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Everything posted by MikeRivers

  1. Monitors - or a better monitor mix. Or turn your amp volume down. Or all of the above. That's all pretty standard stuff, so what's unique about your band that keeps you from using the standard solutions? Money? Idiot mixing monitors? Nobody mixing monitors?
  2. My tool of choice for holding nearly anything small enough to solder with a soldering iron is a small Jorgensen parallel jaw wooden handscrew. With two of them, it's like having four hands. https://ponyjorgensen.com/products/specialty-clamps/
  3. The problem with fretting one string to get it to the pitch of the next higher string is that frets aren't always that accurate, and even if they're spaced mathematically accurate, the bridge is in the correct place, and the instrument is set up well, you're still at the mercy of the tempered scale - unless of course you have one of those kinky oddly fretted fingerboards that attempt to compensate for what was designed for Mr. Bach's Well Tempered Clavier. One system that works better most of the time is to compare octaves. It's easy enough to hear if two notes an octave apart are identical by listening to beats and tuning so there aren't any. You'll have to fret a bit, like tuning the D string by fretting it at the 2nd fret and matching this E to the 1st or 6th string, which you've already tuned by octaves to match. Or better yet, get a clip-on tuner, tune each string to it, then correct it by ear. At a workshop at a Newport Folk Festival many years ago (back when a "festival workshop" consisted of a pole stuck in the ground in the field, with a sign on it and a chair, someone asked Reverend Gary Davis why he always tuned his B string a little sharp. He replied "Well, it's SUPPOSED to be that way.
  4. Don't artists use more than one or two microphones? So many companies have interfaces along the same model as these new Mackies and they continue to get better as far as raw audio quality. But high quality 4-mic interfaces that connect via USB seem to be as scarce as ever. I suppose if you're creative (or maybe indecisive) enough to want to record more than two channels, you're "pro" enough to have a Mac or one of the rare PCs with Thunderbolt.
  5. "Remember those ground posts on turntables with the screw terminals where you could attach a ground wire to keep hum at bay? Have you ever seen ground posts on anything else? Of course not!" Craig's memory is a little faulty here. Turntables had a ground _wire_ that was permanently attached. The ground post, where you connected the spade lug on the other end of the turntable's ground wire was on the receiver or preamp. So convenient - you didn't have have to buy a piece of wire to ground your turntable's innards, nor did you have to solder anything or drill any holes.
  6. Always good to see Sister Rosetta Tharpe included in such a list. She should be #1, though. The clip here is pretty tame, but she's where Chuck Berry got his licks, and without Chuck Berry, where would real rock and roll be?
  7. "Don't ever go over 0 VU when recording digitally." Digital gear doesn't have VUs or VU meters. The level you don't want to exceed, and actually, that you can never exceed, is 0 dBFS. If you're using a VU meter for reference, for example on an analog mixer or mic preamp, you need to establish a relationship between 0 VU on the analog meter and 0 dBFS on the digital meter. Usually the system is calibrated so that at 0 VU, you'll have a recording level somewhere between -14 and -20 dBFS, depending, if you have a choice, of how much headroom you want to allow. See my article entitled Meter Madness" http://mikeriversaudio.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/meter-madness_1-2_revised.pdf
  8. Here are some important details for those who have never done anything like this before. First, readers may not know what a "signal generator" is. You don't need a piece of calibrated lab equipment for this. Most DAWs and audio editing programs have a function to generate a sine wave. For something more portable (I hate to be tied to my computer workstation when doing shop tests or troubleshooting) there are web resources for downloading WAV or MP3 files of sine waves. You can transfer those to a handheld recorder and that becomes your test generator. Alternatively, there are a few apps for mobile devices to generate test tones. You'll need to be creative with cables but that shouldn't be a problem. I have a few cables with common audio connectors on one end and alligator clips on the other end to make it easy to hack together something temporary. The article doesn't state where the generator and amplifier or other device under test are to be connected. Since signal flow on a diagram is usually assumed to be left to right, so the generator should be connected to the jack on the left (3). The device under test (DUT - an amplifier or other input device) should be connected to the jack on the right (1). It