Just Two Broadband Panels

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

I’m amazingly lucky in so many ways, and one of them is my good fortune in having a dedicated recording space. I can leave mics and guitars out, decorate to my preference, put speakers in the middle of the room, and best of all, hang broadband absorbers all over the walls and ceiling and stuff them into every corner.

I found that installing these panels made a lot more difference in the quality of my recordings than upgrading a preamp or a/d converter, or even buying a new microphone. By improving the sound in the room, the acoustic treatment made the whole recording process much easier and more enjoyable. So when people ask me how to improve their recordings, one of the first things I suggest is room treatment. (more…)


Zoom Q3HD with a Stick-on Wide Angle Lens

Monday, October 24th, 2011

I’ve posted before about positioning the Q3HD for better audio when recording acoustic guitar. The other day I remembered the dinky little wide angle lenses available for pocket video camcorders and started doing a little research. I wound up ordering one from Photojojo.com. (more…)


Guitar Cam Fun

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Please don’t tell my wife how many little HD cameras I have. She wouldn’t be mad, but she would certainly tease me without mercy. These things have gotten so inexpensive that each one seemed like a reasonable purchase, it’s only when I look at all of them spread out on a table that I realize what I’ve done.

Now that I’ve done it, though, I’m pondering uses for all these gadgets. One that I’ve been playing with for a while is a “guitar cam” – a camera mounted directly on the guitar and giving an unusual view of the performance. With all these cams hanging around and Lynnie out of town I went to work. (more…)


Playing the Angles with the Zoom Q3HD

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

The mics and preamp on the Q3HD deliver a new level of audio quality to lower cost video cams, simply by being as good as today’s average pocket recorder. But I read posts by folks who have the Q but are still frustrated in their efforts to get the sound they hope for in their videos. (more…)


New Blog Look, New Camera, New Video

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Lately I’ve been dragging myself into the 21st century in my web design and implementation efforts. I recently overhauled my slack key guitar site, Kaleponi.com and helped out a local hula group with their site as well. All this new knowledge got me thinking about good old Homebrewed Music and its rather generic look, and the result is this new three column fluid layout. I hope you find it easy to read and navigate.

I also made a big step in my video camera arsenal with a shiny new Panasonic Lumix GH2. (more…)


Zoom Q3HD with and without the Zoom H2

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

I’ve been a bit frustrated as I thought about using the Q3HD in the field. We’re getting ready to head to O`ahu and I’m looking forward to shooting outdoors in the beautiful scenery and weather there. As good as the Q3HD mics are, their sensitivity is a bit low, and they’re going to be pretty far away to pick up the sound of an acoustic guitar outside. I would really like to see a preamp for external stereo mics, like the 1/8″ mic input on the H4n. With this feature I could use my very effective Rode NT4 stereo mic and put some very nice audio into my videos. With the current configuration I would need a portable battery powered preamp, adding to the size, weight, and complication on every shoot. (more…)


Zoom Q3HD vs. iPhone 4

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Video is going through some wonderful transitions these days, and the addition of 720p HD to the iPhone got me to sign on the dotted line with AT&T. Honestly, I rarely use the feature, but it seemed like a natural comparison to the Q3HD – after all, if the iPhone does the same job, or close to it, the Q becomes a lot less attractive. (more…)


A First Look at the Zoom Q3HD

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Most of my video work consists of “look at me” videos I post on YouTube, shots of my slack key guitar playing. The audio is at least as important as the video, and a couple of my camcorders, the Sanyo Xacti HD2000 and the Kodak Zi8, were chosen because they had some sort of audio input and some degree of control over that input. In both cases, though, I’ve never been really happy with the audio I was able to record with these cams, even when I used an external source. Both these cameras, and others I’ve tried, have some kind of processing on the audio that attempts to maintain a constant level. And, of course, the audio circuitry gets a pretty small share of the development and manufacturing budget. The combination of these factors results in noisy distorted audio unless every detail is exactly right, a rare thing indeed. (more…)


About the Blog

    Howdy, my name is Fran Guidry and this is my Homebrewed Music blog.

    I play Hawaiian slack key guitar and recorded my solo acoustic CD at home. Most of the recording information I find on the internet seems focused on bands, drums, multitracking, and so on but my main focus is recording solo acoustic guitar. Lately I’ve been enjoying video recording along with audio, so that shows up in the blog as well.

    I’m also a guitar nut. I love big ones and little ones, handmades and factory guitars, cheap ones and expensive ones. So I’ll be sharing the fun of exploring guitars as well, along with the challenges of amplifying acoustic guitars for live performance.



    My recording philosophy is pragmatic, skeptical, not super critical. After all, the performance is by far the most important component of a track, and every aspect of any recording is a matter of taste.

    But I do like to know “about stuff.” Back in hifi days I learned about double blind testing. I learned that we humans can easily hear differences that don’t really exist. The more I’ve learned about our human auditory system, the more I’m skeptical of what people say they hear, especially if they claim that a particular microphone or preamp or cable has some magical property.

    I’ve only been recording since 2001, and when I started I found the usual places on the internet. I sought advice and accepted it, thought I would improve my recordings by using more expensive equipment. It didn’t work.

    Two things that did seem to lead to better recordings were experience and room treatment. Getting an appealing sound is the combination of many small details, and learning those details only comes from experience. Amd the sound of the recording space is obviously a big factor.

    I’ve only recorded seriously using digital technology, but I remember trying to record rehearsals and gigs back in analog days. I don’t have any nostalgia for analog recording and playback systems at all. I think even low end digital systems can capture marvelous recordings. So when I look at gear, I look for good specs: low noise, broad flat frequency response, wide dynamic range, low distortion. I’m not interested in colorful components, mics and preamps with a sound, I want the sound to be the sound of my guitar.

    But the last word is that I’m just learning and I hope you find something useful in my posts.