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TubularCorporation

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  1. I was studying sound design and composition in college at the same time that Shawn Fanning was developing Napster in the CS department half a block away. By the time I graduated the independent side of the music business was already falling apart. A couple years later I was working at one of the surviving old-school used record shops in the area and got asked to contract with a successful (at the time industry-leading, although you wouldn't know the name because their engine was licensed to other companies like Sony and Ericsson that they developed custom implementations for) startup that was developing music recommendation engines. The team was about 20 record collectors working under contract using their accumulated knowledge to manually build the back-end databases that the software used, because the actual machine learning approach didn't work at all (the reason we were industry leaders is that we used real people behind the scenes and the engine only used automatically collected data to tweak the manually weighted stuff a bit so that everyone's recommendations were slightly different depending on a few simple metrics - our competitors at the time relied entirely on machine learning so their recommendations were garbage and most of them folded after a couple years). Then the founder sold the company, got rich and the rest of us were dropped a few months later with nothing but 5 or 6 years of experience that was too specific to that company to be transferable). In retrospect it was like being an auto worker in the 1970s and being required to assemble and install the robots that ended up replacing you. The up side was that it gave me the flexibility to spend a lot of time playing music with other people and really being involved in the vibrant music scene that mostly disappeared after all of the underground musicians and venues that supported them were priced out of the cities after the 2008 crash, and everyone just started streaming stuff instead of going to shows so instead of any small show with unknown bands being guaranteed at least 100-200 people for any local show on a weeknight without promotion, within a couple years you were lucky to get 30 people in a room. So yeah, I'm maybe a little cynical about music streaming.
  2. The radio analogy is a good one, with the difference of course being that it's global and unregulated. I'm not entirely clear on whether payola on streaming services is actually illegal or not, since AFAIK they don't fall under FCC jurisdiction (and I have even less idea how that's regulated internationally). Services like DistroKid don't quite fit smoothly into that analogy though, they're more like a combination between a vanity press and one of those talent farms like Faces where people pay to have their head shot and contact info listed in a directory but aren't actually given any kind of individualized service or promotion. Honestly, if I had the money to travel I'd just have like 100 cassettes made with no contact info on them at all, and then go around as many major cities as I could sneaking them onto the shelves at used record stores John Fahey style - it seems like there's a higher chance of the music getting heard and maybe even preserved doing something like that than there is just throwing it into the streaming void like a fart in a hurricane.
  3. I'd had this service in the back of my mind as something to look in to now that I'm recording more again and working on a new album after a couple years of dealing with real life stuff and just doing random tracks, but that thing about then pulling your tracks for nonpayment (which I never heard about before) is a bit of an ethical dilemma for sure. I thought the service was basically a way to automate the submission process across a bunch of different services, not a something where they effectively control your presence on those services. Still has some potential but I don't like that business model at all, it feels kind of like a combination of the subscription model for software and the old "pay to play" grift.
  4. I don't know what the voltage is but it looks like it might actually be able to accept CV directly, too - it's hard to see in that photo but one of the rows of patch points is actually CV inputs, so I guess the expression pedal s jsut a variable CV source that you can patch to either the negative or positive inputs for different pedals (I think there are a couple of mults so you can control more than one pedal at a time, too). I wouldn't be at all surprised if they'd made it compatible with Moog or Roland or something. At any rate, it makes me want to get the chorus and phaser pedals from the same series some day (the delay is way too expensive) and make a little box with patch points for audio, and CV i/o and a shared power supply. I had no idea these things had that pin header inside an were part of a modular pedal system until I opened the flanger up to clean out the pots and see if there was a convenient place to install a power jack since it doesn't have one (only power options are a battery or installing it into one of those pedal boards). I guess so! I'd never heard of them. anyway, I went down a big rabbit hole of cheap Chinese pedals and ended up ordering a $19 Tube Screamer clone off of Aliexpress. It sounds pretty good in the handful of Youtube demos and unironically uses Comic Sans.
  5. If only these things didn't cost more than a brand new DSI Propher rev2 or something. OTOH, it wouldn't take too much coding or electronics know-how to make something similar, but instead of an expression pedal put in an Ardiuno and a bunch of digipots so you could have direct MIDI access to the expression pedal control of each pedal independently. Or alternatively, it probably wouldn't be too hard to make a Eurorack interface that let you access the expression pins and audio i/o directly - would only be a matter of scaling the voltage correctly and maybe adding some kind of overvoltage protection just in case. All of the 01 series Yamaha pedals have a little pin header inside for interfacing with this thing, with audio i/o, power and separate pins for positive and negative expression control - just wire the expression pins to digipots controlled via MIDI, and the audio i/o pins to a patch panel, and you have a MIDI (or Eurorack) controllable, modular, analog multieffect system. Most of the actual pedals are relatively cheap if you dig, that $35 FL-01 I just got sounds fantastic. If only there were more hours in the day. EDIT: also, unrelated, I accidentally just discovered that one of those low budget Chinese-or-something companies is making bootleg Ibanez Soundtank pedals - IN 2019
  6. I wish I could remember who it was but an older guy who comes it to work told me a few months back that he had a girlfriend in the early 90s who worked in some administrative position at Muzak. He said she had exactly the personality you'd expect and it didn't last long. Anyhow, my best guess for that box is definitely JV-2080 sound engine with a programmable MIDI jukebox for commercial installation. Between the screen and overall UI it's definitely 2080 adjacent. Before the 2080 they weren't using LCDs like that and by the XV series they were using different buttons.
