August 23, 2017

8.15 am: A communion. 9.00 am: Various administrations prior to a jaunt to the mothership. 9.30 am: A review of emails prior to a morning in the studio, where I looked afresh at the [I. Nothing. Lack.] sound system. There’s not always a better way. After all, once optimisation has been reached, where else is there to go. But I’d not reached that point yet. A second cassette-tape recorder was introduced to the system. (I heard geese passing overhead.):

The cassette-tape recorder emitted a 50 MHz hum when it was inserted into mixer. This implies a grounding mismatch between the two devices. It clears up, for the most part, when routed through the Lehle P-Splitter (which has a ground-lift facility). Having installed batteries in one of the recorders, the noise was mitigated, and without the aid of a ground-lift unit. The problem, therefore, stemmed from its power supply unit (PSU). By inserting the PSU into the rack’s supply chain, (as opposed to the table’s distributer), the hum decreased to a level that was unnoticeable when the cassette tape was playing.

My test recording was of a lecture I gave twenty seven years ago, towards the beginning of my academic career. It was delivered at a summer school that I’d organised for the Open College of the Arts (which has now been absorbed into the University of the Creative Arts). Back then, the Aberystwyth OCA group was the largest and most successful in the UK. I always imagine that my early attempts at lecturing were far worse than they actually sound. Certainly, the lecture was far longer than it actually needed to be. The students had been very patient and resilient:

1.45 pm: After lunch, I set about trialling the Moog effectors, one by one, and comparing different placements for the effects units in the system’s chain, following the plan set out in ‘configuration 2’. The most sensible position was within the AUX send/return loop. A mixer can be just as much an instrument as whatever is passed through it. In the project, I will be ‘playing’ it:

7.30 pm: I returned to reviewing the doctoral art history thesis that I’d received yesterday. On this occasion, I read the text as I would a book. ‘Does it inform, enlighten, engage, and persuade?’, I asked myself:

 

 

Leave a Reply