Week 160 (Variac Panel)

Some things take longer than others.  A little more than two years ago I advertised that the studio would be using Variac transformers instead of more modern technologies.  This was not a “retro at all costs” decision (though Variacs can be used to provide a really, really great dimming system), but due to the the fact that the pre-eminent lighting control company refused to sell us the very reasonable and very standard system that virtually every other studio employs, and instead would only quote us a package that cost 200% more than it should have.  Their absolute unreasonableness caused us to design them out of the main studio, albeit at an extraordinary expense of time.   Our proven ability to design around them led to a very easy negotiation the next time around when it came to outfitting the Annex.  Go figure.  But now, the variable transformers that we procured in 2008 are finally now being installed:

The design is ultra-green (in my book), as follows…

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A spiritual beginning to 2011

I think we all look for auspicious signs around the time of the New Year–signs of good fortune to come, signs of disasters to avoid, signs of hope. Indeed, there are many rituals from many cultures intended to tilt the cosmic game in one’s own favor.  For the start of 2011, I did nothing more profound nor bizarre than to turn my radio dial to 91.5 WUNC as I drove down to Pittsboro to check on the latest progress of my construction project.  Suddenly I found myself listening in on a conversation with John McLaughlin about spirituality in music.  Having seen John and his band play in Raleigh just a few months ago at the Lincoln Theater, hearing him talk about A Love Supreme was like music to my ears.  And I’m still jazzing strong about his latest release, To The One, which was nominated for a Grammy award last year, and which totally deserves to win it this year. Continue reading “A spiritual beginning to 2011”

Week 142 (Music Room Cloud)

At long last the acoustic cloud in the Music Room has been completed!  With 60 panels totaling very nearly 900 sq ft (nearly 1800 sq ft of active acoustic performance since both sides are used), it is a thing of beauty to behold:

But if you look more deeply, many more layers of beauty await…

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Colin Broad makes me happy

It was over a year ago when Ben Loftis told me “I think you’re going to need a box from Colin Broad”.  I vaguely remember looking up the name, seeing the boxes, and thinking “OK…when I’m a little closer to building out the studio I’ll have to see what’s current and what I need.”  Well, we’re starting to gear up our equipment lists, rack elevations, and wiring lists, and so it seemed like a good time to reach out to Colin and see whether his latest products suited my project.

In a word: perfectly!

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Construction and Deconstruction

Michael Pollan Pulseoptional While I have been fairly diligent about maintaining my construction blog, I have neglected to blog about much else since January, which could mislead the reader into believing either that nothing else of interest is happening, or, worse, that nothing else has been interesting me, both of which are false.  But this past week, two creative works—one a book and the other a CD—were so interesting that I was compelled to respond to both in manifold ways.

Now, for the blog, how to begin?

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Week 41 (Rear Control Room wall details)

We’re getting down to the last nitty-gritty details before pouring the slab.  One of those details is the precise question of how we’re going to build the rear of the control room, which will incorporate a symmetric 4-step QRD built from RPG blocks.  We’ve had a general idea ever since Wes Lachot first drew that page of the plans more than a year ago, but now we need to know the exact answers, down to the sixteenth of an inch.  So we went to the field to see how our theories comported with reality…

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