Well it has been a while. Good reasons for it as well. I have finished my undergrad degree (Information Technology) and have now started a master’s degree (Education). That coupled with a pair of kids who are growing up more every time I turn around have kept me very busy.
As my MySpace page (www.myspace.com/mudstonemusic) says: “The studio is a side project for me to develop my skills, entertain my interests, and expand my knowledge in a practical setting. Along the way I collect gear and meet new people.” So this is what has been happening…
I have been recapping the output section of my Yamaha PM-2000 mixing board. I still need to get the EQ mod’s (http://www.jlmaudio.com/JLM%20PM2000%20EQ%20mod%20kit.htm) going on this board and the LED mod for the channel lights (thanks Fletcher and Adam). I finally finished racking up a pair of PM-1000’s but now I want to go back and upgrade the caps in those two channels as well. I built a pair of API clones with help from www.prodigy-pro.com/forum and www.eisenaudio.com. I used a pair of Brazilian 2520 opamp clones (thanks Fabio!) which Jens at Eisen tells me that they measure remarkably close to the original API block opamps. I am using a Sowter 2503 replacement output transformer and a Cinemag input transformer.
I also picked up a Sano BA-1 bass amp that also doubles as a nice sounding guitar amp (el84 tube output with a 15” woofer). James Travis (Jim James & The Damn Shames – Madison WI) turned me on to the value of Sano tube amps. Then I ran across a deal at Christmas time for a broken Sano 250. Broken would be… bad or missing tubes, one missing speaker, one bad speaker, and needing a little TLC. I have re-tubed it with J.J. 12AX7’s and a matched pair of Solvtek 7591 output tubes. I dropped in a pair of Weber AlNiCo speakers (http://www.tedweber.com) and then had Todd, the amp tech at Dave’s Guitar Shop (http://www.davesguitar.com) in LaCrosse WI, give it a once over and this thing is sounding sweet! It is a 30 watt 2x12 tube amp with reverb and tremolo (and nice point-to-point wiring inside).
While hanging out at Dave’s this past year I also ran across a used THD Univalve 15 watt tube head with built in Hotplate (www.thdelectronics.com/products/univalve.htm). This amp lets you swap the preamp, driver stage, and power tube types. It is setup to auto bias itself. That is awesome! This makes a great studio amp. Currently I am running into a Music Man cabinet but I have my eye on a 2x12 Avatar cabinet eventually. I also picked up a second telecaster. This one is a reissue that is MIJ and has a bigsby on it. She is a beautiful!
I also picked up a new bass guitar. It is an Ibanez Artcore semi-hollowbody AGB140. I love the look and feel of this thing. That along with a SansAmp Bass DI it has been great! Thank you, Tolz (Nathan Allan Band) for bringing them to my attention.
Last but not least I had some great recording experiences with Crossings, James Travis, Big Foot Crossing, and the Lake City Catholic Church Choir.
Well in the past couple months we had...
I also have been doing some electronics fun. Finally I saved enough money to purchase the Jensen Transformers. I need to finish the Royer 603 tube mic projects from Mojave Audio. They sound smooth. I love them for stereo recording! I picked up an Altec 1951A mic preamp/compressor as well as a Soundelux U195 microphone. My family gave me an ESR capacitance (in circuit) tester for my birthday. It was a nice surprise! I also ran into Met Ken Schultz (sound engineer with Three Day’s Grace) and he is touring with two PM-2000's. One for FOH and one for monitors. He actually owns four of the boards.
As for my PM-2000. I love it, I love it, I love it! I have spent some serious time fixing a couple bugs but it is up and running well. After a nice talk with John Hardy I have swapped out two of the block op-amplifiers in my main output and installed John Hardy 990c op-amps. This cleaned up some of the muddiness in the low mid-range. It is sounding great.
This past year has been focused on getting in and setup with the new project studio location. Kyle and I went and picked up our new mixing console near Chicago. It is a Yamaha PM-2000 and it sounds great. I spent a couple months in the garage cleaning it up and getting if working correctly. Now that the “tenants” have moved out the board has moved in (special thanks to Brandon Mathleus and Lincoln Scully). The new studio location has been slow moving in regards acoustic treatment. We are still learning things about the new space. It is however a great improvement for us! We also had Stevo in for a quick demo and worked up some rough mixes for Jim James and The Damn Shames (Madison WI). We are gearing up for a promising new year. Happy Holidays!
How to start? Well I have not posted an update in quite some time. Life has been busy. Well the good news is… The basement is finished and looking good! I have not moved into the space yet because my sister and her children are staying with us until they can get a place of there own. Sounds like this spring/summer will be the transition timeframe. In the mean time I have been getting ready.
Since the last post Mudstone Music has picked up a few new things. To name a few include: a Baby Bottle by BLUE, a TapeOp/Royer tube condenser microphone, a DBX Project 1 parametric eq (designed by Robert Orban), a couple old Webster Electric high-impedance mic preamps (not always a great sound but not a bad distortion when overdriven), and I have been fixing up an old Yamaha PM-700 twelve channel mixing board (can you say transformers). I have been talking with Dale from Old School Audio. Currently I am waiting for a pair of OSA MP1-L mic preamps (otherwise called “The Mutant”).
