Binary Options Bullet User Review - dttodhi.com

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]

Nintendo Switch Reviews: Game Compilations

Here's the games I have reviewed so far on the Nintendo Switch in this genre, from best to worst. Note: If multiple games have the same score, they will be sorted alphabetically.
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Game Compilations

Game Genre # of Players Games in Collection Score tl;dr
Mega Man Legacy Collection Compilation / Action-Platformer 1, Online Leaderboards Mega Man, Mega Man 2, Mega Man 3, Mega Man 4, Mega Man 5, Mega Man 6 A+ Mega Man Legacy Collection is a collection of the first six NES games in this series of Action-Platformers. Two of these games are absolutely legendary, one is just as good if a bit less-iconic, and the other games here are all at least worth playing. Pair that with an absolute wealth of options and bonus content and a very reasonable price tag and you have an absolute must-have collection that any fan of Action-Platformers should own.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection Compilation / Action-Platformer 1, Online Leaderboards Mega Man X, Mega Man X2, Mega Man X3, Mega Man X4 A+ Mega Man X Legacy Collection is a collection of the first four games in this series of Action-Platformers. Every one of the included games is excellent, with the first in particular being a must-play game that still stands tall as one of the finest in the genre. What's more, this package includes a huge wealth of bonus content. Fans of Action-Platformers should absolutely have this game in their collection.
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove Compilation / Action-Platformer 1-2 Co-Op (Local), 1-4 Competitive (Local) Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope, Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows, Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment, Shovel Knight: King of Cards, Shovel Knight Showdown A+ Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is a collection of the Action-Platformer Shovel Knight and all four of its expansions, including Plague of Shadows which is not purchasable separately. Shovel Knight was already a must-have game, but this collection is so jam-packed with value it makes the entire package one of the best games to get on the Nintendo Switch. Unless you have this collection on another platform, you need to get it on your Nintendo Switch.
Castlevania Anniversary Collection Compilation / Action-Platformer 1 Castlevania, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Super Castlevania IV, Castlevania: The Adventure, Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Kid Dracula A- Castlevania Anniversary Collection is a collection of Action-Platformers that includes eight of the great games from early in the series (well, six great games plus two crappy Game Boy games). This collection gives players a wealth of options and bonus content, and is... actually pretty ideal for a collection of some of the best Action-Platformers ever made. This title is a must for fans of the genre.
Collection of Mana Compilation / Action-RPG 1-3 Co-Op (Local) Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana, Trials of Mana A- Collection of Mana is a compilation of 3 classic Zelda-style Action-Adventure games, two of which are phenomenal titles with superb music and great co-op gameplay that have withstood the test of time and are arguably two of the best games the genre has ever seen (and Final Fantasy Adventure has its good qualities too). However, the lack of extras and absurd price tag makes it hard to give this collection the enthusiastic recommendation it would otherwise deserve.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Compilation / Turn-Based JRPG 1 Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X: Eternal Calm, Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy X-2: Final Mission A- Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster is a compilation of every game in the Final Fantasy X saga, with improved graphics and an optional remastered soundtrack. Final Fantasy X alone is an absolute must-play game that makes this compilation worthwhile, although none of the other content here quite measures up to it. If you're a fan of JRPGs, however, this collection is worth it for that one game alone, and the other content here ain't too shabby either.
Hotline Miami Collection Compilation / Top-Down Action / 2-Stick Shooter 1 Hotline Miami, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number A- Hotline Miami Collection is a pair of solid Top-Down Action games with a colorful 80s-inspired presentation and intense action that makes players consider their plan of attack. It's a solid experience, although the first Hotline Miami game is clearly the better of the two, thanks to the more cohesive story and better level design.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy Compilation / Visual Novel / Graphic Adventure 1 Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice For All, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations A- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is a collection of the first three games in this series of investigation and legal drama games that lies somewhere between a Graphic Adventure and Visual Novel. This is a fantastic collection of three superb games with memorable characters and wonderful gameplay, but $30 for three games that are nearly 20 years old seems a bit much, even if you're not likely to find a better deal on these games elsewhere.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy Compilation / 3D Platformer 1 Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage, Spyro: Year of the Dragon A- Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a collection of the original three PlayStation Spyro games, family-friendly 3D Platformers that have withstood the test of time and are presented here with absolutely gorgeous graphics. While there are a few elements that haven't aged well, like the camera, on the whole this is an absolute joy that fans of platformers should consider a must-have.
The Jackbox Party Pack 3 Compilation / Party Games 1-8 Competitive (Local) (4 Recommended) Quiplash 2, Trivia Murder Party, Guesspionage, Fakin' It, Tee K.O. A- The Jackbox Party Pack 3 is a Collection of Party Games that includes five games that players play using their Smartphone instead of a controller. Of all the Jackbox collections so far, this is my favorite, with three of the games here being absolutely fantastic, and even the worst game here still has some excellent qualities. On top of that, there's a lot of variety in this package, and some truly great presentation in some of the games here. In short, this is a must-have collection for fans of Party Games.
Bleed Complete Bundle Compilation / Action-Platformer / 2-Stick Shooter 1-2 Co-Op (Local) Bleed, Bleed 2 B+ Bleed Complete Bundle includes Bleed and Bleed 2, both excellent Action-Platformers with 2-Stick Shooter gunplay, and both also extremely short and extremely overpriced games. Much as with the individual games, if you can get this collection at a discount, absolutely do so because the games are immensely fun. However, even with the savings this bundle provides, it's still horribly overpriced at its normal price.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Compilation / 3D Platformer 1 Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Crash Bandicoot: Warped B+ Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a collection of the original three PlayStation Crash Bandicoot games, family-friendly 3D Platformers that have been given a glorious makeover here. The gameplay is still excellent as well, though it has aged a bit in places - the restricted level design and unforgiving gameplay can be a cause for frustration. However, overall this is a superb collection well worth having.
Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition Compilation / Turn-Based Monster Collecting JRPG 1 Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hacker's Memory B+ Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition is a collection of two Pokemon-style Monster-Collecting JRPGs set in a slightly-futuristic Tokyo where players dive into a virtual reality/internet to fight with monsters and get to the bottom of the game's mysteries. This is a solid alternative to Pokemon, and different enough from those games to distinguish itself, although it's not without its flaws.
Indie Gems Bundle: Explosion Edition Compilation / Bullet Hell Shmup / Roguelike / 2-Stick Shooter / Match-3 Puzzle 1-4 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards NeuroVoider, Steredenn: Binary Stars, Transcripted B+ Indie Gems Bundle: Explosions Edition is a Compilation of three Action-packed games, each of them ranging from good to great. If you're a fan of Shmups and 2-Stick shooters, you're bound to find something to love in this package, even if the savings over purchasing these games individually is minimal.
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 Compilation / Action-Platformer 1, Online Leaderboards Mega Man 7, Mega Man 8, Mega Man 9, Mega Man 10 B+ Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is a collection of the seventh through the tenth numbered games in this series of Action-Platformers. These games are all pretty good, but none reach the heights of the earlier games in the series, there's less bonus content than in the first collection, and it's $5 more. However, it's still a solid collection of great Action-Platformers with a good amount of bonus content, and fans of the genre would still do well to give it a look.
The Jackbox Party Pack Compilation / Party Games 1-100 Competitive (Local) (4 Recommended) You Don't Know Jack 2015, Drawful, Word Spud, Lie Swatter, Fibbage XL B+ The Jackbox Party Pack is a Collection of mostly Trivia-focused Party Games that includes five games that players play using their Smartphone instead of a controller. Two of the games in this collection are phenomenal, and only one of the games here isn't worth trying. Plus, many of the games included here represent some of Jackbox's most iconic series, making this first collection one of the best packages they've released. All in all, this is a fantastic Party game well worth getting.
The Jackbox Party Pack 2 Compilation / Party Games 1-4 Co-Op (Local), 2-8 Competitive (Local) (4 Recommended) Fibbage 2, Earwax, Bidiots, Quiplash XL, Bomb Corp B+ The Jackbox Party Pack 2 is a Collection of Party Games that includes five games that players play using their Smartphone instead of a controller. Two of the games in this collection are fantastic, and only one of the games here isn't worth trying. Overall, the games in this collection aren't quite as good as what was in the first Party Pack, but there's more variety here and this is still a superb collection of Party Games.
Trine Ultimate Collection Compilation / Puzzle-Platformer 1-4 Co-Op (Local, Local Wireless, Online) Trine Enchanted Edition, Trine 2: Complete Story, Trine 3: Artifacts of Power, Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince B+ Trine Ultimate Collection is a Compilation that includes all four games in the Puzzle-Platformer series about three characters with different abilities using their unique talents to fight enemies and solve puzzles. This is a treasure trove for anyone who enjoys the genre or is looking for a top-notch Co-Op collection for their Switch, with most of these game being visually-stunning as well.
Gunman Clive HD Collection Compilation / Action-Platformer 1 Gunman Clive, Gunman Clive 2 B Gunman Clive HD Collection is a pair of solid action-platformers with a unique cel-shaded "hand-drawn" look. Although the gameplay is fairly simple and straightforward, the game's stages and bosses can be amusingly creative at times. Definitely worth a look.
Sega Genesis Classics Compilation 1-2 Co-Op / Competitive (Local, Online), Online Leaderboards 51 Games (full list in review) B Sega Genesis Classics has a lot of stinkers, but it also has some truly great classic games, and at $30 for 51 games, even with only about a fourth of the games here truly worthy of being called a “classic”, that's still a good number of games and some great bang for your buck.
The Jackbox Party Pack 5 Compilation / Party Games 1-6 Co-Op (Local) 2-8 Competitive (Local) (4 Recommended) You Don't Know Jack: Full Stream, Split the Room, Mad Verse City, Zeeple Dome, Patently Stupid B The Jackbox Party Pack 5 is a Collection of Party Games that includes five games that players play using their Smartphone instead of a controller. This is probably the most average collection Jackbox has produced, with five games that are all good but not great, or else games that could have been great, but are held back by a flaw that renders them “decent but could have been better”. Even so, if you're looking for a good Party Game collection, this package is all around well worth playing.
Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection Compilation / Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local) Scramble, Twinbee, Nemesis, Life Force, Typhoon, Haunted Castle, Vulcan Venture, Thunder Cross B- Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection is a collection of mostly Shmups that includes eight games that are mostly pretty good (and also mostly punishingly difficult). This collection gives players a wealth of options and bonus content, and on the whole this is a solid collection of games for Shmup fans
Contra Anniversary Collection Compilation / Action-Platformer 1-2 Co-Op (Local) Contra (Arcade), Super Contra (Arcade), Contra (NES) (NA), Contra (NES) (J), Super C, Contra III: The Alien Wars, Super Probotector: Alien Rebels, Operation C, Contra: Hard Corps, Probotector B- Contra Anniversary Collection is a collection of super-difficult Action-Platformers that includes ten great games from early in the series (well, if we're honest, it's more like five games, given that they're including multiple versions of the same games as different entries). These games are absurdly unforgiving, but they're still solid classics, and there's a good amount of bonus content here as well. This collection is worth a look.
A Ch'ti Bundle Compilation / Puzzle-Platformer / Platformer / Music-Rhythm 1 Ethan: Meteor Hunter, Inside My Radio C+ Ethan: Meteor Hunter is a mediocre Puzzle-Platformer, but Inside My Radio is a decent Platformer with Music-Rhythm elements. However, since you can get Inside My Radio separately, you're probably better off just doing that.
Card Game Bundle Vol. 1 Compilation / Card Game 1 Frost, Monster Slayers C- Card Game Bundle Vol. 1 is a collection of Frost and Monster Slayers, both different types of Card Game. Unfortunately, Frost isn't very fun, and Monsters Slayers is already in another better bundle. There's simply not much reason to get this bundle when you have multiple better options.
Cooking Tycoons 3-in-1 Bundle Compilation / Arcade 1 Food Truck Tycoon, Burger Chef Tycoon, Pizza Bar Tycoon C+ Cooking Tycoons 3-in-1 Bundle is a Compilation of three Arcade-style restaurant-themed games where players rush to fill the correct orders. It's decent, but Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!! offers more depth and variety in one game than all three of these combined, and at the same price.
Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King Compilation / Platformer 1 Aladdin (Genesis, Genesis (Final Cut version), Genesis (Demo Version), Game Boy, Game Boy (Colorized)), The Lion King (Super Nintendo, Super Nintendo (Japanese version), Genesis, Game Boy, Game Boy (Colorized)) C+ Aladdin and The Lion King are a pair of classic Platformers, each with visuals and animation that have aged extremely well, but the gameplay hasn't been quite so lucky. They're presented here in a package that includes multiple versions of each game (though you'll likely only want to play one version of each), and with a huge assortment of options and extra features, but at a ridiculous price. This is a package that should please fans of the original games and those looking for insights into graphic design and animation, but everyone else is better off staying away from this one.
Framed Collection Compilation / Graphic Puzzle 1 Framed, Framed 2 C+ Framed Collection is a pair of puzzle games where you're moving around frames of a comic to make sure the hero survives the story. It's a great concept with an amazing presentation, but the gameplay makes it frequently frustrating and tedious.
Nerdook Bundle Vol. 1 Compilation 1-2 Co-Op (Local Split-Screen), 1-2 Competitive (Local) Monster Slayers, Reverse Crawl, Vertical Drop Heroes HD C+ Nerdook Bundle Vol. 1 is a collection of three games from developer Nerdook, each in a different genre, but all of them sharing a similar presentation. Unfortunately, that presentation is fairly forgettable, and while each of the games in this collection is decent, none is truly spectacular and two of them are actually very similar to other, much better, games. If you want to save money this collection is okay, but you may be better off looking at those better games instead.
Sega Ages Columns II: A Voyage Through Time Compilation / Match-3 Falling Block Puzzle 1-2 Competitive (Local / Online), Online Leaderboards Columns, Columns II: A Voyage Through Time C+ Sega Ages Columns II marks the first time this 1990 arcade Match-3 Falling Block Puzzle game has been released stateside, and what's more, it comes with the original Columns and a slew of game modes and options. This is a phenomenal port, but sadly it's a fantastic port of two mediocre Puzzle games. Fans of the genre and collectors may find some interest in this release, but others are better off looking to better games in the genre.
SNK 40th Anniversary Collection Compilation / Arcade 1-4 Co-Op / Competitive / Team Competitive (Local, Local Alternating) - Mostly 1-2 Co-Op (Local) and 1-2 (Local Alternating) 32 Games (full list in review) C+ SNK 40th Anniversary Collection is a selection of 32 classic SNK games released prior to the Neo Geo, mostly arcade games with a few Nintendo Entertainment System games as well, with the games being mostly 2-Stick Shooters, Shmups, and Top-Down Action games. There's a lot of trash to wade through in this collection, but there are a handful of real gems too, and a healthy helping of game options and bonus content. If you're a fan of classic games, specifically the genres I named above, this collection may be worth your while.
Indie Darling Bundle Vol. 2 Compilation / Puzzle / Metroidvania / 2-Stick Shooter / Action-Platformer 1-2 Co-Op (Local) Bleed 2, Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut, The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human C Indie Darling Bundle Vol. 2 is a collection of three games by publisher Digerati, ranging from average to pretty good. However, two of the three games can already be found in other bundles, and only one game here, Bleed 2, is truly stand-out. Unless you're looking to complete a collection or specifically interested in these games, you're probably better off skipping this collection.
Indie Puzzle Bundle Vol. 1 Compilation / Puzzle 1 Glass Masquerade, Letter Quest Remastered, Pipe Push Paradise, Slayaway Camp: Butcher's Cut C Indie Puzzle Bundle Vol. 1 is a collection of four Puzzle games that are all in the average-to-decent range, and all provide a good amount of variety. Having said that, there's no truly stand-out games here, and even saving $10 on the cost of buying these games separately still makes for a steep price. If you're a fan of the genre and this game has a good sale it may be worth getting, but otherwise steer clear.
Namco Museum Compilation / Arcade / Various 1-4 Competitive (Local) Dig Dug, Galaga, Galaga '88, Pac-Man, Pac-Man Vs., Rolling Thunder, Rolling Thunder 2, Sky Kid, Splatterhouse, Tank Force, The Tower of Druaga C Namco Museum features a collection of games that includes some true classics. Unfortunately, when you compare this to other game compilations, even prior Namco Museum releases, the $30 price tag is a huge rip-off for only 10 games, 9 of which were released over 25 years ago. For shame.
Planescape Torment and Icewind Dale: Enhanced Editions Compilation / RPG 1 Planescape Torment: Enhanced Edition, Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition C Planescape Torment and Icewind Dale: Enhanced Editions are two classic Western RPGs from 1999 and 2000 that are finally playable on a console for the first time in this release. Unfortunately, the awkward controls in this release make it seem like the game was a poor fit for consoles in the first place, and this problem is made worse by horribly dated graphics. On top of that, the basic game design here is very user-unfriendly, even for those who can get used to the odd controls. The story and voice acting in both of these games is still excellent, but only the most patient players will find it worth suffering through this archaic mess to enjoy that story.
Syberia 1 & 2 Compilation / Graphic Adventure 1 Syberia, Syberia II C Syberia 1 & 2 is a compilation of two Graphic Adventure games that were once celebrated but now really show their age, with dated graphics, confusing puzzle design, and occasional interface issues. There's still some real quality work here, but it's buried under a decade and a half of dust.
The Jackbox Party Pack 6 Compilation / Party Games 1-10 Competitive (Local) (4 Recommended) Trivia Murder Party 2, Role Models, Joke Boat, Dictionarium, Push the Button C The Jackbox Party Pack 6 is a Collection of Party Games that includes five games that players play using their Smartphone instead of a controller. While this isn't the worst collection of games Jackbox has put out, it is still a pretty terrible selection of games with little that stands out. I recommend you get one of the other Jackbox collections instead.
30-in-1 Game Collection Compilation 1-4 Co-Op / Competitive (Local), Online Leaderboards 30 Games (full list in review) C- 30-in-1 Game Collection has a handful of decent games in among the stinkers, but even the best games here are lacking the options and could have used time to develop into a complete experience. Also, the collection unfortunately forces you to play through the stinkers to unlock all of the games. There is fun to be had here, but you have to sift through a lot of crap to find it, and the fun won’t last long when you do.
Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Editions Compilation / RPG 1 Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition C- Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Editions are two classic Western RPGs from 1998 and 2000 that are finally playable on a console for the first time in this release. Unfortunately, the awkward controls in this release make it seem like the game was a poor fit for consoles in the first place, and this problem is made worse by horribly dated graphics that make the game an eyesore. On top of that, the basic game design here is very user-unfriendly, even for those who can get used to the odd controls. The story and voice acting in both of these games is still excellent, but only the most patient players will find it worth suffering through this archaic mess to enjoy that story.
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 Compilation / Action-Platformer 1, Online Leaderboards Mega Man X5, Mega Man X6, Mega Man X7, Mega Man X8 C- Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 is a collection of the second set of four games in this series of Action-Platformers. These are the worst games in the series, and four of the worst games in any Mega Man series, and while there's a healthy amount of bonus content here, a lot of it is the same bonus content already included in the first, and far superior, Mega Man X Legacy Collection. In short, this is a collection only for the most die hard of Mega Man fans.
Uni Compilation / Arcade 2 Competitive (Local) 40 Games (full list in review) C- Uni is a collection of 40 mini-games that can only be played with 2 players. Most of these games are outright terrible, but there are a handful of pretty good ones mixed in here, and if you can get this collection on discount they might prove to be a good distraction. However, even the best games here are seriously lacking content and options needed to hold your interest for very long.
Zen Chess Collection Compilation / Puzzle / Board Game 1 Zen Chess: Mate in One, Zen Chess: Mate in Two, Zen Chess: Mate in Three, Zen Chess: Mate in Four C- Zen Chess Collection contains four "games" that are all variations of "Mate the opponent in X moves". It has a nice presentation, but the lack of variety and options here is really disappointing.
Arcade Fuzz Compilation / Arcade 1 TTV3, Warpzone Drifter D+ Arcade Fuzz is a compilation of two Arcade-style games, TTV3 and Warpzone Drifter. TTV3 has players avoiding obstacles and trying to reach the edge of the screen, and Warpzone Drifter has players steering an out-of-control car to various points on the screen in a time limit. Unfortunately, both games have frustrating visual design that doesn't convey necessary information to the player, resulting in frequent, frustrating deaths that sap the fun out of these games.
Dead Fun Pack Compilation / Auto-Runner / Arcade 1-2 Competitive (Local) Mutant Alien Moles of the Dead, Run Run and Die D+ Dead Fun Pack is a compilation of two games - a terrible Auto-Runner, and a decent Wack-A-Mole game. There's just not much here to make this package worthwhile.
The Jackbox Party Pack 4 Compilation / Party Games 2-16 Competitive (Local) (4 Recommended) Fibbage 3, Survive the Internet, Monster Seeking Monster, Bracketeering, Civic Doodle D The Jackbox Party Pack 4 is a Collection of Party Games that includes five games that players play using their Smartphone instead of a controller. Of all the Jackbox collections so far, this is my least favorite, with three of the games here being absolute trash. If it wasn't for the brilliant Fibbage 3 being in this collection, it would be a complete waste, and since you can get the earlier Fibbage games in Party Pack 1 and 2 (along with other good games), there's little reason to get this one unless you've exhausted those and absolutely need more Fibbage.
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Vault 7 - CIA Hacking Tools Revealed

