This was sparked by a post on a forums regarding the “best” speaker solution for a modeling rig (CLR, other FRFR/PA speakers, guitar cab, etc.). A little background is due here. The Atomic CLR FRFR solution is one designed by Jay Mitchell in cooperation with Atomic Amplification, specifically for modeling rigs. It is meant to address inconsistencies in many PA speakers, and deliver as flat and “true” a sound as possible, within a mid-range budget. It competes with speakers such as RCF, FBT, ART, etc.
The basic premise here is that if you want to use a modeling rig to it’s fullest potential (meaning, not only amp and effects modeling, but cab/speaker modeling as well), you need to use an FRFR solution. FRFR is Full Range, Flat Response. Just like studio monitors, the idea is that the speakers should not color the sound at all, but rather reproduce, as closely to exact as possible, what the modeler is putting out. When utilizing a traditional guitar cab, which is not FRFR, the idea is you would only model the amps and effects, and turn off the cab modeling, and let the “real” cab do it’s job and reproduce the sound that you are looking for. Other arguments for and against are that the real cab approach, while more limited, produces a more real “amp in the room” sound and feel, and that the FRFR solution provides a tone more reminiscent of what you hear on a recording (IOW, great recorded tone, not an amp in the room sound or feel). The degree of this can be argued and often is.
Some may disagree with my ideas here, but I think we tend to approach modeling amplification from the wrong angle. The idea is that there is an objective “best” (or at least as close as we can get w/o shelling out WAY too much – so for the sake of argument) speaker solution for a modeling rig is, in my opinion, incorrect.
The truth is, tone is subjective, not objective. Are the CLRs “the best”? Or at least “better” (twice as good, 100 times as good, it doesn’t matter) than say an EV speaker? Or a $10 speaker? What about a Guitar Cab?
No. Yes. It depends. All are correct answers. Like Jay Mitchell has said, they are a tool for performing a specific function. So the question “are they the best” is a non-specific question. Are the “the best” AT WHAT? If the question is “are they (the CLRs, in this case) the best at reproducing the tones that your modeler makes with the greatest degree of accuracy” then the answer *could be* “yes” (at least for this argument). But is that really the question that we should be asking? Isn’t what we REALLY want to know is “Are they the best sounding for me?”
Check out this webste post. They measured the capacitance of 1/4″ jacks. Of course, this is on Vertex’s website, and they come up #1 in all the tests, but you can’t buy their end connectors.
What surprised me was not only the very large differences between manufacturers, but also the really large differences between TYPES of plugs. No way did I expect right-angle plugs to be so much better than straight plugs. I figured that they would be about all the same, or close to it. And Switchcraft pancake connectors have half the capacitance of Horizon connectors? I’ve always stayed away from all Horizon cables except MIDI cables, as all the ones I had were tone suckers. Maybe it’s time to rethink that a little bit.
This was just in time as I am planning on creating a front patch panel for my rack this month too.
You may have seen pics of this helmet making the rounds on the blogs lately, all talking about how cool it is.
First of all I love the predator movies (well, maybe w/ the exception of Predator 2 – Danny Glover? Really? The only worthwhile scene in that movies was the trophy room scene at the end, but I digress). That being said, despite all of the arguments below, I still wouldn’t be caught dead in this thing. As cool as the predators are, wearing this helmet will make you look like a complete tool IMNSHO. It sends off that “I wanna be thought of as a badass, not in a real life kinda way but rather in the form of a badass that doesn’t exist but you might still think I am for wearing a costume anyway” kinda vibe.
But lets look at the helmet. Apparently it’s a “serious” helmet because it is based on a real one and is all DOT certified and everything, so say many of the blogs. Fantastic. So are these excuses for protection:
Sure, it’s better than nothing. In most cases. In the majority of impact zones (19-20% of all head impacts happen in the chin area) this helmet is as good as wearing nothing.
It’s made by NLO Moto, a name you can trust in helmet safe-wait, WHO?!?
