MPX looking glass

So, if you happen to have one of those nice newer digital oscilloscopes that has an FFT mode…. watch the composite output from your processor on it while making adjustments. Not only do you get a nice little (albeit skewed due to preemphasis) audio spectrum view, but you can also tell what’s going on in the stereo image!

On a side note I found a silly bug in the Siglent oscilloscope. There’s a race condition. About half the time you hit the PRINT button to save a screenshot, you get the “Saving…” indicator on top of the waveform in the screenshot. It’s not huge but it’s silly.

 

 

 

No, I didn’t lose the knob— I just don’t have an Allen wrench to secure the setscrew on the big metal knob the Omnia 6 came with, so it’s temporarily sporting a little knob stolen off an old Marti. 😀

This drives me to drink … coffee

The ultimate indicator of “am I on a crazy project” is, did I score another free coffee yet? Also did I ever mention how much I like Dutch Bros? Yeah so

Living nightmare of the moment:

Studio on air monitor consists of the following

Old Radio Shack BPC* bookshelf stereo amp with wires jammed in the speaker output terminals -> MYSTERY TWISTY SPLICE HELL CABLE -> unlabelled screw terminal strip -> ext monitor input on Wheatstone R60 console -> worn out control room monitor pot -> unlabelled screw terminal strip -> MYSTERY TWISTY SPLICE HELL CABLE -> PYLE** amplifier

The problem: the ancient Orban 8100A/XT2 processor started distorting heavily two days ago, likely due to Capacititis Electrolyticus. Nobody knows how old it is or if it’s ever been serviced. I swapped the station over to using an Omnia 6, which took until 3 am because of all the shitty spliced hell cable and then got the call at 6 am that the morning show hosts were hearing horrible echoes and were, instead of doing their show as usual, COMPLAINING ON THE AIR TO THREE COUNTIES ABOUT THE AUDIO PROBLEMS. Early on they asked if listeners could just call in and let them know how it sounded— nobody heard anything other than that the levels were a little low, as I hadn’t set the first stage wideband AGC to be as aggressive as it was on the 8100.

There was no audio problem on the air and they knew this.

Yet they made fools of themselves and made the station look like an unprofessional mess….

Kind of like this one. It took me 10 minutes of digging around and capturing wild Tangelas to find this. The twisted pair of doorbell wire runs off to a Telos ProFiler box. One wire of that goes to a speaker terminal, one to the amp chassis. How the hell did this ever “work”….??

As an added bonus the “loudness” button was stuck on at this amp so it had been basically… wrong…

We used to have an identical setup in one of our studios and I ripped it out because it was plagued by inexplicable leakage of audio from the station in the next room. I don’t know how it was getting in but the air monitor is now a reasonably good quality stereo tuner being converted to balanced by a Henry Engineering Matchbox. The amp driving the speakers in there is a Lepai “Class T” digital amp which has unbalanced inputs being driven by the other side of the Matchbox. It sounds perfectly nice and clean!!

So maybe my standards are too high but, you don’t go on air and trash your own station because you hear some echoes and distortion in your headphones. You leave a note for your engineer*** and the show goes on. That’s how this works, okay? Got it? Good. Now go entertain and inform the listeners, I’ll have the gear on order to give you the right audio to your headphones. Sheesh.

* Black Plastic Crap

** PYLE of shit

*** Please feel free to attach a Dutch Bros gift card (do they have those?)

Oh and here’s some electronic porn… The stereo generator in the 8100. 19khz crystal. That is all for now but I’ll be using these images in a later post

Chaos Butterflies

A former engineer (who was eventually banned from the facilities for various people problems including throwing a chair at a DJ) had made dozens of these splices where almost anything that’s an analog stereo pair goes into an electrical tape covered Y connection into some kind of 4-wire shielded cable.

Out of curiosity I unwrapped the tape from one of his splices to see what was inside.

Oh, no. No no no no no no my entire facility is wired like this no no no no NOPE FUCK AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHNOPENOPENOPEARONIWITHCHEESENONONONO

You don’t have to see the world like an engineer, but it helps

Me: “there’s no way that small diamond shaped portal to the great beyond will work worth a damn”

Me one minute later: “hey at least this plunger is well designed”

Department of Asshole Blockades (DAB) – the random border patrol check!

I’ve never really entirely been sure what dabbing is but here’s a rendition of it in front of a transmitter under repair. You’ll need that image to help convey just how surreal this tale is.

This morning I received a new Ikegami camera and lens, well, new to me– it’s fully digital, recording standard definition to a DV tape! I have one already but the tape transport started giving out, so I decided that one will continue on being used with 1394 capture.

Unfortunately the new one had an Anton Bauer battery plate on the back, and all my power stuff is the Sony style V mount, so I couldn’t power it up in the field just yet. I did test it using the power supply for the Tieline Via at work and it all worked fine. Coming soon: the rant on the bad cult of Anton Bauer power. It’ll likely be of reasonable levels of shitposting…

So I’m leaving the office and stopped for gas. Prices are almost $3.60 due to the holiday— eww.