Vault 7 - CIA Hacking Tools Revealed
March 07, 2017
from Wikileaks Website


https://preview.redd.it/9ufj63xnfdb41.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=46bbc937f4f060bad1eaac3e0dce732e3d8346ee

Press Release
Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Code-named "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.
The first full part of the series, "Year Zero", comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence (below image) in Langley, Virgina.
It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election.
Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including,
  1. malware
  2. viruses
  3. trojans
  4. weaponized "zero day" exploits
  5. malware remote control systems

...and associated documentation.
This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.
The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.
"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include,

  1. Apple's iPhone
  2. Google's Android
  3. Microsoft's Windows
  4. Samsung TVs,

...which are turned into covert microphones.
Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force - its own substantial fleet of hackers.
The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities.
By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI - below image), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand,
hacking systems trojans viruses,
...and other "weaponized" malware.


https://preview.redd.it/3jsojkqxfdb41.jpg?width=366&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e92eafbb113ab3e972045cc242dde0f0dd511e96

Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more codes than those used to run Facebook.
The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.
In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency.
The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that,
"There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'.
Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade.
But the significance of 'Year Zero' goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."

Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the "Year Zero" disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of 'armed' cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published.

Wikileaks has also decided to Redact (see far below) and Anonymize some identifying information in "Year Zero" for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout,
Latin America Europe the United States

While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in "Vault 7" part one ("Year Zero") already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.

