Archive for the ‘ Misc Gear ’ Category

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Infinitas is finally laying down some real tracks.  Below is the setup I used for tracking the drums…I was fortunate to be able to do this in my living room, with high vaulted ceilings and some nice natural reverb, with 10 mics on Hal’s Tama kit.  Hopefully someone finds the info useful!

I switched over to a Roland STUDIO-CAPTURE and couldn’t be happier.  I’ve used the Echo Layla products for years and had great success, but after needing more simultaneous tracks and having some issues getting two Layla 3Gs to work in tandem, I pulled the trigger on the Roland unit.  It works flawlessly with Cakewalk Sonar and does what any great DAW audio  interface should do in my opinion; stay out of the way :-)

You can hear a sample of the raw unprocessed drums here (bass is a scratch reference track): http://www.trya.us/music/Infinitas/Album/Lights-drumref.mp3

CH1: Tom 1
CAD TSM 411 –> HHB RADIUS 10 CH1
Settings: Gain 2.9 / 10 o’clock, Output 4.5 / 11 o’clock, 90hz cut

CH2: Tom 2
CAD M179 –> HHB RADIUS 10 CH2
Settings: Gain 3 / 10 o’clock, Output 4.5 / 11 o’clock, 90hz cut, 48v

CH3: Tom 3
CAD M179 –> HHB RADIUS 10 CH3
Settings: Gain 3 / 10 o’clock, Output 4.5 / 11 o’clock, 90hz cut, 48v

CH4: Tom 4
EV Cardinal –> HHB RADIUS 10 CH4
Settings: Gain 1.9 / 8.5 o’clock, Output 4.5 / 11 o’clock, 90hz cut, 48v

CH5: Snare Top
Rode NTK –> Audient Mico CH1 –> Rane DC24 CH1
Settings (Audient): -20db, 40+80hz cut, Gain 12.5 o’clock, HMZ IN 10 o’clock
Settings (Rane): Gate Thresh 0, Gate Ratio 1.8, Comp Thresh -8, Comp Ratio 2, Limiter +5, Output 0

CH6: Snare Bottom
Studio Projects B1 –> Audient Mico CH2 –> Rane DC24 CH1
Settings (Audient): -20db, 48v, 40+80hz cut, Gain 12 o’clock, Phase Rev
Settings (Rane): BYPASS

CH7: OH 1 (ORTF)
Sahe Audio Little Blondie –> Black Lion Audio Auteur CH1
Settings – 1 o’clock, phantom, pad

CH8: OH 2 (ORTF)
Sahe Audio Little Blondie –> Black Lion Audio Auteur CH2
Settings – 1 o’clock, phantom, pad

CH9: Kick Outer
Neumann TLM 49EV N/D868 –> Avalon VT737SP
Settings – Gain +32, Cut 40hz, 48v, Filter IN, Comp Thresh 15, Comp Ration 8:1, Comp Attack Fast, Comp Release 3 / 9.5 o’clock, Meter IN, Comp IN, Comp IN, Bass +3 60hz, Low Mid -5 Hi-Q 250hz, Hi Mid 0, Treble 0, EQ IN, Out -8

CH10: Kick Inner
EV N/D868 –> Focusrite Platinum Trakmster Pro
Settings – Low Z IN, Preamp 5 / 12 o’clock, HPF IN, Mid Scoop IN, 250hz, Deep IN, Comp IN, Squash IN, Comp Thresh 4 / 10 o’clock, Comp Gain +10

One Bad Oyster played a show in Wilton, CT in support of the Cord Foundation, dubbed the “2nd Annual Great Wilton Scavenger Hunt“.  The event planner Jeff Snyder is a friend of the band, and his daughter Kennedy has been unfortunately battling spinal cord cancer most of her life.  What a great guy and an amazing little girl.

It was a beautiful day for playing outside.  Despite having them for sale at the time, I decided to bring my Schroeder 1212BMF cabs.  IMO, these cabs cannot be beat for power to weight ratio. It’s laughable as to how loud these things are, never mind that you can carry one in each hand with ease. If you are a 4 string player in any sort of loud, live band, I don’t think you can find a better cabinet for being heard through the mix at any range. That said, I don’t always care for the super focused tone and attenuated low end for some types of music that I play.  Nearly every instrument I play these days has a low B, and it’s too attenuated for my tastes sometimes, especially with my Warwick Thumb (which already has kind of an attenuated sound to begin with). I can EQ beef back in via bass and amp, but it’s still not always what I’m looking for.  I recently heard my Genz ShuttleMAX 12.0 through a Genz cabinet and it was to die for (so I picked up a used Neox 212).  For smaller indoor stuff, I’ve been favoring an Aguilar DB112NT paired with my Acoustic Image Focus 2r Series III.

