You're worth it (hopefully)

December 25, 2011 9:00 PM

So what did Santa bring?

Did Santa (brown or otherwise) bring anything cool to your abode this year?

'Fess up, please, even (?especially) if you bought it for yourself.
posted by unSane (43 comments total)

I was all about a guitar stand this year. But then I saw this on eBay, closing on Xmas Day, and I could not say no.
posted by unSane at 9:03 PM on December 25, 2011

Last night I got that Korg Monotron that flapjax mentioned in the other thread. Pretty cool!
My wife and I attempted a bit of a budget Christmas for eachother this year as we are planning a summer trip, so mostly I got things like socks and chocolate. But I have a cheque from my parents that is burning a hole in my pocket as I madly search for things to blow it on, instead of paying down bills.
I need to get some kind of unnecessary toy, right? Wouldn't be Christmas otherwise.
posted by chococat at 9:43 AM on December 26, 2011

Right. Right.
posted by unSane at 2:05 PM on December 26, 2011

Congrats on your loot, guys! My dad had a reel to reel when I was a kid, but all he'd play on it was Ballad of the Green Berets and When Johnny Comes Marching Home. (Yea, crazy Vietnam vet, dontcha know.)

I didn't get any hardware this year but my bro-in-law got me a little book chock full of tabs of old blues fingerings and stuff including a little section on slide. He's a guitar player too so he knew that this is just a couple of steps up the ladder from where I'm at now with my picking.

Kick ass!
posted by snsranch at 4:01 PM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

My first ever 4-track recorder was a Teach 3440 that a friend gave me. I still have all the tapes from it. Then later someone else gave me a Revox B77 which I used to master onto, and I've never really gotten anything as smooth before or since, hence the PR99 which is basically the same thing with a few pro features.

I had to sell all my music and audio gear (and everything else) when I moved from England to Canada, and the B77 was one of the things I've always wanted to replace.
posted by unSane at 4:32 PM on December 26, 2011


FFS Apple, when I turn off autocorrect in System Preferences I don't expect to have to go ferreting around in Safari>Edit>Spelling and Grammar to turn it off there too, just in case, y'know, I didn't really mean it. Apple truly is the new Microsoft.
posted by unSane at 4:48 PM on December 26, 2011

Reel-to-reels rock.
I have a Tascam 32 that I sort of inherited from a post-production house where I had a shitty editing job in the mid-'90's. It's just a two-track; I think it used to be used for mastering audio; once in a while we'd get 1/4" tape with dialog on it that we'd have to dub onto tape but for the most part things had already moved onto DAT by the time I worked there. Anyhow, I used to use it to extend my 4-track Portastudio recordings. I'd bounce a submix onto the reel-to-reel to free up some tracks on the Portastudio for more layers. Worked well for a while until the evil world of computers usurped all of that stuff.
It's been sitting on a shelf for years and I tried it out last year...the pinch rollers sort of melted in my fingers, the rubber had disintegrated. I drove out to TEAC in Mississauga and got some new ones which fixed that but the next thing was that the tape plays for a few seconds and just slows right down to nothing. So I think there's some more rubber deterioration inside, O-rings or tension things or whatever. Don't know if I'm brave/stupid enough to pursue it further.
posted by chococat at 5:00 PM on December 26, 2011

If the heads are good it's probably worth doing. They are not massively complicated machines. Is the 32 a belt drive or direct?
posted by unSane at 5:45 PM on December 26, 2011

"3-head, 3-motor transport with 2-direct drive reel motors with magnetic and mechanical braking, and 1 belt drive capstan motor."
Logic would dictate that the capstan belt has turned to goo inside. I have the original manual which is sort of chastising in a clean-it-every-single-time-you-use-it, 'regular maintenace' way, and I've done nothing to it since I brought it home sometime in 1995.
I find that I ruin a lot of things by neglect. Or by trying to fix them.