Analysis

CIA malware targets iPhone, Android, smart TVs
CIA malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group), a software development group within CCI (Center for Cyber Intelligence), a department belonging to the CIA's DDI (Directorate for Digital Innovation).
The DDI is one of the five major directorates of the CIA (see above image of the CIA for more details).
The EDG is responsible for the development, testing and operational support of all backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware used by the CIA in its covert operations world-wide.
The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell's 1984, but "Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization.
The attack against Samsung smart TVs was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom's MI5/BTSS.
After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a 'Fake-Off' mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In 'Fake-Off' mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.
As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.
The CIA's Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) developed numerous attacks to remotely hack and control popular smart phones. Infected phones can be instructed to send the CIA the user's geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone's camera and microphone.
Despite iPhone's minority share (14.5%) of the global smart phone market in 2016, a specialized unit in the CIA's Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads.
CIA's arsenal includes numerous local and remote "zero days" developed by CIA or obtained from GCHQ, NSA, FBI or purchased from cyber arms contractors such as Baitshop.
The disproportionate focus on iOS may be explained by the popularity of the iPhone among social, political, diplomatic and business elites.
A similar unit targets Google's Android which is used to run the majority of the world's smart phones (~85%) including Samsung, HTC and Sony. 1.15 billion Android powered phones were sold last year.
"Year Zero" shows that as of 2016 the CIA had 24 "weaponized" Android "zero days" which it has developed itself and obtained from GCHQ, NSA and cyber arms contractors.
These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of, WhatsApp
  1. Signal
  2. Telegram
  3. Wiebo
  4. Confide
  5. Cloackman
...by hacking the "smart" phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.
CIA malware targets Windows, OSx, Linux, routers
The CIA also runs a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware.
This includes multiple local and remote weaponized "zero days", air gap jumping viruses such as "Hammer Drill" which infects software distributed on CD/DVDs, infectors for removable media such as USBs, systems to hide data in images or in covert disk areas ("Brutal Kangaroo") and to keep its malware infestations going.
Many of these infection efforts are pulled together by the CIA's Automated Implant Branch (AIB), which has developed several attack systems for automated infestation and control of CIA malware, such as "Assassin" and "Medusa".
Attacks against Internet infrastructure and webservers are developed by the CIA's Network Devices Branch (NDB).
The CIA has developed automated multi-platform malware attack and control systems covering Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux and more, such as EDB's "HIVE" and the related "Cutthroat" and "Swindle" tools, which are described in the examples section far below.
CIA 'hoarded' vulnerabilities ("zero days")
In the wake of Edward Snowden's leaks about the NSA, the U.S. technology industry secured a commitment from the Obama administration that the executive would disclose on an ongoing basis - rather than hoard - serious vulnerabilities, exploits, bugs or "zero days" to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and other US-based manufacturers.
Serious vulnerabilities not disclosed to the manufacturers places huge swathes of the population and critical infrastructure at risk to foreign intelligence or cyber criminals who independently discover or hear rumors of the vulnerability.
If the CIA can discover such vulnerabilities so can others.
The U.S. government's commitment to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process came after significant lobbying by US technology companies, who risk losing their share of the global market over real and perceived hidden vulnerabilities.
The government stated that it would disclose all pervasive vulnerabilities discovered after 2010 on an ongoing basis.
"Year Zero" documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration's commitments. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA's cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.
As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in "Year Zero" is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts.
The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities ("zero days") possessed by the CIA but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability.
As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.
The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers.
By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone at the expense of leaving everyone hackable.
'Cyberwar' programs are a serious proliferation risk
Cyber 'weapons' are not possible to keep under effective control.
While nuclear proliferation has been restrained by the enormous costs and visible infrastructure involved in assembling enough fissile material to produce a critical nuclear mass, cyber 'weapons', once developed, are very hard to retain.
Cyber 'weapons' are in fact just computer programs which can be pirated like any other. Since they are entirely comprised of information they can be copied quickly with no marginal cost.
Securing such 'weapons' is particularly difficult since the same people who develop and use them have the skills to exfiltrate copies without leaving traces - sometimes by using the very same 'weapons' against the organizations that contain them.
There are substantial price incentives for government hackers and consultants to obtain copies since there is a global "vulnerability market" that will pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars for copies of such 'weapons'.
Similarly, contractors and companies who obtain such 'weapons' sometimes use them for their own purposes, obtaining advantage over their competitors in selling 'hacking' services.
Over the last three years the United States intelligence sector, which consists of government agencies such as the CIA and NSA and their contractors, such as Booz Allan Hamilton, has been subject to unprecedented series of data exfiltrations by its own workers.
A number of intelligence community members not yet publicly named have been arrested or subject to federal criminal investigations in separate incidents.
Most visibly, on February 8, 2017 a U.S. federal grand jury indicted Harold T. Martin III with 20 counts of mishandling classified information.
The Department of Justice alleged that it seized some 50,000 gigabytes of information from Harold T. Martin III that he had obtained from classified programs at NSA and CIA, including the source code for numerous hacking tools.
Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.
U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt is a covert CIA hacker base
In addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ("Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe" or CCIE) are given diplomatic ("black") passports and State Department cover.
The instructions for incoming CIA hackers make Germany's counter-intelligence efforts appear inconsequential: "Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport" Your Cover Story (for this trip) Q: Why are you here? A: Supporting technical consultations at the Consulate. Two earlier WikiLeaks publications give further detail on CIA approaches to customs and secondary screening procedures.
Once in Frankfurt CIA hackers can travel without further border checks to the 25 European countries that are part of the Shengen open border area - including France, Italy and Switzerland.
A number of the CIA's electronic attack methods are designed for physical proximity.
These attack methods are able to penetrate high security networks that are disconnected from the internet, such as police record database. In these cases, a CIA officer, agent or allied intelligence officer acting under instructions, physically infiltrates the targeted workplace.
The attacker is provided with a USB containing malware developed for the CIA for this purpose, which is inserted into the targeted computer. The attacker then infects and exfiltrates data to removable media.
For example, the CIA attack system Fine Dining, provides 24 decoy applications for CIA spies to use.
To witnesses, the spy appears to be running a program showing videos (e.g VLC), presenting slides (Prezi), playing a computer game (Breakout2, 2048) or even running a fake virus scanner (Kaspersky, McAfee, Sophos).
But while the decoy application is on the screen, the underlying system is automatically infected and ransacked.
How the CIA dramatically increased proliferation risks
In what is surely one of the most astounding intelligence own goals in living memory, the CIA structured its classification regime such that for the most market valuable part of "Vault 7", the CIA's, weaponized malware (implants + zero days) Listening Posts (LP) Command and Control (C2) systems, ...the agency has little legal recourse.
The CIA made these systems unclassified.
Why the CIA chose to make its cyber-arsenal unclassified reveals how concepts developed for military use do not easily crossover to the 'battlefield' of cyber 'war'.
To attack its targets, the CIA usually requires that its implants communicate with their control programs over the internet.
If CIA implants, Command & Control and Listening Post software were classified, then CIA officers could be prosecuted or dismissed for violating rules that prohibit placing classified information onto the Internet.
Consequently the CIA has secretly made most of its cyber spying/war code unclassified. The U.S. government is not able to assert copyright either, due to restrictions in the U.S. Constitution.
This means that cyber 'arms' manufactures and computer hackers can freely "pirate" these 'weapons' if they are obtained. The CIA has primarily had to rely on obfuscation to protect its malware secrets.
Conventional weapons such as missiles may be fired at the enemy (i.e. into an unsecured area). Proximity to or impact with the target detonates the ordnance including its classified parts. Hence military personnel do not violate classification rules by firing ordnance with classified parts.
Ordnance will likely explode. If it does not, that is not the operator's intent.
Over the last decade U.S. hacking operations have been increasingly dressed up in military jargon to tap into Department of Defense funding streams.
For instance, attempted "malware injections" (commercial jargon) or "implant drops" (NSA jargon) are being called "fires" as if a weapon was being fired.
However the analogy is questionable.
Unlike bullets, bombs or missiles, most CIA malware is designed to live for days or even years after it has reached its 'target'. CIA malware does not "explode on impact" but rather permanently infests its target. In order to infect target's device, copies of the malware must be placed on the target's devices, giving physical possession of the malware to the target.
To exfiltrate data back to the CIA or to await further instructions the malware must communicate with CIA Command & Control (C2) systems placed on internet connected servers.
But such servers are typically not approved to hold classified information, so CIA command and control systems are also made unclassified.
A successful 'attack' on a target's computer system is more like a series of complex stock maneuvers in a hostile take-over bid or the careful planting of rumors in order to gain control over an organization's leadership rather than the firing of a weapons system.
If there is a military analogy to be made, the infestation of a target is perhaps akin to the execution of a whole series of military maneuvers against the target's territory including observation, infiltration, occupation and exploitation.
Evading forensics and anti-virus
A series of standards lay out CIA malware infestation patterns which are likely to assist forensic crime scene investigators as well as, Apple
  1. Microsoft
  2. Google
  3. Samsung
  4. Nokia
  5. Blackberry
  6. Siemens
  7. anti-virus companies,
...attribute and defend against attacks.
"Tradecraft DO's and DON'Ts" contains CIA rules on how its malware should be written to avoid fingerprints implicating the "CIA, US government, or its witting partner companies" in "forensic review".
Similar secret standards cover the, use of encryption to hide CIA hacker and malware communication (pdf) describing targets & exfiltrated data (pdf) executing payloads (pdf) persisting (pdf), ...in the target's machines over time.
CIA hackers developed successful attacks against most well known anti-virus programs.
These are documented in, AV defeats Personal Security Products Detecting and defeating PSPs PSP/DebuggeRE Avoidance For example, Comodo was defeated by CIA malware placing itself in the Window's "Recycle Bin". While Comodo 6.x has a "Gaping Hole of DOOM".
CIA hackers discussed what the NSA's "Equation Group" hackers did wrong and how the CIA's malware makers could avoid similar exposure.

Examples

The CIA's Engineering Development Group (EDG) management system contains around 500 different projects (only some of which are documented by "Year Zero") each with their own sub-projects, malware and hacker tools.
The majority of these projects relate to tools that are used for,
penetration infestation ("implanting") control exfiltration
Another branch of development focuses on the development and operation of Listening Posts (LP) and Command and Control (C2) systems used to communicate with and control CIA implants.
Special projects are used to target specific hardware from routers to smart TVs.
Some example projects are described below, but see the table of contents for the full list of projects described by WikiLeaks' "Year Zero".
UMBRAGE
The CIA's hand crafted hacking techniques pose a problem for the agency.
Each technique it has created forms a "fingerprint" that can be used by forensic investigators to attribute multiple different attacks to the same entity.
This is analogous to finding the same distinctive knife wound on multiple separate murder victims. The unique wounding style creates suspicion that a single murderer is responsible.
As soon one murder in the set is solved then the other murders also find likely attribution.
The CIA's Remote Devices Branch's UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.
With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the "fingerprints" of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.
UMBRAGE components cover,
keyloggers
  1. password collection
  2. webcam capture
  3. data destruction
  4. persistence
  5. privilege escalation
  6. stealth
  7. anti-virus (PSP) avoidance
  8. survey techniques

