Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
August 15, 2005

The Hip Hop, it don't stop...

by Chris Randall

I have to confess that I Don't Get It. ModernBeats has announced a free VST package (free as in "buy $200 worth of shit from our site, and get this package free") which is, to quote directly from them, "5 innovative plugins specifically designed towards modern Hip Hop production!"

While I haven't tried them (mainly because I haven't bought $200 worth of shit from the ModernBeats site), it's obvious from the screenshots that they are SynthEdit creations, so PC only, plus all the normal caveats that implies. (As a "real" VST/AU developer, we tend to look down our nose at SynthEdit plugs, and justifiably, I think.) But what I don't get is how these are "specifically designed towards modern Hip Hop production!" There is something called a WaterVerb, which seems to be a reverb plus some samples of bubbling water, Subatomik and Transistor (the uses of which should be obvious), and BlazeBox (which a mutli-FX unit). The final plug is TimeMachine, which is basically the same as the Grungilizer that comes with Cubase.

So, I don't see how these are any more specific to hip-hop than any other plug-in (with the possible exception of Waves L2), but I have to be kind of bemused when a chunk of SynthEdit plugs get press. Just caveat emptor.

August 14, 2005

An ass like BLAM...

by Chris Randall

Now, this is a good lookin' microphone, make no mistake. LeWilson Microphones also puts them out in green and orange. Don't know nothin' about them except that they're damned easy on the eyes, and have a tube in them. No prices on the web site, but I can't see these being cheap. Since words like "custom," "hand-built," "Neumann," and "Haufe" are liberally sprinkled through the single page, I can make a ball-park guess and say you're looking at a $1500 mic right here.

The one thing I find nice about tube mic manufacturers is that, unlike every other company that puts tubes in their gear, they don't feel the need to stick a window on there so you can see it. It's enough to simply say it's a tube mic without having to stick it in your fucking face. I've never understood that. "Look, we put a Russian 12AX7 in this [insert middle-of-the-road kit here]! Isn't it fabulous? Now you know it's just fat with a capital Ph!" I'm not sure which is stupider, consumers or the companies that take advantage of them.

August 13, 2005

Space*Synth update...

by Chris Randall

As a bit of an update to my Tiny Digital roundup of last week, Tony from ElectroKraft dropped me a line to let me know that the reason no more Space*Synths were available is because they require a specific chip, the Texas Instruments SN76477 (which is the sound chip used in many vintage video games, not the least of which is Space Invaders.) This chip is no longer made, and is rare as rare can be. Thus, unless a quantity can be procured, no more Space*Synths.

He did let me know that he has another project in the pipeline which sounds really cool. I'm looking forward to it, and will drop info when it becomes available.

August 12, 2005

Hard-Core Gear Porn Friday!!!

by Chris Randall

This absolutely ludicrous wall of outboard and synths belongs to some studio called "Cosmos," I think. I could make a feeble attempt to Trainspot all the gear on this wall, but I think that the phrase "two of everything, ever" would about cover it. Let me just state for the record that if you're even remotely bothered by that picture, then you definitely don't want to see the rest of the studio. Anyone know where this is or who owns it?

August 11, 2005

Alice mic kit...

by Chris Randall

This is kind of nifty. It's a DIY small-capsule condensor microphone called "Alice." Judging from the sound clips, it compares favorably to other mics of its ilk, and is somewhat cheaper. I kind of like the copper tube look, truth be told. The creator, Scott Helmke, offers kits for this, as well. If you want to supply your own piece of copper tubing and grill, the cost is $25. The "Everything" kit, which comes with all you need to build it as you see it on the site, is $50. Note that this isn't a n00b kit. You need to have a mediocre understanding of soldering and such, and a Dremel tool to cut the mic body. He also sells the completed mic for $200.00, which is pretty reasonable for how it sounds and what is in it. There is no shopping cart on the site; you have to e-mail him with your wants and desires.

While you're at his site, check out his Brazil mic. A Terry Gilliam-inspired piece, it uses the same guts as Alice but an altogether more-cooler body. This isn't available as a kit, but he'll build one for you if you ask nice.


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