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lasermonkey

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Everything posted by lasermonkey

  1. I’m glad this thread has popped up again, as I’d like to add a few more. The Miles Gemini has been mentioned, but it’s a favourite of mine and I really would love to see a plastic kit released. The same goes for the Miles Falcon. I don’t think anyone has done an A.W. Atlas in plastic, and that’s one I have been hoping for. I’ll also add the Luscombe Silvaire, Chilton DW1, Comper Swift, Auster Autocrat, DH 84, DH 85, DH 87, DH 90 and a whole load of other light aircraft.
  2. Something with a big, burbling radial engine yesterday, though I didn’t catch what it was. Today we had a hummingbird hawk moth on the buddleia. That was unexpected but very welcome.
  3. I have a sneaking suspicion that you would sound like you no matter what guitar or amp you were using. It's funny just how much you can change with no apparent difference in the end result. I remember being surprised to read that Peter Buck (REM) swapped his Rickenbacker/Vox AC30 setup for a Les Paul/Marshall on The One I Love and yet it still sounds exactly like him! My pro musician friend has a deal with Gibson where he gets guitars at cost. He chooses to use Epiphones (Gibson's lower-price brand, for those of us who aren't guitar nuts) as he reckons you get much more bang for your buck, although he does have a few old Gibsons that he uses at home and in the Studio. Speaking of which, when I visited his studio in Seattle, he was using a decidedly budget Mackie mixing console. The sort of thing you might find in small, independent venues or bedroom studios. He has made some great sounding records with it, so you don't need a $1M Neve or SSL console, even if they are nice if you get the chance. He did have the one Focusrite mic preamp, but that wasn't one of their top-of-the-range ones. I haven't played a Mexican Tele, but I always thought the Squier Teles were way better than they had any right to be at the money. I did play a Mexican Strat once, and even though I'm not a Strat guy, I thought it was one of the better Strats I had tried. There's always a point of diminishing returns with any hobby and I think that once you get to the Mexican Fenders, you're probably getting the best quality vs price ratio. My Fender Bass VI is Mexican built. I also miss the days when I had disposable income. The only thing stopping me buying guitars back then was the space to keep them! *sigh*
  4. I used to be a member of a music production/technology forum a fair old while back, but ending up leaving due to rampant snobbery. If you didn’t have the latest multi-thousand pound microphone preamp or had the temerity to own a synthesiser that wasn’t an actual Moog, you were nobody. One of my friends is a professional musician/producer and he couldn’t stand it either. Nice tools are all well and good, but it’s the results that count, whether it’s the quality of the end product or the enjoyment had in the process.
  5. I use enamels and an airbrush and my wife is adamant that I’m a child!
  6. I had a bit of a Cure session last night. I started with Japanese Whispers, which was a compilation album which featured all the songs from three non-album singles. For me, the best songs are Just One Kiss and La Ment, as they both retain the dark intensity that Robert Smith was desperately trying to shed at the time. The preceding album, Pornography, was by all accounts a harrowing experience to make and it’s not an easy listen by any stretch. The singles Let’s Go To Bed, The Walk and The Love Cats were a reaction to that. Interestingly, The Cure were accused of ripping off New Order’s Blue Monday with The Walk, with its octave synth bass and drum machine, but it was actually recorded ahead of Blue Monday, even if it was released later. To counter the upbeat songs, I followed it with Pornography. I mean the album, not pictures of nakey people! It’s intense, dark and mind-bendingly psychedelic. It remains of my favourite albums of all time. After that, I thought I’d give their debut album, Three Imaginary Boys, a listen. I get why I haven’t heard it in such a long time. I don’t think it’s aged at all well. Smith was not happy with it, the songs having all been chosen by Fiction Records’s Chris Parry, who also did the production. As a result, Smith insisted on full artistic control for the band on all subsequent records, so it was worth it in its own way. I feel that the record is kinda directionless and only on Another Day and the title track does that band hint at what is to come. So What did make me smile though, the lyrics mostly consisting of Smith reading out a promotional offer from a bag of sugar and has the same kind of camp delivery that made The Buzzcocks so appealing. At the time, Smith was influenced by The Buzzcocks and Elvis Costello and was aiming to do that kind of spiky punk-pop. It was only when he had to step in as guitarist for Siouxsie & The Banshees (the guitarist and drummed bailed on them mid-tour) that he realised what direction he wanted to take, with the next three albums being increasingly dark and foreboding. If nothing else, I feel that Three Imaginary Boys is an important historical footnote., but otherwise unremarkable.
