Re: [Harp-L] Questions of a technical nature

Bob Laughlin wrote:
> But someone recently found it in his heart to pass on to me a 
> piece of equipment called the "Tube MP Studio", by Applied 
> Research and Technology, or "ART".
> I wonder if anyone here has one of these things, or is familiar 
> with them. It's basically a tube pre-amp that is designed to 
> "warm up" a microphone, on the way to the PA, from what I've 
> read. 
> To what extent are these useful for amplified harp? Gigs? 
> Recording?

A tube preamp is a wonderful thing.  You can use it to get 
overdriven, tube amp tone from solid state amplifiers or PAs, or to 
fatten up the sound of a tube amp that you can't really crank up for 
one reason or another.  There have been some pretty extensive 
discussions of these devices and their use on this list.  I use one 
(not the ART model, but something similar) for gigs where I run 
directly into the PA so I don't have to haul a full stack of gear.  
A friend of mine uses his to get a little extra overdrive when he's 
playing through a big tube amplifier and can't turn it up loud 
enough to make the amp overdrive on its own.  They're great for 
running straight into a mixer for recording as well.  

> Also, on another subject, still gear-related, I've been given 
> a "TASCAM Porta02 mkII" 4track cassette tape recorder by my wife, 
> who used it to record textbooks for disabled students for CalState 
> Long Beach. It has the capacity to record 4tracks on a chrome 
> cassette, 2 tracks at a time. It looks like it'd be fun to play 
> around with, but my son, 20, says he's got a mixer and I/O box 
> that he bought to do some recording via his computer, for his 
> classical guitar studies. He tells me that this tape stuff is just 
> old-school, and that I'd be better informed investing my time in 
> the digital future rather than outdated technologies. 

I'd go digital, but that's just me.  I spent about $80 on a 12-
channel behringer mixer and I connect all my musical equipment 
(guitar, keyboard, harp amp, microphones, CD player, MP3 player, 
computer line out) through that, and connect the outputs to my 
computer's audio line in.  I use a freeware program called Audacity 
to record multi-track with pretty minimal fuss.  You can do 
unlimited tracks (you do have to mix down multiple tracks 
occasionally) without loss when you're digital, which you can't do 
on a cassette.  Also, a four-track cassette has to be mixed down to 
be played on anything (standard cassettes are 2-track, bi-
directional rather than 4-track, uni-directional), and if you want 
to post MP3s of your recordings anywhere or burn a CD you have to 
record your cassette output to digital in realtime anyway.  I'd skip 
the middleman and just do my recording in digital to begin with.  
It's not worth investing a lot of time in learning a dedicated 
technology that's already pretty obsolete.  

Just my two cents,


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