Technical Tips / Stage Craft – Bits of useful information

Removing icky sticky old foam from gear
Don’t use solvent!
Some solvents dissolve some plastics and some solvents dissolve some paints and might just wipe away the lettering etc on the face of equipment
Plus solvents stink, are environmentally damaging and dangerous

Mix a few drops of Eucalyptus oil with domestic dishwashing liquid
Apply it fairly liberally with a slightly damp cloth
Allow it to stand for 5 – 10 minutes
Rub off with a wet cloth
You’ll still need to use some elbow grease, however, far less than any solvent

Shure say the Shure SM58 grille is designed to dent, absorbing the impact and thereby protecting the mic element inside.
But the real reason it has a ball grille designed to dent, is so the audio person can see YOU dropped it!

How to undent a Shure SM858 grille

Shure Unidyne 5575 LE 03 Shure Unidyne 5575 LE 02 Shure Unidyne 5575 LE 01
Serial No# 4443 of 5575
So, what do you get for your bucks?
Must say the box it came in and the carry case are nice
The body looks and feels the same as the original, tho lighter
The polished metal and red is striking!Inside there’s a Shure SM58 element (originally designed in 1966)
The element mount is nicely engineered very elegant
The whole assembly takes up far less space than the original element
The extra room and the way the sound waves are restricted as they move thru the body results in a ‘closer’, ‘in the centre of your head’ sound than an SM58
It’s like a huge room mic in its own tiny room or maybe a mic in the middle of your head picking up what your ears are hearing

Because of the elegant element mount it can’t be upgraded with a R115s upgrade kit (Beta 58A cartridge) Possibly the Beta 58A cartridge by itself?

I’ll do sound comparison of the three ….. one day
A Fat Boy (1950’s) – original element
A 55SH (2013) – R115s upgrade kit
The 5575LE – SM58 element

For a 75th Anniversary Limited Edition tho?
HEY! After 75 years, it’s still earning money!
It really yearns for a bit of ‘classic’ in the label area!
At least the classy textured printing a 75th Anniversary issue of ‘the’ classic microphone deserves
At least a Shure label and matching Serial No# 4443 of 5575 on the stand

Maintenance. Like any mic, getting the rock and roll bleeeaugh out of a foam insert requires a wash/rinse and dry after performances
On any 55 Fat Boy simply undo four screws and the casing comes apart. It’s only the front part that needs washing

The 5575LE comes with a glued in foam insert rather than the classic fabric
Foam unfortunately tends to hang on to the moisture
The original fabric (pre-nylon stocking?) dries in one with a swift shake and
placed on top of or near the fan on an amp rack or with a few waves of a hair drier

One really good thing is; I won’t be around to complain in 25 years time :-)

Repairs to a 1966 Rokkomann N-8 Classical guitar with the bends


Even if you’re meticulously clean, they’ll eventually get clogged with finger grease
They’re commonly wound with nickel so they’re going to lose their tone thru being clogged up long before they ‘wear out’. They can be easily rejuvenated many times

Take ’em off
Boil them? or Soak ’em in degreaser or a Phenol cleaner?

None of the above!

Simply coil them up to about the size of a new pack
Put ’em in two really strong socks (one inside the other) with a tablespoon of laundry detergent
Tie a very firm knot in the top of the socks
Put the socks & strings in with your washing
Do your washing
Dry ’em in the drier when you dry your washing
Put ’em back on (and the socks)
I’ve done the whole process in a laundromat
and spent the time between loads practicing (I carry two sets of strings)


Uses for that olde gym equipment in the studio
The mic stands in my studio aren’t used for outside gigs, so instead of sand bagging stands to keep ’em in place, I’ve slipped an old barbell weight over the shaft.
Stays with the stand. Works a treat!
gym weight micstand
One day I might even paint ’em


TUNING ↑ UP ↑ (applies to all stringed instruments)

That’s right. Tuning up

You might tune an instrument down to match other instruments or for special tunings
however you’ll still need to tune ↑ up ↑

When you tune down, the string loses tension around the winding shaft of the tuning peg = slack. When you pluck or hit the string, the extra bit of tension from plucking the string will re-tighten the string around the tuning peg and the string will go flat.

