Saturday, 6 February 2016

MD421 Clip Repair

So, it had to happen sooner or later.  The clip on my Sennheiser MD421-N broke in half at it's weakest point. Doh!  My first attempt at superglueing it back together lasted about 5 minutes.  So, I decided to glue it again but this time try some white shrink wrap, in the hope that the extra support will hold it together...

Friday, 29 January 2016

Beyerdynamic M260N

As a self-confessed Audio Geek, I got excited this morning when the postie brought me a Beyer M260N.  A ribbon mic but with a hypercardioid pickup pattern (instead of the normal ribbon figure of 8).  Specs here.  It looks like this...

I purchsed it from the excellent Sound Generation and, the boss, Carlos had already told me that it had a rattle.  However, he had tested it and reported that it was working fine.  Armed with this information, I took a 'punt', as it was a great deal.

Upon arrival, I carefully checked for the rattle which was, indeed, there.

After reading several posts, and finding a YouTube video, I finally discovered how to get the grill off! (Easier than it first appeared).  With the grill removed, the problem was obvious - the plastic ribbon motor cover had come loose (a common problem with vintage M160s and M260s).

The grey part (in the pic above) should be flush with the (rusty-looking) magnet.

It was obvious that the mic would need a clean to remove dust, rust and particles before glueing it back togther.  However, the ribbon is extremely delicate and thin, so a lot of precautions had to be taken so as not to damage it during the cleaning process - you don't want to be using metal tools as they get pulled toward the magnet and can easily rip right through the thin ribbon and, additionally, when the cover is off, you can easily rip the ribbon with a gust of wind or even a loud spoken plosive!  So I had to be extremely careful, using a magnifying light to give me the best view of any dirt and particles to remove.

Most of the thin layer of rust came off easily to reveal the magnet.  You can see the actual ribbon in the centre of the picture below (looking very good for it's age).

Once the magnet and cover had been cleaned.  I very carefully re-glued the cover to the magnet using superglue, making sure none of it was anywhere near the middle of magnet, as the pressure required, to bond the surfaces might have pushed the glue into the middle of the magnet and onto the ribbon causing a major issue.  I then glued the yellow tape at the sides back onto the cover for extra stability.

The mic was then thoroughly tested.  It's working within normal parameters and I look forward to trying it out in the studio in the near future.  All in all a very successful repair.  Another new (old) mic for my collection.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Live in Session

A couple of years ago we did a series of live streaming broadcasts from the studio via a platform called Just Jam It (JJI).  JJI eventually became defunct and the sessions were put on hold.

In October 2015 we resurrected Live in Session from Beliefspace streaming straight up onto YouTube this time.  Check out our channel here: Beliefspace on YouTube.

Here's the highlight video from Series 4, we'll be back in the New Year with Series 5.

Monday, 15 December 2014

New Look Recording Room

And .... We're back!  With a cosy, new look recording room.

Myself and Helen, with a little help from Sarah and Tom (our niece and nephew), went on a mission on Saturday and got the supplies (paint and rugs) to finish off the recording room.

Some filling, sanding and three coats of floor paint later and we have a very cosy looking recording room again.

Now to get some instruments back into the room...

Monday, 24 November 2014

Water Damage Repair

On Friday evening we suffered a burst valve in our boiler, resulting in a major water leak into the studio corridor and recording room. More here: Water Damage.

This weekend we've been busy planning, clearing and cleaning. After the main equipment was rescued on Friday with the help of my excellent band members, Helen and I managed to get all the sensitive equipment, stored in the corridor, upstairs away from the water. 

We then re-arranged the Control Room which was unaffected, fortunately, to make it usable whilst we tackle the corridor and recording room.  Moving the piano to safety in the process.

Then we set about hatching a plan to paint the live room floor and put down rugs instead of new carpet - which should make the acoustic more adaptable in that room, as well as serving as an earlier warning system should a leak ever happen again (hopefully not).  Here's one of the rugs that's going in the live room, under drums...

My Dad, who's a Chartered Surveyor, popped around with a Damp Meter to assess the extent of damage and, I'm pleased, to report it was minimal and, thankfully, it was clean, fresh water too.

 After discussing the best plan of action we went about cleaning and scrubbing the concrete floor in preparation for patching and painting.  Removing all the bits of old paint and plaster on the floor left over from the wall and ceiling build.

The tin of paint visible by the lamp is the tester pot of floor paint.

We'll be running dehumidifiers in there for as long as possible to make sure everything is dry before tackling the floors.  However, we should be back up and running for recording very soon, and we still have a working Control Room for mixing.