really doesn't matter once you understand how a pot works, but it's best to set up a convention. As drawn, the pot will be at zero ohms (or, technically, as close to zero as it will get), when the shaft is turned fully counterclockwise with the pot oriented so that the shaft is pointing toward you. Check it with the Ohms setting on the multimeter just to be sure. Measure the generator level at the jack to be connected to the DUT, but with nothing but the meter there connected yet. Write down the voltage and then connect the DUT with the meter still connected. Then rotate the pot and stop when the voltage across the DUT input has dropped to half the open circuit voltage. The drawing show a 1 megohm pot, but some devices have in input impedance greater than that and even with the pot at maximum resistance the voltage at the DUP input won't drop to half the open circuit voltage. You can stop there and be happy that you have an input that's greater than 1 megohm, or you can start tacking 1 megohm resistors in series (between the pot and the right (1) jack) until you can get to half voltage with the pot, and then add the extra resistance to what you read when you measure the pot. You could get a 10 megohm pot, but that reduces the resolution at the low end, should you want to start measuring everything within sight, where line level inputs are typically in the 5 to 20 kilohms. Before you go off checking you mic preamp's input impedance, understand that nearly all mic inputs are differential. You can use this same technique and test setup, but you'll need to connect the generator between pins 2 and 3 of the XLR input and ignore pin 1. You'll also want to monitor the preamp to be sure it's not clipping. You may find that the input impedance varies over a small but measurable range as you adjust the input gain of the preamp. If the preamp output is connected to a DAW input, you can skip the voltmeter measurement, just set the generator output low enough so that you aren't clipping the preamp, and monitor the output level using a meter in the DAW. First check and jot down the level with the pot at zero ohms, then turn the pot so that the level drops by 6 dB (that's 1/2 the voltage) and measure the pot's resistance. -------------- Mike Rivers used to write regularly for a few magazines but they won't let him do it any more because all of his articles are too long. He has retired to the safety of on-line writing since adding another page doesn't require selling another ad.
  9. "While I don't see guitar companies doing away with the 3/4†jack anytime soon," I think you mean 1/4" jack. There was a Gibson system (the Les Paul Recording) that used a balanced connection between guitar and amplifier on an XLR connector, but they left the 1/4" jack so the guitar could be played with a conventional amplifier.
  10. Hey, Phil - Thanks for the review. I've been trying to get one of these for a review for over a year now. Glad they're finally getting out and I'll get mine. In the spirt of the Pro Review, I have a question for you: "You'll also find two large rotary controls on the front panel. The one near the display is used to select various menu items, and has a built in push-to-select switch. The other large knob is a main output level control, and adjusts the level of the rear panel 1/4" TRS balanced +4dBm output jacks. These jacks provide a summed output of all the recorded tracks courtesy of the uTrack 24's onboard DSP mixer, or serve as main control room outputs when the unit is used as a computer audio interface. " Can you route a pair of channels from a DAW monitor mix directly to those rear panel "control room" outputs? Or do you need to return the DAW mix to a pair of channel inputs and then route that to the monitor outputs via the uTrack's DSP mixer?
  11. It's about time somebody wrote an article like this. Guitar switches and knobs are notorious for being unmarked and in the "well, everybody knows what that switch does" category. The real meat here is in your last paragraph, except that I've never seen a manual for a guitar (maybe because I've never bought a new electric guitar) or much of an explanation on the manager's web site. Ask a clerk? Ummmm . . . maybe they know more about guitars than microphones or mixers. But thanks for the starter info.
  12. Don't hate the saxophone - it's the first instrument of rock 'n' roll. It's OK if you hate bad arrangements.
  13. Maybe I don't have the musical sensitivity of a lawyer or a jury, but I can't hear any similarity at all between those songs. Is it about the concept of inserting a short, low pitched, distorted phrase where there might have been a drum roll or a bass lick? What are they going to claim next? That the mixes are identical because the drums got louder in the measure right before the chorus? Or there's a ukulele in the rhythm section?
  14. They were doing maintenance on 7/13 with a planned shutdown during part of the day so your registration confirmation may have been delayed.
