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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:08 pm 
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I haven't been on the forums or at the space for about 30 hours.

This is the first I've heard of audio stuff moving from the basement into the classroom.

Was there a problem with the basement?

As far as what the classroom is going to be used for, the discussions I've been part of over the last 10 months or so have concluded "everything", that is, as much as possible, and a great variety of things.

The classroom has been our "flex space", where all kinds of different stuff can happen. We need to have a room that can be used to teach classes, and can be rearranged on the fly. There's a lot of stuff that has to happen away from contamination, under light, and near power, internet, and computers. That's what the classroom is.

That's one of the major reasons we've made so much effort to get a lot of dead weight and crap out of there. (I say "we", I've helped haul a lot of it out.)

I"m not opposed to having an audio whatever set up in there, especially if it's been vetted by John S. and McSteve.

I will say, I'd like for it to be as mobile and rearrange-able as possible.

I did see the forum post 5 weeks ago about an audio mixing setup getting built downstairs. I haven't seen anything from Adam until these recent posts.

Please take this as an example that even people who are invested in an outcome might not notice when this stuff is just posted on the forums.

I'm not saying don't do it; I am saying be prepared for a massive outcry of "what the frack" from the 80% of our current members who don't read the forums. (That's the percentage I think I was told by people who sounded like they knew; Most of the folks I talk to when I'm at the space don't get on the forums.)

Riley

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Last edited by Orkraider on Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:23 pm 
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Location: NE Minneapolis
a ponderance:

we have an standing loan offer on the board and it gets used regularly for HMMM, however, both of those operations are not necessarily brilliantly served by the current location as they're 1-2 days a month at best, but do need the speaker infrastructure. that said, the current location is ideal for an audio "hub" as it were for piping sound to the speakers in the clasroom and over the shop.

we have a cute 4 channel mini mixer that may be just dandy for "mixing" audio in from 1) computer, 2) microphone "pa" 3) 3rd party input or mp3 player, etc to amps and the speakers "installed".

the ev console could have a road case built for it that could "live" somewhere out of the way, and include wheels, handles and importantly folding legs/roll up legs and a few feed cables so that it could just have it's lid pulled and a cable pulled to the "hub" to drive HMMM or loaded into a back seat for out of house gigs. supporting foam is *critical* on this kind of case, if we don't get it it'll need a *tender* touch to move.

the right front office is reasonably quiet, and seems to be used often for recording things, if there isn't room where the ev console was, installing the studio there may make sense, as the closet while tiny, may be the best isolated chunk of space in the factory.

of note, i'd recommend leaving the rack as part of the hub as the eq in it and affiliated tuners and the like are ideal for getting the speakers involved vaguely close to flat. (which somewhere i have the settings recorded for, or can rta&whitenoise them again)


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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:14 am 
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Location: Minnetonka, MN
I hope this round provides more solutions--or at least food for creative problem solving--than challenges.

The downstairs location is less than ideal because you're trying to "mix" (and, for the moment record) in a (sometimes heavily trafficked) corridor that runs through a room full of cooling compressors. I've heard talk of that room becoming a "pub" -- but maybe that isn't the best use of space either. As we begin to push folks to document their projects for our portfolio, I'd like to see the product shot studio return. However, I am also thinking about a portable solution to this "AOI" and will be working with John S. and other interested "shooters" to implement it. Regardless, the space is less than ideal for audio and having the audio equipment there is less than ideal for the space.

I personally hope that the existing conference room can remain a meeting space (because I think the other front room should be an office with desks), a flex room for casual meeting and laptop hacking and an alternative classroom for smaller groups. It's also "okay" as the podcast room but that impedes its use by others on Wednesdays and the "studio" needs to be configured and stripped every week--I know Kelly would like a dedicated "booth" built in the space formerly occupied by the plethora of CNC carts. That should be the subject of another "best use?" analysis but let's concede that this will happen.

Which brings us back to making use of the existing audio table located in the logical hub. Surveying that setup I see a pile of unused speakers (at least one visually damaged) taking up approximately 20% of the table. I'm going to move those speakers to the loft later today. The EV mixer consumes another 50%. Let's "assume" for the moment that we also remove and road-case (10,000:1 expanding spray foam FTW) the EV mixer. If we do these things will the new gear fit onto the existing table for now? If not, can some of the gear be "racked" under the table?