Fine Dining
Fine Dining comes with a standardized questionnaire i.e menu that CIA case officers fill out.
The questionnaire is used by the agency's OSB (Operational Support Branch) to transform the requests of case officers into technical requirements for hacking attacks (typically "exfiltrating" information from computer systems) for specific operations.
The questionnaire allows the OSB to identify how to adapt existing tools for the operation, and communicate this to CIA malware configuration staff.
The OSB functions as the interface between CIA operational staff and the relevant technical support staff.
Among the list of possible targets of the collection are,
  • 'Asset'
  • 'Liason Asset'
  • 'System Administrator'
  • 'Foreign Information Operations'
  • 'Foreign Intelligence Agencies'
  • 'Foreign Government Entities'
Notably absent is any reference to extremists or transnational criminals. The 'Case Officer' is also asked to specify the environment of the target like the type of computer, operating system used, Internet connectivity and installed anti-virus utilities (PSPs) as well as a list of file types to be exfiltrated like Office documents, audio, video, images or custom file types.
The 'menu' also asks for information if recurring access to the target is possible and how long unobserved access to the computer can be maintained.
This information is used by the CIA's 'JQJIMPROVISE' software (see below) to configure a set of CIA malware suited to the specific needs of an operation.
Improvise (JQJIMPROVISE)
  1. 'Improvise' is a toolset for configuration, post-processing, payload setup and execution vector
  2. selection for survey/exfiltration tools supporting all major operating systems like,
  3. Windows (Bartender)
  4. MacOS (JukeBox)
  5. Linux (DanceFloor)
  6. Its configuration utilities like Margarita allows the NOC (Network Operation Center) to customize tools
based on requirements from 'Fine Dining' questionnaires.
HIVE
HIVE is a multi-platform CIA malware suite and its associated control software.
The project provides customizable implants for Windows, Solaris, MikroTik (used in internet routers) and Linux platforms and a Listening Post (LP)/Command and Control (C2) infrastructure to communicate with these implants.
The implants are configured to communicate via HTTPS with the webserver of a cover domain; each operation utilizing these implants has a separate cover domain and the infrastructure can handle any number of cover domains.
Each cover domain resolves to an IP address that is located at a commercial VPS (Virtual Private Server) provider.
The public-facing server forwards all incoming traffic via a VPN to a 'Blot' server that handles actual connection requests from clients.
It is setup for optional SSL client authentication: if a client sends a valid client certificate (only implants can do that), the connection is forwarded to the 'Honeycomb' toolserver that communicates with the implant.
If a valid certificate is missing (which is the case if someone tries to open the cover domain website by accident), the traffic is forwarded to a cover server that delivers an unsuspicious looking website.
The Honeycomb toolserver receives exfiltrated information from the implant; an operator can also task the implant to execute jobs on the target computer, so the toolserver acts as a C2 (command and control) server for the implant.
Similar functionality (though limited to Windows) is provided by the RickBobby project.
See the classified user and developer guides for HIVE.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why now?
WikiLeaks published as soon as its verification and analysis were ready. In February the Trump administration has issued an Executive Order calling for a "Cyberwar" review to be prepared within 30 days.
While the review increases the timeliness and relevance of the publication it did not play a role in setting the publication date.
Redactions
Names, email addresses and external IP addresses have been redacted in the released pages (70,875 redactions in total) until further analysis is complete. Over-redaction: Some items may have been redacted that are not employees, contractors, targets or otherwise related to the agency, but are, for example, authors of documentation for otherwise public projects that are used by the agency.
Identity vs. person: the redacted names are replaced by user IDs (numbers) to allow readers to assign multiple pages to a single author. Given the redaction process used a single person may be represented by more than one assigned identifier but no identifier refers to more than one real person.
Archive attachments (zip, tar.gz, ...), are replaced with a PDF listing all the file names in the archive. As the archive content is assessed it may be made available; until then the archive is redacted.
Attachments with other binary content, are replaced by a hex dump of the content to prevent accidental invocation of binaries that may have been infected with weaponized CIA malware. As the content is assessed it may be made available; until then the content is redacted.
Tens of thousands of routable IP addresses references, (including more than 22 thousand within the United States) that correspond to possible targets, CIA covert listening post servers, intermediary and test systems, are redacted for further exclusive investigation.
Binary files of non-public origin, are only available as dumps to prevent accidental invocation of CIA malware infected binaries.
Organizational Chart
The organizational chart (far above image) corresponds to the material published by WikiLeaks so far.
Since the organizational structure of the CIA below the level of Directorates is not public, the placement of the EDG and its branches within the org chart of the agency is reconstructed from information contained in the documents released so far.
It is intended to be used as a rough outline of the internal organization; please be aware that the reconstructed org chart is incomplete and that internal reorganizations occur frequently.
Wiki pages
"Year Zero" contains 7818 web pages with 943 attachments from the internal development groupware. The software used for this purpose is called Confluence, a proprietary software from Atlassian.
Webpages in this system (like in Wikipedia) have a version history that can provide interesting insights on how a document evolved over time; the 7818 documents include these page histories for 1136 latest versions.
The order of named pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first). Page content is not present if it was originally dynamically created by the Confluence software (as indicated on the re-constructed page).
What time period is covered?
The years 2013 to 2016. The sort order of the pages within each level is determined by date (oldest first).
WikiLeaks has obtained the CIA's creation/last modification date for each page but these do not yet appear for technical reasons. Usually the date can be discerned or approximated from the content and the page order.
If it is critical to know the exact time/date contact WikiLeaks.
What is "Vault 7"
"Vault 7" is a substantial collection of material about CIA activities obtained by WikiLeaks.
When was each part of "Vault 7" obtained?
Part one was obtained recently and covers through 2016. Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.
Is each part of "Vault 7" from a different source?
Details on the other parts will be available at the time of publication.
What is the total size of "Vault 7"?
The series is the largest intelligence publication in history.
How did WikiLeaks obtain each part of "Vault 7"?
Sources trust WikiLeaks to not reveal information that might help identify them.
Isn't WikiLeaks worried that the CIA will act against its staff to stop the series?
No. That would be certainly counter-productive.
Has WikiLeaks already 'mined' all the best stories?
No. WikiLeaks has intentionally not written up hundreds of impactful stories to encourage others to find them and so create expertise in the area for subsequent parts in the series. They're there.
Look. Those who demonstrate journalistic excellence may be considered for early access to future parts.
Won't other journalists find all the best stories before me?
Unlikely. There are very considerably more stories than there are journalists or academics who are in a position to write them.
submitted by CuteBananaMuffin to conspiracy [link] [comments]

Lengthy analysis: Thoughts on arena, tier lists, and the low placement of Caeda/Clair

So this think piece is mostly a response to seeing Caeda and Clair's questionable middling tier placements:
Both tier list creators have stated things like availability and budget not being a factor, but seeing Caeda being rated at the same tier as Athena on both lists really highlights imo how misguided these placements are.
From gamepress:
Caeda is the definition of missed potential: instead of her signature Wing Spear, Caeda's weapon is an Armourslayer+, which is doing her no favours with her 25 base attack. A Wo Dao+ can help improve her offensive potential, but she still can't hold a feather to other red fliers such as Elincia or Halloween Nowi. Her high resistance lets her take on the role of an anti-mage unit, but this advantage is not enough for her to compete against her rivals.
Erm, clearly not even updated to account for Wing Sword.
Gamepedia actually has an updated review, but I'll single out a particular bullet point:
As previously mentioned, her Attack and Defense stats hold her back. Unfortunately, she's pretty much limited to taking on Green armored units and debuffed red armors, as her low Attack betrays her weapon.
This... isn't simply true.
In any case, arguing a single unit's placement is imo an unproductive use of time: players will see each unit and rate them differently based on their subjective criteria.
But really, what I want to do is not argue Caeda's placement in said tier lists, but use Caeda's questionable placement in both lists as an opportunity to highlight some differences in perspectives I have that these tier lists seem to fail to consider.

Dueling potential as an overrated rating criteria

Defense teams do not need to be practical

Arena offense favors enemy phase over player phase units

Diminishing returns off overly min-maxed offensive spreads

Quick Riposte in relation to middling vs high speed

Chill Speed is recontextualizing what it means to be top and middling speed

Stacking supports in the context of player vs enemy phase

Optimal builds vs "ceiling" builds

Finally, the Caeda vs L!Ryoma comparison

Closing Thoughts

EDIT: Fixed some typos
submitted by red_graydient to FireEmblemHeroes [link] [comments]

