z Gear Stories episode 6

Hello again, my friends!  Time again for Gear Stories…


As always, If you don’t want to get it, don’t get mad, …get communicative and tell me…  (as a slogan, that needs work.)


I will, of course, talk about two different products… this time, however, the second one will not necessarily be an extremely expensive product… the cost will depend entirely on your needs.


And so, we begin…


MONSTER, the last cable you will ever buy…


I’ve done it… I admit it… (and I bet you have too!)  I’ve gotten a really nice piece of gear and then skimped on the cable I plug it in with.  After all, when you run a studio and there are miles and miles of cables in there, they can get rather expensive, so it’s only human to want to go cheap…  but if you REALLY look at it in the cold, hard light of logic (and I’m not talking about “Logic” the software!) it actually doesn’t really work out in the long run to your benefit.


First, there is the fact that the cheap ones break, and you have to replace them, so over the course of the lifetime of that particular space between your guitar and your distortion pedal, or between your pre-amp and your interface… or wherever you have to run cable (everywhere!) you may have to buy two, three… four cables to go there, depending on the kind of abuse that particular space creates on the cable that occupies it.


But look at that one expense that I always hem and haw at… Monster Cable!  It’s GREAT stuff!  It’s durable… it sounds GREAT! (If you listen not-even–that-closely, you can tell the difference!) and heck, it’s even fashionable in it’s cool colors!


But why does it sound better?  Well.. one reason is the high quality of the connectors that are used and the quality of the workmanship that goes into the solder joints… and then comes the controversial reason…  Skin Effect!


Sounds like a horror movie!  Seriously, the skin effect is defined this way on our Sweetwater In Synch word of the day archive…


“The tendency of high frequency current to travel near the outside of an electric conductor rather than through its cross section. Skin effect increases the effective resistance of a wire at higher frequencies.”


Some say that’s a load of horse hockey! (I thought horses preferred football!)  But those at Monster say it has a definite effect.  I tend to agree with the monsters, having heard the difference.


I’ll put it to you this way… I have ONE monster mic cable in my studio right now, and it is ALWAYS hooked up between my vocal mic and the preamp!  I never use another.


Here’s a link to some more info about why high end cables are good to use…




But wait… there’s the two best reasons of all!


1.  Once you go Monster, you will never go back, because you will never need to… Monster guarantees their cable for life… you could attack your cable with a chain saw and then take it back and say “this doesn’t work anymore, give me another one” and they’d do it.  Though, with the price of gas these days, I wouldn’t recommend it.


2.  I am running a sale on monster cables all through the month of July… twenty percent off across the board on all monster cables!  Now’s the time to stock up!  http://www.sweetwater.com/c44–Monster_Cable–Cables



’nuff said about that… On to part two…..



KITTIE BOMBS!  (or Auralex Room treatment)


In this part of Gear stories, you will learn a few things about me… maybe too much…


OK… I’m continuing with the theme of being cheap!  I needed room treatment, but I was too cheap to buy Auralex… When I first got into the commercial building that housed my old studio, there were a lot of strange sonic anomalies.  In fact, there were places in the vocal tracking room that originally sounded like there were two people singing in very tight unison if the mic was placed just right … or just wrong.  So I walked around and figured all the places that needed room treatment, and then I went to Value City… and I bought foam pillows.  They were made out of foam, right!?   They would do… no need to buy expensive stuff, when I could go the cheap route!… right?


Learn from my mistake!


First of all, the foam pillows I bought were not nearly as dense as the foam that they make Auralex out of, so I needed a whole lot more surface area covered to fix the problem.  Secondly, they were ugly!  Beige… looking like Egg Crate material… let’s face it… these things were made to have pillow cases over them… And then there was the act of fastening them to the surfaces where they needed to be placed.  Auralex has adhesive especially designed for this!  I went to the hardware store and bought cut rate construction adhesive that took about a month to dry.


This leads us to the title of the story…


I LOVE cats!  When I lived in that building, (In the apartment over the studio) I had five cats!  (Just like the crazy lady down the street!)  and I liked them around when I worked, so I cut a hole in the corner of the studio ceiling and then put up shelves in a stair step pattern down the wall.  (Just like the crazy lady!)  it would BLOW my clients minds when all the sudden a cat’s head would poke out of the ceiling and then the cat would stroll down the shelves like it owned the place!


But after I put up those foam pillows all over the ceiling with cheap, slow drying adhesive, a rather amusing thing started happening…  They turned into Kitty Bombs!


It never failed… I was heavy into some editing as the cats were placidly roaming around the tracking rooms and playing with guitar picks, when suddenly, PLOP!  One of those foam pillows would come crashing down, inevitably within a few feet of one of the cats. (since there were so many cats. they were kind of hard to miss!)  Then kitty hysterics would ensue, until they had all scrambled at near light speed up the stairs of shelves on the walls and through the little cubby hole, looking like the Keystone Cops!


For about a month, it was free entertainment!


But as I remodeled the studio and went for a more professional look, I actually sprung for REAL Auralex, with several results.  one, I actually had better coverage with fewer pieces of foam… so it actually costs less than the Value City pillows!  The place took on a much more professional and attractive look, and the adhesive actually worked… so it was less entertaining, but better for business!


Another GREAT thing that comes from our friends at Auralex is that they will give you a professional room analysis FREE!  Just e-mail me that you are interested and I will send you a copy of their free room analysis form, which you can fill out and send to them and they will tell you exactly what you need to make your rooms sound just right!


And all month of July, I will be giving a twenty percent discount on Auralex!  http://www.sweetwater.com/store/manufacturer/Auralex


So write me for the form and get your rooms under control… Auralex, it’s less entertaining, but better!  (As a slogan, that needs some work, too!)


So what did you learn about me?


1.  I’m cheap (already knew that!)

2.  I love cats WAY too much!

3. I have a mildly mischievous sense of humor.

and finally…

4.  I’m old enough to know who the Keystone Cops are!


Until next time,  thanks for reading!