Monday, 20 April 2009
My new cuddly toy
Do you enjoy buying new bits of kit? It would appear most of us do and when we feel the urge but can't afford a major item, we go for something minor instead. I used to wonder, when I began taking music seriously, why music shops are full of rulers, rubbers and post-its adorned with clefs, staves and all manner of hackneyed puns: Gone Chopin, Bach in five Minuets (sorry). Having met a fair number of heads of music over the years I realise they are nearly all stationery fixated and the novelty music-themed mug is a must. The answer to their reliance on retail therapy? Increase their budget so they can afford to buy something real.
My latest purchase is a 'Dead Kitten'. The name amused me as a 'dead cat' is the name horn players give to the fluffy pad-saver they stick down their saxophones after playing. My beloved Buescher Aristocrat (pictured) is modelling one. The Kitten, however, is a bag of long-haired, synthetic material with an elasticated opening, designed to fit over the end of a Rode NT4 (below), which is a stereo microphone. It reduces wind noise, making outdoor recordings possible. Even in a light breeze the action of air on a microphone, especially one of high quality, can ruin a recording as it obliterates all other sound.
Happily the Dead Kitten also fits over the end of my Zoom H4 hand-held recorder. More on that machine another time but it's enough to know that its poorly thought out wind shield blew away on its first outing.
Today was unusually still in my neck of the woods but initial tests suggest the Kitten makes a real difference. With summer on the way there'll be plenty of opportunity to find its limitations.
And now I'm sure you'd like to know how much I paid for five square inches of nylon-backed fake fur and a sort strip of elastic. What was my karmic punishment for being so superior about kitsch mugs and cheesy stationery? Well, including manufacture, delivery and VAT, a cool £25.19. But, before you laugh, I could have much more. OK, now you can laugh. I just hope it brings me at least as much pleasure as your over-priced, Mozart fridge magnet.