Dan Alexander Audio

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The Mother of Necessity

Today, if you need a stand mount for a vintage microphone, there are numerous makers who provide just about anything you might require. Back in the late 70s, the choice was much more limited. There were virtually no mounts that would work with an M49 or M50, and they rarely came with their original Neumann yoke mounts. In fact, for a while, we had no idea what it a stock mount looked like. After receiving several complaints from customers, I was forced into action. I...

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Final Console Commissioning

SO … you have built a recording studio. You have nearly killed yourself and who knows how many others, building it. You have invested a ton of dough in a gorgeous classic recording console. The techs have charged you a zillion dollars installing it. It’s time to turn it ON … This is what you do.... Remove every module that you can from the frame and set them aside in an orderly fashion. Perhaps you might want to put a number on the side of each module so you can return...

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Can I Testify?

I was speaking with my old friend John Nelson the other day. We both have been buying and selling vintage guitars since our teens. We each have had literally thousands of fine instruments pass through our hands. At the same time, we always had a guitar or two that was “our guitar," the one we played. We were talking about what an incredible collection it would be had we simply kept them all. They were always great, because we had access to so many incredible examples....

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I drink tea. I drink a lot of tea. So I have a dedicated electric water boiling pot. My old one broke, and I got a new one. The problem is the new one has 4 buttons on it, and a temperature gauge. Do I need water that is 177 degrees? My old boiling pot had a single lever switch: you push it down, and when the water is boiling, it turns off automatically. The new one requires that you push several buttons before the damn thing works. So, being self-indulgent, I went...

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Clean Your Gear

I see a lot of gear. It gets sent to me, or I visit someone's studio, or whatever. It never fails to astound me how people mistreat their beautiful equipment. I just cannot understand it. When I get a piece of gear, the very first thing I do is wipe down the front panel with a damp cloth. You should see what comes off! Yecch … Now, not only do I object to this on a purely aesthetic level, because clean gear is often lovely, whereas gross dirty scummy gear is just butt...

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Use A Damned Windscreen!

“I don’t like the way windscreens change the sound”....Seriously? Speaking strictly from technical jargon, exactly what frequencys does a typical nylon pop filter or windscreen affect? I gotta tell you, I think we are talking way way way up there...BUT in any case, you still need to use a wind screen, and here's why: because you actually like that expensive condenser microphone and you want it to continue to work up to snuff.    That's why! Whats with screening the...

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“Everything I Buy Is Mint Until It Arrives”

"It's all original" "it was all working when we took it out of service" "it doesn't need a neck reset" "The diaphram looks good" "The finish is original" "My tech just went through it" "My Dad (Grandfather, Uncle, Aunt, Cousin, etc) told my brother he bought it new in 1936 (1920, 1942, 1955, etc.)" "This Epiphone (Fender, Gibson, etc) was made in America" "I packed it really well" "The frets are in perfect condition"

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Assistant Engineering: A Stiff Dose of Reality

TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!! I do not mean set it to vibrate! No texting, no phone interaction whatsoever. An Assistant Engineer never volunteers an opinion to the Artist or the Producer (ever!). You will be far better off to say "I don't know" if asked, even when you have a clear and strong opinion. The Assistant Engineer exists to make the Engineer look good, even when you think they are making a mistake. If you see a piece of gear that the Engineer had adjusted improperly,...

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Giant Microphone Stands

So. You took the plunge, and purchased a big heavy expensive condenser microphone. It cost as much as your car, maybe. So how do you feel about putting it on one of your standard mic stands? The ones you buy at the music store? What if someone knocks your sizeable investment over and breaks it in one way or another? What you need is a real microphone stand! Three companies made microphone stands that are nearly impossible to tip over: Starbird, RCA, and...

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How to pack, move, tune, and clean an EMT Plate Reverb

HOW TO PACK AN EMT 140 PLATE REVERB FOR SHIPPING After damaging 14 of 21 plate reverbs that I bought from CBS in NY, in 1983 or so, I devised this packing method. It has proven to be very effective. However, no packing job can stand up to the determined assault of a rabid forklift! The main problem in moving plates is that when a unit is dropped, the plate falls and breaks the little springs and clips that hold it onto the frame. When the plate falls, it shears off the...

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