But actually, the article linked to above (and many others discussing this helmet) is incorrect. In defense of NLO Moto, contrary to what some of the blogs are saying it is NOT DOT certified and is a novelty helmet, as stated on NLO Moto’s website. Lets pretend it is certified though, just in case someone takes this helmet idea and runs with it…
Visibility looks to be SO bad in this thing, you are just ASKING to test out the protection capabilities of this lid. It also shows that this helmet was designed with looks in mind, not safety of any kind.
The price STARTS at $780. ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?!?! You can pick up a replica mask for half that looks better. A fool and his money…
The success of my first trip out in traffic gave me a little bit of confidence. This entire past week was spring break. My plan was to go to the school and practice every day at lunch (since no one would be there) and work on just 1 thing for 30-45 minutes and go back to work, and then go back out to the school for more practice every night. Then I was going to take Thursday or Friday off of work and go on a slightly more ambitious ride during the day, taking back roads out towards Palmetto, Ga or possibly even Newnan. I knew the back roads well, and I would get practice on some roads where the speed limit was up to 55mph without a ton of traffic.
Life and work get in the way. Thanks to a few emergencies I was not able to go out at lunch at all. But I did manage to get out in the evenings for 60-90 minutes to practice on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I went out into traffic the first time (see previous blog entry) and was feeling more confident. I took Friday off. After running to the tag office to get my new tag and title for the bike I decided to head out. I took the back roads out past the fair grounds where the Georgia Renaissance Festival is located. I got just past the intersection of 74 and I-85 and stopped at the Wendy’s to get something to drink and to pee and figure out if I was going to go back home or not.
On the way there I had 3 cars turn left in front of me. I was observant and anticipated every single one of them, slowing down ahead of their turn, so they were not a problem. Two of them probably saw me and thought “I can make it” and one of them I think just didn’t even look at all before turning left. I finally made it to Wendy’s without further incident. While waiting in line inside at Wendy’s I couldn’t see the bike and it was pretty windy out there and I just had a feeling of dread, like the wind was going to blow over my bike. I was getting anxious and finally got my drink. The bike was just fine. When I got my drink and sat down there were 4 guys, about 15 years old, hanging out in the dining area. The conversation went like this:
You got a bike? Where is it? (I pointed towards it in the parking lot)
What is it? (an sv650s)
Is it fast? (not really)
Are you in a gang? (No)
Do you have a gun? (No)
Why not? (Why do I need one, and where would I even put one?)
All the truck drivers have one in case someone tries to steal their truck. (and were would I put it?)
You can use Gorilla Glue! Mount one to the side of the bike! (they all laughed at the idea).
At this point I decided that the day was still young, there were hours of sunlight left, and so I would continue on to Senoia, Ga. where they film the show The Walking Dead Read the rest of this entry »
After a decent amount of practice time, I was feeling confident enough that I felt I could go out in traffic. But really, I didn’t have much choice. After practicing at the school for a few weeks, my reserve fuel tank light came on. I felt that I had practiced enough that I was skilled and confident enough to venture out into traffic and up the 1 mile to the gas station. I had only ever gotten the bike up to about 40mph, and I would be hitting 45+ and with traffic, with a few places for left-turners in front of me, and still stalled every now and then, so I was a bit nervous, but I had to do it and I knew that in the end I would be fine unless some car comes careening across the median or something, so I went. One of my biggest worries was that it was dusk and visibility wasn’t so great. I did have a hi-viz backpack on, but nothing hi-viz in the front. But at least I was driving on a road with a concrete median, which meant that people could only turn left in front of me at specific locations. IOW, no real surprises that I couldn’t prepare for.
