Archive for the ‘touring equipment’ Category

it's the little things

Subtle, as intended. I was worried it would be too subtle, but I think this works well. I don’t want it to jump in your face, but I want it to be there.

There’s a duplicate on the other side, in the opposite window. Now if the callsign frame (RAPTOR 312 LIGHT) would just get here…

making a thing

I’m making something. Effects test here. Everything has to fit inside a 9mm tube. Here’s a closeup of this component’s mounting hardware:

When it’s done it’s going to look like a little metal penlight and that’s all. That’s not bragging, that’s kind of wondering at myself why all the effort. But I’ll finish it anyway. Thank you, sunk cost fallacy – today, you’re working for me.

looking over music display apps for android

I’ve been looking over music display apps for Android, and right now, I’m really liking MobileSheetsPro. I’ve been testing using the Free version, which is fully-featured but sharply limited on number of songs and playlists and set lists. Does anyone have any other software they’d like to suggest before I dive in?

(BEFORE YOU SAY IT, iPad users: forScore is not available for Android. Which I don’t mind – I’m not thinking of anything I’d want that MobileSheets doesn’t do, it does a lot of things I wouldn’t’ve thought of, and the features list vs. forScore is pretty comparable.)

Anyway, as you can probably tell, I’m already feeling a lot of confirmation about having bought this thing – the ability to have my entire music sheet library around on any gig and the ability to pull it up at any time, even stuff I never play? That’s pretty damn awesome. I’ll be able to have stuff always that I normally just don’t bother hauling around.


That would be the tablet I mentioned earlier.

Does anybody have any suggestions for Bluetooth page-turning pedals? I’m looking at the AirTurn PED at the moment, even though it’s a really new device. It’s small, it has fantastic battery life, it’s silent, it’s listed as supporting MobileSheetsPro, and is a Bluetooth SMART READY device, which means you don’t lose bluetooth sync across power saving mode. I like that part a lot.

One big question is whether this tablet supports SMART READY. But it claims to be Bluetooth 4.0, which means it should support SMART READY intrinsically. I have a question in to support to make sure. The odds are good – SMART READY has been around for a few years now and is pretty core to the 4.0 spec, so I don’t even think you can claim Bluetooth 4 without it.

Anyway, if you have any insights, I’d love to hear ’em! Let me know in comments. Thanks!

and if we're talking DIY I may as well post this

The Raptor has this huge cargo area in two-seater mode, larger than that of all but the largest SUVs. It’s also got a three-seat mode, which might actually be useful, as well as four and five (if one person is small) modes. Three-seat mode will be particularly useful for Leannan Sidhe gigs, since that’s usually a three-person band, and we’ll still have quite decent room for cargo in that configuration.

The vehicle comes with a cargo-area tray for all-seats configuration (again, in theory five, really four adults), but you can’t even buy something specifically made for two-seat mode. Even most universal cargo-area liners simply aren’t big enough, which is hilarious – all these SUV toys being too small for my Honda Fit Raptor, lol – but I found a one that was, and stared modifying it.

Pictures below the break…

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digital tabs and sheet music: an arbitrage opportunity

A while ago, I saw Tony Fabris of Vixy & Tony using a ridiculously large Windows tablet to display his lyrics and sheet music. He’d also whipped together some software to organise it and such. It was awesome.

The trick was he’d got the tablet relatively cheap, because it was huge, but also the first release of Windows 8 on tablet, and there was something weird about it I think? I forget. It already didn’t exist anymore, but he had one.

Anyway, I’ve been watching for a similar opportunity ever since, because I kind of realised there was an arbitrage opportunity floating around right about… well, let’s go to the napkin:

See, past a point, as tablets get larger, they become less useful as tablets. Above 11″ or so, they rapidly become both unacceptably awkward and heavy, particularly at widescreen ratios. Oh, sure, you can get a keyboard, use it as a really awkward laptop, and a lot of companies are making laptop “convertibles” now as people try to figure out that format. But even done well, that’s basically a laptop that can make do as a shitty tablet, all at laptop prices.

Now, on the other hand, if you want something to sit in front of you on a music rack and display your chords or whatever, you want that extra, impractical-for-carrying-around size. And you don’t mind a little more weight, because it’s a lot lighter than a bunch of three-ring binders.

And LCD screens in those sizes and ratios are everywhere now from OEMs, because laptops. So everybody keeps trying to make tablets at those larger sizes because IT CAN’T MISS AM I RIGHT? Except every time it’s the same plan, it’s the same plan, and everybody ends up on fire and dumping these things.

So the trick is to find something in that little red bar, at the end of the too-heavy, too-big-for-normal-people 13-14″ downslope-of-heaviness while still in the awesome-for-sheetmusic range of musician happiness, all at the right oh-shit-this-was-a-bad-idea-get-rid-of-these-things price range.

There’ve been a few qualifying tablets floating around pretty much constantly since I saw Tony’s, all from one or another GeneroMaker, but they’ve all been too junky for one reason or another. Bad screens, bad battery life, double-digit DOA rates, whatever.

Until possibly now. Meet the latest iteration of this mistake, at $150 on Amazon right now.


3rd Generation iPod for scale because I left my sonic upstairs

The photo here isn’t great, but I don’t want to move the tablet because it’s doing the first-time charge. But trust me: it’s huge. It’s slightly over three times the size of Anna’s Kindle. It’s got a good screen, it’s heavier than some laptops but it’s thin, it’s got 5-7 (claimed) hours of battery life, decent viewing angles, and it’s running Jelly Bean so can talk to the usual app stores. It’s got USB and expansion and all that. The onboard sound is terrible and it’s not super fast, but that’s not what I need it for.

