solarbird: (molly-oooooh)

It’s a Roland SC-55 MIDI Sound Canvas from 1991! I can now make all the noises you heard in any videogame in the 1990s.


Cheese Factor Five, Mr. Worf – let’s see what’s out there.

Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but honestly not much of one. I got it from Ben Deschamps via his internet yard sale, for, as he put it, “a six pack.” XD I also had to fix it after it arrived damaged in shipping – I’m pretty sure the post office punted it here from New York State, given how quickly it arrived and how the left side of the front panel was punched in.

But hey, now I can say I’ve repaired a potentiometer. Not replaced: repaired. I did that because it’s custom and weird and was in three pieces. (Also the metal frame was bent, some parts got disconnected and also bent, a bit of the motherboard broke off but I’m pretty sure that was just a little bit of grounding pin and it’s already grounded. And I fixed all that, so it’s all good.)

Anyway, it’s a Roland, and my A-30 MIDI keyboard is also a Roland, and turns out, they know each other! Such a small world. All those useless buttons suddenly do things!

There is also a thunder and rain setting. This is hilarious, mostly because there’s really only one thunder effect, so I can use it exactly once ever. I have no plans to do so, but don’t push me, I got thunder.


not me. okay, kinda me last night. but not really me.

Honestly, though, while I expected mostly to be using it for things easy to get right (bells, chimes, simple pipes, synthy-effects, etc), this is 1990s pro gear. The strings and horns, while definitely cheesy, are much less so than what you find in, say, Garage Band today. With the right tweaking and careful, careful playing – it respects key velocity, aftertouch, all those cool tweaks on my keyboard – I might be able to use more parts of it than I expected, maybe even for the swing jazz version of Lisdoonvarna. That’d be awesome.

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solarbird: (korra-excited)

Vocals recording today! Possibly mine, certainly Shanti of Leannan Sidhe, who is guesting in chorus on one song and has a co-starring role in another.

Plus we have some more Awesomebombs dropping in from afar via Dropbox from Collaborator To Be Named Soon, No Really, Somebody You’ve Heard Of. Well, most of you. hee hee hee hee hee :D

It’s really good to be getting back to proper music work. I’ve been doing mostly kitchen renovation/restoration/kind of a mix for weeks. Here, have some pictures from the most recent work. There’re a couple of “before” shots in there too, so you can get some idea of how far it’s come since the first of the month. And the end is in sight. That’s pretty important at this point. Yeah.

Oh! And and and! A new gig announcement – I’ll be playing a joint show with Leannan Sidhe at The Dreaming in the University District on August 23rd. I don’t have the time yet but it’ll be on the shows page as soon as I do. It’ll be a free show and it’s on a Saturday and it’s a comic book store so c’mon out! SUPERVILLAINY!

I may have to hold the store hostage. That may have to be a thing. I’m just saying. :D

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solarbird: (Lecturing)

One of the songs Anna wanted on the soundtrack album is a traditional piece called John Barbour. It’s the slow song on the album, but this post isn’t about that. It’s about distance recording.

I’ve spent lots and lots and lots of time talking about room conditioning in building home/personal studios. But I’ve also talked about the many benefits of gathering as much signal (what you’re trying to record) vs. noise (airplanes, busses, motors in the distance) as possible, which is usually achieved by close-miking. Close-miking still needs room conditioning, but honestly, not as much – you simply hear less room when the instrument is up in your metaphorical face like that.

(Hey, look, see, I can learn – I spelled it “miking” even tho’ there is no K in microphone. It’s MICrophone, not MIKrophone. See also: why “No.” is a stupid abbreviation for “number.” Perhaps I should compromise and use the cyrillic letter к instead. No? No.)

But this song is one of those times when I needed distance mics. Some instruments need space for their sound to develop. That sounds like woo, but it’s not; it’s certainly not subtle in the recordings, particularly with percussion.

I’m playing Quebec-style spoons on this song, along with zouk, and… nothing else, actually. Yeah, it’s that kind of song. Slow, simple.


And full of spoons.

Mic spoons close and to prevent clipping you have to damp the input down so far that all you get is a tic noise, with no secondary tones and no character at all. But mic these from a distance, say a metre or so – with in this case, an Oкtava mк-319, lol cyrillic see what I did there – and you end up with something that sounds like what you hear in real life.

