Blog Pages


Cherry Mechanical Keyboard

Cherry Corp, the famous high quality switch manufacturer, is making some very high quality keyboards that utilize their own MX style tactile switches.

G80-3930 MX Board 6.0

An example is the Cherry G80-3930 MX Board 6.0 shown above. These keyboards  aren't cheap, but the tactile feedback they provide to your hands just might make you a believer.

These keyboards are robust and are popular with the gaming community for their reliability. The Cherry G80-3930 MX Board 6.0 has an aluminum top housing, LED back lighting, and is available from online retailers, such as B&H Video.

Thanks for reading,


64' Bel Air

What's a guy to do when he already doesn't have enough time? I know what you're going to say. Start a car restoration project! Right? Yeah, because that's totally going to help me get my recording gear completed.

Anyways, I would like to introduce you to my first and possibly my last classic car project.
The 1964 Bel Air.

Right now this door collector is in the desert basking in the sun. One of my first goals is to get it running. I'm pretty sure it needs a new battery.  Probably new tires as well.

I believe it has a 283 V8 and a 2 Speed Power Glide Transmission. I think I see an air conditioning pump on the left. I don't have any plans to make this thing a race car so I am just going to have the original motor and tyranny rebuilt. And no, I won't be doing it myself.

The interior is pretty clean. Just a few rips and tears to deal with. Again, no plans to redo it. I'm just going to have it brought back to life.

I plan on leaving most of the car fairly stock. I will make a few changes to make it more reliable. And of course it needs a great stereo. Hopefully I can find something that looks old but plays modern media.

I am definitely going to paint it, but not right away. I will be taking it to a few car shows as it comes back to life. I will be posting the progress of this sweet ride right here.


Thanks for reading,


PitBull Audio (National City, CA)

PitBull Audio has been on my "Visit List" for a while now. I recently went to the store to pickup up a patchbay for an upcoming classroom exercise. Now with a name like PitBull Audio, I really didn't know what to expect.

Why Is It Called PitBull?

I wondered the same thing. The name story can be found on their "About Us" page.

What's Their Thing?

PitBull Audio caries a fairly wide range of audio equipment and instruments. They have equipment for recording, electric guitars, bass guitars and acoustic guitars. They also stock guitar amplifiers, DJ equipment, live sound equipment, video equipment, lighting, recording software and many accessories such as picks, strings and tuners.

Acoustic Guitar Brands

Ibanez, Seagull, Washburn, Takamine, Yamaha, Cordoba, plus others.

Electric Guitar Brands

Mayones Setius, Ernie Ball, Suhr, Ibanez, ESP, Dean, Schecter, FGN and others.

Bass Guitar Brands

Warwick, Ernie Ball, FGN, Ibanez, ESP, Sterling by Music Man, Hagstrom, Dean and more.


A They have a pretty decent selection of strings and accessories. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to really see everything. But, I will definitely go back when I need something.


PitBull has a pretty good selection of equipment for recording. If you need a USB interface, monitors or headphones, they've got you covered. I didn't see any really high-end recording gear such as Manley or Universal Audio, but I will look for it the next time I am there.

So What's In It For You?

30 Day Returns (some restrictions apply: see web page for details)
Customer Support with Online Chat
Free Shipping "U.S. only" lower 48 states (some restrictions apply: see web page for details)
They also sell on Ebay, Amazon and

Contact Info

Thanks for reading,


5-Way Strat Switch by Otax

If you are like me and always on the lookout for a high quality 5-way switch then you may want to check out the Otax VLX91 5-Way Mega Switch.

The Otax 5-Way Mega Switch is a 4-pole, 5-position lever switch utilizing printed circuit boards (PCB's). It's made in Japan, utilizes a ball bearing to keep the lever in place, and has a very smooth feel and positive position lock.

I've used almost every 5-Way switch out there. This one feels great. It has a very positive snap, similar to a CRL, but with more switching options like the Oak Grigsby Mega Switch.

Find out more about the Otax VLX91 at the Slovak based guitar company
It's not cheap. by the time it hits your U.S. door you will be paying about $40.00 U.S. dollars for it.

