The Robot Initiative Studios

About The Robot Initiative, it’s past, future and present

In 2008 when moving to the first studio the Yamaha DX7 was leaning against the wall while gathering equipment around. It fell to the ground in the mist of twirling around the room packing the stuff. Seeing how the delicate digital apparatus is to be handled in such videos as “Nine Inch Nails Live At Woodstock’94” I thought nothing of it. At the studio when I tried to turn the synth on nothing happened. It was dead, no lights, no sound, nothing.

During the past seven years there has been some attempts to debug the device. I did notice that when I plugged the headphones in and turned it on I could here the hum. During the seven years I opened it several times and tried to see if I could locate the problem without removing any components. One of my friends did take some very quick looks at it always stating that we should someday fix it.

On sixth of March we took another shot at it. The synth was opened and visually inspected and the transformer and regulator part were tested with a multimeter. Everything seemed to be ok as far as we could tell. We almost gave up on it and started to prepare to play something. My friend kept staring at the DX7, it clearly bothered him very much. Suddenly he shouted out “I think I found it”. There seemed to be a crack on the PCB were the voltage regulators were and the massive aluminum heat sink. He took the PCB out and turn it around to see that there really was big enough crack on the ground rail. Now that we knew where the problem was we had to fix it. “Do you have soldering iron here?” “Yes I do 25w” “Ok and how about solder?” “No”. So we had part of the stuff we needed to fix it. I did suggest that we could try to get some solder from an old CD player that was broken. Of course there is no flux so it was not a good idea. We even asked some guys that were in the building if they had solder, but they didn’t. This was a situation that was really annoying. We even looked for solder in the next door rehearsal room where there should have been some solder, but it was lost. Finally my friend said that lets try the old CD player. The soldering iron was heated up and the CD player brought close to the regulator PCB of the DX7. The PCB was sanded to bring out the copper a bit and my friend started heating the solder on the CD players transformer. He tried to get the solder from the transformer to the PCB and to make it stick. The PCB was heated for a long time, but eventually a very tiny drop of the solder got stuck on the PCB. Multimeter that everything was ok and regulator back into the DX7.

The feeling was great after seven years of silence hearing the sound of the Yamaha DX7. I did not even pick up the bass that evening. We changed the tape loop on the Echocord mini after the DX7 project, but that is another story. My friend took the PCB home and did a better fixing on it. The one that was done in the studio was something that I wonder how it work, it was a very tiny drop of solder that worked as a bridge over the crack.

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I was able to find approximately 22m2 space for the studio. It is about 270cm wide and 811cm long, the heigh varies from 215cm to 245cm. The building is an old slaughter house containing businesses, but also rehearsal places with bands playing behind every wall.. well not every, but almost. This is the first place where I know I can make noise after office hours and in weekends and that is a plus. Do not have to worry about someone coming to complain about noise. The downside is that when there are some band playing it isn’t very good for recording or mixing, but that is an issue that can be worked with. The place is bit narrow and this might cause some acoustic treatment problems, but for now it feels a very good place. Industrial Military Complex guitarists other band(s) are the studio neighbor now. Nice folk except they play so damn loud that it disturbs my techno listening and they fart a lot….

The studio is a work in progress. Still not all the stuff are in their place, but it is starting to take shape. Also some acoustics plans have been made and some work has begun for acoustic elements. I am also working on SketchUp of the space and I can post pictures when its ready. For now Industrial Military Complex songs have been worked on in the studio, but so far nothing else. There is the possibility that cables could be run into the next room through air ventilation pipes and rehearsals and demo(s) could be recorded, but that is still in the plannings.

I will post pictures later on and also I’ll write some entries about the DIY stuff I am working on. Check the DIY category for posts.

For now this is the latest and greatest The Robot Initiative Studio.

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The second studio was quite big space 32m2 and there was a small drywall in very odd place. The space was wide and there was a lot of room. The drywall was moved further back closer to the door giving more space for the studio part of the space. There were lot of planning for the acoustics of the space and DIY broadband absorbers were planned. I purchased rock wool (Paroc COS 5) for the purpose and fabric for seven elements. The COS 5 had 7 5cm thick slabs and I had purchased two packages giving material for seven 10cm thick elements.

The space could have accommodated full band and would have had the ability to record one. Although the building had office spaces and was not a living building (at least anymore) one man lived there and right above the studio space. We never caused him any noise disturbance, but once when I was tearing apart the drywall I banged it with a hammer (I did not have the right tools) he came to complain about the noise. He lived there legally. His flats lease was legal, all the paper work done with (his) company was legal with everything legal and he repeated the word “legal” so many times that it was suspicious. And I was not informed that someone lived there when I went to see the basement and when I signed the lease. He moved out of the building in November 2012 the same month I moved out. I had to give up the space because of unfortunate events and very wrong and unjustified behavior from behalf of my employer, thank you very much.

After the man moved away there probably would have not been any disturbance to anyone with full band playing because the building was empty after office hours. But now thats all history. Nice space with a lot of room and once I had all the stuff put into right places I had to pack up and move to a new space. This blog is about this current third studio space and construction of acoustics and stuff.

Industrial Military Complex -project that was started in the previous space and continued in this second studio space.

Here are random photos from the studio space that I have found (I.M.C. guitarist appears on that one picture):

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I.M.C. #002

 

The first “external” studio was 18m2 ex-storage room space which was operational for about three years. The layout was very difficult and I had no idea about acoustics at that time. You can see in on the photos that part of the space was only about 1m high and it took a lot out of the space. That area was only functional as storage space and the last position were the sofa was it fitted nicely under it.

Here are some pictures of the studio space while moving out of it to a new 32m2 space which was operational for about six months thanks to some “fairplay” from my employer at the time:

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If I find more photos I will post them. This studio was quite small and took very long time to get all the stuff into a position to make the space work. Also Spex Lab project was active in this studio. And of course The Robot Initiative was also active in this version of The Robot Initiative Studio.

Spex Lab’s “The Book” and “Future Perfect” was recorded and mixed in this space. You can see from the pictures where the nearfield monitors where located (very close to the door) so take that into account if you ever listen to those songs and listen to the mixing.

I.M.C#001.