So I ran up to the gas station, filled up the tank, and decided to take a trip about 3 or 4 miles away to the new county High School. It was spring break so no one was there, and the parking lot was HUGE. I wanted to check it out as a potential place to practice since it was so much bigger than the middle school parking lot in my neighborhood. It was getting dark, but I felt confident enough to continue in traffic at dark. It was only a few miles away. Of course, as soon as I get on the road I get someone behind me tailgating me the whole way there. I was still a little nervous, and the driving on my ass maybe a single bike-length or less away, didn’t help at all. The road had a speed limit of 40 or 45 and I was going 50, so it’s not like I was going slow. Tailgaiting that close at 50mph in a car is unsafe and unacceptable. Finally I found the school and turned in.
I spent a bit of time exploring the parking lots of the school. I practiced swerving in a random manner by throwing agility cones about and swerving around them for a little bit and then I headed home. This time there were no tailgaters.
My next trip out would be far more ambitious.
I finally got a bike on March 14th: an ’04 Suzuki sv650s w/ only 10k miles on it and a few extras (upright sv650 naked style bars – MUCH better for a beginner than clip-ons, and more comfy, gel seat, several tank bags, steel braided front brake lines) for a decent deal. After missing a few deals the week earlier, and a really nice deal the day before, I jumped on this one; riding season was around the corner and the decent deals might start to dry up.
I checked out the bike one night, went through most of my checklist (I’ll post that up here later) and it looked good. The next morning I talked one of my friends that rides into going to check out the bike with me again. He gave me the thumbs up after riding it around, I made an offer, and my friend followed me home on the bike!
For the past month I have been practicing in the parking lot at the local elementary and middle schools (they are in my neighborhood, so I don’t actually ever go out into traffic). I was nervous as hell on my first day, just pulling out of the driveway and through the neighborhood! I go out whenever I have time in the evenings for about 60-90 minutes of practice. I think it amounted to 2-3 times a week or so. Things that I practiced off an on, over and over again:
Emergency stopping – from various speeds, generally between 10-25 mph (there is only so fast you can go in a limited space). I practiced with just the front brake and no clutch, the front brake and clutch, the rear brake and no clutch, the rear brake and clutch, and both front and rear with clutch. I set up agility cones at the start point and as soon as I hit that imaginary line I hit the brakes, and tried to figure out how many feet it took to stop, and tried to get it shorter and shorter each time w/o locking anything up until I got it consistent.
Slow speed driving (learning the friction zone of the bike) – started at about 10mph, and just slowed it down every 20+ feet a little until I felt unstable and could no longer balance the bike (around 2-3 mph)
Slow speed u-turns – I set up Read the rest of this entry »
I started looking for a bike on Craigslist in July of 2012 or thereabouts, and finally bought one in March of 2013. I spent the summer looking at bikes while saving up money, learning what the market was like in Georgia, which bikes I should look at to buy, how to value a bike, etc. I learned a lot, and I learned that mosrt people on craigslist are dishonest or clueless or both. Some only to a small degree, some to a great degree. See my “Craigslist Rules for Selling a Motorcycle post for a culmination of all of my frustrations.
The first and most obvious frustration is people that are FAR too proud of their bikes. They are asking WAY too much for them. I saw 12 year old bikes, and they were asking what they paid for it 12 years ago. If a bike cost $4000 in 2000, it is NOT still worth $4000 today! There is this thing called depreciation. If other bikes that are the same as yours, same year, etc. and have 6k or 10k miles are selling for $3k pretty regularly, then yours with 42k miles is not worth $3k as well. More similar frustrations are listed in my “Craigslist Rules for Selling a Motorcycle post.
I made lots of calls, went to look at a few bikes, and here are a few of the hi-lights:
One bike was an old 1992 (iirc) Yamaha Seca ii 600. It was a bit old, but it had only 12k miles on it, and the person listing it said it was in great shape, nothing wrong with it, and they were asking $1650. Now I knew that $1650 was too much for this bike, but I figured I could either talk them down or walk away, so I should at least go and look at it. I went with a friend who had been riding bikes for over 25 years. I wanted him to test ride it and make sure that the transmission, clutch, etc. was OK after we phsyically inspected it. After a ton of calls (voicemails never returned, texts almost never returned) I finally got in touch with the guy and we arrange a time to come look at the bike and take it for a test ride a few days later on in the week.
