Thursday, July 28, 2011

Agh! A Snake!

A while ago I was talking about purchasing a microphone snake and had decided to buy a $40 one off of eBay. It arrived a little while ago, but I soon realized why you don't buy $40 snakes off of eBay.
The above was one of the female connectors on the snake. I decided to take a quick look at one of the connectors, just for the hell of it and I am sure glad I did. You can see in the picture that the cold lead is so stripped that you wouldn't even know that it had insulation! Other connectors had too much insulation stripped off of them so that all the leads were shorted together. At least I didn't wait until the time of the recording to find out that the snake was unusable. Luckily the company was willing to give me a 15% refund on the product so I can repair it myself. But this only came after I accidentally gave them my school address and had to have a friend send it back to me, even after telling them about the mistake and them telling me it was all taken care of. Oh well, buyer beware I guess. This is what I'll be working on today.

In other news, I took the WV-V3 outside to see how it performs with good light. I used the alignment card with the now-fixed manual iris knob and the results aren't too bad.

However, I did notice that there may be a burnt-in spot on the blue tube, because there is a yellow spot in the lower middle left of the image. You can see it best near the white cross-fence in the video. I don't know when it happened. I hope it wasn't because of my efforts. I do have to admit though that I was somewhat wildly throwing the iris knob around. The spot does seem to appear in some earlier footage that I took without aligning the camera and before I threw it into manual iris. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's Been a While....

Hmn, I haven't been good at keeping this updated recently. Not a terrible amount has happened though. The only really major thing to report on is the progress of the recording project I have. I have finished the KLHs (more on those difficulties in a sec) and am working on microphones. Other than that, I am just about ready to go with it.

For now though, the speakers.

For the most part, The speaker restoration went without a hitch. I had some issues securing things (I used the same adhesive caulk from the speaker sealing) and then a major issue with one of the tweeters. But the restoration of the electronics went well enough.

Pictures of the finished crossovers:


I had realized that whoever had tried restoring these speakers before me didn't realize that they had to be careful when returning the speaker lugs to the aluminum backplate. A couple fiber washers were missing so that the speaker was shorted out completely by the backplate. I got a bit creative and used some old perfboard instead, as I have no rubber or fiber washers.

Once the electronic restoration was done, I put all of the insulation back in them, hooked up the drivers and then tested them. To my horror the right speaker had no high end. The tweeter was inoperable. Frantically hoping that the tweeter was not blown out, I took apart the speaker and tested the tweeter with a meter. It was blown. Somewhere. Luckily, upon closer inspection I figured out that the part of it that was blown was the little wire that runs from the speaker lugs to the voice coil. Using a bit of wire from an old AC gearmotor I was able to mend it and so far my solder job has held up.

In this picture you can just see the broken wire and where it is supposed to connect, it's towards the middle top of the speaker:


After this point I was a bit too anxious to get it working to take any more pictures of this process. But I did clean up the cases with some wood polish and they look damn good again!

An after/before shot of the speakers:
(I seem to have an issue with always putting the before on the right for some reason...)

Now these speakers have replaced my home-made ones on top of my desk. They sound really good, but I can't tell if one is slightly louder than the other. It may be the amplifier though... either way isn't good, but oh well.

As far as microphone building goes, the speaker microphones are almost done. I just need to just some holes in the cases for the connectors and then bolt the elements into place, so those are pretty much done.

The condenser microphones are still a mess though. They are still sitting in pieces on my deck. They need to be sanded and then assembled.

The cases for the speaker microphones:

Other than all of this, I have a small project I am embarking on that I haven't done much with yet. I guess because I'm lazy. A small rack mount with a power strip and KVM switch in it to control all the computers in my room.
I want to first modify the power strip so that each individual plug on the back has its own switch so that I can turn the computers on separately from the console. This is what I have been putting off.

The decision to include it in my setup came when I decided to try and build a CD/DVD duplicator. I have an old server frame that has 5 drive bays on it, so I figured I could pop a bunch of drives in and use it as a duplicator. This need arose when I was thinking about ways I could possibly produce a record or film and distribute it. This would increase the number of computers in my room to about four, so I figured it would save a ton of space.

The frame of the server case:

And since Black is the new beige in the computer realm, I have been updating the case with a little "canned style":

I'm also thinking of using it for a transfer machine. Such as transferring old audiotapes and possibly videotapes to a digital format, with the ability to make multiple copies. We'll see.

That's all for now, but coming up I think I'll do a post about the snake that I recently received, an update about the recording process (hopefully this weekend!) and then a long post about one of the best audio effects in the past 100 years, echo. Stay tuned! (I swear it will be quicker this time...)