Studio update time

February 24th, 2009 Andrew Martens 2 comments

There’s just something about being laid off that inspires me to reorganize my home office / studio.  The first day off, my reaction was, “Well, what to do with myself today?  Oh right, I’ll start by tidying this room!”  Some of my planning and reconstruction was underway, but the additional free time was just what I needed to finish the work that I had already started.  Break out the drill and the soldering iron!
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Review: Chinook Whirlwind Guide 5 Tent

June 1st, 2008 Andrew Martens 30 comments

This year I decided that in order to do more car camping with my wife, it might help if we had a somewhat larger tent. Bringing a few more comforts from home and having the luxury of extra space might entice her out more often. She definitely likes the outdoors – she could outshoot me any day, and her idea of camping involves turning off on a random logging road and driving until we find an interesting spot – but having a comfortable haven is the difference between enjoying camping and merely tolerating it.

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Updating studio layouts for fun

June 16th, 2007 Andrew Martens 3 comments

… and profit? Well, no, since I’m not likely to ever make money off of my music. But I enjoy writing music, and that’s really what it’s all about. Having an organized studio where you can make use of your instruments is important, and there’s a reason that I haven’t written anything in the past several years – no organization. There were always things to be done around the house, or we had moved, or had to shuffle things around, or had too much clutter. While being laid off from work was unfortunate, it gave me a bit of spare time – and with my wife out of town on a short trip for work, I had the opportunity to work on a few of my own projects.

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Add an internal Zip to your ESI-2000

June 15th, 2007 Andrew Martens 9 comments

Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to pick up an E-mu ESI-2000 sampler (circa 1997) from a local pawnshop for $88 + tax. While it only had 4 MB RAM, it could be easily expanded with 72-pin SIMMs, and already had the “turbo” board installed – giving it some onboard effects, S/PDIF I/O, and another pair of sub outputs. I managed to scrounge up 32 MB RAM for the beast, and put my old SCSI Zip drive into an external enclosure. All was well, but that enclosure had a noisy, noisy fan and it drove me crazy.

An internal Zip drive was originally an option on the ESI-2000 (and ESI-4000), but many people chose the basic version with a floppy drive due to cost. Fair enough! I used the floppy drive to copy a number of sample sets onto the Zip, and then I set out to put my Zip drive inside the sampler. The main problem was finding an appropriate cable. E-mu used to make a particular part, but have since sold off their old B-stock to some other company that doesn’t return my emails. There are two options that I came up with.

  1. this cable will probably do the trick if you removed the bracket; I haven’t tried it, but it looks like it should work fine (though it has an extra connector)
  2. add a Centronics connector to an existing 50-pin SCSI cable

I was planning to go with option 1, but when I was buying some rack rails (see my DIY rack post) at a local shop, lo and behold they had an IDC 50-pin crimp female Centronics adapter! I actually had an appropriate 50-pin cable (missing the Centronics connector), but I had despaired of ever finding the proper part. That is but the beginning of our wonderful photoessay…
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MMT-8 keypad repair for dummies

June 13th, 2007 Andrew Martens 10 comments

About two years ago, I was browsing through a nearby surplus/consignment shop, when I stumbled across a pair of classics: an Alesis MMT-8 and HR-16. I knew that these devices tended to have some reliability issues, and the LCD on the MMT-8 was a bit screwy, but I figured they could be fixed. I could have waited for the price to drop further, but at $30 (CAD) each it was already a good deal. As expected, most of the buttons barely worked and/or required a great deal of force before they would register. The EPROMs for each (but most crucially the MMT-8) also needed updating. Due to various other commitments (like planning a wedding), these two poor devices sat in a box, unused for about two years – until now.

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First…ish post!

November 6th, 2006 Andrew Martens Comments off

If you don’t know who I am, then go read about me. If you still don’t care, then good for you! You’ve passed the first test.

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