Rewiring a Recording Studio

I just got a job helping rewire a home recording studio. It’s only three days worth of work, and it doesn’t pay much, but it sure feels good to do something besides sit in front of a computer.

The building passed inspection and they have all the basic soundproofing and studio monitors in place, but the rest of the wiring was done by an electrician who just wanted to get paid and get gone.

It’s not like that’s unusual. This guy’s a low-bid contractor, who’s overbooked and too cheap to pay anyone else to do the job right. –Well, boys and girls, we all know that you get what you pay for. Right?

The “master electrician” has been swearing for weeks that he’ll get back over and “do the job right.”

In the meantime, the contractor’s board has been notified, so now he’s trying to shift the blame to his helper, in spite of him being there the whole time.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, two nice microphones went walkabout, one mixer joined them and a lot of little stuff has disappeared….. Whatever.

Any way you look at it, it’s somebody else’s problem. I’m just drilling holes, running conduit and pulling wires.

We started last night and the dude that owns the house was working right along side me.

It turns out that he doesn’t mind getting dirty, sweaty and tired. It’s a damn good thing because there’s dust and crap everywhere.

While we were catching our breath and drinking a cold one he told me I could borrow the studio any time I wanted.

It’s a shame I can’t carry a tune with a forklift. Not that I want to be a singer anyway, I just want to play with the toys.

I took one of the manuals home so I could read it and look up the words I don’t understand. –This way I don’t sound like an idiot when I talk to the engineer.

Now we’re discussing video taping his wife while she sings and putting it on YouTube. So it looks like I may get paid to learn how to use Adobe Premier.

I got home late and got up early, and I’m tired, but I feel better than I have in a quite a while.

I guess it’s worth the long days and short sleep, just to have something useful to do.

More New Microphones

More new microphones: Once again I won on eBay by making a lowball offer. –Yeah, I know. I said I wasn’t going to do that any more…. I lied.

At any rate I got a deal.. Kinda. I paid the price of one used MXL V69me for a pair of them. So I know I can recoup my money. But, only one mic works well. The other has major issues with self noise.

Both mics look identical.
Outside view of MXL V69M

However, the guts look like this:

The noisy unit has the tube held in place by two pieces of silicon. This allows the tube to wobble every time you touch the mic.
mxl v69m small circuit boards

This unit has a full length circuit board with the tube securely mounted to the board and is remarkably quiet for a tube mic.
mxl v69m with full length circuit board

They are both labeled MXL V69, but I would wager that the mic with the floating tube was either the first run off the assembly line or, more likely someone’s attempt at modding. —I just checked. Both mics are original and the reason the tube is loose is because someone replaced the factory low-bid Chinese 12at7 with a Tung-Sol which is just fractionally shorter.

So my next project is to rip the mic apart and fix it.

In case nobody noticed, as far as I’m concerned all these new toys are to play with, not to use. –After all, I only need one mic for voice-over.

More About That Weird Microphone

I got the Blue Reactor Mic, with it’s B6 capsule and it sounds great. Unfortunately the only mount I can find for it is the shock mount that came with it. And as far as I’m concerned that artsy-fartsy shock mount is typical of Blue Microphone design. It’s built with looks running first and foremost, and with function being sort of an afterthought.

I’ve read the forums and the best information I could find said that Blue was promising a new version. –They didn’t deliver, instead they discontinued the mic.

So here’s my fix. If you mount it with the mic on top, the mic is so damn heavy it wobbles like a bowl of jello and then lists to one side. But if you hang the little beastie upside down it works nicely. Providing you can get it to hang straight down without the xlr cable getting in the way.

My solution to that inconvenience was to get a three or four inch extension bar and hang it from there. That way there’s enough room for the cable and the mount.
I bought it on eBay, for about $10, to use with my Shure 55s.
This is how it’s listed:

Bottom line? Great mic, crappy mount.

Weird Microphone Called a Reactor

I bought a new microphone on eBay…. again. This time it was an accident. I made a seriously low-ball offer; and he took it. I can’t help but wonder if he knows something I don’t know. ???

This one is called a Reactor, by Blue Microphones. It now holds the record for the weirdest mic I have ever owned. –Just take a look.

The head, a Blue B6 capsule, rotates so you can put it close to things like guitar amps. –Shame, I don’t want to mic a guitar amp.

I’m curious about it because it uses the same capsule as one of their better vocal mics and maybe it’ll help me with my voice-overs.

Yeah, I’m looking for the easy way. It never works, but, hope springs eternal and all that.

More Maybe Useful Stuff

Well I’ve been cleaning out my office and I’m finding stuff I didn’t remember I had.

Here’s an old Shure 55s microphone like Elvis the Pelvis used that still works. I found it in a file cabinet I was about to toss.
Shure 55s

I also found a working microphone channel strip in a box of books I was going to donate. Assuming I can find a charity that’s not overloaded.
Art Pro channel II
–The channel strip provides a preamp to boost the signal from a microphone, a compressor to limit the strength and duration of loud noises and an equalizer the is used to adjust the levels of specific frequencies.

Okay. I can’t sing. I’m so bad that I don’t even sing in the shower.
My podcasting career did a crash and burn. –Let’s see; I got paid $35 an episode and over the course of three or four months we did six podcasts. So perhaps “career” is too strong a word. 😉

I guess it really is time for Ebay. –I just hate to give up my toys, even if I don’t use them.