Bringing feed-reading back in-house

Thanks for shutting down Reader, Google. It finally gives me the incentive I’d been looking for to spend the $30 for the self-hosted feed reader, Fever. I was wary of moving from my old self-hosted Feed On Feeds reader to Google Reader a few years ago, but Reader just worked so damn well, it convinced me to switch. And then the rug gets pulled out from under you. Time to return to my general policy of keeping my data on my own server where some random company can’t decide they don’t want me to use it anymore.

Reducing annoying Mesa channel-switching mute

Beware, this will be an overly geeky, technical post.

Mesa Express 5:50 head on Ampeg 2x12 cab

Mesa Express 5:50 head on Ampeg 2×12 cab

I recently bought a secondhand Mesa Express 5:50 head, and I absolutely love it, but I’m really annoyed by the brief mute in the signal when switching channels. I know it’s there to eliminate popping during channel switching, but the silence is almost as annoying as the pop would be. I figured the silence might not be audible in a full band setting, but after a few practices I’ve found that it’s definitely still audible and noticeable, and it ends up sounding like I’m entering each new section a tiny bit late. I could try to train myself to hit the footswitch a quarter second early, but I was wondering if I can find a way to tweak the circuit to maybe shorten the silence. Continue reading

Calibrating Sir Mix-a-lot

A few months ago I built a simple active 4-into-1 stompbox-sized mixer, which I dubbed Sir Mix-a-lot, for combining my guitar and keyboard sounds to run through my pedalboard and into my amps. At the time, I didn’t yet have an oscilloscope, and so I didn’t really have any way to calibrate the level knobs. I just sort of threw it on my pedalboard and figured that turning the knobs all the way up was probably about unity gain (i.e. the output level is the same as the input level), and so that’s how I’ve been using it. Until now, I’ve generally left the two knobs near the top.

Sir Mix-a-lot

Sir Mix-a-lot

Today I realized that, now that I do have an oscilloscope, I should probably check out where unity actually is for each knob, and mark it. Continue reading