Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Today is my last experiment, the plan is to use my modded phone to make a call to Random's phone line, this will be our line to line call. On his side he's recording through a phone patch he made. For land to cell, I am calling with my modded phone to my cell which has a 1/8" cord jack leading to my computer. For the last part cell to cell, I modded a head set to expose the mic wires so I can attach a direct line from my mp3 player to a cell phone and use the same set up to record from my cell.

Pictures will ensue.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Expiriment 15

What's funny about this one is I skipped 13 and 14.

I am going to try distorting different recorded mediums with a heat gun in order to change the sound. My tests will be done on cassette tapes and cds. Part one was just recording the base recordings to tape. This was unnecessarily difficult due to the equipment. My first try was using a hand held tape player with the mic wires attached directly to a boom boxes speaker wires this didn‘t work because the connection was creating an awful buzzing noise which was ruining the recording. This sound was independent to volume levels and connection configuration. Second try was using a tape deck attached to a CD player. This didn’t work because the tape deck was busted. It turned out my dad still had his old tape deck, so I tried using that which worked fine. What I didn’t realize with recording to cassette is that there are several settings regarding to what type of tape you are using. The tape it’s self didn’t say which setting should be used on the packaging so I just went by ear. I chose SX(II). Recording was a bit frustrating, for some reason recording over previously recorded sections wouldn’t erase old data. This is easy to solve, all I had to do is use table later in the reel, but it’s frustrating trying to find the heat damaged part of the reel by ear. The heat damaging it’s self caused problems. For one, I was using a heat gun to distort the tape which started melting the tape casing if exposed too long. So, my first attempt melted off the stabilizers for the tape reader so I had to start from scratch. My second attempt was much easer. I kept an ice pack next to me in order to avoid overheating and took breaks between sections. The final result really wasn’t that impressive in my opinion. The parts of the tape that bent from heat warping cut off the lows which caused the sound to sound distorted. I tried distorting a cd, but this didn’t really produce results because heat warping caused the cd to bend ever so slightly which meant the cd couldn’t spin in a cd player. Chances are that the warping would have made the laser unable to bend through the plastic correctly making it

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Expiriments 9 through 11

Here's some exerts from my paper so far. I'm too lazy to edit them right now or to actually blog about the experiments. So here's expiriments 9 through 11

Experiment 9: Underwater Recording
For this experiment I developed 3 techniques for recording underwater.
Cover a dynamic mic with a condom
Cover a dynamic mic with a sandwich bag
Cover a dynamic mic with a plastic grocery bag
Cover a dynamic mic with plasti-dip
Use an actual hydrophone
Dry as recorded above water with a dynamic mic
In order to record, I had to overcome several challenges. How would I project sound underwater, and how do I keep the microphone’s dry? One of my dissertation committee members had experience with recording an electric guitar, I assumed since he hadn’t died of electrocution, he was successful. During my first committee meeting, I borrowed his hydrophone, and I finally had gotten around to this experiment. His advice for making underwater speakers was to take a midrange horn driver and cover it with a polyurethane coating. After doing some research and talking with a couple music store salesmen, I finally found a small audio components store that sold midrange horn drivers on the boarder of Gresham. What I didn’t realize when I got there were there were multiple types of midrange horn drivers. I went for the cheapest, smallest horn driver I could find due to my low budget and limited working space. Next I had to find polyurethane so I could coat the speaker. After a trip to A-boy, I realized I didn’t know what to buy, so I came home empty handed until I could research which product to buy. At first I was rather nervous about buying a can of Polyurethane coating because a can of it was in the price range of $40 to $50. This was getting my worried. After a while of searching, I found a product called Plasti-Dip which is used for coating the handles of tools. With a bit more research I found a site that had Plasti-Dipped a microphone in order to record underwater. I decided that this would be a good substitute for the polyurethane coating and took a short trip over to A-boy one more time. Luckly they had 3 cans left, I bought their last can of black plasti-dip and a 5’ length of audio cable to soldier to my speaker. Another step I had to take was learning how to soldier wires together which I found out is fairly simple. Next I applied the first coat on the speaker. This turned out well, but I found many tiny holes where air bubbles had popped and left the speaker exposed. Because I didn’t want the cone of the speaker to get covered too much, I took a pencil and liberally applied plasti-dip in the spots that had holes. Because it takes 4 hours to dry and I only have about 5 hours of free time a day, I was only able to apply a new layer once or twice a day. The process of waterproofing the speaker took about 4 days so that no part of the speaker had any exposure to the water. Once the speaker was done, I attached the wires to a stripped 1/4” wire to the audio wire that I had stripped and soldiered to the speaker. Unfortunately the speaker was 4ohms and the amp was an 8ohm amp, I believe this is why the speaker was giving me an ungodly 60hz hum. Next I tried hooking my speaker up to the banana jacks from my stereo’s amp to the exposed wires using gator clips. This removed the buzzing, but I couldn’t move my entire audio system from my living room down to the bathroom. My last ditch effort was hooking a modified stereo system I had borrowed from Random to the cables, success.
Now that I had my speakers out of the way, I had to figure out how to use the hydrophone that I borrowed. At first I was under the impression that the hydrophone had a single large wire protruding from it because it had been stripped and the end was tangled covering the fact it was a coaxial cable and was constructed of two different wires. Once that this was pointed out to me, I took the stripped 1/4” cable and soldiered alligator clips to the end of it, then clipped the ends of the clips to the raw wires of the hydrophone. Unfortunately I had wasted a day trying several different ways to attach the wire to my pre amp.
Before submerging my only $40 dynamic mic, I decided to go and buy the cheapest mic I could find so that if anything went wrong I wouldn’t lose a decent mic. Coincidentally my dad was going to frys that night so I hitched a ride and found the perfect karaoke mic for $10. Everything else fell into place, and I carried out my first tests. First thing I tested was covering the mic in a condom. Unfortunately the first one broke, so I used the second one which also broke. Rather than using the given rubber band at the end, I took a rubber band I found laying around which worked fine. In each test I held the mic partially submerged in 5” of water 1” away from the cone of the speaker. Nothing particularly exciting happened during the next couple tests. My last test was covering the mic in plasti-dip then submerging it. The only challenge I faced was that the holes in the grating over the mic bit kept popping holes when I dried the dip.
Track order by Number:
82. Dry
83. Condom
84. Sandwich Bag
85. Plasti-dip
86. Hydrophone

