New Technical Article – Talkin’ Taters

I’ll confess to being a raving fan of producer/engineer Sylvia Massy, who comes up with clever and frequently wacky techniques to get something new in a recording. She created the “potato filter” – a potato wired in series with the speaker leads of an instrument amplifier – to create an unusual sound effect. I tried it and made some measurements in the shop to try to figure out what it does and what it might be good for. Read my somewhat technical and somewhat whimsical lab notes here.

Try it yourself if you dare, and drop me a note and tell me what you think.

One caution – if you’re using a tube amplifier (try it first on a solid state amplifier if you have one) – start off with the volume control, or master volume if the amplifier has one set to minimum and turn it up very carefully. You won’t blow a speaker, but I won’t be responsible if you blow an output tube or, worse, transformer.

Posted in Technnical Articles

Sound Toys Plug-In Sale Sept 20-21 with proceeds going to aid hurricane Harvey and Irma survivors

On September 20 & 21 – for two days only – Sound Toys is offering Little AlterBoy, Little PrimalTap, Little MicroShift, Little Radiator and Devil-Loc for $10 each (reg. $79-99), with 100% of proceeds for ALL sales those two days donated to Team Rubicon USA.  Team Rubicon is an organization of retired military veterans who provide their specialized experience toward disaster relief. Build up your plug-in library and help disaster victims too. These are the real deal, full versions of the Sound Toys “Little” series with no strings attached.

If I understand the deal, it’s not just proceeds from the sale of those “Littles” that are going to the disaster relief group, but includes other plug-ins and upgrades to any existing Sound Toys plug ins that you presently own.

Visit the Soundtoys  web site to place your orders.



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AES Reminder

The Audio Engineering Society convention in New York is getting close, and so is the deadline for on-line free registration for the core package which includes the exhibits, all of the educational programs that are  presented in the exhibits area, and a couple of other things. The link for registration and the promo code is in the next post down from here.

Also, remember that the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Fall show is concurrent with AES this year, so your AES registration also gives you access to the NAB exhibits.

And while I’m at it, there’s a little more information about AES at NAMM, a program that I’ve  been somewhat skeptical about. What AES is doing is coordinating a program of, if I recall correctly, 22 classes that will be half or full day, fee-paid classes. Neither the agenda nor the fee schedule have  been released yet, and while I’m sure there will be some good material and good instructors on the bill, the cost might be an issue. One bonus – and this may be an important opportunity for some of you – is that registration in any of the classes gets you a NAMM badge, something that’s (at least intended to be) out of reach for working musicians and engineers who aren’t involved in the selling end of things.

I don’t expect more than a small handful of people who regularly attend the NAMM show will get very deep into this program, but I think that what AES is hoping is that it will attract audio professionals who wouldn’t normally attend the NAMM show. It’s also an opportunity for people out west to get some of the training that goes on at AES conventions without coming to New York – an important consideration since, as a result of the AES and NAB NY partnership, next year’s AES convention won’t be on the west coast either.


Posted in Info

NY AES Convention Free Registration Extended

As I suspected, they appear to have re-opened the free Exhibits Plus registration. I don’t know for how long, so if you’re thinking about going and haven’t registered yet, do it soon. Click here to Register and use the promo code AES143NOW. Details are a couple of posts down from here.

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Billy Bragg Skiffle Music Lecture Video

I don’t usually write about musical stuff, but last week, punk rocker Billy Bragg gave a really fascinating talk at the Library of Congress on the history of skiffle music in Great Britain in the 1950s, from its origin with early New Orleans jazz records up through the Quarrymen (whose later band name you may have heard – The Beatles), and how it influenced both rock and country music. If you’re a bit of a music history buff, you might enjoy it – or buy his book on the subject, Roots, Radicals, and Rockers.” The talk is about an hour long, with about half an hour of Q&A. Don’t let the walk-in music scare you away. That’s what British pop music on the radio was like before skiffle hit the scene.

Here’s the YouTube link.

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2017 New York AES Show October 18-21 Registration Is Now Open

AES is joining some forces this year. The Winter NAB show, traditionally a modest sized show in New York in the Fall, will be co-located and running concurrent with the New York AES show.

For the past several years, AES has offered free “Exhibits Plus” registration, which includes access to the exhibit floor, Project Studio Expo sessions, Live Sound Expo sessions, and special events. The deadline for complementary Exhibits Plus registration is usually about a month prior to the show, though traditionally they’ve been extending it until the last week before. This year, the first registration announcement I received (today) that had anything specific about Exhibits Plus states that “for the 30 days prior to June 17, Exhibits-Plus registration is complimentary – a $75 value.”

That means that if you want to attend for free, you need to act fast!

If you want to attend all of the technical sessions and workshops (which, I admit, are quite pricey), there are also advance registration discounts for those. The deadline for advance registration is October 4.

Click HERE for advance registration.

As I see it now, Exhibits Plus registration is free until June 17, after that it’s $50, and it goes up to $75 after October 4. So if you think you want to attend, don’t wait. If it isn’t automatically filled in when you fill out the on-line registration form, use Code AES 143NOW.

I’ll update this for stragglers if get word that the free registration is extended.

You may have also heard that AES is partnering with NAMM to provide some technical content and exhibits at the NAMM show in January. I’ll let you know more about that when I figure out who can attend what and how to register. My gut feeling is that they’ll be using a newly completed addition to the Anaheim convention center for presenting an AES-sponsored technical program and exhibits, which will be open to NAMM registrants, with a separate “not NAMM” registration for attenees who aren’t qualified for NAMM show registration.

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IK Multimedia MODO Bass RevArticle Posted

What started out to be a review of how this interesting virtual electric bass VST plug-in that’s based on physical modeling of a vibrating string could be viewed as a learning tool turned into a lengthy article. It’s about what makes different basses sound different, and how IK Multimedia presents the tools that let you customize an instrument in physical ways rather frequencies, filters, and MIDI velocities. I rarely use virtual instruments myself, and I’m not a bass player, so there was a lot for me to learn here (which is why this project has been festering for about five months). Hopefully you’ll find something useful here, too.

Visit the Product Reviews page or jump right in here.

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