Dorset Driftwood Studios Ltd….

Well, there I was, wettest day of the month so far, so I thought I’d check out the Rico Metalite M11 soprano sax mouthpiece ( so kindly obtained by for me by Bruce Bailey, who is Florida based, from a US ebayer who didn’t want to mess with UK buyers ) on my Conn Pan-American C-Soprano

So, I thought – why not also check out how my mini-studio performs, glass roof, pouring rain, traffic noise from the bypass (need I say more ?)

Here it is, the very first take of  Rainy Day Blues !

Well – I need to re-think mic’ing the soprano, possibly two microphones, and maybe slightly better quality ones (or is it me…) – but the good news is that the heavy rain and traffic noise didn’t pick up on the cheapo USB microphone with it’s close pickup pattern.  Even the recording software (Audacity) is free, I’ve got an older version on my elderly steam-driven Compaq notebook. 

Not too sure about the subtlety of the mouthpiece tho’.  Not at all bad for a few bucks, and the C-Sop seems to play in tune with it, although it’s as far on the cork as it can go without fouling the upper octave pad.  Thanks to the unknown players on the freebie internet backing track !

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10 Responses to Dorset Driftwood Studios Ltd….

  1. Lewis Pelham says:

    Very good Alan…using the considerate part of the soprano & yet not sounding limited. Very bouncy blues for a wet day…"Even the good days are bad…" in reverse…shews optimism.
     Intrigued to know where you find your freebie backing tracks.

  2. al says:

    Thanks Lewis – but as my old school reports said year after year "Could do much better…" I must have given those teachers headaches, if only they could have motivated me as much as playing the clarinet did – the music teacher never said that ! 🙂 I am quite amazed that such a relatively ‘long-shanked’ Bb mouthpiece came up to the correct pitch, and had very good intonation on the C-Soprano – even the Bb ‘stubbies’ have to be well onto the cork, and the Metalite is a much longer mouthpiece ! Does sound distinctly ‘nasal’ tho’…

    I tried the Link and Meyer Bb soprano mouthpieces ‘after tea’, and they produced a wider range of sounds, so I’ll try a different microphone setup – I have an M-Audio pre-amp which allows me to use/balance at least two normal mics into the USB port – and see what happens.  Not bad for a first try, the Metalite M11 would be very useful ‘live’, where subtleties are all so often lost in the wall of sound 😕  Good one for the case ( just in case 😆 )

    I really wanted to test if the basic hardware was up to it, and what the effect of background noise was like – out in the conservatory.  The answers were ‘yes‘ and ‘negligible‘ – I guess the fact that most mic’s are designed to minimise feedback by having a relatively small pickup area, is also helpful in keeping out all but the loudest extraneous noises 😯 (such big words so early in the day…)  Ace showed her thoughts by sighing loudly and having a good scratch at a couple of stages, obviously totally unimpressed – and all that’s not at all audible – also good that she was not phased in the slightest by the wailing.

    I found most of the backing tracks just by googling for ‘free backing tracks’ – but I may well put up a web page to allow others to share (what is, after all) a free resource… Thanks for the suggestion, Lewis ! Far safer sharing free backing tracks, than ‘slightly dodgy copyright’ fake books – and far less likely to get me into hot water ! 😆 I’ll quote the source where I can remember !

  3. alan says:

    This is just a comment to put the backing track on the blog for Lewis to download – as always, right-click on the filename and choose ‘Save Target As’ (your browser may offer slightly different options).

    P.S. Just for ease – I’ve also started a permanent page which will list any useful backing tracks I’ve found (and a few links to others).
    Click on this link, or scan down the right-hand column for ” Pages: ” and look for ” Free Backing Tracks ” Also being developed is a ‘backing track’ web-page – be great when it’s finished… 😆

  4. Lewis Pelham says:

    Why is it so quiet here? Even Wade’s "new" site is just limping along. Has everything relevant to C Melodys already been said ?
    I hope that we do not all become experts…nothing worse; progressively learning more about less & finally knowing all about nothing!
     Even Alan has stopped speaking to me since I admitted to liking (and playing)  Selmer C*s.     😳

  5. al says:

    Lewis – I’ve just been ‘under the weather’ with more than a touch of Sciatica (t’was a bit of a bugger, hope it’s not to be a permanent addition to my little ‘sack of woe’…) – and a touch of oral gip that finally lead to a tooth extraction yesterday.  I do so want to record a much better C-Sop Blues, but it’s all conspiring aginst me at the moment !

    I did note your comment on the new C-Forum, and so started a "What mouthpiece on a 1919 Buescher C-Mel…" thread 😆  But yes, it’s so quiet – but Steve’s new shipments may liven things up ! Lewis- I haven’t stopped talking, my last two emails to you have gorn unanswered, including the last “You’re very quiet these days young man ?” one – has the great Spam Grabber in the sky been nobbling them ?

  6. Lewis Pelham says:

    Alan…really sorry to hear of your woes; do hope that they clear up very soon. I did indeed reply to your "very quiet" email, but evidently you did not receive it, as I did not receive your second.
     My post on Wade’s site was, as you realise, irony…do we have to answer all those questions again? 🙄

  7. ukebert says:

    Hope you are feeling better now Alan, sorry to hear about your illness.

    I agree about the slightly nasal sound, but the intonation wasn’t bad, especially considering it was a Bb mouthpiece. And a top class microphone would probably improve things, but then you’ll always be able to say that. There’ll always be better and more expensive kit out there…

    And 2 microphones would be better as well, as would 8 microphones, or a curvie. Now if only they made Clarinets in curved models…

  8. Mal-2 says:

    I’ve been told the most effective and least invasive treatment for sciatica is acupuncture. You might at least want to look into it.

  9. alan says:

    Thanks Mal – at the moment I’m waiting on a physiotherapist (despite the billions going into the Health Service, at times it seems that there are still some steam-driven departments.. 😆
    They will then proceed to slowly torture me, the idea being to convince me that the cure is much worse… 🙄  I understand the "no pain, no gain" syndrome only too well !
    A long hot bath, a glass of wine, plenty of fresh air, and a good book are helping.  As little time hunched over a computer keyboard as I can possibly manage – hence the (temporarily) severely reduced output !

  10. CvS says:

    Hi Alan,
    I am back online after a month on vacation/business trips, and trying to catch up with the C-Melody community news.
    It was great to find this clip, since I’ve been trying a Metalite mouthpiece on my Conn Chu C-Melody with results that I like (although I am nowere close your playing ability), and just bought a Metalite tenor to try on the Buescher C-Mel.
    Do you (or other C-mel players) have any experience with Metalites on C-mels?

    I guess I will start a thread on the other forums to see what input I get there too (SOTW and Wade’s).

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