Experiment 10: Atmospheric Pressure by Depth
I had this idea if I recorded underwater with a hydrophone, the atmospheric pressure would play into the fact that the Piezo electrical device measures sounds by the pressure it displaces. So if there are various amounts of pressure being caused by the weight of the water, would this affect the overall sound of the recording? It appears that it does. Another reason for a change in sound may be a acoustical change due to new volume of the recording space, although I would have no way to determine this.
[Listen to tracks ______ through ______]
There is a difference between tracks 1 and 3 in sound, but the second track sounds very similar to track one although it has a higher intensity in reading the higher frequencies between 7000 and 8000kh range. I started at a depth of 5” and worked up from there to 7.5” and 10”. I recorded each depth twice one at 5” away from the cone of the speaker and once at 1” from the speaker.
I had the idea of putting a waterproofed dynamic mic underwater in order to compare the sound of a piezo based mic and a diaphragm mic, but after a bit of research, I realized that each mic just converts different pressures and that each mic is just acoustically tuned for the fluid it’s exposed to. Basically the only thing I would be getting out of a waterproofed mic is having the sound traveling through the water hitting the plastic rubber diaphragm then traveling through the trapped air. I went ahead and did it in experiment 9, the track is called Plasti-dip if you would like to compare
Track order by Number:
Track 87 : 5” of water
Track 88 : 7.5” of water
Track 89 : 10” of water
Experiment 11: Cones
For this experiment, I decided since I was testing things underwater, I may as well test how cones sound underwater as well. When I was building a underwater speaker out of a mid range driver, the speaker came with two cones attached a single cell loudspeaker cone and a small metal cone, these cones are supposed to be used in tandem in order to amplify the small speaker. I started getting curious if cones amplified underwater, which to me would be common sense, but I thought I would try it anyway. The final result was against my expectations. The cones were actually blocking the sound. I’m not sure why this was the final result, it’s exactly counter intuitive. The probable reason for this is I originally put the speaker 1” away from the hydrophone but with the cones I was setting the end of the cone 1” away from the hydrophone. I don’t think that this is the reason for the result is because I attached the horn to the speaker correctly, although I was holding the cone to the speaker and my hand may have muted the wave when I hit the initial chamber before leaving through the horn.
Track order by Number:
Track 90 No cone
Track 91 W/ horn only
Track 92 W/ metal only
Track 93 W/ both

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Underwater Recording Try 1

So, I did my first underwater recording. I only did two tests. The first one was the frequency response, this wont be part of my dissertation. The next one was trying different cones on the speaker. The results were the cones muting the sound of the speaker. Anyway, everything sounds pretty normal - the dampening sound except the piano track which sounds like waving.

First test was a failure

So, I did my first test underwater. The speakers work great, the hydrophone however does not. The setup for the mic was a stripped 1/4" cable on the raw wire of the mic wire. I fed this into a pre amp. Unfortunately, this did not work. The plan now is I'm going to soldier the wire onto a 1/4" adapter on the right channel/mono ring.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Underwater Speaker

Yesterday, I was in the process of building a underwater mic. What I'm doing is taking a mid range driver (A type of speaker) soldiering on audio wires, then dipping the final product in plasti dip while making sure that no part is exposed to water. I did the first dip and it covered most of the speaker, unfortunately the dip missed a couple screw holes, so later today or tomorrow I'm going to cover the rest.

My first test is going to be in a bathtub. Some time this week I'm going to call up my local health club and see if I can use their swimming pool to test distance pickup ranges.

My in the bathtub tests, I'm also going to submerge most of a plastic bag with a speaker attached. This will test if a hydrophone can pick up any sounds when being transmitted from air to water. The third design is taking a plastic cone attached to a speaker being held out of the water. The sound will travel down the cone and vibrate the water, this will test if the sound outside of water can be recorded.

Ahhh, what a weekend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Expiriment 4: Compression

Today I did a easy experiment. It's a very simple, and mainly for my own satisfaction and self education. I compressed the same sound file into 21 different formats just to see if there is a difference in the sound.

Yes, there is a difference.

for instance: a .dbl file sounds really nice, and in fact reduces the hissing I had in the original track... but everything is really speed up.

Tonight isn't the night for analysis, but there's allot of really cool sounds that came from this experiment and I'm really excited to share them

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kinda a crap day

Today was my first day recording with lightbulbs...

