Monday, February 16, 2015

Fuzz Cast 25 - Recursion

  This episode is a major upgrade from previous shows in regards to it being recorded almost entirely live instead of requiring production after-the-fact. This is because I hooked up a mixer so I could play stuff off my laptop, play my guitar, bass, or drums, and of course, I've got my trusty blue snowball usb mic. So I'm really only recording 2 tracks, the voiceover in one, and the instruments/computer/sound effects in the other.
  I've been setting up a Squier Hello Kitty guitar. It sounds great and the setup is pretty slick but it goes
 out of tune easily and it has limited tone capabilities because it only has a volume knob and one pickup.  B
ut if you like the classic single humbucker sound you'll like this.
  I've also been introduced to the most amazing thing I've ever heard which is an amateur commercial turned i
nto a brilliant jazz guitar piece:
Jones Big Ass truck rentals & storage - Harmonizator
  This week's featured track is a jam session from this past Thursday called recursion. Normally I try to mix and post our recordings but this week Eric beat me to the post. For this jam we experimented with a new idea
. Due to a computer mixing glitch during our previous jam session we got a track that had me playing saxophon
e and drums simultaneously.  We thought it sounded amazing so Jamie had the idea of bringing his looper pedal
 and sampling my sax playing and then sprinkling it into the jam while I played the drums.
  So, the jam consists of me playing a saxophone solo where Jamie sampled a portion of it and then Jamie (bass) and Eric (guitar) come in and I start playing the drums. We definitely had a good time with it and it ende
d up being an 18 minute jam. It was more like 3 or 4 jams in one but with the saxophone loop being the thread
 that binds them all together.
  Here's the track on soundcloud:
Fuzz Bucket - recursion
  This was also the first jam session featuring my brand new Squire bass which was my brother's birthday pres
ent to me.
You can download Fuzz Cast on iTunes here:
or on my blog:
or directly from libsyn:

more links:

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fuzz Cast 24 - Nonsensical Ramblings

I'm slap-happy with the bass today because it's my new toy. My brother bought me a Squier Vintage Modfied Jazz Bass as a belated birthday present. I'm also more comfortable in the studio today because I've got a boom arm stand for the microphone which allows me to position it especially while playing bass. The bass tones today are complements of a device called a Vox Amplug for Bass. I'm pretty happy with the tones that I get, plus I don't have to deal with latency issues that I get from using the amp emulators available in Garage Band.
  Nonsensical Ramblings is a Fuzz Bucket jam session from 9/24/2014 where Jamie played Novax, Eric dialed knobs on the synth and played drums, and I played Trumpet and Saxophone. It's a good fun drony moody thing. It came highly recommended by my brother, Roy, who was visiting over the weekend to deliver the new bass.
  Nonsensical Ramblings is on soundcloud here:

You can download Fuzz Cast on iTunes here:
or on my blog:
or directly from libsyn:
and also on Stitcher app:

more links:

Check out this episode!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Soundproofing an apartment room, sort of...

  I live in an apartment on the 5th floor of an old building in Astoria, NY. The floors are hardwood and noise can be heard between the floors pretty easily.  Because of this I've been hesitant to rehearse or record music at home.  Even though I own the place, I've been hesitant to do major renovations but I recently decided that I either needed to move out or find a way to transform my spare bedroom into a music room.
  Luckily I'm on the top floor and the room I'm renovating is in the corner, so the main problem is isolating the floor as much as possible so that my downstairs neighbor doesn't hear too much noise.  To prepare for the project I had to patch the walls and ceiling that I've been neglecting all year. That's a whole other story...
  So with the walls and ceiling patched and painted it was time to tackle the flooring.  The original floor was an old hardwood floor. What I decided to do for the soundproofing was to purchase a product called Peacekeeper Barrier from a company called Audimute.  I chose that product because of the low price compared to other options, and also the fact that it's made from recycled tire rubber. I also wanted a hard surface on top of the peacemaker pad so I made an unusual but very cheap choice. I decided to install 1/8 inch hardboard, a.k.a. Eucaboard, and put carpet tiles over that.  The carpet tiles cost about $100 and the Eucaboard cost about $22. The peacemaker barrier cost $160. So, it was approximately a $300 floor treatment.  Finally I chose to hang sound absorption sheets from the walls to quiet the room down a bit more. The absorption sheets cost $244.
  I rolled the peacemaker barrier out onto the floor and cut pieces to fill in small gaps.
The black material is the peacekeeper barrier. The joints were covered using sound isolation seam tape (it looks like electrical tape). Over the peacekeeper barrier I placed the 1/8 inch eucaboard. I bought 4X8 sheets cut into thirds so they would fit in my car.  For the installation I cut up a few pieces by scoring them with a utility knife and bending the pieces apart. This made for some sloppy cuts but I thought it was adequate since I would be covering it up with carpeting.
I joined the eucaboard panels with duct tape and then started installing the carpet tiles.
Finally I put the bed back together and brought in a desk, some rugs, my laptop, office chair, guitars, amp, keyboard, couple saxophones, and an electronic drum kit. The electronic kit has an isolation platform that I built out of mdf and tennis balls.

  Now that I'm basically done I'm pretty happy with the results. The room is so quiet I can hear my ears ringing and the ceiling fan spinning at night.  Moving from the hallway into this room is similar to the feeling of walking into a quiet movie theater.
  If I could do it again, I might consider 3/16 or 1/4 inch hardboard, possibly 6.4mm peacemaker barrier, and maybe a thicker carpet. But the reason I kept things so thin was because I didn't want to have to modify the baseboard and shoe mouldings.
  If I wanted a much more professional installation I would consider a laminate flooring over the peacemaker barrier.  But that would have required power tools, possibly leveling the floor and installing a new moulding. And finally, to take things even further I would consider covering the walls with peacemaker and another layer of sheetrock.
  As far as how well the soundproofing works, I can't say that i know for sure. But I have been practicing tenor saxophone in the daytime. That is the loudest instrument I play. I tend to play my electric guitar turned a little lower, and all of my bass playing has been direct into the board. The ultimate way to annoy your neighbors though is by playing the drums. Even electronic drums can be annoying for your neighbors. That is why I built an isolation platform just for the drums.
  I still have to cut 1/4 inch from the bottom of the door so that it will open all the way to get past the new floor thickness.  And I might consider some soundproofing to the door as well later on.