I rediscovered however one of the main things I love about the Schroeder’s; they kick ass outside.  Loud, clear, full, and great throw to the back row.  They’re so light that I can have both set up quickly, and with the AI head I’ve got 4×12″ at 1000W (2 ohm)…tons of headroom!  I also finally had my Ergo 5 string EUB dialed in since buying it.  Even front-ending it with a Fishman B-II preamp, the piezo equipped EUB needs quite a bit of gain to match an active electric bass, so the headroom is welcome.

Very cool cab. Great looks, great sound. The only thing I’ve done is put some plastic feet on the side opposite side from the handle. Much safer when putting it down after carrying (seems like lots of people do this, and with good reason). The usual spec stuff:

More at Aggie’s site.

This is the model WITHOUT a tweeter, so here’s a quick clip just to get an idea of how it sounds recorded by default. Just a little ditty I came up with on the spot, I didn’t spend too much time getting locked in with the drums so excuse the less than perfect groove :D

http://www.trya.us/music/Misc/AguilarDB112NT.mp3

Everything is flat/no EQ;

  • 5 string MM/J Nords
  • Acoustic Image Focus 2R Series III
  • EV N/D868
  • Avalon VT-737SP
  • Event Layla
  • Sonar

There’s some compression (inboard and out) and 60 hz high pass filtering on the preamp. It’s a bit woofy through some speakers, but that’s mainly because it’s not EQ’d. IMO, having played both the with and without tweeter models, I prefer the NT (though I recall you can turn the tweeter down on the other one?).

Here’s another clip, slightly different: http://www.trya.us/music/Misc/AguilarDB112NT-b.mp3

Similar set up from above, but my Warwick Dolphin Pro I 5 string and Markbass LMK instead.  I’ve got the bass, amp, and Sonar EQ’d like I typically would live in this case.  The parts I played are slightly different as well…only because there was @30 mins between takes, I forgot exactly what I played to begin with, and was too lazy to figure it out ;-)

One thing I’ve noticed in general with the DB 112′s, they can take quite a bit of power, and just get louder, deeper, and clearer as you crank into them. It’s impressive.  Paired with my Tone Hammer preamp pedal, it’s killer!

A quest for overdrive

I’ve been on an effects kick lately. I hadn’t really been interested in pedals and stuff since probably college, but getting together with the guys in Infinitas had me wanting to experiment. That, and I just tend to like to buy gear and try it out when I can ;) I started back into the fray with some of the usuals; Boss bass chorus, a Big Muff Pi, a Boss digital delay. I still had my original Boss bass EQ and OC-2, and a half broken EHX Doctor Q, so they go busted out as well. I quickly determined I was after more, so after doing lots of reading, I ended up selling just about all of them (kept the Boss EQ out of sentimental value) and picked up a used Line 6 M13. I quickly determined two things;

  • The M13 could do just about everything I wanted (and more)
  • I couldn’t come up with a decent envelope filter if my life depended on it

The latter had me quickly deciding between the 3leaf filter and the Source Audio BEF, of which the Source Audio won and I haven’t looked back since.

Like many players, I got the overdrive bug. I have two lovable sounds in my head from years ago…playing live through a borrowed SVT, and using a guitar players Matchless head (also live) back in college when my amp died. Of course I’ve heard all sorts of tasty overdriven tones since, but those two really stick out.

Although I’ve found the M13 is good with creating distortion tones, the overdrives just weren’t cutting it for me. I got a few patches working decently through headphones, but after trying them out at practice, it just wasn’t happening. I also tried driving the front of my GB SM 12.0 tube channel with a booster patch, but again, the organic feel and sound that I had in my head just wasn’t there.