Here's a conversation I had with Random about recording with lightbulbs.
This really sums up what I did for the last 3 hours.

[5:28:05 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Hey random. How do I modify a boombox to power a lightbulb?
[5:28:29 PM | Edited 5:29:21 PM] Random Davis: well, you won't be able to power it through the headphone jack, as that's way too weak
[5:28:40 PM] Random Davis: you'll need to use actual cords meant for the speakers
[5:28:48 PM] Random Davis: like with your stereo system
[5:28:53 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Gotcha.
[5:28:58 PM] Random Davis: that would be very good with powering the bulbs
[5:29:03 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I'll get to work on that
[5:29:13 PM] Random Davis: an LED can be powered by a headphone jack easily
[5:29:31 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Should the lightbulb be making sounds?
[5:29:50 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Mine just did that when I connected it to the mic jack
[5:29:59 PM] Random Davis: headphone, not mic!
[5:30:08 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Sorry
[5:30:14 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Typed the wrong thing
[5:30:24 PM] Random Davis: if it's making noise, that's not a good thing usually
[5:30:38 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Yeah. It sounded like a tessala coil
[5:30:45 PM] Random Davis: buzzing?
[5:30:55 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: yeah, It buzzed back the input
[5:31:03 PM] Random Davis: don't connect it to a computer
[5:31:20 PM] Random Davis: only to an actual boom box or a stereo system
[5:31:22 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: No, I didn't.
[5:31:47 PM] Random Davis: and start the signal at a very weak level, then slowly add more power until the bulb actually gives light
[5:32:03 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I hooked it up to my amp via gator clips and a striped 1/4 inch cord. The lightbulb it'self was making that noise
[5:32:19 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Alright, that's good to know
[5:32:24 PM] Random Davis: bad idea hooking it up to the amp in my opinion
[5:32:32 PM] Random Davis: it gives a very strong signal
[5:32:41 PM] Random Davis: the stereo system would be much higher quality anyway
[5:32:49 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: yeah, I figured that out fast. I used a very low signal though.
[5:32:52 PM | Edited 5:32:58 PM] Random Davis: and has built-in 2-wire outputs
[5:33:03 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I need to mod my boom box soon
[5:33:36 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I'm not going to use the sterio system because my parents would throw a fit
[5:34:12 PM] Random Davis: well, explain to them why it's safe
[5:34:25 PM] Random Davis: I'll write a little paragraph explaining why
[5:34:45 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: theyre not here anyway
[5:35:18 PM] Random Davis: well, there's no way you could damage the stereo system unless you outputted power from the wires
[5:35:26 PM] Random Davis: don't connect the wires to a powered device
[5:35:33 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: k
[5:35:37 PM] Random Davis: only to speakers with no power source
[5:35:48 PM] Random Davis: even shorting out the wires would do no harm
[5:35:49 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: also, I need a dark room
[5:36:07 PM] Random Davis: and having a lot of resistance in the connection would create no harm
[5:36:08 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I would have to move the entire system
[5:36:18 PM] Random Davis: you don't need a dark room
[5:36:21 PM] Random Davis: just have the lights off
[5:36:37 PM] Random Davis: the sun will not give any noise unless it's directly shining on the CDS cell
[5:36:44 PM] Random Davis: just cast a shadow on the cell
[5:36:56 PM] Random Davis: or contain the bulb and cell within a cardboard box or something
[5:37:04 PM] Random Davis: it's not extremely sensitive
[5:38:03 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Oh cool, I didn't know that would work. One test I want to do though is once in a dark room and once in a light room
[5:39:38 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I'm just going to go for it
[5:43:32 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: nothing
[5:45:33 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Sorry, my internet went down
[5:50:59 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: ...
[5:51:32 PM] Random Davis: what did you mean by "nothing"?
[5:51:37 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: no light
[5:52:07 PM] Random Davis: do you know if the bulb even still works after you potentially destroyed it by connecting it to the amp?
[5:52:19 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I dont
[5:52:34 PM] Random Davis: was it the bulb I gave you?
[5:52:58 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I think I ruined it, and I'll definately replace the bulb ofcourse
[5:53:07 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: yeah
[5:53:19 PM] Random Davis: you don't have to. they're only like a dollar each. and I had no use for that one anyway
[5:53:31 PM] Random Davis: but try connecting a battery to it, pr putting it in a flashlight
[5:53:40 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: k one minute
[5:55:11 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: yeah. Destroyed
[5:55:24 PM] Random Davis: well, make sure the wires are connected properly
[5:55:33 PM] Random Davis: re-tape the wires to it if necessary
[5:56:14 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I did. I tried both to both sides, and pressed the wires against the base of the bulb which was working earlier.
[5:56:34 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Would a house hold bulb work, or do I need a small bulb?
[5:56:49 PM] Random Davis: a household bulb requires 120volts AC power
[5:57:03 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Yeah, I know
[5:57:03 PM] Random Davis: there's no way you could connect a stereo to it and get any sound form it
[5:57:13 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I thought so
[5:57:30 PM] Random Davis: you need flashlight bulbs, something that will work on a relatively low DC voltage
