Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Workbench

My workbench. The actual table is really rad, I found it on the side of the road in the snow, it was all fucked up. Obviously handmade, and not with fancy tools and/or materials, which is exactly the way I like shit. It's been through the ringer and has some serious history, why would you throw something like that out? People just want fancy slicked up yuppie shit, that's why. It has a vice made of two huge blocks of wood on the side, the screw/handle parts are made from an old broom handle and plumbing fixtures. Awesome. All I did was stain the fuck out of it and throw a few screws in the right places to sturdy it up. Little cabinet thing on the left is an old army engineers box, weighs a ton. It had the dude's initials stenciled on it, so I just put mine underneath his and left them there. Also found in the street. People have no respect for karma/history/their elders/patina/etc. One man's trash I guess....

Just got some nice waxed/cloth covered wire from Antique Electronic Supply too, it's on the left there, the green stuff. Comes in different colors too. Very good shit. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

RMGI tape

Love this tape. RMG International. You can get pretty much any size you need over at Full Compass. I use an old Sony reel to reel, 1/4" tape, 7" reels, mostly for bouncing finished tracks. Send 'em over to this and then back into the computer, warm 'em up a bit. Record with the noise suppress on and then take it off for playback, sounds killer. I was using some nos unbranded tape I got off ebay forever ago and man oh man can you hear the difference with this. Smokey black out reel color and it even smells good! 

Shure M267 Mic Mixer

Shure M267 mic mixer. I use this guy a lot for drums, which I almost always record in mono anyway, then maybe double the track in the mixer with a direct out if I feel so inclined. Or use a figure 8 pattern mic as the overhead and do a little M/S action with that track. Anyway, the limiters on these old shure mic mixers are KILLER, I think. People pay big bucks for the "Level Loc" limiters... and these are almost exactly the same thing, made by the same company... but you can get them for $25 or so. Just saying, if you like trashy blown out brick wall limiting for drums might wanna give one a hwhirl.

DIY reverb box

Reverb box. The actual tank is from an old Gulbransen organ and says "Folded line reverberation device, made by beautiful girls in Milton, Wis under controlled atmosphere conditions". Awesome. The wooden box is from a fancy bottle of whiskey. All the jacks and pots I scrapped out of old gear and the knobs are from an old stereo receiver. I just wired it up to a little 1W headphone amp to control the levels going in and out. Really helps being able to adjust the input on the box, you can hit the springs hard for more of a slapback-y distorted vibe, or go easy and get that classic spring verb sound. Added an extra led so it has two now, I always do that.

Here's a few shots of the guts so you can see my shitty wiring/soldering.

The headphone amp you just wire so that it's "Input>Left In>LeftOut>Verb In". Then do the opposite for the right channel, so "Verb Out>Right In>Right Out>Output". Make sense? It works, that's all I know.

TOTAL COST: $5 (You get two of those amps for ten bucks, and I'm going to use the other one for something else...)

NFB - Glenn Gould "On the Record"

Very cool short film here, with some excellent footage of Glenn Gould in the Columbia Records recording studio. Lots of mic and tape pron.

DIY Dynamic Mic

This is a microphone I made out of "garbage" I had laying around. The shell is an old bicycle headlight. The xlr connector and step-up transformer I knabbed out of an old Stromberg Carlson tube pa amp that was beyond repair. The grill is from an old radiator cover, like for a house, found it in my basement. Rubber washer is for plumbing use normally, does the job. Used an omni-directional dynamic element from an Optimus (Radio Shack) mic I've had forever. The element sounds like shit, but it works. This thing is LOUD. The step-up trafo really makes a huge difference. The other day I added some foam around the element, behind the grill and that made it sound much more like a regular mic and not so washed/verbed out. I think before the element was picking up the sound bouncing around inside the shell, which was cool, but a bit too odd.