Friday, September 23, 2011

“Ampeg to Zildjian”

            After dinner last night, my son and I headed over to Guitar Center to ogle drum kits. Paul’s work on building a recording studio shifts from computers and software to hardware and instruments. On the ride over, our discussion picks apart the differences between analogue recording and digital—flawed and perfect.  Throughout the conversation, my mind grasps the concepts with ease, and I realize how much I’ve learned as my son journeys upon his personal quest.
            I can now carry on conversations about watts and ohms. I understand the difference between a condenser microphone and a dynamic one, which means I can explain the importance of gain. I confidently throw out terms like USB, firewire, and Thunderbolt in discussions. My knowledge about different interfaces has increased tenfold over the last few months, and I really do know the difference between compressors, amplifiers, and mixing boards.
            Our quest last night took us to Guitar Center to study the perfection of DW drum kits. When Paul first began playing drums, he created a monster kit—a hybrid made of two kits, a Pearl and a Yamaha, that took up an entire bedroom. Eventually, Paul stacked the kits into the room’s corner in favor of his Roland. Now, he needs a professional kit to mike up for recording. When we walked into the drum section of the store, a cacophony assailed us as three different drummers played on different kits. Our eyes sought out the DWs along the left wall, and Paul carefully explained the nuances of drum crafting. After lusting over a couple of kits, we shifted into the cymbal room where Paul explained the differences in tone when listening to a Paiste versus a Zildjian.
            Before we left the store, we peeked into the bass section because Paul also needs a bass amp and cabinet. Serendipity stepped into the room with us as Paul discovered a used model of the Ampeg amp he’d researched just that day! I perched upon the corner of a speaker, listening to the flow of jargon rise and fall, amazed and pleased at just how much I have learned.

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman  

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