This month we're guests again of our esteemed V.P., Michael Kolar , always the capable host, to check out his recently finished expansion of Soundscape Studios. Carved from the the remains of a limestone bunker in the back of his facility (rumored to have been used by Chicago's own Al Capone), Kolar and crew have created a new live room with high ceilings and an Iso booth, and a much more spacious control room. The usual hospitality will be provided. There's ample metered parking around the studio and meters turn off at 6:00 PM. It's the black door in the middle of the building and the bottom buzzer will get you in. Dial 312-567-1400 if you get lost or have trouble with the door. See you there! -KJH
EARS' Jeff Hamilton Memorial Holiday Party, 12/30/08
Thanks to all who came out for a very nice time at Lucia's. We were stunned by how many people made time on the night before New Years Eve! Evenings like this, with the simple opportunity to catch up and spend some quality time with our wonderful membership are some of the best that EARS has to offer. I only wish there was more time to talk individually with you all. Special thanks go to Michael Kolar for making the arrangements at Lucia's, Harry (MF) Brotman for selecting the beverages and bringing them to the party on time, Eric Roth and Chris Cwiak for helping with some of the details, and the two members who wished to remain anonymous this time, but who helped significantly with the costs.
On another note, for those who enjoyed the night a couple of months ago at planet10studios and had a strange feeling that there was something very unique about that Neve 8108, Jimmy has learned that, indeed, his desk was a prototype, the first 8108 built, specifically for Capitol Records Studio C, and to their spec. Upon hearing from Jimmy that their were no serial numbers on the plates, Nigel Toates, the lead tech on the 8108 build, smiled and replied, "You have a very special console there." -KJH
Once again, EARS' dues-paying members (plus a guest) are invited to join the Recording Academy Chicago Chapter's Grammy Awards Telecast Viewing Party at the Hard Rock Café. It's at 6:00 PM on Sunday, February 8th, of course. It includes hors d' oeuvres, an open bar, an official Grammy Awards program book and more. "Dress to Impress", the invite says. It also says "18 years and older, ID required". Capacity is limited and RSVP is required by 5:00 Thursday night, February 5th to me at this address so I can check that you're a current, dues paid member of EARS and get your info over to our friends at NARAS. It's always a good time. Come on out to enjoy the event and cheer for Chicago's own Chris Willis and Aurora's own Cassandra Wong. -KJH
We're rolling again for a second take at Matt Newport's Black Lion Audio, so keep that last Tuesday of February open! - KJH
Cliff Castle of Audix got wind of a mention of their products' country of origin in the December EARdrum and sent this response:
I want to make you aware that Audix has made, over the past 10 years, a huge investment in technology and equipment that enables us to produce a vast majority of our flagship products in house (OM series, D series, SCX series, and Micros). We have a 78,000 sq. foot facility, half of which is dedicated to fabrication, tooling, design, R & D, production, and assembly. Although we are a fairly small company compared to our competitors, we are proud of our growth and our history and the fact that we provide a livlihood for a good many American citizens. While we do outsource some products and many of the accesorries overseas, like most of our competitors, we are concerned about protecting the propietary nature of our products in house by mainting control of the manufacturing and assembly processes.
In keeping with customs laws about labeling and packaging, manufacturers are responsbile for revealing the country of origin of all the contents of a product. For this reason, Audix states where the clips, pouches, boxes, etc. are manufactured if not in the USA. This practice is not adhered to by many manufacturers, and in fact many products labeled "made in usa" are far from it.
-Cliff Castle, Audix Corporation
Where's the Beef? (Again I say, "Indeed!")
Well, here we are, two months from the meeting at Gravity where a motion was raised, seconded, discussed, and voted on to require that ideas for specific "Where's the Beef" topics be emailed to the editor before the January meeting. I've received two emails regarding this. One simply suggests that we collect topic ideas, ask for volunteers to write on the most requested topics, and if no one volunteers, proceed to draft someone into service. Another idea came in the form of a complete "Tech Tip" from the good Marshall Terry. Thanks much, Marshall. It's a nice step in the right direction. Without further ado, here I present Marshall Terry's "Tech-Tip". (Note that he may try to do this once a month, and the title may be refined.) -KJH
MT's Tech Tip
***Three Things You Didn't Know Your Hammond Organ Could Do***
I recently picked up my second Hammond M3 - the baby 'B3' that Booker T made famous on 'Green Onions' - and it's absolutely fantastic. For the current street prices for that and other related spinet Hammond organs (spinet means having a rotating tone wheel) - it's astounding.
