Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Boo! pt. 2

Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Someone said I wasn't posting enough

This is an awesome project, which I love: A diary of carved blocks, complete with its own coded language. After the year was over, the artist housed the entire thing, including all the shavings from the carved blocks in a huge, specially built case and arranged the blocks not chronologically, but alphabetically by type of wood used. Next time we're in South Africa, you can bet I'll be giving this guy a call. I hope you're happy, Kellie Porter. I'm supposed to be writing a paper right now.


Barton Lee and Me

Nancy Sinatra posted this really lovely collection of photos of her and the late great Lee Hazlewood. Someday, after decades of work together, I hope The Shamblers will take a grizzly old photo like this one here.

I also love this one. "Of course now we would add the songs from Nancy and Lee 3 plus 'Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.'" Yes!

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Monday, October 29, 2007

eBay Rear Window #2

This may not be as drool-worthy to the rest of you, but I've got a real soft spot for the 500 format, and see the 512 as the champ of its type. Ten of them, racked and powered, in a row? All the better. Sure, ten Mono Gamas would look cooler, but this'll do just fine for now.

It's worth noting that the auction, of course, in keeping with the theme of the "Rear Window" posts, is only for one of the preamps in the photo above.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Misc. photos from this past weekend

Young vs. Heyneman

Contras portraits from this past weekend

Bennet & Kellie Porter

Our good friends Bennet and Kellie were married yesterday in Falmouth, MA.


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Friday, October 26, 2007

eBay Rear Window #1

In terms of gear photos, eBay is the best blog out there. It's got a decent search engine, it's constantly updated and it's massive.

Part of the fun of window shopping through it is seeing your favorite machines in the kind of real world context that you yourself cannot afford but have probably imagined once or twice.

The photo below, for example, is only for a pair of desktop Genelecs ($500-- not bad!), and not the chic minimalist studio space you'd put them in if you could (in the same way that this ad is only for Newports, and not "Pleasure"):

I'll be keeping an eye out for more "gear in the (attractive) wild" photos in the days ahead, and will be posting them under this heading here when I find 'em. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mixer as tone source

Using the fixed EQ bands on a Behringer 1202 as oscillators in a feedback loop, with a Thingamagoop and Tapco 4400 bouncing away in the background.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Simple is the best design

That's the front panel of the Zerotronics CoolSprings mono-in/stereo-out reverb unit, and it's on our list of "things to buy" here at Leisure Cove.

I love the commitment of the machine-- no knobs! Just patch in and out for a sound, and forget about controlling it! Come to think of it, that's like the inverse of a Funk Logic product.


Monday, October 22, 2007

eBay pick of the day: gear from The Church

Studio sale!

It looks like a studio in Oklahoma closed and is selling off some of its gear. Some picks in the lot: a Gates Level Devil (is this the father or the brother of the Sta-Level? If you know, let me know!), a pair of LA-3as, and a Telefunken v73b, which I've never heard of but suddenly want very much. Also, they're auctioning four channels of API 500 pres and EQs... one day, I swear, one day I'll win the lottery.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tech 21 Comptortion

We bought a Tech 21 Comptortion pedal recently. I'll have a review up soon enough, but the short version goes like this: I'd read enough magazine articles/forum postings about running a 57 through one of these for a good "overblown walkman" styled drum sound that I had to try it for myself. I haven't had the chance yet (it only got here this morning), but I can tell you, even with the distortion cranked, it's the quietest fuzzbox we've got, and it sounds great on the organ. Again, full review and MP3s soon!!


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lo-fi hi-fi

We (finally) bought a new, cheap-o preamp for our record player and can now listen to records again! It's been a while and it's been lame. And, if only for the fact that we haven't been able to do so for the last few months, we patched in this little Sansui reverb thing we bought for $20 last year but hadn't used much.

I'm here to tell you: get one. Don't pay more than $20, but get one. It's a magic box.

We tried it out first on an obvious candidate: Robert Gordon.

Robert Gordon played rockabilly in the late 70s, but with none of the echo box eccentricities of Tav Falco or The Cramps to make his records anything other than "genuine." "This music is who he is," the back of the LP jacket reads, and the recording quality is equally honest: despite being a throwback to a time when school PA systems had reverb sends built into them, the production here is clean, restrained and boring. But pass this platter through the RA-700 and it really comes alive! I'm not joking-- hitting the button "off" and "on" gave us with two different records: as originally issued and enjoyable.

Because the RA-700 was built for an undiscerning consumer market in a time when everyone was smoking dope, it doesn't even pretend to improve the sound quality of whatever you pass through it. When engaged, the bass drops off, the midrange distorts and the reverb effect sounds exactly like what it is: a cheap, short-spring Hammond enclosure. Somehow though, and I've been waiting years for this to be true: three wrongs make a right.

