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

Archives: July 2007


July 3, 2007

SC-1 Preamp Build, Pt. 1

by Chris Randall
 




Got my SC-1 kits this morning. Boy, howdy, did he do a nice job putting these together. Everything was nicely labeled, and I didn't even need to refer to the parts sheet once. No complaints whatsoever on the quality of the parts selected or the kit itself. My only problems were (a) that pot didn't really like to take solder, so I had to fuck with it a little to get it seated and soldered, and (b) I accidentally put a 100R resistor in a 100K spot and vice versa, so there was some hijinx involved with getting those switched.


But that aside, all seems to be well. Of course, with the caveat that I haven't actually plugged it in yet. Perhaps I'll build the power supply now. Heh. It took about 3 hours total to build, even with the fuck-ups, and my shakey-assed soldering skillz. The second one should go faster, I would think. If these work as I expect, I'll get another 6, and they can comprise the input and fader sections of my Appropriate 8-Channel Sidecar.


 
July 3, 2007

Cigar Box Git-Fiddles...

by Chris Randall
 

I've been experimenting with making cigar-box guitars; I made one, then re-made it a couple times, using various parts I had lying about. Then I ordered a bunch of parts from Stew-Mac and E.M.I. to get a little more sophisticated. I've noticed that most of the CBGs available on the interwebs, either on eBay or privately, have toothpick frets or something similar (if they have frets at all.) I actually got a big roll of fret wire to give mine real frets.


While it hasn't reached the point where I'm gonna put Sperzels on 'em or anything, I do have hopes of making a fairly useful instrument when all is said and done. Right now my main concern is pickups. I can use a piezo in its various configurations, but I was entertaining the idea of hand-winding pickups or some such. Is anyone aware of a four-string pickup that is narrow enough for this application? It'd be nice if it was floating, like the ones made for archtop jazz guitars, but that'd be a stretch, I'll grant.


 
July 3, 2007

Jumpin' The Gun...

by Chris Randall
 

It seems someone at KvR put up a news item about Dr. Device. As a result, all the other sites that put up music news also put up blurbs about Dr. Device. Ergo, there was a somewhat heightened interest in the good Doctor today, and I had to whack up some samples. So if you head over to the appropriate page and scroll down, you'll note that Dr. D now has some audio samples. I just whipped these out in order to take advantage of the unplanned publicity in a timely fashion, so they're not gonna, like, make you readdress your music-making paradigms or anything, but... well... you get the idea.


EDIT: Okay, I replaced all the samples (except for the "theremin" one) with stuff that was a little more better, I think, and added a couple with synthie stuff. With this effect, it's hard not to think that it's obvious what a filter and a two-tap delay can do with a bunch of mod. Comments, and if there's anything in particular you'd like to hear through it, please let me know in this thread.


 
July 1, 2007

The Very Model Of A Modern Label Executive...

by Chris Randall
 



This article piqued my interest for a second. Normally I could give two fucks about what music retailers (the second most annoying group of people in the music industry) and major labels think, and I tend to avoid this entire subject like the monkey pox it is, but it's funny to watch the snake eat its own tail on occasion. Here is a prime example: Sony/BMG UK pulled out of its distribution deal with Prince (I assume he's on the P&D plan) because he sold a British newspaper the rights to put his new album in its Sunday edition.


It's worth noting that Prince is one of the few artists to receive a Diamond album award from the RIAA, which is 10 million copies sold, for Purple Rain, which is currently the 30th best selling album of all time. (It was, for a brief period, the best selling album of all time, but that honor now belongs to The Eagles Greatest Hits, so just shoot me in the fucking head right now.) So this absolutely phenomenal artist, easily one of the best musicians of, like, ever, and certainly of my generation, has to put up with pithy little bullshit comments like the following:


"The artist formerly known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the artist formerly available in record stores."


This from Paul Quirk, the appropriately named spokesmodel for the Entertainment Retailers Association of Britian. Well, Paul, I'm glad you got that off your chest; I may not know much about your end of the industry (well, I lie; I know quite a bit, but it doesn't have the same dramatic effect) but I'll say this much: when people don't remember what it means to actually go to a store and purchase an album any more, they'll still know who Prince was, and your big claim to fame will be that you'll forever look like a whiny pissant if anyone does a Lexus/Nexus search on your name, which they probably will never do.


Thanks to Shawn for the heads-up...


 
July 1, 2007

Ouch...

by Chris Randall
 



I don't understand why the concept of "alternative MIDI controller" almost always leads to the actuality of "cacophony", but there you go. If you can watch the whole thing, you're a braver person than I. You can read all about the Sweatstick here.


For more cacophony... errr... I mean alternative MIDI controller fun, check the dueling Zendrums here, and the always-popular MIDIgun here.

 

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