Preservation Sound : Issue 1 : Spring Reverb Defines A Mythic Space Where The Legends Of Rock Live

In Issue One of Preservation Sound, I offer a theory about what might make the sound of spring reverb so compelling. I follow this up with a demonstration of some commercially-available vintage spring studio reverbs, and then show you how to implement a $22 Accutronics reverb tank in your DAW setup so that you can get real analog spring reverb happening in yr productions for a pittance.

If you decide to try this out, here’s a flowchart of exactly how to get it on:

Reverb_Dia_1This video was based on an earlier article with the same name; you can read that piece at this link.

For more information about the three vintage units that I demo in the video, just click the following: Orban 111Sound Workshop 242Pioneer SR101.




Preservation Sound : Issue 2 : Drum Tuning Basics

In Issue Two of Preservation Sound, I am joined at Gold Coast Recorders by Tim Walsh of The Stepkids.  Tim presents a demo of some drum treatment and tuning techniques to help you get better drum sounds into-the-box so you can spend less time fucking around with them later.

Incredibly generous as he is, Tim is allowing us to offer you, dear readers, a free package of drum hits from this session.  All sounds are 24/44, stereo, prepped and ready to throw in yr timeline.  They are all reverb-free, btw, so yr just getting the sound of those drums and that big room.   Now go make some music kids.

Click the following five links to download all the hits









Preservation Sound : Issue 3 : Build Yr Own Reverb System

In Issue Three of Preservation Sound, we take a drive over to the PS shop and I assemble a stereo spring reverb system with balanced line-level inputs and outputs, ready for easy integration into a DAW studio.  After assembly, we go to GCR to take a quick listen to the system, and I explain the plug-in settings that help get the sound happening.

If you are interested in trying this out yrself, here’s a few things to help you along.  First, a flow chart of the basic hookup:

Reverb_Doa_2…and, as promised, here’s where I got all the bits+bobs for the rig.  Click on the links and it will take you directly to the product.

Vendor 1: Antique Electronic Supplyreverb tanks (you will need two) and amplifier chassis/cover:

Vendor 2: MCM Electronics: stereo power amp; pickup amps (you will need two); bi-directional stereo balancing amp; 2-space rack shelf; power supply (for power amp, pickup amps).

Total cost for all of the above is $180 at the time that I am writing this.  And yeah you will also need some RCA cables and some screws and nuts, all of which you can get at the home depot or whathaveya.

And listen, I love you guys, but i can’t offer any technical support on this project.  We made the video, I drew those nice charts, and now yr on yr own.  Fly and be free…




Preservation Sound : Issue 4 : The Four-Track In 2013

Issue Four of Preservation Sound opens with an introduction to the 1979 Tascam 144.   The first 4-track cassette recorder with an integrated mixer, the 144 allowed musicians with no technical training to simply plug in a microphone and a pair of headphones, insert a regular cassette, and make multi-track recordings.  In many ways it seems to be the physical embodiment of the idea that ‘music’ had come to be something made of bits and pieces that may not have originated at the same time or place.  For eons, music was the marriage of composers, instruments, and musicians.  This changed drastically in the middle of the 20th century with the introduction of the multitrack recording studio and its endless potential for sonic manipulation.  And all of those ideas and expectations came neatly packaged in this plastic object.

But beyond simply being a reflection of this new state-of-affairs, the 144 and its ilk also changed the global musical landscape in dramatic ways, essentially turning all the world into a potential studio.  The original use-value of these cassette 4-track machines may have been long supplanted by PC recording software, but they can still offer great potential to an artist who is open to the possibilities of noise, hiss, distortion, and just that general, unapologetic tapeness.  One such artist is John Panos, aka KINGS.  You can learn all about him in the clip, and for more info, find him here:  KINGS website / Twitter / Music




Preservation Sound : Issue 5 : Build A Variable H-Pad And Expand Your Mic Preamp Options

Issue 5 of Preservation Sound takes up back to the shop where I describe an easy, inexpensive way of making a super-useful studio device: a variable H-pad. If you’ve ever wanted an easy, controllable way of reducing level in the studio without losing signal balance or creating wild impedance variations (which can have undesirable consequences frequency-wise), this project is for you.  I have a couple of these little boxes at Gold Coast Recorders and they get used pretty often; the most common use would be if I want to crank up a tube mic preamp to get some break-up on a drum kit or vocal mic.  If this results in an excessive output level, I can just patch in one of these lil pads and dial in a safe level for the A/D convertors. used pretty often; the most common use would be if I want to crank up a tube mic preamp to get some break-up on a drum kit or vocal mic.  If this results in an excessive output level, I can just patch in one of these lil pads and dial in a safe level for the A/D convertors.

StaLevel_Output-1024x537To build one of these, you’ll need two balanced jacks of your choosing, four 1% 1-watt 160-ohm resistors, one 200-ohm 1-watt resistor,  a 1-watt 1-K linear taper pot, a terminal strip, and a small enclosure. For my original article which describes the development of this device, click here.




Preservation Sound : Issue  6: Create Your Tools, Create Your World

Issue 6 of Preservation Sound takes us to the studio of Tom Mezzanotte, an artist who’s work explores the ways in which certain technologies have shaped our collective perception of reality.  Tom does this with handmade equipment and processes, and a healthy dose of antique technologies. But there is nothing ‘retro’ about his work; it’s a bold and very modern investigation that bridges the discourses of science and artwork.

Learn more about Mezzanotte at his website.




Preservation Sound : Issue  7: A Single Tool Cuts A Clear Path

For the seventh installment of the Preservation Sound video series, we examine how an unplanned encounter with a highly unusual instrument can provide direction for a vibrant and idiosyncratic body of musical work.  Fans of modern music are likely to be familiar with duo Mates of State, who have released nine internationally-distributed albums over the past fourteen years.  Mates’ first three releases were nearly solely arranged around a traditional drum kit, the duo’s two voices, and a single other instrument: the circa 1971 Yamaha Electone YC45 Combo Organ.

QuickTime PlayerScreenSnapz001I first heard Mates of State in a small Brooklyn venue circa 2002, and I was blown away by the raw, massive sound that was conjured up through such a minimal setup.  As the band explains in our program, their unusual sound was not the result of any strategic planning, but rather a willingness to embrace the tool that they happened to have available.  Mates’ relationship with the YC45 is an indelible example of the strength that can be found in limitations.  Watch the video featuring exclusive new in-studio performances now on Youtube.

For more Mates of State, visit their site

and Mates of State wiki

8 thoughts on “Videos”

  1. Love it! Great projects, sounds, and vids. Thanks!
    (ps – the link to Tom Mezzanotte’s site needs a fix.)

  2. Hey Chris,

    your videos are – without a doubt – the most entertaining and interesting high quality videos i’ve seen for a long long time. I wish you could do more of this stuff. I love about everything, from building your H-Pad, the spring reverb, tuning drums….
    Please let me see more 🙂

    Hugs from Germany

    1. Haha thannks Julez. Listen, and I tell everyone this – if you wanna see more videos -then help us spread them around!!! If we start getting a lot of views on the videos, we WILL make more.

      thanks for watching. c.

    1. hEY Ryan: Did you build it? I am very interested in this build but have zero confidence in my ability to figure out the details…..

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