  7. I’ve had a terrible year, moth-wise. On any given night, I could expect to see several of certain species, such as common wainscots, willow beauties, double striped pugs, least carpets, riband waves, dark arches, mottled beauties and various types of rustics. Some nights I’m not getting a single thing. It’s quite concerning. The elephant hawk moths were a very welcome sight. One of them parked up over the day, and my wife was able to see it. She’s not a big fan of moths to say the least, but she’s fine with them during daylight.
  8. A Canadian CP-140 Orion just went over. I had expected it to be a C-130 by the noise, but was very surprised when I looked it up on Free Radar.
  9. My wife has called me an enabler on several occasions. It’s a fair cop.
  10. I got two more pedal circuits up and running today. First was a clone of the Death By Audio Interstellar Overdriver. Now, Death By Audio (DBA) are renowned for their *ahem* unusual way of doing things, favouring back-to-front transistors and weirdly wired potentiometers, amongst other things. The less kind in the pedal making community say that they don't really know what they're doing but to be fair, they have some unique takes, their pedals don't really sound like anything else and they have quite a following. When I plugged the circuit into my test rig, it didn't work at all. A quick look revealed that I had forgotten to cut the necessary bits on the stripboard tracks. I've built hundreds of pedal circuits and never have I done anything this daft before! I cut the tracks, hooked it up again and it still didn't work. With the drive control on full I could get an overdriven signal, but it was incredibly gated (i.e.the sound cuts off abruptly when the input goes below a certain level, rather than sustaining), but backing off the drive, even by a touch, killed the output entirely. I had read that circuits with reverse bias transistors can be incredibly fussy. Although I had built the circuit several years ago, I had done a bit of research and put in transistors with a current gain (hfe) of around 600, as this is what people were saying worked. Well. mine didn't. I removed the transistors and replaced them with sockets so I could easily play around with different transistors. I then tried some higher gain MPSA18 transistors, but these didn't pass any audio at all. I then went the other way and tried some 2N5088s with an hfe of around 350. The circuit sprang into life and sounded more or less like the demo video I had watched. Further experimentation revealed that an hfe of around 450 yielded the best results. It's a thick, gooey overdrive with more than a hint of fuzz about it and I like it enough to put it in the "to be boxed" pile. I also finished another circuit. This one was, I believe, a DIYer's take on the Electric Amp Innovations MV120 amplifier, but as an "amp in a box" type pedal. Rather that use JFETs instead of valves (or tubes if you live across the pond), this uses a dual op amp and both stages are cascaded and have clipping diodes. Now, the MV120 is kind of a modified Matamp style amp, but built in the US. It's favoured by the stoner/doom fraternity, and while I'm one of those sensitive indie kids, (albeit a 56 year old indie kid) I do have a penchant for downtuned, sludgy, doomy guitars. I was intrigued, what with the circuit topology, as to how it would sound. I have built a number of JFET amp in a box pedals, including my own take on old Matamp and Orange amps, but never tried an op amp based one. It's pretty darned accurate, truth be told. Compared to the demo video I watched, it nailed it. Enough that I'm probably going to abandon my own JFET based MV120 project, which is much more complicated and expensive to make. It really does get that loose, fuzzy, vintage stack feel and it has bags of low end. It's a one trick pony, but then you wouldn't buy an MV120 for Fender style clean tones! Doom for days. I must try it with my SG copy.
  11. Whilst in the workshop tonight, I put my LED lights on in the window, after having seen a few nice moths in the garden over the past few days (including an old lady, which settled down for a minute before flying off again. Definitely the biggest one I've seen yet). I managed to get at least four elephant hawk moths, which settled down at various points. I got to see some of them flying around, some of which bounced off me. I tried to coax one onto my hand, but he wasn't having any of it. I got a few photos, which I shall post here soon. One of the other villagers had thirty eight elephant hawk moths in his trap the other day and he took a great photo. I also had a garden carpet (which somehow got into the workshop and had to be rescued), four common footmen, a treble lines, a brown tail, a riband wave and a few more that will require further study.