[5:57:47 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I have some old flashlights I could find some bulbs from
[5:57:57 PM] Random Davis: yeah, that would work
[5:59:47 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: yeah, working on that now
[6:00:53 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: so one cord should be attached to the saudering and one to the bottom?
[6:01:27 PM] Random Davis: one cord on the very bottom, the other on the side.
[6:01:43 PM] Random Davis: it would be better to keep it in its housing
[6:02:31 PM] Random Davis: and make sure that the stereo system is outputting at all, just in case it doesn't work when connecting it to the bulb.
[6:02:40 PM] Random Davis: have one spreaker still be connected, maybe
[6:03:32 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: k
[6:10:00 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: No, not working
[6:10:16 PM] Random Davis: check to make sure hte bulb is in working order
[6:10:22 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: k
[6:12:13 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: yeah, it works. I think the problem was it wasn't attached by the tape very well
[6:12:38 PM] Random Davis: hold the wires with your fingers]
[6:12:57 PM] Random Davis: but try it in its housing, which willl be much easier to connect the wires to
[6:13:21 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I can't get the housing out of the flashlight
[6:13:51 PM] Random Davis: no, keep it in the flashlight
[6:14:03 PM] Random Davis: connect the wires to where the batteries normally connect
[6:14:15 PM] Random Davis: but some flashlights may not work when the bottom is removed
[6:14:24 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: oh, duh, that seems really simple
[6:14:26 PM] Random Davis: or the shaft may be too long for you to put the wire in
[6:15:25 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: yep
[6:27:34 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Got it to work
[6:27:41 PM] Random Davis: cool
[6:27:49 PM] Random Davis: wires just needed to be connected properly?
[6:28:27 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: yeah. I ended up hooking them to gator clips then holing the other side to the bulb
[6:29:09 PM] Random Davis: So, are you getting an audio signal?
[6:29:55 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: No, I still need to buy batteries for the board. I'm going to the store right now to get some
[6:30:06 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Otherwise I'm good to go
[6:30:08 PM] Random Davis: I told yoy, you don't need batteries
[6:30:18 PM] Random Davis: you just need to connect two wires to the CDS cell
[6:30:45 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: oh, I haven't tried yet, I just assumed I needed batteries since there
[6:30:57 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: s a giant battery pack on it
[6:31:11 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: K, well I'm testing it out now then
[6:31:29 PM] Random Davis: I told you that yesterday
[6:31:31 PM] Random Davis: er, sunday
[6:31:46 PM] Random Davis: you're connecting directly to the CDS cell witht he springs
[6:31:50 PM] Random Davis: it doesn't need power
[6:32:59 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Cool, sorry. I forgot everything you said on sunday
[6:33:31 PM] Random Davis: lol
[6:33:32 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Alright, I need to burn a CD of my tracks first then I'm good to go
[6:33:40 PM] Random Davis: cool
[6:33:58 PM] Random Davis: and don't connect my CDS cell to your amp
[6:34:05 PM] Random Davis: connect it to the mic port on your computer
[6:35:37 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Lol, yeah, I know
[7:00:21 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: For no apparent reason, my sterio system broke
[7:00:56 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Even the side that I didn't unplug won't play loudly. I find this to be stupid
[7:03:32 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: NM, there was something wrong with the sterio amp, it fixed it's self
[7:34:46 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: So I'm done now. I have really different results than you do
[7:34:52 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: wanna hear?
[7:34:58 PM] Random Davis: sure
Kai Wolf Paquin
[7:35:56 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I get more beeping than sounds
[7:37:22 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: what do you think?
[7:37:35 PM] Random Davis: try using your tape recorder
[7:37:58 PM] Random Davis: connect the CDS cell to the tape recorder's mic jack (not aux jack), then output the tape recorder to the PC directly
[7:38:15 PM] Random Davis: don't record to a tape - just feed the direct output
[7:38:28 PM] Random Davis: also, it apepared that the bulb was rather dim
[7:38:28 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I think I figured out the problem. I recorded in sterio, but I just realized I was using a mono jack
[7:38:41 PM] Random Davis: but use the tape recorder
[7:38:46 PM] Random Davis: you'll ger much better results
[7:38:51 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: If my idea fails, I'll try yours
[7:40:52 PM | Edited 7:40:57 PM] Random Davis: you're getting a DC level, but very little variance in that DC
[7:42:04 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: huh, really? I'm going to record through my tape player. I might need help setting it up though
[7:42:33 PM | Edited 7:43:10 PM] Random Davis: use a double-male-ended cable that feeds to your computer's line-in port
[7:43:02 PM] Random Davis: and connect the CdS cell to the mic port of the tape recorder just like you did for your laptop's mic port
[7:43:51 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I trick it to run without tape too right?
[7:43:57 PM] Random Davis: yeah
[7:44:21 PM] Random Davis: but it would be easier to put a tape in, press the pause button, then the record button
[7:44:34 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: K that's good too
[7:48:46 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I'm getting a ton of electrical feed back. I'm using a DC current, should I be using an AC current?