Anyway today I played a Gold Star banjitar at Long and McQuade which was okay didn't blow me away, especially for $549 or whatever it was. Many cheaper kinds on ebay but they are probably best to be avoided. Also I am looking at a few pedals and I was eyeing that Sterling Audio mic you mentioned before. Would that I could afford it all.
God, the music store on Boxing Day is always the worst, and yet I always end up there. Just crawling with 14 year old boys, their confused Dads towed along behind them.
posted by chococat at 7:57 PM on December 26, 2011

Yeah, it sounds like the capstan belt and/or possibly something in the braking system. Probably worth taking the back off to have a look anyway. Toronto has probably the best RTR techs in the world for some reason if you want someone to fix it.

That Sterling mic is a beast. I love it.

I'm going to L&M tomorrow, mostly for entertainment.
posted by unSane at 8:15 PM on December 26, 2011

posted by unSane at 8:18 PM on December 26, 2011

Yes, I saw that!
I wonder if it would be cheaper at the TEAC place. It was cool there.
Gas to Mississauga, though.
posted by chococat at 8:41 PM on December 26, 2011

I'm going to this place later today to get some tape and I'll see if they have one.
posted by unSane at 4:13 AM on December 27, 2011

They have it for $20. Worth the trip as it is an Aladdin's cave of vintage recording junk... Quite extraordinary actually.
posted by unSane at 10:15 AM on December 27, 2011

Cool, thanks for looking. I'll have to crack open the 32 and have a look inside.

But that will have to wait because I just ordered this awesome Tape Echo pedal about 3 minutes ago.
posted by chococat at 10:32 AM on December 27, 2011

That looks lovely. Did you play it? I have one of those Danelectro fake tape pedals but I'm not in love with it. I've been playing with the Fabfilter plugin which I do really like though.
posted by unSane at 4:00 PM on December 27, 2011

I didn't get any music stuff for xmas (I got mostly books. Books!) but for my bday a month ago I got the Electro-Harmonix V-256 autotune pedal and oh you guys are going to be so sorry if I ever manage to get another song done ever.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 1:36 AM on December 28, 2011

I didn't get any books and for the first time since I was very little I didn't get any music. No vinyl, CD, mp3, whatever. It must mean something. And I was just lamenting, on Xmas eve, the loss of the sight of that familiar big square shape (or several of of them) under the tree..."I wonder what album that is?" I miss those shapes under the tree.

That looks lovely. Did you play it?

No, but my brother got their highly anticipated Timeline pedal in the summer after being on some huge waiting list and I played with it. It's an awesome delay pedal for sure but it has way more stuff than I'll ever need/use. I'm not a pedal geek at all but I read a lot about the el Capistan, particularly from the Gretsch crowd, and it really appealed to me. $200 less than the Timeline. I would normally never buy it, but...frivolous Christmas purchase.
posted by chococat at 8:30 AM on December 28, 2011

Well I plugged in that PR99 and put some tape on it today and... holy smokes!

Without having set up the bias or anything, I played out a mix that I'd done previously and then laid it back and remastered it and... it sounds like a record. So awesome. I was feeling a bit guilty about buying this while there are children starving in Africa (or indeed downstairs) but that made it all worthwhile!
posted by unSane at 10:21 AM on December 28, 2011

No-one ever buys me music. They are too afraid because I notoriously hate everything.

I watched THE SOCIAL NETWORK last night with my wife and hated it. So they you are. She hated it too, which was reassuring.
posted by unSane at 10:22 AM on December 28, 2011

Re-inspired by flapjax and daughter's jam sessions, I received two octaves worth of Boom-Whackers (just the diatonic set), with Octavators. I am pleased.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 5:17 PM on December 28, 2011

Would a pair of KRK Rokit-8s count? Not using them for recording.

Or perhaps a National Resonator that was bought back before Thanksgiving?

