[ I'm reposting this from my blog on AtmoWorks to here - the original is posted here: link ]
I'm beginning a few blog posts about my quest to get my studio back up and running again after four years of not hitting the 'record' button...
I had a nice week off from work and I got the urge to actually work on setting up my studio... yet again... I forget which round this is, but let's say I've made a few attempts prior to this to varying degrees of success. The last attempt in March is the most memorable one since I caused my double hernia to get bad enough to get noticed and prompted a series of doctor appointments culminating in surgery in June. Obviously during those few months before/after - moving equipment around just wasn't fun... The great news is the surgery was successful and now I've got a couple pieces of plastic in my abdomen worth over $4k which thankfully my insurance paid a big chunk of. (total bills topped $23k - and that was for relatively minor outpatient surgery... crazy world... anyway!)
At some point I'll delve into the 4 year break thing, but I'll save that for later. Actually - this is my 2nd four year break - I also stopped recording from '92 to '96... but anyway...
First off, it's helpful to know that I have a relatively small house - 880 sq feet (2 bedroom, 1 bath) - the 2nd bedroom is my studio / catch all / closet. We've lived here for 17 years. I mention this because of the 'catch all' factor. Anything makes it's way into our house generally means something's got to get tossed into my studio to make room for it or to just tidy up if company drops by. So step one of any 'getting the studio running' project is simply tidying up a bit. Step two is dealing with 25 years worth of gear 'stuff'... cables, power cords, adapters, guitar pedals, synth pedals, midi stuff, you name it - it's there. And over the years through various gigs and studio moves - these things have ended up in about 14 different places: tubs, bags, boxes, etc...
So yesterday I tackled the cables and stuff. I threw out any cables that appeared to be really getting old looking (especially radio shack rca and mini plug cables that were turning colors) - and several old power adapters that I don't trust to run or don't have the gear they powered up anymore anyway...
I found a few things I'd forgotten about - things I'd picked up threw the music store I worked at in the 80's/early 90's - that I kept thinking maybe someday they'd be fun to have. Some examples:
* A big phaser pedal that's built like a wah. I don't think it works. Can't remember.
* Odd foot pedals... an old Moog footswitch, a punch in/out footswitch for the old Clarion four tracks, an Ensoniq switch, some Korg footswitches. These always come in handy from time to time - one is wired differently than normal so when you plug it in - it's always on until you push down on it which cuts the note off. Great for hands free drones... no need to have a brick the hold the key down - with that pedal I can use both hands to put tons of reverb on the drone... (grin! I'm joking of course...)
* A Yamaha midi adaptor/splitter/thingy - 2 inputs with 2 pairs of 4 outputs - I knew I had it - just couldn't remember where it was. This was really handy back in my early band days when I was controlling a few different synths for gigs. Haven't had any use for it for a long time, but never know.
* A Korg pedal that is simply two inputs and two outputs - but the amounts outputed are controlled by a way type footpedal. Fun and quirky - might work nice with my modular synth. Another that I knew I had - but had somewhat forgotten about.
I then tackled the cables themselves... sorting them all by length. I bought a ton of cables for my modular when I got it a couple years back and those are really great cables (all from synthesizers.com) - 1', 2', 3', 4', 5', 10'... then the pile of older 20' cables that are in varying states of wear and tear.
My mic cables are the worst... I remember a gig in the 90's where I somehow lost a bunch of perfect 1/4" cables and ended up with a bunch of duct tape covered / gooey sticky / carpet fuzz covered mic cables. They're perfectly good cables - just a pain to actually use (and I'm a bit of a germ-a-phobe so touching carpety gooey cables irritates me). I tossed them in a bin to try and clean them off later with a bit of goo-gone or something...
Speaking of losing stuff at gigs... so far I've lost a classic Crybaby Wah and two Shure SM58's. Cable casualties are kind of minor compared to those three... :-( Oh well! They were years ago - but I do miss the Crybaby... and SM58's are always handy to have around. I have an AKG mic I like a lot - and some cheapy Peavey mics.
Back to setting up...
My wife put handles on a big box (used to hold records) for me and most of my cables are now in there underneath the bench my modular sits on. She'd previously covered the wood with silver contact paper. This looks great.
I took out my Mackie 1604 mixer and replaced it with my 1402. I've decided to downsize - the 1402 is very compact and tremendously smaller in footprint. The 1604 has a few great features - but I think I'd prefer the smaller size. I'll be selling the 1604 once I take some time to really clean it up.
I haven't hooked up my synths and gear yet - however, I did actually fire up Reaper and hook up a microphone and hit record. We wanted to record a voice mail that my father-in-law left us before he passed away 4 years ago - we're dropping our landline and needed to record it.
Ok - so it's not new music from me... but I finally hit "record".
I'll post volume 2 soon... :-)