Condenser microphones don’t like humidity

I bought a Behringer B5 condenser microphone a couple of years ago to record my acoustic guitar. Add in a second  dynamic mic I already owned and a little two channel USB preamp with phantom power and it sounded really nice.

Then after a few months the condenser mic started picking up some interference.  It was a weird kind of rumble but with a kind of radio tuning sound, and the odd pop and click.

I tried changing channels, switched power supplies and cables but nothing helped.

Finally I came across a forum post describing a similar problem with the cause being humidity. Apparently condenser mics don’t do well in humid conditions and my office is a little damp. I’d left my mic out of its case a couple of times in these conditions and it got damp. The silica gel packet that came in the case should have been a clue.

Anyway, I popped my mic in my electric oven set at 30C, left it for 30mins and now it’s as good as new! Phew.

Song In Code: Ramones, I wanna be sedated

Just the first verse:

go = Proc.new { sleep 24.hours }
self.wants :sedatation
begin ; nil ; end
case go ; where "no" ; nil ; end
self.wants :sedatation
self.get '/airport'
self.put '/airport/plane'
before self.insane? do
  3.times { hurry! }
end
return if self.can_control? :fingers
return if self.can_control? :brain
5.times { "no" }

I recorded me singing it, which is kinda stupid tbh.

I used mencoder to convert this to something Youtube found tasty. Like this:

mencoder -ss 15 -endpos 1:18 -vf pp=al:f,scale=480:360 -oac mp3lame -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=libx264:mbd=1:vbitrate=2000 MOV01362.MPG -o MOV01362.x264

Also, pimp for another Geek/Ukelele project: Ukepedia, all 3 million Wikipedia articles one song at a time

Live this Saturday at the Packhorse in Leeds, The Gillroyd Parade

My band, The Gillroyd Parade, are hosting an evening of acoustic music at the Packhorse Pub this Saturday (7pm to 11pm, 16th May). Supported by Ukelele Bitch Slap. Do come along, it’d be just dandy to see you.  Full poster here.

The Gillroyd Parade

Ukepedia: Wikipedia on the Ukelele

Ukepedia is a new project by me and Louisa. Long story short: Ukepedia is Wikipedia articles performed on the Ukelele (or Ukulele if you prefer). The long story isn’t actually much longer than that.

Here is a video of me performing the Wikipedia article “Otitis Media” (which I also performed live at The Chemic Tavern on Thursday and at Bar Camp Leeds just today).

Record your own, upload them to You Tube and submit them to us!

Emusic.com sucks

I signed up for Emusic.com a few months ago to buy music online, but I’m fed up with them. This is my “why are you leaving?” feedback to them:

I’d like to get what I pay for. I pay for 65 tracks but if I don’t download them within the month, they disappear. I have trouble understanding how this is a legitimate business practice – where do my tracks go? Are they distributed to the poor?

Your business model is based on the hope that people won’t use what they pay for.

Your business model is based on taking advantage of your customers.

Fat Wreck Chords RIAA member

Fat Wreck Chords are listed on the RIAA members list. This is a little confusing, considering they are an independent label who vehemently oppose the practices of the record industry dinosaurs.

After lots and lots of searching, I finally found what seems to be an excerpt from some newsletter by Fat Mike which denies this insanity. Though it states that they were taken off the list after complaining a lot, they are back on it now.

I’ve e-mailed them to suggest they put it on their website news section or something. It’s difficult to find the truth otherwise (assuming it is the truth).

UPDATE: Turns out this is old news, and Fat Wreck Chords deny any involvement with RIAA. I found that a guy e-mailed them about it in 2003 and they responded. Still no answer from them myself though.

half man half biscuit gig

We saw Half Man Half Biscuit last night at the Cockpit in Leeds. Great stuff. It’s wonderful to hear NON-American cultural references that I don’t understand for a change. Incomplete unordered set list follows:

  • Corgi registered friends
  • Vatican broadside
  • Fuckin’ ell it’s Fred Titmus
  • 24 hour garage people
  • The Len Ganley stance
  • Four skinny indie kids
  • 99% of gargoyles look like Bob Todd
  • Bob Wilson, anchor man
  • Cover of Help me Rhonda

And as Louisa said, I too liked that their stage “costumes” looked like they had all been bought at Matalan.

buying music online

I got an illegal copy of some Half Man Half Biscuit from a friend a few months ago. I really enjoyed it so I decided to buy some. I don’t care for inlay sleeves, or for any physical aspect of music other than the actual audio waves so I thought I’d try pay for a legal download. This proved impossible.

I firstly realised that my own specification on getting this music in either a lossless format, or an open format (such as OGG vorbis) were hilarious in the current online music climate, so settled for, well, basically *any* format. The iTunes download software isn’t supported on my GNU/Linux OS, and Apple are far too big and evil for me to give them any more money anyway. MP3.com looked promising until I realised they seem to just be a front for other online music stores, none of which had any Half Man Half Biscuit available anyway (and were just as big and evil sounding).

I gave up. I went to bloody HMV and bought an album there. And when I listened to the album when I got home, it I didn’t even like it much.

I’ve sinced downloaded more Half Man Half Biscuit and really, really enjoyed it. I think I’m just going to send a cheque direct to the band.

I once met El Hefe from the punk band NOFX. I told him I’d downloaded their latest album for free off the Internet. “Oh, then we don’t get paid” he jokily explained. I offered him a tenner directly as payment, and he turned it down. “So I can listen for free?”. “Sure” he said.

The music industry needs to change. But we already knew that.

half man half biscuit

The singer out of Slip Knot went to Rome to see the Pope, and the Pope said to his aide:
Who the fucking hell are Slip Knot?
Who the fucking hell are Slip Knot, in relation to me getting out of bed?

If you grew up in England, I urge you to buy a half man half biscuit cd today. They are on the independent label Probe Plus so you can do it without selling your soul to the evil music industry.

Biohazard workout

BIOHAZARD absolutely rock. The BEST gigs I EVER attend. Be sure to see them when they come your way. Violent tho, everyone just kicking the shit out of each other, all in the name of music. I didn’t get hurt tho, Cottie did tho, he stage dived direct to ground and got a red shoulder.

Lots of cute lil’ girls crowd surfing too, but I hate feeling like a dirty perv by putting my hands all over em to help em stay up, so I kinda just pretend I didn;t see em, and they fall on the ground. Lil’ punk girls seems to bounce ok tho.

Thats my excersize for the month done, slam dancing at a biohazard gig is like going to the gym, just with more fighting, and less showers.