  15. This is a pretty standard arrangement for a new, unsigned artist. The artist gets a record, the label could lose money on it, or make money on it. Whether or not she owns the material (does anyone as successful in the music business as she is actually own everything?), she's still getting paid when those records are sold. I suppose if she were to have full ownership she could re-release the albums on her own label and keep a larger portion of each sale. Or she could have done that in the beginning and maybe would still be singing in coffee houses for tips. And you could do worse than having a label manager with Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande in his stable. My heart doesn't bleed for her. She's doing OK.
  16. Things are still a little rocky over there. I tried to register and it told me my user name was already in use. OK, so I recalled that I used to be registered on a previous version of that forum, so I tried logging in with my "already used" name and every password that I might have used and nothing worked. When I tried using the "password reset" that was supposed to send me an e-mail with a temporary password, it took several hours for the e-mail to arrive and even though I tried using it within the 24 hours that it was supposed to be valid, I got the "wrong password" response. After several rounds of this, I finally one that worked and I was able to log in. In the meantime, I used the Contact form and explained the problem, and got a next-day reply from Jim Quinn, the administrator, who offered to manually change my password and said he'd look into the problem. Craig's explanation is plausible, but it's certainly the wrong error message for the problem. If it responded to "Please check the box that you agree with the terms of service" then I would have asked "Hey! Where's that?" I trust it will get sorted out soon. See you there.
  17. Understand that the Transient Tamer doesn't raise the output level of the instrument, it reduces the crest factor - the peak to average voltage ratio - which allows you to turn UP the input gain of the amplifier or recording interface. But like any limiter or compressor, if you want to end up sounding louder, you need to add amplification AFTER the peaks are rounded off. You can expect the tone to change, so you may feel a need to fiddle with the tone controls after clipping. There's nothing wrong with that. The Transient Tamer isn't a miracle cure for a problem you didn't realize you had, it's just another tool that happens to work well for a particular kind of playing.
  18. I've been trying to log in there. I think I might have been there before but I've tried every combination of name and password that I could have used, both to log in and to register. When I try to register, any login and user name that I try that I have a half a chance to remember tells me, after filling out the form, that the login name or user name is already in use. When I've tried the "forgot your password" I always get the "instructions have been e-mailed to you" but I've tried different names and e-mail addresses and haven't received anything. Is it not fully working yet? If anyone from there is checking in here, please get in touch with me to try to get me on board.
  19. This started out as an on-line search for a new cassette deck for a friend who has several hundred cassettes of field recordings made in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Most are oral history, interviews, family stories, and some casual living-room music. Like too many people with a closet full tapes not listened to in years, she no longer has anything to play them on. She's working on some documentation projects now and wants to digitize these tapes. I figured that since she's a non-techie it would be best to start the project with a new deck that has a warranty and doesn't have someone else's problems. I was surprised to find how few were available today. I got hold of this Marantz to see if it would be a decent choice for her project, and along the line ended up writing more than a "it works and sounds OK" review, dug deep into its performance, reminding myself how long it's been since I'd worked with cassettes myself, either for listening or bench work. Bottom line - it's OK but doesn't sound quite as good as my TASCAM 122 that I used for comparison. Even if you aren't in the market for a cassette deck (What? You aren't going to release your next album on cassette?) you might find it interesting to read about my test results and procedures and learn something about analog recorder deficiencies and help you feel better about never wanting to deal with analog tape again. Better download it. It's long: https://mikeriversaudio.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/marantz_pmd-300cp_review.pdf
  20. Absolutely. As long as you're not running power through an inductor (as with a tube amplifier with an output transformer) there's no problem with an unloaded line level output. Just pan all the inputs to one bus and connect that bus output to your amplifier or powered speaker.
  21. I have a Benchmark D/A converter with a couple of S/PDIF inputs. My Lynx L22 audio interface has AES/EBU and S/PDIF (as well as analog) outputs, as does my TASCAM CD recorder. I have the Benchmark analog output going to my monitoring switcher. Mostly it's just for show - in theory the Benchmark analog output should be a tad better than the Lynx, though I can't hear enough difference to care. But it's useful for comparing a CDR from a project mix to the DAW project mix.
  22. In the past month, I've repaired two reel-to-reel and one cassette tape decks. I've given up on my Soundcraft console and using the old reliable (and 20 years newer) Mackie. The real time waster, though, is computers. They don't break, they just change unexpectedly.
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