Class #5 notes

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Monday, Feb 10th Class Listening

Jon Brion - was the original producer 
Capital Records

Marjorie Fair - band
Don't believe - song
Don’t Believe
Don’t believe a word they say
they’re only there to take you away
Don’t believe a word they say
they’re only tryIng to take you away It only feels this way
It only feels this way
thats what I tell myself

Don’t believe a word they say
they’re only there to scare you away
Don’t believe a word they say
they’re only trying to scare you away

It only feels this way
It only feels this way
thats what I tell myself

It only feels this way
It only feels this way
thats what I tell myself
thats what I tell myself
thats what I tell myself
thats what I tell myself
thats what I tell myself

drums, guitar (beatles-like sound on guitar riff)  bass guitar 
airy mid-range sounds (wah wah) fill-in made by guitar!!
lead vocal & accompanying vocals (harmonizing x2 different back up vocal sounds but same singer so mixed in later)
feedback loop -  fill allowed to grow and damper out (whitenoise)

on my way home - old school hymn like song played faintly in the intro and at the end 
made to sound like radio playing
pink floyd
radiohead - see Sigaros? from Iceland who are taking sonic sound recording to the next level

'shoegaze'? - new gendre 
recorded in 2001-2003

meloncholy vibe psychotic lead singer/song writer
no radio friendly songs
pick up note on the drum kick - pushes the ballad forward, energetic
sonic properties:  starts with very little distortion and builds up & down 
ends with lots of distortion

DI – DIRECT INPUT (removes the microphone from the audio chain) MONO

Why Mono?

mono recording - depth/room vs vocal or instrument 
(singer is tight on the mike and move the instrument around the room for depth of field)
mono recording back in vogue/ one take recordings popular
mono can be mastered at high levels
bonus - don't have to worry about phase
think about the mix as you go - mix on the floor with instruments etc rather than in post
carbon mike frequencies from 500 hz to 2500 hz=  crisp midrange

retro sound – unpredictable and cannot control levels on carbon mike

coming up next:



Mikes:  251, 447, 487, 467, C12 c24 AKG 414, 57,58 7B, 421,441, 44 & 77 ribbons, 121, 122 + $ 60,000.00

Mike Pre-Amps:  1064, 1073, 1081, API 50a, SSL 4000

Compressors:  LA 2A, 1176, DBX160, FATSO

Dave’s fav chain:   RCA 44 – UA610 with built in compressor – AMPEX reel tape –





bababa big 9 blog – week 4

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Learning to Listen for the nine essential elements

with a focus on depth of field

Artist:  JANIS JOPLIN  (Janis_Joplin)

COLUMBIA RECORDS “JANIS JOPLIN GREATEST HITS”  1973 compilation vinyl  (Greatest_Hits)

other links:  (Janis lead vocals 1966-1968)

Here is is but…it’s MUCH better on vinyl 🙂

Song:  at 27:30….BYE, BYE BABY  

Listening_ headphones & pink hair

Ok, so what are the Big Nine Again?

1. CONCEPT OR THEME – motivation/vibe


2. MELODY – LaLa-LaLA-LaLA….and so on

bye bye bye baby bye bye

can’t help but sing along every time i hear this song…makes it more difficult to hear the instrumental nuances

3. RHTHYM – Drums/Bass & Rhythm Guitar hold time

4. HARMONY – complimentary melody with different notes (diad/triad)

lead guitar (no vocal accompaniment)

5LYRICS – the story:

“Bye, Bye Baby”

Bye, bye-bye, baby, bye-bye.
I maybe seeing you around
When I change my living standard and I move uptown,
Bye-bye, baby, bye-bye.

So long, my honey, so long.
Too bad you had to drift away
‘Cause I could use some company
Right here on this road, on this road I’m on today.

I get the feeling I could chase you clean on in the ball
And wind up staying pull off, put down strung out and stalled.
Honey, I ain’t got time to wait on you or to fetch your super ball,
I got lots of things I’ve got to do.

I know that you got things to do and places to be.
I guess I’ll have to find the thing you placed on me.
I may wind up in the street or sleep beneath a tree,
Still I guess you know honey I’ve gotta go.

Bye, bye-bye, baby, bye-bye.
I guess you know you’re on your own,
It seems you just got lost somewhere out in the world
And you left me here to face it all alone,
You left me here to face it all alone,
You left me here to face it all alone,
Bye, bye-bye baby, baby bye-bye!

6.  DENSITY – the amount of stuff in the sound space (# of tracks/instruments, etc)

i am thinking that lead guitar/drums/bass guitar were recorded in a studio on separate tracks.

and vocals recorded live – remastered for the “Greatest Hits” album

Drums sound Centerstage right along with mono vocals Downstage Right Centre, lead guitar Upstage left


lead vocals, drums, lead & bass guitar

8. SONG STRUCTURE  (intro/verse/chorus/bridge)

AABB bridge A

9. PERFORMANCE – plat de résistance

Great vocals, lots of energy (why i am thinking vocals were recorded live)





Mark the date! Upcoming Harmonica Retreat on the Grand in June

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Shared Harvest Community Farm does it again!

