Rock on! or off…

While my inspiration for the electronic side of the Glitzerstrahl project is running a bit low at the moment, I decided to do some intensive guitar practice instead. For this I need a new practice amp since I sold off my old ones when leaving the states.

So far I’ve narrowed my choices down to the following:

The Bugera V5 which is a tiny all tube amp with a power attenuator that allows you to switch between 5, 1 and .1 watts. This should come in really handy when practicing late at night. It’s a really simple amp with what sounds like a great clean channel and no frills except a built in digital reverb.

The Orange Crush PiX 35LDX which is a solid state amp rated at 35 watts with a 10″ speaker, digital effects and a built in tuner.

Both amps have headphone out and are comparable in price, so really the choice is between an all tube setup or a solid state. I can’t get rid of the feeling that the Bugera would sound just a tiny bit better (as in warmer, fuller and more natural) thanks to its tubes, but that the Orange would be more convenient.

Btw, I already have the pedals I would need to create most of the effects in the Orange box, but it would be more of a hassle to pull them out every time I just want to add a bit of delay…

Which one would you have chosen? Or would you go for something completely different?

Update: After much back and forth I ended up getting the Orange. Yes it may lack some of the tonal character of an all tube amp, but it makes up for it in convenience. Also, in all honesty the little different I could here in tone between the two is sure to be blanketed by my poor playing any way.

I’ll save the tube lure until I’ve learned to play properly and saved enough money for a really good one…

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Random Update

Just a quick random update to show that I’m still alive.

It’s been really hard getting back into a good workflow since I arrived here in Sweden. I think part of it is my mind being occupied by my new job, the new environment and all the other changes that we are slowly getting used to. I also haven’t been able to organize my working environment very well and I’m the type of person who needs a well organized space to be creative.

On a positive note though I’m making some very slow progress on the next Cumulus album which will focus a lot on soundtracks to post-apocalyptic scenes and environments.

I got the chance to read through the latest version of the old swedish roleplaying game Mutant, which takes place in Scandinavia after some unknown apocalyptic event, and it’s been great fuel for the inspiration.

Finally, since Linn (my daughter) has started showing an interest in learning the piano we’ve added an electric 88key Yamaha piano to our home. I plan to use it for practice as well of course ;-).

That’s that! More to follow!

Fiddling with deadly currents

A while back my good friend Niklas from NOR and Norator visited me here in Stockholm for an epic synth weekend (featuring amongst others Kraftwerk and Cold Cave…) and helped me modify my Doepfer LC9 boxes from north american voltage (110v) to the swedish (230v).

Its a relatively simple modification if you’re handy with the soldering iron and know the basics of electrical engineering, but since I wouldn’t put either on my resume Nicklas volunteered to perform the procedure.

Below are some shots from the operation.

Start by loosening the screws in the back…

photo 3

That hold the cover for the actual PSU (the one that say you will DIE if you tamper with it…)

photo 2 Next break the two soldering bridges that north american units ship with, and create two new ones to match the spec of the european units…
photo 4

And that’s it! My LC9 boxes are now fully compatible with the swedish electrical standard :). Many thanks to Niklas for taking the time!

You can find a document that explains the necessary steps near the bottom of the following page on Doepfer’s website: http://www.doepfer.de/faq/a100_faq.htm#Modification%20mains%20voltage

Custom Studio Furniture (Free Sketchup Plan)

Since I moved back to Sweden It’s taken quite a while to get all the gear back up, but now  it’s finally in place and all plugged in. One of my goals was to improve my desk space to get better access to my rack units.

Buying a ready made studio desk is both expensive and boring so I decided to ‘build’ my own instead. This would also provide the most compact solution.

I started with an Ikea desk called Galant. You can go for either the corner or straight type. I choose the straight (160 x 80 cm) for space saving. On top of this I put two custom built 6U racks made in solid oak to match the surface of the desk.

I left just enough space between them to fit my 27″ iMac, which I suspended from a monitor arm. The idea was to fit a slanting shelf in front of it to hold my Maschine and some other handy gadgets. You may notice that the desk is 5-10cm too short to fit both racks and the mac, but that’s ok. Hopefully I can upgrade to a bigger space at some point, or get a Mac Pro and a 24″ monitor… :P

Check out the results below, and download the Sketchup file if you want to build your own rack.

photo 1_1 photo 2_1 photo 3_1 photo 4_1

Dropbox link to Sketchup file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/din4o7j6icwj88k/6USlantedRack.zip

(Disclaimer: I’m not a carpenter so use the Sketchup drawing at your own risk…)