Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
August 8, 2005

Good idea? Maybe not...

by Chris Randall

So Peter over at the Create Digital Music blog came across this site, where this guy rack-mounts an NES. This, in and of itself, is kind of, well, not that cool. However, Peter made what is perhaps a mistake. He said the following:

"you should be able to do what this fellow did and cram your eBayed NES into a 1U rack mount. Then, add MIDINES, a custom cartridge for MIDI output. [...] Anyone who pulls this off, I will personally give you . . . oh, I don't know, I'll find some kind of prize. You can have my Nintendo DS or something."

Well, I don't know about the "or something," but I'll be glad to take your Nintendo DS off your hands shortly. One rack-mounted MIDI-NES coming up. Peter, I prefer USPS Priority Mail.

August 7, 2005

1/3 of the way to being a rock star...

by Chris Randall

At least, that's what you're led to believe when you don't know any better. I found this Kay acoustic at a yard sale yesterday for $10. (When I got it, it was strung up, and had a bridge, if you were curious.) It sounded all right, considering the strings had probably been on it for 20 years. No cracks that I could see, although the paint job was a little hashed. Any help with a model number or rough date would be appreciated. It has the painted-on Kay logo common to the proletariate line, and is made out of what I could only assume to be birch plywood. The number "52" is stamped on the heel block when I took the (bolt-on) neck off. I assume that's a model and not the year of manufacture, because there's no way this thing is that old. I have a Silvertone arch-top from '53, and the differences are manifold.

In any case, I've never been a fan of sunburst paintjobs, and I'm definitely not a fan of red sunburst paint-jobs. Since the guitar needs quite a bit of work anyways, I decided to re-finish it in the bargain. I'll put up progress reports as I do so. I need a new pickguard, because the Kay logo is worn off of this one. Anyone that has a thought on where to get a new (or NOS) pickguard for this bad boy please whack the "contact" button and tell me so. My l33t Google skills were of no help. The lameburst paint came right off the back with a little Mouse action, so I expect to begin the paint job tomorrow or so.

August 7, 2005

New Jomox product in the pipeline...

by Chris Randall

The XBase 999 is apparently coming down the pike. Seems to be a logical extension of the Xbase 09. Real analog for the kick, snare, low tom and high tom, samples for everything else. Improvements over the Xbase09 are as follows:

1. Compression envelope on the kick, giving you the knocky rap of the 909 or the smooth decay of the 808, you pick 'em.

2. In the sequencer section, all patterns are A/B now. Also, micro-shuffle is per instrument, rather than per pattern.

3. An additional 16-step sequencer controls the external filter, a la AdrenaLinn or Evolver.

4. Theoretically, you'll be able to MIDI sample dump your own sounds to overwrite the factory samples.

There are a couple other new features; overall, Jomox has once again dropped a bomba. Go check out the announcement page. They're saying Fall/Winter '05. Knowing how this sort of thing plays out, we'll probably see it first at Winter NAMM.

August 7, 2005

OSX Audio back on line...

by Chris Randall

Sort of. Seems to be a bit iffy at the moment; some graphics aren't getting served. But those blessed forums are back on-line, and that's all that matters, right? Go forth.

August 6, 2005

Yard Sale Woes...

by Chris Randall

So, I learned a couple valuable lessons today. I was cruising the yard sales today, and came across a fellow selling a Farfisa Fast 3. Now, this isn't the Score Of The Century or anything, but I go to enough yard sales to know that you generally don't come across anything really cool often enough to truly make it worthwhile. I spent some time going over the instrument, which looked to be in good health. It was dirty, having apparently sat in this dude's garage for the better part of 30 years. But it seemed to be in excellent health otherwise. I asked him what he wanted for it, and he said $30. Now, I should have bought it on the spot, but I didn't have the cash on me, and I wanted to make sure it worked first.

So I trundled home, got the appropriate cables and a set of headphones, stopped at the ATM and got out the cash, then headed back to the yard sale, which was about 20 minutes from my house. I went over the instrument with a fine-toothed comb, and discovered that all the switches were dirty (as I imagined they would be) and a lot of the contacts in the keybed were sticking. But nothing that couldn't be fixed with relative ease. So I said "okay, here's your $30. Let's load it up."

The guy goes "well, here's the thing..." While I was gone, he spent some time searching on the 'bay and various other Interweb resources, and came across a reference to a Fast 3 that some fucking nipplehead on SonicState payed $500 for. So he decided his (which he bought new in 1965) was worth significantly more than $30. While that would certainly be true with an instrument in pristine perfect condition, this one most certainly was not. It was missing about half of the stand hardware (but inexplicably had the swell pedal), a couple knobs off the cover piece, and the top itself was loose due to missing screws, never mind the fucked up keybed and dirty switches.

So, I said I'd be willing to go to $40 or $50, but it simply wasn't worth any more than that. He decided that he wanted $150 for it and not a penny less. Now, Farfisas of any stripe, with one notable exception, are generally worth $150 to $300 in good shape. If this one could be described as that, I'd consider it, although I don't really want a Farfisa at all. But I was, like, "man, you're not gonna get that, I'm sorry to say. The only people that are gonna be interested in this instrument at all are people like me, and they're gonna know what it's worth." He was firm in his convictions, so I walked away.

So the things I learned are thus:

1) If you see something, and it's a killer price but you don't know if it works, buy it anyways. Worst case scenario, you'll be out a couple bucks.

2) When you're going to yard sales, make sure you take a couple quarter-inch cables and a set of headphones with you, if you want to test something out.


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