And a very warm welcome to the forum. I do like it when people come and introduce themselves. So many don't bother, which is a shame. But there again, if people want to be anonymous, I suppose that's okay too.
Well, and what an introduction! And, I have to admit, curiosity concerning the hat you're(?) wearing in your avatar. Explanation please?
I've been trying to recall when exactly I started MIDI-ing. Possibly the late eighties (I think '88), but I'm none too sure any more. I did end up buying the complete specification a few years back from the MMA. My background was with ICL and before that with programming in assembler and COBOL starting in '66. After a few years I went into data comms, and became a protocol specialist, and saw out my career teaching satellite data comms.
As you'll have noticed it's generally pretty quiet on this forum, and it's kinda stuck in the past, with ancient (by today's standards) software. But I'm sure you're going to help us liven it up a bit?
I've built a bit of electronics in my days,but mostly from published designs in magazines. John Linsley Hood of Hi-Fi News comes to mind and ETI magazine. For a long while I made my own loudspeakers and for friends too, being able to do an acceptable job, nothing fancy, with the cabinet making. I don't know if the name DAline rings any bells with you? KEF B110 and T15 plus a Coles 4001G super tweeter.
Working for ICL I got to rip PCs apart and reassemble them from different components from about the 386 and DOS on. I gave up making my own about five years ago. Too much like hard work. Definitely slowing down as I approach my seventies. Creating orchestral backing tracks for my wife keeps me busy enough.
Once again thanks for posting. I hope that there's something here of interest to you? Looking forward to future interactions.
Post by Lee Wilkerson 77 on Nov 4, 2014 3:12:01 GMT
Hello, JohnG. Thank you for the welcome note. Sounds as if you and I have some very similar backgrounds and experiences.
I was trained in the Army as an aviation communication electronics repairman (including an introduction to the digital world). I bought my first computer in 1979. It had 2 whole Kbytes of RAM. I sent off to the manufacturer for schematics and replaced the 2K chip with an 8K. This upgrade required drilling 4 extra holes in the PCB and rerouting some traces. (Good thing it was only a 2-layer board.)
My love for music probably began in the womb. I began piano lessons in the mid 60s after I showed that I could play some hymns by ear. 2 1/2 years later someone called me Liberace, so I quit piano and took up guitar (my bad). Since I love music, computers, and electronics so much, it was only natural that I should gravitate toward the MIDI world. I was already far ahead of the game having written Extended BASIC programs on my TI (way ahead of the IBM world) to play 'Promenade' from Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition' and 'Greensleves' both of which I shared with my fellow members of the Lexington, KY TI users group (which was consequently shared around the world).
Having already succeeded at many electronic projects (I also repaired all manner of electronics as a profession since 1972), it was nothing at all for me to build my own MIDI interface for the old 15-pin d-sub joystick connector. I was ecstatic that the software was already written for that. My keyboards are currently connected to my primary computer with the same joystick/MIDI interface. Just yesterday I dug up the schematic I made with an old version of TurboCAD for Winduhs. Ah, the nostalgia!
Love of music means, of course, that my amplifiers and speaker systems must be as close to perfection as attainable, so I've also designed and built many audio amplifiers and speaker systems. As an example, I had a 200 watt system with 2 equalizers in a '74 VW bus with 2-12" woofers in a 3/4" high density particle wood cabinet above the motor area, 6 x 9's under the back bench seat, and 5 1/2" speakers in the front foot area. My primary computer has a 135 watt Technics receiver and a pair of 12" Frazier cabinets attached.
With regard to the 'hat', I had just bought a desk lamp at a thrift store and was cleaning the dust off... B|
I've seen and auditioned some components from the KEF speaker line when I worked in one high-end audio shoppe. My favorite speakers in all the world are Martin Logan Magneplanar (sp?), although I've had excellent success with raw Sylvania components which were built for them by Eminence Speaker Co. in Kentucky. Cone speakers (~10% THD) can never, nor will they ever, hold a candle to electrostatics (~.1% THD).
It appears I am rambling (I do geek!) and I haven't even medicated myself yet this evening.
I relish every opportunity to play in the computer/music/electronics world.
All extremely interesting to me! My career started as a trainee electronics engineer in the British aircraft industry way back in '64. I worked on VC10 and BAC1-11 aircraft in the cockpit and radio/radar bay. Had very early exposure to Concorde which was designed in B.A.C. before becoming a joint UK/French project.
Two years into the apprenticeship I decided it wasn't for me and moved over to working on computers. My first was an RCA301 re-badged for UK sale as an ICT1500. 6 bit characters (not bytes),octal, no QWERTY keyboard but buttons to press that represented binary within the 'registers' being altered, plus a parity bit. The two mainframes I worked on had a colossal 20k characters of memory each! From there in '66 to teaching satellite communications around the world in 2001. I delivered several courses in Washington too.
