Thursday, December 18, 2008

New compressors for the new year

There's a new FMR compressor? Yes. Yes there is:

Completely under the radar, FMR Audio-- whose RNC has been one of the better pro-sumer deals going so far this millennium-- are releasing their "no holds barred" PBC-6A mono compressor "soon." In standard FMR fashion, it's an ugly 1/3 rack-space hunk of plastic selling for much less than it should and sounding far better than it has to (I'm basing that last bit on the samples Mercenary Audio has up). Also in FMR fashion, while we're at it, their website hasn't been updated in years. What's the story?

Equally of note, Chameleon Labs' stereo/dual mono opto compressor, the Model 7802, should be out early next year:

Chameleon's product line is littered with bang-for-the-buck options of Neve and SSL clones, all of which get regular thumbs up marks on the boards. I've wanted a good optical compressor for about as long as I haven't been able to afford one and have been keeping watch for an in-depth 7802 review since the unit was announced last year-- I'll be sure to post the first one I find.

Speaking of compressors that can be set to DESTROY, I've had my eye on Standard Audio's version of the Shure Level Loc, the "Level-Or," for a few months now:

As far as 500-series modules go, it's cheap ($485!) and the no-fuss, no-metering operation screams "abuse me." Just turn everything up until it sounds like the channel is on fire and then add a little reverb. Viola!

And while we're talking about inexpensive tortured drum sounds, it turns out the old Yamaha SPX900--a reverb box you can get on eBay for a couple hundred bucks-- has been in the Flaming Lips arsenal for a while. Who knew! Check this out (thanks Tape Op forum!).

What gear do you all have your eyes on for the coming year? A pair of MX-5050s, perhaps?

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

eBay pick of the day: petty cash Euro rack

DIY 2x64HP Euro case

I saw this on the Muffwiggler forum and felt compelled to re-post. It's smaller than a standard 6u rack by 20HP (the width of one of these) per row, but I think it looks better than the Doepfer suitcases and it's got a key (like the Drum Buddy)! What more could you ask for?

My answer: I could ask for $150 to buy it with and then an additional four grand to stuff it with Cwejman modules, but that's just me.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Digital delay

Our giant external hard drive crashed and burned recently-- less than a year after we bought it, new, I might add-- and while we scramble to raise the embarrassing amount of money it'll cost to have the data on it recovered, I thought the best thing to do would be to open up the floor to technology disaster and recovery stories.

Have you ever had a computer crash that was more than just inconvenient? Did you lose a serious amount of work because of a mechanical failure or a mysterious software hiccup? What did you do to get the data back (or, while we're at it, did you even bother)?

On a related note, the Mrs. and I have been talking about rewinding the amount of lazy-technology levels in our lives by about ten years. Meaning, for example, we'd maintain physical archives of actual things (say, a record collection) instead of ephemeral digital files (an iTunes library bloated with nonsense downloads). We'd write, proofread and mail letters to people instead of regularly sending emails with little more than a Youtube link in the body. We'd mix less in the box, generally speaking.

In other words, remember in "The Net" when Sandra Bullock's character was introduced as a weird shut-in who ordered her food online and never got off the computer? And we all knew she was strange and pitiable because we saw her act in this way and acknowledged that we ourselves didn't? That was 1995. I want to go back to that place.

Yes, I get the irony of writing about a desire to be less tech-dependent on a blog, and even more so that I'm asking you to comment about it in the comments section, but do any of you feel similarly? That buying into a sort of Apple lifestyle is the same thing as sitting on a couch and watching TV all day? Or am I just annoyed that our hard drive crashed and that I can't fix it on my own?