The other day, I started thinking about old projects that I had once considered, purchased the materials for, and then never finished. I am sure there are others guilty of this? I can’t be the only one, can I?
After reminiscing about my audio recording gear, I started thinking about a stand that I had purchased with the express idea of mounting the BR-900CD onto. It was a heavy duty music stand that I had picked up on sale for 20 dollars. After I got it home, however I got lazy and decided to simply leave it as is and set the recording unit on it. This had several drawbacks.
1. The Recording unit has a front loading CD drive, I cant use it without picking the recorder up.
2. The Headphone jack is also on the front, making using that while it is in the stand impossible.
3. The built in microphone is also right in the front.
I thought about several ways to solve this, the issue is lip in the front. I could cut a slot and drill holes, this would have worked in theory but also made it much larger then it needed to be to hold the recording unit. I could also build a mounting plate and fix it to the stand the same way the top tray attached. This seemed like too much work.
I simply set it on the tray and left it at that, the system fell into disuse. Who knew I was too lazy to plug in headphones.
Fast forward a couple years, I decided to begin making use of the recording system again. I dug out the stand and started thinking, why not just cut the tray to attach to the bottom of the recording unit? It would save a lot of work.
I began by using an old case cutter, the sheet metal was about the same thickness, just a bit more brittle. After quickly sketching out with a pencil a rough outline of the shape I felt would fit best I began to cut. The nibbler was slow work and I could have made use of my Dremel with a cutting bit, but due to noise concerns and the fact that it was 11 pm I went with the slower more quiet option.
After The shape was cut out, I took my Dremel and quickly rounded all the sharp edges. Then traced around it onto a sheet of paper.
Finding the center of the BR-900CD and also the center of my traced image, I used a pencil and marked out where the 3 holes should be drilled in the plate.
Transferring the hole locations to the top plate,I drilled those.
Things didn’t fit quite right at first, and I ended up re-drilling a couple holes on the plate to match the bottom of the BR. Not a big deal really, just be sure it is secure.
Instead of using holes and screws, I did consider using Velcro. This approach would be worthwhile if the device did not already have convenient screws on the bottom.
The base of the stand can expand much more, but I plan on letting it sit near the couch so I can record ideas as I have them without having to even get up ;) The height of laziness!
Now to get back to recording.
I have a number of options here for doing recording, none of which I really like.
My first attempts at recording guitar were using a line 6 guitar port using gearbox back in 2006. This was plagued with latency and I gave up after a few months of attempting to get it to work. I contacted line 6, and at the time there was a long thread about it. Turns out, it was a driver issue and their software or hardware was not compatible with 64 bit operating systems. I boxed it back up and it was installed into my closet. I did attempt to sell it a few times, however after seeing the flaws peopled backed out of the deal. I am sure that at the time, it would have worked for someone. I guess it could also have served as a unique paperweight with a sort of spaceship vibe going for it.
I later picked up a BOSS BR-900CD. No computer required, that seemed like a great thing. No latency issues, it was no harder to record than plugging in and hitting record. This seemed perfect! I could lay down track after track and play to my hearts content. Then came the major issue, editing these tracks. The boss does output to a wav format by hooking up with special software via a USB cable. With a 1.1 USB, it does take some time to transfer tracks to the computer for proper editing. I did have the option of using the on-board editing features, however they are akin to performing brain surgery while blindfolded, tied up, and standing on a building made of jello. Without being able to see the waveform, it is difficult to know where you are during each edit. Also, it is even more difficult to add affects after the fact. There is a DVD produced by a third party company, but why should I shell out more money just to learn the arcane art of blind editing.
As luck would have it, I came across a pawn shop find. This was the Roland version of the Edirol FA-66, a very pretty little red box. It came with a neat software package for the time, Sonar 8.5 LE. I installed the software, plugged it in and within moments, I was able to see a waveform, almost latency free. I was in heaven! Or so I thought. None of the plugins that I had worked properly with the software, packages such as line 6 Gearbox would say that I needed gearbox hooked up. I did go ahead and purchase the full version of Sonar X1 Studio and a software package called Amplitube was included. VST packages for a Korg midi controller worked great, as long as I was not trying to use my audio interface as my output sound card on Tuesday, Thursday, and every other Saturday. On occasion things did work properly and I was able to lay down a few tracks. <sarcasm> Yay for the reliability of a computer powered DAW. </sarcasm>
I began to wonder about recording some vocals, and purchased a microphone for this task, a Sure Beta 58A, and a Sure sm57. I had recently built a new guitar amplifier from scratch and liked the tone better than any of the models I had been previously playing with. There was one issue, the noise coming from my PC. As much as I loved working on it, recording with it in the same room was completely out of the question. As space is at a premium, I began to look around for ways to silence the beast. None of them quite did the trick, I can always hear the silent whirring of the cpu fans. Just a side note, I also have a mac… same noise issue.