Apparently I was good this year.
posted by DaveP at 5:56 PM on December 28, 2011

That National looks lovely.
posted by chococat at 6:17 PM on December 28, 2011

Yea, my (sadly incredibly small) kingdom for a National Resonator! Congrats!
posted by snsranch at 2:28 PM on December 29, 2011

My FastTrack Pro seems to have shit the bed, so maybe I'll buy myself a new audio interface soon and backdate it to Christmas.
posted by cortex at 9:34 AM on December 30, 2011

You can pick up a Tascam US800 for $99 right now. I have one of these for tracking drums out in the Quonset hut. They are nice because they have so many inputs that you can indeed track a whole kit with overheads, kick, snare and tom or room mics. The preamps are good. I suspect they are kicking them out at $99 because they do not play nicely with some USB chips - for example the ones in my Mac Pro. However they work fine with my macbook and I believe you can solve the problem by just putting them behind a hub. In every other respect they are a terrific bargain.
posted by unSane at 6:47 PM on December 30, 2011

Well damn. Sold.
posted by cortex at 6:50 PM on December 30, 2011

You can pick up a Tascam US800 for $99 right now.

i've had a tascam us144mkii for some time - they sound very good - much better than the m-audio fast track i'd been using

a few weeks ago, i got myself an m-audio venom synth used for 299 - that's a synth with some serious attitude
posted by pyramid termite at 7:00 PM on December 30, 2011

I see the MF stupid deal right now is this drum mic kit for 79.99, worth a look I think if you're ordering the US800.
posted by unSane at 8:26 PM on December 30, 2011

posted by cortex at 9:20 PM on December 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

My friend Tom and I pride ourselves on our ability to spend an arbitrary amount of money in 24 hours. We go through scenarios to make sure we're ready, should anyone turn up on our doorstep and suddenly demand that we blow, say, $1Bn, in the next 24 hours, or face ridicule.
posted by unSane at 9:24 PM on December 30, 2011

Don't forget cables.
posted by unSane at 9:25 PM on December 30, 2011

Re-inspired by flapjax and daughter's jam sessions, I received two octaves worth of Boom-Whackers (just the diatonic set), with Octavators. I am pleased.

Audio recordings or it didn't happen.

Or perhaps a National Resonator that was bought back before Thanksgiving?


My wife got me an MXR Phase 90 for Christmas. I had fun trying to explain to the kids what it does. Showing them was more fun.

posted by unSane at 9:28 PM on December 30, 2011

a few weeks ago, i got myself an m-audio venom synth used for 299 - that's a synth with some serious attitude

Oh, and DITTO.
posted by unSane at 9:29 PM on December 30, 2011

Audio recordings or it didn't happen.

As I'm nowhere near my recording equipment right now (I'm in Texas, it's all in Oklahoma), will a picture suffice for a couple of days?
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 9:22 PM on December 31, 2011

Self-Santa brought me a new banjo...
posted by fritley at 7:45 PM on January 1, 2012

I got a mandolin! Now I just need to learn to play it.
posted by drezdn at 8:20 AM on January 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

You can pick up a Tascam US800 for $99 right now.

Oh hell yeah, I just placed the order for one too. Thanks, I probably wouldn't have seen it otherwise. My band has been trying to see if we can get some good recordings down, and this is going to make it a lot easier than the old 2 input TASCAM I have now.
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:19 PM on January 2, 2012

The lovely bibliogrrl got me a Xaphoon for Xmas. It's fun to learn, and it makes me sound like the Mos Eisley Cantina band, and it was invented by this guy who has an amazing mustache.
posted by baniak at 5:16 PM on January 2, 2012

I got a mandolin! Now I just need to learn to play it.

Sweet! I just received one for my birthday in November, and got a case and stand for Christmas.

I need to learn how to play it as well. Along with all my other instruments...
posted by malocchio at 12:52 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've had a mandolin in my cart at Musician's Friend for weeks now... they keep emailing me about it.
posted by unSane at 1:21 PM on January 3, 2012

Re: Boomwhackers--I just went on eBay and bought the chromatic tubes for both octaves, and the treble extension. I have several recordings in mind on which to use them, as well as practically unlimited uses for them in improv.

We also have a live performance coming up next month, and we have a sort of tradition where one piece always involves audience participation of some sort--I'm thinking giant polyrhythmic boomwhackerfest, possibly with some sort of spoken word, whether stream-of-consciousness, or possibly a recording of a bandmate reading from his final paper for his neuroscience degree.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 1:22 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Now I just need to fashion some sort of stand or holder on which I can line them up in a keyboard-esque arrangement (think blue man group), but where they can still be easily removed for their more "traditional" play method, as well.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 1:24 AM on January 6, 2012

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