Only one thing left to do…start buying and trying pedals :)

Aguilar Agro
Pro’s: One of the most organic sounding pedals I’ve ever heard.  I realize that’s a lame, subjective term, but I don’t know how else to describe it.  I got the same vibe with their octave pedal that I tried at a store.  There’s just something very natural about the tone it produces.  There’s definitely some flexibility in the controls, which is great.  It does this very cool thing to harmonic content that I absolutely love.  So inspiring in fact that I ended up writing an entire song with the pedal on most on the time.  The battery compartment design on the Aguilar pedals is cool too (not that I typically use batteries).  I’ve also really enjoyed pairing this pedal with my Source Audio BEF…I’ve been able to come up with some really cool, thick, heavy, aggressive sounds.

Con’s: The case design sucks.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice looking, robust pedal, but the design doesn’t allow for typical pedal board stuff. Hard to Velcro the bottom because of the case lip; I had to add a riser.  Angled connectors aren’t a fit for the same reasons.  Another potential con is that it definitely loses low end content.  I actually don’t mind it all that much because of the tone it brings to the table, but it would be great if there was a built in blend so you could get more of the original signal on top of what it’s doing.  Regardless, I’m keeping it for the foreseeable future.

Wren and Cuff Phat Phuk B
Pro’s: Simplicity.  One knob, one purpose.  Sounds amazing driving the front of my iPad’s Amplitube SVT model, which is kind of comical I think.  Sounds great in front of the tube channel on my Genz Benz ShuttleMAX 12.0.  Small form factor.  Doesn’t seem to lose any low end.

Con’s: Since there’s only one knob, matching volume and tone with the pedal On and Off is a PITA.  With the tone that I like,  my amp’s channel volume is too high.  With the volume set where it normally is, I need to set the Phat Phuk much lower than I’d like to match.  I realize this is by design and essentially how it works, but it’s a pain.  I need to either:

  • use the tube channel on my GB SM exclusively for the Phat Phuk and set the volumes accordingly
  • accept that kicking on the Phat will result in a huge volume increase
  • use a blender or some other means to control the volume

In the end though I’ve been able to find a happy medium, and I really enjoy this pedal live.

Fuzzrocious Dark Driving
Pro’s: Like the Phat Phuk, really simple with one knob.  You can open it up and adjust a few pots for variety, but I found what I believe to be the “stock” setting to be best for me.  I’ve got the Phat Phuk set up kind of like a tone “goose”; just a bit o’ grit and actually adds a bit of clarity.  Then the Dark Driving kicks it up a notch, things get a little woolly and, well, dark.  Then the Agro is next to tear your face off.

Con’s: The pedal is noisy.  I tried a variety of things (different power sources, cables, etc.) but I could not get rid of a noticeable hum whilst recording.  I don’t know if it’s a shielding or grounding thing, or just the circuit design.  That said, it’s perfectly at home on my pedalboard where I’m really not concerned with a little hum (only while engaged) in a live setting.

*** UPDATE *** I’ve realized that with the sound clips I’ve captured below, there actually wasn’t much hum (if any at all). I recently re-did most of the cabling on my pedalboard, so I’m wondering if what I ran into before was maybe a cabling problem, or just the signal chain I had going last time I tried recording with the pedal.

Amptweaker Bass Tightdrive
This one requires a bit more than just Pro’s and Con’s.  I was the most excited about getting this pedal (vs. the other two) after hearing the demo’s online, but after trying it out at first I was kind of left with the feeling of “meh”.  The unit is built like a tank and certainly feels as though you could throw it at a brick wall and it would simply just laugh at you.  It’s got a really cool battery compartment design as well.  The knobs are rock solid and overall it just exudes quality.  The adjustable placement loop on the unit is a great idea too.

I played around with it a bit at home, but overall found the tone either too thin, or too woolly…there wasn’t much middle ground.  I tried it at a few live practices, and it was more of the same; too much low end loss when I was dialing in a razor sharp cutting tone that I liked, or way too woolly when I tried to get the bass back.  I just kept jumping back to one of the other three pedals above, or any number of patches on my M13.  I though later about trying to use an EQ pedal either after it or in it’s own loop, but ended up putting it down for a few weeks…I was kind of depressed that it wasn’t what I’d hoped for, despite getting a great deal on eBay.  I was convinced that the Doug Pinnick demo on the site was waaaay over processed or something.

