Tag Archives for " DIY "

Time For Some Do-It-Yourself Reverb

Do-it-yourself reverbDigital reverbs have come a long way. It’s truly amazing what you can now get for very little money that rivals or betters hardware reverbs costing more than $10k. That said, sometimes there’s nothing like the real thing, even if a little DIY is involved. Speaking of which, the wonderful TapeOp Magazine recently posted a great article on making a relatively inexpensive do-it-yourself reverb.

Of course, the easiest DIY reverb has been a speaker and a mic in a live room, and that technique has been used almost since the beginning of recording (Capitol’s chambers are still some of the best ever, for instance). All you need is a live room like a bathroom, place any kind of speaker in it, and place the mic as far away as you can. Of course, it always helps if a stairwell is handy as well.

When it comes to-do-it yourself reverb, many of us would love to have a plate, and believe it or not, it’s not all that difficult to build yourself, if you have a little time. The TapeOp article does a good job in explaining how to build one yourself. Of course, depending upon your construction skills and ingenuity, your mileage may vary when it comes to the final project. Another more intricate way of building your own plate can be found here.

The article also discusses some other tricks that many of us have tried over the years, and mostly forgotten. Dropping a small speaker down the hole of an acoustic guitar (or even a 12 string) gives a very interesting effect. Don’t forget to detune the strings!

Also another oldie but goodie – dropping a speaker down the soundhole of a piano while the sustain pedal is held down yields a wonderful reverbish sound that can’t be duplicated.

Yes, digital reverbs are better than ever and something we’ll all continue to use, but sometimes a bit of good old fashioned do-it-yourself reverb, no matter how you get it, just can’t be beat.

[photo: Ionosonde Recordings]

New Music Gear Monday: Microphone Parts DIY Microphone Kit

Microphone Parts S-12 kitThere are so many great boutique microphone manufacturers these days, that’s it’s pretty easy to buy a pretty good mic for a reasonable amount of money. The quality of the classic microphone clones continues to get better while the price seems to keep coming down. That said, if you’re willing to put in a little work yourself and you’re not afraid of a soldering iron, you can build your own classic clone with a DIY microphone kit from a company called Microphone Parts for even less.

Microphone Parts sells the parts to upgrade about 40 inexpensive condenser mics from companies like AKG (the Perception series), CAD, MXL, Carvin, Nady, Rode and Studio Projects, and the suggested mods generally include a new capsule and various circuit components ranging from capacitors to transformers. These are do-it-yourself mods that require an hour or two of work by the mic owner, but most conclude that it’s well worth the effort and the relatively modest cost.

Selling mod kits is just one step removed from providing a full microphone kit though, and Microphone Parts offers their take based on proven designs by Schoeps, Neumann, AKG and Telefunken to give you a kit for just about every style of classic large diaphragm condenser mic you can think of, including the C12/ElaM 251, 414, U87, U47 and M49.

The prices of the kits range anywhere from $329 to $569, and for around $200 more the company will even build it for you. Many of the kits also provide some interesting options that range from the color of the body to different harmonic variations depending on the components you select to use.

There are lots of great reviews online, but be aware that these kits require some intermediate-level electronic skills and tools, as it’s up to you to identify the parts correctly and solder them as required. A few hours of your time is a small price to pay for a good mic at a reasonable cost though, and the Microphone Parts DIY microphone kit seem like a winner. I’m so pleased that electronics kits are back in vogue!