people who come for rescue when you do not know how to tackle some specific situation. There are loads of people who make plugins, themes and scripts to help you do commonly tasks easier.

Vast library of plugins. Do not be disappointed at how the the plugins look like in reaper and oh the Js Plugins, don’t get me started. But, There is more to them that what they seem like. If you know to wield your sword, you are in for a real treat. At first I couldn’t get myself to use plugins that look so plain and simple. We are so used to plugins with really good UIs that it takes some time to actually get over it. But after two months of using them, the simplicity actually makes sense to me now. Now I PREFER using the Rea Plugins for the very reason I was not interested in them at first. The Looks!. It just gets the job done quickly. I also assure you that it will take quite sometime to actually experiment with all the plugins that come with reaper.

The functionalities are very straight forward. The work flow is amazing and what’s not to like when you can tweak Reaper to bend to your workflow!

Its Light!. So light that you can carry it around in a pen drive. Downloads and updates are a bliss. It hardly takes me 5 minutes to update the whole software. Let me just say that the size could be less than the size of a song you would produce in it!

I do accept that in order to fully utilize all of reaper’s functionalities it will take you a really long time and some might find the learning curve to be a bit steep as well especially because of the Trust factor(you need to trust your DAW can do everything). But if you are new to using DAWs and if this is your first DAW, you’re gonna have to learn all the functionalities anyways so it doesn’t make a difference.

I’ve listed just a very small portion of the positives I have experienced with Reaper. I also need to talk about the negatives as well. Nothing is perfect. But the good thing about this is that it’s not a long list. The first and foremost problem that comes to my mind is the delay before playback whilst using VSTs. There is a good solid 1-2 second delay based on the number of plugins you use for a particular project. The audio plugins that come with reaper do not cause any delay. But external VSTs do cause a problem. I have not investigated this over at the forum. Did not bother me enough to spend time on investigating it. But I have a feeling those guys over there would have a solution for that as well.

Eh….. That’s it. Nothing else comes to mind. I guess that’s a good thing. I’ll wrap this up.

Thanks for reading.

100 Newbie Hurdles: MIDI Ports Explained

Level: Very Basic

There are a lot of good things you can do with the MIDI IN and OUT ports, both in the studio and on stage. I’ll try to cover a little about that from my personal experience and tell you how you can use it to make some really cool music.

MIDI data is transferred from keyboard to other MIDI devices and vice versa through MIDI cables. You would need one or two of these cables depending on the kind of configuration that you would be using. Usually one is enough for most common tasks.

The configurations..


Keyboard Rear Panel

Keyboard Rear Panel

Shown in the image is the rear panel of my Keyboard. On the left are the two MIDI ports on my keyboard and this can be connected to either your Audio Interface, Sound Module or any MIDI operable machine which would have the same two ports of just the IN port alone. Please note that the OUT of one device is connected to the IN of the other device and vice versa.


A sound module is a device that contains all the sounds that you would commonly find in a keyboard in a small box which can be used with a MIDI enabled keyboard. So your keyboard does not need to have a lot of sounds. Just needs to have MIDI and you can add many sound modules as Racks for performance or in the studio. It’s a box of all the cool sounds in a keyboard but with out the keys.


The basic configuration is connecting the OUT of the keyboard to the IN port of a Sound Module or Audio Interface. What happens here is that the MIDI data from your keyboard is now fed to the Sound Module and based on these notes, audio is sent from the sound module to the speaker or line connected to it.


In the case of an Audio Interface connected to your DAW, this MIDI data is routed to your DAW, where it uses a VST in the DAW to convert MIDI data to audio. Yes of course, your DAW doesn’t work like a sound module, it saves the MIDI data and produces audio dynamically at the moment or when the track is played.


So this seems like you can do everything with this one way connection from the OUT of the Keyboard to the IN of the Audio Interface. What is the use of the connecting it the other way round, i.e. from the OUT of the Audio Interface to the IN of your Keyboard? That’s for the next post.


Thanks for reading.


Make some music yo’all.