[7:49:09 PM] Random Davis: what do you mean by electrical feedback? a loud 60hz tone?
[7:49:43 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: no a huge buzzing sound. It sounds like when you plug a 1/4 inch cable half way in
[7:50:06 PM] Random Davis: even with the tape recorder off?
[7:50:44 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: no, just when on. I think it may have been due to volume. I just saw it was all the way up. I'll try in when it's down
[7:51:00 PM] Random Davis: it may be amplifying an idle current
[7:51:14 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: nah, still there
[7:51:21 PM] Random Davis: connect the CDS cell, then flicker the lighbulb
[7:51:25 PM] Random Davis: with music
[7:51:30 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: k will do
[7:52:09 PM] Random Davis: also, unplug the laptop from the wall and just use battery power
[7:52:20 PM] Random Davis: it will unground the connection, reducing the buzzing
[7:52:38 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: it is
[7:52:56 PM] Random Davis: ok
[7:53:43 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: here
[7:53:51 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: s a copy
Kai Wolf Paquin
[7:55:05 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: I'll try AC
[7:55:18 PM] Random Davis: no, that won't make a difference
[7:55:30 PM] Random Davis: unplug it frmo the computer, and plug headphones directly into the tape recorder
[7:55:33 PM] Random Davis: tell me what you hear
[7:56:58 PM] Random Davis: and it sounds like you're just receiving electrical feedback, not actual light vatiations
[7:56:59 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: k
[7:57:58 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: same except better quality
[7:58:09 PM] Random Davis: so, lots of humming?
[7:58:18 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: yeah
[7:58:31 PM] Random Davis: try reversing the wires connected to the CDS cell
[7:58:52 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Sure
[7:59:26 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Wait, I think I got it
[8:00:42 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: If I push the button halfway down it's fine. Also, the play button goes down at the same time when I record. I think that's why I'm having this problem
[8:00:49 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Any solution?
[8:01:15 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: brb
[8:02:06 PM] Random Davis: the play button going down at the same time is normal. Make sure the tape player is paused when doing this, too
[8:02:12 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: had to go get some halloween candy
[8:02:28 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: oh, K I'll try that
[8:03:22 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: nope. Still having problems
[8:04:14 PM] Random Davis: but you said it was better when you held it down halfway
[8:04:21 PM] Random Davis: also, make sure the lights are off in the room
[8:04:24 PM] Random Davis: or
[8:04:37 PM] Random Davis: cover up the CdS cell and see fi hte humming goes away
[8:05:18 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: yeah, it has to do with the CdS cell, becuase it acts normal when Its on it's own
[8:05:41 PM] Random Davis: did you try covering up the CdS cell?
[8:06:14 PM] Random Davis: remember, it's the one that looks like one of these:
[8:07:11 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: K I fixed it. It was really dumb. I just had to wiggle the wires for a while then suddenly it went away
[8:07:32 PM] Random Davis: huh
[8:07:54 PM] Random Davis: try varying the audio output levels to the bulb, too
[8:08:05 PM] Random Davis: make it stronger, or weaker
[8:08:11 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: K one sec
[8:14:32 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Crap, no It's still doing it.
[8:14:42 PM] Random Davis: mess with the wires again
[8:14:55 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: It only was reduced on the headphones, not in the recordings
[8:15:06 PM] Random Davis: weiird
[8:15:19 PM] Random Davis: so it even hums when you compleyelt cover up the CdS cell?
[8:15:37 PM] Random Davis: and make sure you're not touching any exposed wires, as that will add humming
[8:16:07 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: nope, it's all good
[8:16:55 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Maybe I should put this on hold and work on underwater recording. Then we could possibly get together and work on this
[8:17:05 PM] Random Davis: sure
[8:17:11 PM | Edited 8:17:15 PM] Random Davis: I'd love to help
[8:17:18 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: K,
[8:17:44 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: So maybe this weekend or if I can get a ride from my mom or dad, after school one day
[8:18:19 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Oh! this friday I have no school. Would that work for you afterwords>
[8:18:20 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: ?
[8:18:36 PM] Random Davis: I can come over there if you want
[8:18:43 PM] Random Davis: is your weekend free, too?
[8:19:07 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: yeah, except saturday. I have the SAT
[8:20:09 PM] Random Davis: at what time?
[8:21:07 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: 730
[8:21:10 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: am
[8:21:23 PM] Random Davis: how long is it? (just curious)
[8:21:48 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: till 1
[8:23:14 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: K, I need to talk to my parents first. I'll tell ya later
[8:23:33 PM] Random Davis: I can come over friday and help
[8:23:43 PM] Random Davis: maybe I could sleep over at sam's that day too
[8:24:12 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: yeah, you should ask him soon though
[8:24:19 PM] Random Davis: I will
[8:25:05 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: K, I have to go work on some other stuff, but thanks for helping me out.
[8:25:15 PM] Random Davis: no problemo
[8:25:19 PM] Random Davis: 8-)
[8:25:25 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Haha
[8:25:27 PM] Kai Wolf Paquin: Awesome