Same goes for violins, and cellos too, to a lesser degree, and others. All of which is why you need the ability to distance mic if you’re recording live instruments.

And I have it! So what in Dick Tracy was a nightmare of equalisation, compensation, suboptimal microphones, weird compromises, and labour, turned into a simple setup, with a single take, and done.

Hannibal from A-Team: I love it when a plan comes together.

So do I, Hannibal. So do I.

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solarbird: (korra-excited)

The other set of LED tape lights arrived. Initially they had less impact when tested; the window behind the baffles in the left on this photo don’t go as high as the baffle, so the top lights were a bit hidden. So I tapped in a bit of wood to raise it.

Here are four configurations I’ve already found I like quite a bit and am actually using at their appropriate times of day – the idea is that if I don’t have BRIGHT DAYLIGHT LIGHTS on at 2pm, I won’t look up and go “oh look it’s 3:30 and I have to be up at… eight!”

Click to enlarge in a separate tab.


Overnight


Sunset and Evening


DAYTIME!
(It really does feel like daylight in there.)


Evil!

The pictures are colour-manipulated a little to try to get at least in the neighbourhood of the correct colours; this was as close as I can get. The white areas around really the colours you see near them, not white. The orange is more orangy, the green is more greeny, the snozzberries taste like snozzberries.

Exactly like snozzberries.

But yeah, $35 in LEDs – including the controllers and remotes. That doesn’t include power supplies; I had one already and paid $10 for a second one that can handle the full input requirements of the longer strand, so I do things now like put that one on cycle and leave the other one steady if I want. Just because I CAN.

Mood/time-lighting LEDs are awesome. :D

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solarbird: (korra-excited)

After all the hell involved late Friday night in getting nVidia drivers running under Linux (a.k.a., “Hi, I’m Running A New Kernel Now, Ask Me Why!”), I thought it’d be a good idea to get a case fan. I got the quietest 92mm fan they had at Fry’s, clocking in at 14.6db. I also picked up some hum-dampening silicon bolts for attachment.

Installing it proved I was right in deciding I couldn’t possibly afford the noise of a graphics card with fans onboard. Even the whisper-quiet-as-such-things-go case fan required me to throw some sound absorption behind the box to get it back to inaudible in the recording space.

…and okay maybe I couldn’t resist grabbing a case light while I was at it. It was only $8, so why not? :D But behind the case, you can see that I’ve attached some leftover sound baffle material to the wall – it’s just a single layer, but that’s okay, since fan noise is pretty high-frequency and easy to scatter.

In addition to the visible pieces, there’s another attached to the underside of the shelf that overhangs the case. It’s just out of frame above this picture. That piece catches some of the sound bounce coming out from the back which isn’t picked up by the wall pieces. The reduction is enough to hear, close up.

This baffling brings the case noise back down to the same level as it had before, without the fan. It’s nice to be justified in my card choices, but I wish I’d been wrong – the GT520 chipset isn’t bad, but I’d really kind of like, oh, a 750 TI. But… not today, not in this machine, not in this room.

What do you use for GPU temperature monitoring? Given the temperatures of everything else, I’m confident I’m fine, but I wouldn’t mind monitoring the card itself for a bit. Windows or Linux is fine.

Oh, and! On Internet Skyrims Elder Scrolls Online, I’m Starbird the Fleet, username Solarbirdy. Still in starting environment at the moment, breaking out of prison – and getting used to PC controls again after a long time being a console gamer only – but I’ll be out of that soon. Look me up.

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solarbird: (fox do want)

I decided I liked how the LEDs looked where they were in the photo from yesterday, so here’s how I made a more permanent version using 100 year old knobs from knob-and-tube wiring!

The turns are knobs, pulled out of a 1911 house. The supports between long horizontal sections are foam core. To show a bunch of the colours, I decided to try panorama mode on the phone while the LEDs were in colour-cycle mode. It kinda worked, but really does more “look where Apple takes its samples” than describe how it looks in person. Still, it’s kind of cool:

And here’s what it looks like with the baffles put back into place. Only, not actually rainbowy all at once like this, it’s cycling through each of these colours as I pan the camera. Still, you can see how the shelf underlighting section works:

Finally, here’s a still shot, with only one colour, in this case GREEN! It’s actually greener in person than this, but my cell phone amps that up to white because it does and I can’t stop it.