Recording has been difficult with all the people around lately but I have managed to get out and make some projects happen. James Travis has finished and released his first CD titled “Goin’ Downtown Tonight”. Feel free to contact Mudstone Music or James Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase a copy. You might have seen the mention in Pro Sound News that I worked with Rodney Tree on an independent release. We tracked and mixed it in St. Yon’s Chapel at Saint Mary’s University of MN. What a great drum and live performance recording space SMU has. Tina Breyfogle picked up some extra copies of her demo CD. She is back in Tennessee looking to shop it around. I am currently in preproduction with Jim James and the Damn Shames (Madison WI) for an upcoming project. I will try to stay more up-to-date. Later. - jason
February 21, 2001
Life has been busy! We are in the process of creating a dedicated recording / monitoring space in the basement level. This will be a great asset to Mudstone Music. Fewer interruption's and more creative space. This will be nice but the progress is a direct reflection of positive cash flow.
Mudstone Music would like to thank John La Grou from Millennia Media for inquiring and working out a deal with us. We no longer have the Sony C-48 condenser microphone but we now have an HV-3B. The HV-3B signal path from input through output is entirely balanced with a minimum amplifier topology. Uncompromising circuit design with meticulous selection and hand-matching of critical components assures consistently transparent audio performance at all dynamic excursions and frequency extensions. This two channel, stereo matched microphone preamplifier comes with the optional "DC Inputs" (IDEAL FOR RIBBON AND DYNAMIC MICS). This preamp will enhance our current microphone selection for critical acoustic music recordings. John is a good person who makes a great product!
One other addition to the equipment line up is a pair of the ASC Equalizers (with the transformer option) from Speck Electronics. Vince Poulos was kind enough to give Mudstone Music a great price as an introductory offer when the EQ was first released. The price has gone up but for the quality this unit is still a great deal! They have been a great addition to the studio.
How do we find these great deals on state-of-the-art audio technology? we have been lurking around on rec.audio.pro. This has given us the opportunity to communicate with the people who build the equipment (John La Grou of Millennia Media, Vince Poulos of Speck Electronics, Mark McQuilken of FMR Audio (Builder of RNC)) just to name a few. Plus it is a great way to get feedback on industry issues, production tools and techniques. All part of being a life-long-learner I guess.
November 4th, 2000:
I would like to thank Sim Sound for letting me attend the Audio Technica Microphone clinic and Mackie HDR24/96 Hard Disk Recorder Introduction at Flyte Tyme Studios. Bormann Marketing put on the event.
Flyte Tyme, as you may know, is home to Grammy Award winning producers Jimmy “Jam” Harris and Terry Lewis. Flyte Tyme is also home the very talented pro audio technician Brad Yost. Brad was kind enough to spend some extra time answering questions for me about the studios construction, hard disk recording devices, microphone placement based on room acoustics, and the support and modifications he has made to some of the recording consoles.
The Audio Technica microphones on hand for this event included the AT4060, AT4050, AT 4033, AT4047, 4041 among others. We heard side by side comparisons between the AT mic’s and others that include Neumann U-87, Rode NT-2, and the impressive AKG C2000 to name a few. One impressive product was the new ATW-7373 wireless handheld. This microphone uses the popular 4033 capsule and sounds really good. A Clear and detailed sound in a wireless package.
Mackie digital product specialist Dan Moore was on hand to show off the new HDR24/96. Of course he happened to bring along a D8B mixer as well as five HR824 studio monitors to demonstrate 5.1 surround mixing. The Mackie bug had bit during this event!
I had a great time, seeing great products, talking shop with great
people, in a great studio here in Minnesota!
We just finished a five-song demo CD for Tina Breyfogle. Tina is a talented female vocalist. She has moved to Music City USA to push her talents in search
of her dreams. Tina has a great
voice which sounds great with classic (and current) country music.
Ms Breyfogle has a soft edge with a little breathe fullness to her voice. We tracked he through a Neumann TLM-103 about six inches away with a pop filter. We used three different mic pre-amps for the tracking. A Mackie 1402 VLZ, a Peavey VMP-2, and a Joe Meek VC6Q are all going straight to our digital audio workstation (DAW). This was an interesting comparison. My favorite was the VMP-2. Maybe it was the magic behind the vacuum tubes but it seemed to open up her voice. The compression within the VC6Q was also interesting. It created a tighter fit to her vocal track. This was my first use of a Joe Meek product. When Jeff Wieczorek asks for it back I will be heart broken! The Mackie did a fine job as well. It was interesting to hear the subtle differences between the pre-amps.
Tina has ordered a second batch of CD’s and says that she has a few leads that have liked what they have heard on her CD demo. We hope that she visits Minnesota again soon so we can do some additional tracking! Good Luck Tina (and Courtney).