Basically I couldn't get a good recording, broke a lightbulb, and ruined a 1/4 inch cable.

Today kinda sucked.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Last Post to do With Cans (hopefully)

So, I finally finished all my work with cans today, all the editing is done and I am not very satisfied.

It seems that once I amplify everything to a consistent volume, I notice lots of little problems with the recording which are really hard to notice otherwise. Also, there are little points of silence I didn't notice when originally recording.

I also noticed in the presentation form that it would be really hard to listen to all the recordings for every test. Thus a solution for all my problems.

In every recording, the best sound that is easiest to tell the difference between is the sax and the electric guitar. I decided that I will edit all these parts out in order to present this experiment, and offer the other files at the end of the cd for presentation.

Anyway the main idea of this post is to announce that I can't continue with my can recordings due to time, and I have to make some exceptions and compromises with my presentation.

Anyway, as of today, I am going to move on and do bigger and better things. I will only move backwards if I absolutely need to.

The End

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Done with two

Redid Large to Small. Accidentally did it with 7.5' string. Redoing it tomorrow

Note to self:
Post Gain at 6.5
Amp Equalization:
Low: 5
Mid: 5
High: 7

Friday, October 30, 2009


I finally figured out what this odd submarine sound is in the background of my first can recordings... When I recorded with the cans in the windows, I didn't realize how much noise the highway near my house was producing. The submarine sound was all the cars racing by as recorded through a can. It is a really cool sound, but I need to redo my first recording.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Experiment 2: Can Size

The gist of this experiment is that I used a 5' string wired between two cans. The variable in this experiment is the can size. I chose between a 6oz, 14oz, and 20oz cans. I wired the cans to every possible variable in this experiment. (eg. 6oz to 6oz, 6oz to 14oz, and 6oz to 20oz can.)

Here's how I set up each experiment:

Test 1:
MP3: 10
Amp: 8
String length: 10'
Can Size: medium to medium
Gain: Max
Mic: Contact

Test 2:
Test 1
MP3: 10
Amp: 8
String length: 7.5'
Can Size: medium to small
Gain: Max
Mic: Contact

Test 3:
Test 1
MP3: 10
Amp: 8
String length: 5'
Can Size: medium to large
Gain: Max
Mic: Contact
Here's how I set up each experiment:

Test 4:
MP3: 10
Amp: 8
String length: 10'
Can Size: small to small
Gain: Max
Mic: Contact

Test 5:
Test 1
MP3: 10
Amp: 8
String length: 7.5'
Can Size: small to medium
Gain: Max
Mic: Contact

Test 6:
Test 1
MP3: 10
Amp: 8
String length: 5'
Can Size: small to large
Gain: Max
Mic: Contact

Here's how I set up each experiment:

Test 7:
MP3: 10
Amp: 8
String length: 10'
Can Size: large to large
Gain: Max
Mic: Contact

Test 8:
Test 1
MP3: 10
Amp: 8
String length: 7.5'
Can Size: large to small
Gain: Max
Mic: Contact

Test 9:
Test 1
MP3: 10
Amp: 8
String length: 5'
Can Size: large to medium
Gain: Max
Mic: Contact

The challenges I faced while recording were as follows:
  1. The smallest size of can made a popping sound if pulled to hard
  2. My dad held the cans this time, so there were no problems with clunking
Possible causes of error:
  1. How I held the cans.
  2. Track "large to small" must be redone due to software glitch

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Other exciting things I did today:

Bought gator clips, got horribly lost while looking for Hollywood lights and started backing up my recordings regularly. I finally came to the conclusion that each experiment would only change one variable in each part, rather than tackling one medium to record with.

So, here are the new ideas for experiments having to do with string:
Changing the length
Changing the thickness of string
Changing the size of can

Possibly changing type of string
eg. Nylon, Cotton, Twine.

One problem I recognized today was that the recordings might not have been normalized to the same volume, but I checked it out later and everything is relatively similar. When I do normalize everything it sounds the same so... Yay luck!

Experiment 1: Can Phone String Lengths

Experiment 1: Can Phone String Lengths

In this experiment, the setup was I connected two 14oz cans together with thick cotton string. The plan was to play my recordings at a volume on my amp that wouldn't shake the can on the other side causing the contact mic to vibrate. Basically, only the can next to the amp would pick up the vibrations. Next the vibrations would go through the string causing the other can to shake, which would shake the mic, and the mic would convert the shaking into sound again.

Here's how I set up each experiment:

Test 1
MP3: 10
Amp: 8
String length: 10'
Can Size: medium
Gain: Max
Mic: Contact

Test 2:
Test 1
MP3: 10
Amp: 8
String length: 7.5'
Can Size: medium
Gain: Max
Mic: Contact

Test 3:
Test 1
MP3: 10
Amp: 8
String length: 5'
Can Size: medium
Gain: Max
Mic: Contact

The challenges I faced while recording were as follows:
  1. I had to keep the tension between two cans that were 5' to 15' away while manning the computer. I came up with a solution. I have one window in my studio that opens and is very sticky. So I stuck the can in the crack in the window, and held the can on the other side. I couldn't directly man the computer so I had to do 6 to 8 recordings for each test
  2. The can kept sliding in the window which created bumps in the recording
  3. Because the window was higher than the amp, The string was catching on the window pane which caused the string to stop vibrating. Apparently I didn't realize this until about an hour later, at which point I had to start from the beginning
  4. Software crashed which deleted some of my recordings
  5. Every recording was really quiet. Normalizing causes lots of static. I'm working with my committee to find a good solution through editing
Possible causes of error:
  1. How I held the cans. most of it wasn't choice, I tried to hold it as little as possible so that I wouldn't stop the edges of the can from shaking so that I could get the best sound possible.
  2. Distance from can to amp. Most of the time it was about a millimeter away
  3. Where the can was placed relative to the amp. The best spot to hold it is at the edge of the cone, but it meandered from the middle to the edge.
  4. Disruption of the string. I'm pretty sure that I didn't touch the string, but I didn't keep note of that until the end.
  5. As seen in post "Noooooooo!!!" I forgot there was noise from the highway being picked up.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prep Day

Today was kinda a blah day.
I would have done my Tin Can experiment tonight, alas, no one was home to hold the other side.

