Archive for May, 2008

What I've been Listening to…….and doing

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Bobby over at www.myworshiprevolution.com (notice how I’m definitely not cool enough to know how to like, embed the url address within a title…I have to just type it out there), asked all the bloggers to play a little game where you take a screenshot of you’re top 25 most played itunes songs. So, it sounded like fun, so here goes:

itunessmall-1.jpg picture by rypdal95

So, the only thing that stands out more than the consistency of U2 songs in this picture is the fact that it is just that……. a picture. I have no idea how to take a screenshot, so I took out my camera and took a picture of the screen. Yep. See, I’m not bothered by little things like, ‘How do I do that’ or ‘What’s the best way to do this’. Nope. I want a screenshot. I pull out my camera and make it happen.

So, those are my top 25 most played songs on itunes. The only name not widely recognized is probably Jeff Victor. He’s a composer of Irish ambient pieces. I’ve never heard anyone like him. It’s exciting to see Moby, Jeff Buckley, and Allison Kraus make the list. Makes it look like I actually listen to something besides U2. And no, I didn’t doctor the list……. too much.

See, some might say I listen to U2 a little too often. And I usually deny it. But then I found these pictures. These both confirm that the U2 man-crushes have gone a bit too far, and that I should probably step out of the computer stone age. Remember in elementary school, after you were done with your typing exercises, the teacher maybe….. just maybe….. might let you play…….

OTEdgesmall.jpg

OTBonosmall.jpg

OTthiefsmall.jpg

OTtradesmall.jpg

Oh, yes. Oregon Trail. Nothing, and I mean nothing beats the original. Except for the fact that both the guitarist and singer from U2 were in my wagon train. Hey, come on! I just wanted to play the game and it won’t let you play unless you type in like, 5 names of people to go with you on your wagon train. So I just typed in the first people that came to my mind. Hmmm….. that might be worse.

And yes, they are camera pictures of my computer monitor again.

The other awesome thing is notice in the third picture the thief that is stealing boxes of oxen. 

And lastly, in the last picture, that’s how trading is on this game. I needed a wagon wheel, because mine broke and I was unable to repair it. But you can’t request things to trade for in this game! You just click ‘trade’. And then someone offers you one random thing per day. So I sat there for a year (on the game’s calendar) until someone finally offered me a wagon wheel. Ya, it was boring.

So, that’s the documentation on what I’ve been listening to, doing, and U2. Yep. U2 is so awesome, they allow you to be grammatically incorrect. It has been a pretty sucky last 2 months. I’ve been in a car accident and had two unrelated surgeries. So I’ve been stuck around the house for a good portion of those two months to heal, and as my wife will tell you, I’m not the best patient. I don’t do too well with not being able to just take off and go places and do things. So I’m stuck at my computer, healing and killing off members of U2 in my original Oregon Trail wagon train. 

Oh, and by the way, for all you tech guys out there, I actually had to download an Apple II simulator to play that Oregon Trail game. 

Splendid. Kind of. I need to get out of the house.
Karl.

Vox AC15 handwired reissue

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Another amp broke down (actually my new Mondo Amps Bassman clone of which I just gave a glowing review, so that bums me out a bit), so while I’m waiting on my tech to fix it, I started searching for another one. Now, I greatly enjoy when my amps break down (kinda) because it gives me the excuse to gear hunt (as if we need an excuse). So I started to look for something that:

a) I could hopefully sell for the same price
b) I could hopefully sell for more than the price I paid so I could use the extra cash to pay for the repair to my other amp
c) I had wanted to try out

So I ended up with this Vox AC15 handwired reissue.

AC15small.jpg Vox AC15 picture by rypdal95

I got it at Buffalo Brothers down in Carlsbad, which, incidentally, is a really cool place. I had kind of forgotten about them because when I first went there I was still playing a bright candy apple red Ovation and a deep black BC Rich Mockingbird. Oh, ya. It was all about the metal and Yngwie Malmsteen. It still deeply saddens me to this day. Which is possibly the reason I am such a gear hound now….. I am trying to distance myself from my past musical inclinations (read: metal is life) as far as I possibly can.