Full circle, Dec 2013, came and I looked at the old line 6 guitarport. They had released new drivers, and completely replaced gearbox with something called podfarm. After a quick download and install I had it up and running. I used my practice amp in PA mode (Roland micro cube) as the monitor and installed it on my laptop. First impressions, the software is a bit quirky, and they want you to buy more model packs, but at least everything worked. The sound was almost latency free. I was able to setup Audacity and have it record. This all seemed very usable, even though the product is now discontinued and half of the options and features (online only) do not work. Makes sense for a company to finally get a product right, only to dump it and create another even more buggy product.
On a side note, Line 6 has made one wonderful product. The pocket pod. It is a great little practice amp and effects modeler. There are a few flaws, but they are mostly cosmetic. I did add small rubber feet to the bottom to keep it from sliding around the desk. The included models sound far better than my Roland Microcube. This little product has made me consider picking up one of the larger pods. The only downside is that you need to use a computer via usb to get the full functionality out of it. They pair amps and cabinets and you cannot separate them to create your own combinations without using the software. Sadly it does NOT function as an audio interface.
Moral of the story? There isn’t one. I keep looking at different ways to record, and have mused about purchasing a new audio interface. But then, I sit back and think about it. All of these solutions promised easy, no hassle recording. Complexity, latency, and Compatibility, they all had their hoops and flaws. In the end, I should just be happy that there are so many options for me to record. There are always companies willing to take my money to satisfy my G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).
But then after all this, I have another thought. Maybe I should just forget about it all and actually go play my guitar.
Edit and Note:
Boss has come up with a good looking solution, at least on paper. The Boss BR800, which interfaces directly to sonar and acts as a stand alone recorder as well as a proper audio interface and control surface. I would be happy to review this if boss ever were to send me one, but until that happens (not likely) I will probably do the next best thing. Use my BR-900CD to record individual tracks and then export them to wave for editing on my DAW.
Sorry about that, University has taken so much time lately that I neglected everything else :( But, finals are mostly done and things are back on the right path! Upcoming videos soon as well as some possible electronic and music hi-jinks!
I just finished my overdrive pedal :) It can be powered off a 9v battery or wall adapter. The control across the top from left to right are hotness, tone, gain. The bottom two knobs are variac and volume.
The “Hotness” control allows fine tuning of the internal amplifier to accommodate different guitar pickups. Basically it compensates for different pickups to allow for a nice variety of tone.
Tone and gain should be pretty easy to understand for most.
Variac allows me to adjust the input voltage powering the logic IC used in this overdrive pedal. I can starve the input voltage to give it some subtle changes in tone.
And the volume… lets me adjust the volume :)
Anyway, I don’t have labels for it and am considering a name for it. Perhaps… Thundersqueak :)
Today I decided that I wanted a new overdrive pedal, something that I couldnt readily buy. A new sound. After digging around a bit and looking at the jabillion (yep jabillion) tube screamer clones out there, I came across this little circuit at http://www.runoffgroove.com/ubescreamer.html The “UBE SCREAMER”.
Unlike other overdrive pedals, this one is based on a logic IC instead of your standard opamp.
Someone was kind enough to post their results of this build on youtube If you are interested in taking a peak on what this little circuit can do..
I am going to be implementing a Volume, Gain, Tone, and Variac pots (see circuit) , as well as a 3 way rotary switch to allow for different types of guitar pups and sounds. Another addition is a true bypass switch and the ability to power it off a 9 volt battery or power supply, for this I am implementing a DPDT switch. I had all the parts for the main board in my junk box, so this is a total win :)
Now just to find a nice enclosure for it.
No Emulators, just REAL Hardware!
This is a game that I had not played before, it was surprisingly intuitive without having seen the manual nor having played it before. Combine that with the fact that it has multiple level screens it is a rare Atari game indeed :)
The little bit of jerkiness in the video isn’t the camera, that is actually the game doing it. Generally it happened when there was a “boom” sound effect or something on the screen moved fast. They were really pushing some limits of the Atari base hardware.
Thanks for Watching! :)