=639= Gear Talk: Practical

I just re-read my post from a few years ago.

A fun fact, one of the snares actually came true. The 13×5.75 birch, actually came to life! Just not in single ply birch, because I wanted something less loud.

There are several ideas that I still think would be rather cool. However, as I grew, my thoughts as a drummer changed. I became a whole lot more practical. Probably because of work and all, I realised that it is really quite hard to earn money.

First consideration before ordering a custom drum, do you even have enough money to pay for it? I mean, if you don’t, don’t spend on it lah! There are many fantastic options out there. I for one had this rather long obsession with mapex drums. Taiwanese made shells, that really aren’t too bad! The hardware set are quite good too. PDP offers some really cool options! Now that Chad Smith has his signature snare in PDP. One should really check it out! Tama has its SLP snares, which were really quite attractive. Pearl has its own line of affordable snares. I am pretty sure you can find a Chad Smith signature steel snare for around 200-300+. Pork Pie has its patina brass snare. You really don’t need to spend the most amount of money for a snare, there are really quite a few other options out there.

Second thing to take note, an untuned expensive drum will sound WAY worse than a tuned cheap drum. Same concept goes for drum heads and snare wires. Though often neglected, most of the time, simply changing the drumheads and snare wires, your drum tone will be WAY better. Of course tuning is still paramount. Watch Bob Gatzen’s tuning videos on YouTube and be amazed! It will still take some time before you can get comfortable with tuning, but you can save the money that you spend on the expensive custom drum on tuning tools. A torque drum key costs around 30-40 dollars. It will help you tune by tension, which in a lot of cases it really does suffice. A tune bot will cost around $140? Which is pricey, but you are now able to tune drums to perfection, how nice is that?

Third thing you need to consider before paying is why are you building this snare for? Are there cheaper alternatives? If you are making a 14×6.5 brass snare, think about why you are buying it. Is it because of sound? Is it because if looks? All too often, people build snares just for the sake of it. I mean, just how many 14×6.5 snares do you need? The thing about sizes is that, even though the materials aren’t the same, there will be similar sonic qualities because of size.

Does having four 14×6.5 snares have more difference in tonal quality than one 14×6.5, one 13×7, one 12×6.5 and one 14×4.5?

I don’t think so. Having contrast in tone is SOOO Important. You really wouldn’t want your snares to sound the same. 

Well, I know it sounds like I am discouraging people from buying custom snare drums, but I am honestly not. There are things that you can only do with boutique custom drum makers. My custom drum is this 13×5.75 red stained, birch shell with staggered lugs, MAG throw off and 3 position butt plate. Haha, I dare you to find a drum with my same specs. The closest will probably be the Benny Greb’s snare, but I really cannot afford that. Everything from the finish to the lug placement were all hand made and hand assembled and it is cheaper than the Sonor.

Having the ability to choose and design my own drum was just a great feeling. HAHA! And the tone. Goodness, such a great snare!  

I am just here to tell people to be more practical that is all! πŸ™‚ 

I definitely won’t make any of my previous designs. Why? They aren’t practical at all. My current train of thought is to have a 14×4.5 and a 12×6.5 probably birch next. However, I am actually rather happy with my set up. Maybe I might just get the new Chad Smith acrylic snare! HAHA!

However, now I just spent too much money alr, I need to save! Oh well! πŸ™‚


=637= Word: Not In The Mood

Such a convinient phrase. Whenever one gets angry over something done, the simplest phrase is “I just wasn’t in the mood to play.”

I just get a little frustrated sometimes. How in the world do you expect me to know when you are in the mood or not in the mood? And it isn’t something out of the ordinary, playful disdain is something that people do with friends right? So where will we draw the line when the tolerance of stuff changes with mood? It is impossible to do.

One option would be to not play at all, but from experience, once it stops the friendships stagnates.

The other will be to play and apologise whenever temper happens. Which in some ways is better, but I rather not be in the brunt of things when it happens, especially when I am not in the wrong.

 Friendships are hard to handle man. One needs to manage expectations, learn the be patient and communicate. How hard is that? -sigh-

Lord, help me learn how to be wise.


