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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:38 pm 
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Anyone interested in helping me set up the equipment Saturday October 1st or anyone wanting to contribute equipment to the setup should contact me at arthur.science@gmail.com and we can hash out the details via e-mail.


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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:25 pm 
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Orkraider wrote:
This is awesome, I saw the gear down there.

What else does it need?

Would this be something that could in theory be used for sound editing, or is it a completly different beast, I ask ignorantly?

Riley


The primary purpose of this setup is to record, program, and modify audio signals.

Currently, it does not REQUIRE any additional hardware, but it could certainly benefit from more hardware. Namely, the following items would be of serious benefit:
-1) A high quality A/D converter (e.g. Apogee Rosetta)
-2) High quality Mic pre-amp(s)
-3) More microphones (two identical for stereo xy recording, drum set mics)
-4) A more modern computer?
-5) A raked multi-keyboard stand.


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 Post subject: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:06 pm 
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I'm going to advise having a conversation with Steve McGrath, the Electronics Department Manager or John Scherer, the Shop Manager, before setting aside a portion of the classroom as an audio recording station. Not everyone that might have an objection to setting aside those tables for a specific project reads these forums, and technically Steve has the authority to represent the interests of the full membership in matters like this.


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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:03 pm 
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Odegard wrote:
I'm going to advise having a conversation with Steve McGrath, the Electronics Department Manager or John Scherer, the Shop Manager, before setting aside a portion of the classroom as an audio recording station. Not everyone that might have an objection to setting aside those tables for a specific project reads these forums, and technically Steve has the authority to represent the interests of the full membership in matters like this.


This has already been addressed Mr. Odegard. I've spoken with both McSteve and John about this. McSteve said that he wanted to get a discussion going on the forum, which this thread seems to be accomplishing. From what I can tell they are both behind it, but want to see what other members have to say.


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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:00 pm 
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Odegard wrote:
... before setting aside a portion of the classroom as an audio recording station...


Just for clarity I want to describe how this setup works a little bit, as I know not everyone has a clear idea of what the usage of this equipment entails.

Let me introduce two important dichotomies:
1.) The synthesis/production of new audio signals and the modification of existing audio signals
2.) Audio signals represented by an acoustic phenomenon and audio signals represented by an electrical phenomenon

As the plan stands now (my current unmodified vision):
Everything that is done INSIDE of the classroom is going to deal with the production and/or modification of electrical signals with the aid of computers and specially designed audio circuits. This means there will be NO microphone recording IN the classroom. In order to properly translate acoustic signals into intelligible, high-fidelity electrical signals you need to be able to isolate the acoustic signal of interest from the surrounding acoustic signals (i.e. noise). This is commonly referred to as an ISOLATION BOOTH, and as luck would have it Jude has proposed to build one. The plan is that this isolation booth will occupy a rectangle opposite of the window next to the classroom door and it will be portable or dismountable.


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 Post subject: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:20 pm 
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Thanks for clarifying the shop discussions. It wasn't clear, and any dedicated use of significant space (like the panel saw, ham radio setup, etc.) should involve input from shop management. Not because they (we) necessarily decide all by ourselves, but rather shop management is, in part, tasked with trying to ensure that such things are done with input from as many members as possible.

I had been fairly clear about what was intended with the setup; although the particulars are outside of my experience, the generalities are quite familiar to me (I used to work in a film animation and recording studio). I was more concerned about the statement "if nobody on the forum objects" because I know a great many members do not communicate via the forums. If Steve, John, and Jude are on board, and no substantive objections are raised, I very much look forward to seeing this happen the way you hope it does, and that all members eager to have such a setup available have fun with it.


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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:54 am 
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A note from the opposition. My feeling is that the footprint of the existing audio set up in the classroom needs to be reduced--primarily because of the oversized (for day-to-day use) console. I think any project should involve organizing (racking) the existing gear and a search for a smaller mixer. (The big board could still come out and play for special events).

I am very concerned about the classroom absorbing too many (potentially conflicting) areas of interest. We're struggling to get the classroom organized to the point where we can teach a class or host an outside event. (Disclosure: I have a dog in this race--Mini'App'les is scheduled to use the room later this month). It doesn't make sense to add "more" to the mix before we get the existing setup straightened out.