Weapons you should pick up Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

It’s electric!
Now that I’ve met my one video per post quota, let’s get on with it shall we? Feel free to listen to that song in the background by the way. Really helps set the mood. Or something.
So yeah, hey, it's yah boy, Thatuserguy, back again with another weapon recommendations post. You may not remember me (I certainly don't remember you. Yeah, you in the back. Who the hell are you? How’d you get in my house?) but I'm back anyways. Probably doesn’t help that I promised this post was coming soonTM like over a week ago. But no worries, OP delivers! You bunch of chucklefucks seemed to like the last one pretty well, so I figured I'd give this another go. Who knows, maybe this'll somehow become a regular thing? "Boo! Get off the stage!" Well fuck you too, Jerry. Don’t just take my word for it though. Look at all these stellar reviews from satisfied readers of my last post:
This list is shit. Nothing on it is good.
This guy’s humor sucks.
Why the hell didn’t you include X weapon? It’s soooo much better than the ones you included.
See? If that doesn’t solidify your trust in me, I don’t know what will. Anyways, my last post only really covered weapons sold in The Tower. But hey, according to people commenting on it, I had too many guns picked out already, and all of them were shit. So I thought to myself, fuck it, why not add EVEN MORE shitty guns to the list? Because fuck you, and fuck your vault space. But mostly fuck you. I’m gonna be covering weapons that you can’t just grab from a vendor in the dead of night, marks in hand, and desperation in your eyes. No. These guns take skill. They take a steady hand. And most of all, they take RNG.
Seriously though, because of the very nature of these guns depending on RNG to both drop, and drop with good rolls, there will probably be a large amount of guns on this list. I will try my best to limit the amount that appear on here, but without set perk rolls, that’s a much harder task than it was last time. It also makes attempting to rank them damn near impossible. I’ll also try at the very end to summarize this post in case things involving words and thinking are not your strong suit. It’s okay, we’re all a little special on the inside. Just, some of us more so than others.
As for the rest, I could give you the same rundown I did last post about how I can’t possibly have tested all these weapons, how I’m not responsible for how RNG may fuck you over, and yada yada yada, but that’s long and boring. I like you, so I’m gonna spare you those details. Instead, I’m just gonna say, I’ll suggest you some fucking guns, and you’re gonna fucking like them. “What if I don’t?” I hear you ask. Well tough shit numbnuts. Go make your own fucking guide or some shit then. I don’t care. I’ll just be over here in my corner playing with my better guns. You can just sit over there eating glue or whatever the hell it is you do for fun. Now, everyone else, hop aboard the bullet train! We’re on a journey to gun city. Strap in tight, it’s gonna be a long and bumpy ride (side note: I’m probably on a list now for google searching “kid strapped onto toilet” If you don’t hear back from me, assume the worst.)
 

Strike Exclusive Weapons:

Just kidding. These will never drop for you. Give up now while you still have hope left in your eyes, Guardian. Still determined? You poor fool. I’ll at least make this easy on you and tell you which ones are worth your time.
 
Imago Loop – Hand Cannon (Vex Strikes): This thing doesn’t just have the Fatebringer’s archetype. This thing is literally Fatebringer. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Really though, it’s got the exact same stats as Fatrebringer, and can roll with Firefly and Outlaw. You very well could end up with a Year 2 Fatebringer (minus the arc and oracle disrupter anyways. Don’t get greedy now.) If not, it’s still a pretty solid hand cannon. I’ve noticed that most of the hand cannons in TTK have really bad range, yet this sucker has at least 2-2.5x as much base range as them. Just like our little friend Nolandroid (Nolanbot? The Nolanator?), I may not be the best at math, but something being 2x better sounds pretty good to me.
Does Not Bow – Auto Rifle (The Shadow Thief): This thing is brown because it’s shit. Nah, I’m just kiddin’. It’s alright. If you were one of those weirdos who liked the look of the PoE AR (It’s okay, I did too) this thing is actually brown like the Devils’ color scheme. Damn good archetype too. It’s basically the same as The Summoner, Shadow Price, Vanquisher, SUROS Regime, and other such AR’s that kicked your ass in crucible. So if you like those guns but thought to yourself “I wish this came in the shape of a turd,” well, there you go.
Baron’s Ambition – Machine Gun (Fallen SABER): Basically the same gun as its older, not shit colored version. No idea if you guys tried out the older version, but it was pretty fun. Pretty solid gun either way. Though if your turds are solid, you should probably go see a doctor.
 

Raid Weapons:

Much like strike weapons, you probably won’t be getting these weapons. However, you do have a better chance, as Oryx isn’t as much of a dick as RNGesus is when it comes to strikes (emphasis on “as much of a dick”).
 
Smite of Merain – Pulse Rifle: This thing is actually pretty good. The most I could complain about is that its reload speed is a bit too slow (when it comes to pulse rifles, a slow reload speed means your enemy will die of old age before you can get those final rounds in). If you can get past that though (cocoon certainly helps this a ton obviously), it’s a pretty solid choice.
Qullim's Terminus – Machine Gun: This thing is literally just Ruin Wake with half the reload speed. If you like Ruin Wake, but think it could use some better stability and range, this thing is for you. The cocoon perk means that you can make range and stability pretty good at the cost of reload speed, which is of no concern with said perk. Plus the third perk slot has some pretty good rolls. If you can get this sucker, I’d definitely hold onto it.
Zaouli's Bane – Hand Cannon: In the words of everyone’s favorite person blue bastard, “Good weapon.” (Seriously though, does anyone else get irrationally upset when Rahool blurts out that line? Especially when he’s just finished decrypting it into a mote of light? Thanks man, I’ll just throw this ball of light at my enemies. I’ll tell you how that goes.) This thing’s got decent stability, and pretty good damage output. Plus it’s got the highest aim assistance in the game. The biggest issue is the range, but there’s a few perks to help that out at least somewhat.
Defiance of Yasmin – Sniper Rifle: Pretty good sniper. It isn’t completely the high impact, low rate of fire type of sniper that I prefer, but it’s not really low impact, high rate of fire either. It sits nestled somewhere in-between. I wasn’t very fond of the Antimony sniper sold by New Monarchy because of its rather poor stability and poor vendor rolls. This gun, while it does sacrifice some range and reload speed, has a much higher stability to fix this, which I find to be a preferable trade-off. Plus it’s got perks to make range better anyways, and the third perk slot has some decent choices. All without sacrificing the aim assist, which is one of the highest in the game for snipers. Good all-around gun to have.
Elulim's Frenzy – Rocket Launcher: It’s alright. If you can’t get your hands on a Vertigo (I don’t know how, FWC is basically giving it to you on a silver platter with your name engraved into it), this isn’t a bad one to replace it with. The lack of an ability to roll for Grenades & Horseshoes and the low base velocity kind of brings it down a notch or two in my book howver. You can mitigate the velocity issue a bit through the perks it provides at least though.
 

Crucible Drops:

Alright, so maybe PvE and higher level PvP aren’t your thing. Well lucky for you, pity items will drop for you just for playing PvP! And they’re all pretty good. What a novel concept, right? Just make sure you’re at the bottom of the team to increase your odds at said pity drop. Because fuck the guy that did all the work, right?
 
Party Crasher +1 – Shotgun: Another, ermh, “favorite” returning from HoW. And guess what? Bungie actually buffed its base range slightly to be one of the best in the game. Apparently Bungie and I both enjoy a good glass of salty guardian tears. So yeah. Get a good roll with this sucker, and go nuts. Now if only there was a Glass Half Full perk on this thing, the glass of tears joke would be complete…
Split Shifter Pro – Fusion Rifle: This thing was arguably pretty damn good in HoW, and now it’s back. Stability may not be the best compared to fusions like The Vacancy, but its charge rate is one of the best in the game, and it can roll for stability perks anyways. Worth at least giving it a spin if you get one as a drop.
Eyasluna – Hand Cannon: This baby Hawkmoon ain’t got its talons yet, so don’t expect it to maim targets as good as its momma bird. But it’s still got a pretty sharp beak to peck your fucking eyes out. I’d hold onto this little guy if you can snatch him from the nest of RNG. Are these bird metaphors becoming a bit too much by the way? I mean, I’m not going to stop, but I was just wondering.
The Revelator – Hand Cannon: This is basically Zaouli’s Bane lite. It has the same rate of fire, but slightly less impact. Same aim assistance. Ever so slight better range. Even slighter less stability. Basically, if you can’t get Zaouli’s Bane, this is nice to tide you over until you can. But once you do (especially if it’s the elemental version), kick this girl to the side of the road where she belongs.
The Ash Factory – Rocket Launcher: I was personally a bit partial to my Tomorrow’s Answer in HoW, so when I got this as a drop, I just dismantled it. Of course, par for the course, everyone couldn’t wait to tell me how wrong my opinion was (Fuck you too, reddit, I’m moving to voat!). Looking at it now, it’s not a bad launcher. I mean, only having a single rocket in the magazine without tripod sort of kills my explosion boner though. I’d probably still just tell everyone to get a Smolder, as that upsets two parties at once, and I feed on your salt. But anyways, if you get one with Javelin and tripod, it’s worth holding onto. I guess.
NL Shadow 701X – Scout Rifle: I’m pretty damn salty Bungie got rid of the ability to roll full auto on this thing from HoW. Either way, it’s a pretty nice scout to get your hands on. It fires pretty damn fast, and the impact is pretty good. Just don’t expect it to really excel in any other departments.
 

