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Sylvia Massy's Potato Filters

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  • Sylvia Massy's Potato Filters

    Producer/Engineer Sylvia Massy is known for some unconventional session techniques (see her book Recording Unhinged, or my review of it on my web site). She likes to do weird things to amplifiers with the goal of getting a new and hopefully useful sound. One of her tricks is to connect potatoes in series with the speaker leads. I thought this was so wacky I had to try it myself and run some tests to see what's going on. Read my lab notes here.

    Honestly, I was rather underwhelmed but I'd love to hear from a real guitarist or ten. Maybe I'm missing something. Try it. If you don't like what it does to your guitar tone, you can always make some hash browns for tomorrow's breakfast.

    Just a word of caution - If you only have tube amplifiers (good for you!) be VERY careful with levels. Start with the master (or only) gain all the way down and bring it up slowly. You won't blow a speaker but pushing it too hard could blow an output tube or, worse, the output transformer. Solid state amplifiers don't have this risk but will just sound worse and worse as you crank it up. The article explains why the difference, so there's something to learn, always.

    PS - Does anyone like Sylvia's new haircut?
    "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
    Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

  • #2
    I can see why Sylvia liked your write-up Mike - it was really well done.

    I haven't seen her new hairstyle.

    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter


    • #3
      I enjoyed reading your report Mike. Thanks for posting.