=636= Reflections: Presentations

Recently, a friend asked if I was good with presentations.

I was a bit stumped. I know that I can probably do a presentation well if I prepared for it and did my homework, but I don’t think I will be VERY good with it.

I thought about it and realised that the reason to this is due to the types of modules that I took in poly. Sure, poly is a time where you have to group up and do presentations together, almost every semester, however, the way that my course was structured and the types of projects that I had were all rather product based, rather than theory based.

I seldom do research and pitch a plan. I simply do up a product and show them what I have completed. Be it a song we recorded, a video we shot or a show we mixed, it boils down to whether what we did was good or not. When something is product based, it was always, let my product do the talking kinda presentation. If it was good, then great, if it was bad then oh no. It was just as simple as that.

However, all these “products” that I have produced over the years all added up to become my portfolio. I can show people what I can do and what I have done. Every single photo, every single video, every song and show, everything was kept well. Who would proudly show their friends of the presentation that they did? Who even keeps such school presentations? I do and I am still showing people eat I have down over the years. 

I show people what I have shot, what I have mixed, because it was what I have thought up, what I have captured and engineered. I am proud of what I produce because I love what I do. I am pretty sure I would keep my old shots somewhere when I grow old and I would reminisce whenever I find it and go through the shots.

Having produced many things, I will soon find a platform to keep archive of all these forms of media. I call it Future Records Archive.

I will publish the platform soon. HAHA. Let me do more producing now.


=635= Reflections: Spring CleaningΒ 

Ok, let me put this out there. I am a hoarder. AHAHAHA!

Yeah, unfortunately it is in my nature to keep everything and I mean everythng. From packaging to plastic bags to old worksheets from primary school. I just don’t throw stuff away.

However, several things made me rather irritated and made me decide to clean my room and throw away stuff.

One, it just got WAY too out of hand. My room was so messy that at one point, I have close to no walking space. Whenever I mop my floor, I can’t even reach the corners because there are items placed there. My table was SOOO messy I had no space to even put down my laptop. The sheer amount of things I have overflowed out of my room to the living room and even to he master bedroom. My mum constantly scolds me for not packing my own room and making a mess out of her own room. It got to a point where I knew I had to clear it.

Two, army happened. This triggered several things. First, we do area cleaning quite often in a week. In basic course, I did area cleaning every tues and thurs and whenever we book out. Cleaning dust off your bed frame and top of the locker just made me realise how quickly and easily dust would form on a surface. Second, to maintain neatness in something, one needs to clean and arrange often. Third, having more things makes things hard to clean. The more I stuff my locker, the more I had to find and make space for it. Fourth, I kinda felt more ownership for my locker than my room.

Ok, I probably have to explain my last point. My room used to be kinda like a play room for both my sis and I. Then I would sleep over in my parents’ room. Then when I got older, we bought furniture for my bedroom, but all those other stuff had to go somewhere. It went into the cabinets in my room. So since I got my room, my room were full of old souvenirs, photo albums, old toys and crates of old books. I felt that I never had much choice what goes in my room. Whenever I cleaned my room, I wouldn’t even touch those items because they were there because it was placed there. When I got to army and had my own personal locker, I decide what goes in or out.

So for spring cleaning this year, I decided to put in more effort this time. I decided to take everything out. Throw away old toys, shift the old souvenirs out and decide what goes where in my room.  To be honest, it was WAY easier in my head than it was in real life. When I started, I started on the first three external cabinets. I followed a rather effective system to clean.

  1. I would shift everything out
  2. I would clean off the dust of every single drawer, top of the cabinet and bottom of the cabinet if possible. 
  3. I would go through every single item and judge which to throw and which to keep.
  4. I would slowly throw away stuff.
  5. Slowly put back everything into the cabinets by design. 
  6. Unwanted things will be placed outside for my family to see if they want to keep it.

So just as a reference, let me show you the first day.

Goodness so many things… 😫

Just this alone took me the whole day to clean.