Yet, there are some drawbacks. The amp doesn't make the organ play too loud. It's always very clean, even at full volume at the pedal. There's no way to take a 'line out' of the organ, much less an effects loop! Also - isn't that a 15w all tube amp in the back? It's powered by two 6v6's and it's tube rectified - sounds similar to *gasp* a Fender Deluxe?!?
Thing #1: Get some growl!
This one's really satisfying to me. Looking at the back where the amplifier is on most 70's built or earlier Hammonds, there's a tall silver box on top of the amplifier. You can easily see that the volume pedal in the front is attached to this. On the front of that box, there's a metal plug covering a hole. Popping that out with a flathead screwdriver (it's stuck in there) shows an adjustable knob inside. This is preset at the Hammond factory as an 'input volume'. Have someone (or a heavy object) hold down lots of keys while you adjust the pot. You can turn it down, of course - but turning it up brings growl, a little distortion, and some real dirt to what was a rather sterile organ sound. Part of the 'leslie' feel is that tube distortion the Leslie speaker amps give you - but the internal amp could do it the whole time!
Thing #2: Use that tube amp!
Yes, that's right. It's a 15w tube amp that's VERY similar to a Fender Deluxe! Lucky for us, Hammond thought it would be nice to install an RCA/phono jack on the side of that same box mentioned above for the home music enthusiast to plug their music into and 'play along' with their Hammond! It's nothing more than a Line In and instrument level input that feeds into the same place in the circuit that the organ's tonewheel goes into. So, along with adjusting the 'growl' of the organ, you've also got a very hip tube amplifier at your disposal! Guitars/synths/keys - plug it in - or reamp something you tracked earlier for more character.
Thing #3: The Effects Loop
This one builds on #2, and takes a little tech knowledge. But, it's possible to create a 'Line Out' of the organ, while using the input at Thing #2 as the 'Return'. Ever tried a Hammond through a Phaser? A different Chorus? Tremolo? How about a DI into your console?
If you're tech-savvy enough for drilling a new hole and doing some light soldering - the link for creating the 'Line Out' is referenced below. The only difference: don't get rid of the phono input (Thing #2) that the instructions tell you to do. You need that to send things back to the amplifier!
If you don't have a Leslie, by 'faking out' the vibrato tab/switch, you get a seemingly random 'pulse' and whine that gets very 'Leslie' like, indeed! Activate vibrato on either the upper or lower key section. Rock the 'Small/Normal' vibrato amount tab to be stuck in the middle - and you should get both the small and normal circuits working, shunted together! Yet another great sound to squeak out of (maybe almost any) organ!
In the meantime - dust off that old Hammond!
Reference: http://www.dairiki.org/HammondWiki/ - a GREAT site with schematics, mods, etc on all models of Hammonds.
