Friday, August 29, 2008

Ralph Macchio vs. Steve Vai


Yes We Can...

...get a ride to soccer practice.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Mexico Eterno"

Here's a house favorite-- "Mexico Eterno." We've been listening to this one more than anything for the past month, at least.

I've put a download link for it in the comments. Hope you like the record much as we do!

Genelecs on "The Wire"

We rented Season 5 of The Wire this past week and have been working our way through it at a brisk pace. As of this post, we're one episode away from the grand finale.

The show is top notch, and it's a rare moment when I find myself taking issue with it, but last night, while watching the third-to-last episode in the season/series, something really stuck out to me as a a boneheaded production move.

The Wire, if you don't know, is a TV series about a broke police force in a broke city trying, in Season 5 especially, to do "more with less." In the show, there's barely enough money in city's budget to run the school system, let alone enforce crime, and the shifting bottom line causes one sort of drama after another.

It is with that in mind that I found the following so shocking:

On the right-hand side of the screen-- that's a Genelec 8030! In a shack of a police station, on an illegal wire tap, they're using a $1500 pair of pro audio monitors?! If ever there was a job for thrift store speakers, this'd be it, but noooooo...

Worst of all-- it isn't even plugged into anything!

ARGH! Hollywood! Get it right already!


Monday, August 18, 2008


A few minutes after downloading Nodal last night, I realized that the only thing I'd be doing for the next week or so was connecting dots on a grid and clicking "play" to see what the drawing sounds like.

I haven't spent enough time with it to offer any tips, tricks or what have you, but as a general blanket recommendation, head over to their site and download the program (it's free). Be sure to grab their PDF tutorial, too-- you'll be up and running in a flash!

That said, Nodal is old news to some people. Has anyone reading this gotten comfortable with the software? Anything the rest of us should try that isn't covered in the manual? Please leave reviews/hints of any length in the comments. Thanks!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

555 Oscillator mod

I added a couple of mods to my 555 oscillator:

1. a volume knob
2. a switch that jumps from "standard" astable mode (see previous video) to "pseudo trigger" mode, in which pins 2 and 6 on the 555 are connected via a momentary switch-- pressing the switch completes the circuit.

The layout (according to the orientation in the photo above):

  • The jack on the top right is the power (up is on)
  • The pot to the left of that controls the frequency
  • The jack below the on/off switch is a control voltage input
  • The button below the CV input is the pseudo trigger
  • The switch to the left of that selects between astable and triggered astable modes
  • The pot below the switch is the volume control
  • The jack next to that is the output

    Here's a video demonstrating the mods in action (w/ a Frostwave Resonator):


  • Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    "French Crime Wave"

    It's French Crime Wave month at the Film Forum! All of your (well, our) favorite movies, all in one place!

    "Touchez pas au Grisbi" is playing on Monday! Smooth criminals! Be there!!


    Monday, August 11, 2008

    555 Oscillator test

    Jess just told me to "cut the shit and turn it down"-- this machine is really taking shape!

    I used this diagram for the circuit (though I swapped out the 100K pot for a 1meg pot-- bigger difference between R2 and R3 = wider frequency sweep). It's a quick build and will only run you around $6 in parts. As you can hear, it isn't the most musical thing in the world, but for a rookie project, it's pretty satisfying. Give it a try!

    Also, if you've built something around a 555 (or 556) chip and have a photo/video/circuit drawing of it somewhere online, be sure to leave the address in the comments!


    Sunday, August 10, 2008

    555 Oscillator

    I soldered together an oscillator from a 555 chip this afternoon and it pretty much works. It's got a Control Voltage input, an output and a big old 1meg pot for pitch control. The switch turns it on and off.

    It "pretty much works" in that it definitely puts out a loud square wave, but the pitch only goes up and down so much before cutting out, despite there being throw left on the dial (about 1/5 of a turn in either direction). I'll tinker with it and see if swapping out the resistor in the circuit (100k) for one of a different value does anything. Look for a video when I've got it in a more, um, respectable state.

    In the meantime, can anyone out there point me in the direction of a 555 cookbook for basic (read: BEGINNER) circuits? I'd like to get better at this using something other than trial and error as a guide. Thanks!

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    Thursday, August 07, 2008

    The Murderbirds!

    Look for the songs from this past week out on the Colonial Recordings USA label, under the band name The Murderbirds, soon!


    California update: Saturday

    Thanks to Andrew for loaning us the guitars, amps and Dr. Pads! That last shot (DRPs I, II and III) was a dream set-up for Jess, as she's a huge Dr. Pad fan. "Wolfie Time," from our first album, was made entirely from mutated DRP-I sounds.

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    Saturday, August 02, 2008

    California update: Friday

    We didn't have any mic stands in Oakland, so, to record the vibes, Lucas nailed a board into his kitchen doorframe, which reached out into the room. I set up our cheap, no-model-number Audio-Technica electrets on a stereo bar and hung them off the board, over the instrument. Somehow, it ended up working pretty well!

    On a side note, if anyone out there actually knows the production model of the mics in the photo above, please leave it in the comments. I picked them up at East Village Music 100 years ago and have always wanted a second pair. They aren't pretty, but they'll work in a pinch.

    Also, thanks for putting our sticker on your fridge, Luke! A surprise to say the least!

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