Sunday, January 24, 2010

Two steps forward part 3: the final countdown

One area where I've been procrastinating for far too long is the studio area. When I rearranged the room a few months ago, I decided to separate the general purpose web surfing netbooks from the dedicated music desktop. While there's still some improvements to be worked on (like a flat screen monitor instead of the 18 inch deep tv thing) the setup pretty much worked to my convenience.

Well, in theory anyways. Because doing a setup can only be tested if you actually plug things in and try them out. And that's what I did finally. the big equipment was all in place, its was just the plugging in and making sure that all the wires were all in the right spot.

The computer is always a bit of a problem. When you have a soundcard that has extra inputs, work on the floor, in a somewhat awkward position and the light never really illuminates the little bloody symbols next to the inputs... well, a lot of guess works and trial and error is involved.

Part of the studio setup has been the testing and salvaging of accumulated bits of tools that have been gathering dust and space for months. I love picking up discarded toys that I think can make interesting noises and such. Fancy-shmancy equipment is all well and nice, but there's no replacement for talent. And some of the stuff marketed for kids have some good properties at a rather low cost. Like a friend said, the most important part of a movie is a good script. And like Robert Rodriguez said, what doe sit matter what camera you've got; just grab it and go shoot! Too much time is wasted on fancy gadgets when the basic plan is full of holes...

Anyhoo, while I was moving things about and plugging things in, one problem that popped up that is to be expected considering my equipment is that I really dont have enough outlets to plug it all in. Power bars are usefull, but they are limited when you only have two plugs for them. Especially when you're working with power supplies that take up a couple or three plugs on the damn bar.

So you have to start making decisions as to what you plug in. One way to do that is to plug stuff in an turn it on. Does it turn on? One of the projects that got done was this kids toy that is sort of a techno console, combining a drum machine, cd/mp3 player scratch table, a mini synths and some effects. By all reports, pretty cheesy sounding, but I got tools for that. It had to be modified, because:

A- I hate it when they insert speakers on music equipment that dont need them;
B- I hate wasting a bunch of batteries on a toy.

The speaker had to go; not a problem (and removing the speaker provides a convenient space for later tweaking gear, if one is so inclined). The battery pack had to go too. But I still had to get that all connected to the outside. Being a gathered of stuff, I did have the necessary parts to accomplish my goals, to have an audio output and a plugged power supply. A bit of drilling, a bit of burning plastic, a tad of soldering and some hot glue, and the beast is put back together.

The problem? It doesn't work. As previously mentioned, doing things yourself sometimes involves some guesswork. And sometimes, buying your gear from a Salvation Army isn't your best best, as they dont test out the equipment to see if it works. And so far, this piece doesn't work. I dont know why yet, there are a lot of possibilities, but it draws a black. Oh well. One less thing to plug in.

And then...

A bit of sad. One of my old standbys, my elder synth has apparently decided to take a hike towards better things. My good old Korg Poly 800 has decided that his last gig had come and refuses to power up. Maybe it fell down one too many time, or it was just too old, but it dont work no more. On one hand, it sucks. I liked the old bugger and it did a lot of good work for me. One the other hand, its one less thing to plug in. I now am missing one of my MIDI controllers, but that can be remedied. Its just an extra motivation to get a new piece of equipment. Eventually, when I get some cash to play with, say, when I return to work. I haven't really given up on it, I'll attempt a couple of check ups, just to see if I can bring it back to life.

Weirder things have happened before.

Now, if I could only get around to starting work on the guitars that seriously need a rebuild...

No comments:

Post a Comment