Thanks for reading,


Make Your Own Tube Testers - Book Review

I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this book for some time now. A book on building tube testers? What could be better than that? Well, how about a well written book on making tube testers? I'm not keeping this one.

1. A good bibliography of books you should own (rather than this one)
2. Images of people responsible for the math and science (good to know)
3. I didn't find any obvious typographical errors. (I couldn't read it long enough to find any)

1. It reads like a rough draft
2. Useless charts that take up an entire page
3. Small photographs of historical people that take up the entire page

1. The book reads like a MS Word project gone bad
2. Stop asking "may I ask you a question" because the answer is "no".
3. Remove all the quippy comments and useless quotes

1. Advanced builders looking for more ideas on tube testers
2. Electronics technicians looking for new project ideas
3. Today's programming engineers wanting to learn more about tube circuits

1. Pretty much everyone else.

Thanks for reading,


SONG BPM.COM - A song writers tool

Need to know "beats per minute" for a hit song?

Want to match song tempo?

Now you can using song

          1.    Enter an artist name
          2.    Enter a song title

There's the song BPM.

What a great song writing tool!

I would like to thank Mr. David Cole "DC", producer/mix engineer, for sharing this with the Audio Production Faculty at A.I.S.D..

Thanks for reading,


Slate Plugin Subscriptions - Game Changer? or Lame Ranger?

Slate Digital has a new way to sell plugins to us recording guys. Think of it as a subscription service done properly. This might change the way I expect to buy plugins assuming they do it correctly! The new monthly or annual subscription deals are almost too good to be true. And a ILok is included! See for yourself by clicking the video link below!

Slate Digital Plugin Bundles

It's going to be very interesting to see how other plugin manufacturers respond to this.
Thanks for reading,


Manley Labs Video Tour

If you are involved in professional recording then you already know about Manley Labs. But, if you're not familiar with Manley, they manufacture some great sounding audio gear for recording. They also manufacture tube microphones for recording as well.

This video link was sent to me by John Kennedy of  Pulp Logic. So go grab some popcorn and enjoy. And if you ever get an opportunity, I highly recommend you check out Manley gear at stores such as Vintage King Audio.

Manely Labs Video Tour

Thanks for stopping by,


Izotope Ozone 6 Limited Time Offer $199 - Valid until July 30th, 2015

Izotope Ozone is a popular audio "mastering" plugin. For a limited time you can get Ozone 6 for only $199.00, regularly $249.00. Or you can get Ozone 6 Advanced for just $574.00, regularly $999.00.



Ozone 6 Features

Ozone 6 includes these great plugins:  Equalizer, Dynamics, Maximizer, Exciter, Imager, Post Equalizer, and Dither.

With Ozone 6 "Advanced" you get all of the above plugins of Ozone 6 plus a Dynamic EQ and Izotope's Insight metering plugin.

How I use Ozone

I use Ozone on my final stereo summing bus as well as stereo stem buses. Ozone allows me to manipulate my stereo image, equalize my stereo image and compress my stereo image.

Like any complex tool, there is a fairly steep learning curve that needs to be overcome in order to get the most out of Ozone. However, once you get the hang of it, you might not want to mix without it.

My Ozone Preference

I prefer Ozone "Advanced" because it allows you to insert any one plugin at a time. The basic Ozone version inserts all of the plugins at the same time into one large plugin window. It can consume a large portion of your monitor. "Advanced" doesn't have this issue.

Ozone 6 Free Trial

 A 10 day free trial is available to try before you buy. So give the free trial a spin. I think you will like the power of Ozone and what it can do for your mixes.

Thanks for reading,


Purchasing and Installing Lexicon PCM Reverb Plugins

I don't recommend purchasing any plugin at full price unless you absolutely have to. Most plugins eventually go on sale. Below I have outlined the process I went through to purchase and install the Lexicon PCM reverb bundle during Lexicon's June 2015 50% off sale.