  12. A few things I have listened to lately: The Demonstration by Drab Majesty. Eighties-inspired, retro synthpop/post-punk mash up. ..followed by Sons & Fascination/Sister Feelings Call by Simple Minds. They were never my favourite band and were responsible for some utter drivel later in their career, but for a few short years, their self-bravado & bluster gave rise to a few stonking albums. ...and the Hyaena by Siouxsie & The Banshees. I've said before that I have lots of unpopular opinions, but for me, Hyaena is my favourite, despite not having the magnificent John McGeoch on it. Instead, Robert Smith does the guitars, though those are more often than not out of focus and deep in the mix. I seem to remember reading contemporary interviews where Siouxsie was saying about how little guitar Smith added, instead plumping for keyboards. What the album may lack in guitar, it more than makes up with ambition. It's their most expansive album, IMO. Cinematic, even. Siouxsie's voice, always a force of nature, is breathtaking on Hyaena and much like the lady herself, equal parts dead sexy and absolutely terrifying. Steve Severin's bass is as melodic and mournful as it ever got. McGeoch once said of him "he's a terrible bass player, but probably the most musical person I've ever met" or words to that effect. And Budgie's drums, when everyone else was whacking gated reverb on everything, are given the space they need and thus don't make the record sound dated. He's my favourite drummer by a long shot. Anyway, I love this record!
  13. From the November 1982 issue of SAM: That should hopefully tell you all you need to know about the production rear view mirrors, though there were unofficial modifications at unit level. I haven't seen the Tamiya kit as it's not my scale, so can't comment on what type it may be.
  14. That’s a lovely battering ram you’ve made there. A nice tribute indeed.
  15. Someone on eBay was selling a bunch of Aeroclub white metal bits, so I relieved him of the Lightning undercarriage and nose cone/tailpipe sets. I have a couple of ancient Airfix Lightning F.1 kits in the stash and still intend to make them. It’s not like the Sword F.1/2 kits are readily available and when they do turn up, they ain’t cheap.
  16. Some of the best photos I have been able to find can be seen here. Also this pic. Having seen a completed model here on Britmodeller recently, I think today's luncheon may consist of headwear. I'm still not convinced KP have got the subtle shape of the windscreen quite right, but you can tell from the completed model that it's a lot better than the photos of the canopy part on its own suggest. Anyway, apologies to KP and anyone else I may have inadvertently misled. Hopefully the pics will help you make up your own mind. Best regards, Mark.
  17. I got the Tremulus Lune tremolo pedal working. It was over ten years ago that I started it,along with another that I built for a friend. I finished my friend's one but for some reason, mine found its way to the shelf of doom (yeah, I have two shelves of doom!) and languished there until yesterday. It's now up, running and zipped up in its enclosure. Although I believe that the origins of the Tremulus Lune were in the DIY community, it's one of the best tremolo pedals I've heard. With five control knobs, it's certainly versatile. I wired up the Roger Mayer Spitfire fuzz tonight and that worked first time. I hadn't listened to any demos beforehand, but with a transistor buffer up front, an LM301AN op-amp, a pair of hard clipping diodes and just two controls, I had a rough idea of what to expect. Although called a fuzz, I was expecting more of a distortion (like with the Suzz pedal described above) and with the fuzz control half way up, it did sound more towards fuzz than distortion, with a slight splashiness in the treble frequencies, though nothing like as much as you'd get with a Fender Blender or Shin-Ei FY-2 Companion Fuzz. Turning the Fuzz control between minimum to around the 3 o'clock position yielded the expected differing amounts of distortion, with identical tonal characteristics. In the last quarter of the Fuzz control's travel things suddenly got thicker, fuzzier and more compressed, with bags of juicy sustain. I honestly wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did and was surprised at how much could be got from one control knob. I had been concerned that, being a total Spitfire nut, I'd be disappointed with its namesake. I can see me using this one a lot and I'll probably build one as a gift for my mate, as I don't think he has a fuzz. He did nick my Crowther Hotcake clone though!
  18. I forgot to mention that we had an Italian C-130 over yesterday. Somewhat smaller, less noisy and closer to the ground, we saw our first ringlet and marbled white butterflies of the year yesterday. Ringlets are pretty common, but I have seen very few marbled whites, especially around the village.
  19. I still have the Twin, but sadly, I think I'm going to have to part with it. I've had it since the early 90s and it still had the original RCA valves in it! I did plenty of gigs before I had to change the power valves. It never did sound as good after that and they didn't last long either. It needs a new set and as I don't gig any more and can't really afford to maintain it, it'll have to go. It's so much louder than I need and I won't miss carrying it! My Orange AD30TC will be staying, as I really need a valve amp to test my pedals with, but I shall be getting a good sounding solid state combo to act as a pedal platform. I could probably buy a pair and have some spare change from the sale of the Twin.