That got me thinking.  What about using the Tightdrive for recording?  Long story short; this is where the magic finally happened, and why I’m not likely to get rid of the pedal.  I found that if I dialed in that razor sharp cutting tone (with bass loss) on one channel, and then used a separate channel for a more traditional fatter tone (specifically my Avalon 737 and IK Multimedia’s Ampeg SVX), I ended up with a great monster rock tone.  I had tried this approach with other pedals and amps before, but was never really happy with the results.  The Tightdrive has really nailed it for me now.  So, I’m not using it live, but it’s almost a good thing because I can just leave it set up at home in my recording chain and not need to screw around with pulling stuff off my pedalboard or hooking up a bunch of crap every time I want to lay something down.

So having said all that…here are some clips!  As usual, something I came up with on the spot, and not much of a focus on execution (all single takes, except for one where I really screwed the pooch).  The drum part is courtesy of Mr. Tomas Haake, straight out of the Toontrack EZX Metalheads collection (they are sections from the Meshuggah song Lethargica).  I tried to cover both low and high end, with a few chords and even some slap.  The bass was my Warwick Custom Shop Thumb BO 6.  Each pedal went through a SWR MM2 preamp, into my Event Layla, through Cakewalk Sonar 6.  I tried to get each of the bass tracks level the same, and put a limiter and slight compression on the bass channel bus.  Clip 10 is from the Presence of Mind concept piece I’m writing and recording, and is an example of the Tightdrive blended with SVX.

As a comparison, you can also check out the clips I did on the Genz Benz ShuttleMAX 12.0 tube swap I did a while back, there are some grungy tones floating around there as well. I’m actually planning on grabbing a few more clips at some point with the boost pedals driving the tube channel. Something else to note is that in my opinion, all these pedals sound 25-50% more aggressive in my live rig (all settings re iq ing the same), when everything is turned up to volume…just food for thought.

Enjoy!

I’m selling my beloved Euphonic Audio VL-108 and VL-110 cabs.  I’ve had the VL-108 for a while now, and it was well loved prior to me having it.  A year or two ago I got the VL-110 to match it, with the plan of using both for double bass work.  Unfortunately, I’m just not using them much anymore since getting any of my Schroeder cabs.  I originally didn’t like the sound of the Schroeder’s with my double bass, but that was in the confines of my home and not out in the real world.  I’ve come to find they sound great and cut through, just like I expect on electric.  Given the music I’m typically playing on double bass these days, I’ve found I need more power and volume than the VL’s are designed for.  The specs for the cabs are in one of the images above.

So, they should probably head to a better home than I’m giving them.  Great, GREAT cabs though.

Last night I got to play through an Ampeg B2R and a SVT810E Classic with my Veillette. It was easy to get a great tone dialed in fast (not surprising with the Veillette of course). Deep, punchy, and articulate altogether. Playing with a full band, I didn’t have to turn up much either, which was great. The cab seemed to have really good projection as well. Fun to play!

I recently sold my FBB Lupis fretless, as well as my original Avatar cabs (2×10 and 1×15).  While I’ll certainly miss them, I managed to reinvest into new gear…well, new to me, but used, and in great condition.

Bass

  • Aria Pro II Avante fretless 6 from @ 1999-2000
  • Alder body
  • Maple neck
  • Ebony board
  • Active electronics

Cabs

  • Schroeder 1212BMF’s
  • 2 x 12″ w/ tweeters
  • 4 ohms
  • 800 watts
  • Padded covers
  • Rhino coated
  • 40 lbs

More details to come and I’m looking forward to trying this stuff out at a practice soon!

My buddy Ross was nice enough to lend me several preamp tubes to test in my Genz BenzShuttleMAX 12.0. I had done some reading online that led me to believe people had heard a real difference with replacing the stock tube. Others have said that due to design, there won’t be much difference. Having screwed around with preamp tubes before in other pieces of equipment, any differences I’ve heard in the past have been very subtle. But hey, why not kill a few hours and see.

Long story short, the ShuttleMAX was no different. I imagine it’s partly due to the circuit design. I had hoped to find a combination that allowed for earlier breakup and more overdrive. There was a more noticeable difference with one of them, but all things considered, I’ll probably just stick with the stock tube.

