Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Live Audio with the VHT

These were all recorded with a Zoom H4n (internal mics only) by the sound booth, which was against a sidewall to the stage.  The tunes are all originals performed by the Mark Cameron band, and I am playing the VHT along with a delay.

Game Over.mp3
Box Car Blues.mp3
Tough All Over.mp3

Thursday, November 18, 2010

VHT Live Gig Recording

This past weekend I took out a Zoom H4n to record a show with my band and then with The Mark Cameron Band.  The audio from my show had a terrible mix as I had the recorder too close to the mains.  The vocals and harmonica were way too high in the mix.  However, my show with Mark turned out pretty well.  I had the recorder about 15' from stage all the way to the side where the sound guy was.  Probably not a good place to tape from as it was not inline with the stage at all.  I aimed the recorder back at the inside of the PA speaker and middle of the stage.

The room was pretty big.  The stage was large.  I used the VHT miked to the PA with a Sennheiser e906.  The drums were miked, but the guitar and bass were not.  They were loud!  I shoulda used the HarpGear HG50, but I could resist seeing how the 6w VHT would hang.  It was enough for stage volume with regular playing technique for all but the loudest passages.  I played harder (not something I like to do) and could then hear myself just fine during those parts.  I was totally floored!

The amp was elevated closer to my ears.  I am using a Samson Wireless with my Ultimate 57 into a Kinder AFB (not needed at this gig) into a Line 6 M13 into the VHT.  These cuts have a lot of ambient and trippy effects.  I'll try to post some blues stuff with the band soon.

Slippin' Away
Roadhouse Blues

VHT Special 6 and Line 6 M13 Demo

Synths, Mods, Delays, and Reverbs...

Sweep Echo...

Analog Delay...

VHT Special 6 Sound Check

Picked up a Zoom Q3 and went straight to noodling on the VHT!

This is with the Eminence Ramrod speaker!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Faux Organ/Leslie Sounds with the VHT and Line 6 M9

I literally made this in one take this morning five minutes before leaving work.  This was created in response to a Harp-L post suggesting it would take at least $375 and multiple pedals to make an organ sound on harmonica.  I realize there is digital clipping from the webcam.  I also realize that the mix of the three effects has not been perfected. Obviously, my organ chops are lacking, lol.  In the past, I have played held out octaves for rhythm parts.  I haven't tried "jamming" as an organ before.  Excuses being said, I think the M9 can get passable organ sounds out of a harmonica with just a little tweaking of the controls.  The total cost of a new M9 is $349 and you can use three out of the six effects available on a scene to create this sound.

First, I tried running just the Rotary/Drum model using single notes and octaves.  Next, I add the Bass Octaver and move from single notes to octaves.  Finally, I added a Pitch Glide model set at one octave up.  Again, I stuck with demonstrating single notes and octaves. 

The M9 allows you to change and automatically save any of the settings for each model.  I still need to even out the amount of Bass Octaver and Pitch Glide.  You can hear that the single notes and octaves track well.  Towards the end, you can hear how the M9 doesn’t handle chords well.

 Here is a pick of my pedal board...I actually moved the pedals around to make the board neater and to add a power supply.

2010-10-05 07.28.24

The M9 will cost about $250 used and is built like three side-by-side effect units. M9 Stompbox Modeler lets you run any three effects simultaneously with any three others on deck. You have 100% control over effect placement and effect type - arrange them into tried-and-true combinations or get creative and invent your own original blends.

You can create up to twenty-four different effect arrangements, or "scenes" – essentially twenty-four different pedal boards! Right now I have these three "organ" effects along with the Tron-Up, Ring Modulator, and Octo Verb for my main board.  My secondary board is made of of synths and delays similar to what Chris Michalek uses.

I also have a third board set-up with the particle verb, sweep echo, and repeats of some of the effects already mentioned.  I am working on a fourth scene that would be all delays and reverbs for a traditional blues gig (don't have any lined up so it isn't a priority!).

Monday, September 27, 2010

VHT Post on Harp-L

The Special 6 popped up in a couple of posts on Harp-L.  Here is my two cents as posted on the "L"...

I don't have sound clips, nor the gear to get a good recording up.
HOWEVER, I was asked to play harp on several tracks for a band's
upcoming album.  I will post what I can from those sessions in the
next couple weeks.

