Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Handy gadgets

These are either great ideas or the marks of a lazy engineer. I stand on the "great ideas" side, but can understand both arguments.

sE Electronics "The Reflexion Filter"

Frontier "Tranzport"

On Stage "Quick Release"

The OCI "O-Tray"


Looking for a preamp

With our Oktava 319 back from Oktavamod, we're in the market for a new microphone preamp-- part of our ongoing, slow moving "upgrade the studio" project. As it stands now, we're using the stock pres in our MOTU Traveler, which work fine enough, but have a fairly low output (we have to crank 'em with ribbons) and a sound that's more lackluster than it is neutral.

Our modified 319 is a somewhat professional mic. We'd like a somewhat professional preamp to compliment it. Unfortunately, microphone preamps, be they on the "somewhat professional" tier or any notch thereabove, are out of our budget. The lowest priced respectable one I've come across (Brent Averill's 312A) is $600, but requires a $500 rack for powering and storage. Granted, $500 lets you power up to six 500 series preamps, but, again, the 312A is the cheapest of the lot.

So, to go the most economical route, you'd have to drop $1100 on, essentially, a single channel mono preamp, just to get in the game, and pay $700 - $900 installments from there, provided you stick with the 500 series format.

And yes, sure, you could spend more money for a preamp, I'm not saying you can't, but $1100 as the most economical route is economy despite itself.

Fortunately today, I came across this posting on Craig's List for a Sage SE-Pre 1 (w/ power supply) for $500 or best offer. Sage SEs are handbuilt in Canada by someone who posts on the Tape OP board-- I haven't found very many reviews of the SE-Pre 1, but have liked what I've seen/heard so far.

In any case, I proposed a trade of money + Frostwave Resonator to the seller and will report back once I hear something. Cross your fingers, friends.

UPDATE: We didn't get it


Monday, January 29, 2007

Did anyone else watch this?

eBay pick of the day: Homebrew Ring Modulator

Sci-Fi robot voice ring modulator

"Make your voice sound like a variety of robots"-- what a tag line! This auction is an oddity: it's a Brit, selling a ring modulator without mentioning The Daleks.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

The T&V on WFMU!

Bill Kelly, host of The Teenage Wasteland program on WFMU, gave "I'm a Living Sickness," from the upcoming Tender & Vulnerable 10," its world premier today, sandwiched between "Do You Have To Ask" by The Shambles (no relation) and Nuggets favorite "Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)" by The Hombres.

Click here and click on one of the archive links for January 28th show.

The T&V are back!


Suzanna Ciani is for the children


Friday, January 26, 2007

eBay pick of the day: modified "Signal Tracer"

Jess organized the desk in the hallway


Szott came over for dinner

We had our friend Kelly Szott over for dinner, where she said the very funny, "That's how it is in New York, right? Everybody just sees each other naked through binoculars."


We've been listening to...


We bought a printer


The pegboard is up!


Box we found on the street


Pictures from the Project Room


CD case in the hallway

Check out the slant on the floor! There's a full 2" piece of scrap buoying up the right side of this thing.


Bookshelves in the Reading Room, pt. 4

Almost there-- all that's left to do is sand and paint!


Thursday, January 25, 2007


I often feel that my local Post Office is more inept than most other branches: packages arrive destroyed and empty, bills appear months after they were issued, letters addressed to other apartments in other apartment buildings routinely arrive in my mailbox. I've come to accept it as fact-- I get about 2/3 of my mail. It is what it is.

So, when I called the 11209 office earlier today, it came as no suprise that I was met with a "this phone has been temporarily disconnected" message on the other end. This is the kind of message your phone company posts when you haven't been paying your bills.

Here's the number-- check it out: (718) 238-4525.

On a related note, I have a package waiting for me at the Post Office from Oktavamod... the MK-319 is back! Expect a review to post this weekend.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Christmas cactus

Our Christmas cactus is blooming!


Possible "External FX" remedy for Studio 4

This is a quick-fix rememdy for the "External FX" problem we'd mentioned a few postings ago regarding Cubase Studio 4:

Insert a mixer inbetwen the Output of the outboard and the Input of the recording hardware (in our case, a MOTU Traveler). This way, you'll be able to monitor the settings changes in real time, rather than in stages, after they've been recorded. It isn't a perfect solution (the mixer will impart its own sound onto the outboard return signal), but it should save you some grief.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Other alternate Live controllers

"Check my style"


Great ideas from New Mexico


Friday, January 19, 2007

Cubase Studio 4 gripe

If you're thinking about buying Cubase, but can't decide between the full Cubase 4 edition less expensive Studio 4 version, click here:

Comparison chart: Cubase 4 / Studio 4

Pay special attention to the line "External FX": Yes in Cubase 4, No in Studio 4. What does it mean?