Iron Banana:

Right on time too! Are you excited to earn some cool weapons all while having fun playing this hyper competitive playlist!? Because you shouldn’t be. Iron Banner will leave you with a new fist-sized window in your wall, and a broken controller. Why? The lag. The bullshit. The incompetent teammates. OH FUCKING BOY THE INCOMPETENT TEAMMATES. For what? Some halfway decent rewards? But you’re going to play anyways. And you’re going to get angry. Just like you always do. You might get a weapon for it. But it won’t be worth it. Have fun!
 
Nirwen's Mercy – Pulse Rifle: Perhaps you ignored my role as the gun wizard and got yourself a Spare Change.25? And you realized it’s just sort of “alright” after all, and want something to replace it. Well, you’re in luck! Turns out, Lord Saladbar has been kind enough to gift us a pulse rifle with the same archetype as the godly 55A-allFATE, and with better stability and reload speed at the cost of some range. The range is a bit low on this thing compared to the Spare Change, but that can certainly be remedied with a good roll.
Finnala's Peril – Hand Cannon: Pretty good gun. It’s basically a Fatebringer with better stability and reload speed, at the cost of a little range. If you aren’t able to grab an Imago Loop or Eyasluna, this is your next best bet. And you certainly aren’t just settling for it.
Deidris's Retort – Shotgun: Should you not be able to grab yourself a Party Crasher 2.0, this is a pretty good replacement, mostly because it’s got a pretty good base range. You’re gonna want a roll with more range to catch up with the Party Crasher though, (as its base range is pretty insane) but it fires slightly faster than Party Crasher. Could end up being pretty good with the right roll.
Ashraven's Flight – Fusion Rifle: This thing takes longer to charge up, but has the same or worse stability compared to Long Far gone and Split Shifter Pro. However, it also has more impact, meaning it doesn’t require as many bolts to hit in order to kill. It doesn’t really blow me away, but if you get a good roll that satisfies you, I see no reason not to keep it.
Weyloran's March – Sniper Rifle: Impact is pretty sucky, so this isn’t a gun you should otherwise be using in PvE. In PvP however, this sucker has a very interesting aspect that you wouldn’t otherwise know about: it has the highest aim assistance for a sniper in the game. Roll it with Hidden Hand, and you’ll be popping headshots you didn’t even intend to land.
Haakon's Hatchet – Auto Rifle: Considering how fun to use low impact AR’s are now, this thing doesn’t look half bad to use. If it’s anything like the old Iron Banner AR though, it’s probably got a ton of kick to it, which sucks especially since the stability isn’t the best. You may just be better off grabbing the Dead Orbit AR unless you get a good stability roll.
Tormod's Bellows – Rocket Launcher: This thing has pretty good base velocity, and alright blast radius. If you can’t roll a perk to make blast radius better, it’s gonna be disappointing to use compared to other launchers with good blast radius. But if you can, and you get some other good perks with it, it’ll be a solid rocket launcher. Basically, if you feel like just buying The Vertigo is too easy, and you instead want to gamble with RNG (hint, you’ll lose. He rigged the game), go nuts with this thing.
Ironwreath-D – Sidearm: Deciding whether to include a weapon based on stats AND potential perk rolls is pretty tough. So when you have a weapon type where all the weapons have basically the exact same stats and possible stat rolls, what the hell do you do? I certainly have no idea. So I’m just plopping this thing here. I’ll let you guys sort things out for yourselves. You’re big boys and girls.
 

Trials of Osiris:

Trials is gonna be pretty interesting to watch. A change in the way it works, AND no more relying on Thorn to win (RIP Thorns of Osiris and weekly lighthouse visits). And to top it all off, a new meta is likely going to be established very quickly this time around. The other two jokes about not getting weapons were just that: jokes. If you’re not a crucible god, good fucking luck getting these new weapons. If you’re not TripleWreck, you better pray to whatever god you believe in. If you don’t believe in any gods, you damn well better believe in miracles. Because it probably won’t be happening. On the bright side, there are some weapons that are roughly equivalent to the Trials guns (minus the element on the lighthouse versions anyways). Also, I’m just going to save you some reading and say unless otherwise specified, these weapons are basically the best for their archetype. I will therefore be listing replacement guns in this section instead.
 
The Water Star – Hand Cannon: If you can’t grab this, an Eyasluna or Imago Loop are not too far behind as far as stats. In fact, Imago Loop even has more potential perk rolls than either of the other two.
The Doctrine of Passing – Auto Rifle: Archetypal competitors include Antipodal Hindsight, An Answering Chord, SUROS ARI-45, The Dealbreaker, and Does Not Bow. Funny side note that’s also kind of sad: SUROS Regime is actually worse than this thing even though it’s a legendary.
Reflection Sum – Pulse Rifle: The Lyudmila-D is the next best option (it’s not that far behind) but its recoil is kind of bad. If you can get a recoil-reduction roll on this thing, it’ll probably be just as good. Otherwise, Spare Change.25 is your only other option. Both these options are guns with some pretty bad recoil, but I have a feeling this thing won’t suffer from it as much, so in the end it’ll probably still be the best anyways.
The Inward Lamp – Scout Rifle: If you can pick up a Cocytus SR4, you basically have this gun (slightly worse range, but slightly better stability). If not, consider a Last Extremity or a Colovance's Duty.
Binary Dawn – Shotgun: Ah yes, a weapon to surpass Metal Ge—erhm, I mean Party Crasher. Better base range AND impact at the cost of some stability (literally who cares). The next best option is therefore Party Crasher +1. After that, if you can get a range focused roll, a Conspiracy Theory ain’t that bad either. But you aren’t gonna get as much range squeezed out of it as a Binary Dawn or Party Crasher with range perks obviously.
Elevating Vision – Fusion Rifle: This thing’s actually not all that amazing in my opinion. You’re actually not much worse off if you just grab a Long Fare Gone, Split Shifter Pro, or The Vortex.
Glass Promontory – Sniper Rifle: I had a couple of friends who played Trials a ton when it was first out. We won like every week. One of those friends and I got the old version of this sniper from it, and we both absolutely HATED it. Aiming it just felt so off. This new gun has exactly the same stats, aim assist and all. Personally, I’d say it’s not worth your time. If you’re set on it though, I’d say go with Weyloran's March if you want to go the insane route and max out your aim assist, or go the opposite way and grab a Uzume RR4 if you want to aim your gun and fire like a big boy without the game trying to help.
The Unseeing Eye – Machine Gun: So many damn guns trying to get noticed by their senpai, Ruin Wake. This thing is Ruin Wake with a longer reload time, but more bullets in the magazine. Meh. The extra bullets are nice, but I’d rather not take forever trying to reload.
The Tamarind – Rocket Launcher: Guys! GUYS! Guess what! They took the old Tomorrow’s Answer and made it infinitely better! How so? More stability! Rocket Launcher users rejoice! Honestly though, just grab a damn Vertigo. Its blast radius is the same, but its velocity is better.
 

Gunsmith:

Ah, we’ve reached the final stop. Everyone please grab your belongings. The bullet train will be arriving at gun city shortly. The Gunsmith is fun. He doesn’t seem like he’s actively trying to screw you over, and it always seems like he’s got some pretty good offerings. Plus he’s got a nice voice.
 