Click on link for more details:  Harmonica Retreat week-end in June


For the first time ever together with over 50 years 
combined experience overblowing 
and live on stage and in workshops 
Adam Gussow & Carlos del Junco 
The 2014 International Blues Challenge in Memphis Lee Oskar 
Best Harmonica Player Award Winner
Jerome Godboo
beginners, intermediate, advanced
June 27th to June 29th
 at Shared Harvest Community Farm
 834 North Shore Drive Dunnville, ON

Lovin’ this Zoom H6…Class #4 Random Recordings

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Tyler jamming in class #4 randomly captured with minor cuts/effects in post:

Comparing various field recorders. This was recorded using the Zoom H6 with the XY mic at 120 degrees:

Recorded using the Zoom H6 with the XY mic at 90 degrees.  Cut a short intro and used the “pluck” feature on Audacity on this clip:

Field Recordings using the Zoom H6 and the XY mic using the 90 degree option (width of the recording field) recommended (by owner’s manual) for recording close and medium sound sources to capture a three-dimensional sound with natural depth and width.  Sounded good to me, except this set up records in stereo (oops):

Sounds recorded while on a winter walk-about in the neighbourhood.   Monitoring the input signal levels was a bit tricky while attempting to record the snow sounds 🙂

a mental traffic breakdown:

approaching a traffic light…hitting the panic button:

sound of snow crunching while dressed in snowmobile gear:

Microphones…the Acoustic Era

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Three cheers for Gorilla Inventors!

Emile Berliner - MicrophoneMicrophone of Caveat April 11, 1877 with mouthpiece added

Berliner blasts the Bell patent pork in 1876:

1. Who was Emile Berliner?  2. What did he do that pissed off Thomas Edison?  3. Who takes credit for the first carbon microphone patent in 1877?

The unveiling of Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone in 1876 inspired Emile Berliner, a young man with rudimentary knowledge of electricity & physics to improve on the telephone’s transmitter.  He invented a “loose contact” metal-to-metal transmitter (type of microphone) to function as a telephone speech transmitter, then wrote and filed the patent himself, causing a stir among the titans of technology.  Thomas Edison followed his lead and filed patent applications for the carbon microphone in June 1877.  After a long legal battle, Edison emerged the victor, and the Berliner patent was ruled invalid by both American and British courts.

Berliner was quickly picked up by Thomas Watson of the American Bell Telephone Company and employed as a researcher until 1884 when he set out with new wife, Cora & his recently acquired American Citizenship to pioneer in Washington DC as an independent Researcher & Inventor.  In 1886, he began working on his greatest contribution to the world: the gramophone…making possible the recording and reproduction of sound using disc records

Ok let’s take a closer look at the “micro” drama:

4. What is a liquid transmitter?  Describe how it works…  5.  Who invented it and when?

In 1876 a liquid transmitter (variable -resistance device) was developed by Elisha Gray & Alexander Graham Bell (simultaneously):

the user talked into a black funnel-shaped mouthpiece at the base of which is a stretched membrane diaphragm.  A metal pin through the centre of the diaphragm extends down into a metal cup containing dilute acid.  An ohmmeter between the cup and the pin will show fixed resistance.  Movement of the diaphragm causes the pin to move up and down in the liquid, varying resistance accordingly. Connecting wires from the pin and cup, in series with a battery & telephone receiver would produce articulate speech in the receiver when speaking into the mouthpiece
6. Why did box telephones fail?  7.  What invention improved on the magneto transmitter? 8.  Who introduced a chemical reaction to transmitter design?

Bell’s box telephones (magneto transmitters) worked well as receivers but as transmitters, their signal output was too weak to carry any great distance.  User had to shout into the mouthpiece only to be barely heard on the other end three miles of wire away.  Transmitter design would have to be improved…enter competition from Western Union…Thomas Edison’s lampblock carbon unit, “the Blake” (variable-resistance transmitter) with improvements in sensitivity & reliability courtesy of our favourite rogue, Berlinger, outperformed Bell’s Magneto type until Henry Hunnings came on the scene in 1879 with a new transmitter design using granules of coke between the diaphragm and a metal backplate.  In 1886, Edison improved on Hunnings design by designing a small button-type container and using processed anthracite granules.  In 1892, A.C. White pushed the button  by using a polished carbon block as a rear plate and a similar block in front against a mica disc, with the carbon granules in between.  The mica disc worked like a piston.  Known as the Whit “solid-back” type, it was the industry’s first reliable transmitter and was used from 1892 until about 1925

9. Who invented wireless telegraphy?  10. How did that spark interest in improving microphone technology?  11. How did Goldschmidt get around the low current capacity of the telephone transmitter?

The telephone transmitter as the only available microphone in 1900, was finding other applications thanks to the invention of wireless telegraphy by Nikola Tesla in 1895.  Gorilla inventors were trying to modulate wireless radio waves so that speech could be sent on them.  As there were no amplifying currents in those days, the microphone was connected into the antenna and had to carry the circuit’s full current.  Only very low-power radio transmitters could accommodate the use of the telephone transmitter whose maximum current capacity was about one-half ampere, leading to the use of multiple microphones with a common mouthpiece.  Rudolph Goldschmidt (a fan of Jersey Shores) introduced a patented circuit for working microphones in parallel to address the problem of failure of the group due to the short circuit of one transmitter.

