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Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
welcome to my corner of the web where i am happy to share my memories, interests & ideas, music and everyday thoughts about whatever comes into my life... While you're at this website All music, concepts, ideas & "dextrosoundlab" images (C)dextrosoundlab2010/socan/ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sunday, March 28, 2010

my new netbook...




i broke down and treated myself to a new computer.....since i am about to move into a smaller apartment, i decided i wanted to ensure that i had a portable wifi netbook, or cheap laptop to keep me up to date with technology....and after some internet research and at least an hour at Canada Computers in waterloo, i settled on a brand new Acer-aspireOne netbook....this sucker has an 11.6inch high definition screen and a large hard drive(160GB) no cd rom, but 3 usb ports for connecting external devices like a cd burner....for now i only have a mouse and my behringer uca-202 audio interface connected....plus there is an extra monitor connection, however i have not connected my giant CRT monitor, i will wait and perhaps i will buy a flat screen monitor....for now this is perfect.
i dont like the keyboard, its weird, and i dont like windows os, mac-os is more my thing, but that comes from 15+ yrs of using only mac-os.
so far i have enjoyed watching videos online, streaming only, and this computer works with every video hosting site i have come across.
All this for the low price of $327.86, after taxes, and with a one year warranty.
Last week was a very good week for me, i sold $400 worth of stuff on kijiji, and finished 3 years of taxes, then sold my return to H&R Block, plus i received two weeks of holiday pay, and got my regular paycheque....so basically i am doing ok.
That is a big change from how i have been doing all winter....stressing out, worrying, and not able to accomplish much because of the anxiety..
i guess i paid some dues and now its time to reap a few rewards.
i am just glad that i could afford to get this new netbook at this time....in case i dont have a home internet connection right away when i move....now i can just take this little thing into any tim hortons and access the web via wi-fi....i have yet to log onto the web via wi-fi, but i am sure it wont be a problem.
it isnt for anybody else out there.
and thats the update....
have a good week...

Monday, March 22, 2010

[dextrosoundlab] is.....

[dextrosoundlab] is a portal to a state of mind....even though it's my collection of musical and studio hardware, i use the gear together as a tool to open the portal into that special state of mind....
Soon I will be tearing the soundlab apart, and packing things into boxes and bags, either moving them directly into a new apartment or storing them in a self-storage space so i can have the piece of mind that my belongings are safe.
After paying off thousands of dollars worth of gear throughout the past decade, things like my Roland MC-909 & My electric guitars and amplifiers and the collection of digital and analogue effects processors, the rackmount gear, like my Midi system, my mastering tools like the sound enhancer processor and the dbx compressors and so on and so on....
I don't think I am going to post anything to my blog until I have made it past this stage of limbo....until I am settled, happily in a new home/studio.
I have begun the quest already....this wednesday I am going to tour a possible rental, a private 1-bedroom apartment, for $600/month.
That's double what I pay now!!!!
Let's just say that I've been spoiled for the last 9 years...
I am out..
I'll be back after I've weathered this storm, there's no point in dwelling upon my struggle to figure out what to do.
take care, and i'll ttyl.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Recording: Part 1



In many combo amplifiers, the speaker is not actually in the center of the cabinet, and may not be easily visible through the grill cloth. In this case, shining a flashlight through the grill cloth should allow you to easily see the position of the speaker so you can place your microphone accurately.
Recording in the same room as your amplifier

Recording close to your amplifier (especially with your guitar facing the amplifier) can have the benefits (especially at high gain settings) of increasing sustain and even achieving pleasant, controlled harmonic feedback. This is due to a resonant feedback loop between the amplifier, the speaker, your guitar pickups, and your guitar strings. You may also be able to achieve this effect when recording directly into the computer, if you are playing in the control room with the studio monitors (not headphones!) turned up loud enough. While it may sometimes be desirable to play guitar while separated from the amp (perhaps because the amp is in a bathroom, other separate room, or isolation box to keep it from bleeding into other instrument microphones when recording a live band), you will lose the opportunity for this particular feedback effect.
My guitar tone sounds so much brighter on the recording than it does when I listen to my amp!