PCM Reverb Purchase Process

Purchasing Lexicon plugins is very similar to purchasing other plugins. Simply add-to-cart and pay. Just make sure you have an ILok2 device because it is required. Also, make sure you verify your order because just like purchasing other plugins "ALL SALES ARE FINAL".

You will need a Lexicon account. I don't think they let you check out as a "guest" like other online retailers do. Once you are confident you have what you need in your cart then proceed through the payment process.

Downloading Lexicon PCM Plugins

Your order confirmation email includes a "link" to the Lexicon product page for the plugins you ordered. Also, your ILok "Authorization Key" is located in your order confirmation email as well.

Once you have clicked the email link and are on the product page for the plugins your ordered, go to the "download" tab and locate the installer file that matches your systems requirements (mac/win, 32/64bit etc.). Then download the appropriate installer file.

ILok2 USB Key

An ILok2 USB key is required for Lexicon plugin operation. If you do not currently own one you will need to purchase a PACE iLok 2nd Generation USB software authorization key from online retailers such as BH Video. BH Video has them for $40.00 each. Other places want $50.00 each.

Please note: This is not a standard USB thumb drive. It's a special device specifically for license files. A single ILok2 USB key can store a whole bunch of your license files so you most likely only need to purchase one of them. Also, you will need an ILok account in order to activate your ILok licenses.

ILok License Manager

ILok has a license manager application that needs to be downloaded and installed. Again, make sure you choose the correct version for your system.  During my installation process the .exe was "compressed" and needed to "extract" extra files to install properly. 


Redeeming ILok Activation Code

To redeem your ILok activation code for the plugins you just purchased you will need to click the button pointed to by the red arrow below. Then insert your "Authorization Key" that's in your order confirmation email into the window box shown below. You only need to copy and paste the whole key into just one box. Then hit "Next".


Transferring ILok License to ILok2 USB Key

Once you have redeemed your activation code your license should be available under the "available (1)" menu button at the top of the screen located in between "all licenses" and "all activations". Then you need to insert your ILok2 device, select the license file you wish to transfer, and then select your ILok2 device.

I believe you can drag the license file over to your ILok2 device on the left side of the screen. If you are certain you have selected the correct license file and the correct ILok device then proceed with the transfer.

Installing Lexicon PCM Reverb Plugins

From your downloads tab in your browser make sure you save your installation file somewhere that is safe. With your newly downloaded installation file ready, just double-click the .exe and follow the prompts. It's really that easy. If you run into major issues you can try the Lexicon Support page.

Using Lexicon PCM Plugins

With your ILok2 USB device installed, fire up your DAW and your Lexicon plugins should now be available. 


The biggest hassle during the ordering process was making sure the 50% off coupon code was redeemed properly. I had to back out of the cart at least once to get it to show up in the final purchase price. Although there is a fair amount of work involved with the license files, installation of the Lexicon PCM plugins could not have been easier.

My Overall Impression
I now understand what everyone is talking about when it comes to Lexicon PCM reverbs. I'm very impressed with how smooth these plugins sound. But, even at 50% off, I wouldn't consider them cheap plugins. One nice thing is that Lexicon allows you to DEMO the plugins before purchasing them. And, if you really like the way they sound, I recommend you wait until they go on sale.

Thanks for reading,


Studio Bass Masters - Book Review

If you have ever wondered how the pro's get their sound you should consider reading Studio Bass Masters by Keith Rosier. Although published "way back" in 1999, it still has a ton of relevant information on how to improve your bass sound when recording. It's a short read with only 115 pages and a CD is included if you purchase a new copy. Also, it sells for under $20.00 at

trenton blizzard studio bass masters


1. Years of professional playing experience explained in simple terms
2. Learn what gear the pros are actually using
3. Professional advice on session playing, instrument set-up and quality signal chains


1. Studio and live players looking to improve their tone
2. Home recording enthusiasts looking to improve their bass sound
3. Upright players looking for advice on setup and pickups


1. This is advice straight from the pro's
2. It might inspire some creative ideas
3. It's a good reference for bass guitar models that the professionals trust


1. Sound advice from professionals who make a living playing bass guitar
2. Different "opinions" regarding instrument set-up and technique
3. Lot's of discussion about preamps, DI's, compressors and tube gear

So, if you are looking to improve the sound of your recorded bass guitar you may want
to consider reading Studio Bass Masters by Keith Rosier.