Then as I’m getting back in the car after pumping gas, a border patrol vehicle comes screaming in and switches on its takedown lights and the officer jumps out and dashes to me. Double eww.

The camera is sitting on the passenger seat. As he was pulling in, I’d propped it up so the lens was aimed at the window. Of course it wasn’t running or even powered, but you wouldn’t just know this. The officer comes to the window and starts to ask to see my ID, then…..

* DAB OF CONCEALMENT *

Guess he noticed the camera. He now had his face in his elbow and hand over his badges. Before he’d quickly covered them I saw an ICE badge (without a number or name) and a G4S identification card. I guess that answers my question as to whether contractors are being used for this garbage.

“Is that camera on satellite?”, he asked…. His elbow. I could barely understand him. I replied “yes” and he suddenly lost all interest in my identification and turned his back to me.

Now, to the pillar holding up the gas station canopy, he said “you can go, good night!”. This revealed a case of male pattern baldness and a badly drawn cluster of stars tattooed on his scalp peeking through the greasy weeds.

I started to leave and noticed my phone was showing no service. It had been working fine while I was pumping gas. I looked back at the car and sure enough, there was one of those dodgy shitbox cellular jammers with like six antennas haphazardly growing out of it sitting on the dash. My phone came back on about a block from the station.

A similar looking device. I couldn’t just save that image due to clever stylesheet abuse.

I kept half expecting to be followed into an ambush, like a particularly awful one I experienced in the Shitty of Miami, but nothing ever happened. It was just a stupid spot check and I apparently inadvertently washed out the spot. Out, damn spot, out!

So I may have mentioned before that I’ve started to have issues over the last year or so really processing bullshit like this as reality, because well, what in the actual fuck?

This was like, if my grasp on reality is a slice of a pizza that someone’s trying to pick up and remove but it’s got a few strings of hot cheese connecting it to the pie… this just came along and sliced them right off. Oops.

So here I am driving home feeling like I’m actually in some kind of dystopian projection and not even questioning it anymore…. I was going down highway 99 west and seeing where normally empty little side roads now had police lights flashing in the distance and thinking of how Salvador Dali revisited his famous “The Persistence of Memory” in The Disintegrating of the Persistence of Memory, breaking up the landscape into atoms as understanding of particle physics advanced, but with a kind of unnerving feel to it as if this was bringing on complete destruction. Is this just “normal” or is this a slow disintegration? What the heck is this?

Pardon the mess, this is the camera I was talking about, it’s huge. It’s one of these things that sits on your shoulder and then you have to try not to walk into walls any more than usual.

Also it doesn’t have this extra connector on the right that my other one does, and weighs noticeably less. I wonder what the difference is. I found the test pattern generator set to “IDPTV CAM2”, Idaho Public Television? … and the VTR hour counter at an amazing… old… EIGHT. Yeah, this was a studio camera most likely before the studio upgraded to HD. The Canon lens has a slightly whiny zoom motor that appears not to be serviceable as it’s in a cemented plastic cylinder,, but it’s getting quieter as I work it.

Maybe now I’ll get some nice dabbing videos.

Can’t trust you farther than this very short tape measure

you have no idea how many mosquito bites I got trying to capture the perfect long exposure of this with the strobes going off

I found this sitting in my drafts folder and it made me crack up laughing remembering how silly this was— it’s from months ago, likely when I was stuck in Princeton, Florida, needing to measure for the installation of something at A Beautiful Place Out in the Country. 

The store in question is likely the Florida City Walmart Supercenter.

I once formed this theory that this was basically the last tail end of all civilization after arriving there on the tail end of a session of battling Z-Bola and witnessing a late night bus pull up there and the passengers disembark to the tune of its engine shutting down with a long sigh and several dozen empty beer bottles being thrown one by one on the sidewalk.

I guess it’s finally come to this. Walked into a Miami location of a typical big box store that’s slowly losing all relevance to buy a tape measure. Got stopped at the front door by a security guard for a metal detector check.

Wait, what?

His detector never went off even after his forcibly and painfully whacking it into my steel jewelry and he waved me on.

I had to go find someone with a key to a locked cabinet for the tools. He arrived with a police officer in uniform who tailed me until I checked out. The police officer was annoyed with me going over to the grocery section to get a snack and yelled at me to go check out and leave instead.

The store had signs up indicating that they will soon cease accepting cash at their registers citing safety concerns, and will be reducing their operating hours to 9 AM-7 PM come summer. It seemed the no cash policy was already in place as a customer was arguing with the cashier over it. The cashier pulled out the empty drawer and showed it to the customer who was angrily shaking a $50 bill and didn’t seem to understand this meant that not only would they not accept cash, but even if they did, there’d be no change!

This is why we cannot have good things.

There may be a couple of things I miss about South Florida, but this was never one of them. As long as you don’t try to go to the Walmart in Redding, none of the retail stores here are sad warzones. Actually, the Redding Walmart is just a giant box full of sadness, gated off aisles, and locked cases from which you can buy nothing, and it’s a small miracle it hasn’t been closed down entirely. Nobody will miss it when it goes away.

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