I'd also like to know that there was some consensus amongst the membership that a dedicated *analog* audio/video studio is useful and desirable. In this day and age of "studio on a laptop" are there enough people who will use the equipment to make it worth the space, power, etc.? (That's intended as a legitimate question. I have my bias and suspicion, but we need an objective answer.) I fear we can no longer devote significant real estate to "build it and they will come" (maybe, hopefully, we think) AOI (Area(s) of Interest)--or at least we must do so carefully.

To summarize and clarify my dissent: I am willing to concede that we should dedicate space and resources to this "studio" but, if we proceed, the project should include a design process that minimizes the footprint, simplifies the "UI", and maximizes the usability. Taking up a "corner of the classroom" on a full time basis doesn't work for me given my current suspicions about how much (or rather little) use this equipment will receive. I emphasize that I am quite open to counter-arguments, I just ask that the due diligence (of which this thread is part) be carried out and that, assuming we proceed the studio not become a Mulligan's closet of gear tossed into service simply because "it was free".

In related news, two of my Ultimate Support folding mic stands (and one old-school, heavy boom) are currently stowed in the frontmost closet in the Conference Room. Feel free to put them to work so long as they can also be used for other activities as needed. (Twist the base to un/lock the legs). The stands are labeled with my email address and are available for in-house use by all members. They may be taken offsite for "official" TCM events, by Michael for Roller Derby, or otherwise with my permission.

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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:29 am 
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I agree that we should avoid adding too much new stuff to the classroom.

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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:08 am 
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rigger wrote:
My feeling is that the footprint of the existing audio set up in the classroom needs to be reduced--primarily because of the oversized (for day-to-day use) console.

Ok, fine, but I have yet to hear an alternative suggestion for the usage of that space. Currently it is barely being used. There is the current audio equipment that is being used for live shows, and yes I admit the way the mixer is being used for that purpose is over-sized....but it wouldn't be for recording. A smaller mixer means less functionality for it's primary purpose; it's not like getting a smaller monitor screen. On the other table there is Jude's computer, which he already confirmed could live somewhere else.

rigger wrote:
We're struggling to get the classroom organized to the point where we can teach a class or host an outside event... It doesn't make sense to add "more" to the mix before we get the existing setup straightened out.

Sometimes the best way to get something done that has been procrastinated or otherwise lacked initiative is to bundle it with a project that has momentum. An anecdotal analogy: I admittedly have a hard time sticking to an exercise routine. Recently I started renting a room in a place with a disgusting shower. Given my aversion to the shower and my unwillingness to invest time, money, and energy to fix what's wrong, I've started to use the UMN Rec Center for showering. Since I'm already there I figure, what's an extra 30 minutes doing cardio?

Anyway I'm simply suggesting that this audio workstation project presents the perfect opportunity to revamp the classroom. Revamping the classroom and tying these things together was in fact brought up by McSteve when I spoke with him.

As for whether or not it makes sense to add more equipment when an existing setup needs to be re-organized, I would argue that this is actually the BEST TIME to integrate new hardware. What would NOT MAKE SENSE is to disassemble all connections, figure out your signal paths, reconfigure current hardware, set it all up, and then DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN so that you can incorporate new hardware (which inevitable changes signal paths).

rigger wrote:
I'd also like to know that there was some consensus amongst the membership that a dedicated *analog* audio/video studio is useful and desirable. [\quote]

And I'd like to show that this is the case. I know about the interest from going around and talking to people (both within hackfactory and the community at large). Part of the point of this thread should be for people to speak up about their support or dissent for this project and the reasons why.

rigger wrote:
the project should include a design process that minimizes the footprint, simplifies the "UI", and maximizes the usability.


The thought of NOT doing this has literally not even crossed my mind up to this point. To not do so would be irresponsible and frivolous. Rest assured that this will be the case.

rigger wrote:
Taking up a "corner of the classroom" on a full time basis doesn't work for me given my current suspicions about how much (or rather little) use this equipment will receive.

As you suggested previously, we should base our actions regarding this project on as many facts as possible, not suspicions. From my conversations with members, the interest I have seen contradict your suspicions.

