Vintage Pro Audio Hack Chat

Join us on Wednesday, May 25 at noon Pacific for the Vintage Audio Hack Chat with Frank Olson!

There was a time, and not all that long ago on the cosmic scale, that if you wanted to hear music, you either needed to make it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. For most of history, music was very much a here and now thing, and when the song was over, that was it.

Thankfully, those days are long gone, and for better or worse, we have instant access to whatever music we’re in the mood for. The Spotify client in your pocket is a far cry from the iPod of a few years back, or the Walkman of the 80s, or even a mid-century transistor radio. But no matter how you listen to your music, it all starts with getting the live music recorded, and that’s where we’ll be going with this Hack Chat.

join-hack-chatHooking up the preamps, mixers, mics, and recorders that make modern music possible is what Frank Olson is all about. You’ll probably recognize Frank’s name from his unique niche as a maker of wooden microphones, but dig a little deeper and he’s got a lot of experience with vintage pro audio gear. As both a musician and an audio engineer, Frank brings an enthusiast’s passion for recording gear to the Hack Chat, and we’re looking forward to picking his brain on the unique ways he’s found to turn sounds into music and to get to all down on tape.

Our Hack Chats are live community events in the Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, May 25 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have you tied up, we have a handy time zone converter.

5 thoughts on “Vintage Pro Audio Hack Chat

  1. How do you fix a noisy potentiometer?

    What do you think of young kids who think Matsushita brands like Pioneer made great gear? I guess it goes well with LP sound quality.

    Tube microphones. Worth the price?

    1. I can “speak” to these somewhat. The best solution for a noisy pot short of replacement is DeOxit spray.

      Re mics and turntables, to take mics first, the question is “worth it for what”, and “which ones”? The market is surprisingly large especially if you include tube preamps. The key to understanding your question is the more sensitive the microphone the more room acoustics it will capture in addition to the sound source. So if you have a room with acoustics problems you will quickly reach point of diminishing returns. Studio strategy is about balancing mic selection with acoustic treatment.

      The turntable question is very similar. The “quality” of Pioneer sound is not primary consideration. If you buy a tube mic you are highly unlikely to use it for a concert. You are not going to put $3k on a stage with sweaty, jumpy musicians. Similarly there are definitely turntables that sound better than Pioneer but you are not going to put them in a roadcase to be tossed around by drunken roadies. I would argue that there are not turntables more reliable than Pioneer. Since there are certainly turntables that sound worse than Pioneer their reputation is based on a balance of reliability and quality. Shure is very similar when it comes to microphones.

    2. > How do you fix a noisy potentiometer?
      Clean it or replace it.
      > What do you think of young kids who think Matsushita brands like Pioneer made great gear?
      They’re not wrong. I’ve owned a few pieces of Pioneer gear over the last 4 decades, and they were pretty good. But since the theme is “Pro Audio” we should pay more attention to the Matsushita brands Panasonic and Technics. The latter has ruled the world of DJ and broadcast turntables, and Panasonic has had a long presence in pro audio, from consoles to their dominant position in DAT decks.

      > Tube microphones. Worth the price?
      Mics are paint brushes, and not everyone is Van Gogh, If you have heard some tube mics and didn’t start wishing you owned some of them, then for you, no they wouldn’t be worth the price.


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