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Thread: Geezer Guitar Player and Newbie Recordist in The Desert

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertRatt View Post
    Thanks Dave!

    I used to design and build valve amplifiers (notice my British terminology for "tubes"!). We generally considered 1% THD quite acceptable if it was mostly 2nd order. So, my ears are already tuned to that sound.

    Are you recording your own piano playing? Or? I know pianos are one of the toughest instruments to "get right" on recordings. Fortunately, for my limited talents, I only have to deal with my voice and guitar playing!

    I'm always paying attention to where folks are from -- "Northampton" looks like a very interesting and historical town!
    Cheers!
    Ratt
    Small world! I started building valve amps in my teens over 60 years ago. I built them for the 'group' i was in. The necessity of having a 'trade' led me to a domestic electronics servicing career but my main interest has always been audio and recording. No, I cannot play piano. Dad could, great fan of Fats Waller and he could manage the first movement of 'The Moonlight' sonata.

    In my teens and onward I could manage most of the chords to most of the Beatles songs but finished up playing bass. The group disbanded very quickly as many did...women, kids, mortgages!

    My son however has inherited and built on both mine and dad's musical talents and is a terrific guitarist. He can also play keys pretty well and has messed with clarinet and trumpet. He has all the 'dots' and the theory. He actually lives in Le Harve, has a flat there and gets by with a a bit of playing in cafes and bars and some teaching.

    My career at 60 took a strange turn when I landed a job in the lab* working on valve amps for Blackstar Amplification.

    Oh Yes! True 2nd harmonics are fairly innocuous but tape gives you THIRD and above and that's 'orrible!

    Rock on,

    *Grand place and title? No so, twas a double garage for six months and I was the equivalent of 'test tube washer" Great blokes though and huge fun.

    Dave.

  2. #12
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    Attached is a bit of son. He compiled that in 2006.

    Mic was probably a Sontronics STC-2 LDC into an A&H ZED10 driving a 2496 soundcard.

    He used to spend hours working on stuff.

    Dave.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertRatt View Post
    In '98 or '99 digital cameras were all the rage and people would say, "You get to see the picture INSTANTLY! No waiting for film developing!" And, eventually, along with my fine high-end film cameras, I bought some digital cameras. But, the "see it instantly" wasn't a boon for me at all. I discovered that I actually enjoyed waiting for the film to be developed, whether I was doing it myself (B&W) or sent it out to a lab (color). The waiting was an opportunity to savor the experience of taking the photograph, thinking about what I might have done better, or how I might improve on it next time. It turned out that I liked that delay between the taking and the seeing of the photograph
    Between 1990 and 2005 I used to develop my own B&W photos. I had a camera that used 35mm film and I bought this Russian light meter ~ the instructions were in Russian so I had to work out how to use it without any help ! I bought it and the camera from a drunk outside my workplace that used to have a Friday market.
    What I'd do would be to spend the year taking photos and I'd amass some 20 to 30 rolls of film. At some point during the year I'd make contact sheets but that would be all. Then over a period of a week or two, the following year I'd print off the pictures I wanted to keep. Because my bathroom had no window, it was easy to rig up a dark room. I'd spend about 8 hours at a time developing pictures. I'd be in there with about 10 albums on tape and just go through the night with the taps on constantly rinsing and by the morning when I'd finish, I'd usually have about 60 or 70 pictures ready to hang up then I'd crash out for hours ! But when I'd go to take the dried pictures down hours later, I was always pleasantly surprised by the pictures because now they were large and I was awake and could see them in all their glory in a way that a contact sheet doesn't enable. And bear in mind, I hadn't seen them ever before, really.
    Prior to that, I used to drop them at a lab and usually had to wait 5 or 6 days, sometimes 2 weeks. But I never ever minded the wait, either with the old colour or my B&Ws. You know the funny thing ? Even now with a digital camera, it might be 3 or 4 months before I transfer the pictures onto the computer ! So there'll be loads of pictures. So digital has made no difference for me in terms of instantaneousness and speed. Same with music. My songs still take ages to get finished !

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecc83 View Post
    Attached is a bit of son. He compiled that in 2006.

    Mic was probably a Sontronics STC-2 LDC into an A&H ZED10 driving a 2496 soundcard.

    He used to spend hours working on stuff.

