Very ugly but very free and extremely solidly made, I use these PA speakers with a small PA for practising and sometimes as a bass amp. Made in Adelaide by Manfred H Baer the MHB in MHB music systems who ran a small shop making quality equipment and amplifiers and now works from home in Rostrevor SA.
I purchased the Tascam audio interface as a replacement for a much smaller Tascam interface that I could no longer get drivers for. Thus far, it is hard to fault; particularly for the money, I bought it on Ebay from the States, before the bottom dropped out of the Aussie dollar and saved myself several hundred dollars. I tried to buy it from a local store but they had no interest in getting even remotely close to the price. The US-1800 has a lot inputs and controls for the price including 8 mic inputs with surprisingly good preamps and some 6 line inputs which I use mainly now that I have purchased external preamps.
I have used it to record a variety of sources including live orchestral and operatic performances and it has always been reliable and very neutral and quiet.
I have also extensively used the midi interfaces contained on the unit which work well with very little lag and finally it has a good selection of analog and digital outputs which enables you to send sounds out to external effects units after recording thus preserving the original track while experimenting.
The following snippet from a review by Callum Orr aptly sums up the equipment built by Ross Giles a local of my neighbourhood and very fine fellow as well as technician.
"Ross Giles, is a boutique audio circuit designer and builder from Melbourne. Ross’s mic pres can be found in several studios around Australia, the sonic signatures of which are revered by their loyal owners who often refer to them as being ‘just the ticket’ for vocals that need a quiet signal path featuring loads of ‘iron’ and headroom. Ross also does repairs, modifications and racking of vintage gear but building his own circuit designs is his passion" Callum Orr.
I purchased this valve microphone preamp from Ross and it is exceptionally well made with a beautiful sound. Ross places a lot of emphasis on sound quality and chooses components based on sound as well as build quality giving all of his equipment an innate musicality. Ross' equipment is found in many of Australia's finest studios.
Not the best studio monitors around but give a fairly accurate rendition if used as they are designed as nearfield monitors. They are quite small and lack much bass below 90hz so you need to add a subwoofer or resist the temptation to bump up low frequencies when mastering with these or you will find that the bass is simply too high when played on a system with good low frequency reproduction.
Another side of the road find and in working condition I originally planned on using this for tape looks a la BBC phonics workshops but then discovered it contains a beautiful sounding valve amp. The amp already contained banana plug line connections for line in and external speakers out, so it was a simple measure to fashion a guitar chord and plug in a speaker cabinet to use it as a guitar amp. It doesn't put out a lot of volume but has a great sound which works nicely within the studio environment.
Which came first the chicken or the egg? I have heard this story numerous times: "Designed in the US manufactured under strict control in China". The MP 100 Tube Mic Preamplifier appears identical to the Universal Audio 710 Twinfinity in all respects except price tag;retailing as is it does for one quarter of the price. The most credible explanation for this appears to have been that Universal Audio outsourced manufacturing of the unit to a Chinese factory who also began manufacturing the unit with differing labels hence the Alctron moniker on this one. Other stories involve the Alctron units being left over and after UA switched factories.
Whatever occurred, these are a sweet preamp and ideal for a home studio with limited budge, essentially a solid state preamp on one side and a tube preamp on the other with a dirty big knob in the middle which enables you to infinitely blend amounts of either.
I have owned a number of cheaper starved-plate valve preamps where the valve really does not receive full voltage and appears to be more of a marketing ploy than actual attempt to create a tube preamp. This amp uses the full noise, and in mine the valve has been upgraded to a sweet mullard unit that provides great tonality.
The preamp also contains a number of useful features such as phantom power, pads, phase reversal, low cut and of course a sexy VU meter. Overall a great unit, of course the Universal Audio version ain't bad either ;)
Somethings in studios are fun, somethings just need to be there, this big ugly silver box is about as exciting as watching paint dry but it is very useful. This is a custom made DC power supply with 6 outputs for 12 and 9 volt power supplies to replace those ugly cheap and noisy wall warts that come with many devices. It has the added benefit of being rack mounted and each power supply runs its own circuit with high amp capacity so multiple devices can be run off each outlet. I paid $1 for this item on ebay and had to resolder one connector to have it fully operational
The Orange Micro Terror is about the size of a lunchbox and just as tasty. A hybrid valve and solid state amp weighing in at under 1kg but pumping out 20 watts which is plenty loud enough for studio work. The Orange has a great vintage tone particularly when I pair it with a speaker cabinet that contains speakers from a Vintage Wurlitzer Organ. Next on the wish list will be a valve upgrade from the standard valve to a Tungsol 12AX7 valve which reportedly improves output and tone again.
The Korg AX10B is a useful modelling processor that can be used as a DI to simulate the sounds of popular amplifiers or plugged into and amplifier to give a wider variety of sounds. It contains a number of effects as well as pedals to help you navigate through the possibilities. I am still trying to negotiate the finer points of the unit but overall it seems like a useful tool
A rack mounted noise reduction system seems like a strange choice for a digital recording system which is already inherently low in noise and this is so. I haven't tried it yet but the intended use for this beast is actually to make noise, for some kind of special effects and to dirty up the sound. The DBX noise reduction system apparently works by encoding the signal during recording and then decoding these signals during playback. By using only one side of this equation it should be possible to introduce distortion to the signal with some interesting effects.
I am a final year student of the RMIT Bachelor of Music Industry Course. As part of my major project I have created a home studio with which to record my own music. This website chronicles the process that was followed and the items used within the studio.