Thanks for reading,


Lexicon 50% Off Plug-ins Limited Time Offer - valid June 01, 2015 - June 30, 2015

For a limited time, get 50% off the standard price of any Lexicon Plug-in (Digital download only). This promotion runs from June 1st, 2015 through June 30th, 2015.

To purchase a Lexicon Plug-in and take advantage of this offer, simply visit the Lexicon store webpage: .

If you are a new customer, you will need to register to process your order.
See Terms and Conditions for more information.

Thanks for reading,


Hammond Stomp Box Enclosures

Transporting breadboarded circuits around a studio can be a real pain. So, I would like to share with you my approach to building mobile prototype circuits. These simple to build boxes have really saved me from a lot of headaches over the years. Shown is the box I am presently working on.

Hammond Vacuum Tube Prototype Box

trenton blizzard hammond box


How Can I Make One?

It's actually fairly easy to make one of these. You just need access to some basic tools like a drill and a soldering iron. The hardest part is deciding what features you want to install.


First, choose a Hammond stomp box enclosure or something similar. These are available from a variety of online stores that sell electronic components such as Mouser , Amazon, Ebay, etc.

Second, drill the holes you need for your jacks, switches and pots. Then figure out how you want to bring in power and drill holes for those connectors. I used banana connectors on the back side of this project box to easily connect to my high voltage power supplies.

Top View

 trenton blizzard hammond stomp box

Third, "Double stick" some electronics breadboards to the bottom of the box. Make sure to leave enough clearance to fit your jacks and switches. Things can get pretty tight.

Fourth, mount all of your hardware.

Fifth, solder wires to your hardware and bring those wires into your breadboard.

Done - Now you're ready to start building!

 Front View


These simple prototype boxes can save you a ton of trouble when moving your circuits around the studio. Have fun and build safely. I'll post more images when it's completed!

Update: 5-26-2015

Added a Jensen 115K mic input transformer and a Cinemag 2810 output transformer as well as two 1/4" TRS jacks. It's almost ready.....

trenton blizzard hammond enclosure

Thanks for reading,


The Recording - Video Tutorials For Recording

I would like to introduce you to The Recording If you have never visited Graham Cochrane's site, that is dedicated to recording and mixing, I highly recommend that you do. Graham has great videos and information that can help you achieve better sounding recordings.

Mixing Vocals To Sit On Top

The Recording Revolution 

 How To Get Pro Sounding Drum Overheads

How To Get Pro Sounding Drum Overheads - The Recording Revolution

The Recording Revolution is a great blog resource as well. Although Graham works mainly within Pro Tools, most of the techniques he presents can be applied to almost any DAW that you might already own.

Blog: The Mixing Console Mindset

The Mixing Console Mindset

So, what's in it for you?

You'll get clear advice on better recording and mixing techniques with simple to follow tips.

Who's it for?

1. Musicians looking to save money by recording themselves
2. Home studio owners looking to get better recordings and mixes
3. Recording engineers seeking new techniques

What should you expect?

1. Easy to follow information
2. Great tips for getting a better mix
3. Advice on what gear you really need

But That's Not All

 Graham also has many videos available for sale that go into even greater detail.

The Recording / Products

So, if you want to improve the sound of your recordings or mixes then stop by The Recording Revolution and see what Graham has to offer. I think you'll be glad you did.

All images used by permission. All images © 2015 The Recording Revolution.