First thing I did was finish all of my base recordings. All I had left was Piano. Instead of doing an acoustic piano like I planned, I used a 1/4" cable on my keyboard through my USB box so that I wouldn't have to do awful setup, mic placement, and all the rest. All and all it sounds nice and crisp.

So today I scrounged around for some cans. I found two of the following:
6oz, 14oz and, 20oz cans. The next step was punching a hole in the bottoms of each where I will tie the string. I did this using a screw and a hammer. Then using two thicknesses of cotton string I cut lengths of 5', 10' and 15'.

I did some calculations though, and unless I make separate experiments for each variable, I'll have to do over 200 experiments, have over 90 minutes of audio for this single experiment, which would mean I would also be doing about 4 recordings of each. All together I would have to do over 5 hours of recording not including set up and editing for each recording.

I think I'll take the easy route.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

First pic, Woooooo

Ian left, Mark Right. Here we are in the studio getting ready to record. Up here we have a tenor sax, acoustic and electric guitars, and a bass. We recorded on a dynamic cardioid mic for all but the Acoustic which I used that and a contact mic.

Day 3:

Day 3: Me and my Studio

So, today I recorded with my own equipment for the first time.

It went somewhat terribly, but the product is fine.

Basically to sum everything up 2 hours of tech problems (thank god Random was online.) Every time I switched mics, the speakers would stop working, this was a problem because I can't sample the recordings after I recorded them. Basically I had to trust my guts and use my limited skills to pull through, because I never figured out how to fix this problem.

I am extremely lucky that I have history with editing and cutting. It turned out that all the Sax recordings peaked, but I was able to fix this by patching together a couple tracks, using stretching tools and such. I am quite satisfied with the final product.

Another problem was I only had one good bass recording, luckily, Ian is really good so I have one really good recoding. I was picking up allot of noise, but noise reduction is a good tool.

Electric and Acoustic guitar went great, I guess I was more comfortable with these since I knocked off the parts I was nervous about first.

All and all it was a successful day.

Also you can check out the recordings on myspace.

As of tomorrow, I'm starting my project.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

How to Set Up the Mics

So that I never have to worry about technical problems ever again.
Here are all the settings for using mics:

When using mic box:

(Note that computer reads box as "Line 1/2")

Mono: 01M Line 1/2 (Mobile Pre -1)
Audio hardware setup: Audio driver: Audition 3.0 Window Sound
Default Input: [01M] Line 1/2 (Mobile Pre -1)
Default Output: [01S] Speakers / Headphones (I...

Change sound levels while Audition is closed
For this setup there should be no reason to change sound
levels because you can change the gain on the box.

When using USB mic

Mono: [05M] Microphone (Samson C01U... -1
Audio hardware setup: Audio driver: Audition 3.0 Window Sound
Default Input: [05M] Microphone (Samson C01U... -1
Default Output: [01S] Speakers / Headphones (I...

Change sound levels while Audition is closed
Right click sound icon in bottom right corner of the screen,
Select recording devices,
Choose "Microphone" With C01U subtext,
Properties button,
Levels tab,
Adjust to proper volume


Okay, I gave up fixing it myself, and called Random. Somehow my collective 5 hours of work have nothing against his 15 minutes of computer skills.

I am soooooooooo glad I have such a large committee and good friends.


Anyhow, between my new hardware, my fixed software and everything that's goin' down tomorrow, life is looking good.


Today, I'm really pissed off because I can't get multitracking with two mics to work.

This is a live post, so you get to read the process while it happens.

At this point, I've gotten both the mics to work on two tracks by going to the audio hardware setup, selecting control panel, then selecting the box next to samsung mic (my USB mic). The computer automatically reads that I plugged the radioshack mic in the 1/8th inch mic pickup (or whatever the mic hole in my computer is called.)

I then selected in the input: [o15] Microphone in track 1, and [025] Microphone in track 2. After selecting "Arm for Record" on each track, I can get a recording on each mic.

Unfortuneately I can't get mic [025] to record more than 21 db. (A very low volume)
Note, this is with my mouth against the mic

On mic [015] I'm getting to levels into the 3db range. (very high volume)
If I talk loudly with my mouth against the mic, I can peak the mic. (Overload the mic)
Once again note that this is with my mouth against the mic while talking.

Also, another underlying problem is a sound that I would call digital feedback. It's hardly noticeable unless you master the audio tracks to boost the decibles. This might pose problems in the future.

So far, I am happy with the mic port, but I need to boost the signals from the USB port. I'm going to check the mic settings on the controal pad.

Okay, no. It's taking me back to my IDT Audio software (and that's not helping)

Attempt 2: I'm going to see if my USB mic will work if it's the only mic plugged in.

No. Not at all. But I also tried the mono options, and the microphone is being read as samsung, not that that changes anything.

God! It's not even recording to the left chanel, only right.

Okay, after a pain staking couple hours, I got it to work, but the recordings sound incredibly tinny, and this is unacceptable.

Taking a break from recording with Audition. Trying Audacity.

No, it's not designed for recoring with multiple mics.

I'm considering breaking down and buying a mixer...

Giving up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Inventory List

Day 3: Inventory List

So, I realized that in order to do my experiments I need the equipment to do it with.
Today I'm going to make a list of the things I need to get stuff* done.

