I have been making electronic music since 1986. In the beginning, it was just me and a Commodore 64. Over time I have been able to buy other equipment to make music. My studio is ever-evolving, ever-changing, as is my music. Here are two photos of my studio’s appearance in 1997 vs. what it looks like today, in 2022.
With another decade almost upon us I think this is a good time as any to show you the current state of my studio.
It is, as always in a constant state of flux. Among the things I decided to sell this year, mainly because I wasn’t using it that much was the TB-303 “clone” Xoxbox, the Strymon El Capistan pedal and one or two modules for my modular setup. New stuff in the studio includes the Arturia Beatstep Pro and a CV.OCD which I’m using for controlling my analog gear.
Also I got the HYVE I signed up for during their succesful Kickstarted project. Haven’t used it in my music yet but I’m sure I will find a spot for it in an ambient tune soon. Here is a video from last spring where I’m trying it out.
Another fun little toy, a micro-sampler that I think I actually bought in 2018, but haven’t really used yet is the Teenage Engineering PO-33 KO. Might find some use for it now when I’m working on my next album (More info about that in a later post).
And finally I threw out my old, very worn-down chair and got the HÅG Capisco 8107. My back thanks me for it. It’s probably the most ergonomic stylish chair in the world. Got it for a bargain price at an online auction.
I won’t lie, this project has taken forever to finish. I did all the rookie mistakes, but hey that’s the best way to learn something new, isn’t it. Finally it’s completed and I can show you some photos. And if I may say so myself, damn it’s beautiful.
This is what I did:
Glued and fixed a crack in the case.
Removed all the yellowed paint on the case and front.
Removed the original weave on the back of the front.
Repainted the front with a semigloss white paint.
Spray glued a new fine weave made of white linen on the backside of the front.
Repainted the case with three coats of matte white paint, then water-sanded with a 1200 sandpaper.
Scanned the original paper dial, which was very yellowed and with almost unreadable text. Cleaned up the image in Photoshop then printed a new one in high quality. I carefully sprayed the paper with a sealer and finally glued it to the front.
My blue 1961 transistor radio Braun T220 works pretty good but since I’m planning to put it on Ebay I decided it was time to do the electronics versions of an oil change: The re-cap. Changing all the capacitors.
Opening it up I could find eight metal capacitors and one biggie made out of paper. When old gear is failing, the first suspect is almost always the electrolytic capacitors. I have previously repaired a Samsung monitor and a Samsung TV where the only fault was a couple of bulging caps. Total cost to fix that was under a dollar.
All the old capacitors from the Braun T220
In this case where the radio is close to 60 years, there is no reason to keep any of the old caps. If they haven’t completely failed yet it’s just a matter of time and if you would measure their values they are probably all over the place. It wasn’t that much work. It took me around three hours to de-solder all of them and putting in brand new ones. I had to be extra careful not to break any of the many thin copper wires that were soldered left and right in a way you don’t see in newer tech.
The inside of the Braun T220, before the re-cap
Powering on the T220 again I was very happy to find that everything was working and the FM signal now was much stronger than before. Also the sound volume was louder and clearer in a way that I had not anticipated. I guess the radio now sounds like it did when it was new in 1961.
All in all the whole process was pretty fun and much easier than what I had imagined it would be. Everything turned out great, which is not always the case when you start poking around in ancient tech.
It’s one of the missing pieces in my Eurorack system since I don’t have any good stand-alone filter. Actually I bought it about a month ago but I have been setting this aside until the new website was finished and launched. I expect this build to take around 2-3 hours.
Here is a video from BASTL where they demonstrate the Cinnamon.
Lots of things have happened in my studio the last couple of years. I built a TTSH (Arp 2600 clone) and I also got, perhaps a bit carried away with the whole modular thing. :) Anyways, this is what it looks like now. Many of the hardware you see here was used to make my latest album Focus.
There is a more or less complete list of all the stuff on my Studio page.