Of course, for me, the epitome of speakers were the Quad Electrostatics (Google Quad ESL-57). Were they the first? Power handling was frequently an issue with them, they couldn't handle much and had a tendency to arc when over-driven. Although not with the original Quad valve (tube) amplifiers.
When I worked in an audio shop as a spare time job, back in the 70's, we made a stacked pair of Quad ESL 57's. We constructed a special wooden frame, replacing the wooden end piece and the feet, supporting them one above the other in a continuous curve. Staggeringly accurate, but they needed space to be at their best. My friend, who owned the shop, had a Large room, where we could place them a metre from the back wall, a metre from the side walls, with a metre between them, and OH! the stereo imaging. I've never heard anything quite like them since.
I believe they've become collector's items these days. Quad will still service them, even after more than half a century.
I never got round to do anything exciting with car audio. Somehow it didn't seem worth while to me. But then I didn't spend much time in the car.
I make do with a much more modest set up at home. A pair of bi-amped floor standing Celestions, with a REL Storm filling in the otherwise lost octave (or two). Electronics all care of UK firm ARCam. All very long in the tooth now.
Especially so as now the hearing is beginning to give out. The top end has long gone and my threshold of pain has reduced to around 90dB! Sadly, I now have to wear a hearing aid too. Oh well, it's been good while it lasted.
My wife is a classically trained operatic mezzo soprano, so I make backing/rehearsal tracks for her, ranging from Bach alto arias from the cantatas, to Puccini, Verdi, Dvorak, etc. Some more successfully than others it has to be said.
All fairly off topic it must be said, but what the heck!
I'm another "Old Codger", mostly here to get help making midi "help" me to get the music done that I want . . .
Like you and John, I've had a varied "career" and am generally PROUD to say that I've never been unemployed - that is until 2009, when I was made a voluntary redundancy offer, it would have been stupid to refuse . . . .
I would have rather served my time out - as I loved, and was good at what I did - but that's another story . . . .
Briefly, I was a Pro Photographer for some 22 years - 1969 – 1991 (Technical and Scientific) at:
The Rocket Propulsion Establishment Westcot, Bucks. (UK) MinDef (Was MinTech),
Post Office Research (Dollis Hill)- Pre BT Days,
Stanger Laboratories - Elstree Independant Testing Laboratory (now no more) and finally with
City University London (Dept Mechanical Engineering and Dept Optometry and Visual Science)
During this time, I was also a Metallurgical Technician - 1975 – 1988
Finally making the jump to Music in 1991 in the Music Department of City University until redundancy in 2009
So a rather complicated history by most standards.
Music has always been there - Piano lessons started at about 7 years old, I was "taught" up to Grade 6, and did O level and A level at school. Choirs from 11 years old, up to about 1999.
I'm 63 btw . . . .
Computers - ZX81 - NEC - PC 8001A - (C/PM) - BBC-B - Ferranti PC Clone (8086)or was it 8088?
Various self-builds through MSDOS 3.3 up to 5.x? (I always preferred DRDOS6) and finally Windoze, from 3 up to Vista64 HPE where I am now - though I also have run Linux (Ubuntu 12.04 finally) for some time now.
Mainly I stay with AMD CPUs since the AMD 386-DX40, with a brief excursion to Pentium inbetween
HiFi - I'm rather old-school too, though limited somewhat as my partner of some 27 years doesn't like "clutter" about "her" place . . . .
I have (in store) a nice Quad 33/303 to go with my DA-Lines (YES INDEED) - the small ones that use the LS3/5A units . . . . I managed to get a pair of the last B110Bs from Kef before they ran out of the Bextrene, and also the T27s . . . . Mine don't have the Coles supertweets.
I LOVE the transmission-Line concept.
One of the Techs at the Uni WAS a complete Speaker NUT, and built the three sizes. He kept the medium sized ones for himself, one of my mates (another photographer at the Uni) Bought the "Monsters" from him (B139 - B110 - T27 - Coles 4001 if I remember correctly) These were each about the size of a 4-Drawer Filing cabinet and sounded wonderful . . . Bass extension to die for . . .
He sold me the small ones I described - I just bought new speakers and X-overs from KEF.
They are (in store) at my cousin's place awaiting the application of veneer . . . perhaps they might be allowed home then?
My manager at the Uni in the Music Department was BBC trained - so ALL my recording and general Audio/Studio How-to has come from him - and very grateful I am to have learned it . . .
I could go on, but this is too long already . . . .
I think you'll find you are amongst kindred spirits here
If you have questions about Keyboards/Synths/Guitars, then DO Check the YamahaForums UK, the FusionZone and FusionClub where I am a Moderator - my "handle" is the same as here in all three.
(Helps me to keep my "Technical Support" tendencies alive - just, without the remuneration )
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