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Archive for the ‘Gear’ Category
Thursday, February 27th, 2014
I was talking to Ryan Canestro about guitar pedals this week and he let me know about this documentary on the Cry Baby wah pedal. http://www.crybabydoc.com/
Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World tells the story of the wah wah effect pedal, from its invention in 1966 to the present day. Musicians, engineers, and historians discuss the impact of the pedal on popular music and demonstrate the various ways it has been used, as well as how its evolution has improved the ability of artists to express themselves musically.
The film features interviews with Brad Plunkett, the inventor of the pedal, plus many other musical luminaries such as Ben Fong-Torres, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Buddy Guy, Art Thompson, Eddie Kramer, Kirk Hammett, Dweezil Zappa, and Jim Dunlop. These professionals explain how a musical novelty transcended convention and has become timelessly woven into the fabric of modern pop-culture.
A question for you
As much as I love the novelty of the wah guitar in the Shaft Theme, I think my favorite use of wah pedal is incredibly subtle in Adam Jones’ solos through Lateralus. Adam uses the Dunlop 535Q.
What’s your favorite wah pedal and/or use of wah in a song?
Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
In this video Misha Mansoor (Periphery, Bulb) shows his current guitar recording setup including the AxeFX II, Cubase 6, double and quad tracking, and basic EQ. I don’t agree at all with his gain staging and signal to noise ratio explanation but other than that it’s a cool video.
Via Top Secret Audio
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
This week one of my neighbors left his unwanted Ikea bed frame in the alley. Among the parts of the bed was a set of SULTAN LADE slatted base. In other words: 20 3/4″ pine boards for free. Keep an eye out for these because they can be used for a ton of simple DIY projects.
With these, I decided to make some super simple diffusors to cover up the bare wall around the closet at the back of my studio. The goal was to use the least amount of materials, hardware and effort. This design accomplished that and I didn’t even need to use a saw.
Each diffusor is made of 5 boards in a wide V shape. I used extra boards to get the spacing right, then held it firm with a pair of C-Clamps while hammering. The clamps were a huge help to prevent the boards from shifting around. I had just enough nails of the right length to build two diffusors, I would have built 4 if I had more nails. These aren’t very heavy so for now I have them mounted with a single drywall screw and picture hanger.
I’m sure an expert will disagree with the design as an effective diffusor. QRDs these are not. However, just holding it to the wall I could hear it was doing something far better than a bare wall. Unpainted soft wood like pine is porous and I could hear it softening the highs a little. Not sure if it scatters the sound at all but surely it is doing something more than the drywall was. QRDs are complicated, heavy and extremely labor intensive to DIY.
There are two downsides to building with free/salvaged wood like this.
1 – needing to remove staples, screws or nails before you can build.
2 – Sometimes the wood is warped which is hard to fix.
These don’t sit as flush on the wall as I’d like because of some warping.
I’m undecided whether I will leave these natural or stain them. If you’re looking for a simple wood stain, vinegar and steel wool left in a jar for a few days will give you a nice grey aged fence/barn wood look. Toss coffee grinds in the jar too and you can get a pretty dark almost chocolate brown stain. Teas, cocoa or spices can give you different colors. Steep longer and apply repeatedly for darker color. Again, super simple and practically free, but also it doesn’t stink up your house for days with toxic fumes.
I have some more ideas for diffusors which I will explore at a later date. One idea is to use the curved SULTAN LUROY bed slats and symmetrically staggering them at a few different heights and depths. Would probably look really nice and modern in a live room especially behind a drum kit.
Have you made a DIY diffusor? I’d love to see it, leave a comment and link below.
Friday, June 7th, 2013
I stumbled across this interesting construction diary of an impact isolation platform for Electronic Drums that uses a couple layers of MDF and tennis balls to float the kit. This is a genius idea and it came out looking great and probably very effective.
This looks like a very inexpensive and effective solution for acoustic drums or on a smaller scale, loud guitar amps or subwoofers. I wonder how ‘squishy’ it feels to walk on this, it might be a good non-permanent solution for floating a small live room, or at least a toddler bedroom.
