31 March 2011

FREE British Valve Custom guitar amp

Those who cannot afford to buy guitar amp can opt for VST plug-in guitar effect ( virtual Guitar Tube Amplifier). I have try using the Studio Devil British Valve Custom and it sound just like the real guitar amp. The amp have most of the basic features found in real guitar amp i.e. the usual round knob known to control gain, bass, mid, treble and so on. 

You can download Studio Devil British Valve Custom VST plug-in at www.studiodevil.com. It goes well with the Asio driver.You should try it and feel the power of the virtual amp. Great stuffs.

21 March 2011

LOW Microphone level

Whether you are using a normal microphone, headset microphone or a lapel microphone, you can set it up to work with your laptop. Some popular uses of microphones on laptops include chatting, recording a report, music, or other audio, online gaming and internet phone conversations.

There are many articles online that show you how to connect a microphone to a laptop. It does seem so easy and anyone can do it without much problem. Furthermore you don’t need much gadget to do it. All you need for simple system are microphone (preferable professional low impedance microphone i.e. shure sm58), microphone cable, a good sound card and a microphone input. Most laptops already have these features. However, most of us has no real problem with that but only when you get a low, poor quality audio out of the microphone that where the problem start.  

Now, how do we go about getting that good quality voice (much like the BBC kind of sound) into your laptop or desktop computer?

The answer to that question is an audio mixer plus phono stereo cable. This is what you really need in addition to the above requirement.  For this example, I am using a Behringer Xenyx 502, one mic input and four line input, small-compact analog mixer. The connectivity of this mixer to laptop is straight forward (see the diagram below). The diagram speaks for itself.

Additional Notes (for laptop without line input): 

Some laptop does not have line input, so  mic input is used instead. Therefore when you connect your stereo plug into this mic input, humming or buzzing sound can be heard through your laptop speakers. This is because mic input is for mono signal, not quite right with stereo input hence the buzzing. To rectify this matter an additional plug is required i.e. 3.5 mm Mono plug. Faulty cable can also contribute to noise in the signal, so make sure you have a good cable.

3.5mm mono plug
Just plug in the stereo 3.5mm jack into the input of the 3.5mm mono jack. Then insert the 3.5mm mono jack into the mic input of the laptop. The 3.5mm mono jack act as stereo to mono signal converter. Hopefully this will get rid the humming or buzzing sound.

PLEASE NOTE ; It is recommended to use line input instead of mic input of the laptop.
On the mixer, adjust the tone of your voice using the 2-band EQ. You should be able to get that desire voice (husky and warm voice) within few minutes of trial and errors and a good pair of ears. Be careful though not to boost the input mic gain (trim) too high otherwise you get a distorted voice. Set the Channel gain to zero (0), set the mic gain to about 12 o’clock and adjust the main mix until the mixer level indicator (LED) blink on or below zero. Below are the settings of the knob of the mixer for your reference.

Try it to believe.

18 March 2011

Basic Audio Gain Structure


Gain structure plays a great importance in audio system especially when you deal with sound reinforcement system. If you don not understand gain structure works then you won’t be able to get the optimum clean sound from your PA system.
To begin with, it is a good practice if you start looking at gain structure surrounding a mixing console.
You must always be aware of the gain structure surrounding a console. Look at the gain structure and how it works.

The microphone signal is amplified by 40 - 50 db by the mike preamp to bring it up to the operating level of the rest of the console. Any EQ is additional gain or reduction. Lets say you open the channel fader 1/4 the way up and then increase the gain by increasing the mic preamp gain. It is very likely that the higher output from the mic preamp will distort when it enters the input of the next stage, the EQ. You will then EQ it adding more gain and more distortion. Similarly with the group output fader if you have one. If you run this fader low all the previous stages will be driven to overload.

Always start with your channel and group faders at Zero
and adjust your gain at the mic preamp

You'd be amazed at the number of times I glance at a PA console and see the group faders at 1/4 and the channel faders at 1/4 and the mic preamps turned up!! and a worried engineer wondering why the PA sounds awful.

Installation Tips

By Auralex, USA.

The following is a list of tips and techniques brought to you, the customer by Auralex's engineering and consulting department. 

Tip #1

Temporarily Fastening Auralex Products To Your Wall
If you're looking for a way to temporarily fasten your Studiofoam or other Auralex products, try using T-pins (available at fabric/dept. stores). T-pins will support your treatment while the Tubetak or Foamtak bonds. When adhesives can't be used or when you need to temporarily mount the treatment to fine 'tune' your room, T-pins provide an easy solution. Traditional fasteners (screws, nails, tacks, etc.) also work in many situations.
To cut your Studiofoam, simply use an electric carving knife for custom designs, a finishing touch, super-smooth edges and a REALLY cool installation! Let the knife do the work!