So, the price was totally right on this thing. They’re pretty new (they just came out within the last 6-8 months) so with the price I paid, I can most likely sell it for more than I paid for it.

Now, all I needed was a fairly warm-sounding tube amp to run my loops through. So, as far as how it sounds live, it sounds perfectly fine. Nice and warm, with a fairly low noise threshold. But, the real test was to play my rig through it, and A/B it with the Holland. So….

The findings:

Tonally it’s very good. It honestly surprised me. See, Vox (now owned by Korg) markets these as being handwired, but actual photos of the circuit show that it’s a mix of handwired and printed circuit board. Kind of wierd. Not just an eyelet board, it looks like there is some printed board wiring going on in there. Probably cheaper. But the wiring looks pretty good anyway, even though I’m no tech. At least the tubes aren’t wired onto the board. And they are made in China. But it sounds very good. The EF86 channel probably sounds the best and the most Voxy. 

But the problem with this amp is that it sounds like rather than just building the AC15 classic circuit, they added in some ‘tone circuitry’ that tries too hard to emulate the jangly AC15 and AC30 sound. It’s a little bit fake to my ears. It makes an otherwise really good sounding amp at low volumes really start to thin out as you turn it up. It’s like, at low volumes it’s warm but not very clear, and to get the clarity you have to turn it up higher. But then you also lose some of the warmth.

It has a master cut control, which is actually very sensitive and does work well to dial back in some of the warmth. And overall it’s a very tight sounding amp….very little flab in the tone. But just a bit too thin and jangly for my tastes. 

The cab has 1 12 inch Celestion Alnico Blue, and the speaker does help the amp a good deal. Gives it clarity and highs. For an amp like this, though, maybe a speaker change would help it to be more warm. Although, that does sound kind of funny, seeing as Vox were the ones to pioneer the Alnico Blues originally, and they usually just kill in an AC15 or AC30 type amp.

So, it sounded much better than I expected, and it’s a very good sounding amp. Upsides are the Alnico Blue speaker, EF86 preamp on two of the channels, good cut control knob, tightness of the tone, and the ability to half power switch to 7.5 watts if needed. Oh, ya, and I seriously love the Fawn color on Vox amps and nothing can beat that classic Vox logo and grillcloth. But it fell just slightly short of my standards for keeping, with the thin and jangly sound.

So, that’s the Vox review from the guy who’s far from an expert. Hopefully this helps a bit. 

Splendid.
Karl.

How to feel better and buy more gear

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Just a quick post intended for the encouragement and exhortation (sorry, a little Christian joke there) for those of us who are feeling guilty about having so much gear. It’s some pictures that I have found….. and they make me feel better about myself….. and in my experience, anything that makes one feel better about oneself is to be embraced emphatically with no questions asked. (No, that’s not really what I believe…. but it’s typed now, and deleting is far too much effort.)

Here ya go!

Fourth place goes to:
wowsmall-1.jpg picture by rypdal95
(That strat second from the left has a killer finish. Although, I’m not so much envious of this guy’s guitars as I am of where he lives. That’s like, my lifelong dream to have that many guitars and live in a place that looks like where Braveheart beat the English.)

Third place drum roll:

wow2small-1.jpg picture by rypdal95
(Props for so many guitars and so much glamrock goodness….. and Spiderman is definitely crawling towards me on the Les Paul in the front.)

Second place is:

wow5small-1.jpg picture by rypdal95
(This was a total toss up between first and second place. The best part about this picture is the three guitar ornaments hanging at the right middle of the picture.)

And the grand prize:

wow3small-1.jpg picture by rypdal95
(And that’s in his house. Let’s try to keep the saliva off the keyboards. 

Licking the screen is fine, but the keyboard can’t be cleaned as easily.)

So, that’s it, ladies and gents. Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief that our gear problems aren’t that bad. And then, of course, we’ll realize that now armed with these pictures, we can probably get away with a few more guitars, and then just keep these pictures in our cases to whip out when someone asks why we have so much gear. See? I’m providing a service to us all.

Splendid.
Karl.

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