Thanks for reading,


Vintage Guitar Magazine - Team Josie

A friend recently sent me a link for a guitar raffle put on by Vintage Guitar Magazine to help raise money for the American Cancer Society. After reading the story about Josie I couldn't help but purchase a ticket. Please click on the image-link below for more information on how you can help the fight against cancer. We can all help give these kids a fighting chance. Thanks for reading, Trenton


Slate Digital Goes Analog - April 1, 2015

Slate Digital is known for making some of the industry's greatest digital emulations of analog hardware. But today, they are pleased to announce an important change of course. Click the video link to find out more...
Slate Digital Going Analog

Enjoy and thanks for reading,


Laura Christine Guitar Lessons - San Diego

I've always avoided learning music theory because I feared it would interfere with my song writing. Traditionally I just played by ear without really knowing what I was playing. Fast forward twenty years and I'm now faced with a need to communicate my songs to session musicians.

laura christine

To remedy this situation I started taking guitar lessons from Laura Christine in San Diego. I'll admit, I was somewhat nervous at the first lesson because she's a total metal shredder and I'm a pop rock punk ass!

I told Laura that my primary goal was to learn enough music theory to communicate my songs to other session musicians. I also told her that my secondary goal was to actually "know where to play" when soloing. That skill will save me a lot of time!

laura christine

She told me "no problem" and began to map out a path for me to achieve my goals. We've been chipping away at it for a while now and I am totally convinced that it's working.

My notation skills are improving and my solos are becoming much easier to create. She really takes the time to ensure that I understand each step of the process.

So, if you are in the San Diego area and would like to take your guitar playing to the next level then consider contacting Laura Christine. She can definitely help you achieve your goals and improve your guitar playing.

Contact: Laura Christine

All images used by permission. Images © LauraChristineMusic.Com 2014. All rights reserved.

Thanks for reading,


19" Custom Rack Enclosure Powder Coated

Powder coating is actually fun. I recently spent a day with John Kennedy, of, to learn how to powder coat a couple of my rack enclosures. Considering I had never powder coated before they didn't turn out too bad.


In the past I have used commercial shops such as ECP in El Cajon. But, this time I wanted to give it a try myself.

John's oven was only big enough for the panels and rack face plate, so I ended up spraying the rest of the enclosure with some textured automotive paint. Overall I would say "not bad for prototypes".

Of the many colors we tested throughout the day only a couple really turned out. Blue and black were the favorites!


The hammertone blue looks pretty good in person. I am looking forward to seeing how well it looks with some anodized front panels.

The next task for these two 19" rack units is to have some front panels made so I can evaluate the various color options. I'll keep you posted as things progress.

Thanks for reading,


Tube Microphone Preamplifier

Update: Custom 19" Rack Enclosure

I have made some progress with one of my custom rack enclosures. I am building a vacuum tube mic-pre into an unfinished enclosure. Features will be simple with Stepped Gain Control, Phantom Power, Phase Select, Input Select and Input Pad.

 Tube Preamplifier Prototype

trenton blizzard mic preamp prototype

Concept Drawing

trenton blizzard mic pre concept drawing

This concept drawing I made using Corel Draw. I'm not sure if I am going to do "rack handles" at this time. The right side of the front panel is where the special "drive amplifier" controls will be.
This feature will create strong harmonics for stunning vocal effects.

There are also a few other controls on the front panel that I currently don't have any use for but I installed them anyways. On the far right hand side are the LED level meters and the power switch. The LED holes have not been punched at this time.

 Heathkit IP-32

At first I will power the prototype with a classic Heathkit IP-32 high voltage power supply. Then I will install the permanent power supply once I figure out what voltages I need. If you can find an IP-32 on Ebay I highly recommend you pick one up. They are very handy for vacuum tube circuit design work.

trenton blizzard heathkit ip-32

I will post more as the project progresses.

Thanks for reading,


Audio Classes In San Diego


There are many benefits to taking audio classes. The biggest benefit for me is gaining exposure to more complex Pro Tools features. Unfortunately, most professional level audio classes are not cheap. But, they can greatly accelerate your skill set. So, if you are serious about music production then consider investing in yourself and start taking classes. I'm glad I did.

trenton blizzard pro tools training



If you live in the San Diego area there is TRAC The Recording Arts Center. TRAC is also known as Studio West . Studio West is for recording and TRAC is for audio production training. They are both located in the same building. TRAC is located at 11021 Via Frontera, Suite A San Diego, CA 92127.


Another benefit of training at a facility like TRAC is that they offer AVID certifications for both music production and post production. Each certification has its own application so choose wisely.