People asked in comments yesterday how much power it draws. Well, it depends upon the mode. The green above is drawing about 10 watts. It draws as little as 5 watts while on, and 1.2 watts when “off” but listening for remote. At full brightness white, it draws nearly 40 watts. The colour-cycles draw anywhere from 18 to 38 watts, so that probably averages around 28.

Make sure if you do this that you’ve got a power supply capable of handling that 40 watts, and test it – the supposed 52-watt Radio Shack 12V power supply I had on hand blew out in 10 minutes! Badly done again, Admiral Shack! This one seems better, despite being rated for less.

I definitely want to order more of these, they are awesome. And they really do set a nice mood. If they blow up, I’ll be sure to post about that, too. :D

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solarbird: (korra-excited)

I may already be addicted to these. I want more of them. SO MANY MORE OF THEM.


Redwall


Bluewall

They also do normal colours like radioactive green, daylight, warm light, and OH GOD I LOVE THESE THINGS HOW CAN I PUT THEM EVERYWHERE?

They’re pretty bright, too. I am not disappointed on that front.

I’ve got this strip colour cycling now (fade/slow transition) but it can be set to specific colours and and yeah these are awesome. They’re like $16 for five metre lengths with controller but without power supply. I have plenty of power supplies sitting around, so that’s just fine by me.

Honestly right now I just want to put them everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

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solarbird: (pingsearch)

I’ve been sitting here this evening timing-editing a bassline to within an inch of its life and I’m thinking, ‘do I really need to do this? Really?’

And I don’t honestly know. I mean, sure, it needs a little tightening up, and there are a few less-than-perfect notes here and there, but it sounded fine when I recorded it and even when I hit playback.

I’m not fond, to be honest, of doing these kinds of edits – even if I’m pretty good at them – I get really bored and look for other things to do. But I can’t seem to let it go.

There’s absolutely such a thing as too much precision, but you don’t usually find that in rhythm, and bass is essentially for rhythm in most songs, even if I play a lot more notes on my basslines than most, and…

…yeah. I’m just sitting here watching the wheels in my head go ’round and round, I guess.

I’m really good at this. I just need to be really fast at this, too, so I don’t start flailing around and looking for other things to do.

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solarbird: (Lecturing)

Last year, I spent a lot of time engineering my first project largely for someone else. Leannan Sidhe’s first album, Fragile Dreams, had come out in 2011 and been well received. In 2012, she’d got the money together to put together the follow-up and counterpoint, Mine to Love, the darker opposite to the light first album.

Now, I know Shanti, Leannan Sidhe’s bandleader and songwriter, and I’d helped her a bit with her Kickstarter project. But there weren’t any plans for me to be involved in the project for real, other than occasional moral support. It was all going to be recorded and produced in Oregon, at Alec’s PhantaSea Studio, and mastered by his brother Doc, at Endless Creations.

But we’d played together a couple of times, and she’d even started her Roses and Ruin live/live-in-studio side project at my place, and I designed the album cover. So once a few Real Life Things happened – the normal sorts of budget issues, the problems of commuting 360 miles(!) round trip for recording sessions – she came to me, and asked if they could do some recording in my studio. The gas savings alone would salvage their budget.

Roses and Ruin by Leannan Sidhe
(Will launch Bandcamp)

I didn’t own the vocal mic she had been using in Oregon, and, for that matter, my mic supply was pretty small and specialised at the time. But she was able to throw me some advance money, all of which went to MOAR MICROPHONES, all of which I’ve continued to use elsewhere. So my studio got another level up opportunity. And I’d never stepped up on a major project like this before, not one involving other people – particularly other people in large numbers. I admit it: I was pretty nervous.


Shanti’s preferred vocal mic, the Oktava MK-319

So I started learning about miking other people, and other instruments, and more other instruments, and still more other instruments. And about juggling schedules (and cats – all events involve juggling cats, but musicians are the cattest cats of them all) and getting people to agree to things and editing and pulling out tricks and making guesses and other guesses that actually work and occasionally diffusing creative differences and feeding people who are sugar-crashing and and and.

I’d always been a good editor; I became a really good editor. Alec called some of my edits phenomenal. I’ve been told I have a good ear; I got a better one, at least in some ways – Mickey told me this was the first time a recording of his guitar sounded like his guitar sounded to him. I became very well acquainted with the term “audio fatigue.” I got good at working with people hundreds of miles away and upped my Dropbox account to Pro status, because I needed to. And the Big Board (and Big Book that goes with it) became a Big Deal.


