DJ Warehouse Fail!

So I went to DJ Warehouse today, let me start by saying that the experience was not pleasant. I went there to get some road cases for my SL1200’s, which I had been shopping around for, for sometime. I found that DJ Warehouse had the best price on these type of cases, but, unfortunately the cheap price reflected the cheap service.

Now, generally I buy this kind of thing online and I have it shipped to me so I don’t have to deal with the dosh bags in the store, but when I discovered that these guys had cases at a good price and the shipping costs where extortionate I decided that I would go pick them up myself since the store is local to me in Sydney. It started last week when I rang the store and I spoke to ‘Jayson’, I asked the guy twice and I wrote the name down. When I rang them today I asked for Jayson and I was told that Jayson only works in the warehouse and ‘No, he never works on the front counter, you must be mistaken’

‘oh god, ok whatever, what is your name ?…’

‘Olivier’ he said

‘OK cool I’ll be there shortly’, in other words I was saying, ‘Get my shit ready I will come and get it and get out of your hair real quick!’. But this was never going to be the case.

First, when I get there, there is some cretin crapping on to the sales dude, who I assumed was ‘Oliver’. He was crapping on for about 20 minutes talking about shit which I am sure he knew nothing about and which I am sure that Oliver knew equally nothing about! Why do this? Before even stepping foot in a store like this you should be well armed and understand exactly what you are about the fork out cash for, never trust a salesman! There is so much stuff on the net these days that the salesman has become almost irrelevant, along with the store itself. The only value I see in a store is to act as a warehouse to store good that you may need to get on a whim or in an emergency…. anyway.

I just wanted to get my cases and go, but it continues. Oliver then suddenly asked me to pay, I said ‘Can I look at the cases ?’

”They are out the back’, he says

‘Oh really what do they look like ?’

‘Blah, blah, blah, they look like the ones on the website’

‘ok fine whatever, here’s my card…’

He then proceeds to bill me and print an invoice, but, there is no paper in the printer!! Arrrg, while he is trying to get the printer sorted out the phone rings, twice! Then after 10 minutes of searching he decides that there is no paper and rings the warehouse to ask if he can email the order to them… ummm… why don’t you just do that all the time!?!?!  Anyway, whatever, I think to myself.

So finally I head out to the warehouse to pickup my order, where low-and-behold, I meet a guy called Jayson! He also screwed around… couldn’t find the cases and when he did find them one of them had scratches on, which to be honest I was not that worried about. Finally I get these things and tried them out in the studio, they are good, pretty happy in the long run but it was a long painful process. It’s this kind of experience that has really put me off going to shops, if the retail sector is serious about keeping customers then they need to sharpen up their game and stop being so full of themselves!



Focusrite and Windows 8 No Go!

THIS is bullshit.  Manufacturers of hardware have had months and months to get Windows 8 drivers for their products sorted out. I am a proud owner of a Focusrite Saffire Pro 24DSP, it has been my workhorse for around 2 years now, I had to buy it when my last card, an EDIROL DA-2496 was passed by for 64bit drivers when I went to Windows 7, now there exists the potential for the same to happen again with my new-ish Focusrite! I can only hope that they will get their act together and develop a driver and save me from throwing yet another piece of hardware in the bin!

Using Zoom H4n Line Inputs

I have been doing a little bit of live sound work of late and some of this work has required me to record the session off the desk, not problems I have a Zoom H4n and you would think it should be up to the task as it is…. nope….

Turns out that the Zoom H4n line inputs are just that, line level inputs at -10dBm, which means that if you send and Aux out from a professional sound desk it will be way too hot, since the level out of the desk would be +4dBm when the meters read 0dBvu. This is exactly the same problem I recently had with a CDJ and U46dj sound card. So the solution is to drop the output level send to the Zoom… oh but hang on, you need to work out how to actually connect to the line inputs as this is not immediately obvious. The line inputs are connected to the 6.5mm TS connectors, which are centred in the middle of the XLR’s at the bottom of the unit. Unlike most XLR/Phono combo jacks the XLR and 6.5mm plug are not connected to the same pre-amp. The XLR  part is set to mic level, -60dBm and is a balanced connector, but the 6.5mm TS socket is line level, -10dBm unbalanced….. errrrrr wot! No +4dBm pro level…..

So once you have figured that out you can plug a couple of 6.5mm TS jacks into them, but in order to get the levels right you will need a couple of attenuators. I just received 4 of these -15dBm attenuators that connect in-line with an XLR cable, and with the addition of a few other bits from my kit I am set to go. If you do the maths you will figure out that a -15dBm attenuator will give 1dBm of headroom in this case. I was a little disappointed to see that I could not easily (ie: on ebay) get these from an Australian supplier, I generally buy small things like this online as I find that real stores rarely carry exactly what you are after and they need to order it in anyway!  So, I was forced to order them from the UK, normally I would get this sort of thing from Swamp, but they don’t seem to carry attenuators either…. come on guys!

So now that you have all your plugs connected you will need to set the record level on the Zoom. I found that this bit did make some sense, it seems that when the record level is set to ‘1’ that is in fact unity (0dBvu) for -10dBm input… nice…then every ‘0.1’ drop is -3dBvu… also nice…

So there you have it, how to get this thing going and working nicely with your kit… now go and start recording!

Looks like I have a broken Juno-106

A quick post today because I only slept 4 hours last night and can hardly concentrate…. I walked into the studio today with a good idea for a phat bass line, only to find a broken juno-106… switched it on and could not get any sound out of it! After a quick check I figured out that it is dead, the lights are on but no one is home and no sound output… will keep you posted because it most likely it has to get repaired and looks like SynthRepair, who is my usual repair guy, has disappeared.

New Speakers

Hey I bought new speakers! To use at parties and stuff, I got sick of hiring them and going back and forth to hire companies, that, and the fact that LightSounds has moved and it is no longer convenient for me to get there. Let me be the first to say that these speakers are cheap only $550 from Alternative Imports but they will more than do the job. I’ve already used them on a small job and things went swimmingly!

Protools 10… yeah !… I think…..???

So I finally cracked and bought ProTools 10, I got it cheap. Since I am currently a student I am entitled to all sorts of discounts, including software from big vendors like Avid. Protools 10 is industry standard, I honestly don’t know why, it is seriously lacking in the features that I am used to in Cubase, the interface seems simple and dumbed down and using it feels like time travel back to 2002….. Never-the-less, if I get future post production work it will at least allow me to give the client something that they are expecting, even if it means that I do the work in Cubase and export it to PT10….. this is what Hans Zimmer does….! Anyway here is a crappy promo video from Sweetwater, and if you are switched on you will realise that many of these ‘new’ features in PT10 have been available in Cubase since 2005, I think the commenter’s agree….

Carillon Mofos

No that’s not a swear, thats really what they are called, I swear!

These badboys are basically foam blocks that sit under your monitor speakers and isolate the speaker housing from the furniture to prevent any unwanted resonance and vibrations through the funiture itself. I orginally had ordered these before I built my studio thinking  ‘sure, I’m gonna need these‘, but as it turned out the Genelec 8040A’s that I purchased to replace my aging Alesis Monitor One’s, have rubber pads built in that serve the same purpose. Nevermind, The Mofos worked out perfect for my DJ monitors, which are now my old reference monitors, they give a little more hight so the speakers are closer to your ears and they provide a perfect 5 degree tilt, so when I am standing at the decks the speakers are pointing directly at my head….!   arrrr volume, we all love it !!

These foam pads seemed a little better than others I looked at because they have a backing plate that gives extra stability, which I hope stops the speaker bouncing around and falling off……