Saturday, April 01, 2006

We Are DIY

DIY (do it yourself).

However, someone from triple AAA is currently changing one of my car tires – in my own driveway because I ran over a screw last night. Having called someone to come to my house to change a tire is one of the more surreal experiences of the last year. I used to tear apart engines, brake systems, transmissions. I owned a British Sports Car for crying out loud; I had to learn these things. Changing tires is something I would never have imagined calling someone for. Still, it’s kind of novel not to have to raise a finger, and have it done for me. And there is one other reason: I have no jack. So, that takes care of that. Note to self, buy a jack.

As the tire is changed, my research continues on my newest DIY mission.

As any faithful readers know, I have in my spare time taken to fervently practicing the violin again. Well, soon, I will want to record myself. I do own a good Shotgun mic, from location recording work, however, recording the violin with that was awful – like a knife. It’s not meant for that. So, I started doing the late night visits to Ebay and craigslist in the search for a decent used microphone or pair of microphones. A good pair of microphones, even used, is 600 dollars. Pricey, but I’m not shocked – heck I know a sound guy with a 3000 dollar microphone – not even a pair. So, with a few microphones on my “watch” lists, I’ve been doing my thing. I have also been looking at another option…

Last night, I decided to record myself as I practiced (with the evil shotgun) and came to the depressing realization that I am not anywhere near deserving of pair of 600 dollar microphones with which to record myself. So that other option is going to become my main option.

I’m going to build a microphone. When I say I'm going to build a microphone, I don't mean jam a loudspeaker on the end of a pole, jack into a mic input and be done. No, I mean I'm going to attempt to build a high end condenser microphone, maybe even with it's own power supply. If that works, I'll match it with a second one. After doing some research on the net, I discovered that not only is it not impossible, it is quite doable. There are quite a few people doing it, including several making ribbon microphones (the most difficult and sensitive microphones of all) The price differential from “store bought” to DIY is staggering and it could also be a lot of fun. I’ll post pictures of the project. For now, if you’re interested in where I’ve found great info, start here.

So – now that the tire is fixed, I’m going to see if some of the electronic stores in Burbank have the required parts for the guts. I will make sure to not stop by Royer Labs (also in Burbank) and tell them my plan.

Went to the Silver Lake Film Festival to see a movie made by a husband/wife team from my old neck of the woods. It is amazing to see what people are doing these days with digital movie making. What’s also heartening to see is the sheer determination and perseverance that was obvious in the movie. The effects – subtle and in your face were incredible. It was a five year project, and it shows. Congratulations Keith and Faith on The Suicide Notes. May your DIY spirit lead to bigger and easier projects. And remember that thing we were talking about after the movie? –- about where you should be if you make movies… think about it.