When we arrived, it was a garage/car shop where they fixed up junkers in a crappy part of town. We had told them exactly when we were going to get there, and we got there on time. We never did see the guy that I spoke with on the phone that was supposedly selling the bike. Even knowing when we would be there (at 12:30pm) he was somehow “busy.” Read on and you’ll know why he never even saw us. He was too embarrassed.
After an incredible amount of frustration and dealing with idiocy on Craigslist, I decided to write this up a guide to all the idiots that don’t know how to post on Craigslist or think that they can pull one over on people. I will be posting this to my local Craigslist next week.
The 7 Commandments of Craigslist communication
1) Provide a WORKING phone number.
Really. This shouldn’t require too many IQ points to figure out. If you put a phone number in an ad, it shouldn’t send someone to a recording saying that the number has been disconnected, full, or not yet setup. Double-check the phone number you posted in your ad to ensure that you didn’t accidentally switch two numbers around by accident as well.
2) Assuming the phone works, try actually answering it.
If you can’t answer it while you are at work, put that info in the ad. Tell them to leave a message during bus. hours and you will get back to them. Otherwise, if you put your number in there, it is an invitation to call. So answer the damned phone. If you are never going to answer the phone then WHY did you put your number in the ad to begin with?
3) If you can’t answer it, RETURN PHONE CALLS.
I don’t care if your item has been sold, return the damned phone call and let them know.
4) Return emails.
If you provide email as a contact method, then ACTUALLY EFFING READ AND REPLY to emails. You JUST placed an ad. You KNOW people are going to be emailing you. So check your damned email, and reply, even if it is just to tell the person that the item has been sold. Check your spam folder too. Don’t be a lazy idiot that can’t be bothered with returning an email. There is no good excuse for that other than pure laziness. Well, maybe stupidity.
Read the rest of this entry »
So in November of 2012 I took the Riders’ Edge New Rider course at my local Harley-Davidson dealership (they spell it Rider’s Edge, but it’s plural possessive, so it is Riders’ and not Rider’s). The course basically went like this:
• Thursday – introductions, a description of the course, discussion of different types of bikes, Harley dealership tour
• Friday night – videos, reading through and discussing the MSF book, etc.
• Sat – “field instruction” and riding all day.
• Sun – Riding for the first 1/2 of the day, riding test in the afternoon
My impressions are it was a great course. A lot of the safety stuff I already knew as I had been reading stuff like The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Motorcycles, 5th Edition and Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well beforehand as well as perusing forums like BeginnerBikers and SportsBikeNetwork. I also knew a bit about gear after reading forums and watching tons of RevZilla videos.
Rather than a lengthy description of the entire course, I will hi-light why I think that this course is a better bet than the MSF courses.
This course was more than $30 more than the MSF course (weekend MSF was $295, Riders’ Edge was $325, iirc), but the closest MSF course was about 60 miles away. In some states, the government may subsidize the courses and they are far less expensive (some as low as just $25 or free), but not where I live. YMMV depending on your state.
The courses are essentially the same. The same materials, the same videos, tests, curriculum, etc. In some places the instructors are even the same, going back and forth between teaching the courses.
From everything I’ve read, you get a bit more bike time in the Riders’ Edge courses than in the MSF taught courses. Anecdotal evidence claims that the instructors are a little less strict in the Harley classes, leading to a more relaxed environment. The class I went to was relaxed. It was fun, but that does NOT mean that safety wasn’t #1 in the class, it’s just that greater strictness can lead to more fear and frustration for n00bs.
Read the rest of this entry »
A bit pricey for me (I don’t really collect these kinds of things), but this is a pretty cool looking Krampus statuette at apparently 1/16th scale (how tall is a Krampus *really*?).