    Dave.
    Nice guitar playing by your son there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by grimtraveller View Post
    Between 1990 and 2005 I used to develop my own B&W photos. I had a camera that used 35mm film and I bought this Russian light meter ~ the instructions were in Russian so I had to work out how to use it without any help ! I bought it and the camera from a drunk outside my workplace that used to have a Friday market.
    What I'd do would be to spend the year taking photos and I'd amass some 20 to 30 rolls of film. At some point during the year I'd make contact sheets but that would be all. Then over a period of a week or two, the following year I'd print off the pictures I wanted to keep. Because my bathroom had no window, it was easy to rig up a dark room. I'd spend about 8 hours at a time developing pictures. I'd be in there with about 10 albums on tape and just go through the night with the taps on constantly rinsing and by the morning when I'd finish, I'd usually have about 60 or 70 pictures ready to hang up then I'd crash out for hours ! But when I'd go to take the dried pictures down hours later, I was always pleasantly surprised by the pictures because now they were large and I was awake and could see them in all their glory in a way that a contact sheet doesn't enable. And bear in mind, I hadn't seen them ever before, really.
    Prior to that, I used to drop them at a lab and usually had to wait 5 or 6 days, sometimes 2 weeks. But I never ever minded the wait, either with the old colour or my B&Ws. You know the funny thing ? Even now with a digital camera, it might be 3 or 4 months before I transfer the pictures onto the computer ! So there'll be loads of pictures. So digital has made no difference for me in terms of instantaneousness and speed. Same with music. My songs still take ages to get finished !
    What a great story! I very much miss film developing and darkrooms. If circumstances were a bit different (bigger house, let's say), I'd still be doing it. The whole process is wildly satisfying to me. There is so much subtlety involved.
    And yes, making pictures large - say 8 x 10 at least - really changes their effect. I did lots of photography shows, and I was never able to pick from small contacts or small prints. I had to have the full size of the finished work to know if it worked for me. Further yet, I had to see it in a mat so that the edges were properly controlled.

    My "obsession" with cassette tape conforms to all those things I liked about film. HA HA -- we are funny beings at heart!

  6. #16
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    Ratt,

    I'm with you on the hearing issues. I top out somewhere in the 10-12K range as well, depending on how clogged the sinuses are and how strong the tinnitus is going that day. But I still seem to hear some of the hiss, although its not as prominent as it used to be. I figure if I can hear it, younger ears should REALLY hear it.

    Very cool about you designing and building amps. Anything that I might have heard back in the heyday of audio? (I still have my IMF TLS50s and my Rega Planar 2 from the early 80s)

    RE: film development, I still have the boxes in the basement with all my chemical bottles from developing E6 slide film. I never had the opportunity to set up a darkroom and do print development. Plus it was a bit of a choice... either I buy stereo/music gear, or photo equipment. A nice Besseler enlarger was quite pricey. So I stuck with my couple of Pentax cameras and the occasional bulk roll of slide film and would head off to the race track or family gathering to snap away. Over the years, I did a lot of technical photos for work. I guess if I had developed an eye for composing pictures of the "real world", I might have gotten into it more deeply.

    Anyway, have some fun with that 424. That's what its all about anyway, right?

  7. #17
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    A little update on the journey.

    My 424MKII arrived, and on day 1 I discovered all 4 of the input trim pots were shot/shorted/static filled. Totally unusable. So, I immediately disassembled the beast, pulled the circuit boards, de-soldered the pots, found a replacement and ordered them. Wrong parts shipped to me, longer story begins....

    So, while sorting out the parts problems, I happened on ANOTHER much nicer unit and bought it immediately. It arrived last night and is looking like the day it was made! Came in the original box and packaging, included the original manual, and even the original sales receipt from the store where it was bought in 1996! Pristine clean. My jaw dropped!

    I made a few quick takes with guitar and vocals on my new Maxell XL-II high bias tape, and was really delighted with the results. Very pleasant sound with plenty of highs, and whatever hiss there might be was not evident in my Sennheisers, or on my monitor speakers. Just the experience I was aiming for!

    Now, I also have the "parts donor" in the closet waiting for one of the parts houses to deliver the right parts. Having disassembled this completely, I can report that it is extremely well made! The design is elegant, well executed, and the care in assembly was obvious. This sold for $495 in 1996, or $800 in 2020 dollars. Pretty expensive. Well worth a few hours to repair.

    Cheers to all!
    Record on!

  8. #18
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    Yay !
    Good on you !!

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