August 16, 2017

8.00 am: A communion:

9.00 am: Studiology. In order to establish the cause of the stereo to monaural conversion malfunction in the sound system, I decoupled its discrete sections to try and localise the problem. What I knew for sure:

  1. There was no evident or obvious source of the problem. In theory, there should be no problem.
  2. Therefore, the problem was ‘invisible’ – a consequence of a failed component, unit, or connection, rather than an error in the system’s design.
  3. Therefore, I should begin by interrogating the parts comprising each section.

10.20 am: Gotcha! The fault lay in the smallest component of the system: a broken 1/4 inch, male-to-male connector. (‘Huh! Men!’). I felt like the woman who lost a coin and having diligently swept her house, found it (Luke 15.8–10):

(Lesson: Big and complex networks hang upon the efficiency of their most inconspicuous parts.)

However … when I reconnected the previously flawed section to the system, the monaural anomaly persisted. (‘Well, dang me!’) So, there were in fact two faults; one hiding behind the other. When a reasoned approach fails, I deploy counter-intuitivism. I swapped a left-right, left-right input configuration into the turntable mixer’s receive sockets for a right-right, left-left one. Success! This was nuts! Electronics can be temperamental, unpredictable sometimes, but never irrational. I needed to knowing why. (Lesson: Solve one problem in the present and you’ll be able to diagnose a great many more in the future.) Back, then, to sweeping the house.

I suspected, at first, that the explanation lay at ‘Spaghetti Junction’ – where the double stereo return path began:

There were no on-line forum that I could consult. This system’s set-up is unique, bespoke, and idiosyncratic. But, for now, the mystery had to remain unresolved. I’d bigger fish to catch. A network map would have to suffice in the meantime:

2.00 am: Following lunch, I confronted a bigger fish. The proposed sound project from the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales‘ ‘Opening the Archive: Memory’ event beckoned. Until I receive the source recording, I can’t begin to plan the composition. But I can consider the technical dimension. My instinct has been to press my Akai Professional APC40 and Ableton Live 9.0 into service:

I hadn’t used this controller and software for some time. A little on-line refresher course by a professional DJ was the call of the moment.

6.30 pm: To the hospital, to visit a church member. 7.30 pm: My younger son had kindly bolted together a pair of metal trestles in the afternoon, no doubt drawing upon skills honed during his Meccano days. We set up the studio main table upon it when I returned. The table it replaced will become part of my ‘performance’ gear, henceforth. Then, I considered the analogue/digital interface needed to convey a quality signal from the laptop to the amplifiers while, at the same time, recording the output to the Digital Audio Workstation. Further on-line tutorials.

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