this space intentionally left blank

December 31, 2006

Filed under: music»tools»update

The Studio Project

I've bought a new bass. It's not in my hands yet, so I'll wait to talk about it. But actually I've picked up several new bits and pieces of musical equipment lately. After getting free of a fairly heavy tax burden last quarter, I rewarded myself with a set of new microphones--Audio Technica 2020 and 2021 condensers, decent low-end mikes with a lot more sensitivity and a more neutral sound compared to my Sennheiser dynamic.

I got the microphones home, plugged them in, and listened to every creak in the floor, every reverberation around the walls, and the charming hum of my laptop's fan kicking in.

I am, in other words, reaching the limits of what I can do with an ad-hoc project studio. And although it doesn't sound like it, that's a good thing. It will keep me frugal.

Follow the reasoning: there's not much point in spending a lot of money on better microphones right now, since it'll always be located in an untreated apartment with intrusive room sound. Ditto for the preamp--I'm using an old mixer now. Since I only record one instrument at a time, I don't have a very compelling reason to upgrade my audio interface. And while I would love to have a nice Firewire laptop with a better processor and a quality power supply, I already own three computers. I feel wasteful buying one when the actual quality of the recording won't improve in proportion to the cost and the guilt.

I've always been an advocate of making do on the cheap. If the motto of Mile Zero weren't those immortal words of Buckaroo Bonzai, it'd have to be something like Noel Coward's "Extraordinary how powerful cheap music is." I had a short e-mail conversation with Wheat a while back about buying basses. We talked about how you can generally pick up a pretty workable bass as long as you start above a certain price level, where the manufacturers actually start asserting some quality control, somewhere around $500. Beyond that, more money certainly does mean better instruments, but the instrument has stopped getting in the way of the player. Likewise, at this point the problems with my recordings can't really be blamed on the equipment anymore.

At least, not without new real estate to contain that equipment. Which is a bit more of an investment than just a box to sit on my desk.

July 7, 2005

Filed under: music»tools»update

Can't Buy Me Love

  • I had to go the other day and get my deposit back, since my Rickenbacker showed no signs of materializing. If you plan on doing business with Classic Axe guitars of Manassas, Virginia, I'd urge you to reconsider. The owner is a nice guy, but he won't do anything for you if the order is late and he's terrible about keeping in touch. I never even got a status update. I've had better service at Guitar Center.
  • Instead, I'm trying to find a low-cost alternative, or considering building my next instrument myself. On the other hand, the Motorbass looks perfect for me. I only use one pickup on my J-bass anyway, and I love the sound of a single-coil.
  • Speaking of basses, using part of the deposit I picked up a Roland Micro Cube amp a couple days ago. Condensed review: very nice. It's not targeted at bassists, but the low-end response is pretty good, it's loud, it runs on batteries or wall-wart power, and there's built-in effects (delay, distortion, and modulation). All I need now is a battery-powered drum machine to start my hard rock busking career.

Future - Present - Past