Click this link to read the build instructions and discussion.
Monday, June 3rd, 2013
I am the proud new owner of an EHX 16 second Digital Delay. This thing is big, complex, and capable of some pretty crazy sounds.
I bought the pedal for a steal from an artist at the Mini Maker Faire in Vancouver this past weekend, to help fund a trip to Europe. The original MSRP in 2004 was $995, you can find them on ebay for closer to $400. I paid a lot less.
Electro Harmonix 16 Second Digital Delay Pedal
This is a delay and looper pedal with three modes. Continuous loop, single loop, and short delay (up to 1sec). The short delay mode actually allows for 4 minutes of recording. The looping modes have a 4 beat count in before starting. Continuous loop continues to overdub after the first loop. Single loop stops recording at the end of the set loop length. Once a loop is recorded it can be reversed, pitched down or time stretched without changing pitch. It also has built in Chorus/Flanger, input, wet, dry faders, footswitch jack and MIDI clock out. This is a ton of features, but unfortunately missing some ‘modern’ features we’re now used to, such as tap tempo, stereo i/o, loop undo, and double-tap loop setting. Setting specific loop lengths and delay times is a little tricky but the “Clix” audio click helps a bit.
Another interesting note about this pedal is it’s use of ‘magna-storage’ which can store the loop long term even with power disconnected.
I really like how this delay glitches, maybe that’s an odd thing to say but it’s just so much fun to mangle audio in this way. My favorite way is to set the delay to longest, full feedback, hit something on the guitar and then mess with the Pitch/Time switch while changing the delay time. You’ll hear that a lot in the clip below, creating an infinite echo, changing the pitch, changing the tempo, dropping the pitch again, over and over. The chorus sounds really nice to me too. I don’t have room for it on my pedalboard but I expect to have a lot of fun with it in the studio.
The audio example below is guitar direct into the pedal, then into DI to Reaper. No amp or other effects.
Here’s a video demo from EH
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
I recently bought the ART PRO VLA II Stereo Tube Compressor for my studio. It’s one of the most affordable compressors on the market and packs a ton of features in a sturdy 2 space rack. In researching this compressor I ended up at Gearslutz multiple times. Over and over I was reading that you MUST change the tubes for it to be useable in the studio. None of the pros that used it for the Tape Op Magazine review talked about NOS Unobtainium KGB vacuum tubes, but I felt I needed to try for myself before I permanently rack mounted the VLA.
I also own the PRO MPA II Reference Series tube preamp. It comes with lower noise, Chinese 7025 tubes that are also compatible with the VLA. Since I had a matched pair of 7025 and the stock 12AT7s, I ran audio through each set and recorded the results.
DOWNLOAD 24 BIT WAVES EXAMPLES
The audio source is 1kHz test tone, clap samples, acoustic guitar, and drum submix. The examples use a fairly heavy setting of about 10dB GR. Audio was going in line level and back to the daw. No other processing.
The difference between the tubes is not as drastic as one might expect. They sound very similar in either the MPA preamp or VLA compressor. The 7025 tubes from the Reference Series MPA do sound a little tighter and about 1dB hotter output, and just a hair brighter. Self noise was about the same (extremely low) for either set. For me that’s not enough to immediately go buy a matched pair to replace the stock 12AT7, or even enough to spend more time and money on other options. I KNOW that I just swapped one set of cheap Chinese tubes for another, I don’t have any other matched sets to compare with. (send me a bunch of tubes and I’ll make time for a bigger shootout)
Trying out different tubes in my gear is something worth doing but not obsessing over. I tried just two of the hundreds of compatible tubes and it feels like I’ve spent all day on it. Either way it’s not magic, but it’s a solid compressor and great bang for buck.
Friday, March 29th, 2013
OK OK! Just one more post about Tube Screamers (this week). As I was comparing the plugins in the second shootout I was thinking that some of them sounded very similar, and that some were totally different. I set up Q-Clone to see more closely what was going on with each of the plugins and my two pedals.
The plugins and pedals were each set to 0% drive, 50% tone, 50% level.
Go here if you can’t see the imgur album embedded.