Monday, 5 September 2011

Home studio

I had an idea to build a home studio. Cheap one of course. The main equipment is my new Zoom R16. It's an affordable mixer/recorder with 16 mono tracks and 8 XLR/TRS inputs (2 stereo inputs at the same time). I think it's the only piece of equipment in its price range with a nice set of features.

Then there is Roland E09 keyboard, it's also new equipment. I wanted to get instuments like drums directly from the keyboard without using a DAW. I want to play everything live without starting up PC and confusing myself with DAW. Output section is Alesis RA150 power amp and two Philips speakers from my old stereo set from 80's. Those speakers aren't actually reference monitors which they tell are needed to get truthful sound, but they have to do until I get reference monitors. Notice also that Andexinger piano chair. It's probably the most expensive piece of gear in proportion. And yes, even though not part of the studio setup it's Ibanez Airplane Flanger. Had to have that one.

I still have to get a split stereo Y-cable to connect Vox Tonelab for guitar and bass. I've already tried to record music, but I was disappointed about my drummer skills. It looks like I simply can't record drums first and keep the song together. It's not timing, but the structure of the song. Playing live is difficult, but I'm going to make it happen. I think it's perfectly possible to record guitar first with metronome and then drums. That way, because I'm mainly a guitar player, I can perform the song properly. Or that's what I hope anyway.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Catalinbread Montavillian Echo

The price range of 100-200€ in delay pedals isn't very populated. There is MXR Carbon Copy and then... well, this Montavillian Echo. I'm not a tech geek so I guess this one is actually a digital delay, but it's trying to act like an analog delay. A cheaper example of delays like this is Carl Martin Red Repeat (which by the way was my delay pedal before I got this one).

Catalinbread as a company should improve their web page. I guess they are located in US and they hand make pedals. That makes the price of Montavillian a bit of a mystery because it was "only" 160€. Most boutique delay pedals are twice as much. Maybe the digital vs. analog is the reason.

Montavillian is actually a good, if not great, delay pedal. Both Mix and Cut knobs have their neutral position in noon. After that Mix will start to amplify the repeat, in fact you can add a ridiculous amount of volume in the delay. In low position Cut will add high end to the repeat, making it more like a digital delay and when adjusted more it will make the repeat muddy, just like in analog delays. These two knobs make this delay pedal really versatile.

Montavillian self oscillates really easily, but I think there is a reason for that, and when you make repeats muddier with Cut and/or decrease the Mix it will make possible to tune more repeats without self oscillating.

Repeat speed goes from 60 to 600ms. You can also run the pedal with 18V power. It should increase the headroom and make the pedal even more spacious.

I can't really think anything bad about this delay. It sounds very good to me and you can surely tune some long space delays. With some settings you can almost get weird synth like sounds. The lack of tap tempo can be a missing feature for some people. What also was missing was the manual. I think it's against the EU regulations to sell products without a manual, but it's not that bad. In this price range Montavillian is a serious competitor.