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

Archives: July 2006

July 25, 2006

Avantone Group Buy...

by Chris Randall

Okay, there seems to be enough interest in a group buy for me to persue this a bit more. I spoke to Sue at Avant, and she told me that we can't do the group buy for less than the normal dealer price of $169.00. That would piss off their dealers. However, Avant would pay shipping, so the true cost would be $169.00 per pair. She said I could do a maximum of 50 pairs. They would ship as soon as I got the money to Avant, so this will go a lot faster than the mic order. (On a side note, several people have written to say they've received their mics. So, yours are coming if you're about to write me and say "where are my mics!?!")

Anyways, unlike the Chinese Mic Debacle, there would be no minimum. The only caveat is that this will be open to United States folks only; no international orders at all. Sorry about that; Avant's rules, not mine. You can, should you desire, order more than one pair. The maximum is 50 pairs, though.

Information on the speakers is here. I don't think we'll use Fundable for this, as they really gummed up the works last time with their quasi-shitty interface and problem-prone experience. If you want to get in on this, drop me an email (don't change the subject) and let me know how many pairs you want and your shipping address, and I'll get a List together. Don't send me any money yet, though. And please e-mail me even if you've already emailed, private messaged, or posted in the previous thread.

UPDATE: email bounce fixed. Sorry 'bout that.

July 25, 2006

Avantone Mini-Review...

by Chris Randall

Okay, I should note at this juncture that I just discovered (and dispatched) a moth in my studio that was the size of a well-fed hummingbird. Now, that's not big for a bird, but for a moth, well, it's like fucking Mothra-sized. There is some mutant shit flying around these mountains, I'll tell you what. Anyways, I'm a little freaked out by this whole event, so whether that comes through in the following passages is up to you to decide. Caveat Emptor.

Anyways, I got home from Travels With The In-Laws (wherein sights are seen, wine is consumed, mountain roads are driven, et al) to find a nice big, heavy box on my stoop courtesy of UPS. And what do I find in this box buy a brand spankin' new pair of Avantone speakers. These created quite a buzz at Summer NAMM just past, and I was lucky enough to score one of the very first pairs on these shores, courtesy of my friends at Avant Electronics (yes, the same folks who bailed us out during the Great Chinese Microphone Caper.)

For those of you not in the know, the Avantone is a remake/update of the classic Auratone 5C speakers, found in most every studio the world over. The Auratone 5C, which _still_ commands $300 to $500 a pair used, is the world standard in shit speakers. From the late 70s to, well, today, you'd be hard pressed to walk in to a professional recording studio and not see at least one, if not a pair, of Auratones sitting next to the NS10Ms on the meter bridge of the SSL/API/Neve console.

"Now, Chris, that doesn't make any fucking sense," you say, with just cause. "Why would someone want shit monitors?" Well, Auratones (and the Avantone remake) are designed to answer two questions:

1: How will my mix sound on television, in a car or on a boombox (or, by extension, those shit iPod earbuds or the speakers in a laptop)?

2: How are my guitars and vocals balanced, and is the snare too loud?

The good ol' 5C does this (and only this) in admirable fashion, which is why most every studio has 'em, in addition to whatever they use for nearfields these days, even though they're not made any more.

Enter Avant. They designed and built a modern replacement for the Auratone 5C that clocks in at $169 the pair, and sounds, to my ears anyway, exactly the same. They are finished in a really nice cream-colored... uh... I don't know what it is. Substance? They're solid blocks of something or other. The picture doesn't do 'em justice. They aren't that panelling shit that Auratones were. Anyways, I plugged these little guys up, using what I think are exceptionally nice binding posts...

...and was instantly rewarded with that classic Auratone mid-range knock. These things hit the mark, and are absolute must-haves if you, like me, compose mainly for television. Now, will the Avantones be good as your only nearfield monitors? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But if you want to act like a real engineer and check your mix on more than one set of speakers before you send it to the pressing plant, something like this is a really good idea. I'm not trying to be an Avant Pimp or anything, and no one is ever excited about getting speakers that are singularly unpleasant to listen to, but these are one of the few products you can use and get a quantifiable improvement in the end result of your mix.

So, a STRONGLY recommended from me. Avant has mentioned to me that a group buy is a possibility, with strict limits, since they have experience with the AI userbase and our crazy group buy thing already. Is there any interest in such a thing 'round these parts? Since there's no unknown, it wouldn't be the complete pain-in-the-arse/cluster-fuck that the microphone thing turned out to be. Thoughts?

July 24, 2006

Hard-Core Gear Porn Monday...

by Chris Randall

My in-laws are visiting all week, so I'll be traipsing all over the Pacific Northwest seeing the sights. As such, don't expect much postage this week. However, here's a sexy little number that showed up in my mailbox this morning. Tons of nice kit here, and Tom will no doubt be happy to see both a Fairlight and a Synclavier. Play Industries is the joint. Go forth.

July 22, 2006

Rentals in Portland?

by Chris Randall

Dear Lazyweb:

I need to rent a good recording amp for August 1st to the 8th. I'm thinking a Gibson GA-20 or a '66 Champ or something in that neck of the woods. Obviously, given my locale, the rental needs to take place in the Portland/Salem, OR neck of the woods.

Any help? Or suggestions on other courses of action? I don't really want to buy another guitar amp, as I have all the guitar shit a keyboard player needs, but I do need something a little more highbrow than what I gots for this session I have coming up. Hook a brother up.

July 20, 2006

Discovering Electronic Music...

by Chris Randall

MatrixSynth has probably already posted this, but if he did, I missed it. This is the fantastic Bernard Wilets film from 1983, Discovering Electronic Music. It is so fantasical awesome as to defy description. Break out the Klang. It is, of course, quite long. Above is part one. Part two is here, and part three can be found here. Special thanks to jdfan for bringing it to my attention.


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