Archive of the TechTicker Category

What’s On My Desk??

instasnake.gifThe ETS InstaSnake PA200 ($154 each) is a passive unit that sends audio signals up to 1900′ (dynamic mics) or 850′ (phantom-powered mics) over Cat-5. Cool solution for long XLR cable runs without signal degradation. You can also mix and match Mic/Line, Line or AES/EBU signals.

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GDC Exclusive: 5 Minutes With Sound Designer Rodney Gates

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Sound Designer Rodney Gates works at High Moon Studios in California where he uses a variety of remote recording and in-studio gear to produce sounds for some of Activision-Blizzard’s top games like DarkWatch and the Bourne Conspiracy. Click here to listen to my interview with Rodney where he discusses the toys and techniques he uses to make the sounds that make the game.

Click here to see photos of Rodney’s gear and location recordings.

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How’s YOUR Power?

furmanprodmc.gifHaving clean power and surge protection in your studio can make the difference between getting the job done professionally or suffering from noisy tracks and down time. Read our latest Mini Review where Barry Rudolph takes the Furman PL-PRO DMC Power Conditioner/Surge protector for a test drive. Download our product comparison chart to see how it adds up against the competition.

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M-Audio’s New CX5 and CX8 Monitors

M-Audio’s new CX5 ($399) and CX8 ($499) powered monitors feature either 5″ or 8″ bass drivers, a new m-audiocx8.gifwave guide and other features unique to this new line. Click here to listen to my interview with Richard Ngo-Tran, segment marketing manager with Avid Technology who explains the features and design philosophy behind these new speakers.

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What is this?

jeffcomp.gifThe Federal TV AM 864 u Peak-Limiting amplifier was manufactured for the US Army during the 50′s for use in AM broadcasting. Jeff Harris, a buddy of mine who was tech at The Village in Los Angeles for 16 years bought this baby in the picture for $100. Jeff altered the output, which is too hot for an audio console and brought it into the studio this week where I heard it across the inserts of a number of tracks. Jeff hasn’t done any restoration on this unit so it has a bit of noise when used on sustained instruments such as a bass guitar, but when inserted on a snare the noise is masked and you can hear how sweet it is. It reminds me of an LA-2A in its smoothness and “knee”. Click here to listen to a snare recorded with an SM57 then crunched through the 864. You can also download the original manual and schematics. The manual offers a bit of history that is worth a look just for the cool factor.

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Mini Reviews Launched

I’m excited to announce that the new Mini Review section at Mixonline.com is now ready to go. alesismastercontrolinterface.jpgThe online format lets us offer more resources than ever, in this case a video tutorial and product comparison chart. The first product is the Alesis MasterControl which is a surprising piece of gear for the price and scored 4 out of 5 stars. Click here to read the review

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Hallmark Mic

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I recently had a birthday and got one of those cards that play audio. I de-constructed it to see what was inside and found a small 2″ speaker. I brought it to the studio where an XLR was added for fun, making it into a dynamic narrow bandwidth microphone. The results will vary and depend on the size: a larger the speaker will offer more low-pass filtering while a smaller the speaker will result in more hi-pass filtering. This is the concept behind Yamaha’s SubKick, which makes a great kick drum mic when paired with a proper mic like an AKG D 112 or Shure Beta 52.

In the example for download below, there’s a bit of compression added from a UA LA-4 which adds to the trash factor by bringing up the room in relation to the transients. Wiring old speakers in this manner is an inexpensive way to get a low-bandwidth vibe without having to resort to plug-ins, EQ and filtering. Since the XLR is three-pin and a speaker is just hot and cold, solder the speaker’s hot lead (red) to pin 2 on the XLR and the cold lead to pin 3 leaving the ground floating. Click here to listen to the 2-inch “Hallmark” mic placed 8 feet in front of a drum kit. Be sure to follow this blog on Twitter.

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What’s on My Desk?

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I just received the new Royer SF-24V stereo ribbon mic today for review. I’ll put some audio up once I get this into a session. A review is imminent.

Next to the mic in the pic, you can see the Alesis MasterControl Studio Interface which I’m reviewing for this blog. Keep an eye here for that next week.

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Welcome to the TechTicker

Thanks for visiting my new Blog. I’ve been tech editor for Mix since 2003 and am happy to announce the launch of this forum that will bring news, analysis of our industry, mini-reviews, interviews, video and and other audio goodies to the table. The style will be intimate and conversational giving you an inside look at what new toys come across my desk. If you have any suggestions on what you’d like to see and hear, please feel free to use the comment field to leave any thoughts you may have.

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As a teaser, I’ve been listening to a range of tracks on the new Focal Professional CMS 65 monitors. In comparison, I’ve been breaking in a pair of ADAM A5′s for over a month now and REALLY like those for desktop use in a smaller space. If the A5′s are a VW Passat, the Focal’s are Ferraris. What I like most about the CMS 65s is the incredible detail, balance and low end at low volumes. As a mixer, being able to trust your speakers and hear detail at comfortable monitoring levels is essential and the Focal’s do this in spades. They also get VERY loud if you need it. Watch for golden-eared Bobby Frasier’s review of the CMS 65s coming up in our June issue of Mix.

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