It's coming (back) together nicely.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Water Damage

Yesterday evening we suffered a boiler leak resulting in a lot of water damage to the studio corridor and recording room.  Fortunately, it was right at the beginning of a rehearsal so I had my awesome band mates and my lovely wife there to help me find and stop the leak, and deal with the damage...

The recording room floor covering did not survive, we had to rip out the carpet and the rubber floor underlay which was saturated. The softer sandwich of rubber has acted like a sponge soaking up the water and pulling it across the room.  As you can see, in the picture above, there was quite a lot of water.

Water was turned off, plumber was called (thankful for British Gas Homeserve), water was swept out of the door and carpet were pulled up and, despite everything hilarity still managed to ensue at points...

The floor looked a lot better this morning after drying out, and better gain this evening.

So, where do we go from here?  Well, we've decided to clean, patch and paint the concrete floor and put down a lot of rugs.  Firstly, as an early warning system should a leak happen again and secondly so we can change the acoustic of the space by moving the rugs around.

So, this morning, we moved all the sensitive equipment from the effected areas up into the house.  It was a marathon but everything is safe and, very fortunately, the Control Room was totally unscathed, so mixing can continue whilst we sort out the rest of the studio.

This afternoon, we went shopping, bought floor cleaning supplies, some test paint and three rugs to start off the collection. So we should be back up and running again as soon as we clean, dry and paint the floor.

It's been an emotional weekend but, I'm looking forward to a new chapter in Beliefspace Studio - New live room, exciting new recording projects and bringing back Live in Session in HD in 2015.

Sunday, 18 May 2014


With festival gig season starting next week, I thought I would take the opportunity to sort out my Lena Smith Band analogue pedalboard for quick set-up and change over.

For the guitarists/pedal geeks my set-up is:

Fender standard US Tele -->

Ernie Ball Volume Jr. (-> Sonic Research ST-200 Tuner) -> Morley Maverick Wah -> ProCo RAT -> Fulltone Deja Vibe -> TS-808 clone (DIY build - see this blog and this blog) -> Modified EA Tremolo (DIY build - check this blog) -> TC XII Phaser -> Boss DM-2 delay -> Boss DM-3 delay

--> Mesa 5:25+ Express Head (8 ohm) into a Orange PPC212 OB 2x12" cab (16ohm) - I like the sound that the impedance mis-match provides.

The finished board - the more technically savvy amongst you will notice that there are 9 pedals that require power on this board and I'm using a pedal power 2 which has 8 outputs.  I created a 'Y' lead to power the tuner and wah from one of the L6 outputs. The DM-2 is running from an unregulated output but I modified the DM-3 to use a regulated power supply when I bought it many years ago.  The TS-808 and RAT are on the outputs with the 'sag' control - which can provide some interesting sounds but I don't use them for Lena Smith Band stuff.

MDF cut to size to fit in the flight case.  I got the hardware store to cut it to size as it's free and they have the better cutting tools than me :)

The base needed to be stripped, as it previously had a base which velcro stuck to, but it wasn't properly glued and soon fell off rendering it useless.

Painting the boards.  I decided to make a spare for future use...

Assembling the board, with industrial strength (expensive) velcro.

The biggest challenge was the RAT.  I had to find four screws to replace the feet, as the screws that hold on the feet also hold the unit together, as the battery plate had to be removed, because the nut protruded from the bottom, I decided to shrink-wrap the battery clip to insulate from grounding on the metal case and disrupting the power, unlikely but just in case.

Running the power and audio cables.

This velcro is strong, left the board like this for ten minutes and nothing moved at all.  Probably means I'll have some fun trying to pull pedals off if I want to make changes, but for gigging these aren't going anywhere.

Lena Smith Band Songs and effects...
Ferris - TC XII and DM-3 (solo), RAT (end solo)
Live It Up
- RAT (Verses and Chorus'), TC XII and RAT (solo)
Fly - TC XII (verses) RAT (chorus' & solo)
Miss Crazy Lady - Deja Vibe (riff/hook), Wah (verses, mid-8), RAT+Wah (solo)
Iceman - DM-2, DM-3, TC XII and eBow
Earbender, Tell Me, Baby, FLoating - TS808 (on throughout song for boost and compression)
Get Movin' - DM-2 (slapback on riffs)
Hungry - Tremolo (verse 1 and 6), RAT (verse 2 and 5)
Love Lies - TS-808 (verse 2 & 3, chorus'), Tremolo (mid-8), RAT (solo)
Walls - RAT (riff and solo), DM-3 and RAT (intro)
Doesn't Have To - TS-808 (riff), Tremolo (verses)
Blink of an Eye, Floating - TS-808 (throughout for boost, compression)
Lost Soul, Autumn Song - DM-3 (riff)
Brand New Times - Tremolo (verses)
Sing You to Sleep - DM-3 (throughout)