Steam Powered Studio
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About the Studio
September 25, 2011

Here's a guy who makes recordings in his garden shed. I actually thought that it was a lot smaller than this...

The Garden Shed

September 22, 2011

ribbon mic

We got a new old microphone here at the studio- an RCA MI-6203-B. Otherwise known as "The Gas Pedal". It's a brick, weights about 3 1/2 pounds. Here's why-

ribbon mic

There's this big old magnet inside, and it's shaped like a pair of horns, directing its magnetic field across...

ribbon mic

...a ribbon of thin corrugated aluminum, which shines all silvery behind that screen there.

ribbon mic

Here's a close look at the structure. There are end caps that clamp the ribbon of aluminum in place. The ribbon itself is not visible in this shot, mainly because it has sagged over time.

ribbon mic

Here's a look at the rear of that structure. The screened opening in the tube allows sound to reach the back of that ribbon. A sliding mechanism can be adjusted to gradually close off that opening. This adjusts the response of the ribbon, from a pressure to a velocity response. I don't know what that means, but it makes it sound different, and changes the pickup pattern of the microphone.

ribbon mic

Here's the inside of the rear cover. They made a lot of these mics back in the 1940's. This one needs to be repaired before it can be used for recording- the output is extremely low, even for a ribbon mic, because that ribbon is out of position. I did manage to get some sound from it however...

Ribbon mic check

As bad as it is, it has that warmth these things were famous for-

September 17, 2011

Here is an item from the auction where I got the wire recorder. They threw this in to sweeten the pot on some other thing I wanted- who knew it was a guitar amp? It says it's a signal tracer... but clipping a guitar cord onto the high-impedence (tube preamp) test lead works. By itelf it's a radio receiver as well.

Be sure to check the action of the Magic Eye there on the upper right. (the clicking sounds at the beginning and end is actually my camera making auto-focus noises- I must have had it on macro)

September 12, 2011


Meet Patty! Patty McCabe was over here on Saturday and we started work on her song Rockin' Chair. She plays a big ol' 12-string guitar and sings like a bird. I think she's a lost Rambler...

September 08, 2011

Farfisa Combo

This little baby has been sitting in the studio for years, and it has always had a little problem. The C# key sounded nasty. I tries to fix it several times, but today I finally done it.


September 07, 2011

Black Rock City

Black Rock City, NV

54,000 people lived there for a week this year. The cost to produce the event? Around $17M.

There are all sorts of easy things to say about this, but I'm trying to avoid them. What is most interesting to me is that humans are really good at this sort of thing. It's hard, hard work, and we love doing it.

September 05, 2011

The first batch of Woggi Noggi songs have hit the Catalogue of Songs.

Happy Worker's Day!

September 03, 2011

Burning Man 2011

Just a few hours now until they burn the man. Follow the link for a stream...

September 01, 2011

Woggi Noggi front
Woggi Noggi back

I am happy to report that the Woggi Noggi CD has its first pressing. It sounds great!

Not sure how Ruby will be offering these for sale- I think there are some revisions to the artwork she's planning...



klang and bangalon
klang and bangalon

The klang is the little brother to the bangalon. It should look familiar to all guitar heroes, but I've rigged it to trigger my Alesis drum machine. Pretty good triggers, actually...

featured song
Featured Song


rants 'n repairs