Posts from the ‘Sound’ Category
FAWM Returns to Emlenton
July 9, 2015
Recording Studio in a Grain Bin
March 1, 2015
February certainly turned out to be an interesting month. When I started this 28 days of blogging I had no idea that the Mill would burn five days into the story. I’m repeating the February first blog today because I’m now doing the Mill from Top to Bottom and the Recording Studio in the Grain Bin is part of the third floor. We thank all of you who have shown so much love and support over the last month. Spring is coming and with it rebirth. Please pray for us as we plan what’s next for the Mill. The Emlenton Mill, built in 1875, housed a mill museum, an ice cream shop, a bunkhouse hostel, an Emporium that sold antiques, crafts and books and a number of secrets. One of these secrets is a recording studio in a gain bin. Hidden away in a converted grain bin, on the third floor of the Mill, is a recording studio control room from the 1970s. It was originally located on the music practice floor of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University. It was built by myself and some friends from the campus radio station WRCT. The Mill has a large number of grain bins which were used to store the different grains that were processed at the Mill. They vary in size from the size of a closet to the size of a railroad box car. The grain bin we chose for the studio is a small room located just off the main area of the third floor and required very little alteration. Most grain bins are built with sloped floors so the grain would gravity feed to the center of the bin where the output chute was located. This grain bin only required a new floor to support the studio.
Concerts in the Mill
February 15, 2015
In 2012 we added a Yamaha CP33 stage piano and Yamaha self powered speakers so that we could do concerts inside the Mill. Before this we had to borrow a piano from the Lighthouse church at the Mill or from Chapel on the Hill church. This was also the year that Julie introduced Friday night for pay concerts which were outstanding. We would house touring musicians in the Bunkhouse and they would provide a concert. You will also notice Nancy’s feed sack display hanging from the ceiling. Everyone enjoyed the backdrop of the Mill machines.
February 14, 2015
2011 was also the first year for the “February Album Writing Month” FAWMstock at the Mill. We hosted musicians and singer/songwriters from all over the world. They spent four days at the mill, sleeping (infrequently) in the bunkhouse, writing original music and on Saturday they gave a concert that ran past midnight. The third floor was turned into a recording studio by the Canadian contingent using equipment Devin brought across the border.
February 13, 2015
First Concerts at the Mill
February 12, 2015
We started having Saturday night concerts at the Mill in June of 2009 as soon as we had the patio finished. As I remember, there was only one stairway finished and the planter wasn’t even constructed. The Lowrys and the Shegogs not only scooped ice cream but played the music. By July the thrust and planter were finished and the fish was in place. Darlene scheduled the music and the bands brought their own sound systems. We borrowed the piano from the Lighthouse church that met in the Mill for some concerts. By the Spring of 2010, the bunkhouse was open and we added a sound system to the patio using four outdoor speakers a small Alesis Multimix mixer and a home stereo amplifier. The siding was finished by the fall of 2010.
Grain Bin Studio Equipment
February 11, 2015
Here is a quick rundown of the equipment in the Grain Bin Studio. The speakers are Acoustic Research AR3a. The tape recorder is a four track Teac using quarter inch magnetic tape. To the right of the recorder is a hundred watt lunchbox amplifier designed by Stan Kriz. To the left is the meter head/power supply/headphone amplifier for the board. I built the mixing board by hand out of Aluminum stock. The electronics which is all rack mountable includes compressors, Stan’s 90db version of a dolby unit, reverbs, and matrixes. The center section originally held the board at the left and then later held the Teac board. the red back board is from a Three Rivers Computer booth. The tall rack holds the WRCT green machines that provided late night music. Originally it was a data logger from the Pittsburgh airport. The small rack is the six track recorder, Ampex deck and electronics. The poster is a Maxfield Parrish that hung in the original CMU studio.
Ace Harp Movers
February 10, 2015
The CMU Fine Arts recording studio primarily recorded recitals in Exhibition Hall and made audition tapes for the music students. But when the musicians played at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall or the Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland, we also recorded there. One night, we were asked to record a harp recital for Marcella Kosikova and she asked if we could carry her harp on and off stage between pieces so she could retune it. Since we had friends that did silk screening, we created the Ace Harp Movers shirt with the logo “You pluck it, We truck it”. Marcella received one of the shirts and was very pleased and I understand shirts with the logo were seen around the Carnegie Mellon campus for many years after our initial run.
February 9, 2015
Here is a quick story about the 1969 Rolling Stones Tour. I was working for the CMU Computer Science Department in Porter Hall and living with two engineers Bob Nickau and Roland Findlay. We knew Chris Langhart from the CMU radio station WRCT and when he was picked to do the sound for the Stones tour he called on Bob to handle the amplifiers because they were using solid state amplifiers for the first time. Five days into the tour, Bob called and asked me to join the crew. He said there was a ticket for me to Phoenix at the airport for the next morning and to travel light because I was carrying the oscilloscope. Since the banks were already closed, Roland opened the Porter Hall Coke machine and lent me a few rolls of quarters for spending money. I packed my things in my attache case and left for a really fun tour. The night I arrived the Stage Manager told me he was leaving the tour to work for Country Joe and the Fish and I would be in charge of the stage miking. That was my total apprenticeship for the tour. Chuck Berry and Ike and Tina Turner were also on the show. We got very little sleep because there was only one sound crew and a new concert in a different state each night. I didn’t care, this was the tour of a lifetime. The button in the photo was our back stage pass.
February 8, 2015
Nancy and I were married in 1979 and soon after we moved the CMU Fine Arts Studio to the basement of our house two blocks from CMU. We divided the basement into two rooms connected by a double glass window. We added a Teac board and a Roland piano. This was the last iteration of the studio before it moved to the grain bin at the Emlenton Mill. My friends Brian Rosen and Stan Kriz from the studio and I started Three Rivers Computer Company and soon we were all too busy with the company and children to play in the studio any longer.