Case in point: a record we liked already: "Colossal Youth" by Young Marble Giants

Young Marble Giants played minimalist pop better than anyone, and "Colossal Youth" is what they're remembered for. By design, there are huge open spaces throughout the album, and the "if you can't do it live, don't do put it out" rule is firmly in place-- there isn't a second guitar track to be found on it from start to finish. Someone hit record, the band played and now we have "Colossal Youth." It's from 1980, when "cutting edge" meant cold digital reflections, but aside from spots of that here and there, it has a simple, understated mix (think "Before Hollywood" era Go-Betweens, with less drums).

But sure enough, add in some splashy reverb and it's a better album! Well, not entirely (we pulled the Amount dial back on a few songs), but by and large, it sounds better with RV-700 in the mix. The title track bounces even more with a little slapback and "The Wind in the Rigging" sounds cinematic with the dial turned to full.

Pick up an RV 700 (or RV-500... they're the same, from what I can tell) and try it for yourself! I think you'll like it!

(Question: are there any published mods for these machines?)

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The Boilermakers came over

Greg from The Boilermakers stopped by Leisure Cove to do some recording. Their new record, I swear, will be out soon... like, by January. Probably.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

My desk is getting crowded

Has there been a push in the pro-sumer audio market away from the rackmount format? I've been noticing more and more manufacturers rebranding their machines as desktop-ready, non-rackmountable products and have started to wonder.

To wit: Universal Audio stopped making the M610 and started selling the Solo 610, Presonus has begun phasing out the Central Station and phasing in the Monitor Station, Seven Woods reissued the Ursa Major Space Station 282-- once an imposing 3U monster-- as a remote-styled, handheld box, etc.

I can understand the argument that in a project studio space is at a premium, and so the smaller a product's footprint the better. It's a valid one-- why else would the new Neves be half-rack sized?-- but the thing is, if you've already got a screen, a mixer, a pair of monitors and a Liquid Mix on your desk, how much more space do you really have? Isn't that why we use racks in the first place?

That said, do any of you prefer desktop to rackmount designs? Is there something out there that you feel is more approachable/functional as a desktop unit than it is racked? Is there anything currently only available in rackmount format that you'd like to see a desktop version of?

Side questions: have you ever made a desktop-format enclosure? Have you ever racked a desktop unit?


eBay pick of the day: API Lunchbox, BAE 312s

API Lunchbox with six Brent Averill 312 preamps

These are the older 312s, with API 2520 op amps in them. The "new" 312s (312As) use Avedis 1122 op amps. If you're snobbish about that sort of thing (I would be if I had the dough), or if you're just curious and want to know what the difference sounds like, head on over to this page on the one-of-a-kind (Gear Wire doesn't count) Listening Sessions site and compare/contrast for yourself!


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My favorite SK-1 bend yet!

He should call this the "Tender Buttons" mod.

I love that band. I'm a few years late, I know, but I just picked up "Tender Buttons" the other night. There's what I can only imagine is overblown Casio --> Sonic Alienator on EVERY song! Why haven't more bands embraced this ideal pairing?

Sure, the "full band" dynamic is gone (there are only two people in the group at this point) and they only use their trademark "perfect drum sound" in the first song, which is a shame, but the slimline production is crazily fitting. I'm a fan and I'll like anything they put out, but if you haven't given it a spin yet, track it down. I don't remember it getting much press/good reviews at release time, so you should be able to find it in the used bins of your local good record store right now, no problem. RECOMMENDED.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

eBay pick of the day: Oktava 012-AM

The first Oktava MK-012-AM ever made

Think of it as an ambisonic mic that accepts 012 caps. These are very new-- they were unveiled at Messe this past March, and, to the best of my knowledge, are not yet available for purchase publicly. Be the first (and only) person on your block to get one!

Bonus "pick": the first MK-012-8 ever made, which, like the 012-AM, is both brand new and not-otherwise-available.

EDIT: The MK-012-8, it turns out, is otherwise available.


Monday, October 08, 2007

The LA-4 pair that got away

A few minutes ago, Jess and I came this close to getting the deal of the century on a pair of silverface LA-4 compressors. We held the "Highest Bidder" top spot for a few hours, but, in the auction's final 30 seconds, we were outbid. No big loss. We couldn't really afford them anyway. Happens all the time.

But wait! Not ten seconds later, whoever outbid us was, himself, outbid by nearly double his maximum reserve! What a masterstroke of eBay finesse!

Socks not yet blown off? Well, here's the thrilling story in screenshot format:


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another great acting job on Craig's List

"Does your clairvoyant child want to be the star of a documentary?"

  • Does your child have an interesting story to tell?

  • Is your child spiritually perceptive or psychically gifted?

  • Do you want to have a short film to launch your story out into the world?

  • I'm thinking about auditioning for this one and just hamming it up "Clifford" style.

    Speaking of which, can we all pause for a moment and reflect on how great that movie really is? If you've never seen it, or even if you haven't seen it recently, do yourself the favor and rent it tonight.

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