If you’ve tuned down, give the string/s a couple of hard pulls to take up the slack on the tuning peg, then tune ↑ up ↑ to pitch. If you go slightly over, give the string another couple of hard pulls. A hard pull might be sufficient to take it down to pitch rather than turning the tuning peg down.

New strings need to be ‘bedded’. I.e., have the slack taken out at the tuning peg and/or where the string passes over the bridge. Especially on a Fender Stratocaster, Bigsby or similar bridge set up. Give ’em a good hard yank, then tune ↑ up ↑ again. On a Stratocaster, smack the whammy bar around a little and fine tune ↑ up ↑ again.

Often a Stratocaster with a well set up whammy bar will stay in tune for weeks and only needs the whammy bar to be depressed and suddenly let go, so it springs back. In effect it yanks the strings, removing any slack.

Nylon strings are another matter. They also have to be bedded and they have a certain amount of stretch. Tune ↑ up ↑, pull ’em hard, then tune ↑ up ↑ again


It’s a question often asked
Contrary to some of the best technical advice, under certain circumstances
If you use a Patch Bay or effect pedals, each time you plug or unplug the jack it creates a short circuit
If Phantom Power is present on the patch cables the short circuit will send a spike down the line
which can damage a dynamic mic!The same applies if you have a guitar pedal in your set up or a guitar pedal with a minijack power input. If you plug the minijack into the socket while the power is on, it temporarily short circuits, sending a spike down the line. more below


Some newer models of ribbon mic require Phantom Power. However Phantom Power can wreck the ribbon in mics that do not require it.The damage occurs when you switch Phantom Power on and/or off or when you plug a mic lead in with Phantom Power present and; when a jack plug is patched into or taken out of a Patch Bay it creates a temporary short circuit. If Phantom Power present on the line, the short causes a spike which is highly likely to wreck the fragile ribbon.

Older style ribbon mics require a pre-amp. Triton FetHeads are a pre-amp which in combination with a ‘tube’ plugin approximates the warmth of a real tube pre-amp. Although FetHeads require Phantom Power it only powers the pre-amp and doesn’t reach the mic itself.

Triton have devices one of which simply prevents Phantom Power from reaching any device it’s plugged into, while allowing signal to pass thru

If Phantom Power is not specified for your ribbon mic


On an SM58, Sennheiser e835 and some other mics, you can unscrew the mesh cover and place a cotton ball on top of the element, replace the cover
Remember to take it out and replace it after each performance, when you wash the inner foam and grille.You do wash ’em …. yes?

There’s nothing worse than using a mic smelling of booze, cigarettes, garlic, old lipstick and stale rock & roll juice all bound together with some fake scented spray and;
the accumulation of the above effects performance, life span of the inner foam and the mic resale value



By-passing the transformer results in a much warmer, richer sound and a flatter frequency response.

However, the output is reduced, requiring a preamp to boost the signal.

I use a Triton FetHead

The transformer can be by-passed by inserting a small switch which requires doing work on the body of the mic and; you’ll always have to make sure it’s switched the right way and;

Someone else can go “Oh what’s this?” and change the setting without you knowing.

I’ve opted to paint the body a different colour so it’s instantly recognizable amongst the other mics and bypass the transformer completely while leaving the components in place so it can be reversed
sm57 no transformer

How to do the SM57 modification


Do you have a pedal with a 9 Volt DC MiniJack power supply in among your other pedals? It might be the cause for other pedals faulting.If the power adapter is on when you plug a minijack power supply into a pedal, the mini jack shorts out temporarily causing a ‘spike’, same as in the Patch Bay example (above).

If a mini jack powered pedal is combined with other pedals with a Boss type power supply, the ‘spike’ can cause the Boss type pedals to fail.

