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The Hot Shot DM-1, Gear that does what it is suppose to do #3

February 3, 2010

When I’m producing a record from behind my drum kit, it’s hard to communicate with people in other rooms. Being that the drum mics are set to pic up loud drum hits, people can’t really hear me clearly when I speak.
An open talkback mic is a problem, as it injects room sounds into the mix. The solution to the problem is a talkback microphone that I can key via a box called  the Hotshot DM-1, built by Radial Engineering.
Hold the button down to talk and I can speak to the other players via the PrivateQ  Headphone System (another great piece of gear that D.W.I.S.T.D.). When I release it, it shuts the mic off and off we go.
A piece of gear that does what it is suppose to do, and does it well.

Hot Shot DM-1


Vintage Radio King Snare Drums

February 1, 2010

I own three vintage Slingerland radio king snare drums:
The best sounding one is the blond one from the 40’s. Bought the shell on the road in 1981 for 20 bucks. Someone sprayed the inside with fiberglass (a popular trend at the time). I bought it figuring I had nothing to lose. The fiberglass peeled right out. I took the shell to The Modern Drum Shop. They had a drum guy there ( I think his name was Tim, can’t remember). He did the edges and added Gretsch hoops and a sonor throwoff. It sounded good, but never felt quite right. Years later I gave it to another guy to fix, and it still wasn’t right. It went into storage. Around 1995 I dug it out again and sent it to Tommy Winkler in Nashville. He called me and said he could fix it, but he had to cut 1/2″ off one side to make the drum edges parallel. I told him to do whatever he needed to. When it showed up, I was amazed at the difference. Finally, the drum sounded like it was suppose to. I’ll never sell it.
The white pearl one was given to me by a women at a jingle house. It belonged to her father. I sent it to Tommy as well. He did his thing to it and voila, another great drum. I had this drum in storage for the past nine years. Took it out to use on a  recent Ben Hall recording, only had to adjust one lug.
The Blue Sparkle Snare belonged to the drummer in my fathers band (Bob Shaw). I would sit in with them  as a teenager, and  told Bob back then I wanted to buy the kit  when he retired (24″ kick, 13 and 16″ toms). He told me he’d let me know, and sure enough, I have it. One of my prized possessions (of course I sent the snare to Tommy to tweak).

Vintage Radio King Snares

Sometimes credit is better than cash

January 30, 2010

In the early 90’s I recorded a CD with a well known jazz guitarist (who shall go nameless, hereafter referred to as “The Artist”). He wanted to do a jazz  record using drum loops (unheard of at the time).I  spent three weeks programming and recording the CD. His drummer overdubbed live cymbals and played one 16 bar solo.
“The Artist” was so nervous that his fans would be upset about the use of “programmed drums” that he decided not to include me in the band credits and gave me a credit as “additional programming by”.
Skip to the Grammy’s, and the record wins best “Best Contemporary Jazz Performance”. I call NARAS to ask about my Grammy. They said that since my photo wasn’t on the album, I should have “The Artist” call and okay it, then I could get my Grammy.
I called “The Artist” and he refused as I wasn’t on tour with them, even though the Grammy was based on performances from  the CD.
In the end NARAS sent me a plaque, but no real Grammy.
Even though I was well compensated for my work in the studio,  it didn’t compensate me for a lost Grammy.

Moral of the story: Sometimes  credit is better than cash. Get your credits straight from the beginning.

The “Cloudlifter”. Gear that does what it is suppose to #2

January 29, 2010
The  “Cloudlifter”, by Cloud Microphones is a great little box that goes between your ribbon mics and preamps. Boosts the signal by 20DB. Lowers the noise floor. I dig it.
Does what it is suppose to, and does it well.


Gear that actually does what it is suppose to #1

January 28, 2010

accusound microphone cables.
The black ones are hi-end silver cables. Really pure sounding. I always use them on my vocal mics.
The grey ones are “vintage sounding” for lack of a better term. I like them on my ribbon mics.

Not cheap, but make a difference and well worth the money.
They do what they are suppose to, and do it well.

accusound cables

Snare du jour 1.27.10

January 27, 2010

Put this together today. It was originally a Pearl free floating piccolo snare. I picked up an additional aluminum ring chassis, took the brass shell out, put the ring on top upside down. Then I  threw on a new head, changed the top rim to a S-Hoop, and cranked it up. Sounds great. I was surprised at the volume of the drum, considering there is no shell. Really like the sensitivity of it, especially with brushes.

I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I saw a friend of mine (Tony Beard)playing one years back. His was a deeper model, but that was the inspiration.

BTW, I am in the market for a Rogers Satellite Skinny Snare if anyone is selling.

shell-less snare

A good day in the studio-old school

January 27, 2010

1962 slingerland radio king and modified brushes

Me, Ben, Skip, Eric