Who says peeeceees are less expensive than Macs?

Apple just announced the latest rendition of the Mac Pro. For fun, I build the most bad-ass, expanded, upgraded version I could on the Apple web site.

Total Cost: $27,340.90

new mac pro

Gear Random

Proper use of a Shure SM58


Lego my bass guitar

I was at the guitar store yesterday when I saw this bass hanging in the repair shop. It’s made out of legos. HOW COOL!
Lego Bass 1Lego Bass 2

Gear Gigs

Fun at the drum shop. AKA a drummer in the candy store.

Today I was a drummer, not a sound guy, computer geek or whatever. I was a drummer. It felt good too…

Now that I’m back in the gig rotation somewhat it was time to make a trip to the local drum shop. This shop is run by two long time pals. What’s cool about this place is….well, it’s a drum shop. They don’t sell guitars or PA systems. They sell drums.

I had a wonderful Ludwig brass snare drum from 1962 or so in my gig kit for close to 20 years. I bought the thing for $15 from a guy who didn’t want it anymore and didn’t know what he had.

That Ludwig snare was the loudest, sweetest, most responsive drum ever. I could play licks on that thing I’d never be able to pull off with other snares. Unfortunately that drum, my Top New Beat HH cymbals and the snare case were ripped off about a year ago. I would have gladly given up my entire drum kit rather than losing that snare.

I’ve been playing gigs with my other $15 early 60’s Ludwig snare but this one was made of steel and not brass (though they both look exactly the same with a chrome finish). This one is about 20 pounds lighter than my old one. It sounds great but isn’t “magic” like my old brass one was.

So today I decided I’d find a replacement for that old lost snare. My first thought was a Ludwig Black Beauty. The Black Beauty is the exact same drum as the one I lost, only it’s black instead of chrome. Ludwig is still making them amazingly. I tried the 2006 model, along with about 6 other snares today. I tried a copper Ludwig snare from the early 70’s which I could have picked up for around $100. It didn’t “sing” the way I wanted. I also tried a few other metal Ludwigs, Gretsch’s etc. My final decision was between a 5″ solid copper Copper Shell Collector Series by DW and that 2006 Black Beauty.

I put them both on a kit and bashed them like I normally would at a gig. BASHED them. Both drums sounded amazing. Neither sounded like my old brass baby but they sounded amazing in their own different ways. I finally ended up deciding to pick up the DW. It is a beauty. It weighs about 300 pounds. Sean, my sales guy & buddy said this one would be a little more durable on the road and it was about $100 less than the BB was.

I also picked up a new gig bag for the DW since my old snare GB was ripped off as well. Threw in new heads for the whole gig kit and oh, I had to pay for the sticks I demo’d with since I beat ’em up pretty bad.

Gig tomorrow night. First time with the new solid copper snare. A report will follow (hopefully with many women flashing the band…hot women this time though).

Gear Recording

Recording a piano conterto

Last weekend I had the pleasure of recording an amazing conert pianist. This lady is a stroke doctor during the day and a pianist on the side. She’s so serious about piano that she flies to New York and even to Paris to take lessons.

The setup

The hall is a great smaller venue which seats about 200 very comfortably. There isn’t a bad seat in the house and the atmosphere is great.


It’s quite simple, a Steinway in the middle of the stage.

There are may different ways to record a gig like this. If you want more of the “live” sound you could to an XY stereo mic configuration in front of the piano or even in front of the stage to get more of the ambience and the audience. I chose a more close micing approach because we were more concerned with the quality of the piano sound than the audience.

mic config

I used two Audio Technica 4050 large diaphragm condenser mics for a stereo image. I placed one over the low end strings and one over the high end. The concept is they’d share the center range and the left and right would be low and high tones respectively. I didn’t worry about a perfect 90 degree angle XY because they were far enough apart and so close to the source.


Since the recording was only two channels I was able to bring a nice small setup. I used an M-Audio USB Duo as my preamp. The Duo just hooks into the USB on my 17″ Apple Powerbook. My recording software of choice is Cubase SX.

My Cubase capture settings were 32 bit recording at 44,100 sampling rate.

Backup Backup

The small silver device to the right of my rig picture is a minidisc recorder. Whenever I do gigs like this where it’s live and you only get one shot at the recording, I run a 2nd capture device. If the laptop crashes or there’s a problem with the capture, I have a backup on the minidisc. The MD would certainly not be as high quality, but I’d have something.

The result

The performer was awesome and my rig captured her perfectly. I didn’t even get a sound check but my guess on her levels was perfect. I didn’t even adjust my input gain at all. The very peak of her volume level was 1 or 2 dB below peak.