Tag Archive for 'Audio'

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Violently Happy

I’ve been listening to Björk all morning. I shit you not. Post. Debut and Debut Live. I tried. I tried years ago. And I am trying again now seeing if there was something I missed. I clearly didn’t. She does nothing for me. Again, I just needed to prove I wasn’t be ignorant about music. I don’t know why I keep doing this. I am not sure who I am proving this for. I am done trying. There is no need anymore. It’s not for everyone and it’s clearly not for me.

Last night Kier and her Mother came over to discuss her music and selling it and websites and what not. We’re having dinner at her house on Thursday to discuss more business. She’s much shorter than we thought and talks just like we thought. They were so cute though. It’s fun watching the mother/daughter dialogs. Talking with Kier really solidified the fact that we only want to deal with artists and musicians for the design slice of our business. It’s the only way. And Emily totally worked it like she never has before. She’s pretty good at talking the talk. More than she knows!

Shortly after Kier and Alice left, Sara and her friend Greg came over. We caught up over tea and a sad dying fire on our new couch listening to Sinéad O’Connor’s newer record and Herbie Hancock’s Sextant. She’s writing a book on the Riotgrrrl scene. Sara amazes me. I am glad we’re still friends. There’d be no other way. It’s so amazing how she’s interviewing Kathleen Hanna among other people that she was so inspired by in high school. It’s so great and I can’t wait to read it.

In other news, the speakers came. I ended up getting the Athena Technologies Audition Series 2 F2.2. 1″ teteron dome tweeter. 2 8″ injection molded polypropylene woofers. Frequency response from 35Hz – 20kHz +/- 3 dB. Sensitivity to 93dB. And can handle 250 solid watts. Each one weights just under 50 lbs. And the weight and size really make the difference. You can try to defy physics in some aspects of life. But never in audio. It’s just too simple. I am just so happy with my new babies. Emily asked me last night, “Are these going to be the last speakers we ever buy?” I said, “No way, but we’ll have these for a very long time.” They are sick. SICK. And huge. Over 40″ tall. But they totally work with the room and definitely don’t overpower it. Bummer they take about 100 hours to burn in. Which is something new to me about speakers. But even now right out of the box, they sound amazing. They passed my test. Which is:

  • Soul Coughing – Irresistible Bliss :: The upright bass is a true test to the clarity and response of the bass of loudspeakers
  • Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage :: There’s something about this record that sounds so good to me. I am not sure what it is.
  • Lisa Loeb – Tails :: The upper harmonics of her voice are so shiny and make any speaker system beg for more
  • Roni Size – Represent :: The dynamics of drum & bass/electronic music really push speakers and their amps to their limits
  • Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin :: The drums being one of the most dynamic instruments lends to be a great testing tool

And since we finished Season 1 of Lost and we needed more we downloaded from iTunes the first few episodes of Season 2 to Emily’s Video iPod. We couldn’t wait for the DVDs. It’s pretty amazing. It’s clearly compressed, but the video is actually not bad at all on our crappy 19″ TV.

Diamonds are forever

I’ve become pretty good at researching electronics. Especially good at researching audio electronics. This time around I wanted to upgrade my loudspeaker system. The one I have presently is great if not excellent, but I’ve had it for almost 10 years. My ears have grown with them, but they need more.

I remember getting my first store credit card at Best Buy with Kyle in Antioch (37013), because I simply did not have the $350 for them at the time. I think I also picked up that 1980-1990 U2 CD as well. Why I remember these things?! I remember paying it each month until it was paid off 6 months later. (Free 6 months financing cant be wrong!) Anyways… The time has come to move on. I have an incredibly nice amplifier and the Cerwin Vegas are doing nicely, but I know the amp can voice more articulately with seriously refined loudspeakers. The Cerwin Vegas were 3 way (of course) – but were always pretty bass heavy and a little tin foil sounding (bright) in the high end. I am looking for something more natural and even sounding. Not just booty bass. Over the years, I’ve discovered how less highs and lows play in the mix and where the mid range is really the serious made-it-or-break-it factor. I mean getting the mids in the correct placement are more troublesome and could almost be considered an art when done correctly. Whereas getting the highs and mids are pretty simple. Or perhaps it just me.