Project complete

Along the way I started making suggestions. Not all of them were taken, but a lot were. I ended up on a couple of tracks, “Voiceless” and “Once More,” where in the latter case I’m everything but the voice. And I got first mix on four songs, which … it’s kind of a resume thing, where even if everything you do got redone, it still means you got to set the tone. All to the taste of the artist, of course, but nonetheless: first to set the tone.


The dual monitors got their first big workout, and it was good.

And now, here we are. The Kickstarter backers have had their copies for a while, the pre-release concert – a while ago at this point – went over well. I wish I had good photos, but I don’t, so have this bad one, gussied up with too many iPhoto effects:


Leannan Sidhe Pre-Release Concert

I’ve wanted to point people at this album for a while, on several occasions, often when talking about production tricks. Other than the core band members, of course, I probably worked as hard on this album as anyone, and while that work was technical, it was also creative. Just in a different way.

But it’s been delayed, because reasons; it simply hasn’t been available to anyone else. Now, it’s out, and I finally can do that pointing. I wish I could point people at “King of Elfland’s Daughter” in particular, because it’s great, but for copyright reasons it can’t be streamed. So go buy the thing, it’s well worth your 99¢. I’m not even on that one and all I recorded were vocals and cello so it’s not even me tooting my own horn.

I think everybody involved learned a lot on this album. Some times good, some things necessary, some things difficult, but learned nonetheless. The production was, occasionally, troubled – and not just from studio-splitting – aad the result is dark, but strong. Even though it’s not the kind of music I do myself, the skills I acquired have already been used and heard on “Kaiju Meat” and will certainly be heard further on Bone Walker. All of these are gifts for the future.

But for now, what matters is that Mine to Love is finally out to the public. Given it a listen. See what you think.

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solarbird: (korra-grar)

Heading north again tomorrow, to Victoria and then up the island to Cumberland. This time I’ll try to remember to take the camera, tho’ I’ll have less, sadly, to photograph. Ah well, such is the way of things.

MIDI is still giving me problems on Ardour; everything works (including the on-screen mouse-click keyboard) except it’s ignoring/not seeing my actual MIDI keyboard, the one pictured yesterday. I know the keyboard works, I used it with Garage Band a week ago when using those other chimes. I don’t suppose anyone has experience with this, do you?

On the other hand, I’ve been shown Sound Fonts. Sound Fonts are like fonts, but for sound, and are plug-in/software independent (to the same degree typography fonts are) and this is super awesome. Imagine that you had to get a different company’s word processor to use this other typeface you like, and that’s what instrument VSTs seem to be like. Then someone throws typefaces at you and suddenly you’re all I LOVE YOU FORVER.

That’s what sound fonts are, for sound font supporting plugins. It’s so obvious and yet soooooo cooool. Or will be, if I can get Ardour to see my @&$#(*!!! keyboard.

Separately, the water heater has sprung a leak. It’s not much of a leak, but any leak is much worse than no leak. That’s what I get for playing with the 15 tesla pocket magnetic field generator in the basement, I guess. Live and learn. And mutate some genomes. But really, that goes without saying.

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solarbird: (Lecturing)

If there isn’t already a group noun for microphones – you know, like murder of ravens, school of fish, and all that – there should be. I propose a silly of microphones:


A Silly of Microphones

I had all those wired up at once because we were doing some test recording of Anna for flutework on Kitsune at War. Despite appearances, the two mics on the far left are quite different to each other, due to their different head capsules having dramatically different pickup patterns.

The choices coalesced really quickly, as it turned out, because Anna’s metal flute is totally clicky in the keys. Lots of clicking sound, and no way to turn it off.


Not even when dampened with a shirt. Not even two shirts.

The funny part is, back when I was trying to get these couple of Octava 012s, I really mostly just wanted the cardioid heads. And one came with that option only. But another ended up having a set of three heads: cardioid, hypercardoid, and omnidirectional. And that’s come back to serve us well now.

See, most microphones you’ve used have either been omnidirectional (pick up in all directions fairly evenly) or cardioid (pick up in front of the mic in kind of a circular-bubble area in front of the microphone). A hypercardioid mic, though? It’s like a laser beam, or at least this one is. Instead of a circular pickup area, it’s shaped more like a dirigible. And that means you can zoom in on the sound you want, and simply not record a surprising loudness of noises coming from shockingly nearby that you don’t want.