In the long run, can we improve that space by not using a folding table at all? Can we design a modular solution? Can we use the existing cart from downstairs or find another that is better suited? If we use a smaller mixer for "most stuff" will the entire input section fit into a single cube rack with the board sitting on top--or on a small "production desk"? Should we look to procure or build a console? We will use a dedicated rack for the house output--eq's, amps, etc. That rack should be relocated to the corner that those speakers currently occupy.

So the big question (assuming the existing space can be made to work) is can the "audio geeks" (I can say that, I've got a Klipsch "Bullshit" belt buckle) live with the fact that, sometimes, the studio will be unavailable because of "other things" going on in the classroom (I ask the same of the circuit benders and get inconclusive responses). More accurately, is this the "best compromise" for their AOI? Given the landscape, I strongly suspect that it is.

If that compromise is unacceptable, my alternative "outside the box" thought would be to toss the "signal isolation" components onto the table (or into the area) across from the HAM shack. I don't know the realities of power or have a true measure of the space--can two pairs of "engineer/operators" work back-to-back there? Will the wall mounted antenna introduce RF interference? Would Brandon's screams of pain and Karin's squeals of...whatever...emitting from the office be too distracting from the task at hand? I do know that the existing table, like all flat spaces, has collected a pile of crap rendering that space ugly and underutilized.

I also note that the old office space is also not being used well, but recognize compressors, refrigerator and air, and proximity to the metal shop probably rule it out as a sound booth. (Hmmmmm...is this the "office/storage for the shop and area managers?)

On a side note, I'm starting to reconsider the best use for room that the MAME cabinet occupies. It was to become a spraying booth and, while I like that idea, I'm wondering if a better use of that space would be storage for our rolling "modules". I'm going to share that idea with John, et. al. and let it percolate.

I very much appreciate the opportunity to voice opposition in is and I hope that we're on our way to implementing the best compromise solution to this challenge. I think we're close.

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Last edited by rigger on Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:25 am, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:31 am 
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Location: Minnetonka, MN
One more thing…

We really should get some input from Homemade Music about their workflow. Though its only twice a month, they are regular users of this equipment and a core component of The Hack Factory (and an embodiment of TC Maker's mission) so it is important that their needs be taken into account. If, for some reason (though I don't see why this would be true) we can't meet those needs, they should be notified so that they can make alternative arrangements.

Is Paul the best contact for this? Who understands their technical requirements?

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 Post subject: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:06 am 
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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 3:46 pm
Posts: 120
Location: South Minneapolis
Here's some thoughts about the isolation booth location:

It seems a reasonable spot from some perspectives: an existing window, space that is kind of difficult to use another way, and would not seem to impinge on any other intent, etc.

From another perspective: it is in the middle of the building. People will need to open and close the door to the classroom, outside the space I know, but likely to vibrate the walls and window to the proposed isolation booth. Also, this location is fewer than 18 feet from the tablesaw and other loud power tools. And lastly, the shop audio speakers are basically sitting on top of the isolation booth.

Now, I understand this isolation booth is wanted, but I also know how it is supposed to work, and to be used properly in that location, it would mean I and others would not be able to listen to loud music and make sawdust when true sound isolation is called for. If this isolation booth were placed in the basement, or the safe, or the scary bathroom, or the shop office, these examples of ambient sound conflicting with its intended use could be addressed, allowing all members to use the various tools and resources with a much lower possibility of being asked to keep the noise down while the booth is being used. I'm willing to accept there are times when one member's needs call for that, I'm happy to wait a short period of time to rip a sheet of plywood, if it means someone can get a baseline reading for a calibration or something, but if some were to record a song, or a podcast, or documentary voiceover on the isolation booth, I might be asked to wait a half hour or more to rip my panel. This could be a concern for those of us with limited time in the shop.

I'm much in favor of Rigger's suggestions about minimizing the footprint of the existing audio system. And I also am in favor of providing space for an audio signal processing station in a place that makes sense relative to other interests (i.e., the classroom seems to make some sense) but the isolation booth is something that concerns me from a practical use point of view. I guess I'm asking for a patient and thoughtful rebuttal of my concerns, if someone can provide it.


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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:44 am 
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Odegard wrote:
Here's some thoughts about the isolation booth location:


Good points Chris.

As far as the podcast goes, I'm not sure it requires recording studio levels of isolation--it's more a matter of attenuation. I don't think an (attenuated) table saw is a problem--in fact, it might add the correct "seasoning" to the mix. I might even suggest that the booth door be left open during recording to add to the "working shop ambience" The speakers overhead blasting music might be a problem though. This is for Kelly, Adam and John to decide.

