Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.

Archives: July 2006

July 31, 2006

I've been diggin'...

by Chris Randall no particular order...

Mose Allison. I saw him a couple times during his residency at Fat Tuesday's in NYC. It took a little while for his voice to grow on me, but now I can't get enough of that shit. "If You're Goin' To The City" has got to be one of the all-time great jump blues tracks.

Gibson Special Alloy Humbucker Guitar Strings. These strings don't suck. They actually sound pretty damned good. They don't break. I've been endorsed by Ernie Ball for years (yeah, if you look on the back of the green package, you'll see my name somewhere in that list) but I've given up on them. Their quality has gone way downhill, and now that I'm not touring any more, I don't need to buy 700 packs of strings a year, and I can spend a little more. I'm sure there's better strings than the Gibsons out there, but I tried 'em on a whim, and find them servicable.

Nuendo. Nothing changes. I have to have pretty much every Windows and OSX DAW installed, and no matter how much I deal with the others, I still love Nuendo. I don't know how those people that say one DAW sounds better than another come to that conclusion, but as far as workflow goes, Nuendo wins hands down, for me anyways.

Preset #257 on the Eventide Eclipse. Named "EMT Plate," it bears little resemblance to its namesake, but is an excellent thick reverb. It is currently my main reverb, but is soon to be replaced in that regard. (Ho, ho, ho...)

Plogue Bidule. The more I play with this bad boy, the more I like it. As far as bricks-n-wires environments go, it'll get the job done, and doesn't suck as much as most of the others.

That's it for now. I think the world needs more stream-of-consciousness blogging, and I've just done my part.

July 30, 2006

99 Cent Condensor Mic? Sure, why not?

by Chris Randall

I could see buying, like, 50 of these and placing them all over my house. Mic: 99 cents. Cable loom: $4500. Anyways, Go forth. I'm sure they're fantastic.

July 30, 2006

Why I Hate Musician's Friend, Take 152...

by Chris Randall

So, my Adam A7s departed Analogue Haven yesterday, and it occurred to me that I need TRS->XLRM cables. Everyone knows that Mogami cables are the cables you get when you need cables. (People that know better still insist on buying Hosa and Radio Shack cables. Those people obviously don't give a fuck about their signal, and only want their cables to last for like a year. They're demonstrably insane.)

So, like I was saying, I need these cables, and in a moment of weakness, I ordered them from Musician's Friend. (People that buy anything from Musician's Friend fall in to the same catagory as those that buy Hosa cables, so I'm in the same boat as you, FWIW.) I don't know why I did it, other than that they were the first ones to come up in my Google search. So I make the order, and don't think much of it. Today, I get this email:

We've sent this email to confirm shipment on the items listed
below for order number I6207089XXXX. With most packages, you
can track the progress enroute based on your Tracking Number(s):


If the tracking number above appears in one of the United Parcel
Service (UPS) formats, click this link and paste in your
tracking number:

UPS formats are: 1Z### ### ## #### ### # or T### #### ###

If your tracking number appears in the FedEx format, click this
link and paste in your tracking number:
The FedEx format is 12 to 15 numerals in a row, with no
separators. Be sure to delete the leading zeros when entering
your number on the FedEx website!

Tracking information will not be posted to UPS or FedEx tracking
systems for approximately 24 hours.

If the number above begins in 9, your package was sent via
the United States Postal Service. If no number appears, your
order was shipped USPS First Class Mail. Currently, USPS does
not offer a package tracking system.

Why is it that every other business on the internet can just give you a "click this link to track" mail, while Musician's Friend forces you to do long division in your head? First, you have to figure out what the fuck format it is, then you have to... yeah... whatever. And that last sentence is my favorite. While technically true, it is, in fact, patently misleading, as Delivery Confirmation actually provides 9/10th of the service that a normal tracking number does. Of course, they can always pass that 45 cents on to the customer, so what's the big deal?

On top of that, the number is meaningless for over 24 hours. Every other company on the web manages to at least get the data to the shipping company, even if they don't actually send the package out the door. But Musician's Friend can't actually manage that complicated process. So, once you figure out what fucking service it's for, you're rewarded with something on the order of "No information for the following shipments has been received by our system yet" for at least a day.

So, my question is thus: what's the god-damned point? Why can't Musician's Friend pull off what every boutique store on the planet manages? I know. They're spending all that money they could be paying to people that think on paper catalogs that I get and throw away three at a time, every four weeks. Hey, I've got an idea: why don't you guys apply some of your ad budget to actually retaining customers? Then maybe I'd spend more than $70 a year at your store. Actually, no I won't. Never mind. Keep on doing what you're doing.

July 29, 2006

Fucktard(s) Of The Week...

by Chris Randall

MC Cul De Sac And The Suburban Rebel Three!

Seriously, I know these guys, and they really are choads in real life, too. (And extra seriously, if you're using an Intel Mac to look at this site, and it says you need Flash 9 to watch that movie, don't fucking bother. It's not worth the effort.)

July 28, 2006

Avantone Group Buy Update 2...

by Chris Randall

Okay, we've got a couple dozen takers so far; all is good. I'm going to close this up on Wednesday, and here's how it will work. Those of you who have committed will Paypal me $169 per set you want, with your address in the Paypal thingie; I'll send a check for the total to Avant, and in a couple days you'll have your speakers. Avantone has every set needed for this group buy set aside already, and the speakers will ship as soon as they receive payment.

Now, I've received quite a few emails with various questions regarding these little guys; I've answered everyone privately, but I figured I'd put a compendium up here, in the hopes that I might save people (and myself) some trouble. So, in no particular order:

Q: What kind of amp should I use? This is the most common question. Pretty much any amp will do the trick; of course, the better the amp, the better the results, as with all things. However, there is no particular High Quality Shit Amp that fills the same roll as the Avantones (and their Auratone and Pyramid cousins). As I mentioned in the previous thread, the most obvious solution is a Crown D45, D60, or D75. You can find these on eBay for quite cheap, and the D45 can still be purchased new (albeit at roughly twice the cost of the speakers, so diminishing returns are the order of the day.) These little guys purportedly handle 200W peaks without drama, so use that to inform your decision.

Q: Can I use these as my main monitors? Sure, if you make music that only has a snare drum, vocals, and saxophone. Because those are about the only instruments these speakers reproduce accurately. These are most definitely secondary speakers, used to check phase alignment, midrange instrument balances, and how your mix will sound on computer speakers, iPod earbuds, and most importantly, from a television set.

Q: I already have shitty Mackie/Behringer/M-Audio monitors? Why do I need another pair of speakers that don't accurately reproduce sound? This is actually an excellent question. I'm of the considered opinion that speakers like this are actually more useful if you have fair to middling monitors, as those generally have artificial bass that makes your mids sound less than they are, and makes a good balance all but impossible. If you have an expensive and accurate set of monitors, chances are you bought them because you know what the hell you're doing. In that case, you know what the Avantones are good for, and I don't need to explain it.

Q: How big are they? I'm not in my studio at the moment, but I'd guestimate they are roughly 6" on a side. They're quite small, and will live happily on top of most any nearfield.

Q: Why don't you start an online music store that sells cool, useful, cheap shit? Please. I have better things to do with my time.

My wife's parents have been visiting from Phoenix all week, which will hopefuly explain why I've been a bit slow to answer and post. However, they're leaving tomorrow, and this Group Buy will get my undivided attention at that juncture. That, and Audio Damage's next fly-ass product, which is very nearly in the chute.


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