CdS Cell (converts light into volts)
RCA powered speakers
RCA to 1/4" jack converter
1/4 and 1/8 male to male cables
Electrical wire strippers
Gator clips
A can of Plasti Dip
Unlubricated Condoms
Rubber Balloons
A reeeeaaaaalllly cheap MP3 Player
Mic stand or A hanging setup
VHS Tapes
Blank CDs
Different Varieties of Lightbulbs
Underwater Speakers
A HUGE Balloon
A 2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew: Code Red


* Yes, stuff is the technical term for what I'm doing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day two...

Day 2: Me Vs. Software

Point one: Adobe Audition rocks my socks

Point two: I can't get it to work

Actually, yes, I finally got it to work. After struggling with non-responsive microphones, detached editing panels and a mess of odd editing frames. Adobe is up and running.

Also, I got all of the drums tucked away in a nice .WMA file and a .CEL file*.

Anyway, all is looking bright in the world of Kai.

Other cool things I did today were going to goodwill scouting for dissertation stuff, going to Trade up Music for the first time and setting a new studio session with Mark and Ian so I can get my base recordings done.

Sweet sweet success.

P.S. I'm now in love with trade up music. It's cheap, high quality, and really stuffed to the brim with old and new equipment.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recording at it's Finest

Okay, so y'all, I keep talking about a project with no context. I just say "Experimental Recording," or "I'm putting a microphone underwater and seeing what happens"

I thought this would be a good time and place where I could go into detail about what it is I'm doing. Also if you stick with this post, I'll show a list of planned experiments I plan on doing.

Basically I'm taking 5 original recordings of different instruments with different timbre* then playing them back in different scenarios while recording the sound a second time.

So let's take the "I'm putting a microphone underwater and seeing what happens" as an example.

So theoretically I have these 5 sounds, underwater speakers, and a hydrophone**. Now I take those 5 sounds and see how the sound is altered when I send the sound through water. If you have ever swam in a public pool, you would know people sound different when your underwater, so obviously there should be a result, I just want a solid copy of that sound.
Now let's get more abstract. If the acoustics*** of the room change when your in a big room and a small room, do the acoustics change when you are in a big pool or a small pool?

So, that's basically my dissertation: Taking a sound, and messing with how you perceive it.

So, here's a list of ideas of experiments I would like to try:
(I lost my physical copy so this is a new list I can't actually loose...)

Underwater Volume Acoustics
Underwater Pickup/Distance Testing
Transmitting Sound Through Light
Tin Can Recording
Recording Through String****
Transmitting Sound Through Phone Lines
Recording on Multiple Mediums~
(This experiment has multiple parts and is just a collection of different experiments)
Contact Recording (recording through solids)
Pickup Recording
Digital Compression
Heat Distortion (mostly with tapes)
Recording (Via Walkie Talkie)

Most of these experiments shouldn't make much sense right now, but as you progress through my blog over the next couple months, It should all become clear.

Looking forward to the vast amounts of work....

* Timbre is basically how when a man and a woman sing the same note it sounds different, this applies to different instruments as well (this is a really stupid explanation, if you really care to know go look it up on Wikipedia or something.)

** A mic you use for underwater. Speaking of which, I read today that with a condom and a couple rubber bands you can convert your old mic into (drum roll) A hydrophone!!!

*** Very very basically how sound moves according to it's environment. Ie. Being in a small room and talking hearing very little echo vs. being in a church and hearing an echo after speeking.

**** Remember making those walkie talkies out of cans and string? Yeah, it's one of those with a mic on the other end

Work Day 1: Me vs. the Mic

Work Day 1:

Aggressively attacked the recording portion of my dissertation.
The main things I did today were:
  • Go to Fred Meyer to check the price of Walkie Talkies (for future reference $30+)
  • Meet with Conner to mess around
Fortunately for me once Conner and I started messing around we started recording and getting my preliminary work out of the way. We did some work with recording a C major scale on the electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and drums.

I am actually considering redoing the recordings with my microphones, or continuing to use Connors mics otherwise I fear that the recordings might be inconsistent. I think that this will be decided once I have a base collection of sounds and I can evaluate it based on quality.
If I deem all the recordings to be of a relative high quality I think I won't do the recordings.

Another decision I made today is the base recordings won't be evaluated on the playing of the instruments. Seeing as this is a project based on the recording, I think that the quality of the playing shouldn't be a factor in the actual product. So far I think the recordings went well, but I think that will be relative after I make recordings with my own mics.

The bottom line is: Home recording is hard without a real studio, and minimal equipment.

The next challenge I faced today was working with my software. Adobe Audition was being a jerk to me, and I hate it when it's fussy. For one, the mic I tried using wasn't picking up any noise (also I brought the wrong mic). That wasn't actually the program's fault once I realized I had plugged it in the headphone jack... Actually that wasn't the problem either because once I fixed that, even with the highest mic sensitivity, it wasn't reacting. I had to break down and use Conner's mics and computer.

Lesson Number 1: Prep before recording

I read that in multiple books but ignored it. Now I realize that's really REALLY useful and I'll keep that in mind every time I record from now on.

So, in short: Good Day, really anxious to get over all the set up and I'm really anxious to get over the set up. (I said it twice for emphsis. Take that everything I've learned about writing!)

Also, special thanks to Conner for all the help today, I really appreciate it.