It means track inserts in Studio 4 are exclusively "in the box" operations-- you can use an LA-2A plug-in as an insert on your vocal track, but you cannot use your physical, actual LA-2A . Not without:

a) printing it at the recording stage


b) creating an "FX Track"
c) sending the recorded track to the "FX Track"
d) bussing the "FX Track" to your outboard
e) returning from your outboard
f) creating a new audio track with the return as an input
g) recording the playback
h) adjusting for latency after the fact
i) repeating the process until you get the sound you are looking for

And because you can't monitor the "FX Track" exclusively (or, at least, exclusive of the unaffected, pre-recorded version that is being sent to it), it's tough to adjust your outboard gear with any sort of accuracy or confidence at the first go-around. All you can do is press record and take notes on the changes you're making on your extra-computer gear. Then, after the superflous "insert" track has been recorded, listen back to it, wait until the affected track sounds the way you'd like it to, check your notes, and, if you've jotted down something that corresponds with the setting, dial it in on the outboard. Then delete the track you've just recorded and repeat the process.

There's a $500 gap between the two editions of the program, and it ain't just softsynths and EQs that are missing from Studio 4. A good deal of basic functionality is absent from the more affordable edition, and there is currently no economical way to add it, either-- the upgrade from Studio 4 to Cubase 4 costs as much as Studio 4 itself.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

"The Good Shepherd" gaffe

We saw "The Good Shepherd" a couple of nights ago and, like most people I'm sure, appreciated the fact that the film's Prop Master decided to showcase a Urei 565 "Little Dipper" in one key scene (which was very reminicent of the "audio decoding" scene in "Sneakers," I might add).

If you haven't seen it yet, in "The Good Shepherd," CIA agents are doing their best to clean up a particularly muddy reel of 1/4" tape, and, by using a 565, are able to notch out extraneous noise and narrow in on and identify, say, the ceiling fan whirring behind the dialog, or the distant jet engine masked by nearby church bell clamour. All very exciting stuff, and, more importantly, somewhat accurate. This it what the 565 was designed for-- ultra narrow Q notch filtering. Identifying a particular frequency and removing it. Etc.

Unfortunately, the scene in question was set in 1961, nine years before the 565 was released. I know, I know: movies are illusions, the 565 was just a prop so what does it matter, creative license, blah blah blah. Still, it's fun to imagine some gear snob boom operator complaining about it on set ("Come on, guys. Can't we use a PEQ-2?")


eBay pick of the day: $1,000 tube

One Sylvania 1276 tube for $1,000

He's also selling a pair for $900 each if you're looking for, you know, a deal.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

eBay pick of the day: Telefunken 302 + TD300

Telefunken 302 reel to reel recorder + TD300 microphone

We bought a TD300 a while back as a novelty mic-- it not only has a level dial built into the chasis, but it's also got a VU meter right there on the grill! Sonically it's nothing special, but if you're looking to put something cheap and unique in your mic locker and can't track down, say, an AKG DX11, pick this up. Consider the shoulder-strap reel-to-reel in this auction a bonus!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

If this isn't charming, then nothing is


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Freerunning on You Tube

Is this a California thing? Like ghostriding the whip and getting hyphy?



Saturday, January 13, 2007

eBay pick of the day: Altec 195A 29B

Moog MF-107 sneak peak

via Matrix Synth

And here's the Moog forum discussion about it. Is this a planned leak? Is it a hoax? Guess we'll find out at NAMM.


Friday, January 12, 2007

eBay pick of the day: Manley's Neve

David Manley's Neve console

That's David Manley, of Manley Labs. And this is a Neve with Pultecs.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

eBay pick of the day: E-H Attack Decay

Electro-Harmonix Attack Decay (1979)

This is along the same lines as the Boss Slow Gear / Guyatone Slow Volume pedals, although a little more involved.

With the titular Attack and Decay times being individually adjustable, this thing is capable of producing far more than simple "Reversed Tape" sounds. Think of it for what it is: with the balance knob turned completely clockwise, this is an AR envelope generator:

Short attack and decay settings will give you a koto sound; long attack, no decay for a bowed effect; no attack, long decay... well, that's what's happening with your guitar when the pedal's off anyway, but you get the idea.

Toss in an selectable "Edge" distortion circuit (on the back of the unit), and you've got yourself an interesting machine.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

eBay pick of the day: Urei 1178

Urei 1178 stereo compressor

There have been an oddly high number of 1178s popping up on eBay recently-- more 1178s than 2-1176 s in fact-- which, depending on how you read choose to read the site (do more 1178 auctions mean more people want the machines or just that a higher number of people are looking to get rid of them?), should tell you something.

Not that I can afford either compressor, but if I remember my SOS interviews correctly, Senor Coconut's outboard rack looks like this: 1178, Digi 002. That's it. And his track record? Hit, hit, hit, etc. Could it be the 1178?


