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Archive for the ‘Gear’ Category

Video: Russian Circles Rig Rundown

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Premier Guitar always has great gear videos. I’m a big fan of Russian Circles‘ music so I was pretty stoked to find this video interview and run through of the guitar and bass gear. There’s also some interesting info on the recording process, particularly with combining amps. The video was recorded at Electrical Audio in Chicago.


There’s some more in the article here—russian-circles-mike-sullivan-brian-cook

The Story of the Focusrite Studio Console

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

focusrite_studio_consoleFocusrite has produced a really interesting documentary about the Focusrite Studio Console. There are only 10 in the world and they travel to see them all. During the production of the video one of the consoles was destroyed.

Rupert Neve designed the console to be the absolute best quality, with a transparent but larger than life sound. There’s no shortage of hyperbole in the quotes from musicians and engineers here, but it really is a special piece of equipment and history.

I think you’ll like this one

Video: Cry Baby – Wah Pedal Documentary

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.



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.

Full Film

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?

Video: Guitar Recording Tips with Misha Mansoor

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

Simple Salvaged Wood Diffusor

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.

IMG_2613With 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.

Drum Kit isolation platform using tennis balls?

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.


Electro Harmonix 16-second Digital Delay Reissue

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

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.

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Here’s a video demo from EH