Welcome to issue #59 of Tape Op.
As you read this we're finishing up moving my studio, Jackpot! Recording, to a new building. Many thanks to the Hamptone company (our "landlords", but really more like co-conspirators and friends) for going the extra step and putting together a building especially designed to host a studio. Thanks to my friend Ryan Heise for numerous trips to Home Depot and his construction skills. Thanks also to the volunteers who've helped move, solder, de-solder and build sound treatment. But most thanks are due to Jackpot!'s studio manager Kendra Lynn, who put in ridiculous hours and dealt with numerous issues. Special, special thanks are due to Jenna Sather, without whom I'd be a lesser man. (Plus she learned to solder!) Now to get the first sessions underway, and hopefully all the bugs worked out...
As we were gathering supplies and information for this move we ordered thousands of dollars worth of new equipment, cabling, computers, Owens-Corning 703, fabric, connectors and such. Many of the products could not be purchased locally, so we initially went to some well-known mail order companies and to some smaller specialty companies for certain items. I had some really crappy experiences with a couple of places (ironically neither of which advertise in Tape Op). One place put some DB25 cables on backorder for a month and a half without ever informing me that they had done so. I kept wondering if they had arrived and we had misplaced them, until I called and was informed of this. After quizzing the representative about why I was never contacted, I cancelled the order and he tried to shuttle me over to the recording department to place another order! "Uh, no thanks." Another company was able to ship the goods ordered, but didn't bother with decent packaging — the mic stands arrived spilling out of their boxes, and the rack rails have still not arrived after two months, due to the packaging disintegrating! I moved on to another retailer, one known for good customer service. I was able to get calls back, emails, better quality products and fast (usually free) shipping. I did pay a bit more (in the case of the DB25 cables it was for much better quality), but I also got everything I ordered, and faster than projected by the salesperson. I also got great service from smaller companies (like Redco, Gepco, BTX and Small Parts, Inc.), where ordering was easy and products arrived on time. Some local stores also really came through in a pinch, SuperDigital and Pacific Pro Audio both delivered with the goods. Dealing with knowledgeable salespeople was what really made the difference in the end. When I could call someone and talk through what we were looking for and get suggestions for what would work best — that was when the rest of the process went smoothly.
The worst experience? Don't ever buy used patchbays on eBay. We've ended up with all sorts of wire wrap, punch point and just plain odd TT patchbays through eBay, even after asking questions of the sellers. Out of eleven purchased, three were the right kind (thanks to Roberto Sanchez)! Obviously I'm partially to blame for not asking enough questions, but I will warn you: "Buy new patchbays, buy them long before you need to wire them up, check them out as soon as you get them, and don't buy them used!" And if you're looking for TT to solder point bays — start looking early. If anyone does want some weird, used patchbays drop me a line!
Okay, I'm getting ready for some down time. But first, see you at TapeOpCon.