Thanks for reading,


50s vs Modern Les Paul Wiring

50s Les Paul Wiring

I finally got around to installing those paper-in-oil capacitors I blogged about a while back. I decided to wire up my guitar using the 50's Gibson Les Paul wiring. Here's a link to Seymor Duncan that talks about it in greater detail.

trenton blizzard 50s les paul wiring


50s vs Modern Les Paul Wiring

The main difference between the 50's Les Paul wiring and modern wiring is how the tone circuit is connected.

Modern - Today, the tone circuit is connected to the top of the volume potentiometer (side tab).
50's - The vintage 50's wiring connects the tone circuit to the volume pot wiper terminal (middle tab).


The capacitors I installed are manufactured by Electocube. I used two of their AM series of (Kraft) paper in oil film types. I installed .022uF in both tone circuits.


Is it worth the effort?
If you play with volume and tone controls at 'max' then there's no difference from modern wiring.

When will I hear the difference?
If you adjust volume and tone controls then it can make a difference. (more tonal options)

Would I mod other guitars?
Yes. I would mod other guitars to the vintage 50's Les Paul wiring.

Sound Clips?
I hope to have sound clips on here soon that demonstrate the 50's wiring sound.

Thanks for reading,




If you don't already, you may want to consider using a digital pocket recorder for making work tapes of your songs. Although I am a fan of the digital recorders made today,  they are not created equally. So, be prepared to try a few different models until you find the one that meets your needs.
trenton blizzard tascam DR-40


I originally purchased the DR-40 because I thought having multi-tracking capabilities would be beneficial. I also thought that recording in stereo would be cool as well. Although I ended up not using the multi-tracking feature, it will allow you to layer your song parts if you desire.


The DR-40 has removable SD memory which is a cool feature. It really speeds up data transfer to your computer.

trenton blizzard tascam dr-40 speaker


The stereo recorded sound is very clean. A little too clean for my taste.The speaker is located on the bottom.  So, to get your playback sound very loud you need to turn the unit over.  

trenton blizzard tascam dr-40 display


The built in effects could be really handy if you don't have any other means of adding reverb.
The effects are quite acceptable for what they are. Just don't expect Bricasti type reverb sound.


I originally purchased the DP-10 because it was the cheapest digital pocket recorder at the store I was in. Also, the simple controls reminded me of the micro-cassette recorders I was using at the time.


It doesn't get any easier than the controls on the DP-10. Play, Stop, Record, Next / Fast-Forward,   and Previous / Rewind. You can select microphone "sensitivity" to help get an overdrive sound when playing back through the speaker. It also usually helps to have the "noise cancelling" set to OFF for a nice "edgy sound".

The way this little machine distorts through the speaker is simply amazing. Playback is pretty clean when sending audio out the 1/8" jack. But, it's not even close to the DR-40.  And forget about removable memory because there isn't any. You have to transfer the files the old fashion way.


Although I use the Olympus DP-10 pocket recorder for recording my daily work tapes, you may prefer the DR-40 or something similar. In the end, I recommend you find a recorder that not only meets your budget, but also inspires you to record your music.

Thanks for reading,


19" Rack Enclosure


One challenging aspect of DIY pro audio gear is metal fabrication. Although very basic 19" rack enclosures are available from online retailers, I have never been satisfied with many of the designs. So, to solve this issue, I decided to design my own rack enclosure.



At this time, my 2U rack case is 12" deep and made of steel. The front panel is made of aluminum and incorporates two removable aluminum panels.  The top lid is vented so vacuum tube designs can stay relatively cool. The back panel also includes two aluminum panels, both of which can be removed.

Revision "B" will include a grid of holes on the bottom for mounting PCB's. I might add some holes on the sides as well for mounting power supplies or power transformers.



Once I figure things out I will get them powder coated so they look better. I'm not sure if I want to anodize the aluminum or have it powder coated as well. I will probably do both to check out how it looks.

My next step is to build up a couple circuits and see how well they actually work.
So, please stay tuned.

Thanks again,