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

eBay pick(s) of the day: AKG 451s

This guy is selling a ton of mint condition 451Es (either they’re doubles— which would be amazing— or he just goofed up the listings)! Two each of the following:

w/ CK-5 (cardioid w/ windscreen) capsule

w/ CK-9 shotgun capsule

w/ CK-8 hypercardioid capsule

w/ CK-1 cardioid capsule

Also, someone else is selling a matched pair of CK-2 omni capsules .

Somebody, quick: lend me some dough!


Monday, January 08, 2007

eBay pick of the day: Chord Organ Blues

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sansui RA-700: of questionable value

We have a Sansui RA-700. We bought it for $12.95 on eBay and paid another $7 to have it shipped to us some time ago. It's the stereo spring reverb we got for under $20: it doesn't get much action, and is usually used as a back-up for our occassionally reliable Tapco 4400.

A spring reverb is a spring reverb, but a BX-20 the RA-700 ain't.

In any case, I've recently started looking for another RA-700 to fill out a rack-mount project (similar to this one), and have once again turned to The Bay for help.

I found a handful of them without trouble-- people are looking to unload their RA-700s just as much as they were when I first went looking for one-- only now, no one knows what they should sell for:

Opening bids of $0.99, $24.99, $45.99 and Buy It Now's of $88 and $100! Ridiculous!


eBay pick of the day: The Great British Spring

Saturday, January 06, 2007

eBay pick of the day: King Bee 7"

King Bee "Hot Pistol" 7"

From the Dead Moon site:

At some point, Toody's younger brother Pat started working at Captain Whizeagle's. "We sat him down and gave him a drum kit", says Fred, and that fact led to the formation of a trio called King Bee, formed in 1976 with Mark Sten (a.k.a. Mark Stanley) as a bassplayer, and Fred doing vocals and this time picking up the guitar, too. Their only release, a 7" with three songs, almost makes Dead Moon sound hi-fi: the recordings were made in a back room with a tape recorder that had just been in a fire, "and the tape was stretched and melting. It hums so loud that the buzz is louder than the music!"


Friday, January 05, 2007

Butch Willis & the Rocks: LIVE VIDEOS!!

And, best of all: (Scroll down to "TV's from Outer Space." Also worth watching: everything else on that site)


Proofreaders wanted

This caught my eye:

a DBX 903 compressor (part of DBX's 900 modular series-- a precursor to the API 500 standard) currently on eBay for $2,600, roughly 200% its resale value:

Now, obviously, this is a typo. Not because it's at the very least one zero too many, and not because there's another 903 on eBay for nearly 1/20 the price, but because the same store is selling a significantly more rare and impossibly cooler Lexicon 122 Digital Delay rack system (w/ a full compliment of modules) for $1000:

With that in mind, I feel safe to assume the same holds true for the two 905s they're selling as well. Perhaps they accept bridges as payment.


eBay pick(s) of the day: Ampex 350/351s

Two Ampex 350s and an Ampex 351


Machines we like: Guyatone Slow Volume

Guyatone Slow Volume pedal.

1/2 the size and 1/3 the price of a Boss Slow Gear stompbox. And unlike the Behringer knock-offs, the SV-2 sounds identical to the SG-1.

Click here for some info on the SV-2, and here to hear it.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Great vintage Italian guitar site

This may be as common to guitar snobs as the Synth Museum is to Oberheim fans, but be sure to check out Fetish Guitars when you get a chance. All the gear porn you could ask for, backed by the kind of thorough nerd trivia typically reserved for garage comp liners-- my kind of site!


eBay pick of the day: 1965 9-string Framus

9-string Framus electric guitar

Standard, with doubled G, B and high E strings.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Whitney Houston auction

Click here for an auction listing.
I'm bidding on the church pew and the Mallet Kat.


eBay pick of the day: American DR-332

American DR-332 microphone

Dynamic / ribbon combo with adjustable impedance!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Modifying our MK-319

No budget microphone collection is complete without an Oktava MK-319. Ours was bought in late 2000 for $79 on eBay.

Recently, we'd read about an Oktava-specific modification shop in Tape Op called, creatively enough, Oktava Mod. After a handful of emails with Michael, the shop's owner/tech, we decided to send in our beloved 319 for an upgrade.

They offer one basic MK-319 modification, with additional mods available for the chassis and internal electronics that'll graduate the 319 to some fairly impressive specs.

Ours is set to be modified on 1/18/07. Be sure to check back around then for a review on the results!


eBay pick of the day: Urei LA-4 for $600

Urei LA-4

There are two of these for sale, both with $600 "Buy It Now" prices. If anyone out there was looking for that perfect belated Christmas present for me...