So this weekend I started looking at speakers. I had unofficially been looking for months. Funny how I started this. I talked with Emily about it to get her input and her only requirement was that it had to be a light wood. Like a beech or maple. I’ve honestly never done research this backwards before. Typically when buying something electronic one starts with basic specs. At first I definitely understood and completely agreed with this sentiment as it would compliment the rest of the decor in the room. Little did I know that you typically have to spend thousands of dollars on loudspeakers to get more than “ash” or “oak” veneers. So after a few days of research and a budget I came up with the Wharfedale Diamond 8.4 floor standing loudspeakers. In maple wood, of course. I also looked at B&W and Athena Technologies.

The specs:

  • Twin 6.5 inch Kevlar bass / midrange drive units
  • 1 inch silk fabric dome tweeter, ferrofluid cooled with neodymium magnet
  • Biamp/biwire capable (Yay!)
  • 100 watt power rating (continuous RMS)
  • Frequency response 34Hz – 20kHz
  • Nominal impedance: 6 ohm
  • Wired internally with premium Monster Cable XP

The wood keeps Emily happy. The innards (and reasonable price!) keep me happy. And the amp is happy (the speakers are also made in the UK – so they are neighbors too). And if only I owned a firearm, I could test out the Kevlar speakers. They are also a bit tighter in size than the Cerwin Vegas which is nice because they will nest next to the couch on each side pretty nicely. And the couch (to be refinished in the next week or two) will be moved under the two windows in the living room.

One sad factor was that I was unable to purchase from AudioAdvisor.com which is my favorite audio store. They didn’t have the maple wood. It was a shame. Maybe next time around.

UPDATE: Turns out the maple finish was also backordered from the place I purchased them from. So I canceled the order and ordered it from AudioAdvisor. I [heart] the AudioAdvisor.

UPDATE 2: Turns out when the couch came we decided the maple finish wouldn’t work. So we decided on the Athena Technologies F2.2 in black/gray finish. So yummy.

The Sometimes Sad Life Of A Recordist

So three things are going on in my head, in no particular order…

#1 – I am burned out from playing in rock bands. It’s now 2005. I started playing drums somewhere around 1991. That puts in about 14 years of drumming mainly in what people would describe as rock music. That’s not to say I didn’t ever play other styles and actually a lot of college was spent not playing rock music. But still it’s a long time. Especially in my thought process. I think I need a break or at least need to slow down. I need to recharge my rock juices. And I don’t know how long it will take but I am slightly optimistic… And I need to be if I am ever going to take The Bakesale in to the studio. Spring 2006!

So in order to accomplish this I bring you to my 2nd grand idea…

#2 – I really need to start recording and playing my own music again. The river dried up and that’s not a good thing. I honestly haven’t recorded since say 2003. And really I finished most of the production for MONSIII during 2001. Playing other people’s music is fun, but only fulfills to a slight degree. I had a seriously in-depth (for us) conversation with David R. this weekend after gathering food at the Farmer’s Market and having a grand breakfast over Alice Coltrane’s Universal Consciousness. We touched on composition and creation and finding sounds. What what they mean and context. I always thought Daniel was my music life partner and I guess he still sorta is on one level, but David really hits it home with me. Definitely on a different level. So we decided to extend a project we had started working on a year or so ago called Betatron. This new project of mine already has a name and will mainly focus on found sounds and field recordings of usually general everyday sounds that people hear but don’t necessarily listen to. And I can record simply on my way to work! Or where ever it takes me. They will be mainly stereo recordings made my an X/Y pattern and perhaps an M/S pattern, if I can get my M/S mic I built working again. Damn Paia. We’ll also intersperse our own compositions on top and layer quite a bit. But not to give it all away… Yeah, a little more high-concept than I am used to working with, but I really like the idea…

And lastly…

#3 – And kinda most importantly, my recording studio needs to be rebuilt. Like, for real. It’s my home away from home that’s really in my basement. Plus it makes money. This needs to happen so I can begin to start thinking about quitting my day job and working from home doing what I feel I do best and love the most in life. #3 is very important to my well-being!

Ok… Signing off…