All posts by chris

LINK TO STREAM NOW/// 89.5FM /// $ }{ @ /\/\ @ |\| $

updated:  the voyage is complete.  you can stream the show from this link.  CLICK HERE

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I n  o n e   w e e k

t u n e   i n

a  o n c e – i n – a – l i f e t i m e   r a d i o   t r i p

8 9 . 5  f m  C T / N Y C

s t r e a m i n g  l i v e  a t  w p k n .  o r g

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Lost to time: Check out the Fairchild 627 Equalizer circa 195nvr

fairchild_627_equalizerApologies for the poor image quiality; these came from the research department of a long-gone British broadcast-gear-manufacturer via some dampish papers that I purchased recently from a rare-books-dealer in London.  I had never heard of the Fairchild 627 ‘Variable Equalizer,’ even though I recently sold an example of its (even-more-rare) predecessor the model 540, which in retrospect seems to be the ‘boost’ sections of the 627 plus a mic preamp plus a 20-watt cutter-head power amp.  Well shit.  Now i wish I had measured the values of the triple-ganged frequency-select pots.  Why?  We will get to that in a minute.

fairchild_627_equalizer_internals

vintage-unobtanium-fairchild-627-tube_1_99dc4f93df9c200f11996b06da8735f3image source

A quick google search suggests that there are thought to be only 5 Fairchild 627 equalizers in existence.  One seems to have sold on eBay recently in the $7000 region.  The 627 is a line-level EQ with continuously variable low and high bell boost sections as well as high and low roll offs. Unlike a Pultec, though, it is an active EQ, and it uses some pretty unusual circuitry – especially the high-cut section, which I don’t comprehend at all.

fairchild_627_block_diagram

fairchild_627_equalizer_schematicOne point to note: T2 should be wired to reverse phase.  I was v excited to find this schematic, because it seems like a pretty easy piece to build – there is no mention of the proper B+ voltage, but 250 is generally a safe bet; there are no weird inductors (the UTC S-23 plate-load choke is an off-the shelf part, so we know its specs  -5000ohm DC, 300 henries); the audio transformers don’t need to handle DC and the turns ratios are spec’d:  BUT:  But.  Those triple-ganged pots.  WTF do we do about them?

Can anyone crack this case? Any insights, pls let us know in the comments section.

On the plus-side:  at very minimum, this schematic does reveal an excellent and easy way to implement a 6E5 seeing-eye tube simply paralleled to a grid in the audio path.  So at very least, now i know how to use those v excellent things in my mic preamps.  Way more evil than a VU meter.

Also: the 6SN7 output section is a neat little self-contained module; def worth trying it with a Hammond 156C choke and an Edcor 15K:600 1/2 watt.   The 156C is the closest modern part to the S23 spec; it is rated 150h and 3.7K ohm, seems close enough?  I used onna these on a hunch in my OP6-semi-clone and it worked just fine in that application, so I am guessing it may work fine here as well.  fairchild_627_boost_curvesfairchild_627_high_low_frequency_rolloffsfairchild_627_curves_2

 

TABLES ::: Live ::: Firehouse 12 New Haven CT Thurs 12.15.16 – Tix on sale now!

tables_groupphoto_2016Hey y’all – my synth group TABLES will be playing our 2nd-ever show at FIREHOUSE 12 in New Haven CT next Thursday 12.15.16.

Show starts at 9PM with drone duo HIKO MEN (Brooklyn) as the opening set.

Tickets are $10 at the door, and $8 at this link when you use the promo code TABLES.

Carlos from Safety Meeting Records will have copies of our debut 12″ LP for sale at the show.

Firehouse 12 is an amazing place to see a show; truly like no other venue.

tables_albumcover

New Series SOUNDBREAKING feat our original score airing now

firefoxscreensnapz001SOUNDBREAKING is on air in the US now!  Nathan Halpern and I scored this fantastic PBS 8-hour miniseries earlier this year, and it was truly a dream assignment for me.  Whether you know a lot or a little about music production, the show is certain to be illuminating.   Read a great review that ran today in the Hollywood Reporter.  It’s on television in the US now, and available online here.

Our Annual Tag Sale Event – NOV 12/13 Bridgeport CT !!!!

img_7327Yes it’s that time again: Open Studios at the American Fabrics Artists’ space in historic Bridgeport CT.  As per usual we will be offering our annual TAG SALE event.  Much rad audio / recording /musical stuff for sale at well below typical online / ebay prices.  Used and vintage hi fi gear, rack equipment, vintage microphones, NOS audio tubes, transformers, blah di d blah blah blah

Click for full info here

until

American Fabric Arts Building

1069 Connecticut Avenue Bridgeport, CT, 06607 United States

Ample on-site off-street parking

In the “IMPRACTICAL LABOR” studio, third floor, rear side, near the elevator.

Sansui MR6 six-track Cassette Tape Multi Track Machine

img_7181Our ongoing series of cassette multi-track experiments rolls on with the Sansui MR6.

img_7182This ADAT-sized multitrack machine dates from 1990 or thereabouts.  It records 6 tracks on a standard type 2 audio tape at double speed,  with defeatable Dolby C and zero return.  And that’s pretty much it.  No gain trims, no autolocate, nothing.  It really is strictly a tape machine and requires a mixer in order to use it in any sensible way.  I picked it up for about $100 on ebay; a quick clean and demag and that’s it.  Seems to work fine.  High end response seems to trail off around 14k on a first-pass, which is A O K w/me.  Here’s how it sounds, and thank u Jenny Holzer:

As with the earlier tracks in this series: the rules for tracking and bouncing are simple: no midi.  no editing.  Nothing u couldn”t do in the 80s.  The only effects used for tracking are the Yamaha E1010 that you see there, a cheap boss reverb pedal, console EQ, and acoustic sources were tracked with some compression via that Symetrix 528E you see there.  Marimba and shaker/tambo were mic’d with a Neumann KM184; vocals are an EV RE15 for no other reason that it is what I had on the desk at the moment.