Which is why it was a damn good thing I bothered hooking up two versions of that microphone. Otherwise, we’d be looking into rental flutes. But we’re not. Go us.

eta: Over on Dreamwith, Corvi suggests "a Feedback of Microphones." I do like that! But feedback also requires speakers – or in extreme cases a turntable – so… hm…

eta2: With 29 more ideas for this from people(!), we decided to make a list and poll, here. Look and vote if you want!

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solarbird: (korra-excited)

Amongst the news that got somewhat overlooked during the petition-to-SFWA flap of the last two weeks:

  • The two-CD-long Destiny came out, with my first voice acting role, and,

Along the way, I fixed another guitar – I keep repairing instruments I don’t even know how to play XD – and a cool toy appeared! If you have a new enough browser, go play with it, it’s fun.

Finally, this is legitimately hilarious (h/t to Ben Deschamps):

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solarbird: (music)

Last week, I posted a work-in-progress roughmix of an instrumental track from the upcoming Free Court of Seattle book series soundtrack album.

I also posted the bass instrument, in excerpt form, as a solo track. It sounds like a a double bass (a.k.a. standup base) but, as I told everyone, it wasn’t that; I made something else into a double-bass, with studio tricks. And I challenged people to figure out what it was originally.

I’m afraid nobody got there. A couple of people got into the right category (“tonal percussion instruments”), then wandered back out again, because they kept being sure it had to be bowed, even after I said it wasn’t.

Because nobody guessed correctly, I’m assigning numbers and doing a random winner drawing from everyone who tried, across all reposts I know about! A d20 will work, which is convenient, so dice roll please…

THE WINNER IS DAVID, FROM THE ORIGINAL POST! Email me, David! Also I’ll send email if you left a valid one associated with your username.

As to the actual answer…


A Hammer Dulcimer

YES, REALLY. I thought I was tipping my hand, talking about the mysterious “bass instrument” at the same time that I was talking about Ellen’s hammer dulcimer, but I guess not!

The discovery was entirely accidental – particularly the bow sounds. That’s not hard work; that’s a processing artefact, I guess. I honestly don’t know.

Basically, I needed something to fill in down there, frequency-wise, to give the track some body. Usefully but separately, I had put four microphones on Ellen’s dulcimer, recording four tracks off it, with one in particular set up to pick up as much low end as her instrument could give me. But it didn’t pick up any more low-end than the bass bar microphone, and it also picked up a really “thunk”-heavy sound – every hammerblow got exaggerated. It didn’t add anything positive, so I was going to leave it out.

So I had a recording I wasn’t going to use anyway, and a need for something bassy. Using the built-in Ardour octave shifter, I dropped it two octaves to see how that sounded. The answer was “still terrible, and if possible, even worse.” I poked around with it, trying various things, and the answer kept being “terrible.” Less so, but still.

Then, on a whim, I dropped it another octave, and a miracle occurred.

I don’t know how, but suddenly I could hear bow noises – probably what happened to the thunk sounds – in a recording of an instrument that just plain sounded like a double-bass. Filter out the subsonics, and it became clearer. Filter out the high-end harmonics and again, clearer. After that, it was just treating it like a standup bass.

And I have no idea why. But damn, I am using this trick forever. :D

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solarbird: (music)

Anyone following the petition-to-SFWA flap should read John Scalzi’s post this morning for some useful advice.

Yesterday’s hammer dulcimer recording session went very well; we have two more tunes in the can, one really on the first take – Ellen comes in prepared – though we took a couple more as well, just to be safe. She can’t be back in until late March, though. Still, it’s not like we lack work to do.

It is nice finally seeing the Big Board start to turn blue, I have to say. (It’s colour-coded; blue means completed work.)

Today is more eye-surgery follow-up, so I’ll be OOS (Out Of Studio) all day. Hi ho, needs must and all that. See you tomorrow!

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solarbird: (mandolin-and-flutes)

I’m sick of talking about eye surgery and all that other crap. Remember the Bone Walker/Free Court of Seattle soundtrack album? Here, have a sneak preview work track – it’s the Irish tunes set which goes with Chapter 23 of Faerie Blood:

Normally I wouldn’t throw a work track out there, not even as a sneak preview, but yeah. This is missing the percussion, a male voice counting in individual tunes in Gaelic (because plot reasons), some chimes, and final assembly, but it has the right shape. You can see what rough beast caleighs its way towards Newfoundland in this.