Tip #2

Foamtak Installation Tips
  1. Hold the can approximately 12-18'' from the Studiofoam or room surface and shake the can from side to side to yield a ''spider web'' pattern.
  2. For the strongest bond: apply the Foamtak to both the room surface and the back of the Studiofoam panels, allow 45 seconds to tack, and apply the Studiofoam to the surface. For a more temporary bond, apply the Foamtak to only the Studiofoam or the room surface.
  3. Storing the Foamtak can upside down between applications may allow a more consistent spray pattern.
  4. Use the Studiofoam box lids as spray guards for a cleaner installation.
  5. Stacking two Studiofoam boxes may yield a convenient work surface.
Tip #3

How to bevel the edges of Studiofoam for a cleaner look.
The appearance of Studiofoam Wedge, especially 3'' and 4'', can be improved by beveling the edges to an angle similar to the angle of the wedge cut. This gives a customized look, and makes 2' x2' squares go together nicely. (See examples).
We recommend beveling all the corners first, before any other custom cutting is done.
  1. Lay the panel on a flat surface, with the pointed edges of the wedge just at the edge of the surface, for best support.
  2. Mark a point on the first and last wedge, the desired distance back from the ends. The suggested setback is equal to the distance between wedge tips.
  3. Place a straight edge across the tips of the wedges, from mark to mark, and lightly mark this point on the tip of each wedge. A fine tip marker works well for this; keep the marks as small as possible. Don't ''squish'' the foam by pressing down too hard.
  4. Align the electric knife at an angle, with the blade going from the mark on the tip of the wedge to the point where the wedge meets the solid part of the foam (this can be visualized as a lined all the way down the panel, at the bottom apex of each triangular cut.
  5. Keeping the knife at the same angle as you start, cut slowly through the first wedge, traveling straight across horizontally toward the next wedge. Guide the knife by keeping a straight cut at the bottom toward the next bottom apex.
  6. When you finish the first wedge, pause to make sure the knife is once again aligned with the mark at the top tip and the bottom apex.
  7. Continue through the remaining wedges; take your time and let the knife do the work, keeping a straight line at the bottom and staying right on the marks on the tips.
  8. The secret is patience, a steady hand - and a smooth, straight motion from end to end.

Tip #4

Painting tips for T-Fusors and Minifusors

Latex-based paints should be used. If you have any doubts about your paint product of choice, please test on the back (or in the cavity) of a unit.
  1. If you intend to paint T'Fusors a solid color, first use a primer. Note: if you are using spray cans, expect to use one can per T'Fusor.
  2. Great results may be achieved with stone simulation spray paints (Make-It-Stone for example). Once again, for solid coverage expect one can per T'Fusor (although you do not need to prime).
  3. Preferred methods- a light dusting or fleck with the stone type paint, achieved by holding the can approximately 18'' away from the T'Fusor and consistently waiving the spray pattern. A more solid coverage may be achieved by purchasing two slightly different colors of the stone paint and implementing light ''dusting'' layers. This technique yields a very textured look and will require approximately two cans of paint per four T'Fusors.

02 March 2011

Setting up a radio station

by Tugicom

First, you need to establish what kind of an area you need to cover. What range will my fm transmitter have, how much power do I need? We are all limited by laws of physics. Range is thus limited by several factors: Optical visibility.
This can sometimes be up to 40 miles, if you are looking out from a mountain top. Interference from other stations on the same or close-by frequency. Receivers are not ideal and are even becoming more crappy in this modern age of crappy chinese dollar radios. Such receivers have difficulty discerning your signal while there are other strong signals close by. Transmission power. Even if optical visibility is 20 miles, 1W probably won't get you more than a mile. If 50 Watt ERP is used, it's very likely that 20 miles of range will be achieved.
This is because 50 Watt ERP is ample power to propagate a strong signal 20 miles. If 1 Million Watts of power is used, it is very likely that signal will only propagate just over 20 miles. This is because the range is limited as described in point a) above(optical visibility). Assuming the antenna has a clear view, the frequency is clear and an average (poor) quality portable receiver is used, typical transmission power vs range figures are as follows:

It is not possible to have hundreds of miles of range on FM broadcast band (87.5MHz to 108MHz), even if terrain is perfectly flat and you have your antenna on the top of the mountain and you're using killowatts of power.

It is occasionally possible due to special atmospheric conditions, such as inversion etc. Such special conditions happen rarely and only last for a very short time so it is not possible to rely upon them in any way. 

In order to cover so many square miles it is necessary to setup a grid of transmitters and link them via wireless audio links, making sure they do not transmit at the same frequency as they could interfere.