Cheers,
Art


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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:51 am 
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Sorry to be the rain on the parade. If nothing else this identifys an overall communication problem I'm not sure we yet know the "right" way to poll the entire membership and make intelligent decisions about space and resource allocation--particularly if the area managers are going to kick it over to the forums.

I want to be clear that I support audio exploration and production. My objection is to expansion of the current "audio area" of the classroom when that space isn't currently being utilized well or often.

arthur.science wrote:
Ok, fine, but I have yet to hear an alternative suggestion for the usage of that space. Currently it is barely being used.


An alternative suggestion would be--space. Flexible space. Space that can be repurposed as needed. You admit that, the current equipment is "little used" which makes expansion even less desireable in my eyes. We should better use the space already allocated to audio. (There was also discussion regarding that space during an impromtu meeting about the classroom that was held last Wednesday night.)

As to a smaller board being "less flexible", I concur (sort of--a Mackie 1204 is a damn versatile piece of kit)--but as I've yet to see us make use of the current board (in its current postion) to do anything other than route "house audio", I think we could live with some compromise for our "permanent" setup and pull out the big board for live mixing, etc.


arthur.science wrote:
As for whether or not it makes sense to add more equipment when an existing setup needs to be re-organized, I would argue that this is actually the BEST TIME to integrate new hardware. What would NOT MAKE SENSE is to disassemble all connections, figure out your signal paths, reconfigure current hardware, set it all up, and then DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN so that you can incorporate new hardware (which inevitable changes signal paths).


If the signal routing is that difficult, we're already doing it wrong.

I agree, that the the best time to add/replace equipment to the existing audio setup is during a re-org of that specific area. The point I was trying to make is that I don't feel we should add anything to the classroom *as a whole* until we get the current equipment allocated, orgainized, etc. I would have no objection to a re-org of the existing table independent of the the overall effort--it's the expansion that bothers me. Particularly in that expanding to "Jude's table" conflicts with the discussion about the space that John, McSteve, Brian and I had on Wednesday night--though none of that was conclusive or final. Again, the problem is that this room is already serving too many masters. We need a focused overall plan. I commend your effort here as part of that process!


arthur.science wrote:
Part of the point of this thread should be for people to speak up about their support or dissent for this project and the reasons why.

Agreed, hence my dissent.

In response to my concerns about "doing it right" you say:
arthur.science wrote:
Rest assured that this will be the case.


I'll rest assured once I see the gear racked and stacked, but for now I'll take your word for it.


arthur.science wrote:
As you suggested previously, we should base our actions regarding this project on as many facts as possible, not suspicions. From my conversations with members, the interest I have seen contradict your suspicions.


Your survey of the membership is anecdotal. Did nobody express concerns? Dissent? Disagreement? Were people excited about the idea of a "studio" in the abstract or were they supportive of adding it to and already stresssed classroom/meeting space? Am I the only member concerned about this stuff? (Again, that's why we're having a conversation and I'm happy that you've initiated it.)

It is my observation that I can walk around and talk to members and find "consent" for almost anything. To be "snippy" (and hyperbolic) in an otherwise polite, adult conversation I'm reasonably sure that I could walk around and get a statistically signifcant portion of the membership to agree that stabling a polo pony would be a "good" idea if I presented the idea in isolation. (Riley would be measuring it for armor in his mind.)

One of our big challenges is that we're all, somewhat by nature, "yes" people who want to be able to do it all and have the ultimate, wizzy-wig Hack/Make space that is all things to all people--and we all want to "play" in a number of areas The problem is that, during informal discussion, very few of us take the time to evaluate the overall costs in terms of space, power, other resources and, *gasp*, money.

My compromise suggestion is that you revamp the current single table space to better serve all of our purposes. If there isn't eough room for everything there, perhaps we look to create some rolling rack cubes (with patch bays) to incorporate less frequently used gear on an as-needed basis. (I think rolling carts, cubes, etc. may be the solution to a lot of our "AOI" challenges moving forward.)Yes this will involve sourcing patch panels and road cases. (Sadly, I disgarded same when I moved).

I've said my piece and am now moving on (to the Hack Factory to try to make some order in the classroom). This will work itself out---probably not to my liking but whatever. It's a shared space.

Rgds!

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