Then I subsequently cleaned my table and today, my in-built cabinets. Each took a considerably exorbitant amount of time, but the result was fantastic. I now have enough walking space to open to possibilities of a sleep over; I now have enough space to put a sleeping bag on my floor. I am able to use the dresser cabinets like I am supposed to. Hopefully I would be able to clean and throw away enough stuff such that I will be able to put in a hifi in my room and not have boxes on my floor. Soon. Soon. 

Several things to learn.

  1. Things that are given to you aren’t your’s until you take ownership of it. You not only need to use it, you need to clean and maintain it.
  2. Unused/unread/spoiled stuff are all unnecessary. Even if you plan to get something fixed, if you don’t use it very often, you may want to place it somewhere else.
  3. Plastic bags may protect the stuff from dust, but it adds to the mess.
  4. To clear the mess, one needs to throw away unnecessary items/items that aren’t your own.
  5. What remains are usually what matters more.
  6. Peeling/flaking items needs to be replaced.
  7. Dust forms everywhere that is facing the roof. It is quite a sad truth.
  8. If you want something to be neater, you should throw stuff away, not buy more shelves to keep it all. Sometimes having more shelves just makes it harder to clean.
  9. It might just be worth it to buy moth balls/dehumidifier to keep your cabinets dr, so that no mould will form on your clothes. It will keep your clothes from yellowing too.
  10. Of course there is room for sentiment. I definitely don’t think you should throw away everything. I treasure my cards and gifts. The idea is simply to keep them together, tidy and organised. 
  11. One phone card on its own is trash, many phone cards together is a collection. Collections might be worth something. 

I also stumbled upon some rather interesting stuff too. I found some presents for my mum’s 21st birthday. Some old photos. Etc etc. Such a strange feeling you know. Can you imagine that my mum is younger than me when she recieved her present? So much history.

Oh well, spring cleaning is pretty dope. HAHA. Hope to maintain this clean room.

Ok, gonna rest soon! πŸ™‚ 

See you guys soon.


=634= Gear Talk: X100T Test Shots

Ok, nerd talk coming up.

Ok, as a result of my recent Taiwan trip, me bringing only my 12mm f2 lens on the trip. It made me enjoy the trip and photography a lot more. There was little to do as it was so wide, focusing was no issue at all. I wasted no time to change lenses and I was rather realistic with what I can or cannot shoot.

This allowed me have more time enjoying the moment rather than shooting the moment.

Of course there were scenery so breath taking, I can’t go by without shooting. Those shots were more merticulously composed and shot. The 18mm equivalent was just magnificent in capturing what I wanted.

With less gear, I had less to worry about, more space in my bag and I was still getting good images out from my camera. Sure, I wouldn’t be able to shoot cat photos like I did back in Taipei, but sure, that is a loss, but I think having less things to lug around was a good enough plus for me to justify not bringing my other two prime lenses.

So during and after the trip, I was looking into 35mm equivalent options because honestly 18mm equivalent is really way too wide for most of what I like to do. I own a 30mm f1.4 but that is a 45mm equivalent, which in almost every sense I find it too tight for what I like to do. The options I have seen were all rather pricey. I was actually all ready to go for the Samyang 21mm f1.4. It would give me a 32mm equivalent and having that f1.4 wouldn’t hurt either.

However, I also looked into the x100 series. My Cousin owns a X100s and his travel shots were amazing… :O Well, my travel shots are not too bad too… πŸ˜‚

However, I was rather intrigued. Having a fixed lens compact camera. Sounds pretty cool to play around with it. Therefore, I kept reading up on it. X100t especially because the deals on the X100t were way better than the X100/X100s deals. I just thought you know, it is a newer and more refined model and the deals on the camera were really not too bad.

At this point the X100f was already out of the window of consideration because it was just too pricey. I am really not comfortable dishing out almost 2k on a camera like that.

I found out so much about the camera, like how it has a built in Intervalometer and an advanced hybrid view finder, how it has a small pic in pic for the camera and how silent the camera is.

So upon searching on Carousell, I found a rather good deal on it. Then, I just got it yesterday.

It is a really fun camera to use. Having manual controls for so many things. It was really uncomfortable for me to shoot and as a result I really slowed down my process and waited quite a bit. Kinda like a film camera, but I am able to see my settings through the view finder. It was rather refreshing.

