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January 29, 2009

The studio move – part 3

Filed under: Marantz,PMD580,Shutters Inc — Bruce Williams @ 20:52

I don’t have a pic yet, but I am now sitting at my DAW desk in the new space.

Clouds are hung? Check.
Internet connected to this side of the house? Check.
Mic cables and headphone lines run through from booth on other side of house? Check.
Said cables tested? Not yet.
Rack (for outboard gear) stripped back and re-painted? Check.
Outboard ready to go into rack? Almost.
Max’s crap moved out of the new studio space? Not quite.

If all goes to plan, Barry (the tech from work) is coming over tomorrow night to look at the couple of jobs I have for him.
And all things being equal, he’ll spend the weekend here getting all of that done… wiring up the rack, krone block and outboard gear, plus advising on further acoustic treatment for the back wall.
If that happens, then by Monday, I will have 95% of my studio the way I want it.
Still to be done after Barry has done his bits will be to replace the curtains to my right (those tacky old vertical drapes you can see in the last photo I posted).
In the last 4 weeks, I have also purchased an outboard eq for tracking purposes, after consultation with various industry heavyweights whose opinions I respect.
What did I go with?
An API 5500.
4 bands of the highest quality discrete eq. In other words, it’s not fully parametric. You can’t just dial in ANY frequency you like. You can jump between about 7 discrete frequency positions within each band, and those positions overlap between bands.
Cheap? Hell no.
Awesome? Hell yeah.
And because it’s stereo, I can also use it for mixdown duties if I want to.

Plus, I’ve just ordered a Marantz PMD580 rack-mounted compact flash recorder to replace my ageing Tascam DA20 DAT machine.
My poor old DA20 is about 16 years old, and is causing dropouts every time I record on it these days which essentially makes it worthless.
On top of which, DAT is linear (How old school is that? I don’t have time to waste waiting for tape to spool!), plus it’s only 16 bit.
The PMD580 addresses both of those concerns. Recording to CF cards means no spooling to access files, plus you can drag-n-drop from the card straight into your DAW of choice.
And it records at 24 bit.
And with the price of CF cards these days, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper for media than buying DAT tapes!

If this weekend is as fruitful as I’m hoping, then next week will see the studio functional… thank goodness, as I have that e-Seminar next Friday, so we’re cutting it close.
And that will most likely mean that I won’t get any podcasts recorded next week (as much I’d dearly love to!).
But it should mean that the following week will see a return to the podcasts!! Woohoo!
So, that’s the state of play, for now.

January 13, 2009

The studio move – part 2

Filed under: Shutters Inc — Bruce Williams @ 21:33
The room I'm moving my studio into.

The room I'm moving my studio into.

This picture was taken a month or so ago.
Yes, Max’s mess is evident.
The room is however starting to take shape now.
I had Paul Barker (electrician, and coincidentally, Dave’s drummer) come over today and we ran cables back and forth across the top of the house through the roof cavity (in 35C/95F heat, no less!). It was VERY hot up there.
Still, I’m really happy with the progress we made for a day’s work.
On Thursday, I have a builder coming in who’s going to hang the clouds for me.
After that, it’s likely that nothing more will be done until Sunday.
Hopefully, we’ll get the computers relocated then.
That’s going to be a big job, and should see the room start to fulfill its new role, even if all the acoustic treatment is not finished.
I am hoping (not sure how ambitious this expectation is just yet) that the remaining acoustic treatment will be done next week.
If that plan comes to fruition, I should be producing podcasts again in the last week of January!
Keep those fingers crossed folks!

January 12, 2009

The studio moving process

Filed under: Shutters Inc — Bruce Williams @ 11:46

The relocation of my home studio is moving along nicely, although it feels slow when contemplated on a daily basis.
Over the Christmas/New Year break, I have built 2 acoustic ‘clouds’.
Each cloud is 2.1 metres x 1.2 metres in size. The frame is 70mm x 19mm pine, and the inside is filled with 75mm Brandford SoundScreen (Rockwool) insulation batts. I was surprised. I expected the Rockwool to be expensive, but I picked up a bag (6 sheets) for A$47. I then designed the size of the wooden frames so that I used exactly 3 sheets per frame, leaving no wastage.
The idea of building 2 separate clouds, rather than one big one was that to build one big one, I’d have had to construct it inside the room. This would have meant there would be no way of ever taking it with me if I wanted to relocate. Building 2 smaller clouds means I can take them down and relocate should that ever become necessary.
Tomorrow, I have an electrician coming in to do some of the wiring. I’m taking the day off work so I can hang around to help out, and make sure things go where I want them.
Thursday, I have a builder coming in to help me hang the clouds. Whilst not particularly heavy at 18kg (40lb) each, they are cumbersome when you’re trying to hang them parallel with the ceiling.
Today, I am acquiring a rack for mounting all my gear in. It’s an old unit which the techs at work were getting rid of, so I’ve scored that for free!
And I’m hiring the chief tech from work to help with the design and construction of some acoustic treatment for the rear of my new mixing space.
It’s an exciting process, and one which I believe (and hope!) will give me a much nicer (and dead-er) acoustic environment in which to record my podcasts and mix (music, podcasts, commercial work etc).
I probably should have taken some photos of the contruction process for the clouds, but I didn’t.
Once they’re hung though, I’ll take some photos so you can see the finished look.
I’m sure some of you (particularly the Shutters Inc listeners) are not that interested in all of this, but I wanted to let you know that this extended absense from podcasting is not without its reasons.
I have an Adobe e-Seminar to conduct on February 6th, so this studio relocation HAS to be done before then! Preferably a week before so I’ve got time to iron out the bugs (as there will no doubt be)!
Stay tuned.