  7. But all the stuff they're cloning was made by big, successful companies (mostly(decades ago. I mean don't get me wrong, I have no illusions about any company the size of Behringer being a particularly good thing, I just don't think the IP argument is the main problem and I don't think Behringer is unique in this. No ethical consumption under capitalism and all that. EDIT: I'd forgotten about the Behringer Crave, which is kind of the exception - that's really pushing it a bit given that they're almost exactly cloning one of the most (relatively) inexpensive, recent products from a company that, for all of its own sort of issues with becoming a bit of a lifestyle brand, is still an employee owned company, so it's not like they're cloning something Roland abandoned decades ago or even a cheap version of something that Moog sells for the cost of a used car (unless you're pickier about you used cars than any of my friends have ever been) - they'redirectly undercutting probably the most popular current Moog product, and that's a pretty dick move even by corporate standards. Not that I've bought anything new from either company or anything (except a $50 Behringer mini mixer that I needed for a couple of shows and then traded away in a matter of months because it sounded pretty bad).
  8. What even IS this thing? This auction is the only record of an RM-8000 even existing that I can find. Roland's English support site doesn't mention it at all, haven't tried Roland Japan. The auction says "very rare" and I guess they're right. Maybe it's for playing in-store music in shopping malls or something? Or some kind of sequencer? I just don't even know but it has a remote control and is called a "music support system" so I'm leaning toward in-store MIDI muzak. Maybe it's a preset-only JV2080 with a built in MIDI jukebox of some kind? Whatever it is I wouldn't buy it even if I had the money but I'd love to see one in person just to know.
  9. Oh man, that looks great! I've never seen something like that with trigger inputs before. I'm not usually big on circuit bending but that looks like a prime candidate. EDIT: you are absolutely REQUIRED to reclock that thing. Just grab one of these: https://www.circuitbenders.co.uk/forsale/LTC/LTC.html (the more expensive one with the trimmer on the board), find the clock crystal and a power source on the main board of that thing, and do what has to be done. Maybe not a first mod project but would be an easy second one and I bet it would sound great. I reclocked an old Behringer Virtualizer with their kit and it sounds pretty incredible. Instant sci-fi horror ambiences. I bet if you slow the clock way down on your whatever-it-s that scratch sound effect will sound like the universe turning itself inside out. Meanwhile I've gone flanger crazy and can't stop myself looking for cheap old flangers. Found an old Yamaha FL-01 on eBay for a bit over $30 (because the paint is really chipped up, allegedly it's fully working) and it just showed up at work from Japan today! From the demos and descriptions it's really good at doing the whole late 70s jet engine flanging thing, so it should be a good companion to the DOD flanger that can barely even scratch that territory but does all kinds of metallic swirly phaser-like sounds better than any other flanger I've used so far. I feel like 80s retro has been going so long that 80s flangers way overdue to stop being uncool but for now they're still way easier to find cheap than most other kinds of pedals and I love it.
  10. Yeah of course, I didn't even think about mechanichal vs electronic noise being kind of moot if the whole box is being amplified, ha. EDIT: you know what you might try rather than swapping it out for a silent switch? Drilling a hole in the side and adding a normalled 1/8" TRS jack in series with the original switch and then making yourself a little remote out of a couple feet of two conductor shielded cable with a TRS jack on one end and a switch on the other. Connect the two conductors from the tip and ring of the jack to the switch, and then connect the shield to the sleeve so you don't pick up a bunch of hum or anything. Probably overkill, but that way you wouldn't have to touch the case at all (and even if you did it you'd probably still want to swap out the on board switch for a quiet one also, anyhow).
  11. Regardless, these last few posts are inspiring me to finally make my own blackfly-like thing that I've been idly thinking about for years. basically the same thing but bigger and made more like a cigar box guitar, but with a bone conductive transducer mounted to the end of the "neck" (which would just be a piece of wood long and thin enough to resonate but not so long and thin it needed any kind of truss rod or anything) and an amp to drive it, so the output of the pickups can be fed back in mechanically (which is a really old idea, it was patented before electric guitars had even been invented). The original plan was to use about 24 tuned strings and magnetic pickups, but the mass of the neck piece I needed for all the tuners gave me problems and none of the pickups I wound for it sounded very good so I shelved it. But I've got about a half dozen springs from swing arm desk lamps kicking around, I should just use those on a big box with piezo pickups near the middle of the sound board and the driver underneath one end of the springs. would be more like a spring reverb than like drone strings (which was the original plan) but should be just as useful, especially with a bandpass filter in the feedback loop. EDIT: I've still got about 500 feet of 10 gauge instrument wire and two dozen zither tuning pegs sitting around, I should just scrap all of this and make myself some kind of goofy electric zither with stereo outputs.
  12. If it's an off-board, panel mounted switch it should be really easy - just find a clickless version of the same switch and desolder/resolder two wires. I assume we're talking mechanical clicking not it making a pop in the audio when you press it (which would be a whole other thing but also probably fixable) I'm guessing in the Blackfly the switch is probably a normally on rather than normally off but I've never actually even seen one in person so I'm just guessing.
  13. Yeah, personally I'm fine with it since most of the companies they're knocking off haven't done anything like this themselves in decades (and Moog isn't exactly aiming at the same market as Behringer, plus they discontinued their Model D reissue a while ago), they always add some extra features, and it's not like the eurorack/boutique market hasn't been knocking this stuff off for a couple decades already. I've said it before, but I think clones like this are better done by bigger companies that can take advantage of economies of scale to bring the prices down, and smaller companies are best positioned to do more forward thinking, risky gear that a bigger company would never bring to market for all sorts of reasons.
  14. Oh yeah, your edit must have happened while I was writing that last post. The good thing about the Blackfly is that it's probably really easy to swap in a switch yourself, since all that's going to be in there is a piezotransducer, a simple preamp, a filter of some kind, the output jack, battery holder and switch, so there should be plenty of room to work.
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