Quite often (especially with combo amplifiers, where the amp and speaker are both in the same cabinet), guitarists get used to the sound of standing several feet above their speaker, while the speaker faces straight out parallel to the floor. Because of this, much of the high frequency content coming from the speaker never reaches your ears. If you start making it a habit to tilt the amp back, or put the amp up on a stand or tilted back on a chair so that the speaker is pointed more toward your head than your ankles, you will begin becoming accustomed to the true tone of your amp, which is the tone the microphone will record, and the tone that members of a live audience will hear. This may initially require you to make adjustments to your tone—but once you have achieved a tone you like with this new setup, you can be confident that the sound you dialed in will be picked up by a properly placed microphone.
Proximity effect

When a microphone with a cardioid pattern (explained later in the Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones section of this article) is placed in very close proximity to the sound source being recorded, bass frequencies become artificially amplified. You may have heard a comedian cup his hand around the microphone with the mic almost inside his mouth to make his voice sound very deep when simulating “the voice of God” (or something like that). This is an example of the proximity effect. This effect can result in a very nice bass response when placing a microphone close to the speaker of your guitar cabinet or combo amplifier. In fact, the Shure SM57 is designed to make use of this effect as part of its inherent tonal characteristics.
On-axis vs. off-axis

You will see these terms mentioned later in my descriptions of the mic setup examples. On-axis basically means that the microphone element is pointed directly at the sound source (sound waves strike the microphone capsule at 0 degrees). Off-axis means (when mic’ing a speaker) that the microphone element is aimed at an angle rather than straight at the speaker (so the sound waves strike the microphone capsule at an angle). On-axis will give you the strongest signal, the best rejection of other sounds in the room, and a slightly brighter sound than off-axis. I usually mic my amp on-axis, with the mic (my trusty Shure SM57) somewhere near the edge of the speaker. However, this is not “the one right way.” The right way is the way that sounds best to you. I hope that the following examples will help you find your own path to the tone you are looking for.

The Shure SM57 Microphone: A Guitarist’s Trusty Friend

For recording guitar amplifiers, it is hard to find better bang-for-your-buck than the Shure SM57 dynamic microphone. It is an extremely durable microphone, and it can handle very high volume levels. When recording guitar amps, I recommend placing this mic just as close as you can to the speaker. In the following recordings, I have placed it right up against the speaker grill cloth.

I will mention that some people even simply hang the microphone so that the cable is draped over the top of the amp and the microphone hangs down in front of the speaker pointing directly at the floor. In this position, the type of floor makes a difference in the tone (wood, concrete, tile, or carpeted floors will result in different sounds), as well as the distance between the speaker, mic, and floor. This arrangement is likely to have the least amount of highs of anything discussed thus far, and will have less rejection of other sounds in the room (if you are recording in the same room as the rest of a band, this method would pick up more sound from the other instruments). I tend to avoid this method myself, but if you are short of mic stands, it could be helpful—and I would not discourage you from experimenting. It may turn out to be just the sound you were looking for.
Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones

Room mics

Though one might often mic a room with a single microphone (perhaps a large diaphragm condenser), I have opted to use a stereo pair of small diaphragm condensers: specifically the AKG C 1000 S (an older dark gray pair). These microphones currently have a street price around $280/each USD. I attached them to a stereo mount on a single mic stand, one microphone just on top of the other, with the microphone elements arranged 90 degrees from each other (an XY pattern). This is to minimize the chance of phase problems I might otherwise encounter that could potentially cancel out some frequencies and change the tone of the recording in strange ways.

The newest way to record guitar is directly into the recorder of you choice via a 'front end' type of processor that generally 'models' the amp and cabinet with digital signal processing(DSP)
I have a BOSS VF-1 24 bit digital effects processor that includes Roland/Boss's COSM modelling algorithms, in this case I will mention the modelled Fender & Vox & Marshall guitar amplifiers plus the modelled guitar pedals like Boss's very own 'overdrive' and turbo overdrive....
I could just plug my guitar into the Hi impedance quarter inch input of the Boss VF-1 and use either the digital or analogue outputs to feed my digital recorders....but I like to combine the VF-1's digital sound with an ART tubeMP(a basic tube driven mic/instrument Preamplifier) and then into a DBX 163x compressor to smooth out rough edges, or not, and then through the Boss Loopstation before I record the tone in my digital workstations...
I have also got an alternative signal path for my guitar, where i bypass the VF-1, but process the guitar signal with the DBX compressor and the Tube preamp but then i go through an ElectroHarmonix Q-tron envelope filter, the Digitech rp-50 with casio expression pedal) and then the danelectro cool cats : metal, fuzz & drive....and finally the Boss RC-20xL Loop STation & the Recording rack ( roland cdx-1 discLab, roland vs-840 d.a.w, and the sony mds-je510 studio mini disc deck....

