Sunday, October 28, 2007

Projection Screen is done!

Someone stole my microphone pod from the spray booth. After forty minutes on the rotary polisher, it looked altogether much better, and I'm rather angry that someone stole it.

(If you, the thief, are reading this, please be noted that I'm going to pull your pancreas out through your nose with a butterknife.)

On the plus side, I've built a rather nifty 76" projection screen out of some blackout cloth and "stretcher bars" - interlocking wood bars that artists use to strech canvas. I paid under $30 for the whole thing, including fabric.

There are a few advantages to this method: The screen is stretched tight and smooth, and is very light. All that's required for assembly is a stapler and scissors; no power tools are needed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Color correcting sheltie.

This is my dog. She's a cute little sheltie, a little over a year old, and I love her a lot.


I need to learn how to do color-correction, though, and this seems like a good starting point.

Any tips, anyone?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


This is my microphone. There are many like it. But this one is mine.

It's going to have a Transsound TSB-165 capsule and a Schoeps circuit.

It'll look better tomorrow.

Did I mention I made the whole thing by hand? That copper ring is a copper pipe cut-off I filed until I was rounded; the brass rod is a bit of brass rod; the mesh was stamped into place with a dapping block, and the little copper rings were made out of a coiled piece of copper wire.

Yay for hard work.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Yay! I'm updating again!

Well, now that summer's almost here, I'm going to be updating again. However, it won't ALL be speakers - some of the stuff here will be covering recording equipment, and some of it will simply be twisted products of my own imagination.

Anyway, as I do not yet drive, I'm stuck imagining all the awesome cars I'd like to own. And I figure I ought to post one every Sunday, if only because I think of the silly things so often.
Car #1:
Homemade Lotus 7, A.K.A "Locost", with turbocharged Hayabusa engine.

The Lotus 7 is, by nature, a pretty simple concept: Make the car very light and streamlined, and it will go fast. Due to its simplicity, it is also the subject for a remarkably popular book: "How to build a sports car for under 250 pounds (british currency)." These low-cost sportscars, or "locost cars", are a great way to drive a glorious old roadster without the insane pricetag and annoyingly maintenance-intensive nature associated with

Trevor Davis' Locost Car of the Year, 2005

The majority of Locost cars use old 4-cylinder engines, usually those from cheap economy cars. While the cars they come from are often quite slow, the vastly reduced weight and excellent agility of the Lotus design make it a drivable sports car. As an added bonus, the engines are usually quite cheap - hence the 250 GBP theoretical total pricetag. And, in the case of many Honda engines, there are a wide variety of cheap aftermarket parts, which can turn a $2,000 roadster into a $3,000 four-wheeled missle.

However, massive horsepower is going to require a massive engine. While the end result is certianly an improvement over the engine from your Geo, the bigger engine does go against the philosophy of Lotus design: "Add Lightness." The Lotus was designed to be as light as possible.

But what if one could have the best of both worlds?

Enter the Hayabusa.

To put it simply, the Hayabusa is very likely the fastest bike on the planet. With the stock 170hp inline four-cylinder engine, it can reach speeds of well over 180mph. Of course, so can competing bikes from Yamaha and others...but that's only half the story.

Photo courtesy of

Apparently, the astounding 170hp from the Hayabusa's little 1.3 liter 4-cylinder engine is only scratching the surface. You see, the 170 horsepower from the tiny little 4-banger is the spec for normally-aspirated engine, fresh out of the box - no tuning. In its eight years of production, the Hayabusa has generated a large number of aftermarket parts - and these are what truly make this engine impressive.

While 170 horsepower seems insane from an engine the size of a breadbox , that's nothing compared to a fully 'rodded Hayabusa. With the addition of a turbocharger or supercharger - for which there are multiple options - and a bit of tuning, 300 to 400 horsepower is not uncommon. There are reports of maxed-out Hayabusas, equipped with nitrous injection, capable of over seven hundred break horsepower!

In fact, Caterham has built exactly this: A modified version of the Lotus Seven, called the Caterham Super 7 Hayabusa. Availible from the factory with up to 350 horsepower from a modified Hayabusa engine, it's one of the fastest cars made today, capable of leaving Porsches and Ferraris in its wake. It boasts a 0-60 time of under 3.5 seconds, and that's for the baseline 185hp version.

Of course, anything this awesome is not going to be cheap. But then again, there's a thriving community of people building knock-offs of exactly this car. Considering that a Hayabusa enigne can be had in very good condition for less than $3,000, why not just build one yourself?

Well, I'd like to. Eventually.


Next week: Mopar hoonage!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Musical Genuis

Here's a really nifty video of Herbie Hancock jamming on his Fairlight CMI, one of the first polyphonic sampling synthesizers. With all the ridiculous stuff today, it's nice to see a very advanced piece of machinery playing good, old-fashioned music.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Insignia B-2111 and you.

I'm looking at getting a few pairs (!) of these suckers used, and for good reason: They're terrific speakers at a terrific price. Despite being sold under Best Buy's house brand - the poorest stock of a truly awful electronic store - they're remarkably good. In fact, they're so good that Best Buy incrased the price from $45 a pair to $70 a pair - but they're likely worth it anyway.

Though the speakers appear to be yet more of the single-driver trash passed off as HT gear, they're actually 2-ways - that bump in the middle of the driver is actually a tweeter, mounted within the center of the woofer. While unorthodox, this "coaxial" design is nothing new - Tannoy has been using this configuration in terrific studio monitors for decades.

Aside from the unusual configuration of the drivers, the coaxial unit is itself something of an oddball. Unlike many cheap imitations therof, the woofer is real carbon fiber, and the tweeter is a real silk dome - no mylar junk or textured paper. The box has a rounded back - almost unheard of for units actually made out of MDF instead of cheap plastic - and is of remarkable quality. Even the finish is pretty good.

If one digs beneath the surface, the source of the speakers' unusual quality is evident: They're actually just a stripped-down version of Radiient's Europa surround-sound satellites.

The Real Radiients

Radiient came out of nowhere in something of a Cinderella story, except that Cinderella was not staffed with some of the best audio engineers of the buisness. Notables include the guy who invented the HDMI 1.3 standard, and from what I've heard, many people jumped ship from Energy - a now-defunct brand known in its own day for producing high-quality, reasonably priced speakers.

Though originally regarded as an excellent value at the $200 original pricetag, the Europas are availible today for just $100 a pair - and with free shipping, no less! Of course, many ask: Why send away for a pair of speakers when I can get some essentially the same at my local Best Buy for $30 less?

That $30 pays for a plethora of improvements - some visible, some not. In order to deal with irregularities on the high-end response of the coaxial driver, the Europa features a supertweeter - the funny bump on the top - to handle the ultra-high frequencies. In addition, partially as a result of the supertweeter, the crossover is of higher quality and a better design.

Unless you're ordering the B-2111s used or getting them on sale, I'd strongly reccomend the Europas. I've only heard the B2111s myself, but for the extra $30, you get quite a bit for your money!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Why conventions rule.

Princess Leia plays DDR. Q.E.D.