Zarinaea-D – Auto Rifle: This little guy fits the low impact, high rate of fire archetype. I’ve played around with it a little, and I actually really like it. Usually Hakke weapons are a bit more recoil heavy, but I didn’t really notice any such issue with this guy. It looks cool, and in my opinion is better than its SUROS equivalent.
SUROS ARI-45 – Auto Rifle: An Answering Chord is arguably a better gun than this as far as range and reload speed, but I like this thing as far as rolls go. After all, both can drop as random rolls, but it’s arguably easier to get the roll you want with this gun because of how the Gunsmith operates.
Uffern HC4 – Hand Cannon: Pretty good hand cannon. It’s Fatebringer’s archetype, but with slightly more impact. Range is pretty good compared to the other vendor hand cannons (though equal with Byronic Hero). It’s also got some damn good stability and pretty decent reload speed.
Judith-D – Hand Cannon: Really high impact hand cannon with some pretty good range (slightly better than Fatebringer’s), but pretty poor stability and reload speed. However, stability is arguably not as important on low rate of fire hand cannons. That being said, it would still be nice to go for a roll that has a stability upgrade, as well as a reload upgrade of some sort (You can never go wrong with Outlaw).
Ace of Spades – This gun is pretty cool. You know how Imago Loop is literally just Fatebringer with a white coat of paint and no arc damage? Well, this thing is as well, but it’s got that little bit extra that makes it special: it was made with love by Cayde. Oh, and some exotic perk that basically makes it so you don’t have to reload if you keep getting kills with it or whatever. It takes away all the pain and suffering of hoping RNG not only drops Imago Loop for you, but also drops it with a Fatebringer roll.
SUROS PDX-45 – Pulse Rifle: Not as good as its vendor equivalent the Hawksaw, but I included it for similar reasons as the SUROS ARI-45. Get a roll with full auto and some range (and maybe stability) increasing perks, and this thing’ll be a beast.
SUROS PDX-41 – Pulse Rifle: Similar to Nirwen’s Mercy, but with better range at the cost of a little stability and reload speed. Roll this thing for stability, and maybe with Outlaw, and you’re golden.
Cocytus SR4 – Scout Rifle: Different archetype from Hung Jury, so I’ll begrudgingly allow it. Its stats aren’t all that bad. High impact scouts aren’t exactly a bad thing to get your hands on. You may want to focus on range and stability for this thing either way.
Tlaloc – Scout Rifle: This thing is warlock exclusive. I was REALLY tempted to not bothering including this thing. Why? It’s literally just a Hung Jury with worse stats. It also basically forces you to sit on your super in order to make it a justifiable gun to use your exotic slot for. That being said, when the exotic perk is active, the increased rate of fire makes this thing pretty damn fun to use, and pretty damn effective at that.
Immobius – Shotgun: This thing is Titan only. And actually, it wouldn’t really be on this list if it weren’t for its signature perk (its range is sort of sucky otherwise). This thing doesn’t expend ammo when you’re sitting in your defender bubble with armor of light getting kills, AND gets bonus damage when three or more enemies are charging at you. Pretty damn good for locking down a point.
Susanoo – Fusion Rifle. This fusion is warlock exclusive, and man, is it nice. Charge rate isn’t the best, but stability is pretty nice, and impact ain’t half bad. And then it has its signature perk to fall back on that makes it start dealing elemental damage based on the elemental damage you just dealt with your subclass. It’s kind of like Dracula if he started spewing blood at his enemies after drinking someone some. Also, I suck at analogies by the way.
Thesan FR4 – Fusion Rifle: The Vacancy is a pretty useful little bugger. But fuck that shit, because then there’s this monster. Its charge rate is slightly better at the cost of an exceedingly minor difference in damage and range. And then it has stability and reload speed that kicks The Vacancy’s ass. So yeah, pick this fucker up faster than a puppy that just stole your heart at a rescue shelter. Don’t let it just sit there, whimpering that you just left it behind. Probably to some guy who wouldn’t love it as much as you would. Don’t worry, your man card will still be intact.
Eirene RR4 – Sniper Rifle: This guy’s been making some waves as of its recent sale by Banshee. I’ve had this sucker on my list of guns to get before TTK even released. I’m the damn gun wizard. Don’t doubt me. Anyways yeah, it’s got slightly more impact than 1000-yard stare, but less stability and reload speed. Either way, not a bad sniper to have, especially if you can get a good roll on it.
Tamar-D – Sniper Rifle: Basically the Antimony sniper with less reload speed. However, I was not fond of the Antimony sniper because of its low stability. This being a gunsmith weapon, you can more easily get a roll with higher stability to make this gun more enjoyable than the Antimony sniper. And you don’t even have to give up much aim assist for it.
Stillpiercer – Sniper Rifle: Gotta mention this sniper or people are gonna get mad at me. It’s a 1000-yard stare but with better reload speed and some cool perks. It’s hunter exclusive however, so sorry to everyone not playing an overpowered class ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Honorable Mentions:
Lyudmila-D – Pulse Rifle: I have this thing, and I love it to death. However, I didn’t include it for similar reasons to Spare Change.25: it’s got some pretty nasty recoil. For most people, this will be a complete no-no for a pulse rifle especially. I don’t mind it that much, but I can understand why most would. SUROS weapons tend to not have nearly as much kick as Hakke weapons, which is why I only included SUROS weapons for Pulse Rifles. They aren’t bad Pulse Rifles though.
SUROS DIS-47 – Scout Rifle: Much like the Lyudmila, I love this thing. It can fire basically as fast as you can pull the trigger. It’s a good weapon for dealing a ton of damage over time as opposed to dealing large amounts of damage all at once. Still some might not like a scout like that. Not to mention your fingers can get tired pretty quick considering how fast you have the slam down the trigger in order to deliver a good amount of damage.
Uzume RR4 – Sniper Rifle: This thing’s alright. I’m not an amazing fan of low impact snipers, but I do like snipers with a lower aim assist. This thing has decently low aim assist, which is fine in my book. It also has the highest base stability in the game for making follow up shots easier. However, I realize low impact snipers aren’t the most popular, and self-acclaimed pro snipers can’t wait to tell me how great high aim assist snipers are, so I’m gonna leave this little guy right here.
SUROS JLB-47 – Rocket Launcher: Just get The Vertigo dammit. If you really don’t, this thing is the exact same launcher, but you can choose the perks it rolls with easier. But honestly, The Vertigo already has good perks, so why bother?
 
Alright everyone. We’ve reached our destination. Everyone get the fuck off my train. The trip isn’t completely over yet though! Because RNGesus’ wrath knows no bounds, your bus home has been delayed. So you get to sit here longer and look at whatever else I have to show you. For all you fuckers who don’t like to read (I got enough comments about it last time to know there’s plenty of you out there), here’s a nice concise summary of everything. But before we get to the nice concise summary, here’s a lot of reading. Now pay close attention, because this could get complicated. I have each weapon split into the archetype it fits for its weapon type. Next to that archetype, I have listed the general stats for weapons of that archetype (such as low or high range, low or high stability, etc.). Next to each weapon, I have listed the stats important to that weapon type, and how much you should focus on improving the weapon in said areas in order to make it hit the best stats for that archetype.
So if an AR has a stability of 10/100, and the highest stability in that archetype is 40/100, it will be listed that the weapon we are looking at needs a high focus on stability. But if a weapon has a stability of 40/100 and the highest weapon stability in that archetype is, say, 45/100, then the weapon will be listed as needing a low focus on stability. Make sense? It should be noted that while this makes it easy for comparing how much work is needed to make a gun good within an archetype, it isn’t that useful for comparing across archetypes. Therefore, you should pick the archetype you are most fond of, and search within that. There’s no easy way for me to compare across archetypes besides what I’ve already done (listing what the archetype as a whole tends to gravitate around). Here’s some tips on using that to the best potential:
If an archetype is listed as low stability, and a weapon in that archetype is listed with a low focus on stability, it’s pretty close to the best stability stat in that archetype. However, its stability stat isn’t that great in the grand scheme of things because of its archetype. If the weapon was listed as having a high focus on stability in that archetype, that means its stability is pretty damn piss poor in comparison to other AR’s. Likewise, if an archetype is listed as high stability, and a weapon is listed with a low focus on stability, overall, it’s got a pretty damn amazing base stability. But if it’s listed as having a high focus on stability, while its stability is likely alright, and perhaps better than an archetype with low stability, its stability isn’t all that great in comparison to its peers. You must also take into account that the higher the rate of fire a weapon has, the more stability it will need. So an AR with only medium stability isn’t that bad if it’s a high impact archetype, but will kick like a bronco if it’s a low impact archetype. If all these words confused you, and perhaps even scared you, it’s probably just easiest to pick an archetype that sounds good, and pick out the weapon you think looks coolest. I’ve done most of the heavy lifting for you already anyways.
 
Auto Rifles:
High Impact: Low to medium stability, medium to high range
Low Impact: Medium to high stability, low to medium range
 
Scout Rifles:
High Impact: Low to medium stability, high range
Low Impact: Medium stability, low range
 
Hand Cannons:
High Impact: Medium stability and range
Low Impact: Medium stability, low range
 
Pulse Rifles:
High Impact: Low to medium stability, high range
Medium Impact: High stability, medium range
Low Impact: High stability, low range
 
Shotguns:
High Impact: Medium to high range
 
Fusions:
High Charge Rate: Medium stability, low impact
Medium Charge Rate: Medium to high stability and impact
 
Snipers:
High Impact: Medium to high stability
Medium Impact: Low to medium stability
Low Impact: Medium to high stability
 
Machine Guns:
High Impact: High stability, medium range
Medium Impact: High stability and range
 
Rocket Launchers:
 
As a final note, I’m obviously not suggesting you get ALL of these weapons (gotta clear this up because this wasn’t obvious enough last time apparently). These are just suggestions of ones to look at. These are guns that if you get a good roll to combat the listed weaknesses, you’ll overall have a really good weapon on your hands. If you get something that isn’t on this list or the vendor weapon list, it probably isn’t worth your time. Which one you get, and which rolls you get, are up to RNG. Which ones you keep are up to you. If you have any questions over what I personally believe to be the best weapon to snag for each category, I’ll be more than happy to give my two cents. Happy hunting, Guardians!
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