That’s Ellen Eades on hammer dulcimer, Sunnie Larsen on fiddle, me on mandolin and Irish bozouki, and…

You may notice also notice a bass instrument in there. I’ve posted it separately:

I am so pleased with myself over this entirely accidental discovery. Everyone I’ve played it for has guessed standup bass or double-bass (including a professional cellist), but give your opinion; then guess what it actually is. I dare you. I double dog dare you.

I’ll tell you this much: it’s not synthetic, and it’s not a double-bass.

Actually, should I make this a contest? I haven’t done a contest in forever. First person to guess right – WHO HASN’T ALREADY BEEN TOLD AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE – gets a download of any album I have on Bandcamp, including this one once it comes out, which it hasn’t yet. Go!

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solarbird: (music)

Sometimes, late at night, I discover things. Sometimes they are hilarious things. Sometimes they are hilarious things that are awesome and end up on albums.

This is one of those times.

And everybody is in bed and I have nobody to play it to, and I can’t post it, because unfinished project (because, oh yeah, this is going on the soundtrack album) so I won’t link that in public.

Dammit.

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solarbird: (made her from parts)

I’ve never been fond of extended sitting around – I’m just not fond, and add a desk to the mix and I’m all just NOPE. But my digital audio workstation is at a desk. So I decided that was dumb, and I’d like a standing workstation, but those cost hundreds to thousands of dollars,and tried a standing configuration with my monitors at maximum height, using a music stand as a keyboard holder.

Since that worked, I decided to make a better keyboard holder, one that would also hold my trackball.


Adjustable!

It attaches to any stand that will take a standard mic clip. This was of course intentional. It’s 3/4″ thickwall PVC pipe, filed out on the inside to make the inner diameter wide enough to slip over the microphone pole of a standard mic stand. It doesn’t screw on, it just fits on, so don’t file it too much or it’ll get wobbly. The fit should be snug.

The top board is just some leftover plywood I had lying about, tinted with some leftover stain and polyurethane. Completely unnecessary, but looks nice. The board is held to the PVC frame with plumbing securements and brass bolts. Don’t use wood screws; quarter-inch ply doesn’t give you enough of an anchor for that.

Also, there’s a layer of double-sided tape between the metal securement hoops and the PVC end caps. If the fit wasn’t tight, that wouldn’t work – but it is, so it works well.

The end caps are important. You need them so that the T in the middle of the PVC support and the ends of the PVC support present the same frame diameter to the attachment system. If you didn’t do that, either the board or the PVC pipes would bend a little once you bolted everything down. This way it’s consistent and flat.

I think it came out as an attractive bit of kit. The screws aren’t flush, but the keyboard has feet and those are thicker than the screw heads, so it works out. I kind of expected the screw heads to sink in a little, but they didn’t; you can always drill a little bit into the wood with a bit the size of the screw head to flatten it a little bit further, if you need to. But that’s tricky with 1/4″ ply, since it’s so thin.

Since the mic stand’s telescoping pole reaches the top of the T inside the PVC frame, you can raise and lower the tabletop just like you would a microphone, so it’s adjustable to the height you like – at least, within limits.

The PVC pipe is also the right exterior diameter for a mic clip! If your mic stand is stable enough, you can totally do this, too, which lets you raise or lower the table like a boom mic. My stands aren’t awesome enough to be stable doing that for a heavy thing like a keyboard and trackball, but I could use this for other, lighter items if I wanted. The hard part is getting the clip not to rotate left and right – the clamping bolts on my mic stands don’t clamp firmly enough. If yours do, then great!

Very quick build, about an hour except for the staining and polyurethane, but that’s optional. This is quarter-inch ply, and that seems plenty strong enough for this purpose. It’s 65cm wide and 26cm deep, which was about as small as I could get and fit the keyboard and trackball.

What I’d really like is something I could move around just a little, kind of like a mobile rack for the monitors and keyboard, but that appears to be crazymoney. This seems like a reasonable middle ground that cost me, um… two disposable brushes plus stuff I already had on hand. ^_^ So far, I’m getting more work done since this indulges my dislike of chair and desk. We’ll see if that holds out over time.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (music)

Up late comping fiddle and listening to J-Pop of the 1980s, in a two-hour compilation tw:freedrull found on YouTube. (“Category: Science & Technology” Awesome.)