12. What is a flame microphone? 13.  What is a liquid microphone?  14. When was the magnetic modulator invented?  By who? And for what market?

The hunt for high-power microphones revived earlier patents for condenser transmitters (Edison in 1879 & Dolbear in 1881) and sparked a culture of electronics experimentation & inquiry between 1900 & 1915.  Berliner made a high-current carbon microphone that was air cooled by a fan mounted under the microphone…noisy! Blondell & Chambers developed flame microphones based on spark rods in an oscillating circuit adjusted just short of sparking, using speech vibration to alter the gas supply pressure and vary a flame’s resistance in the gap which would cause sparking to occur.  Liquid or “hydraulic” microphones came upon the scene at this time using the flow of a fine stream of conducting liquid from a reservoir traveling about five feet until the stream would break into droplets.  Sound variations on an elastic diaphragm were driven by a metal diaphragm behind the mouthpiece to carry the pressure of the stream, producing  a variable resistance in proportion to the sound on the diaphragm.  Using 65 volts at 12 amps (780 watts) a one-horsepower microphone was possible (until someone opened a door or sneezed).  The development of heavy-current microphone relays by Fessenden & Dubilier as well as advancement in circuit design by C. Egner & J.G. Holmstrom furthered the cause of high-current microphone technology.  In 1911 the “magnetic modulator” was invented by Alexanderson, a transformer that could handle up to 75 kilowatts for use with an RF alternator.  General Electric picked up on this technology, producing smaller transformers for the 5 to 100 watt transmitters used in Amateur Radio.

15. What was the necessity that lead to improved communications such as noise cancelling technology in microphones?  16. Who were the major players?  17. What device was used to broadcast Woodrow Wilson’s speech in 1919?

World War I created an immediate demand for improved communications and Western Electric, General Electric & The Magnavox Company with the help of vacuum tube technology put the microphone back into a simple circuit leading to the development of  “noise-cancelling” hand held microphones for the military.  These companies introduced various styles of “loudspeakers”  and amplifiers for public address systems including Western Electric’s “Chauphone”  and Magnavox’s “Telemegaphone” which was used to broadcast President Woodrow Wilson’s speech to 50,000 Americans gathered in the San Diego Stadium in 1919.

18. When did Amateur Radio go Pro?  19. What was the transmitter of choice in 1920 for commercial broadcasting?  20. What is a tomato can?  21. What manufacturers were still in the game in 1931?  22.  Who introduced the first bi-directional microphone?

Radio amateurs found themselves sought after as entertainers thanks to the  “candlestick telephone” (Western Electric transmitter No 323) and in 1920, commercial broadcasting was born. Westinghouse launched several radio stations in 1920 & 1921, picking up the microphone slack with the development of the “dishpan” microphone which permitted mellowing out of the squeaky high-pitched sound of the telephone transmitters with bass and midrange.  Improvements on this design with a condenser element was known as a “tomato can” popularized by General Electric who made most of the microphones sold by RCA between 1919 & 1927 including the “bullet” in 1926.  By 1931, Western Electric (a subsidiary of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company) however, emerged as the leader in microphone engineering waxing Westinghouse & General Electric and despite the explosion of small microphone manufacturers such as Electro-Voice, only RCA survived as a major contender with the introduction of the 44A ribbon velocity bidirectional microphone.



Most microphones today use electromagnetic induction (dynamic microphone), capacitance change (condenser microphone), piezoelectric generation, or light modulation to produce an electrical voltage signal from mechanical vibration. – See more at:

compare with modern microphone technologies:

electromagnetic induction (dynamic mic);  condenser capacitor change (condenser mic); light modulation (mechanical vibration produces a voltage signal)

Feb 3rd Class Notes

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“Midnight Special” – class song for listening

(artist?  Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee)

here is what i heard:

  • harmonica, bass rhythm guitar, snare with brushes, lead & accompanying vocals
  • blues riff but kinda country sounding (very clear, warm vocals)
  • live off the floor with three or four microphones (perhaps a harmonica mic/ vocals & guitar)
  • mono recording


  • 20 questions bout mic tech (mono) -look all the way back to 1877 to 1930
  • more recordings, critical listening assignment & blindfolded listening 25 min

Listening (not quite) Blindfolded #2

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living near the Conestoga Parkway brings a variety of noise into my space which, admittedly, i have learned to ignore.

While taking a break from shoveling, i allowed myself to focus in on the sounds of moving traffic on the expressway.  I could easily distinguish between cars verses transport trucks, etc. and continued to listen until the sounds became even more distinctive and i could make out the difference in the sound of acceleration between what i imagined came from a four cylinder car from that of an eight cylinder car, the unique sounds of poorly maintained vehicles struggling to maintain speed, and the sound of a car driving at 100kph with a faulty exhaust system