FWIW, try sticking with the 12ax7 in there.  I've scoured the web for
anything I can find on this amp, and one item that comes up again and
again (if I was a techy type and could read schematics this is
probably obvious) it is mentioned that this amp is voiced "dark".
Meaning, the internal settings for the tone controls are heavy on bass
and light on treble.  I've heard it compared to a bass setting of 10
and treble of 2 on a typical tolex Champ.

I tried the amp with a full band - and we are a rock band - with a
5751.  I also did a brief solo performance in a gym full of 400
students.  In both instances, there was enough volume, but the amp was
way too dark.  I miked the amp for the band gig.  It had enough stage
volume except for our most loudest passages.  That room sat about
150-200.  It is all hard surfaces and not set up for music.  In the
gym I didn't even need to crank the amp at all.

This past weekend, we did an outside show that was full band but
pretty laid back.  We were in an enclosed area.  I had the 12ax7 back
in the amp.  Plenty of cut now.  I had the amp on low power with the
pull boost on.  It sounded like a tweed amp, IMO.  I didn't even have
the amp at 50% on the volume knob.  I had PLENTY of volume, even when
the drummer was hitting hard.

So I guess what I am getting at, is for stage volume, this amp can
easily do whatever a Pro Jr or under 10w type amp can do...bone
stock!!!!!!!  So for under $200 you can have an amp that is easily
giggable, especially so if you play in a low volume band.  I mean my
band will straight out rock and the amp has held its own.  I was going
to get an Eminence Ramrod, and probably still will, but the stock
speaker is fine - if you like a clean ceramic sound.  I did put a JJ
6v6 and Tung Sol RI in the amp.  However, the stock tubes are fine for
harp.  The 6v6 looked a little cheesy, though.

While I don't think the stock amp is quite as loud as a Princeton
Reverb, I picked it over a HG Rockbottom, Epi Valve Jr, Super Champ
XD, and Pro Jr.  I have no regrets.  This amp smokes for harp and even
has many of the "mods" guys would go after - no negative feedback
loop, larger OT, darker tone caps, tweed mod, etc.  My HG50 is THE amp
for me.  I get lots of compliments and I am able to get a fantastic
tone at any volume.  However, there are times where we play small
stage areas and room is an issue.  The VHT gets about as loud as the
HG50 on close to 3.  However, the 50w adds a lot more bass, and the
treble control adds a lot more bite - making it feel bigger and


***Again with the speaker, I contacted VHT.  It is allegedly rated at
97db.  It has a very flat frequency response and it takes some of the
ice pick highs out when used with guitar.  It was manufactured to be a
great speaker for recording guitar.  That being said, I plugged it
into my HG 50 1210 cab and the added bite from what I think are the
increased mids of the Cannabis Rex sounds absolutely FANTASTIC and
does make the amp seem louder and ENORUMOUS.  In fact, through that
cab, the VHT hit my typical stage volume.  I like the idea of trying
the Ramrod as Eminence thought it would be a good fit as did Mike
Wesolowski.  I think the Lil Buddy would be too dark. The Ragin Cajun
might work too.

So if money were no object, I'd look at the Classic 6 and get a
Cannabis Rex in there.  With $300, you could get the Special 6, retube
it, and get a Ramrod in there.

Friday, September 17, 2010

VHT at Rehearsal Notes

Again, I apologize for not having sound clips yet.  I am working on it!  I used the VHT Special 6 with a JJ 6v6 and JAN 5751 at rehearsal for the Mark Cameron Band last night.  With this rock group, it is all about dirty harmonica tone.  The band uses a full set of monitors when rehearsing and things can get sorta loud.  The guitar was going through a Marshall 2x12 combo (but was at a totally appropriate volume).  The bass and drums were full rigs and in the room we are in, it gets loud.

I was sitting right next to the bass player.  The VHT was several feet away and turned at me.  I had no feedback problems with the amp cranked.  I had no hearing issues when comping or playing anything laid back.  When I had to solo over the band's full volume, I did start to lose the amp in the mix.  I could hear myself, but not as well as I would have wanted.  A quick fix would have been having the amp closer to me or running it through my monitor.  All-in-all, I think it would work for stage volume anywhere a full-sized harp amp isn't needed.  Obvioiusly, it needs to be miked front of house, but I think it could keep up with an amp like a Pro Jr, Super Champ XD, or the like.

The true test will be on stage with this group.  If there isn't a separate monitor mix on stage for me, I think I could still get by in a lot of places with the amp on a stand.  In a huge room, such as the Blues Saloon, I'd just use the HG50.