The fiddle is for the Bone Walker/Free Court of Seattle soundtrack album – I played a bit of it in the latest episode of the podcast – and I’m trying to get reasonable comps ready for Friday’s recording session with Ellen Eades on hammer dulcimer.

I made kind of an ad hoc standing configuration for my digital audio workstation. I hate sitting for long periods of time – I’m too antsy for that! But it turns out a music stand makes a fine keyboard shelf:

Turns out I’m more likely to start working if I don’t have to sit down, and can wander away and back to it. So I’ll keep this kind of thing as an option. I’m building a better keyboard shelf that’ll have room for the trackball and also attach to a mic stand, because if you’re going to engineer something, you should totally over-engineer it. (I tried just putting a board on the music stand… it was too wibbly.)

Did I take pictures? lolno. I’ll post about it later anyway, though. It’s an easy build.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (cascadia dance dance revolution)

Anna is giving away both ebook and audiobook copies of Valor of the Healer. This isn’t the universe the soundtrack is from, but it is the same writer, and you should go enter!

The soundtrack has been dragging on, and how long it’s been taking has been getting on my nerves in a serious way. There’s not all that much to be done about that; I wasn’t ever intending to play melody on the traditional Irish Tune portions, then had to, which means I had to learn tunes playing well enough to do it in studio, and then when some of the selections weren’t going to work in a traditional set type arrangement, meant I had to learn to write tunes, or portions thereof, in a way that sounded right.

We are moving along, tho’. Slowly. We had Ellen Eades in last week, recording hammer dulcimer for one set, and Sunnie Larsen will be in tomorrow, recording more fiddle. I’m desperately hoping that between having to deal with the remains of Sewer Implosion 2013 and rehearsal tonight with Leannan Sidhe for their six shows over on the dry side that I’ll be able to rebuild the Chapter 1 track project, which corrupted itself after a crash.

Don’t worry, we didn’t lose any data, it’s just… jumbled a bit. So I have to import everything into a new project. It’s not difficult, just incredibly annoying and a bit time-consuming.

But that’ll depend upon letting the CD labeller get finished with the short run of CDs that are being printed up for those aforementioned shows. See how everything stacks up and gets in the way of everything else? So frustrating.

Whup, sounds like a certain wallboarder has had to get out a larger saw. I’d best check what’s up.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (gun good job)

I made a desklamp out of an LED bar and a reasonably-weighted vertical USB extension:


Run from computer

My system and its external wireless adaptor* are connected to a power switch box. When I shut down the system, I also turn off the power to the CPU and the power to the external wireless adaptor via this switch box.

Lately I’d been forgetting to turn off the power switch box, and thus, the adaptor. It wasn’t much power wasted – no more than a nightlight’s worth – but it bothered me.

Separately, I’ve lately been grabbing my battery-powered LED sheet music lights and using them as desk lamps for electronics work at this very desk, which uses up their batteries.

So: two solutions at once. USB extension cable with vertical port plugs into the unused back-of-system USB hub, which is separate internally to the system USB port my sound interface lives on. Computer doesn’t even have to be on to use the lamp; just turn on the external power switch box and the CPU’s USB ports get power without ever starting the CPU itself. So if the light is on, I know I’ve left the power box on again and need to turn it off.

Most of the time, the lamp lives behind the left monitor, where it’s out of the way but throwing enough light on the desk to serve as an indicator. But really I’m just pleased with how it looks, so you get a picture. ^_^

Oh, zouk part for the finale tunes set is about, oh, 50% done. Enough to have a yellow tag, not orange. Lots of timing edit work to do – because tunes on zouk are stupidly hard, particularly at 300 notes per minute (150bpm, but everything’s eight notes). So y’do what y’must.


*: External adaptor necessary because the Linux realtime** kernel works well only with a very limited number of network drivers, none of which are wireless because of reasons, and using essentially any Linux or WINE-translated wireless driver will defeat the RT kernel’s quasi-RT scheduling. So I use a supported card, which I then connect to the wireless adaptor. It’s crude, but effective.
**: Yes, yes, I know, it’s not really realtime, it’s … sorta realtime. Realtimey-wimey. (Real timey-wimey… ish.)

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

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