and that's the basic way to record your guitar either with pedals and multi-effects and/or the microphone and amplifier method.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

my studio gear inventory 2010

Recording:

Roland CDX-1 DiscLab Digital sampling/multiTrack workstation
Roland VS-840 Digital Studio Workstation
Sony MDS-je510 Studio MiniDisc Recorder

Guitars, FX, OutBoard gear & Amplifiers:

Ibanez GAX-30jb electric guitar
Samick ??? electric guitar
Yamaki Deluxe acoustic guitar
Dean Markley Piezo pickup

(kiel)'regal' Model-300 (vintage 5watt combo-tube amplifier circa1960)
Orange Micro-Crush amplifier
Yamaha JX-15 solid.state amplifier

ART-tubeMP Pre-amplifier
Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron & Stereo Polyphase
MXR-blueBox
Danelectro coolcat's: "drive","fuzz"&"metal"
Boss DS-1 distortion
Digitech RP-50 modelling processor
BOSS VF-1 24bit Studio Multi-Effects Processor
PAX PX-8 Echo Chamber (tape echo)
Casio Expression pedal
M-audio expression pedal
Behringer FCB-1010 midi pedalboard
Boss RC-20XL Phrase Recorder/Loop pedal
DBX 163x compressor/Limiter (I have two of these)
Alto alphaCOMP digital compression module (I have two of these)
DBX 463x Noise Gate
Behringer EX-3100 UltraFEX Sound Enhancement Processor
ART PS-4x4 Power Conditioner
SAE-2800 Solid State para-metric equalizer
ONKYO Stereo Graphic Equalizer

Peavey XR-1200c (12 ch.mixer/Power Amp/spring reverb)
Yamaha PM-100 (8ch.mixer/spring reverb unit)
Sansui AX-7 (4ch.rack mixer/spring reverb)
Behringer UB-502 (7input mixer)
Behringer UCA-202 (usb audio interface)

misc microphones: electrovoice,sony,audio technica etc....

Kenwood KA-2002 Solid.State Power Amplifier
Sony SS-78 speakers
Sony SHS-180 Powered Monitors

MIDI,Synths & Sampling:

Roland MC-909 workstation synth,sampler & sequencer
Roland D2 groovebox
Roland MKS-7 superQuartet analogue midi module
Roland D-20 keyboard synth
Roland MC-50 midi sequencer
Roland CN-20 music entry pad
Roland CF-10 digital faders
Edirol PCR-50 midi controller
Motu midiTimepiece Av
Misc. Midi routing & switch boxes by: Korg, jlCooper & Prezmith engineering
G-media PHATBOY midi controller
IVL PitchRider 4000 pitch to midi converter

misc.LoFi gear:

Realistic Concertmate 680 keyboard
Mattel Synsonics Analogue drum machine
DRUM-2 electronic drum pads
Coleco Talking Teacher
Harmonica
Kazoo

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stereo PowerAmp/Speaker Combo of My DREAMS!


Roland is my alltime fav music gear/synthesizer company!!!! The revolutionist that I am will never be a "branded" person, but I must admit after years and years of being obsessive about a certain hobby of mine, and as the dust settles, and things have been bought and sold, broken & repaired, I see the name "roland" on many of my permanent items.
NOW as I am struggling to make a decision of what to do about my 'monitoring' needs, they release the ultimate Power amp combo:
Roland KC-110
The Roland KC-110 is optimized as a Keyboard Amplifier, but I know from experience that this is the killer solution to my studio's sonic demands.
A small bonus is that it can be powered by 6 'aa' batteries!!!! Perfect for those summer days when the power goes out in upTown!!!
I already have the 9volt ORANGE microCRUSH 3 watt guitar amp :) and this sucker is the epitome of portable stereo amplification.
I am also planning on buying the newest high end vocal processor: VP-7 Vocal Processor

there is a pedal and the desktop style machine(see photo), i wish to acquire the latter, and after that i will be ready to finally lay down vocals and/or spoken word stuff with some of the musical ideas i have been tossing around lately. The level that digital processing has reached is unbelievable now, this machine will follow my voice and add wicked harmonies, plus manipulate my voice in anyway imaginable, the VP-7 is derived from the top of the line synthesizer from Roland; the V-SYNTH , and the 'elastic audio' treatment is something that i have yet to use within my own creative process.
So my 'spring' gear "toget" list now has the Roland KC-110 at the top, then in april the roland vocal processor will be mine as well, and all in all, it will be an easy thousand dollars to spend....