One solution is to replace MiniJack Power Input Sockets with Boss style power inputs, leaving the MiniJack socket in place if there’s enough room for both. The jack style power inlet socket will be positive(+) for the tip of the jack and negative(-) [earth] to the body of the pedal.

To make the new power input conform with a Boss style 9V DC power supply, make sure the body of the new power inlet socket is completely made out of plastic so it is totally isolated from the body of the pedal.
totally isolated power inlet
do not use 01

If you can’t do the modification or find a tech to do it, always make sure pedals with a mini-jack power supply are plugged in before anything else or plug everything in before you turn the power on and make sure you turn the power off before you disconnect your pedals

This ‘spike’ can also kill a dynamic mic if it’s combined with effect pedals!

NB: Touching the outter side (positive +) of a Boss style power lead against the metal casing (negative -) of a pedal or jack plug on a lead can also result in causing a failure in other pedals if they’re already plugged in.

Where ever possible in the mods I’ve done, the minijack power input is left in place and connected to the modified power input. If you lose your Boss style power pack, you can use the old minijack power pack and by plugging in the minijack in first, you can then daisy chain from that pedal to the other Boss style pedals.


I’ve run 9v DC Boss, Ross, Ibanez, Schaller, LoopStation and numerous other guitar pedals on 12v DC without a problem.I think they sound better :-)I have a 12v 100AH deep cycle battery for running effects pedals in the studio for 100% hum free recording.

Although I’ve never had a problem with my pedals … I can’t guarantee 12v DC won’t blow up your pedals!



If you don’t want to buy the Sonar MP3 encoder

DownLoad lame for 32bit & 64bit

For 32bit

Create: a “Lame” directory in
C:\Program Files (x86)\Cakewalk\Shared Utilities\Lame

UnZip a copy of the 32bit Lame.exe and Lame_enc.dll into the new Lame directory

Load Sonar 32bit – Go Utilities/External Encoder Configuration Utility.
Or outside of Sonar open
C:\Program Files (x86)\Cakewalk\Shared Utilities\EncoderConfig.exe

Click New: & Enter a the following

Friendly Name: Lame High Quality Stereo 320

Source Format: Wave

Description: Lame High Quality Stereo 320 using the inbuilt “insane” preset (You can write anything in here)

Path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Cakewalk\Shared Utilities\Lame

Command line: (Copy and paste the whole line)
Lame -m s –alt-preset insane –tt “%T” –verbose –ta “%A” –ty “2015” –tc “%C” %I %O

Select: Modal Encoder
Select: Save source file if you also want a copy of the .way file created in the process



For 64bit

Create a “Lame” directory in
C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Shared Utilities\Lame
UnZip a copy of the 64bit Lame.exe and Lame_enc.dll into the new Lame directory

Load Sonar 64bit – Go Utilities/External Encoder Configuration Utility.
Or outside of Sonar open
C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Shared Utilities\EncoderConfig.exe

Click New & Enter a the following
Friendly Name: Lame High Quality Stereo 320

Source Format: Wave

Description: Lame High Quality Stereo 320 using the inbuilt “insane” preset (You can write anything in here)

Path: C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Shared Utilities\Lame

Command line: (Copy and paste the whole line)
Lame -m s –alt-preset insane –tt “%T” –verbose –ta “%A” –ty “2015” –tc “%C” %I %O

Select: Modal Encoder
Select: Save source file if you also want a copy of the .way file created in the process

*** Exports the highest quality 320Kb/s Mp3 possible, embeds the track name, the author as ‘Contributing Artists’ and Copyright as 2015.

NB: You have to change the copyright in the Lame Command Line every year!



About 82A Sunday Sessions

The 82a Sunday Sessions are every Sunday 3:00pm to 7:00pm in a private studio/rehearsal space in Alexandria Sydney Australia The sessions are open to experienced musicians/performers/artists who're interested in collaborating, experimenting, pushing their envelope and critical dialogue in a cross section of performance arts. Music, spoken word, movement etc. The facilities and equipment are provided free to participants. Originality and critical dialogue are encouraged!
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