I still think it was a worthwhile exercise as it cured my curiosity, and I was able to capture each tube change sonically. The candidates were as follows:

  1. Stock (I believe a re-branded Ruby)
  2. Fender 12AX7
  3. JJ ECC83S
  4. EHX 12AX7
  5. Tung-Sol 12AX7
  6. TAD 12AX7A-C (Tube Amp Doctor)

The recording was done with my Warwickcustom shop Thumb BN 6, into the ShuttleMAX, DI out into my Echo Layla 3G, into Cakewalk Sonar. For each recording, I used the low and high gain settings on the Benz tube channel. The exception of course was the FET channel, which was really just for reference. I decided to play along with a drum track, as I personally find reviews of bass gear where it’s onlythe bass to sometimes be useless. Not to mention I’d rather be playing with a drummer than without. The little ditty is something I came up with on the spot, in order to cover three styles to try and coax more out of the tubes; slap, slow heavy finger, and fast aggressive finger. With all three I tried to throw some chords in, and I also tried to get all six strings in. Each take is one shot, as I wasn’t trying to make anything perfect, just capture the moment. This is most noticeable with the switch-up on the ending triplet figure…it’s at a pretty spirited pace ;)

The amp was EQ’d as pictured in the photo (both channels), which is what I’ve typically been using live lately.  The only thing not accurate in the pic are the gain and volume settings.  I decided to leave the tube channel gain at max, as it was the most likely setting for getting overdrive.  I adjusted the volume on the FET and tube channels so the output into Sonar was relatively the same.  When engaging the high gain switch on the amp, I adjusted the incoming volume on the Layla so as not to mess up the gain from the amp.  I marked my low and high gain settings on the Layla in order try and return to the same position for each tube swap out.  It also tended to preserve the gain differences between each of the tubes, which there was definitely some. 

The mixed down tracks don’t have anything else on the bass, except a limiter to keep the signal from hitting 0 db, and just some slight compression on the drums.  The files were exported as 16 bit wav, POW-R 2 dither, then bounced to mp3 with CDEXat 320 kbps fixed, 44100 Hz (to get the file sizes down).

The tracks:

  1. FET
  2. Stock tube, low gain
  3. Stock tube, high gain
  4. Fender, low gain
  5. Fender, high gain
  6. JJ, low gain
  7. JJ, high gain
  8. EHX, low gain
  9. EHX, high gain
  10. Tung-Sol, low gain
  11. Tung-Sol, high gain
  12. TAD, low gain
  13. TAD, high gain

The only real differences I noticed?  The Fender was fizzier and a bit more overdriven, and the TAD was smoother overall.  Both cases were most noticed at high gain.  There are minor differences between all of them in my opinion, but nothing earth shattering. There’s some additional discussion over at Talkbass here: 5 tubes tested in the ShuttleMAX 12.0

Having said all that…I’m probably just going to stick with the stock tube!

I had a great experience on Ebay with a company listed as “Pocketrunks”;

Pocketrunks items – Get great deals on Super Sale Surface Hdwe Cases items on eBay Stores!

I landed a 32x16x6 ATA case for @$80 to use as a pedalboard and stuff. Showed up in two days and is made very well (in NY I think?). They offer all sorts of different things and the prices will have you thinking that their stuff is crap…it’s not, at least in the sample that I got.

Check out this pics above for how I’ve decided to use it. Since the top/cover is so deep (I don’t think it was originally designed to be a pedalboard case), I’m able to keep my Genz Benz ShuttleMAX 12.0 in there nice and safe. Still plenty of room for my Line 6 M13 and other stuff. Check out my ghetto-fabulous mute button, courtesy of my hair-brained ingenuity. I had bought a Crate mute switch, but it was DoA. Rather than try to buy something else, I created a ground link on the EHX Switchblade (which was just sitting in the closet doing nothing) and ended up with a free mute switch.

Still room for one more pedal in there…

Room 2.0

I got around to updating my room over the weekend.  Since I haven’t been terribly productive doing anything else lately, I decided it was time for some different surroundings.  The result is more open area to work in, which is nice.

New video monitors for way more screen real estate, my audio monitor placement is much better for both pairs, some of the rack gear is in a better place and more accessable, all my intruments are unobstructed (for the most part), and I’ve got a separate PC for just regular stuff that stays on all the time.  I’m happy with it…for the moment :-)