  20. I'm going further south east, so I very much doubt I'll see much from there. Of all the time I have spent in the Suffolk Coastal AONB, (and I have spent a lot of time there) all I have seen is a couple of CV-22s. While I do like to see modern jets, I honestly wouldn't want to live either nearby to the bases or underneath their playground. I went on holiday in North Norfolk a couple of years ago and the 48th FW turned up every day to practice. It was fun for a while, but the noise soon got tiring. In February this year, Luton Airport's holding patterns were changed, and we now get a lot more jet noise we didn't have previously. It can get quite intrusive. I'll be glad to get away from it.
  21. I only lived in a city (London) for the first two years of my life. I grew up in a small town (St Neots) which grew and is still growing into a much larger town. I didn’t like it, so moved to a smaller village over the border in Bedfordshire. That also grew (and is still growing) and is too busy for me and my Mrs. Neither of us are very fond of people, especially the noise they make. I am semi-retired due to long-term illness, though I still have eleven years to go before I can claim my pension. We are moving to the Suffolk coastal area soon, if the house sale goes ok, as it’s our favourite part of the country. We would have preferred something a bit more isolated than we’re moving to, but the house prices in that part of the country rocketed over the past couple of years and as the Reverend Spooner might say, Cheggers can’t be boozers*. We are calling this is our pre-retirement move. Whether it is our “forever home” remains to be seen, but at least we now have a foothold in the right area. If I had my way, I’d never visit another city. I hate the crowds, the noise and the bright lights. Give me peace, quiet and nature any day! * sadly ironic, I know.
  22. For purely selfish reasons, I very much hope Arma doesn’t do the early Spitfires (or anything else I like, for that matter) as their newer releases are way too expensive for me. So yeah, c’mon Eduard! Pull your finger out!
  23. I got a few more pedal circuits working, these being an Analogman King Of Tone, a Mad Professor Stone Grey Distortion and a Carlsbro Suzz. The King Of Tone is basically two modified Marshall Bluesbreaker overdrives in one box. There's something like a two year waiting list for a King Of Tone and honestly, I'm not convinced it lives up to they hype. I mean, it is good, but not exceptional, IMO. I'll be putting it into an enclosure at some point in the future, after the house move. The Stone Grey Distortion is, like the KOT, a circuit I built around ten years ago and only just got around to testing. It's a tight, focussed distortion and I remember liking the sound of it in a demo vide I watched at the time. Another one I'll be boxing up. I have loads of circuits that still need testing! The Suzz is a very basic op-amp fuzz/distortion. I guess that Suzz is an contraction of sustain-fuzz. My first amplifier, a Carlsbro Stingray 150* (complete with 4x12 cab) had a Suzz feature on the dirty channel. I'm not sure if it's the same one, and to be honest, I don't remember it sounding like this one. For such a simple circuit, I really like it but then again, I'm a big fan of the old Carslbro pedals. The original Suzz is long out of production and like all Carlsbro pedals, sells for silly money these days. I modified mine with switchable input capacitors so you can have a bright and focussed tone or a looser tone with much more low-end. I shall probably modify it further so that the input cap switch is replaced with a potentiometer and I'll also add a variable low pass filter on the output. Definitely a keeper, this one. I'm just about to head back into the workshop to finish off a couple more pedals, these being the Roger Mayer Spitfire fuzz and the 4mS Tremulus Lune tremolo. *I know that Carlsbro amps (apart from the old valve 50W & 60W ones) aren't exactly coveted, but it sounded great to me. Back in the early 90s my rig of doom consisted of the Carlsbro stack with a '75 Fender "silverface" Twin Reverb (2x12 combo, so six 12" speakers in all, run in stereo) on top, which was around the same height as me (I'm 6' 2") and was insanely loud. There's no beating the visceral feeling of playing at trouser-flapping volumes, though I do have permanent tinnitus to prove it.
  24. I do realise how lucky I am. I live around five miles from Old Warden, so it is common to see their aircraft during the warmer months, plus anything visiting. Duxford is relatively close too, so we see much of their stuff. In addition, we're on the route between Wattisham and Middle Wallop. This means we get Apaches and Chinooks at the sort of altitudes that rattle your eyeballs in their sockets! I expect I'll miss it when I move to Suffolk, though it's swings and roundabouts, because the nature is way better than it is in Bedfordshire. I should also add that there was a Tiger Moth around an hour ago and just this moment, a Seafire XVII flew over.
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