Tracking was:

1: Korg volca beats kk/snare pulse sync’d to korg SQ1 driving that repeating 8-note figure on…    2: korg MS20,   3: one-note low pad on Minbrute,   4. Yamaha MR10 toms/CH SN dbl hand-played,   5. elec bass DI’d thru a  cheap gtr preamp

(bounce to track 6)

  1. 8th note shaker/tambo played w foot, 2. Marimba (doubling and/or harmonizing MS20 part, 3. Basic polyphonic sampler of me singing an ‘A’ note ahhh, 4. analog choir synth sound

(bounce to track 5)

1, 2, 4: vocals (hi is doubled),

3: ch synth pad

My goal as with the previous productions was to mix this all on my lil Mackie Onyx 1220 el cheapo mixer into a single pair in Pro Tools, but I couldn’t find a way to route it while still using two FX returns (my patchbay on this lil desktop rig is very limited).  So I played all six final tape tracks into P/T, and once in PT it was hard to resist applying a bit of EQ and compression to each stem.  Also mix FX on vocals were via P/T (Echo Boy and Valhalla Verb).  But that was it – no editing, no tuning, no fixin’.   That weird noise at the head is probably some kinda bias abomination that resulted when I did the first bounce, but it’s really part of the charm, ain’t it.   Whole mix is low passed at about 12K, which really ties it together IMO.

I Went To An Abandoned NSA Spy Station Built on the Ruins of Pre-War Berlin and All I Got Was This Weird Sample Library

IMG_5809It’s a perfect day in summer.  You’re walking along the slope of a beautiful mountain on the wooded outskirts of Berlin; when you look down you see that this is not a mountain at all.  It’s the biggest rubble pile ever created.  Bits of ReBar and concrete stick up through the dirt, the remains of 400,000 buildings leveled in the last weeks of WWII.  And then.  Atop the hill.  An enormous, impossible structure that is built literally and figuratively, on top of decades of conflict, fear, and terror. Teufelsberg.

IMG_5807Click the link if you want the story. It’s too much information for me to relate and it’s been told many times by better tellers.  But.  Suffice to say: I paid the seven Euro bribe to the squatters who de facto control it now and it was well worth the 2-donor-kebab’s worth of weird shit I saw.  And recorded.  And I give those recordings to you now, edited, EQd, and ready to drop into yr timeline.

DOWNLOAD: Devils_Mountain_Hits_2444

I don’t know who the “vocalist” you hear is, so I can’t grant you any rights to that particular sample, but feel free to use the other samples as you like.  Enjoy, and while I can’t recommend that you go dig around in this place, I can tell you that it def ain’t gonna be there much longer, and it’s much harder to find than people in Berlin will tell you.

IMG_5815

Vestax MR44 recording #2 – now with DBX

IMG_6429I just couldn’t keep offa the damn thing.  Here’s another similar compostion made on the Vestax MR44 – only diff is that I used the DBX this time.  I also played a whole lotta really hi-endy stuff (sleigh bells, tibetan bowls, tambo, shaker) on the 2nd set of passes in order to see how the DBX handles the high end.   I’m impressed with the sound!  Def some tape hiss there, and some weird low-freq bump going on, but it sounds presentable. This piece is 7 tracks – i played the wha gtr into the bounce of the nylon gtr/bass/low percs so that’s 4 into one plus the next 3 (hi percs, Hohner Pianet, and Recorder are first-gen). Oh yea and the reverb this time is that cheapy lil boss pedal rather than the Eventide.  Again, this is all live, played into and mixed exclusively on the MR44.

Vestax MR44 4-track tape machine

IMG_6428I can’t stop buying these oddball ‘hi-end’ cassette 4-track machines.  At this point, I’m up to 5 of them.  This Vestax 44 was about $100 on ebay; it needed a power supply (which entailed adding a conventional p/s jack, since the Vestax one is super weird), but other than that it worked right away. Strange set of features, but it has zero return, DBX, and high speed, and the best part is the form factor: it’s ideally suited for my ‘desktop’ style composing station, with its shallow rackmount chassis and all i/o on the front.

I had a chance to really try it out today and make a track using it exclusively.  For this first experiment I used no DBX, and type II Maxell tape.  This is a 6-voice piece. I started with a metronome on 1, and then bounced Ac Gtr, bass, and handdrums over to 1, adding some eventide reverb; track 2 was Organelle doing a mellotron kinda thing with a lil sample of my voice, 3 is my Moeck Alto recorder thru the yamaha E1010, and 4 is my old les paul with a wha wha.

I figured what with the inevitable tape hiss I should try something old school – went for a 70s euro-horror feel.  “It was the goat all along….”

When I have a sec I’ll try another onna these with DBX and using a compressor on the instruments on the way in –  see how much diff it makes in terms of fidelity.  Pretty happy w this tho.

Click here for my earlier demo of the Yamaha MT44 4-track machine.