Thursday, April 23, 2009

vinyl love

I've been expanding my small collection of records with lots of trips to the 3 local thrift stores. It's good cheap fun. You have to get a certain amount of buying horrible records out of your system ("just because it's so cheesy!"). After buying a Judy Garland double LP set with 20 page career retrospective booklet, I now officially only buy decent stuff.

Records are a great format for combating ADD - I don't feel compelled to skip songs, and they're just more fun to listen to than CDs. In addition to the LPs, my wife has a bunch of 45s from her 80s childhood - hell yeah, You Belong To The City. We alsoo inherited a ton of song and story 45s from my brother in law, so I just had to go get the kids their own record player.

Here A prepares to drop the needle on a phat Sesame Street cut. I'm oddly proud that they have no idea what a Wii is, but A knows to handle records only on their edges and the difference between 45 and 33 rpm.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Back to the Projects: Wireless Speakers

Alright, that was a long break. Let's get back into it. I had a pair of Home Depot wireless speakers that worked pretty well, but had weak drivers. I used the FE126e drivers that have been through 2 other cabinets. This time around I just made a basic, 10 liter bass reflex cabinet, very traditional. To cut down on the high-frequency "shout" that these drivers have, I treated the cones with 3 light coats of Mod Podge, and added a baffle-step correction circuit to the speaker.

I attached the electronic guts of the old wireless speakers to the backs of the new cabinets. This way I can either use the wireless input, or plug them in as regular speakers.

They sound far better than any of the other cabinets I've tried them in, leading me to be a strong believer in baffle-step correction. Here are some YouTube videos:


Playing music

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

open mic night - w00t!

Finally got back to open mic night at the coffeehouse last night. This time my neighbor Benn and I played together - we only got to do 3 songs (out of the 5 we had ready), which is actually a good thing, because there were probably 12 groups wanting to play, so they were moving everyone along. It's really thriving. I think we did well, and there were some great people playing. Half the people from our street showed up, which was pretty great, next time we'll have to hire a bus.

Always amazing, after a string of middle-aged guys, to have 2 high school girls get up there and just kill. Your mind gets used to what "singing" sounds like, and then someone gets up there with an actual set of pipes and blows your hair back - it's cool.

We played Desire by Ryan Adams, Woman Across the River by the Allman Brothers, and Dance, Dance, Dance by Steve Miller.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Runnin' To The Lounge

Microsoft just introduced Songsmith, which is software that automatically generates an accompaniment to any melody.

David Lee Roth's vocal track from Runnin' With the Devil is available with no accompaniment.

The results are breathtaking.