So yeah, I went out and shot today, do forgive some of the shots here, I was trying out the electronic range finder, it wasn’t that great, but it was pretty fun to play around with. Decided to shoot JPEG because it was just easier to manage file size and it was really just a casual shoot. So here are the shots!

All the shots are all straight out of the camera, with minor cropping here and there. The film simulations seem really fun to play around with! πŸ™‚ 

Now I am just going to find another wrist strap, now that the Cam-In Straps are no longer in stock and the strap that JJ made for me couldn’t fit. Probably going to order one from a local dealer. Maybe find a thumb grip too.

This camera will serve a very different purpose from my A6000, this will probably be my side camera or my everywhere camera. Something quite simple and something for me to experiment and play around with the film simulations and for me to travel with. You will see me with more shots with this camera very soon! πŸ™‚ 


=633= Reflections: Clients

Hmmm, a recent meetup with G and a recent event in camp just made me really think.

Over dinner G could tell I don’t really like clients. HAHAHA. Well, I can’t deny, I really don’t. Ok lah, not really dislike, but working with clients is really tiring sometimes.

I still remember ETG days when I had to mic people up and follow instructions of the stage manager then, only getting glares here and there because they weren’t clear and I was just following instructions.

The most tiring thing is when the client don’t know what they want but expects quality. You get into a whole process of passive aggressive words because you are doing them a favour but not what they expects. So tiring Sia.

Ok so back to today’s event. Today we had a cohesion day in the track. It was kinda like a carnival with games that will eventually lead you to win prizes. I had to do a show with a basic 10 channel analog board and two mackie speakers. It was horribly challenging. First challenge, we were using the whole area that comprises of the grandstand and the whole track. 

How in the world am I suppose to cater sound for the whole area with two speakers? -.- My internship report had a portion on the inverse square law of sound. It basically states that sound level disperses in a inverse square way. At one meter, you hear at x level. At two meters, you hear it at 1/4 the level of x. With only two speakers, people near the speakers will go deaf, people far from the speakers will not be able to hear clearly.

Then, with the speakers facing the track, how do you expect to be clear? We are hearing the early reflections from the ground + the frequencies that the speakers would produce in an omni way. Halfway through, turn the speaker around, don’t give me time to tune and all, confirm feedback right? 😫

Not only that, the amp was driving the speakers to the max alr but it still wasn’t enough to hear clearly. Help lah. Either give me a different speaker and amp or give me more speakers can not? 😫

I don’t even have a GEQ to tune the speakers. Help lah, just buy those Yamaha analog boards with a built in GEQ can? It even has reverb built in.

That is also why I really dislike live sound. Things just go wrong. People from the signals platoon got very confused with my workflow. They thought that sound is just set and go. I cringe at the thought of that, as if sound is so simple. There are so many factors to consider. Acoustics, crowd volume, noise, clarity, annoying frequencies, feedback, radio interference just to name a few. Live sound is so dynamic that I get frustrated not being able to hear the tone I want. I am also limited by my equipment. With so little, one can only make do with what they have.

I was quite proud of my signal processing innovation today. I had a mic that was on full gain and my fader was all the way alr, but it was still too soft. Since it wasn’t feed backing. I decided to send the signal to a monitor send then route the signal back to a input channel, so that I have another channel’s gain. Not only that, I realised that this gave me one more set of EQ. However it isn’t so straight forward as having more EQ points. It acts somewhat like a parallel compressor, but for EQ. It only makes the frequencies you want louder because it is a seperate channel reinforcing the first channel. Quite a silly thing to do, but I really had nothing else I can do but that.

Every since yesterday, the signals platoon kept telling me to go to the SI course and go signals. HAHA. Quite flattering but no thanks.

It was a tiring show. I am so tired of hearing EDM. It all sounds so similar…. 😫 so boring. I can replay the same few EDM songs over like 3 times and people won’t notice it at all because it is all the same. πŸ˜’

I really hope that I won’t have to do more of these kinda shows… It is really draining and I don’t even get to play… 😦

Not only that, not even a word of thanks… Really not worth my time and effort. 

Oh well, gotta live with it.