In terms of other recording sessions, absent a better location, it might become a negotiated use situation. In practice this may or may not be a problem, depending on how much recording gets done. (I suspect it's workable, particularly because I'm still unconvinced that the booth will see heavy, or rather frequent, use beyond the podcast.) In the end, we would be wise to remember that we're not a recording studio, and people using the space shouldn't believe that we are. Like pottery, glass blowing and large caliber target practice, there are specialized facilities for that.

(We could also consider setting aside some Quiet Hours on a weekly or monthly basis?)

That being said, it would be painful to build the booth and find that it's completely unworkable so at the very least this warrants further thought before execution.

A true floating room would suck up a lot of sheet rock and a fair amount of stick lumber but would eliminate most of your concerns. Not sure it's worth the expense, but I'd be happy to lend Jude a hand, and my "expertise" at building one if it was deemed necessary and/or desirable.

Or maybe we just create the Domes of Silence.

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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:13 pm 
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Posts: 35
Hey I am Joshua and I had taken over setting up Handmade music around January. I was asked by a couple of folks to come on and comment on the discussion. I don't normally come on the forums or on Wednesdays (I have a conflict). I am at the space (generally) on Tuesdays and Thursdays if people wanted to talk with me more about this. My feeling is that the nature of what Handmade Music is doing is pretty broad so what our needs are is in flux from event to event. We have had a Heavy Rock band playing very loud through Handmade Cabinets, some people playing by themselves on cigar box guitars and what I am putting together for this month is a condenser mic building workshop without a performance element. I feel to accurately address this I should talk about the Audio Space and HMMM needs separately


HMMM=
Basically I feel okay with the current set up being minimized if the gear that is there is put somewhere accessible in the occurrences that we do need it, I am okay with coming in before hand and setting stuff up when that is needed rather than have it there all the time. Jude and Paul (when available) usually do a lot to help with set up, and if I need I can put something up requesting help which I have done before. There is a smaller HMMM group meeting on Thursdays but we mostly work on individual projects and don't usually need anything more than a guitar amp.

Audio Space=
I know myself and at least 3 others would give this a bunch of use. The concern where it is is folks coming walking through to get to the arts area behind it and the inability to isolate things. I don't really know that I like the classroom as the best alternative though but if the rolling ISO Booth can be made that would be better. The classroom idea isn't really something new, it was the original idea Jude had around January but it never got discussed more because it seemed for a while like we might not get the extra space. The thinking behind moving stuff to the classroom actually is to minimize the footprint and efficiency. There is audio gear in the Basement, and also Audio gear in the classroom...So why not integrate them together and make one space that fits our needs rather than 2 that kind of don't?

I feel a little weird about whether or not my response is actually helping people reach an understanding about this or make things any clearer because it's not really often where I am asked specifically to comment on something here, but I hope that helped in some way


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 Post subject: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:18 pm 
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Location: Minnetonka, MN
Thanks for your input Josh. I think you've addressed some concerns.

I think we're all in agreement that the 24 channel mixer can be taken offline so long as it remains available for special events.

I moved the "speakers" to the loft today, though IMO they should have gone directly to the dumpster. There is a lot of room on the existing table now--and much more if we use a smaller mixer.

XLR cables and two Shure mics were put into the "audio cables" drawer below the table.




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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 657
Location: downtown Saint Paul
Joshua, it's excellent to hear from you.

I'm hoping that getting a little taste of forum fun will have you coming back for more.

For those who take the plunge, the forum is really handy. It's a great way to discuss things, get things done, share ideas, and explore them, sometimes without mockery or teasing.

It sounds like there's definitely interest in getting sound stuff set up and working.

I'm blessed in that I know nothing about this stuff, so this is all learning for me, which makes it fun to read and discuss.

There is a way to provide this gear and the space for it, it's just a question of how and where.

It sure sounds like we're getting all the right people involved in the conversation.

I'm hoping that those of us who do get on here on a regular basis, including myself, will be willing to reach out to those of us who don't, so we can have a useful and inclusive discussion.

I'm a big fan of things that are mobile, modular, and multi use. (Hmm.. 3 M's.. I should copyright that.)

I look forward to seeing more on this here.

Riley

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 Post subject: Re: New Music Studio Downstairs
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:32 pm
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Location: Dinkytown
Today is Saturday Oct. 1st and I'm going to go ahead and setup the audio equipment in the classroom, assuming I can get help moving the rack unit. From what I understand most everyone is cool with this, albeit a few initial concerns posted here that have now been addressed. If there are any issues with the setup get a hold of me at [email protected]

Cheers,
Art


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