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

Archives: 2005

October 16, 2005

The most awesomest hand-built outboard...

by Chris Randall

I don't know who the hell this guy thinks he is, but he's just making the rest of us look bad. Take a browse through his Gallery, and be amazed at the quality of the work. The site is rather thin on information, and I'm not entirely sure how I got there or who this stuff belongs to, but it is _really_ nice.

October 15, 2005

WTB: Ensoniq ESQ-1 or SQ80

by Chris Randall

Okay, it's official. I'll take one. Just gotta find one, right? When I lived in Chicago, it was as simple as going to the various Music-Go-Rounds until one turned up. Now that I live about 40 miles East of Bumfuck, OR, I have to go begging. So, if you've got an ESQ1 or SQ80 that is taking up space, trust me when I say it will be better off here. Drop me a line if you have a line on one of these.

(On a side note, it's kind of quasi-funny, because when I wasn't looking for one, it seemed like I couldn't swing a dead puppie without knocking one off its stand. Now all the sudden I want one, and they're nowhere to be found.)

October 15, 2005

Mic Pre Kit Roundup...

by Chris Randall

I was assembling a list of all the mic pre kits available on the web, and I thought it might be informative to put it up here, where everyone could enjoy it. So, what follows is a list of every single mic pre kit I could find on or in the Interwebs.

PAiA Tube Mic Pre

PAiA makes several t00b-based products, including a mic pre that can be built in either mono or stereo configurations. $68.85 for each channel, and $29.75 for a rack that holds a pair.

Pat's Discrete Millenia Pre-Amp

The page is HTML c. 1994, blink tags and all, and a little bit awe-inspiring in its grotesqueness, but Pat does indeed sell a mic pre kit. Or part of a kit. Or something. I'll tell you what: if I'm gonna drop six bangers on something I have to build myself, I'm gonna want, like, a little more confidence in the seller, you know? Especially when I'm buying what is basically a couple trannies and a piece of perfboard. Caveat emptor.

Hamptone HJFP2 & HVTP2

This is more like it. Designed by Scott Hampton, this pair of kits (one solid state JFET-based and one tube-based) is really nice. The enclosure is even pretty sweet, when all is said and done. Not cheap at all, but you gets what you pays for. $549 for the stereo JFET and $699 for the stereo tube, available here. Scott will also build 'em for you, for a couple hundred more, which might not be a bad angle to look at, since this project is not for beginners.

Seventh Circle Audio

If you head on over to the Seventh Circle Audio page, you'll be greeted with one of the nicest kit packages. There are four different mic pres, based upon the API 312, Neve 1272, and two custom designs. There's also a rack that will hold eight of the units, so you can mix and match. Obviously, this is more of a long-term project, what with having to build 8 of the little fuckers. But price-wise, it's a good system. The pres themselves range from $149 to $324, and the rack and PS will set you back $500.

EDIT: As is noted in the comments, you get the power supply free if you buy a pre kit and the rack. I've changed my mind and decided this is The Best Deal On The Internet if you want to build your own mic pres.

Green Pre

Not a kit, as such, but a well-worn path for DIY. This is another Prodigy-Pro project, and there is a wealth of information in a meta thread on that forum about this. A pretty simple build; costs will vary with your choice of components and racking, but figure about $150 a channel or thereabouts.

JLM Audio Micro 1290, et al

This one is about as easy as a kit can get for the rare-air high quality shiznit. At the JLM site you can buy the kit for $250, and about half of it is already built for you. You only need to solder 36 parts to the board. This is based on the mic pre section of the Neve 1073. Lots of various options on this one, and JLM has a couple other offerings for the discerning kit builder.

October 14, 2005

Compressor School...

by Chris Randall

For those of you that feel like you jumped in the deep end of the pool with all this compressor talk, I just came across this page, which is an excellent and easy-to-read discourse on the various different kinds of compressors, why they do what they do, and basic ideas for using them in normal work. If you're just getting in to pro audio (or if you're an editor of Sonic State) and don't really understand all this arm-waving about compressors, I strongly suggest giving that page a once-over.

October 14, 2005

Some really nice DIY...

by Chris Randall

If you head on over to this thread on the Prodigy-Pro forums, you can read all about David Cannikin's beautiful clone of the Gates Sta-Level compressor, pictured above. The real Sta-Level is an incredibly rare piece which generally goes for $1000 to $1500 when it goes at all. Same family as the LA2A, a tube-based opto-compressor. Here's a pic of the Real Deal:

Quite frankly, I like David's better. Check out the thread for pictures of the awesome point-to-point wiring. What a cool box.


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