And almost all the positive reviews are from musicians using it for exactly this.

There will probably be more of these, but this is the first one I’ve seen since that old Windows tablet of Tony’s that meets all the requirements for such appropriately little dough. I’ve had it for all of a few hours, so this isn’t a review, but it is your notice: the arbitrage opportunity you may have been waiting for is now here.

absolutely flat equalisation

I rebuilt and altered the crossover circuit on the worse of the two speakers. Check it, here’s the new crossover. I kept the original coils, but moved them so they’re out of plane with each other, which matters for clarity and prevention of crosstalk.


New Crossover
The numbers on the board are kind of wrong, those were what was there before, plus or minus 20%, except for the one that had pretty much completely failed from age. That’s okay, electrolytics do that. That’s why I went with film.

I made a phone recording, just using the built-in microphone. The last recording, of the other speaker, I was able to get it sounding reasonable through inappropriate use of EQ once I got the tweeter to come back online. Even that was a huge step up from where it had been.

This recording? Purely flat equalisation. Absolutely flat. Played off an iPod through my Sampson amp, into the speaker, recorded via phone mic.

Whaddya think, sirs?
 


This post is part of a series on restoring infamous vintage stage monitors. Spoiler: they made good, in the end.

none of this was expected

I got given a couple of terrible, terrible looking- and sounding- speakers, and a pretty good power amp that has been in storage for a while, as a set. I haven’t started working on the amp yet, but it’s supposedly actually just fine. Yay!

But these speakers, goddamn. I mean look at this. This is already cleaned up. The other one is not better.


Already Cleaned. No, really.
By the way, if anybody knows how to get this goddamn horn off this tweeter driver? I’d like to know. Is there a trick? I took off the bolts and NOPE NOT MOVING. But it had to have been assembled in place, because you can’t fit it into the cabinet face otherwise. If it unscrews (after bolt removal) I don’t see how – I put a lot of force into it with a strap wrench and got nowhere.


HONK HONK
Honestly it’s like trying to fly the Constellation after the Doomsday Machine hit it. I got them wired up tho’ – it took some custom cabling and alligator clips, but I got them running. Limping along, anyway. But by that time I’d already discovered that despite their shitkicker exteriors, inside? All JBL pro gear. Really pretty high-end stuff. I don’t get it either.


If only we had some phasers…
Once I had them stable, I figured out the reason there was no high end was because hey, guess, what, neither of the tweeters were doing anything! The first one, I got back online by working around a bad connection. No idea how long that had been out. The second one…

The second one, I looked at, and tried to figure out what the hell they were doing with this weird circuit and this giant pot that like varied between 0 and 10 ohms maybe, and seemed to be in parallel with the speaker. Eventually I decided it was part of an inexplicably assymetrical Zobel circuit and realised that making it symmetrical would fix other problems too, so that’s fine, except…

…then I got the same circuit out of the now-working other speaker and discovered the one I’d been analysing had been misassembled since construction.

That’s as in at least 25 years. Probably 35 or so. SPEAKERS SURE DO SOUND DIFFERENT WHEN YOU ACTUALLY HOOK THE TWEETER UP, DON’T THEY? Or rather, hook it up so you haven’t filtered around it.

Which is what someone had done.

I am apparently the first to try to figure this out. I’m certainly the first to find it.

Honestly, I don’t even know what to say about that.


This post is part of a series on restoring these infamous vintage stage monitors. Spoiler: they made good, in the end.

guesting with leannan sidhe in may and june

I’ll be guesting with Leannan Sidhe in May and June, in Oregon and on the Washington dry side. In Oregon in particular we’ll actually just be a duo, which is kind of taking it to extremes, but nobody else in the band is available(!) due to Many Reasons.

Which means doing the little things, like wrapping some picks in fabric so my zouk loses a lot of the high-end harmonics and sounds superficially more like a guitar. I tried felt picks, but they just didn’t feel right, or sound the same. So it’s DIY, ahoy:


Double-sided Tape Solves Many Problems

Wrap in double-sided tape, then fabric, then trim with scissors. Doesn’t actually take long. I’ve used these with Leannan Sidhe before, but not in a while, because normally her guitarists are actually around, and then I don’t need them.

Got some decent mandolin recording last night, on Some for a Free Court/Anarchy Now. Also had some interesting discussion with Anna, whose books these are (and who has a new book out now, by the way) about future timelines and worldbuilding.

I love being on this side of the spoiler wall. Sure, Rebels of Adalonia is getting all the attention right now, but Free Court… this – all of it? It’s gonna be good. 😀

soon to be standard gear

…for any travelling musician: the inflatable concert hall!


Unfortunate resemblance to the inside of a stomach
should be mitigated by different colouring agents

Now they just need it backpack sized and we’re good to go.

No?

Darn.

atTENTtion get it ar ar ar

I’ve never used a tent on tour which is kind of unusual amongst the people I know in music, but for these Leannan Sidhe gigs I need it. SHITTY CELL PHONE PICS, AHOY!


jfc this is a big tent


i really do not remember this tent being so big

This is actually one of TWO tents I own. The other is older because I bought it used and it’s five people, not four like this one, but I think it’s about the same size actually. But MUCH harder to set up.


fred wants to know wtf i am doing with a tent that big


honestly i have had dorm rooms smaller than this tent

I timed taking it down, which is going to be the part that needs to be done most quickly because of schedules: 14 minutes from fully set up (which it wasn’t in these pictures, a kind of rain cowl goes over the top) to fully packed in the single carry bag. I’m going to do it again later for practice because I haven’t used it since I don’t even know. 2005?

ADVENTURE!

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