Instructions for Mod #3: http://www.dairiki.org/HammondWiki/GettingALineOutFromThePhonoJack
Reference for 'Thing #4: http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopic.php?t=60918
And here's a bonus, mini tech tip, from a whole different world... When installing additional RAM on the new Mac Pros, you might be inclined when you open up the case and see that, as always, the Mac's RAM is installed in pairs, now with one strip on each of two riser-cards, to proceed to add the new pairs of RAM modules in the next two slots, one on each riser card. If you do, you'll quickly find that they don't register as they should. Actually, they're installed wrong. While the initial, stock RAM is installed one on each riser-card, you actually must move the bottom one up alongside it's sibling in the top riser-card, and then install your new pair in the first two slots of the bottom riser-card. Here's a link that might also help. -KJH
An EARS Cheer
Here's an EARS Cheer, to Metallica fans... "Huh?" you say? Well, let me explain. Maybe you've heard about this. Metallica fans, of all people, may just be providing the turning point we've all been waiting for in "The Loudness War". It seems there's an outcry by fans who discovered how much better the new album tracks sound in their less compressed form in a video game. Who would've predicted that? -KJH
There are endless good reasons to band together here as EARS. It can be whatever we want it to be. If you have any ideas for the EARdrum, our website, or future meetings, please email me. We still have a lot of great meeting plans lining up, some website plans, and a lot of good fresh energy and hopes for a more vibrant, participatory EARS, so of course we're very interested in your input on everything EARS. Please! :) - KJH
Our Archives are again up to date. Check out the website for that and more EARS info. Also, I'd like to complete our files with the pre-2001 EARdrums. By my calculations we're missing the first 16 years! (Now minus that first one.) I know Timothy Powell has a year or so on his Metro-Mobile website but that still leaves a lot missing. If you happen to have your old paper copies or files you could get to me, I would love to get them online for posterity. Let me know. - KJH
A note about our Website
I've noticed that it doesn't automatically update in some web browsers. If you're looking for something (such as the latest EARdrum) and it looks like old info, try reloading the page. -KJH
Another note about our Website, and our Logo
I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that it's time for a bit of updating. We think EARS deserves a bit of a makeover and can't help but wonder who among us might actually double as a professional designer but with the necessary sensitivity to our audio world. Drop us a note if you'd like to consider helping us out with a new look for the website, logo, etc. -KJH
Thanks to all who support EARS through paying their dues. Just as a reminder, they're due yearly by the October meeting and this is a prerequisite for voting and joining us for the Holiday Party and BBQ in August (and occasionally things like the Grammy Party), but they're always welcome. Dues checks (or cash, but no credit cards) for $25.00 can be made out to EARS and given to any of our officers or sent to the following address:
Engineering and Recording Society of Chicago, C/O Eric Roth, Treasurer, PO Box 98, Highland Park, IL 60035-0098 - KJH
A (few) (more) word(s) from the Prez...
or The other Heisenberg Principal... With good quality, German mics, the very presence of the gear makes the performance better.
Well, here I sit, pulling this EARdrum together, wishing for more content, wishing for more time to arrange some great plans we have for this EARdrum, wishing I had received even just one of those pairs of mics I specifically asked Santa for (or at least that John Hardy would cave and set me up with a set of his knobs!) and wondering what little bit of color I ought to add here in my personal note.
As I sit here at my desk I've got a TV on in the background. Sometimes, it's nice just having a little non-music noise in the background when I'm home alone. Tonight on History International they're on a kick about Nazi Germany, with one program about Goering in the Nuremberg Trials and another called "High Hitler". While certainly these documentaries (and historical dramas such as the recent Valkyrie and Defiance) are fascinating just for their history, I also have to confess to being just a sucker for the gear porn. So far tonight, I've spotted the usual number of expected CMV-3s, but I was also happily surprised to see my little RCA 88-a featured prominently in the trial. Who knew I had the best tool for micing a Nazi? It's been a good season for mic spotting, actually. While Valkyrie sorely disappointed with only a couple brief shots of CMV-3s, Cadillac Records played like a survey of great mics, every scene featuring a new, classic transducer to keep even the most hopeless gear slut's attention. Just this last Tuesday something was happening on TV, I forget what it was the press was all excited about... but there was Itzhak Perlman, Gabriela Montero, Yo-Yo Ma, and Anthony McGill performing and for a brief moment I thought one of the mics was turned around so the badge was showing. Phew, it took only a moment to realize, judging by the "tilting side bracket" being on the left, that it WAS, actually the back of the mic we were looking at. Good thing I figured that one out, or I might've lost all faith in... Oh, that's right! It was the inauguration. ...Which reminds me, of course, that it's good to see our faithful EARS sponsor, Shure, is still immune to "Change". President's come and go, but the venerable SM57 is still the most powerful mic in the world.
Stay warm everyone, and keep your eyes open for sweet gear in the best AND worst corners of this life.
At your service,
Kerry J Haps